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    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I would say there are two possibilities. One, given that a big thing was made in Spyfall about encoding hidden information in pictures is that ‘Brendan’ is an encoded version of the Doctor’s/Timeless Child’s life. Should anyone not in the know look at it, they’ll see a fake memory (a ‘legend’) of the Doctor’s life as a Division agent, in which he was chameleon arched as a human baby and was working as a Garda.

    For those in the know, the memory can be decoded to reveal the records of the Timeless child.

    The other possibility is that ‘Brendan’ really was one of the Doctor’s missions while with the Division (the name Brendan is strongly associated with St Brendan the Voyager, i.e. a traveller) and he had to make some seemingly minor changes to the history of Ireland. But that the genuine memories were then used to encode the Timeless Child information, just as the perfectly real fish was used to encode O’s location.

    I was wondering why Chibbers wanted to go down the limitless regenerations route – one reason, I think, is purely symbolic. As David Tennant once said, once the rebooted series survived as a continuation of the pre-gap series, The Doctor joined the ranks of immortal fictional characters. So why not make him/her officially immortal? Killable, yes, but a character who can potentially regenerate forever?

    The other is clearing stuff up for future producers. Yeah, Moffat managed to do a dramatically satisfying recharge of the twelve regenerations, but that was partly because he managed to finagle the regenerations to do the reboot in the 50th Anniversary year. It fitted with the entire ‘big event’ feel of that anniversary. What happens down the road when some poor sod of a showrunner has to find a way of working in another twelve regenerations? Why not just alter the mythology so that producers won’t have that (entirely invented and completely unnecessary) problem?

    I really liked Ko Sharmus, and wouldn’t be at all surprised if he was more than he made out. He might be a Division agent; working to ensure that the Cybermen don’t wipe out every last human by guarding a handy portal. Or he might be what he said he was – a human who feels that his job is to keep other humans alive and help them escape.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Tecteun has a vaguely Aztec feel, but I suspect it’s a made-up name. My guess is the tect is from ‘Tekton’ (ancient Greek), followed by the Korean girl’s name ‘Eun’ which Chibbers might know from a Korean film or an actress.

    Anyway, the two would fit. Tekton is Greek for ‘builder’, ‘eun’ is Korean for kindness, mercy, charity. Tecteun showed kindness to the abandoned timeless child, charitably brought her home – then used her to build the race of regenerating Time Lords.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Other lovely, ironic stuff. The Doctor standing in the ruins of the Citadel, automatically telling her fam that they can’t be here because no aliens are allowed on Gallifrey. When she’s the original alien…

    Also explains why the xenophobic Time Lords disliked The Doctor so very much. They needed her to become Time Lords, but she was an alien. They must have been vastly relieved when the Division gave them an excuse to wipe her memory.

    Do we finally have an answer to the problem of Hartnell and Troughton seeming to have one heart and the Pertwee Doctor arriving on Earth with two? Did the Timeless Child’s regeneration ability also include regenerating to ‘mimic’ her host race?

    It’s possible that River’s regeneration ability is the reason Chibbers thought he could rework canon into the Doctor being the source of regeneration in Time Lords. If regeneration comes from repeated exposure to the time vortex during conception and fetal development, then that’s possibly how the Doctor herself gained the ability. If you notice, Chibbers was the writer who decided Amy and Rory’s post-River son Anthony was adopted, so I suspect he knows this bit of the Moffat era quite well.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Namely that by removing the previous Gallifreyan ruling elite (the Pythia) as precursors to the Time Lords you end up without the Sisterhood of Karn, meaning you end up with no War Doctor.

    You’re confusing history and pre-history, I think. Plus you’re not allowing for the tendency of succeeding regimes to rewrite the previous history, and also not allowing for the Master deciding to telescope several hundred millennia into a couple of lines.

    Okay, new canon. Everything we have seen the Doctor do on screen is real (for a given value of real). Chibbers has been extremely careful to establish that – realising that the Master isn’t the most reliable of narrators, he’s had the Doctor meet up with many old foes and some new ones who namechecked other old foes.

    What that means is that we have the Sisterhood of Karn and the Priesthood of Pythia, because we’ve seen them both on screen. However, the off-screen history of how we got them may be a pile of self-serving propaganda invented by the Rassillon regime. The Sisterhood of Karn, with their excellent knowledge of regeneration, may in fact be the followers of Tecteun – you could see why that little tidbit might be wiped out of history.

    As to why a canonically long lived race (whose bodies can last millennia between regenerations) would want to live still longer – I suspect we’re being handed a new myth about the quest for immortality. A Gallifreyan equivalent of the Philosopher’s Stone, except the ‘Stone’ is a living child.

    You might be right, however, that the Master suspects a ‘terrible truth’. For one thing, Timeless-Child-Doctor regenerates because of a childish squabble over a toy and the Master’s strangely insistent that it was just two kids playing, an unfortunate accident. For another, the episode isn’t called ‘The Timeless Child.’ It’s called ‘The Timeless Children‘.

    Who was the other child? And does the Master have a horrible suspicion that it’s him? That he, too, doesn’t know his true history?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    It seems to be a bit of a ‘marmite’ episode, but I’m firmly in the ‘loved it’ camp. Sacha Dhawan was utterly brilliant – broken, and malignant with flashes of something almost like empathy. Did he really say ‘Good luck, humans’? And yes, I can imagine that discovering he’s not just related to the Doctor but is (in a way) her descendent would tear him apart. I may think Missy would have coped better, but the Dhawan Master is considerably less stable.

    I also loved that the ‘fam’ have grown enough that they can handle themselves without the Doctor.

    And yes, great backstory. Everything we’ve seen on screen happened, but there is now so much more to find out about what happened before the Hartnell Doctor arrived on Earth. After feeling that we know everything there is to know about John Smith from Gallifrey – where he went to school, his family, his schoolfriends, his house-mother – we now find out that we don’t know anything about her at all. 🙂

    We’re back to ‘Doctor Who?’ I think that’s a good thing.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Yet, I would argue it is the Master who is the one who is (always) guilty of hubris, and by identifying with Ozymandius he has both mis-read Shelley and revealed his own shortcomings

    But has he?

    I agree that the Master’s tendency to misread human creative works is legendary, but if this incarnation is post-Missy, I’d argue that it’s entirely possible for him to have read that poem and thought ‘F*ck, I’m Ozymandias. Complete with giant statues to myself that always get pulled down.’ Missy, at least at the end of her incarnation, was self-aware enough for that.

    The other alternative is that in misquoting Shelley, the Master is identifying himself with the Time Lords and their attitude to other races. ‘Look at my works, ye mighty and despair.’ Well, look at them now (which line was, I think, applied to Brendan).

    Yeah, I’m wondering what was so important that the Doctor turns up after the massive devastating war has done all its devastating? Had the Cyberium or Cyberiad, or Cyber-wotsit only just been sent back after the final big battles? So she couldn’t get there any earlier, as that would change the events that sent her forward in the first place?

    Incidentally, Blenkinsop, I hadn’t actually connected the Master’s nom de guerre of ‘O’ with ‘Ozymandias’. That’s interesting. Maybe Jim is going to get his squee after all.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave and @jimthefish

    I can’t help thinking we’re somehow missing the significance of the Master misquoting Shelley. Did he just think it was a good line? Does he know that Shelley was the Guardian for the Cyberium?

    And in addition, he’s placed himself as Ozymandias. The one who boasts ‘look at my works, ye mighty’ and yet is now another fallen statue in a fallen Empire.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Yeats and the Irish Literary Revival helped make ‘fantastical’ political in Southern Ireland, but I think he might have been riffing off an older tradition. You don’t get much more political than Dean Swift, even if his most famous work is now seen as a children’s story.

    Yeah, I think the gap is because there just wasn’t much in the way of Irish publishing companies to publish with until the 1980’s. Not unless you were writing SF in the Irish language, anyway. The Irish diaspora meant that the population was falling right up to the 1960’s, so you’re looking at a market of about 4 million people in Southern Ireland versus a market of ten times that many if you sell your book to a London publisher…

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    To be honest, when the robber pulled out his pistol my first thought was dissident Republicans, but I can see why an Irish reporter might not be too keen on saying that. We in the UK tend to see the troubles as Northern Ireland, but most Gardai deaths on duty (that aren’t accidents) result from a crime investigation that turns out to be investigating a crime committed by armed paramilitaries.

    You are absolutely right: do a little digging and loads of Irish SF turns up. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do the digging: Jack Fennell did his PhD on Irish SF. Worldcon 2019 (sadly, I couldn’t go) was held in Dublin, and Jack very kindly allowed them to publish a pdf copy of the book list in ‘A Short Guide to Irish SF’.

    I think he argues that the problem with Irish SF is simply that the Irish literary establishment doesn’t want to be Irish. Or rather, they wanted to create a new idea of ‘Irish’, where Ireland takes its rightful place among grown up, serious nations. Traditional Irish stories are fantastical; they didn’t want to go there, they wanted ‘serious, meaningful’ literature about the famine. Grown up stuff, not kiddie style SF. As well, the people who could have become Ireland’s scientific establishment (and wrote SF on the side) had mostly emigrated to where the research money was – put the two together, and you get ‘hidden’ SF, where everyone goes ‘Bob Shaw was an Irish SF writer?’

    Anyway, Jack Fennell’s Worldcon article is here.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    The Easter Rising was in 1916, but Brendan’s Garda mentor (do we ever find out his name?) is wearing a Garda uniform when he’s investigating the finding of Baby Brendan. Which means that has to be 1922 or later (unless we’re doing a Whoniverse thing of fudging the dates/uniforms because it’s not our universe).

    So when Brendan is seen retiring it would be 1982 or early eighties and he’s stayed in the Gardai for as long as he legally could. This is all if we’re seeing ‘real’ events, of course, and not some kind of simulation.

    Now, if he does arrive in 1922, that would mean that he’s probably 18 in 1940. So we have a very interesting vibe of a soldier aged Brendan making a deliberate choice to be a Guardian of the Peace when the world outside Ireland was in the middle of a deadly war. Remind you of anyone else who hated the very thought of being a soldier?

    So is this a simulation in which ‘Brendan’ is a cyberman who really wants to be a guardian of the peace, dreaming some kind of fluffy Irish fantasy? Or is it a hint that we’re seeing a hidden ‘guardian’? Or does it fit with Ko Sharmus, who’s chosen to guard the portal in the middle of a deadly war?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    the supposed unlikelihood of one of the handful of survivors being a nurse, another a teacher.

    I found those comments a bit odd, to be honest. Soldiers wouldn’t be the last people to survive: they’d have died – or the good ones would – protecting the nurse, the teacher or fighting the Cybermen. The people told to refugee out would be the people who could keep human civilisation going – like the teacher – or people alive – like the nurse.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Oh, I think the clock has a meaning and I don’t think you’re grasping at straws. The camera focus on the clock wasn’t casual – the actor placed it quite deliberately for its very own close-up and that close-up was long enough to have made a real live actor a very happy bunny.

    But I think its significance is as a symbol of time rather than there being anything significant about the clock.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I had a good look at a freeze-frame of the clock and I’d say it’s an ordinary carriage clock with Roman numerals.

    Brendan's clock

    The only odd thing about it is that the Roman numerals look a bit funny – at first I thought they were in the wrong places, but it’s just that the right hand stroke of the X is really thin and difficult to see.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave and @mudlark

    Or maybe they were entities who simply assumed the appearance of the father and the senior policeman.

    I noticed the different reactions when I rewatched as well. I think you’re probably right, Mudlark – the minders assumed the appearance of the two people that Brendan would trust most in all the world. His father, and the policeman who mentored him. Because before that final scene, neither of those people act as if they know who Brendan truly is – the policeman is completely shocked when Brendan wakes up, and the father is visibly wondering if he’s fostered Superman.

    If they’re TimeLords, they were also chameleon arched without their memories and came to pick up Old Brendan. Which is, I suppose, possible, though as I said up above, it would be a terrible pun on the old ‘Gallifrey is in Ireland’ gag if that entire Irish village consists of chameleon arched Gallifreyan refugees.

    I suspect the cliff to beach problem was technical: they did or planned the cliff top shot with Brendan being shot in the chest and falling backwards, which looks really good. Then they realised when filming at the bottom that they couldn’t get both actors and the cliff in the shot unless Brendan had his head to the cliff.

    So they probably decided that either it enhanced the dream-like feel of the fall/coming back to life or that Brendan could have flipped over in flight, so to speak. Not terrible continuity, just a camera angle problem.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Oh, and an Irish Brendan is almost certainly named after St Brendan the Navigator, or sometimes St Brendan the Voyager. He sets off with a bunch of companions and has many exciting adventures, finally finding the Blessed Isle, or the Isle of St Brendan.

    Remind you of anyone? Especially considering the long-running fan joke (repeated by RTD in Human Nature) that Gallifrey is clearly somewhere in Ireland…

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Okay, so I had a chance to rewatch this episode – some thoughts on that.

    Firstly, while I’m going to wait and see what next week’s like, I think I may have to apologise to CC for saying his ‘future-set’ episodes aren’t that good. Given the massive amount of information that had to be given to the audience, this was a very well paced first act.

    @jimthefish – I agree that Graham has a definite flub in which he starts to say ‘I’m the Doc’ and then changes it to ‘I’m the most normal person’. Even if it’s a Billy flub, I’d still have to ask why he’d start to do that particular line. Running off-screen gag? Or he says it next episode?

    Graham has now been mistaken for the Doctor three times. Skyfall. Fugitive of the Judoon. Can You Hear Me? In the first two, it’s blatant, in Can You Hear Me he gets the vision of the trapped godlet that one would think should have been sent to the Doctor…

    And now, as you’ve spotted, he starts to tell someone he’s the Doctor.

    Agreed that Chibbers didn’t do a great job of making us care about the last remaining human refugees – sorry, we’ve spent the budget on the Cybermen and the Brendan subplot so there are only six speaking parts plus one non-speaking. But what I did notice was that they all had traditional Doctor Who Sci-fi names. Very traditional – Ravioli, sorry Ravio, Meerkat, sorry Feekat, Ascot, no Bescot, Fuckitt, no Fuskle, oh let’s just do a random letters and vowels thing, sorry Yedlarmi and Ethan.

    Uh, Ethan? How did Ethan creep in there? And people on T’Other Place have pointed out that Ethan is a very knowledgeable young man.

    RyAN. BrendAN. EthAN. Could be some writery subconscious thing, but is there some kind of connection between Ryan, Brendan and Ethan? And plus, while the Last Remaining Humans seemed to include several disposable characters, a lot of effort was spent making us like Brendan. He had an entire subplot to himself, from babyhood to ‘death’.

    The props department seem to love their details with Doctor Who, and one thing I noticed was that Abandoned Baby Brendan had the most lovely white baby quilt with flowers and stuff – and a definite ‘circular’ motif. Very Gallifreyan.

    @missrori – I still think ‘The Timeless Child’, but there is a very ‘Doctor’ motif in that he’s a Garda, which the script spells out means ‘guard’ (a guardian?). He spends his human life wanting to protect people, which is very Doctorish and he tries to talk the thief down in a very Doctorish way.

    Bonkers theories – one idea I had back when the Doctor had killed billions of kids was to wonder why the Time Lords hadn’t hidden their children using chameleon arches. Now we’ve been deliberately reminded of that tech via Ruth, I’m again wondering if the surviving Gallifreyans are hiding among humans.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Anyway, my bet is that Brendan IS the Timeless Child, and his ‘minders’ are responsible for wiping his memory at the end of every ‘life’.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Yeah, I thought Captain Jack as well. Captain Jack became immortal as a by-product of the Time Vortex, so if Brendan is a similar type of immortal there’s a fair chance that he’s the Timeless Child or something related to the Time Lords.

    But that explains why Captain Jack had a scene in Fugitive from the Judoon.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Well, the Master being back is expected. Given the Castrovalva/Logopolis like nature of the Villa this week, I was expecting him to pop out of the woodwork.

    I strongly suspect the Timeless Child is going to go into next series, though.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Mary Tamm and Lalla Ward haven’t gone missing – we simply haven’t got to them yet.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    “Doctors”: is this show good? It seems as though every second Doctor Who cast member has been on it.

    The BBC considers it as one of its ‘rep’ training-ground soap series for baby TV actors and writers – so its quality can be a bit variable, ranging from ‘superb’ to ‘we have to broadcast this, it’s Tuesday’. But that’s why almost everyone has been on it.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    why, how, could a non-inhibited cyberman slit his own children’s throats? I think that was probably a lie.

    Yes, I get the feeling that something about it was a lie. It’s possible he’s not got an inhibitor because he’s a fanatic about the joys of Cyberisation, but he was certainly lying about the baby – he may have seen the baby as a future Cyberman, but he still saw it as a baby. As you say, a Cyberman going coochy coo with a baby was a ‘yikes!’

    There is a circumstance when a loving parent would slit his or her children’s throats, and that’s when what they’re facing is worse than death. They’d ‘joined the resistance’, so were fighting being Cyberised. Did Ashad kill them because he’s a fanatic? Or because he knew the alternative was bringing them in for Cyberisation?

    @blenkinsopthebrave and @winston – Sadly, I have to point out that there’s a time jump when Doctor Polidori goes to sleep and that I strongly suspect that Graham took a leak during that ‘off-screen’ bit – though I agree he’s got really good bladder control. Reminds me of the scene during the Buffy Series 7 finale when they’re facing a massive battle and Xander tells everyone where the toilets are…

    Blenkinsop, I did not find Heaven Sent hypnotically riveting. I did find it slow – it relied on Capaldi, I think, and if you didn’t like Capaldi’s Doctor the viewer was left with nothing much else to watch. I’d a thousand times rather re-watch the Tsuranga Conundrum than Heaven Sent, even though I know perfectly well most people would think Heaven Sent is artistically ‘better’.

    Heaven Sent seems to be one of the very few episodes I didn’t comment on; probably I was working on the ‘if you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything’ line of thought at the time. However, I will say that comparing a talented writer (Chibnall) to a writer of genius (Moffat) is a bit unfair. It’s not that I like every single thing Steven Moffat has ever done, but I do think Moffat’s a genius, even when his latest experiment didn’t work for me.

    Um. Yeah, maybe it’s the pacing of the scripts? Because I actually liked the pting and would be happy to see it crop up again. Likewise the male pregnancy. The ideas are there, but the problem seems to be plotting and pacing them.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I’m not sure that’s entirely fair – as I said a couple of weeks back, it’s really difficult to do an arc that may involve the Doctor’s past without going back into the Doctor’s past. I’d agree Chibnall didn’t have a ‘winner’ like the Weeping Angels when he tried a series of entirely new monsters – and it may well be that he’s got the kind of imagination that works best when it has something to ‘spark’ off. But his puppet master Dalek in Resolution was truly creepy, and I think this very cyborg-y version of the Cybermen might have legs. Possibly someone else’s legs, knowing Cybermen. 🙂

    No, the question is more: given that the historicals are often very good indeed, possibly ‘classic’ material – what is it that’s lifting them up, but not the present day/future episodes? Is @blenkinsopthebrave right and it’s a simple matter of pace?

    @jimthefish – forgot to mention – if you think any actor is going to ruin a perfectly nice part by doing a historically authentic high pitched grating voice that will irritate the audience no end, you can think again. ‘Historically authentic?’ Lewis Rainer no doubt said, ‘I’m in this historically authentic cellar with a *%)$&”! Cyberman!’


    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Well, ghosts in the Whoniverse are often the sign of a time distortion. So maybe the ‘conflict’ with the Big Finish audio (haven’t heard it) is a subtle signal that the time distortion caused by sending the Cyberium back (followed by the Lone Cyberman) is more dangerous than we think?

    The Big Finish set with Mary Shelley then becomes a ‘should have happened’ time loop. This might explain why the Doctor (who remembers being the Eighth) is so worried about killing Percy Shelley that she is willing to risk billions of future deaths. She already knows time has been badly altered.

    And why she wanted to limit the fam to one hour. With Shakespeare and Christie he was perfectly willing to stay overnight/for tea.

    [Edit: Come to think of it, could that be the reason the TARDIS is parked so far away that they all get soaked? It’s trying to avoid itself?]

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I’m going to say no, just because it’d be too like Death in Heaven. Instead I’m going to suggest that the Doctor will make some terrible mistake because she’s trying to stop one of the fam being Cyberised.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Yes, I only knew it because I was in a play about the mad foursome a couple of decades back.

    It can be referenced in The Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, with Notices of His Life, which is on Google Books.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Yes, I was thinking Castrovalva and Logopolis. So much so, in fact, that I kept expecting the Master to pop up out of the woodwork. So, another callback to BG era Who, but not an obvious one. The genetic theme is cyberised – could this be the connection with the Scorpion-aliens? They were scavengers, and this variety of Cyberman scavenges human parts.

    And what is the reason for that very odd subplot with the genuine ghosts? There’s a skeleton (literally) in the closet (well, the chest) and ghosts in the woodwork. Something meta about the Time Lords, maybe? Skeletons and ghosts and patched up creatures made of bits of something else?

    I wonder why it is that the Chibnall historicals seem to be so much the best episodes of his era? It’s like everyone (actors, writers, production team) have the ‘touch’ with historicals. – which then proceeds to promptly desert them when they have to do something else.

    This may be a little unfair, because there’ve been some very good episodes this series. But I keep getting this feeling that we do a historical with real historical characters and everything noticeably goes up a notch.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I didn’t much like (this is actually possibly the number one complaint on t’other place which is delightfully positive so far) the implication of cowardice in Byron.

    A sign that the writer’s done her research. He certainly wasn’t a coward, as such, but he had what you might call fits of nerves when he acted like one. Contemporaries call him ‘timid’ at times, and there’s a remembered conversation when Byron calls himself ‘cowardly’. It seems to have been an over-active imagination – or what moderns would call catastrophising – and he was worried whether it would happen to him in Greece.

    Which is the sign of a genuinely brave man, I think. He went and fought in a war that wasn’t his when he knew just how frightened he’d be.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Clearly this is going to be one of those days. A Caitlin Gosling has joined and her first post consists entirely of one link. In the Peter Capaldi as Twelfth Doctor forum.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    We seem to have a spammer. Name of Johnson, though I don’t know if they have a blond mop-top.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Oh, yeah, and I forgot the obvious theme: everything we think we know is a lie.

    Spyfall – the man we think is an agent on our side (O) is actually the Master.
    Orphan 55 – the holiday resort planet is just a dome, the ‘alien’ planet is our own Earth.
    Fugitive of the Judoon – the human tour guide is really The Doctor.
    Praxeus – the helpful scientist is an alien conducting deadly experiments
    Can You Hear Me – the trapped ‘victim’ is an evil immortal.

    In each case we see – but we don’t understand. There’s something else (or someone else) hiding behind what we’re seeing.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    It’s about memory. Not fanwankery – memory. I’d have to check the individual episodes to see if I can spot the set, but the two themes running through that I’ve spotted so far are genetics and the Doctors’ pasts. I don’t think it’s really possible to do an arc about whether the Doctor and the Master’s pasts are based on a lie (everything we know is a lie) without considerable name-checking and confirmation of what they and we the audience actually do know.

    Celestial Toymaker is Hartnell, Eternals are Davison and Guardians are Baker T. Zellin referencing them is a way of confirming that the Doctor’s memories of the Hartnell, Davison and Baker T. eras do correspond to an external reality, because Zellin also knows about the beings he/she’s encountered. Giving them a namecheck is a way of reminding/reassuring the audience that the Hartnell, Baker T. and Davison Doctors are real within the Whoniverse, that the Whittaker Doctor has memories which are real memories of events within the Whoniverse.

    Captain Jack has just assured us (by turning up) that the Eccleston and Tennant eras were real. Possibly the Master’s Wicked Witch of the West joke was a way of reminding us that Missy and Capaldi happened.

    Once we’ve confirmed what is actually known, we can proceed with the ‘everything she knows is a lie’ plot. The question being whether the lie is hiding behind the external reality that we know? Did what we thought we saw have a different meaning? Or is the lie that the reality she remembers is not the whole of her life? That the Time Lords are not who she always thought they were?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    It’s possible. Missy certainly made a similar joke (‘I’m in two minds about it. Fortunately, one of them is unconscious.’)

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    The Long Game, Turn Left, Oxygen. The Beast Below, The Christmas Invasion. The Zygon Inversion – probably some more.

    In the series before the Gap, off the top of my head, The Sunmakers, The Happiness Patrol, The Green Death – and the Daleks themselves in many, many of their stories.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    My own mind still defaults “brothers” or “school mates”, whereas if either of them had been a woman, I would probably have gone straight to “former partner”, based on Jake’s reaction to the news story.

    As someone who looks most unlike her brother, I can assure you that it works the other way round as well. That is, if you have two people of the opposite sex who are obviously close and don’t look alike, then ‘partner’ is the default assumption.

    So I’d say that we were picking up ‘brothers’ not because of underlying bias, but because of an underlying ‘they look alike, so family’ assumption. The writer/production team were playing with our assumptions, because it would’ve been easy to give Jake a line identifying Adam in the bar scene. But I think they were playing with the actors looking enough like each other the audience could assume ‘family’ and not realise what type of family until the reveal.

    @spider – I liked the last minute save, because when the fam insisted the Doctor could save Jake Whittaker’s expressions went from ‘yikes, NO. I can’t’ to ‘but I can try’ to ‘oh, help this is really tricky’ to ‘phew!’ And then finally ‘wow, wasn’t I clever.’ The materialisation trick has been used before, but it was nice to see that it’s not as easy as the Capaldi Doctor made out. 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Even the police officer being married to the astronaut gave me an eye roll

    I don’t see why. For someone to rush to Hong Kong from the UK on the off chance that Adam was alive (and the texts weren’t some kind of sick joke) Jake would have to be either Adam’s adoring brother or his husband. My first assumption was ‘brother’, because the two actors looked enough alike to be playing brothers. ‘Husband’ was a better decision, I think, because it segued nicely into the subplot where Jake’s obvious problems came from marrying a very much more successful person than he was.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Yes, I definitely got the impression that the split into different investigating teams has been happening a lot more than we’ve seen on-screen. We’ve seen it a couple of times this series, but they keep referring to off-screen adventures, so it’s not too big a leap.

    If all three actors are leaving at the end of the series (Doctors seem to stay for three series plus specials, companions two series) then they are now beginning to be in a situation where they can do stuff without the Doctor. Or, working more independently as they are, one of them could end up getting killed. Doctor Who killed, anyway, like Bill or Clara.
    Plastic is very much something small kids can do something about – learning not to just throw it away, for a start.

    I think the Vlogger (Gabriella?) was written as self-absorbed and shallow, but then that was contradicted by her later actions, where she tries to find out what killed her friend and tries to help the others save the world. It might be that there wasn’t enough room in the script for that to properly develop. So the actress (Joana Borja) seems to have decided to play it as if the ‘saving the world’ was the real Gabriella and the self-absorbed, shallow Gabriella was something she’d learnt to be through making a living as a vlogger. Coming on a second honeymoon and simply ignoring the fact that she’d not be welcome is the sort of thing a vlogger would do. 🙂

    Trying to eat outside at Southend can also be a dangerous occupation. Sod all this fishing, the seagulls seem to say, the humans have put fish on plates for us!

    @psymon the emotion (a lot of emotion) was in the scene where she sees the body of her partner. I agree that she didn’t then proceed to burst into tears throughout the rest of the episode, but Doctor Who has always taken the attitude that people will often move on very quickly from a partner’s death when aliens are trying to destroy the planet. I suppose you could also see the unwanted attachment to Jake and Adam as Gabriella not wanting to travel alone for a bit, because that will hurt too much. (Come to think of it, that may be why Adam and Jake don’t tell her to get lost).

    I think the ‘talks too much’ is Time Lord arrogance (which all the Doctors have) expressing itself in a Whittaker Doctor way. She lectures people.

    Remember the budget. They can afford South Africa – they can’t afford India.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    It’s an episode I’d be happy to rewatch. It was very fast paced, certainly, but I don’t remember having any major problems following the plot.

    I haven’t yet seen Doomwatch (I have the DVD), but there were definite echoes of Quatermass, what with the infected astronaut and the design of the Praxeus. And it was considerably more subtle than Orphan 55 – though at the moment I think the arc progression in this one is through the characters. Something about Yaz…

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Or it could be that Chibnall decided to riff off what Moffat originally saw as a joke.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Didn’t the virus come out of the Indian Ocean?

    I liked it. Chibnall and Whittaker both seem to be hitting their stride; there was a confident feel about this one. This was a very worthy modern ‘Green Death’, with a modern pollution problem, gruesomely exploding victims and a writer who seemed to have at least attempted to look up the science stuff. Also, everything kind of connected – the river was now an unauthorised dump, the birds were spreading the virus via plastic and the astronaut had been kidnapped as a research subject.

    Though I do think that Yaz, at least, definitely has a big arrow pointing at her head saying ‘leaving at the end of this series’.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Anything that’s been mentioned that my brain either never noticed or flagged as weird and then forgot.

    I think Graham being mistaken for the Doctor needs to be watched for. It’s happened twice now in this series.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Um. The transmat first makes its appearance in the Troughton era – the Daleks have it, I think, in one of the ‘missing’ stories, which is why I’m not very sure. Then lots of people start having transmats; when we turn up on Gallifrey for the Five Doctors, the Time Lords use a transmat to send the Master into the Death Zone. During the T. Baker period, the Time Lords mention that they’ve had Transmat tech for ages and think it a bit passe.

    So I suppose the answer is that it’s a perfectly allowable retcon to say that a fully working TARDIS has transmat facilities, but the current Doctor’s TARDIS transmat is not working.

    That said, I am getting the feel that the Martin Doctor is either between Troughton and Pertwee or pre Hartnell. Either way, the Martin Doctor has a fully working TARDIS. Possibly because it was repaired, then un-repaired when they exiled the Pertwee Doctor.

    I’m using names for all the Doctor incarnations because I have this funny feeling that Chibbers is looking at Moffat’s wrecking of the numbering and saying ‘okay, hold my beer.’ 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    It is canon that the Master likes the Scissor Sisters – which might be why I always listen to this one and think of the Master and the Doctor returning to Gallifrey. But it fits particularly well with the current arc.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @jimthefish and @mudlark

    I think my main problem with an alt-universe Doctor, whether the Martin Doctor or the Whittaker Doctor, is that it strikes me as full-on blue boringers. Everything you know is a lie – because we’re in an alternative to the real Whoniverse, and CapaldiDoc’s aborted regeneration produced a Buffy-like double regeneration. Two Doctors, no waiting. 🙂

    Where’s the angst in that? If the Master blows up Gallifrey (lampshaded that this was again this week), I’d like it to be a bit more exciting than ‘oh, it’s not the real one, fooled you ::manic giggle::’ I’d like a previously unknown Doctor to be more a terrible secret (like the War Doctor) than ‘oh, I have a twin, how cool’. And I would like an alternate universe where we can actually tell the dratted difference between the ‘real’ Whoniverse and the ‘alternate’.

    It’s not that it isn’t possible, it’s just that it sounds far less exciting than the history of Gallifrey being a total lie (which fits with the ‘historical’ memory of Rassilon versus the real bloke when he turns up) and the Doctor discovering that part of her past has been wiped. Not repressed because she hates that bit of herself – wiped. Just like she’s done to Donna, tried to do to Clara and did to Ada and Noor.

    And, in a bit of meta, casting a black female actor as a Doctor who’s been wiped from history is kind of … resonant.

    Anyway, Mudlark, would between Troughton and Pertwee be a possible slot for a ‘wiped’ Doctor? Jamie and Zoe were mind-wiped, after all.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @psymon – Yes, that’s a spoiler. That particular article is being discussed in the Spoilers forum

    @craig or @phaseshift or @jimthefish – can you do some post removal please? Ta

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Yes, it’s in The Sun as well (bleurrgh … good thing lunch is curried lentils to hide the taste). Looks like a press release, probably handed out when the production office became aware that half the Twitterverse is haring off down an ‘alternate universe’ rabbit hole.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Will now go and check the Mirror. The things we do for Doctor Who, eh?

    But as I’ve been arguing over in the spoiler-free forums, there isn’t any evidence for an alternate universe. Generally speaking, if it were an alternate Doctor, I’d expect there to have been stuff planted by now.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Okay, I can’t find the interview (the post Skyfall panel at the Paley Centre), so this is basically gossip taken from reports of it, but –

    -Jodie Whittaker has not only said she’s planning to stay for at least a third series, but also hinted that strands of this current arc might continue into that third series.

    What she said was:

    “So these things that maybe feel as if they were in an episode of season 11 and then forgotten about, weren’t. And I think you don’t necessarily always rush to get the answer.

    “So it’s not to say that you won’t discover something,” she added. “You’re not going to be denied. But the beauty of this show is that it goes on and on and on. And so maybe some things, a few, are answered and maybe some things aren’t and I think that’s why you’ve got to keep watching.”

    General comment about the nature of Doctor Who and showrunners leaving stuff for later showrunners? Or did she sign on for series 3 because she knows it’s dealing with the fallout from this current arc?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    No, it wouldn’t, but Jodie Whittaker would need a very good reason indeed to effectively announce that she’s unavailable for work throughout most of 2020 and probably into 2021. That’s why it’s so difficult to keep a change of Doctor secret. Actors have mortgages (and small children to feed) and most UK actors (even the current Doctor) don’t get paid enough to take a year off work.

    It’s quite different from John Barrowman (and Paul McGann and many other Who actors) fibbing that they haven’t been asked back and it’s just that they’re renovating their house/taking a holiday during the couple of weeks where they’re really filming. There, we’re talking about fibbing over a few weeks that they’re being paid for, not an entire year where they’re not.

    I had also heard a similar statement in another interview, but wasn’t sure whether it was in the spoiler territory – so I’ll post it in the spoiler forum.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    The Wizard of Oz film is a classic example of ‘she woke up and it had all been a dream’ – but I do think I’d like a bit more evidence that we’re in a dream/alternate reality. Where is it in the other episodes? Orphan 55, possibly, but that’s more ‘we can still change the future’.

    Especially since the theme in Tesla and Fugitive is memory, not alternative realities. Tesla is less remembered than Edison, but the episode writer implies our collective memory is prioritising the wrong man. ‘Ruth’ can’t remember being the Doctor in Fugitive.

    In Spyfall Part I and Orphan 55 we don’t know what we’re seeing. So in Spyfall, we see O – but it’s the Master behind the curtain. Perception filters. In Orphan 55 we’re on Earth – but first perception filters and then preconceptions prevent us understanding that until the reveal. In Tesla we see Edison, but the real ‘great man’ is Tesla (and we also don’t see the eugenics stuff hiding behind Tesla’s curtain). In Fugitive, we see Ruth – but the Doctor is hiding behind the curtain of the chameleon arch.

    They used Gloucester Cathedral a lot in Fugitive – that might simply be because it’s a great location. But it kind of fits with ‘the truth shall set you free’ – Lee sends her to the Cathedral to find the truth about herself, and it may also turn out to be the place where the Whittaker Doctor finds the truth about herself.

    So I don’t think the Oz reference is a reference to the gang now being into Oz. It’s a reference to the reality behind the curtain.

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