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    CountScarlioni @replies

    @pedant   @scaryb “Can anyone remember how long a rel is?”

    I believe a rel is 1.2 seconds, or at least that’s what it was in Evolution of the Daleks (if my memory is right).

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Part six of the recently aired (here in North America anyway) James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction is on time travel. There’s a fascinating segment with Peter Capaldi. After rooting around a bit, I came across a Radio Times piece from last week on this segment and which includes the following extract:  

    “It has all these other levels of philosophical and reflective nature that make it very, very rich,” he said.

    “People always ask me what is it about the show that appeals so broadly. The answer I would like to give – and which I’m discouraged from giving because it is not useful in the promotion of a brand – is that it’s about death.

    “And it has a very, very powerful death motif in it which is that the central character dies. I think that is one of its most potent mysteries because somewhere in that people see that that’s what happens in life.

    “You have loved ones and then they go, but you must carry on.”

    Especially interesting comment on the branding!


    CountScarlioni @replies

    Away from the party for a few days…There are some very moving posts above, and am especially grateful to @ichabod and  @cathannabel for sharing their stories.

    I was fortunate enough to get to a cinema show last week, and thought Rachel Talalay’s direction was even more impressive on a big screen than on TV. The shots up and down the staircase in the Chamber of the Dead and the pull-out from the crater to a view high over the battlefield, were especially powerful. The cinema sound also added a lot for me.

    A few final thoughts:

    12th Doctor’s lack of social skills: At one point in Last Christmas he tells Clara to go off and make some coffee. She slapped him.

    @hiker  A last comment on Clara: Is she the the only character besides the Doctor to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow??  I can’t think of another one.

    The Astral Map in the First Doctor’s Tardis that the 12th Doctor uses to distract Bill from one of the 1st Doctor’s sexist remarks: Last seen, I think but might be wrong, in the Second Doctor story Seeds of Doom , by which time it was in a Space Museum.

    So sorry to see PC, SM, Murray Gold and Rachel Talalay all depart together, but they provided a terrific and remarkably rich last episode.



    CountScarlioni @replies

    @bluesqueakpip  There’s an interview with the vision mixer for the regeneration on the Tenth Planet DVD.

    Many thanks for the extra information and the correction!

    @tardigrade @ichabod  @ichabod “These are my memories so this is me”: I might be making a mess of this, but the Countess Scarloni has explained to me (by talking very slowly) that this is is basically John Locke’s theory of personal identity.  It seems to me it is also, if Bill and Professor Clay are to be believed, the position of the Testimony Foundation at the University of New Earth in 5,000, 000, 012. Locke was trying to solve the problem arising from Biblical texts that say the body we have in this life is the same body we have at the resurrection (and SM has come at `resurrection’ in various ways over the years in the Library and Death in Heaven). But other philosophers, like Joseph Butler and Thomas Reid and the Doctor in this episode, took exception to Locke’s arguments.





    CountScarlioni @replies

    @nerys  was that Hartnell in the regeneration scene?  Yes. I believe it’s the only bit of Part 4 of 10th Planet that survives. In his 2005 British Film Institute book on Doctor Who, Kim Newman, however, argues that “the close-up was so close and the average TV set so small it was quite hard to read the difference between the Doctor’s faces and viewers might not have noticed the change.” Newman also argues in his book that the regeneration only got minor coverage. 

    CountScarlioni @replies

    I took a second look today at some of what I thought were the key scenes, and was struck by a few more links to earlier episodes of the SM era in addition to those pointed out above.  Sorry if these have been noted above and I missed them.

    A few minor ones:

    Captain Archibald Lethbridge-Stewart saluted the Doctor at their parting, just as the Cyberman Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart saluted the Doctor at their parting at the end of  Death in Heaven.

    The eyebrows constituted our first and last views of the 12th Doctor.

    When the Doctor rails at the end of the episode at being left alone on the battlefield, his words could have come out of Me’s mouth (though with a different emotional register).

    The 12th Doctor’s very moving final speech was pretty much a composite of lines we’ve heard before (but none the worse for that!).

    Now, what I’d dearly like to think is a big one:

    When Bill Potts gives the Doctor the gift of remembering Clara, Clara tells him he’s a “stupid old man,” just as the elderly version of Clara did at the end of Last Christmas. More significantly (I hope), minutes before deciding he won’t die and he will, after all, regenerate, the Doctor’s head is full of the most important companion in his history, a companion who while not a Time Lord practically became a Doctor, who was really the first female Doctor in Flatline, and who ran away with a companion in a stolen Type 40 Tardis. No wonder he regenerated into a woman!




    CountScarlioni @replies

    @juniperfish “character piece.” A nice way to put it.

    Good to see SM audacious to the end: We don’t usually get a story where the focus is on three dead men walking and one dead woman walking. I thought we also got a powerful visit to what have been big SM themes: memories and the meaning of death. The christmas present for the Doctor was to get the memories of Clara back (was I imagining things or did Clara’s theme play very quietly in places before she appeared? I’m off to a cinema screening on Wednesday so I hope the audio track is clearer than on TV). I also thought there were particularly strong echoes of Dark Water and Death in Heaven. 

    Enjoyed the reference relatively early on to Cromer, which I thought immediately made clear–given the Brigadier referred to Cromer in the Three Doctors and Kate Lethbridge-Stewart asked for the Cromer file in the 50th Anniversary show–that the Captain (who I thought was beautifully played by Mark Gatiss) was going to turn out to be a Lethbridge-Stewart.

    @winston I watch via the Space channel as well. The number of ads was shameful!


    CountScarlioni @replies



    Judging by the archive copy of Radio Times, the audience could easily have missed hearing about the transfer between Hartnell and Troughton. The front cover is all about the return of the Daleks.

    In his little book on Doctor Who in the BFI TV Classics series, Kim Newman argues the changeover was very low key. He writes there was “minor coverage of the regeneration in grown-up newspapers,” and that like “the use of the Daleks, this lack of ballyhoo may well have been an insurance policy to keep audiences watching long enough to get used to the idea of a new Doctor.”

    He also suggests the replacement the year before of Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman) by Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) in the Avengers was an equally risky recasting. 

    I agree the animated version works better for the flow of the story. I also tried hard with this rewatch of the four episodes to see the Doctor as The Doctor' and notThe First Doctor,’ and the Cybermen as Cybermen' and notMondasian Cybermen’ to at least take a shot at getting the 1966 viewer’s perspective. Didn’t really work!




    CountScarlioni @replies

    Thanks to @bluesqueakpip & @jimthefish for the information on “She is coming.”

    From yesterday’s BBCAmerica’s Doctor Who’s Day Roundup, it’s possible to get to with the claim “Hey, look! All the trailers, clips, pics and need-to-know facts about this year’s Christmas Special in one handy place” and “She is coming” is the first image. But if the real deal, I’d have expected to have seen much more of this image in other places.

    @geoffers (!!)



    CountScarlioni @replies

    Not sure what to make of this image, which gets the title “She is coming.” It turned up on twitter via #DoctorWho.  Has anyone else come across it?


    CountScarlioni @replies

    The 23rd was Doctor Who Day and the birthday of Clara Oswald (born 23 November 1986), so belated birthday greetings!

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Mark Gatiss is, surely, showing-off a Lethbridge-Stewart moustache.

    Image result for Lethbridge-Stewart

    CountScarlioni @replies

    It looks to me as if the false moustache on the Mark Gatiss character (and please let @craig and @blenkinsopthebrave be right that he’s a Lethbridge-Stewart) is sufficiently badly done that it’s in fact a bit of homage to the Brigadier, with his less than convincing moustache.


    CountScarlioni @replies

    Extremely pleased with the choice of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. As noted upthread, the way for this change has been very well prepared by SM (Master to Missy, Clara as the Doctor in Flatline, male to female Time Lord regeneration in Hell Bent, etc etc etc). I’m taken aback that this move could have come as a surprise to anyone. Nor does it seem to me to be a move that in any way breaks abruptly with the evolution of the show, and I’m now excited to see how JW and CC interpret the Doctor.

    Thanks to @craig for posting the video clip from Jenny Trout! My 17 year old daughter was as enthusiastic.


    CountScarlioni @replies

    Many on the list have likely seen this, but at  you can view photos of all the 147 (!) people rumoured to be the next Doctor, together with odds. No idea why she’s quoted at odds of 18-1, but I’d be pleased to see Zawe Ashton in the role. Terrific interview in The Guardian  with her about 18 months or so ago about how she seems to end up playing extreme characters.    


    CountScarlioni @replies

    I blundered into this major spoiler, but if you want more on the Christmas Special, go to this site and put in “Doctor Who Return”

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @serahni   I suspect that “Sontarans perverting the course of human history” is a new phrase to use in same sort of way as “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.” I wish it were otherwise! The proximity of the Master to Missy caused her to forget things in her timeline. So, it seems we can expect that the First Doctor’s appearance on the scene will cause a definite increase in the Doctor’s forgetful moments.

    @ichabod    the end recalling the beginning was most striking, for me, with CapDoc on his back, still-faced and dirtied up, with Cyber-Bill kneeling beside him.  Like Clara at the start of DB — “How do we get him back?” That reading has shifted the meaning of the scene for me. Really need a second viewing now.

    @arbutus   I see a lot of people assuming a two-doctor story for Christmas. I don’t know if this is based on rumours/leaks, as I have been trying to avoid spoilers as much as possible.  I try to avoid spoilers too, though I had assumed we’d get a full-blown two Doctor story rather than simply a First Doctor cameo from the announcement at the end of the episode to the effect that “The Two Doctors will be back at Christmas.”


    CountScarlioni @replies

    @nick   whether the “Sontarans changing the course of Human History” is the plot of the Christmas show or just some random thought that popped out of his brain whilst the Doctor was communing in the Tardis ?

    Well, among Tom Baker’s first lines was one about Sontarans “perverting the course of human history,” and the 12th Doctor also shouted it out after he came round from the bang on the head in Listen, so it’s not a random thought. But somehow Sontarans don’t feel epic enough to warrant the attention of two Doctors.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Oops. I should have watched Rachel Talalay on the Aftershow before posting above on the western feel to the episode, and not after…

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Wonderful, great stuff from all the principals, with PC and Michelle Gomez flying. It’ll take a second viewing and more to get to grips with TDF. An immediate thought is that there was something of a `Western’ feel to this one, just as there was to Rachel Talalay’s treatment of Hell Bent, although in a different way.  Here the Doctor is the sheriff doing the right thing. When the law has broken down he’ll stand and fight and won’t be driven out of town even though he can see the enormous odds he’s up against. Shades of Gary Cooper seeking help against the arrival of the bad guys in High Noon in the brilliant, and brilliantly delivered speech, when the Doctor implores Missy to stand with him.

    Fanboy SM is throwing lots of gifts to the fans as he departs, with the First Doctor the best of the lot. I also loved that the Doctor again shouted out Tom Baker’s first line about “Sontarans perverting the course of human history,” as he did after he came round from the bang on the head in Listen. Definitely echoes too of the regeneration in Logopolis, and the Second Doctor’s “No, no, no!” And tears very much to the fore again. The scene with Bill bent over what she believes is the dead Doctor reminded me very much of Sara Jane and the Third Doctor; “A tear Sarah Jane…” No doubt I’ve missed a lot of stuff too; following @jimthefish‘s point above to Planet 14, I had fun digging around to find what this referred to. Amazing and terrific that such an obscure reference was in. It doesn’t detract from a casual viewer’s experience and makes the fans happy.

    @wolfweed  Great spot on the ring!

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @thane15   I got the spoiler warning in time. Thanks.

    @wolfweed  In theory, if two Missy’s touch, it could cause Paradoxical Time Distortion (or Blinovitch Limitation Effect). A quick read of the Tardis Data Core on the Blinovitch Limitation Effect has examples where touching has not been necessary to produce the effect; proximity has been enough sometimes. No examples though of one Time Lord regenerating into the very same Time Lord standing next to them and whether or not that kicks off the BLE. Maybe we’ll get one!

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @bluesqueakpip  What would happen in the Whoniverse if a ship nearly crashes into a black hole while travelling faster than light? Wasn’t that discussed in Prof. Cox’s 50th anniversary lecture on time travel? I believe the speed of light is still taken as an absolute limit so that in the real universe no ship can travel faster than light (there have of course been various speculations on ways to beat the limit and who knows in a Whoinverse if we grant the premise, take a spaceship travelling faster than light…). I’m several time zones away from the UK so I’ve not seen Prof. Cox’s 50th Anniversary Lecture, but I’ll root around on the internet to try to find it. I do recall reading newspaper reports at the time about his point that time travel going forward in time is easy. First year physics undergrads get this in the form of the twin paradox when they tackle special relativity. But going back in time is the killer. That as I understand it would need a wormhole. This might be preaching to the choir, but very serious physicists worry about this stuff. Here’s the start of a 1988 paper in a leading journal along these lines: “It is argued that, if the laws of physics permit an advanced civilization to create and maintain a wormhole in space for interstellar travel, then that wormhole can be converted into a time machine with which causality might be violatable.”

    thermodynamic time reversal in black holes I think this idea springs from a recent paper which tried to interpret black holes as “holographic screens.” There are, in this interpretation, two sorts of holographic screens. Future holographic screens are ones whose area is always increasing. Past holographic screens are ones whose area is always decreasing. Future holographic screens pull matter together (say a black hole). Past holographic screens are regions where matter spreads out (from say the Big Bang). Here is the key point: “Because the area of future and past holographic screens increases in different directions, the direction of time is different for the two types of screens. In past screens, time moves forward. Expanding universes, such as ours, involve past holographic screens, and so we naturally perceive thermodynamic time as running forward. In contrast, time runs backward in future holographic screens. In a sense, this interpretation has the odd result that thermodynamic time runs backward inside black holes and collapsing universes.” This is from:  But thermodynamic time is not the same as clock time (the time seen by an observer on her watch) inside the black hole. I’m not sure how much they differ, but will try to find out. Anyway, this does raise possibilities in a Whoniverse!


    CountScarlioni @replies

    @nerys  Insignificance Terrific movie! As well as the explanation of relativity, it also carries a very powerful punch and moral message at the end. Here’s Marilyn (played brilliantly by Theresa Russell) explaining special relativity to Albert:  

    @mudlark @thane15 @nick @ichabod   As I understand it (but my physics is now rusty), given the size of the time-dilation effects that are in play, the tidal forces acting on the ship and the inhabitants would have ripped the inhabitants apart provided the black hole does not contain too much mass. That is, the difference between the gravitational force acting on someone’s head compared to the force acting on their feet would have led to what’s been called above spagettification. But if the black hole contains enough mass, then someone could make it alive into the event horizon. See the stuff pasted in below for more information (courtesy the University of California, Riverside). The key sentence is perhaps this one: So for black holes larger than about 1000 solar masses I could probably fall in alive, and for still larger ones I might not even notice the tidal forces until I’m through the horizon and doomed.” So if  the engines on the ship fail, or if they are turned off (by a very wicked Time Lord??), the ship could enter the event horizon, and then all bets are off, and to get out the Doctor will really have to do something extra-special that we’d all applaud.

    The 1979 movie The Black Hole begins  with the U.S.S. Palamino chancing upon a spaceship so near to a black hole that it should have been ripped apart and destroyed long before. So the starting point for the movie is, how has the spaceship defied the laws of physics?

    On time being reversed, as @tardigrade pointed out above and I believe this is right, the direction of the time flow does not change between the top and bottom of the ship. But it seems to me there’s ‘Doctor Who Physics’  and ‘Real Physics.’ So in Doctor Who Physics we get time dilation and no tidal forces (but perhaps the black hole the ship is trying to pull away from has a mass rather greater than 1,000 solar masses!), and, quite possibly, in Doctor Who Physics, we’re about to get time reversal in a very powerful gravitational field. But to this point, as I read it, the set-up in terms of general relativity has been o.k. in principle provided the black hole is massive enough. Its also Moffat and so surely all the really weird time-wimey stuff ain’t over!

    Here’s some directly relevant stuff from a site I’ve found useful before (from the University of California, Riverside):

    Suppose that, possessing a proper spacecraft and a self-destructive urge, I decide to go black-hole jumping and head for an uncharged, nonrotating (“Schwarzschild”) black hole.  In this and other kinds of hole, I won’t, before I fall in, be able to see anything within the event horizon.  But there’s nothing locally special about the event horizon; when I get there it won’t seem like a particularly unusual place, except that I will see strange optical distortions of the sky around me from all the bending of light that goes on.  But as soon as I fall through, I’m doomed.  No bungee will help me, since bungees can’t keep Sunday from turning into Monday.  I have to hit the singularity eventually, and before I get there there will be enormous tidal forces—forces due to the curvature of spacetime—which will squash me and my spaceship in some directions and stretch them in another until I look like a piece of spaghetti.  At the singularity all of present physics is mute as to what will happen, but I won’t care.  I’ll be dead.

    For ordinary black holes of a few solar masses, there are actually large tidal forces well outside the event horizon, so I probably wouldn’t even make it into the hole alive and unstretched.  For a black hole of 8 solar masses, for instance, the value of r at which tides become fatal is about 400 km, and the Schwarzschild radius is just 24 km.  But tidal stresses are proportional to M/r cubed.  Therefore the fatal r goes as the cube root of the mass, whereas the Schwarzschild radius of the black hole is proportional to the mass.  So for black holes larger than about 1000 solar masses I could probably fall in alive, and for still larger ones I might not even notice the tidal forces until I’m through the horizon and doomed.

    Image result for Insignificance

    CountScarlioni @replies

    A puzzle: If the Master gets zapped by a cyberman in the presence of Missy (say, he’s turned good and is standing with the Doctor, while she has turned bad), prompting a regeneration, what would happen?? He surely could not regenerate into her if she is already standing there.  Also, is it possible there are other `Masters’ between the Master and Missy? (Apologies if this has been raised earlier and I missed it; just worked through 100+ posts after a few days away).

    CountScarlioni @replies

    One thought in reflecting on this episode: SM puts himself head and shoulders above all other AG writers for me in part because of his delight in, and willingness to push up to the limit and beyond, various notions and perceptions of time. Here we had the different time rates at the top and bottom of the ship. His best monster does not obliterate people, but sends them back in time. Other examples: the Doctor working away for over 4 billion years to smash through a diamond wall; introducing us to River Song at the end of her timeline; creating portals in time to C18 France aboard a 51st century spaceship, and a companion who exists between heartbeats (or something like that), and on and on.

    But my, SM does put companions through the wringer.  I agree with @jimthefish above (and what a great post that is) that, on past form though, he’s too much of an old softie to leave Bill in her current predicament.

    @blenkinsopthebrave A few more thoughts on Andrew Marvell and his relevance to understanding the episode.

    A fascinating post that makes a lot of sense! I now want to see the movie.

    Only two more SM episodes to go, and only two more episodes of the superb PC too, so nearly time to shed a tear or two into my beer.

    A brighter thought: if someone takes a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, they’d be supervised, according to the Department’s website, by Rachel Talalay. There’s an education….

    CountScarlioni @replies

    A very powerful episode that will take some digesting, but a few immediate thoughts to add….

    With PC’s regeneration and the protests of “No, no, no!”, I thought there were definitely echoes of the of the Second Doctor’s strongly resisted regeneration:

    @devilishrobby similar dilemma that he faced in Genesis of the Daleks 

    Good point & we got Genesis of the Cybermen hammered home by the Master at the very end. More on this to come?

    Did the conversation over chips between the Doctor and Bill change the odds of a female thirteenth Doctor ??

    Terrific directing job again by Rachel Talalay. The sense of menace that pervaded the episode was genuinely scary.


    CountScarlioni @replies

    @missrori  Time dilation. Yeah, he ain’t fibbing this time — it’s vital to the plot

    Right, thanks! I’ve now caught-up with clips and trailers. In the DWM interview, SM says his (still at school) son did the calculations on the time dilation, but the son later thought he’d got his sums wrong. Artistic license will be in play!

    On the question a bit upthread, will PC be in the Christmas Special? In an interview last week, the costume designer swore he has done no work on the costume for the new Doctor. Given the production schedule, I take that to mean that as there can’t be a Christmas Special without the Doctor, PC must the one.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    I blundered into a clip of Missy dancing with the Master so I gave up trying to avoid spoilers, and went ahead and read the SM interview about the episode in the DWM.

    SM goes on about time dilation and this concept, assuming SM is not fibbing, will surely play a part. With a 400 mile long spaceship near a black hole, time will be running at a different rate at the top end compared to the bottom end (top and bottom relative to the black hole). This presumably opens up various timey-wimey possibilities, and explains why the spaceship is so long (to get very notable differences in rates).







    CountScarlioni @replies

    @craig  I was actually thinking of an earlier conversation between The Doctor and The Master, very near the end, where The Master asks for help. I had fun reading this as if it was between Capaldi Doc and Missy. It’s almost flirtatious.

    Thanks for emphasising that conversation and that way of reading it. I was prompted to then watch the final episode of Survival. Good stuff!

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @ichabod  I wonder whether taking on the gatekeeper’s job (for however long before devising a way to shut the gate for good) was almost tempting to him, as a respite from all us “kids” and our mistakes and foolishness for a bit . . .

    That’s a really interesting reading. In Series 9, the Doctor moaned about the pudding brains, but his attitude to the Picts seemed different from, say, his attitude to the Vikings in The Girl Who Died. 

    @soundworld   Here’s the guy who does the archao-acoustic research ‘This project explores the role of sound in the experience of Neolithic sites and landscapes’

    Many thanks for the link; much appreciated!

    Prompted by an upthread posting by @craig, I rooted around for the transcript of Survival and found

    Here is the struggle at the end of episode 4 between the Doctor and the Master

    [Bleasdale Avenue]

    (The Master is trying to pick the lock of the Tardis.)
    DOCTOR: Good hunting.
    MASTER: Yes. It would have been too easy. It seems we must always meet again.
    DOCTOR: They do say opposites attract.
    MASTER: But this is the end, Doctor. You see it. It’s a power. A power from that planet. It’s growing within me. Are you frightened yet?
    DOCTOR: No.
    MASTER: You should be. You should be. It nearly beat me. Such a simple, brutal power. Just the power of tooth and claw. It nearly destroyed me, a Time Lord. But I won. I control that force, Doctor. And now, at last, I have the power to destroy you.
    (The Master grabs the Doctor by the throat. Flash!)

    [Cheetah camp]

    (Fires are burning all around. The Master raises a long bone to use as a club.)
    MASTER: Welcome to my new home, Doctor!
    (The Doctor is surprisingly strong. He forces the Master down on to his back and grabs a skull. The Doctor’s eyes are yellow when he raises it to smash down on the Master, then he sees the Cheetah people disappear.)
    DOCTOR: They’ve gone. What am I doing? I’ve got to stop. We’ve got to go.
    MASTER: You can’t go. Not this time.
    DOCTOR: Yes, we can!
    MASTER: Escape to what? I don’t choose to live as an animal.
    DOCTOR: If we fight, we’ll destroy this planet. We’ll destroy ourselves!
    (The Master grabs the Doctor’s throat again.)
    MASTER: You should have killed me, Doctor.
    DOCTOR: If we fight like animals, we’ll die like animals!
    (The Master brings down a long bone to hit the Doctor. Flash!)</span>

    [Bleasdale Avenue]

    DOCTOR: If we fight like animals, we’ll die like animals!
    (Then he realises where he is, and stands up.)
    DOCTOR: Home.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Another fine episode, & especially good use of landscape.

    The Doctor is quite testy by this point and not his usual self. He struck me as harsh towards the Picts (“embryos”), and acted in a way that went beyond his usual lack of social skills and indicated that he’s getting a bit fed-up dealing with the “children.” The key point I thought came from Bill when she realised that everybody must seem like a child to the Doctor. Well, not everybody, and so no wonder he’s yearning for more `grown-up’ conversations with Missy.

    PC delivered a very powerful sense of desperate hope in the final scene was Missy. She may truly regret her earlier actions and likely did a good job tuning the engines, but is surely (?) going to revert to type. Missy’s tears were perhaps tears of remorse, but I suspect they were more likely tears of sadness because she knows she has no choice and her true nature will out.

    I also agree with @missy above that at times the Doctor looked very tired too. He’s changed physically and mentally.

    @soundworld  Thanks so much for the post! I’d come across writings on sounds of Stonehenge but had no idea of other examples.

    In case anyone is interested in sounds of Stonehenge,


    CountScarlioni @replies

    A fun romp with some serious themes also in play. Hammer horror meets Zulu. And a good change of pace from the Monks (sort of) Trilogy. If we’d not known the writer, I think we’d have all picked Mark Gatiss.

    Greatly enjoyed what I take was a visual reference to Tomb of the Cyberman.

    Related image

    Bill’s right. Everybody loves The Thing.

    I’m with @scaryb, @missrori and @winston on Missy. It’s surely a question of time and not if she reverts to type.

    A great pity the Queen Victoria portrait showed Pauline Collins; a portrait of Clara as Queen Victoria would have have been a wonderful stimulus to bonkerising….

    Image result for jenna coleman as queen victoria


    CountScarlioni @replies

    @nerys  So much misdirection in this episode.

    Yes, that was crucial last week too, and the Doctor even discussed it. On the other hand, we finally got into the Vault and there was no surprise at all that Missy was in there, and she does appear to be alone.

    @wolfweed   We learnt nothing about the Monks really. 

    Including the point of their invading the Earth? But we did learn that Missy is familiar with them. Her (apparent?) remorse at her past misdeeds can’t last, surely. And the Monks departed awfully easily. So, to follow on the above point, Are the Monks playing a longer game? And will Missy assist them later?

    Overall, I thought the episode contained an effective portrayal of another dystopian world, with the highlight a stellar performance from Pearl Mackie. One jarring note for me came with the response to Bill shooting' the Doctor.  I suppose we can't expect much of the Doctor in these sorts of circumstances, and if Clara had been there, I suspect she'd have passed the Doctor one of her cards for him to read out stating something along the lines of "I  regret profoundly the enormous emotional cost of the experience I have put you through. But I do hope you understand why I had to do it."  Here was an utterly gut-wrenching experience for Bill, but we switched after theshooting’ to jokey music, applause all around from smiling guards as well as the Doctor and Nardole, who clearly are very much enjoying matters.


    CountScarlioni @replies

    @missy   By this point, my own money too is firmly on an alien race running alone, but have a lingering hope for a connection! The red habits of the Monks are a bit suggestive with red being such a Time Lord colour. For fun, I took the Doctor’s advice, went to Google Images and spent ten minutes entering various search terms such as `Doctor Who and Evil Time Lords.’ Taking @missrori‘s advice and ignoring the Rani and the Valeyard (and ignoring other surely too obscure ones like Morbius), got to Omega, who I’d forgotten needed two Time Lords to defeat him. Get Missy out of the Vault! Also, the Peter Pratt and Anthony Beevor version of the Master in The Deadly Assassin & Keeper of Traken appear, if you squint, a little Monk like, though he has clearly been to a better dentist than the Monks. 


    Image result for Doctor Who Master Keeper of Traken

    Image result for Doctor Who The MonksImage result for Doctor Who The Master The Deadly AssassinImage result for Doctor Who Omega

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    The Doctor and the co-ordinated military attack:

    @ichabod  I doubt we’ll find out.  Maybe it was as simple as realizing that his own capacities were so hampered by the blindness that the best first move would be for humanity to try its heavy weapons…

    @tardigrade  I don’t think the Doctor was very invested in the attack- it wasn’t his idea and he didn’t rate it much chance of scratching the pyramid (although there might be something tucked away in the Black Archive that could)…

    Many thanks! Both of the postings contained much more persuasive ideas than mine (which were that we were to understand the Doctor was decidedly off his game–a prelude to his big mistake later–as well as get some action to move things along).

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    @missy   Oh for crying out loud, it could be anyone  A very belated thought. Perhaps the answer to most Doctor Who questions is, a) the Daleks or b) the Time Lords!

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    @mirime    This. They would just find the next point of imminent doom. They didn’t look like they were giving up, they looked like they were going back to check out their simulations.

    Yes, I agree, the Monks just don’t look as if they are going to abandon the Earth of their own accord. I argued upthread that, given the information available to Bill, much the best choice for her was to save the Doctor. The Doctor stressed the Monks have to be defeated, Bill has seen their awesome powers and how useless human action is against them, and how the Monks see the Doctor as a threat.  As Bill is surely not aware the Doctor can regenerate, not surrendering to the Monks would achieve only a very temporary stay and a dead Doctor.  As @ichabod argues a few comments above (#58292), this is the best strategic choice:  she tries to save what she thinks she can, in hopes of giving the Doctor room to do a fix somehow later on.

    A second viewing brought home how puzzled Bill and Nardole are by the Doctor requesting a coordinated military attack on the pyramid. It’s both un-Doctor-y and, the Doctor must know, doomed to failure, given the alien tech he’s already seen the Monks deploy. Like Bill and Nardole, I’d like to know what that was about!

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    @ichabod   I think “power” to the monks is freedom to make effective choices, so their idea of “love” is just what the Doctor says it is: “Love is — slavery.”  Well, he should know: he was recently shown increasingly enslaved (and perverted from his natural, chosen course) by one hell of an obsessive love for his former companion.

    That makes good sense and is extremely well put!

    @devilishrobby  really cant shake the feeling there’s something we’re all missing but for the life of me I can’t put my finger on what it is.

    I have a similar sense, particularly as a key point in the episode is the misdirection the Doctor points out, “Look, look over here at the pyramid!,” when the main action is in a lab in Yorkshire.

    @missrori   She lacks the courage to face danger without the Doctor by her side, to face the consequences of choosing to let him die even though the Monks appeared on the verge of just giving up.

    I’m unclear why the Monks would give up. They’ve already gone to a lot of trouble and they’re surely in it for the long haul. Why would one small setback deter them?





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    Another politically charged episode with meditations on rulers and ruled, with the main thought, How on Earth do the rulers get away with it? I need a second watch to try to get properly to grips with this one.

    @blenkinsopthebrave  @thane15      and why a pyramid exactly?

    I’d dearly like to think the explanation is: Pyramids have turned up before in Doctor Who, but the only other time (I think) a Monk & a pyramid have turned up together was The Daleks Masterplan. So another little nod to the First Doctor. But I agree here with the Doctor that a huge, impossible structure plonked down in a near-desert overnight made for excellent misdirection on the part of the Monks. I also took the Doctor to give us a very clear warning about misdirection, which I’ve tried to take to heart and so am now unsure of almost anything…

    @miapatrick    How tangible are the monks?

    The implication this week was that the Monks had taken their current form to deal with humans & that their `real’ appearance is different (or did I misunderstand)?

    @missrori   Bill’s decision. Love wins over fear & strategy, and wasn’t Bill’s choice the most rational one too? If the Doctor dies (and Bill presumably does not know he can regenerate), then the Monks will simply wait for/help to bring on the next catastrophe, and the Earth without the Doctor will be defenceless. A surrender with the Doctor in play is far better than a soon to be surrender with a dead Doctor as that would be hopeless.

    @thane15   I agree the three military figures were a weakspot in the episode and came across as cartoonish plus weirdly unwilling to grasp how bad an idea surrender was.

    The Doctor could have saved himself a lot of bother by not skimping on the lungs he got for Nardole. Cheap parts always lead to trouble.

    I also took the Doctor’s advice and googled `3614.’ The first item was a gene, the third, 3614 Jackson Highway, Cher’s sixth album.

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    @pitircapaldi     Daleks. 

    The Monks seem likely to be an independent race acting alone. But once the Doctor has dealt with the Monks, then what’s the threat as we work towards the big climax to the series?? Or will the Doctor be fighting the Monks to the end?

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    @missy Who is employing the Monks? I dare say we shall find out.  Perhaps the Time Lords? No, that’s too bonkers. Daleks?

    That’s a good reminder to never forget the Daleks! They do seem to be at least trying to keep tabs on the Doctor, and  told Missy the Doctor had been on Darillium.

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    @kharis  The Monks. Excellent suggestions. Even if they don’t work for the Monks, perhaps they’ll work later.  The line in Extremis , as I understand, it is that the Monks are an alien race with, presumably, a Head Monk or Head Monks calling the shots.  The Doctor will likely see them off in short order, and if so, what’s the ‘extremely big thing’ that will follow them that the Doctor will have to deal with (with  Missy’s help??)?

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    Bang goes the soft reboot. That was the full Moffat and nothing but the Moffat. I’m going to miss his audacity.

    But who or what what is directing the monks?? I didn’t see any clues to that.

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    @ichabod   Agh.  My heart sinks . . .

    Yes, indeed! Talent over chums anyday.

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    Oops, bungled `Edit’ and have two posts…

    Like @whisht, I’ve pretty much thrown in the towel and I’m now inclining to Missy or the Master in the Vault. Perhaps this was pointed out earlier and I missed it, but a late thought from Knock, Knock,' was it an accident that the being/thing in the Vault was playingFur Elise’ when the Doctor was outside with the Mexican takeaway eager to discuss the case of Eliza? Had he passed on juicy tidbits earlier? Interesting too how the takeaway has often been regarded, including initially by me, as Chinese or Indian! As I think was pointed out in the Knock, Knock  thread (by @whisht?), the Mexican takeaway was perhaps a little joke for Michelle Gomez.

    We have a big thing (Missy?) in the Vault, a thing at least somewhat chummy with the Doctor but who alarms Nardole. Perhaps the Doctor has kept a close eye on the Vault and been in hiding for 50 years because he knows there will come a time when he needs the big thing in the Vault to help deal with the Really Big Thing outside the Vault, whatever that Really Big Thing might be.

    I agree with @janetteb & @mudlark that in his dealings with Nardole it seems the Doctor might well be economical with the actualité. When Nardole is working in the Doctor’s eyes at the end of the episode, he tells Nardole “I try never to tell the enemy my secret plan.” Is that telling us the Doctor suspects Nardole might be colluding with the enemy (perhaps with the best of intentions?).

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    @ MissRori   Mathieson has already gone on record as saying he hasn’t been asked to come back for Series 11, as yet, and doubts he will be.  According to him “My understanding is that Chris is sticking with a team he’s got used to working with on Broadchurch.”  

    What a pity! Thanks very much for passing this on.

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    A terrific episode. Like @tardigrade, I wondered if if the play on killer suits was the jumping-off point for Jamie Mathieson’s script. He should be taken under Chris Chibnall’s wing so he can be the next showrunner! All of his episodes have struck me as least excellent, with Flatline and Oxygen brilliant.

    Nardole is now looking more substantial, a cyborg with a dodgy history who presumably knows much more than he’s told us so far. I wonder if the Doctor has mistakenly taken him for granted.

    We also got a fun link back to the First Doctor. Unlike the First Doctor, the 12th Doctor got the Tardis travelling minus a fluid link. If I remember right, in `The Daleks,’ the First Doctor had to work very hard to  retrieve a fluid link taken by the Daleks and removed to the Dalek City. And that after he’d initially fibbed about needing to explore the Dalek city in order to get mercury to repair a fluid link.



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    @arbutus   Am I imagining things, or did Roger Delgado’s master once play the organ?

    I don’t recall the Master ever playing the organ, but the Doctor has at least a couple of times, perhaps more. The occasions I can remember are in The Lazarus Experiment and the 6th Doctor story Attack of the Cybermen, in which the Doctor actually fixed the chameleon circuit for a time and it became an organ. The Doctor I think therefore played tunes on the Tardis in a junkyard in Totters Lane (yes, perhaps best forgotten!).

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    @geoffers  if bill lost all her friends like that, she may not have wanted to continue on with traveling with the doctor. she was already a bit leery of his “can’t save everyone” attitude last week… 

    Agreed. I thought it was dramatically a bit weak for all of them to escape.

    @mudlark The same applies to Susan so I would be equally surprised if it is her (sorry to disagree, @countscarlioni ).

    I obviously should have been clearer; not suggesting Susan is in the vault (don’t think she’d get excited at the news of the death of young people), but that she may be in play somewhere later in this series, as suggested by a range of people.

    @bluesqueakpip  As suggested upthread, I agree Clara’s story is over and done as far as the Doctor is concerned and agree with your suggestion the photo of Bill’s Mum is a production joke. But if someone was trying very hard and had been drinking way too much, would it be possible to frame a (definitely) bonkers theory along the lines of unfinished business from Clara, Danny Pink and Orson Pink (we never did get an explanation of the post-it note). What does the timeline look like if Bill’s Mum is the offspring of Clara and Danny? Why has the Doctor parked the Vault at St. Luke’s University? Has he really run into Bill by chance?


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    Some initial thoughts on a first viewing…

    Have we had two examples this series of a variation of a base under attack? In Smile and Knock, Knock it was the base that did the attacking.

    David Suchet would have made a marvellous Master!

    Bill called the Doctor “grandad.” The Doctor insisted on “grandfather.” I think @thane15 and @blenkinsopthebrave (and maybe others too well upthread in the comments on an earlier episode) pressed the importance of Susan and the photo of her on the Doctor’s desk and the Doctor’s promise to return. Could be in play!

    Once the Doctor worked out the cockroaches/creatures responded to sound, I, for once, wanted to shout at the Doctor “C’mon pudding brain, get out the Sonic!!”

    Bill has started to discover that keeping the Doctor in one part of her life is not so simple. And as Bill, presumably, has lost all the photos of her Mum in the crumbling house, the Doctor will have to print-off some more.

    That all Bill’s housemates come out of the woodwork at the end?? I thought that was a bit feeble.

    @pedant “I can’t help feeling there is a honking case of “LOOK OVER THERE! LOOK OVER THERE!” going with the vault.”  A big amen to that.

    I’ve quite enjoyed the fact that the `scale’ of all the stories this series so far has been quite small.  Unless I’ve missed it, there’s not been one threat yet to unravel the entire structure of space and time. I expect we are going to ramp up to that.



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