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    Davros @replies

    For mine, this was a satisfying special. I managed to avoid spoiler, trailers, gossip etc so all I was aware of was that the Daleks were involved and that Jack was coming back.


    Jack was well-used and the quips landed.

    Doc: “Have you had work done?”

    Harkness: “YOU can talk…”



    Robertson if anything was more of a Trump parody here. That “man, person, human” line reminded me of DJT saying “woman, person, man, camera, tv”.


    Got to admit, I’m not sorry to see Ryan go. I never felt that Tosin’s heart was in this. If you’re going to play a companion you’ve got to just throw yourself into the role. Graham will be a loss, though, loved his energy and humour.


    Fan fic rewrite: rather than have the Tardis fold in on itself, why not switch off the spatial containment engineering and have the star explode out (blooming, per Engines Of War). I’d be pleased to see that used in the TV show.

    Davros @replies

    Grant Imahara from Mythbusters has died at the age of 49. I only mention that here because he was a massive and active Doctor Who fanatic, and indeed presented the US pre-show for the 50th anniversary special.

    Davros @replies

    Happy Canada Day. Been a long time since I was in Canada but I always had a good time there.

    A Canadian, Sydney Newman, was the driving force behind the creation of Doctor Who.

    Davros @replies

    Louis Mahoney, the Gambian-born actor who played three different Doctor Who roles, has just died. He played Old Billy Shipton in the 10th Doctor story “Blink” and Ponti in the 4th Doctor story “Planet of Evil”, both of them memorable stories. He also appeared briefly as a newscaster in a 3rd Doctor story “Frontier in Space”.
    Coincidentally, he also appeared as the doctor in the Fawlty Towers episode “The Germans” which has been in the news lately.

    Davros @replies


    I hadn’t noticed this. Can you name one of the episodes where this is seen, so I can look at it?

    Davros @replies

    Sorry to be breaking this post up but it appears I am over some limit.
    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 4×14continued)

    The Next Doctor (continued).

    Other things:

    Although we saw sketches of some of the early Doctors in “Human Nature”/”The Family of Blood”, this was the first time in new-Who that we were shown images of all of the first ten Doctors.

    Note that Lake mentions he fills the Tardis from the gasworks rather than using a hot-air balloon. Note that natural gas (ie methane) is indeed somewhat buoyant in air: its lifting power is much poorer than hydrogen or helium. Helium had not been discovered at the time this episode is set, and hydrogen gas was not being produced in industrial quantities, so this is a fair choice.

    Rosita’s name reminds the real Doctor of another companion.

    Yikes at being able to see the brain of the Cyberleader through his transparent dome. I’m glad their suits are made of metal and not perspex.

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 4×14)

    So now we are in to the five specials shown from Christmas 2008 to New Years Day 2010.

    The Next Doctor.
    A typical whimsical Christmas special, lots of fun but don’t inhale. David Morissey throws himself right into the role of a Victorian-era Doctor, and there’s something grand about it. On first viewing I did initially think he might be some future version of the real deal. At the time of broadcast, Matt Smith had not been announced as the Eleventh.

    The wheels really came off that idea, though, we he pulled out an ordinary screwdriver instead of a sonic. The fakeout fobwatch which, it turned out, was just a fobwatch was a nice touch: it did ultimately reveal his identity, as it bore his initials.

    The Doctor tells Lake, “What you suffered is called a fugue. A fugue state, where the mind just runs away because it can’t bear to look back.” These words tie back to what Davros told the Doctor in the previous episode, “The man who keeps running, never looking back because he dare not, out of shame.” And also perhaps what Margaret told him in “Boom Town”: “Always moving on because you dare not look back.”
    It is believable that the Ninth Doctor emerged from the events of “The Day of the Doctor” in a fugue state, and he does seem to have been in a kind of evasive mania.

    These are a few Cybermen who have escaped through the Void after the events of “Doomsday”. Their key technology has been stolen from the Daleks: the infostamp data, the dimension vault.

    Lake mentions that the events of that day would be history, spoken of in the future. The Doctor says, “Funny that.” This discrepancy is the first hint of the crack that is the major plotpoint of season five.

    Davros @replies

    Seems there’s something wrong with this thread now. I can’t make posts of more than a few lines. I hope it’s not something I did wrong.

    Davros @replies

    @dalekbuster523 one quote I missed

    ROSE: Three Doctors?
    JACK: I can’t tell you what I’m thinking right now.

    Davros @replies

    @dalekbuster523 It’s been pointed out to me that was Rose says is “And Captain Jack Harkness has transported to the Sontaran home world”, meaning that perhaps he went willingly, perhaps as part of a mission.

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 4×12 and 4×13)

    The Stolen Earth/Journeys End

    The big one: at the time it was the biggest team-up story since The Five Doctors. The Doctor, Rose Tyler, Jackie Tyler, Mickey Smith, Martha Jones, Francine Jones, Donna Noble, Wilfred Mott, Sylvia Noble, Harriet Jones, Sarah Jane Smith, Luke Smith, “Mr Smith”, Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones, Gwen Cooper, and K-9.

    Also, the Judoons and the first on screen look at the Shadow Proclamation.

    And the Daleks, including a cracked-up and prophetic Dalek Caan, and my namesake Davros. Probably didn’t mean much to the kids but obviously that was a big moment for older fans. He has peeled the flesh from his thorax, down to the bare bone, in order to create a new army of Daleks.

    If that’s not enough then there’s no pleasing you.

    The setups of the entire series are paid off: the missing planets, the bees, the stars going out, the DoctorDonna, the hand. The Daleks’ plan is pretty insane, but might as well get it all done at once I suppose. I wonder what xenophobes do with themselves when there’s no one left to wipe out?

    The fake-out regeneration at the end of The Stolen Earth must have caused a buzz but unfortunately for me I already knew that there were more Tennant episodes when I watched it. Still, the DoctorDonna Metacrisis was a tidy invention. Donna’s fate was a brand new tragedy, something we’d not seen in DW before. A bit heartbreaking. “I’m so so sorry” doesn’t quite cut it.

    As Caan says: The Doctor is revealed. He has the effect of turning those around him into weapons. Donna mentioned this in The Sontaran Stratagem, and Rory does later…
    Some of those that Davros shows as examples of those who have died in the Doctor’s name are: Harriet Jones, the hostess from “Midnight”, Astrid Peth, River Song, the Doctor’s Daughter, the Controller from “Bad Wolf”, the Face of Boe, Chantho, and several people that the Absorbaloff absorbed.


    If I have a criticism it is that the Osterhagen key plan makes no sense. Under what circumstances would it be prudent for Earthlings to destroy the Earth? If they’d dialled that down a notch, say, I dunno, made it clear that at least some people would survive somewhere, then it would be a conceivable strategic option.

    When I first saw Journey’s End, I felt that the tacked-on happy end for Rose with a human Doctor kind of undid the beautiful tragedy of Doomsday. I’m okay with it now.

    Other things:

    Sarah Jane’s face when Donna spins her off Jack to get a hug is priceless.

    German speaking Daleks … now that’s not something you hear every day.

    It’s not clear to me how Caan entered the timelocked Time War, though I gather it is covered in other media.

    The Subwave was invented by the Mr Copper Foundation, founded by Mr Copper from “Voyage Of The Damned”.

    The Doctor says he tried to save Davros when his ship flew into the jaws of the Nightmare Child. How odd.

    The Osterhagen Station that Martha visits is on the outskirts of Nuremberg. Given her task, I thought that was a very nice choice: the Nuremberg defence is used by someone who was “just obeying orders”.

    The Doctor asks whether Gwen is from an old Cardiff family (in reference to the character played by Myles in “The Unquiet Dead”).

    The translation from the German of Martha’s conversation with the woman:

    Woman: Nobody is here. Whatever you want, go away. Leave me in peace!

    Martha: My name is Martha Jones. I come from UNIT. Agent five six six seven one, from the medical department.

    Woman: They said you came over.

    And later:

    Woman: You are the nightmare, not the others, you! I should kill you, best now!

    Martha (in English): Then do it.

    Woman: Martha, To hell with you!

    Martha (in English): I know.


    Cast Notes:

    General Sanchez is played by Michael Brandon, who has done a stack of stuff in English TV but is indeed American. He also played the Senator in Captain America (2011).

    Kelly Hunter makes her first appearance as The Shadow Architect: we see her again in The Magician’s Apprentice. Amy Beth Hayes plays her servant: this was her first television role. She’s gone on to be quite busy in British television, including a regular role in Mr Selfridges.

    This was Julian Bleach’s first appearance as Davros: he too, comes back in The Magician’s Apprentice. Bleach has the distinction of having played different characters in each of Doctor Who, Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

    Hardly needs saying that Nicholas Briggs does the Dalek voice work. Briggs has been doing Doctor Who and Who-adjacent stuff a really long time. He has a minor role in the 1987 spinoff film Wartime. He voiced Professor Osborn in the 2002 animated series, Real Time. He directed and wrote the Auton spinoff series from the late 1990s. In the early 1990s he wrote and composed for the Stranger series, starring Colin Baker, Louise Jameson and Nicola Bryant: these were very Who-ish low budget direct-to-video movies. He also wrote The Airzone Solution (1993) starring Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy AND Jon Pertwee! And of course he’s written and voiced a lot of Big Finish stuff.


    JACK: All the same, might I say looking good, ma’am?
    SARAH JANE: Really? Ooh.
    HARRIET: Not now, Captain.

    DONNA: It’s like an outer space Facebook.

    DONNA: Brilliant! Fantastic! Molto bene! Great big universe, packed into my brain. You know you could fix that chameleon circuit if you just tried hotbinding the fragment links and superseding the binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary. (Draws breath) I’m fine. Nah, never mind Felspoon. You know who I’d like to meet? Charlie Chaplin. I bet he’s great, Charlie Chaplin. Shall we do that? Shall we go and see Charlie Chaplin? Shall we? Charlie Chaplin? Charlie Chester. Charlie Brown. No, he’s fiction. Friction, fiction, fixing, mixing, Rickston, Brixton.

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 4×11)

    Turn Left

    A very pleasing Donna-focused episode. What-ifs are always fun.

    Of course the “fun” in this ep is everything going to hell quickly. Real world events in the past few years have been so weird and perversely terrible that some commentators have compared things to “The Sound Of Thunder” but for me, things are more like “Turn Left”.

    We get to see Donna as she was before The Doctor: selfish, shallow. She’s emotionally destroyed by the calamities: the flying web of the Racnoss, the deaths of 2000 people at the hospital, the wipeout of London by the Titanic, their refugee life in Leeds, the USA being turned into Adipose, the ATMOS, the stars going out. Wilf still has the gumption to stay angry, but Sylvia has given up completely, seems to be waiting for death. She lies on their camp beds, naming all the people she can remember who have now died.

    The Augur’s “There’s something on your back” is paid off. “¡Tienes algo en tu espalda!” Spooky.

    The impending disaster is affecting all parallel universes. I don’t think they ever adequately explain how the Daleks got that tech. Rose is working with UNIT but they’ve really only half an idea what they are doing. We meet Captain Magambo for the first time. We also briefly see Private Harris (who was a key character in Sontaran Stratagem/Poison Sky).

    Despite the Doctor’s absence, Donna grows less selfish as the episode goes on, to the point that she sacrifices herself to save the world.

    The episode successfully makes us care about Rocco Colasanto despite only a few minutes of screen time. Rocco and Wilf saluting each other, teary-eyed, is genuinely moving.

    Other things:
    It doesn’t mean much to Donna, but as the news rolls on, we learn of the deaths of Sarah Jane Smith, Luke, Maria, Clyde, Martha Jones, Ianto Jones and Gwen Cooper, all fighting the fights that the Doctor would normally be there for. Captain Jack is not dead of course but he’s on Sontar, no doubt having a bad time.

    The beetle on Donna’s back was part of the Trickster’s brigade, and this is the only mention of this organisation in Doctor Who proper. In Torchwood, the Trickster’s brigade planned to arrange matters such that Nazis win WW2. In the Sarah Jane Adventures, the Trickster arranges a childhood death for Sarah Jane, and also arranged a marriage between her and a man who ought to have been dead.

    There was something wrong with Billie Piper’s voice in the first half of the episode: sounded slurred or something. Not sure what was up with that.

    There was another reference to the bees disappearing.

    “Merry Xmas Everybody” by Slade plays. This song has (as of 2020) been used in six Doctor Who episodes, for some reason.

    Cast Notes:
    The fortune-teller on Shan Shen is played by Chipo Chung, whom I discussed in my notes for “Utopia”. Rocco Colasanto is played by Joseph Long, who would later play the Pope in “Extremis”.


    WOMAN: Used to be a nice little family, number twenty nine. They missed one mortgage payment. Just one. They got booted out. All for you lot.
    DONNA: Don’t get all chippy with me, Vera Duckworth. Pop your clogs on and go and feed whippets.
    WILF: Sweetheart, come on. You’re not going to make the world any better by shouting at it.
    DONNA: I can try.

    ROCCO: We’ve been here for eight weeks already. I had a nice little paper shop in Shepherd’s Bush. All gone now. So, upstairs, we have Merchandani family. Seven of them. Good family. Good kids. Except that one. You be careful of him. I’s a joking! Where’s that smile, eh? Rocco Colasanto. I’m here with my wife and her sister and her husband and their kids and their daughter’s kids. We’ve got the front room. My mother, she’s got the back room. She’s old. You forgive, eh?. And this? This is you. This is your palazzo. (Shows them the kitchen which is their new home)
    SYLVIA: What do you mean, this is us?
    ROCCO: You live here.
    DONNA: We’re living in the kitchen?
    ROCCO: You got camp beds. You got the cooker, you keep warm. You got the fridge, you keep cool. Is good, eh?
    SYLVIA: What about the bathroom?
    ROCCO: Nobody lives in the bathroom.

    DONNA: Now listen, Mussolini! I am telling you for the last time to button it! If I hear one more sea shanty…
    (Rocco moves and we see Wilf is the ringleader)
    WILF: I always loved a sing song.

    ROCCO: And you! I’m going to miss you most of all. All flame-haired and firey.
    DONNA: Oh, but why do you have to go?
    ROCCO: It’s the new law. England for the English, et cetera. They can’t send us home. The oceans are closed! They build labour camps.
    DONNA: I know, but labour doing what? There aren’t any jobs.
    ROCCO: Sewing, digging. Is good. Now, stop it before I kiss you too much. (Rocco kisses Donna on the cheeks.)
    ROCCO: Wilfred. My capitano. (Rocco and Wilf salute each other. Rocco gets on the truck with the others.)
    DONNA: It’ll be quiet with him gone. Still, we’ll have more room.
    WILF: Labour camps. That’s what they called them last time.
    DONNA: What do you mean?
    WILF: It’s happening again.
    DONNA: What is? Excuse me? Excuse me, where are you taking them? (She chases the truck). Where are you going? Rocco, where are you going? Where are you going? Where are you going?

    ROSE: Good luck.
    DONNA: I’m ready.
    ROSE: One minute past ten.
    DONNA: Because I understand now. You said I was going to die, but you mean this whole world is going to blink out of existence. But that’s not dying, because a better world takes its place. The Doctor’s world. And I’m still alive. That’s right, isn’t it? I don’t die. If I change things, I don’t die. That’s that’s right, isn’t it?
    ROSE: I’m sorry.
    DONNA: But I can’t die. I’ve got a future. With the Doctor. You told me!
    MAGAMBO: Activate!

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 4×10)


    A little episode, wedged between the grand Vashta Nerada story and the explosive Keep Left.

    On the board, in comments sections, I often see this referred to as a poor episode, but that’s not how I see it. There are no onscreen monsters, no grand sets, just The Doctor and a bunch of people stuck on a bus, but the tension is hard to bear and we see The Doctor in a fresh context.

    The confined space and mysterious external attack were scary enough for the kids. When Sky was faced away from us and all attention turned to her, he put one hand in front of his face so he could filter the action. When she turned around he said, “oh she’s okay”, and then half a minute later, “no she’s not” and the hand went back up. Sky’s simultaneous mimicking is unnerving as heck.

    We also see The Doctor in real danger of being killed by a group of ordinary people. He always barges in and starts acting like he is in charge, treating everyone like idiots, and usually people just go along with it, but this time he’s antagonised them _and_ he’s said he’s going to stop them from taking action.

    The thing is: The Doctor was completely wrong in this situation, and everyone else was right: Sky was gone, the monster was in her body, and the safest course of action was to kick her out. If they’d done that, there would have been three people dead instead of four. The nameless Hostess was the one smart enough to work out that the critter was still in Sky, and she had to sacrifice herself to save The Doctor. Had it been up to him, the lifeform might have taken out the whole colony.

    It is implied that The Doctor knew that this wasn’t Mrs Silvestry any more: he was just curious because “for all we know that’s a brand new life form over there”. We know from prior form that he’s often happy to risk human lives in order to satisfy his curiosity. Even back in The Dead Planet (1963) he made up a bogus excuse just to force his companions to travel to an unknown and weird-looking city.


    Cast notes:

    David Troughton, son of 2nd Doctor Patrick Troughton, plays Professor Hobbes. Sky is played by Lesley Sharp, quite a noted British Actress who has been in the business 50 years or more: you might have seen her in The Full Monty. Colin Morgan who plays young Jethro is well-known for Merlin, and has also been in The Fall and Humans. Duane Henry, who has an onscreen minute as Mechanic Claude, had a regular role in NCIS. The Hostess is played by Rakie Ayola, whom I’ve seen on Shetland.

    Other things:

    Donna is only in this for a couple of minutes. This Donna-lite ep is balanced by the Doctor-lite ep that comes up next. We get another couple of seconds of Rose on screen.

    We get another reference to another lost planet: Poosh.

    Some excellent use of incidental music here.

    They don’t believe his name is John Smith. Biff even says, “No one’s called John Smith.” It’s actually a very common name … as you’d expect. There are scores of notable people called John Smith: one of them led the Labour party. One of them was the CEO of BBC Worldwide at the time this episode was made.


    DOCTOR AND SKY TOGETHER: Are you Sky? Is Sky still in there? Mrs Silvestry? You know exactly what I’m going to say. How are you doing that? Roast beef. Bananas. The Medusa Cascade. Bang! Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Donna Noble, Tardis. Shamble bobble dibble dooble. Oh, Doctor, you’re so handsome. Yes, I am, thank you. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O.

    DOCTOR AND SKY TOGETHER: I’m just travelling. I’m a traveller, that’s all.
    VAL AND SKY TOGETHER: Like an immigrant?

    DOCTOR: Molto bene.
    DONNA: Molto bene.
    DOCTOR: No, don’t do that. Don’t. Don’t.

    Davros @replies

    @janetteb Yes, The Face Of Evil was a fine story, one of those that I remember most clearly from my childhood.


    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 4×8 and 4×9)


    Silence In the Library/Forest of the Dead

    This is well and truly one of my favourite DW stories. Great sci-fi concepts, funny, emotional, strong characters, sets up the future … it’s got it all, ticks all the boxes.

    Alex Kingston’s performance is just beautiful, and her death scene is brilliantly effected.

    The story introduces five clever science fiction concepts. An ordinary quality DW episode could be built around any one of these five, but bringing in all four and linking them makes this a rich and extraordinary story.
    1/ Time-travellers meeting in reverse orderNow, Moffatt didn’t invent this idea, and nor did Audrey Niffenegger (author of The Time Traveller’s Wife), but the slow release of information in this story is pleasing: River’s realisation that he doesn’t know who she is, her understanding that he went through their whole relationship having already seen her death, and instructing him not to change any of it, even to save her life. This is the first time we see one of the diaries they use to track each other. Spoilers! She knows Donna’s future as well. It also established the trend of The Doctor coming to River’s aid no matter where or when she is.

    2/ The Vashta Nerada Shadows that can strip meat to the bare bone in under a second. Sentient fresh-eating shadows that hatched from spores in a million million books in one library: not every shadow, but any shadow, so count yours. The Doctor even negotiates with one via the neural relay, see below. A hungry shadow driving a skeleton in a spacesuit and speaking via a man’s electronic ghost: if that’s not spooky enough for you then Lord help you.
    3/ CAL, the computer who is a little girlCharlotte Abigail Lux, Strackman’s aunt, died when she was very young. Her family transferred her consciousness to the Command Node of the biggest library in existence so that she could continue to enjoy books, continuing to experience life as a little girl, with Doctor Moon (an actual moon, manifesting to her as a doctor) watching over her and the library. She tried to teleport 4000 people when the Vashta Nerada were detected but there was nowhere to safely teleport them to, so she “saved” them to her hard drive. To the Doctor and Donna, she appears as a wooden sphere with an LED readout.
    4/ The neural relayThe purpose of these is to send thoughtmails, but they have the side-effect of retaining someone’s consciousness for a while after they die. Listening to them wind down is saddening. “Don’t tell the others, they’ll only laugh” repeats Evangelista’s ghost, as the others look guilty. The suits of shambling skeletons repeat the thoughts of dying team members. Crucially, The Doctor has previously, or um in the future, put one in River’s sonic screwdriver.
    5/ CAL’s virtual world Obviously, a virtual world is not exactly a novel concept but it’s nicely done here. All the children are copies of one boy and girl, to save space. Donna doesn’t deal with it well. Evangelista is deformed due to transcription errors. After all of the library staff are saved, The Doctor finally saves River there with some of her deceased crew.

    I haven’t even included the interfaces using real faces but that’s also pretty eerie. My boy first watched this story when he was four and for a while afterwards he would recite that part of the script. “Donna Noble has left the library. Donna Noble has been saved.” “Hey, who turned out the lights?” “Donna Noble has left the library. Donna Noble has been saved.” “Hey, who turned out the lights?” A-grade cliffhanger. I mean we didn’t really think Donna was dead, right? They wouldn’t just pole-axe a companion mid-season…

    River whispers The Doctor’s name. Sadly, we never saw this paid off, never saw the moment or circumstance in which he told it to her (barring the Wedding Of River Song fake-out). The build up that The Doctor gives it in this episode made it seem as though it would play a momentous part of a future story. I suppose we can guess that it took place some time during their stay on Darillium.

    Donna’s CAL-world husband was a real man, with a real speach impediment, which prevents him from calling out to her, just for a smidge extra pathos.

    River has a Squareness Gun. The only other person who is seen to have one in DW is Captain Jack Harkness. She does not, however, have her Vortex Manipulator.

    Evangelista was plays by Talulah Riley, who went on to have a regular role on Westworld. She also married and divorce Elon Musk a couple of times. Colin Salmon, who plays Doctor Moon, I mostly know from the old Bond films but he has a great unctuous voice. Mark Dexter plays Cal’s dad: he later played Charles Babbage in Spyfall Part 2. I’ve only just discovered that one of the library’s Node faces is played by Josh Dallas, who plays Prince Charming in Once Upon A Time, and Fandral in Thor. The comedian Steve Pemberton plays Lux: so that’s three members of the League Of Gentlemen that have been in Who (the others being Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith). Other Dave (O.T.Fagbenle) is now a regular on Handmaid’s Tail.

    Notable Quotes:
    Well the whole thing but especially…

    DOCTOR: We’re near the equator, so this must be biographies. I love biographies.

    DONNA: Yeah, very you. Always a death at the end.

    DOCTOR: You need a good death. Without death, there’d only be comedies. Dying gives us size. (Donna picks up a book.) Wahay, spoilers.

    DONNA: What?

    DOCTOR: These books are from your future. You don’t want to read ahead. Spoil all the surprises. Like peeking at the end.

    DONNA: Isn’t travelling with you one big spoiler?

    DOCTOR: I try to keep you away from major plot developments. Which, to be honest, I seem to be very bad at, because you know what? This is the biggest library in the universe. So where is everyone? It’s silent.

    DONNA: So, We weren’t just in the neighbourhood.

    DOCTOR: Yeah, I kind of, sort of lied a bit. I got a message on the psychic paper. What do you think? Cry for help?

    DONNA: Cry for help with a kiss?

    DOCTOR: Oh, we’ve all done that.

    DOCTOR: Oh, you’re not, are you? Tell me you’re not archaeologists.

    RIVER: Got a problem with archaeologists?

    DOCTOR: I’m a time traveller. I point and laugh at archaeologists.

    LUX: Professor Song, why am I the only one wearing my helmet?

    RIVER: I don’t fancy you.

    EVANGELISTA: I’m a moron, me. My dad said I have the IQ of plankton, and I was pleased.

    DONNA: See, that’s funny.

    EVANGELISTA: No, no, I really was pleased. Is that funny?

    DONNA: No, no.

    RIVER: Pretty boy. With me, I said.

    DOCTOR: Oh, I’m pretty boy?

    DONNA: Yes. Ooo, that came out a bit quick.

    DOCTOR: Pretty?

    DONNA: Meh.

    MOON:  Now, listen. This is important. There’s the real world, and there’s the world of nightmares. That’s right, isn’t it? You understand that?

    GIRL: Yes, I know, Doctor Moon.

    MOON: What I want you to remember is this, and I know it’s hard. The real world is a lie, and your nightmares are real. The library is real. There are people trapped in there, people who need to be saved. The shadows are moving again. Those people are depending on you. Only you can save them. Only you.

    RIVER: So what do we do?

    DOCTOR: Daleks, aim for the eyestalk. Sontarans, back of the neck. Vashta Nerada? Run. Just run.

    DOCTOR: Yeah, but we’re safe anyway.

    DONNA: How are we safe?

    DOCTOR: We’re not. That was a clever lie to shut you up.

    DONNA: You don’t have a suit, so you’re in just as much danger as I am and I’m not leaving you

    DOCTOR: Donna, let me explain. (He teleports Donna.) Oh, that’s how you do it.

    DONNA:  So this isn’t the real me? This isn’t my real body? I’ve been dieting!

    ELLA: Mummy, Joshua and me, we’re not real, are we? DONNA: Of course you’re real. You’re as real as anything. Why do you say that?

    JOSHUA: But, Mummy, sometimes, when you’re not here, it’s like we’re not here.

    ELLA: Even when you close your eyes, we just stop.

    DOCTOR: Don’t play games with me. You just killed someone I liked. That is not a safe place to stand. I’m the Doctor, and you’re in the biggest library in the universe. Look me up.

    DONNA: I made up the perfect man. Gorgeous, adores me, and hardly able to speak a word. What’s that say about me?

    DOCTOR: Everything. Sorry, did I say everything? I meant to say nothing. I was aiming for nothing. I accidentally said everything.

    DONNA: What about you? Are you all right?

    DOCTOR: I’m always all right.

    DONNA: Is all right special Time Lord code for really not all right at all?

    DOCTOR: Why?

    DONNA: Because I’m all right, too.

    Davros @replies

    Hey Rory and Amy start the episode on Earth, without The Doctor. How did they get back to 21st century Earth from the 52nd century Demon’s Run? The Doctor kind of abandoned them there.

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 4×7)

    The Unicorn and the Wasp

    A fun and somewhat silly story with plenty of humour. A bit of a breather before we head to the Library I suppose.
    It does read a bit like a Christie novel: the characters are a little thinly drawn and somewhat stereotypical. The cockney Unicorn is way over the top: “Oh, all right then. It’s a fair cop. Yes, I’m the bleeding Unicorn.” Titles of Christie’s novels are mentioned (published before and after the events of this story) are mentioned throughout the episode, by the by.

    I thought it was a bit funny that they seemed to imply Christie was unaware of her popularity. “People never stop reading them. She is the best selling novelist of all time”, “But she never knew.” She was tremendously successful during her lifetime.

    My son made several guesses as the culprit’s identity, all incorrect.

    Always nice to see Felicity Kendal.


    Doctor/Donna play all the hits.

    DONNA: Good afternoon, my lady. Topping day, what? Spiffing. Top hole.
    DOCTOR: No, no, no, no, no. No, don’t do that. Don’t.

    AGATHA: You make a rather unusual couple.
    DOCTOR: Oh, no, no, no, no. We’re not married.
    DONNA: We’re not a couple.

    GOLIGHTLY: As the Christian Fathers taught me, we must forgive them their trespasses. Quite literally.
    ROGER: Some of these young boys deserve a descent thrashing.
    DAVENPORT: Couldn’t agree more, sir.
    DONNA: Typical. All the decent men are on the other bus.
    DOCTOR: Or Time Lords.

    AGATHA: Agatha Christie.
    DONNA: What about her?
    AGATHA: That’s me.
    DONNA: No. You’re kidding.

    AGATHA: Can we return to sanity? There are no such things as giant wasps.
    DOCTOR: Exactly. So, the question is, what’s it doing here?

    DOCTOR (having been poisoned): I need a shock.
    DONNA: Right then. Big shock coming up. (She kisses him, smoke comes out of his mouth)
    DOCTOR: Detox. Oh my. I must do that more often. I mean, the detox.

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 4×6)

    The Doctor’s Daughter

    The previews at the end of The Poison Sky made sure to show The Doctor saying “She’s my daughter”. Come on, we knew it wouldn’t be that simple…

    This is one of those episodes where The Doctor’s Wife takes The Doctor somewhere he needs to be rather than where he wants to go.

    There are two stories: the Doctor dealing with his insta-child, and the story of the Hath/Human war. The war story is a clever one and not one that I’ve seen on screen before: a 7 day war of hundreds of generations with none of the original combatants surviving. The Jenny story gives us an opportunity to see The Doctor talk about his family. It would be very nice if we could get some stories about that family, other than Susan. Donna’s wisdom and kindness towards our hero warm the episode, while Martha cares for the injured Hath despite how extremely alien they are.

    Jenny is biologically a Gallifreyan, but not culturally, apart from the skerrick of lore that The Doctor had time to impart. I thought it was a bit awkward that it was The Doctor who mentioned that she was “too much like him”, seemed a bit boastful. Perhaps Donna should have said it.


    Other things:

    So the Source will terraform Messaline. Pretty clearly, it can’t be terraformed to suit both humans and the Hath, who breathe some kind of liquid.

    So why didn’t the Tardis trickery translate Hath for Martha? Eventually she appeared to understand but not initially. Even then … the Tardis wasn’t good enough to translate for us, the audience.

    I dare say literally everyone on this forum knows about Georgia Tennant, who plays the Doctor’s daughter, but for completeness…
    She is the daughter of 4th Doctor actor Peter Davison, and actress Sandra Dickinson, whom you may know from Hitchhiker’s Guide. After the filming of this episode in 2007 she and David Tennant began a relationship and married in 2011. One their kids is called Wilf! To be descended from two Doctors would be a treat.
    Her first Doctor Who work, however, was back in 2000, when she voiced characters for the Big Finish stories Red Dawn and City of Spires. Georgia had auditioned to play Rose, and also auditioned for a role in The Unicorn And The Wasp before being cast as Jenny. She produced The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, did voicework for the animated DW Dreamland series, and has since done a fair bit of voice acting for Big Finish, both as Jenny and as other characters.

    The militaristic Cobb was played by the late Nigel Kerry, quite a storied veteran of British television. He also played King Arthur in the 1981 film Excalibur, alongside Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart and Corin Redgrave, quite a line-up.

    It’s a little bit poignant, in retrospect, when The Doctor says the Dictionary entry for Genocide has a picture of him.


    DOCTOR: Hang on, hang on. A second ago it was peace in our time. Now you’re talking about genocide.
    COBB: For us, that means the same thing.
    DOCTOR: Then you need to get yourself a better dictionary. When you do, look up genocide. You’ll see a little picture of me there, and the caption will read, over my dead body.

    COBB: Take them. I won’t have them spreading treason. And if you try anything, Doctor, I’ll see that your woman dies first.
    DOCTOR: No, we’re, we’re not a couple.
    DONNA: I am not his woman.

    DOCTOR: That’s why we need to get out of here, find Martha and stop Cobb from slaughtering the Hath. What, what are you, what are you, what are you staring at?
    JENNY: You keep insisting you’re not a soldier, but look at you, drawing up strategies like a proper general.
    DOCTOR: No, no. I’m trying to stop the fighting.
    JENNY: Isn’t every soldier?

    JENNY: What’s a Time Lord?
    DOCTOR: It’s who I am. It’s where I’m from.
    JENNY: And I’m from you.
    DOCTOR: You’re an echo, that’s all. A Time Lord is so much more. A sum of knowledge, a code, a shared history, a shared suffering. Only it’s gone now, all of it. Gone forever.

    DONNA: Let me distract this one. I have picked up a few womanly wiles over the years.
    DOCTOR: Let’s save your wiles for later. In case of emergency.

    MARTHA: I knew you couldn’t resist it.
    HATH PECK: Bubble bubble bubble.
    MARTHA: Language!

    DONNA: Oh, I know that look. I see it a lot round our way. Blokes with pushchairs and frowns. You’ve got dad-shock.
    DOCTOR: Dad-shock?
    DONNA: Sudden unexpected fatherhood. Take a bit of getting used to.
    DOCTOR: No, it’s not that.
    DONNA: Well, what is it then? Having Jenny in the Tardis, is that it? What’s she going to do, cramp your style? Like you’ve got a sports car and she’s going to turn it into a people-carrier?
    DOCTOR: Donna, I’ve been a father before.
    DONNA: What?
    DOCTOR: I lost all that a long time ago, along with everything else.
    DONNA: I’m sorry. I didn’t know. Why didn’t you tell me? You talk all the time, but you don’t say anything.
    DOCTOR: I know. I’m just. When I look at her now, I can see them. The hole they left, all the pain that filled it. I just don’t know if I can face that every day.
    DONNA: It won’t stay like that. She’ll help you. We both will.
    DOCTOR: But when they died, that part of me died with them. It’ll never come back. Not now.
    DONNA: I tell you something, Doctor. Something I’ve never told you before. I think you’re wrong.

    MARTHA: There’s no sign, Doctor. There is no regeneration. She’s like you, but maybe not enough.
    DOCTOR: No. Too much. That’s the truth of it. She was too much like me.

    Davros @replies


    There was a non-broadcast version of An Unearthly Child., sometimes called the Pilot episode but that’s a bit of a misnomer: it was just a first recording that was not sent out because the producers felt there were too many problems with the recording and performances.

    One notable thing about it is that the interior of the Tardis is shown from the outside when Barbara first enters. It was quite a trick shot at the time but they didn’t end up using it in the broadcast version. Indeed there were no such shots used in any of the Classic Who series.




    Davros @replies


    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 4×3 to 4×5)
    Planet of the Ood

    This is one of my favourite episodes. The moral problems of Ood slavery introduced in The Impossible Planet are addressed. Donna develops, gets to see more of the tough calls the Doctor has to make.

    We meet Ood Sigma, who plays a role in events later in this series. He tells the Doctor, “I think your song must end soon.”

    The fact that Sigma was poisoning Halpen was well flagged, but his Oodination was a nice turn. Donna’s reaction was more of moral confusion, rather than disgust.

    The Ood speak of the Doctor-Donna, a callforward to Journey’s End.

    The Doctor draws some parallels between the Ood slaves and the way the economy works on Earth: “Who do you think made your clothes?”

    Tim McInnerny plays Halpen: I recognise Tim from Blackadder, Richard III, Notting Hill, and well lots of stuff.
    Solana is played Ayesha Dharker, who was Queen Jamillia in Attack of the Clones.

    Other things:

    I wonder about how the Ood could possibly have evolved. Are there several Ood Brains, one for each community? Are there males and females? Aren’t the slave Oods still irreparably lobotomised? So many questions.

    The events of The Impossible Planet occur a long time _after_ this episode. Some kind of paradox fuel there.

    The Homer Simpson “Doh” sound was a bit too corny for me but it got a big laugh from the kids. Kess chasing The Doctor around with the giant claw crane was also funny.


    SOLANA: Now then, Doctor Noble, Mrs Noble, if you’d like to come with me.
    DOCTOR: Oh, no, no, no, no. We’re not married.
    DONNA: We’re so not married.
    DOCTOR: Never.
    DONNA: Never ever.

    DONNA: Rocket. Blimey, a real proper rocket. Now that’s what I call a spaceship. You’ve got a box, he’s got a Ferrari. Come on, lets go see where he’s going.

    SIGMA: He has become Oodkind, and we will take care of him.
    DONNA: It’s weird, being with you. I can’t tell what’s right and what’s wrong any more.
    DOCTOR: It’s better that way. People who know for certain tend to be like Mister Halpen.


    The Sontaran Stratagem/Poison Sky

    Hey, Martha’s Back! And so is Rose for like four frames.

    But also, the Sontarans are back! They creeped me one hundred percent of the way out when I was a child. Their plan here is suitably terrible, altering Earth to be a clone-building planet.


    Quite a bit is made of The Doctor’s dislike for salutes, for weapons, for giving orders. When push comes to shove, though, he barks orders as though he was born to it, and is prepared to use a weapon to destroy the Sontaran vessel. But rather than put it on a timer, he chooses to put himself at risk, because he has to give the Sontarans a choice. He’s rather stalemated by the fact that the Sontaran’s think nothing of death, and indeed welcome the glory of death in combat.

    Donna and Martha connect well, and Donna is glad that Martha has moved on: she’s sporting an engagement ring. Martha tells Donna to stay close to her family, and gives her a warning about The Doctor: “Stand too close and people get burnt.”

    Donna accuses The Doctor of turning Martha into a weapon: a callforward to the events of Journey’s End. He also weaponises Donna in this story.


    Other things:

    They should really do something about the probic vent … put a cover on it or something.

    Unless I’m quite mistaken, this story contained the first reference in post-gap Doctor Who to the Brigadier.

    Dan Starkey plays Skorr: he later had a regular gig playing Strax.

    Christopher Ryan, who played Mike on The Young Ones, plays Staal.

    Eleanor Matsuura plays Jo. She wet on to have a main role in The Walking Dead.

    The UNIT deathcount in this story is probably higher than in any other DW story. They are just mown down: even the converted Harris and Grey are unceremoniously shot when reporting for duty. They should really give them some armour.

    The Doctor refers to Dona Nobis Pacem (“Give us Peace”).

    The Sontarans’ war with Rutans is mentioned. We’ve still only seen them on screen once, in Horror Of Fang Rock.

    Cloned Martha doesn’t last long.



    DONNA: I’m not coming with you. I’ve been thinking. I’m sorry. I’m going home.
    DOCTOR: Really?
    DONNA: I’ve got to.
    DOCTOR: Oh, if that’s what you want. I mean, it’s a bit soon. I had so many places I had wanted to take you. The Fifteenth Broken Moon of the Medusa Cascade, the Lightning Skies of Cotter Palluni’s World, Diamond Coral Reefs of Kataa Flo Ko. Thank you. Thank you, Donna Noble, it’s been brilliant. You’ve, you’ve saved my life in so many ways. You’re … you’re just popping home for a visit, that’s what you mean.

    STAAL: There was no Planetfall. Castor Thirty Six, indeed. We only needed you for installation of the ATMOS system.
    RATTIGAN: No, but I’m on your side. I did everything you wanted. And it’s not ATMOS system! That’s a tautology. It’s just ATMOS!

    DOCTOR: Should be a switch by the side.
    DONNA: Yeah there is. But it’s Sontaran shaped, you need three fingers.
    DOCTOR: You’ve got three fingers.
    DONNA: Oh, yeah.

    MACE: Latest firing stock. What do you think, Doctor?
    DOCTOR (in a gas mask): Are you my mummy?

    DOCTOR: You might as well have worn a T shirt saying clone. Although, maybe not in front of Captain Jack.


    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 4×1 and 4×2)

    Partners in Crime

    Donna’s back! And don’t we just love her. My favourite companion.

    Even by DW standards, blobs of fat peeling off a person and brought to life is a pretty wacky concept, and the body horror is only ameliorated by the cuteness of the Adiposes.
    Donna has been looking for The Doctor by investigating paranormal and alien activity. She’s a little bit like Sarah Jane in this regard. Being stuck on Earth is a bit samey: even if you’re not back at home with Sylvia. Granddad Wilf is into alien spacecraft but Donna has not told him that she’s been in one.

    The mimed conversation between The Doctor and Donna, and the realisation that Foster has watched the whole thing, is still comedy gold. The kids cracked right up.

    The Doctor shows mercy to the baby Adiposes, and Donna mentions that this is a change. He even tries to save Foster but she doesn’t realise she’s in danger. After the Adiposes turn off the beam, she takes a few seconds to fall, like a cartoon character who has stepped off a cliff.
    Donna has a stack of luggage to take on to the Tardis. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone remember to taken anything on board at all. She complains about the temperature inside.

    The major kapow shot of the episode, though, is the baffling return of Rose.

    Other things:

    The missing bees, crucial to The Stolen Earth, get a mention. The Adipose breeding planet, Adipose 3, is also missing…
    Foster has a sonic pen, so this is not solely Time Lord tech.

    ROGER: It was here when I bought the house. I’ve never bothered with it, really. I’m not a cat person.
    DOCTOR: No, I’ve met cat people. You’re nothing like them.

    DONNA: That Martha must’ve done you good.
    DOCTOR: She did, yeah. Yeah. She did. She fancied me.
    DONNA: Mad Martha, that one. Blind Martha. Charity Martha.


    DONNA: But you asked me. Would you rather be on your own?
    DOCTOR: No. Actually, no. But the last time, with Martha, like I said, it, it got complicated. And that was all my fault. I just want a mate.
    DONNA: You just want to mate?
    DOCTOR: I just want a mate!
    DONNA: You’re not mating with me, sunshine!
    DOCTOR: A mate. I want a mate.
    DONNA: Well, just as well, because I’m not having any of that nonsense. I mean, you’re just a long streak of nothing. You know, alien nothing.
    DOCTOR: There we are, then. Okay.
    DONNA: I can come?
    DOCTOR: Yeah. Course you can, yeah. I’d love it.

    Fires of Pompeii

    Poigant and fun episode.


    The augur can tell The Doctor is from Gallifrey and that “She is returning”. We know who “she” is but The Doctor doesn’t. He also knows that Donna has something on her back: the audience at this stage has no idea what the augur is on about.

    The Doctor has to choose between the destruction of the Earth and the death of 20000 people. It’s a faint echo of that time he had to choose between the destruction of the Universe and a double genocide. Donna learns its not so easy having the power. She talks him into saving one family. It’s a lesson: he can’t do everything, but sometimes he can do a little, even if only for his own sake.

    There’s a pleasant running gag wherein Donna or The Doctor speak Latin but it is heard as Celtic. We also encounter their first emphatic denial that they are a couple: this is done for comedic effect throughout this season.

    Karen Gillan is in this episode! She plays the soothsayer who reports The Doctor’s arrival to Spurrina. She’s got ceremonial make-up on and she uses an English accent so I think they got away with it: not many people would have remembered her from this role.

    Peter Capaldi of course plays Caecilius and they DIDN’T try to get away with that, but instead made it a significant development that the 12th Doctor chose Caecilius’s face. (Why he looks exactly like John Frobisher from Torchwood, I’ll never know).


    EVELINA: Even the word Doctor is false. Your real name is hidden. It burns in the stars, in the Cascade of Medusa herself. You are a Lord, sir. A Lord of Time.

    DONNA: What, and you’re in charge?
    DOCTOR: Tardis, Time Lord, yeah.
    DONNA: Donna, human, no


    DONNA: You can’t just leave them!
    DOCTOR: Don’t you think I’ve done enough? History’s back in place and everyone dies.
    DONNA: You’ve got to go back. Doctor, I am telling you, take this thing back. It’s not fair.
    DOCTOR: No, it’s not.
    DONNA: But your own planet. It burned.
    DOCTOR: That’s just it. Don’t you see, Donna? Can’t you understand? If I could go back and save them, then I would. But I can’t. I can never go back. I can’t. I just can’t, I can’t.
    DONNA: Just someone. Please. Not the whole town. Just save someone.

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 4C)

    Voyage of the Damned

    It’s a pleasant Christmas episode. The stakes are high but spirits are light. As is often the case, the tension is raised by the fact that the Doctor is separated from the Tardis early in the piece. He saves the day, uppance comes, but we also see him struggle to admit defeat and let Astrid go.

    Significantly, we meet Wilf, who points out that London has been evacuated because calamity always strikes at Christmas in London. It was nice to see Clive Swift (from Keeping Up Appearances): this was actually his second Doctor Who role. He appeared in the 6th Doctor story “Revelation Of The Daleks”. We also see Russell Tovey as Alonso Frame: Tovey went on to star in Being Human, which was penned by frequent DW-writer Toby Whithouse. Jimmy Vee plays Bannakaffalatta: he’s had quite a bit of work as aliens on DW. Even Kylie is okay.

    My son points out: the hole the stern of the Titanic makes in the Tardis’s interior is bigger than the Tardis’s exterior, so how could this work when viewed from outside.

    Because of the 1910s dress and furnishings, the audience could be initially misled into thinking this is the real Titanic. That would have been awkward, since The Master and The Doctor were both on that already…

    Some other things:

    I thought it was a bit weird that The Doctor said, of Earth, “They don’t have spaceships.”

    The Heavenly Hosts reminded me of the VOC robots from the old “Robots of Death”.

    Astrid is an anagram of Tardis.

    The events of this episode are crucial to a later episode, “Turn Left”.

    I worry about the economics. The Doctor says that a million pounds is about 50 million credits. But Foon and Morvin say that they’ll never be able to pay off 5000 credits … which is 100 pounds.

    Nice quotes:

    HOST: Information. You are all going to die.

    ASTRID: Saved you some. You might be a Time King from Gaddabee but you need to eat.
    DOCTOR: Yeah, thanks.
    ASTRID: So, you look good for nine hundred and three.
    DOCTOR: You should see me in the mornings.
    ASTRID: Okay.


    COPPER: So, Great Britain is part of Europey, and just across the British Channel, you’ve got Great France and Great Germany.
    DOCTOR: No, no, it’s just, it’s just France and Germany. Only Britain is Great.
    COPPER: Oh, and they’re all at war with the continent of Ham Erica.
    DOCTOR: No. Well, not yet. Er, could argue that one.


    DOCTOR: Security protocol ten. Six six six. Er, twenty one! four, five, six, seven, eight! I don’t know, forty two? Er, one!
    HOST: Information.


    Davros @replies

    A few more things from that three-parter…

    The Master offers Lucy a jellybaby.

    MASTER: “The Eve of War. Lovely woman.”

    Davros @replies

    Hey before I proceed, would you prefer I put these in the individual episode threads? Or not do them at all? 🙂


    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×13)

    In parallel we see two the story develop in two places. Aboard the Valiant, Jack and the Joneses scheme, and The Master exposits. The Master’s plan is typical: he’s going to declare war on the Galaxy and establish an empire using 200000 missiles with black hole converters.
    On the ground, Martha’s been travelling the Earth. We learn the Toclafane are the desperate humans from Utopia, as she cracks one upon to find Creet’s head (or someone saying Creet’s words). There’s a tidy double bluff, as the audience is led to believe that Docherty has betrayed Martha’s plans to use a four component gun on The Master. I rather fell for it, on first viewing.
    When The Doctor is aged 900 years, his shrunken form is somewhat comical rather than horrific: I suppose they spared the youngsters from the body horror.
    Does it make sense that the Archangel network, which could hypnotise everyone could everyone to Vote Saxon, could in reverse restore the Doctor’s youth and give him telekinetic powers? Sure, I’m on board. 🙂

    The revived Doctor forgives The Master, the Paradox Machine is destroyed, and the events of the last year collapse. Mrs Saxon shoots The Master, and we can’t really feel sorry for her: she signed up for this. But at least no one decent gets the rap for the murder.

    The Doctor holds the dying Master in his arms pleading with him to regenerate. He thinks he could have reformed him, that they could be friends again. His loneliness is palpable. Martha says goodbye: her people need her, and she knows she won’t find happiness while traipsing after the Doctor. It’s a solid end to a good season.

    My son doesn’t believe the Captain is the Face. Fair enough. I wonder at what point in the development they decided to go that way. It’s not exactly crucial but it’s a fun point.



    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×12)

    The Sound of Drums

    We start with the big payoff to the Saxon breadcrumbs. Master as Prime Minister is a suitably nightmarish scenario. Old Who Master was a hypnotist so we may suppose he got his start by hypnotising a small number of people until he was in a position to launch Archangel and hypnotise everyone.

    When the Doctor is asking Martha why she was going to  vote for Saxon, what were the policies she liked, she says, “I don’t know. He always sounded good. Like you could trust him. Just nice. He spoke about. I can’t really remember, but it was good.” This was a bit too real for me. I’ve had conversations like that IRL.

    The best part of this episode is The Master’s mania, his sheer glee at his own evil. Loved his response to Albert’s “You’re insane”: big grinning double thumbs-up.
    New Who fans were also treated to learning more about the relationship between Doctor and Master, and finding out a bit more about Gallifrey. We are also shown Gallifrey for the first time post-Gap, a shot of the Citadel and its surrounds, while “This is Gallifrey” plays. (Indeed, I think this is the first exterior shot of Gallifrey that has been seen since The Five Doctors). The Master is shown as a child! It’s obvious that part of what The Doctor is feeling is excitement that he is no longer alone: he’s a nice guy but let’s face it, humans aren’t real people.

    As is appropriate for the 2nd part of a 3-parter, this episode ends in the most desperate situation: the Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy. The Joneses hooded and bound are marched onto The Master’s plane. The Toclafane kill literally hundreds of millions of people, spinning and zapping and slicing. The Doctor is enfeebled, all his team are captured except for Martha. Having watched it previously I know that this is “undone” but I do remember thinking, the first time I watched it, that this was pretty bold stuff in terms of the Earthly future even when The Master’s defeated. The kids were pretty taken aback by it.

    The cliffhanger of “Utopia” is resolved by the Doctor fixing Jack’s Vortex Manipulator but the end of The Sound Of Drums isn’t even a cliffhanger: the maximum damage has already been done.

    I thought perhaps The Master had taken the name Toclafane from Toc Shafe Cane of the previous episode, or that that was meant to be a clue, but it turns out that Toclafane is a word known to The Doctor, the name of a fairytale critter on Gallifrey. The Master drops a big clue as to their identity but I have to admit, first time through, I had no idea until it is spelled out in ” Last Of The Time Lords”. I suppose the Tardis butchered into a Paradox Engine should have been another clue.

    I’ve read somewhere that there is supposely a significant anagram: Mister Saxon = Master No Six. But how is he the 6th Master? He’d have to be about 15th or something.

    The four-knock drum beat becomes crucial to the plot in a clearer way. Note that it is also part of the theme music for this season. The Lazarus technology and The Doctor’s Hand also becoming important.

    The relationship between The Doctor and The Master has sometimes been compared to Holmes/Moriarty but somehow this conversation reminded me of the final pages of The Killing Joke in which Bruce gives The Joker one last chance.


    MASTER : Do you remember all those fairy tales about the Toclafane when we were kids back home. Where is it, Doctor?
    DOCTOR: Gone.

    MASTER: How can Gallifrey be gone?

    DOCTOR: It burnt.

    MASTER: And the Time Lords?

    DOCTOR: Dead. And the Daleks, more or less. What happened to you?

    MASTER: The Time Lords only resurrected me because they knew I’d be the perfect warrior for a Time War. I was there when the Dalek Emperor took control of the Cruciform. I saw it. I ran. I ran so far. Made myself human so they would never find me, because I was so scared.

    DOCTOR: I know.

    MASTER: All of them? But not you, which must mean…

    DOCTOR: I was the only one who could end it. And I tried. I did. I tried everything.

    MASTER: What did it feel like, though? Two almighty civilisations burning. Oh, tell me, how did that feel?

    DOCTOR: Stop it!

    MASTER: You must have been like God.

    DOCTOR: I’ve been alone ever since. But not anymore. Don’t you see? All we’ve got is each other.

    MASTER: Are you asking me out on a date?

    DOCTOR: You could stop this right now. We could leave this planet. We can fight across the constellations, if that’s what you want, but not on Earth.

    MASTER: Too late.

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×11)

    The start of the de facto three-part story that ends season 3.


    Has there been a better revival of a pre-gap entity than the reveal of the Master here? They did clues that the Master was someone known to the Doctor, and I suppose “The Professor” does seem like a typical Master pseudonym, but it was still a wham moment. I love Derek Jacobi and it would have been nice to see a bit more of his Master. I’m going to have a listen to the BF series “The War Master”.

    Obviously, this was one of the moments that had an “older person advantage” as the impact of the appearance of The Master was greater for those familiar with the pre-Gap Who.

    Captain Jack’s back and he’s brought the hand! And Doctor Who fans who don’t watch Torchwood hear about his immortality and how he got it. And of course he hits on everyone, including Chantho, played by Chipo Chung. Chung later played The Fortune teller in the Donna-centric episode “Turn Left”. She’s gone on to get quite a bit of regular work in television series, including Fortitude (alongside Ecclestone!), Into The Badlands (in which she plays a character called The Master), and Absentia.

    The Torchwood theme is heard here and there, but there are three new pieces of incidental music. While Yana muses, we hear the Gallifrey theme for the first time. The impulsive thumping four-knock is heard while Yana struggles with his internal pounding. We also hear that disoriented whirling stringy music, whose name I don’t know, while he ponder’s his chameleon device. (Sidebar: This is Gallifrey is one of my favourite pieces of music from television, ever. What would New Who be without Murray Gold, eh?)

    Obvious callbacks to “Christmas Invasion”, “Human Nature” and “Gridlock” here.


    Some lines I liked.

    MARTHA: Oh, she was blonde? Oh, what a surprise!
    DOCTOR: You two! We’re at the end of the universe, all right? Right at the edge of knowledge itself and you’re busy blogging!

    MARTHA: What would you happen if you didn’t?
    CHANTHO: Chan that would be rude tho.
    MARTHA: What, like swearing?
    CHANTHO: Chan indeed tho.
    MARTHA: Go on, just once.
    CHANTHO: Chan I can’t tho.
    MARTHA: Oh, do it for me.
    CHANTHO: No.

    DOCTOR: It’s not easy even just looking at you, Jack, because you’re wrong.

    Davros @replies

    Some years ago I was making DW-related memes, mostly crossovers with other franchises. I’ll post some here.


    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×10)



    What’s not to like? It’s a nice time travel story, it’s terrifying for the kids (and spooky enough for the adults, if I’m honest). The Angels are the first new evil critters of the Post-Gap era to make an enduring and valuable contribution to the Whoniverse.

    I’m one of the people who bought a “The angels have the phone box” shirt.


    Like “Human Nature”/”Family of Blood”, this episode was based upon a previously published story, in this case Moffat’s “‘What I Did on My Christmas Holidays’ By Sally Sparrow”.

    I’ve no complaint about Bootstrap Paradox stories, but I have some questions. The Doctor had Sally’s dossier, so he could have known that it was dangerous to take the Tardis to Wester Drumlins. Perhaps he couldn’t help himself. Or maybe the Tardis took him there because she knew he had to be there. Or perhaps the dossier was not that detailed.

    By the way: who threw the pot in the opening scene? And why? It’s not exactly the Angels’ M.O., and if anything it forewarned her.

    Apart from the iconic conversation across time, there are a few other quotes that bring a smile:

    KATHY: What’s good about sad?
    SALLY: It’s happy for deep people.

    BILLY: And that’s Sally?
    SALLY: Sally Shipton. Sparrow! Sally Sparrow. I’m going now. Don’t look at me.

    BILLY: Ah, life is long, and you are hot.


    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×8 to 3×9)

    The last six episodes of season 3 are, to my mind, one of the greatest runs of eps in the history of the Doctor Who: this two-parter lays the basis of the final three parts, with the iconic “Blink” in between as a breather.

    Human Nature/The Family of Blood.
    This is one of my favourite stories in all Whodom. It’s a beautiful little human story, it’s an interesting sci-fi concept. It’s creepy, scary for the kids, with the sniffing Family and the animated scarecrows. Well-written and acted. There’s some realistic historical elements. It develops The Doctor’s relationship with Martha. It introduces new technology and concepts that will be important later in the series. We open in media res: it’s exciting and intriguing right off the bat. There’s not much to fault here.

    This story was written by Paul Cornell. It’s based on a novel he wrote in 1995, called Human Nature, involving The 7th Doctor and Bernice Summerfield. It began as a work of fan fiction in the early nineties. Cornell also wrote Father’s Day, another emotional episode.

    Jessica Hynes is the star: her restrained work as Joan is lovely. It’s all in the eyes. It’s nice that so many of the people from Spaced have been in Who: Hynes, Pegg, Frost and Bailey. Edgar Wright should write and direct some DW eps…

    Thomas Brodie-Sangster is also good as the gifted Tim. I think this was the first time I saw him (I did not see Love Actually until later). He went on to be a big deal in Game of Thrones and the Maze Runner series but I’ll always think of him mainly in this role.


    Some observations:

    The Arch doesn’t just humanise: it really makes a character. Smith is very much a man of the era, complete with casual racism and approval of bullying. His accent has also changed a bit: less Estuary, more Received Pronunciation.

    John Smith’s diary has little sketches of the various characters and objects from The Doctor’s past but notably it shows the 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Doctors, and I think this represents the first time that these were shown in any form in the New Who, and indeed the first acknowledgement of specific pre-Gap Doctors.

    One thing that I noticed on this re-watch is that, in this episode, Joan says, “All those images of mud and wire. You told of a shadow. A shadow falling across the entire world”, in reference to John Smith’s diary. Those visions actually represented The Doctor’s actual memories of World War One. The words echoed The Doctor and Lazarus’s quote from the Eliot poem about veterans of that war: “Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act falls the shadow.”

    At the ball, a gent is collecting for the veterans of Crimea. Blimey, by 1913, any veterans of Crimea would have been seventy-five years and up. Can’t have been too many. Maybe should have gone for the Boer Wars eh?

    The Chameleon Arch headpiece used in Human Nature resembles the device used to zap Brendan in Ascension of the Cybermen, a bit. I’ve mentioned elsewhere the connection between the Irish setting of that episode, and the fact that John Smith confirms that Gallifrey is in Ireland, in this.

    Early in the piece, the children are singing To Be a Pilgrim. “He would valiant be ‘gainst all disaster, let him in constancy, follow the Master.”

    The Family has stolen a Time Agent’s vortex manipulator. This reference might serve to remind us of a Time Agent who will be appearing later in the series.

    If I’ve got a complaint about this story, it’s one line:
    ” And then we discovered why. Why this Doctor, who had fought with gods and demons, why he’d run away from us and hidden. He was being kind. ”
    That doesn’t fit. The suggestion is that the Doctor fled from place to place, putting himself and Martha and others around him in danger, ultimately getting a lot of humans killed, just to avoid punishing the Family, to be “kind”? I know there had to be some explanation for why he was able to capture them now when before he couldn’t, but really any old plot device could have done that, more satisfactorily than this. Ah well, I can tell myself that Son (who narrated those lines) was mistaken.

    Most of the script is gold but here are some of my favourite bits.

    MARTHA: Would you like some tea?
    JENNY: Yes, thanks.
    MARTHA: I could put a nice bit of gravy in the pot. And some mutton. Or sardines and jam. How about that?
    JENNY: I like the sound of that.
    MARTHA: Right

    MARTHA: But we need it. Oh, my God, Doctor, we’re hiding from aliens, and they’ve got Jenny and they’ve possessed her or copied her or something, and you’ve got to tell me, where’s the watch?
    DOCTOR Oh, I see. Cultural differences. It must be so confusing for you. Martha, this is what we call a story.

    DOCTOR: Latimer, get back to the school. Tell the headmaster
    LATIMER: Don’t touch me. You’re as bad as them.

    JOAN: Then tell me. In this fairy tale, who are you?
    MARTHA: Just a friend. I’m not. I mean, you haven’t got a rival, as much as I might. Just his friend.
    JOAN: And human, I take it?
    MARTHA: Human. Don’t worry. And more than that, I just don’t follow him around. I’m training to be a doctor. Not an alien doctor, a proper doctor. A doctor of medicine.
    JOAN: Well that certainly is nonsense. Women might train to be doctors, but hardly a skivvy and hardly one of your colour.
    MARTHA: Oh, do you think? Bones of the hand. Carpal bones, proximal row. Scaphoid, lunate, triquetal, pisiform. Distal row. Trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, hamate. Then the metacarpal bones extending in three distinct phalanges. Proximal, middle, distal.
    JOAN: You read that in a book.
    MARTHA: Yes, to pass my exams. Can’t you see this is true?
    JOAN: I must go.

    LATIMER: Because I’ve seen him. He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun.
    DOCTOR: Stop it.
    LATIMER: He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and he can see the turn of the universe.
    DOCTOR: Stop it! I said stop it.
    LATIMER: And he’s wonderful.

    MARTHA: He gave me a list of things to watch out, for but that wasn’t included.
    DOCTOR: Falling in love? That didn’t even occur to him?
    MARTHA: No.
    DOCTOR: Then what sort of man is that? And now you expect me to die?
    MARTHA: It was always going to end, though! The Doctor said the Family’s got a limited lifespan, and that’s why they need to consume a Time Lord. Otherwise, three months and they die. Like mayflies, he said.
    DOCTOR: So your job was to execute me.
    MARTHA: People are dying out there. They need him and I need him. Because you’ve got no idea of what he’s like. I’ve only just met him. It wasn’t even that long ago. But he is everything. He’s just everything to me and he doesn’t even look at me, but I don’t care, because I love him to bits.

    JOAN: Oh, you look the same. Goodness, you must forgive my rudeness. I find it difficult to look at you. Doctor, I must call you Doctor. Where is he? John Smith?
    DOCTOR: He’s in here somewhere.
    JOAN: Like a story. Could you change back?
    DOCTOR: Yes.
    JOAN: Will you?
    DOCTOR: No.
    JOAN: I see. Well, then. He was braver that you in the end, that ordinary man. You chose to change. He chose to die.
    DOCTOR: Come with me.
    JOAN: I’m sorry?
    DOCTOR: Travel with me.
    JOAN: As what?
    DOCTOR: My companion.
    JOAN: But that’s not fair. What must I look like to you, Doctor? I must seem so very small.
    DOCTOR: No. We could start again. I’d like that. You and me. We could try, at least. Because everything that John Smith is and was, I’m capable of that, too.
    JOAN: I can’t.
    DOCTOR: Please come with me.
    JOAN: I can’t.
    DOCTOR: Why not?
    JOAN: John Smith is dead, and you look like him.
    DOCTOR: But he’s here, inside, if you look in my eyes.
    JOAN: Answer me this. Just one question, that’s all. If the Doctor had never visited us, if he’d never chosen this place on a whim, would anybody here have died?
    DOCTOR: …
    JOAN: You can go.

    MARTHA: I meant to say, back there, last night. I would have said anything to get you to change.
    DOCTOR: Oh yeah, of course you would. Yeah.
    MARTHA: I mean, I wasn’t really
    DOCTOR: Oh, no, no.
    MARTHA: Good.
    DOCTOR: Fine.
    MARTHA: So here we are then.

    Davros @replies

    “Not actually true. She’s had a reasonably busy career outside the Whoniverse, but not if you compare it with top-level writers like Moffat and Davies. Post Who she’s done a series for BBC Wales (Baker Boys) and was lead writer for Mr Selfridge. Currently I think she’s got several treatments out and a pilot filmed, but I dunno if any of them have been greenlit. She’s also done an episode for Call The Midwife this year.”

    Thanks for that info. 🙂
    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×6 to 3×7)

    The Lazarus Experiment. This is a pleasant but not outstanding episode: a decent story, relatable villain. By the by, we see more of Martha’s family, and the agents of Saxon move in, setting up conditions for “The Sound of Drums” later in the piece.
    Lazarus is played, nice and smarmily, by Mark Gatiss, who also played Gantok in “The Wedding of River Song”, and Captain Lethbridge-Stewart in “Twice Upon a Time”. Is there anyone else who has played four different characters in the DWU? (Not including voice-only portrayals)

    The Doctor gives Lazarus a speech about the pitfalls of extreme longevity. Martha compares The Doctor to James Bond, another British property from the early 1960s that’s regularly swapped out its lead actor. The Doctor and Lazarus quote The Hollow Men, a poem by Eliot about survivors of WWI. Martha gives The Doctor an ultimatum, and hence is promoted from passenger to companion.

    The weak spot in this episode is the CGI and character design for the transformed Lazarus. There’s just something about the face that is ridiculous and unimpressive. I don’t like to harp on about effects: I mean I know that even in the new era DW has had a fairly modest budget. But there are things you can do if you can’t afford minutes of full CG, e.g. keep the beast partly hidden except in crucial moments etc.

    Some quotes:

    MARTHA: But we’re trapped.
    DOCTOR: Well, yeah, that’s a slight problem.
    MARTHA: You mean you don’t have a plan?
    DOCTOR: Yes, the plan was to get inside here.
    MARTHA: Then what?
    DOCTOR: Well, then I’d come up with another plan.

    DOCTOR: Really shouldn’t take that long just to reverse the polarity. I must be a bit out of practice.



    A satisfyingly tense bottle episode. This was the first Chibnall-written Doctor Who story, though he’d previously written Torchwood eps.

    I’m bound to say that there are numerous similarities between this episode and “Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit”. In both episodes, the Doctor and his companion land the Tardis in a confined space with a small crew that are there to obtain natural resources,  and are separated from the Tardis by things going wrong. In both episodes, there’s imminent danger of falling into a nearby stellar body (a black hole in Impossible Planet, a yellowish star here). In both episodes, members of the crew are infected and mentally taken over by a mysterious being. I suppose the thematic and specific differences are enough that this doesn’t feel too much like a lazy recycle. The Beast is literal evil: the star just wants to heal its injury. Is the idea of a living star too silly to put up with? You decide! I was okay with it.

    The title refers to the 42 minutes they have left, and the episode basically plays in real time. This is similar to the TV show 24, which plays out in real time as well (but over 24 episodes each of an hour).

    When the Doctor yells “I’ll save you” to Martha as she drifts away in the pod, she can’t hear him: it looks a bit as though he’s saying “I love you”.

    The Doctor extends Martha the same privileges he gave Rose: Universal Roaming and a Tardis key. Saxon’s staff are with Martha’s mother during their phone calls.

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now his 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×4 to 3×5)


    Daleks in Manhatten/ Evolution of the Daleks. This two-parter is a lot better than I’d remembered. It does a lot to further the grand lore of the Daleks, and provides a nice link between the events of Doomsday and those of Stolen Earth. Sec, Thay, Jast and Caan each have different sounding voices, different personalities: it’s something that’s rarely been done.
    Hooverville provides a nice little slice of historical fact, though I’m wondering whether racial integration was really so smooth in 1929.
    Hugh Quarshie plays the “leader” of Hooverville. You probably know Quarshie from The Phantom Menace but he also played one of the immortals in Highlander back in the 1980s. He is a British actor whose American accent is pretty solid. The same cannot be said for all members of this mainly British cast. One of those with the iffiest accent is Andrew Garfield, of later Amazing Spider-man fame.
    As with the Judoon, I was wondering why the character designers decided to make the slaves so much like an existing Earthly animal. I guess the reason is that some random horrifically altered human face would be more disturbing for young kids than a dude with a pigface. I thought it was a good choice that The Doctor could not fix all of the problems, leaving Lazslo as he was (though it did seem that probably the worst of it could be fixed with surgery.)

    Couple of good lines:

    The Doctor: They survived. They always survive while I lose everything.

    Tallulah: Oh, sure you are. I’ve seen the way you look at him. It’s obvious.
    Martha: Not to him.
    Tallulah: Oh, I should have realised. He’s into musical theatre, huh? What a waste.


    The author, Helen Raynor, has done surprisingly little work outside the DWU.

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now his 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×1 to 3×3)

    Smith and Jones. This is an enjoyable character introduction. Little Old Lady villains are the best, even better than Child villains. There’s something very unnerving about Grandma gone wrong. We also see a poster for Harold Saxon.

    This was also the introduction for the Judoon. I’ve always had mixed feelings about the design: great animatronics but did they have to look _so_ much like rhinos? We also see Martha’s family, who are quite important later in the series. Gugu Mbatha-Raw has gone on to be kind of a big deal. If I have any criticism about it is that Martha gets feelings for The Doctor straight away. Tennant isn’t _that_ handsome and charismatic. Right?

    The Shakespeare Code.
    I do like this ep, mostly for the humour. The witchy Carrionites are way over the top but hey, the kids loved it.
    The Doctor keeps feeding Shakespeare his own material: the old Bootstrap Paradox. He even gives him the word Sycorax… “I should be on 10%”.
    There’s a running gag with the 10th Doctor, in which he tells a companion not to try to speak in the local dialect. “No, no, don’t do that. Don’t. ” He pulled it on Rose in “Tooth and claw”, kind of does it with Donna in “Midnight”  and here he pulls it on Martha. Either he’s embarrassed because they are doing it so badly or perhaps it messes with the Tardis’s translation gear.
    Martha’s jealousy about Rose comes up again. We get the first hint of his trouble with Elizabeth I.
    Martha: “I don’t know how to tell you this, oh great genius, but your breath doesn’t half stink. ” I’ve often thought about that!
    Maybe if I have one criticism it’s that the words he uses to dismiss the Carrionites should be more … Shakespearian?

    Gridlock. Far and away this is my least favourite 10th Doctor episode. Worse than Love and Monsters. You heard me! You _have_ to watch it, though, because we learn a bit more information about Gallifrey, it builds on The Doctor’s relationship with Martha, and the Face of Boe’s message is a key piece of info later. I note that when the Doctor mentions the Daleks, Martha just nods. She’s familiar. Astute earthlings would know about it. Also, Adral O’Hanlan (from Father Ted and Death In Paradise) is in it, so that’s nice.
    There’s not much else good about it. Even in the context of a series as bonkers as Doctor Who, the story makes no sense at all. People are share-riding “to save fuel” but they’ve got onboard fuel regeneration. If you’d got fuel regeneration, then you’d beaten energy conservation, and can achieve anything. There’s a street with nothing but three mood-sellers, hardly any customers, because everyone’s gone on the road. The economics, psychology and physics are just baffling. I know it is meant as a parable but it’s too clunky and clumsy to work.
    Then they sing Abide With Me, 5 billion years in the future. The Macra were completely tacked on, in a failed attempt at a nostalgic hit. And the sets and CGI don’t look great. It all looks small.
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    Davros @replies

    I was watching a Doctor Who reviewer on YouTube, some seasoned whiskery Northerner.


    He said, “I didn’t really understand the concept of regeneration when I saw the 9th Doctor’s regeneration,  ’cause I was only five years old…”



    Get the hell off my lawn.

    Still surprises me that there are full grown adults for whom the start of New Who represents very early childhood nostalgia. That’s how time works, I guess.

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now his 6 year old nephew, continued: 3C)

    “The Runaway Bride”

    Donna’s spectacular intro. I kind of had the feeling we would see more of her.

    The Doctor says Donna is not important: he has said this about other people too. Kind of contradicts his comments for instance in “Christmas Carol”, that he’s never met an unimportant person.

    The scene where the TARDIS is bumping along the motorway trying to stay level with the cab is still brilliant.

    Corniest joke in Doctor Who history:

    Doctor: It was all there in the job title. The Head of Human Resources.
    Lance: This time, it’s personnel.

    One thing that’s a bit off here … The Doctor commits bona fide genocide here. Yeah he gives the Empress one warning, and then exterminates countless hungry children. I guess he’s only really got a heart for the cute kids. Donna says, “Doctor, you can stop now!” but he’s not actively doing anything, just watching them all drown. I think they probably needed to insert that line (as well as her parting comment “sometimes you need someone to stop you” in order to tie in to “Keep Left” later. But in context, it doesn’t really work.

    The boys want to know if Rose is coming back… I’m not saying anything.




    Davros @replies


    Yeah I never really understood the lack of enthusiasm for Clara or Martha. My favourite companion is still Donna, though.

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now his 6 year old nephew, continued: 2×12 to 2×13)

    “Army of Ghosts”/”Doomsday”

    Why oh why does the BBC give away the farm in the end-of-episode preview? Early in the piece I learned to skip them but the fact that this was a Dalek v Cyberman story was given away in the “Fear Her” preview. Hmph.

    This is a very well conceived and executed story. Great sci-fi concept, funny, exciting, heartbreaking at the end. Very happy to see Mickey again, but the dynamic between the Tyler family members was very well played.

    This was our first look at Torchwood and they’ve kind of cocked everything up… This is also our first look at Freema, but she’s playing Adeola Oshodi, Martha’s cousin.

    (What went wrong with Yvonne’s inhibitor chip? )

    Like “Dalek”, “Doomsday” expands the scope of the Daleks’ ability to adapt immediately to fresh forms of attack.

    I always thought it was a bit of a plothole that the Doctor and Rose, coated with Voidgoo, could hang on to the sides of a wall just by using magnaclamps. They’re just … clamps, right? This suggests that the force of the Void is so pissweak that it can be resisted by a human hanging on to a clamp. A Cyberman should have no trouble hanging on to something. What if the Cyberman is indoors? In a basement? They should have dropped some line about the clamps dampening the fieldstrength or something. I suppose he does say they are “steeped” in Void stuff so perhaps they are more strongly affected than him and Rose.

    Interesting that the Cybermen were fairly ready to form alliances, first with the Daleks and then with the humans. The Daleks of course would be revolted by the idea of working with non-Daleks. The Cyberman also display more human traits in conversation. Very nice work by Davies as author.

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Dalek: Establish visual contact. Lower communications barrier.</span><span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”> Identify yourselves.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman: You will identify first.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Dalek: State your identity.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman: You will identify first.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>
    Dalek: Identify!</span>

    Mickey: It’s like Stephen Hawking versus the Speaking Clock.


    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman: That answer is  illogical. You will modify.
    Dalek: Daleks do not take orders.
    Cyberman: You have identified as Daleks.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Dalek: Outline resembles the inferior species known as Cybermen.</span><span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>
    Cyberman: We followed in the wake of your sphere.
    </span><span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Dalek: Long range scans confirm the presence of crude cybernetic constructs on worldwide scale.

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman: Our species our similar, though your design is inelegant.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Dalek: Daleks have no concept of elegance.

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman: This is obvious. But consider, our technologies are compatible.</span><span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”> Cybermen plus Daleks.</span><span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”> Together, we could upgrade the Universe.
    Dalek: You propose an alliance?</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman]: This is correct.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”><b>Dalek</b>: Request denied.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman: Hostile elements will be deleted. (shooting)
    Dalek: Exterminate! (destroying two cybermen)</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberleader: Open visual link.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”><b>Cyberleader</b>: Daleks, be warned. You have declared war upon the Cybermen.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”><b>Dalek</b>: This is not war. This is pest control.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberleader: We have five million Cybermen. How many are you?</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”><b>Dalek</b>: Four.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberleader: You would destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?
    Dalek: We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek. </span><span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>You are superior in only one respect.
    Cyberleader: What is that?</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Dalek: You are better at dying. Raise communications barrier</span>

    Dalek: The female’s heartbeat has increased.
    Mickey: Yeah, tell me about it.



    Darlig Ulv Stranden. Brilliant. 🙂

    I do think that the events of “Journey’s End” somewhat retrospectively tarnished the perfect sadness of “Doomsday”, but it still stands on its intrinsic merits.

    There were a LOT of questions from my nephew concerning these two episodes. I don’t think the concept of parallel universes comes easily to a 6 year old and he wasn’t really convinced The Doctor couldn’t just go and collect Rose at the end. My 11 year old son was a bit moved at the end.

    Also: damn, I miss Murray Gold.

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son, continued: 2×7 to 2×11)

    Although I’d remembered the Cyberman-related eps of Series 2 fondly, somehow in my memory the rest of the second half of the Series was a bit bland. Although they certainly have their weaknesses, they are much better than I’d remembered. They all contain Torchwood references of course, and in most of them there is a strong suggestion of Rose’s developing romantic feelings towards Our Hero.

    “The Idiot’s Lantern”

    One of many episodes in which The Doctor does not end up where he intended. We’ll never know how many of these are due to his incompetence and how many are due to his wife interfering with his trajectory…
    This is the second historical episode of this season to involve a British Monarch. The first involved a plan by an alien to take over the Empire by possessing the Queen, whereas this one involves a Queen’s coronation being used by an alien to restore its corporeal form at the expense of millions of people.
    The secondary villain is Eddie Connolly, the unredeemed abusive husband and father of the family at the core of the story. In the end, The Doctor counsels young Tommy Connolly to reach out to Eddie. In real life this might not be the best advice (shrugs). Also a little reminder that not everything was great in the olden days.
    Eddie: Oh, he loves his Gran, this one. Proper little mummy’s boy all round.
    Betty: Oh, you know what they say about them. Eddie, you want to beat that out of him.
    Eddie: That’s exactly what I’m going to do.

    “The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit”
    The invocation of the name of Satan in this, and the statement that the Beast is a Demon older than the Universe, is probably the only bad part of this story. The tension, the intrigue, the drama, are all top flight. Then again, any time The Doctor can’t get to the TARDIS is usually a bit tense. As in “The Girl In The Fireplace”, the Doctor faces life on the slow path.

    Rose: No signal. That’s the first time we’ve gone out of range. Mind you, even if I could. What would I tell her? Can you build another Tardis?
    Doctor: They were grown, not built. And with my own planet gone, we’re kind of stuck.
    Rose: Well, it could be worse. This lot said they’d give us a lift.
    Doctor: And then what?
    Rose: I don’t know. Find a planet, get a job, live a life, same as the rest of the universe.
    Doctor: I’d have to settle down. Get a house or something. A proper house with, with doors and things. Carpets. Me, living in a house. Now that, that is terrifying.
    Rose: You’d have to get a mortgage.
    Doctor: No.
    Rose: Oh, yes.
    Doctor: I’m dying. That’s it. I’m dying. It is all over.
    Rose: What about me? I’d have to get one, too. I don’t know, could be the same one. We could both, I don’t know, share. Or not, you know. Whatever. I don’t know. We’ll sort something out
    Doctor: Anyway.
    Rose: We’ll see.

    Also introduced one of the best species of new Who, the Ood. Very well conceived, lovely character design.

    “Love and Monsters”

    Now this is near-universally regarded as one of the worst, or THE worst, episode of new Who … and I don’t disagree with that assessment, but my son and his young cousin thought it was great. There’s nothing wrong with having an episode strictly for the kids, I suppose. The monster character design and name came out of a Blue Peter competition for children. TD and Rose are only on screen for a few minutes. I suppose this is the first episode since “Rose” to concern regular folks who are trying to investigate the mystery of The Doctor.
    The episode is not completely without its charms. Jackie’s receptiveness to Elton’s infiltration efforts is epic. Ursula is played by Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter series), and Elton is played by Marc Warren who has been in an enormous amount of British gear, including one of the better Dracula adaptations in the titular role. I was not familiar with Victor Kennedy’s standup work before seeing him here: funny chap.
    The Abzorbaloff is from Clom, referenced later in “The Stolen Earth” when the Doc says, “Clom. Clom’s gone? Who’d want Clom?”

    “Fear Her”

    A small local story, to be sure, but pleasant. The Doctor shows wisdom, rationality and mercy: the Spock references (the hand gesture, the mind-meld) are apt. Also a little bit of a call back to The Empty Child: “Give me some Spock, for once. Would it kill you?”
    I thought it was an interesting choice to have the girl’s greatest fear be her abusive dead father. Hmm, second episode of the season to involve an abusive father.
    I thought is was a bad choice to call the force being used by Isolus “ionic energy”. That’s a pretty bland term with an ordinary real-life meaning.

    Rose: (to a cat) Aren’t you a beautiful boy??
    Doctor: Thanks! I’m experimenting with back combing. Oh.
    Rose: I used to have one like you. What?
    Doctor: No, I’m not really a cat person. Once you’ve been threatened by one in a nun’s wimple, it kind of takes the joy out of it.

    Advancing the Grand Arc:

    Rose: Easy for you to say. You don’t have kids.
    Doctor: I was a dad once.
    Rose: What did you say?

    Worst prediction:

    Doctor: Well, I will tell you this. Papua New Guinea surprises everyone in the shot put.

    PNG didn’t even qualify for the Olympics in that sport! Pity he didn’t say New Zealand.

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son, continued: 2×4 to 2×6)

    (Forgot to mention that in School Reunion, a conversation between SJS and 10 makes another Time War ref: “I lived. Everyone else died.” The slow drip drip drip of information is always something I liked about Who, even in the Before Times.)

    “The Girl in the Fireplace”
    This is a fun but also somewhat poignant episode. The basic concept of the ship repairs is horrific, but the Doctor’s repeated connection to Reinette is romantic.

    Arc-line, latter used by the 11th Doctor: “You’ve had some cowboys in here.”

    Zinger: “How many ticks left in that clockwork heart, huh? A day? An hour? It’s over. Accept that. I’m not winding you up.”

    Two favourite conversations:
    Reinette: Monsieur, be careful.
    Doctor: Just a nightmare, Reinette, don’t worry about it. Everyone has nightmares. Even monsters from under the bed have nightmares, don’t you, monster?
    Reinette: What do monsters have nightmares about?
    Doctor: Me!

    Doctor: Sorry, you might find old memories reawakening. Side effect.
    Reinette: Oh, such a lonely childhood.
    Doctor: It’ll pass. Stay with me.
    Reinette: Oh, Doctor. So lonely. So very, very alone.
    Doctor: What do you mean, alone? You’ve never been alone in your life. When did you start calling me Doctor?
    Reinette: Such a lonely little boy. Lonely then and lonelier now. How can you bear it?
    It’s also Mickey’s first TARDIS trip, and he’s quite an effective operator. He also continues to rib Rose about The Doctor’s supposedly libertinous behaviour.
    My boy loved the horse in space…
    This ep is called back to from “Deep Breath” when the 12th Doctor encounters robots from SS Madame de Pompadour’s sister ship, SS Marie Antoinette, but can’t quite remember where he’s seen this kind of thing before.

    “Rise of the Cybermen”/”Age of Steel”

    I always thought that the manner of the Cybermen’s introduction into new Who was quite brilliant. Basically similar to the original, except rather than on a planet that was Earth’s twin, the cybes originate in a slightly different parallel universe. Although in pre-gap Who, the origin of the cybermen was made plain, we never _saw_ it. We never really found out how we got from A to B. (“World Enough and Time” later gave some kind of version of the origin of the Mondassian Cybermen.)

    Despite the lack of direct blood and gore in this pair of episodes, the information we are given is horrific enough. Sally Phelan, the Cyberman with the broken inhibitor trying to make sure her groom doesn’t see her before the wedding … that was just heartbreaking.
    Pete’s World Jackie was a terrible person, whereas Pete’s World Pete was nice, so I suppose we should have known which of them would survive…
    Somehow I had misremembered, thinking that it was made clear that the Cyberman who tries to climb the rope ladder after PW-Pete was PW-Jackie. Actually it was the Cyber-controller. If I were writing it, it would have been Jackie…
    It felt satisfying that Mickey found a place where he was needed, taking care of his PW-grandmother.

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son, continued: 2×2 to 2×3)

    “Tooth and Claw”
    Opening with Western monks doing Eastern martial arts: whacky, exciting start.
    This is a historical episode but, unlike some others, it’s unlikely to teach youngsters anything important, though it is true that Albert had the Koh i Noor whittled down to perfect the cut.
    This episode also shows the founding of Torchwood. I thought in retrospect it was interesting that they continued with the Bad Wolf references here. I suppose it makes sense that if she spread the message all throughout history, she would still encounter them _after_ (in her timeline) the events of “Parting of the Ways”.

    “School Reunion”
    As an older Whovian I was happy to let the nostalgia overwhelm me for this episode. Some people complain about fan service, but why? What’s bad about being served?
    Quite aside from the pleasure of seeing Sarah and K9 again, this was a lovely episode. Plenty of humour, the Rose-Sarah dynamic was enjoyable. Poor Mickey … Rose did nothing to hide her disappointment when TD invited him for a trip. The beasties were suitably creepy but Anthony Head stole the show as Mr. Finch.
    “I’m so old now. I used to have so much mercy. You get one warning. That was it.”

    Davros @replies

    I think the 14th Doctor is likely to be a Person of Colour.


    And I don’t mean like this…

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son, continued: 2×C to 2×1)

    “Christmas Invasion” is the first Christmas special, and not a bad one. It’s a fine introduction, and sets up a number of things that are important or called back to in later episodes: The Doctor’s lost hand, his inability to resist big red buttons, the fall and later redemption of Harriet Jones, the limits of The Doctor’s mercy … even the Sycorax get another mention in “The Shakespeare Code”. Torchwood is heavily referenced here, as it is in so many of the Series 2 episodes.

    “New Earth” is actually the first new Who episode not set on Earth or its immediate vicinity. My lad is always glad to see the Face of Boe for some reason. Despite all her crimes, The Doctor was good enough to give Cassandra a better ending than she deserved: interesting. Some people are pretty fussy about whether or not this or that action is in-character for The Doctor, but he is basically capricious and inconsistent: it’s not necessarily down to bad writing, some people are just like that. I love Cassandra’s line when she’s in The Doctor’s body: “I’m a man! Yummy. So many parts … and hardly used.”






    Davros @replies




    “I haven’t seen much of pre-2005 Doctor Who yet so there’s a lot of those that I don’t recognise, but I know #11 is a Dreg from Orphan 55, #12 is clearly Gallifrey but I’m not sure what the shapes in the foreground are, and #19 is the Pting from The Tsuranga Conundrum. I recognise #15 but can’t think who she is. I’ve seen some people on Twitter point out who the face on the left in #25 is though: it’s the Abzorbaloff from Love and Monsters! And I think the person on the right in the same image might be River?”


    Thanks. I think #15 is Becka Savage from “The Witchfinders”.

    I’ve gone back through the archives to identify some of the others. It’s interesting that they have gone with some obscure ones while leaving out some more well known critters. #70 Left could be  an Ogron from “Day of the Daleks”? #72 Right might be the Jagaroth from “City of Death”. #69 Left is Sutekh The Destroyer from “Pyramids Of Mars”. #68 Left is a Voc robot from “Robots Of Death”. #66 Left is Sharaz Jek from “The Caves of Androzani”, and #66 Right is The Rani.

    Very curious to know if anyone can identify #67 Left. Looks like a little doll version of the Fifth Doctor…

    Davros @replies

    28/ 12th Doctor standing proudly
    29/ 12th Doctor holding a weapon
    30/ 12th Doctor standing in front of bright sky
    31/ 11th Doctor standing
    32/ 11th Doctor standing in close up
    33/ 11th Doctor in the TARDIS doorway
    34/ 10th Doctor crying … is he holding the Master?
    35/ 10th Doctor yelling
    36/ 10th Doctor in front of a circle of bright dots
    37/ 9th Doctor in front of a circle of bright dots
    38/ 9th Doctor looking cross
    39/ 9th Doctor in the TARDIS
    40/ War Doctor front on
    41/ War Doctor side on, baleful
    42/ War Doctor front on, resolved
    43/ War Doctor side on, looking down
    44/ 8th Doctor from “The Night Of The Doctor” on Karn
    45/ 8th Doctor from “The Night Of The Doctor” in front of the TARDIS
    46/ 7th Doctor, facing front, quizzical
    47/ 7th Doctor, sky behind him
    48/ 6th Doctor, looking right, confused
    49/ 6th Doctor, looking front, angry
    50/ 5th Doctor, black background
    51/ 5th Doctor, in the TARDIS
    52/ 4th Doctor, extreme close-up
    53/ A lab scene from “The Brain of Morbius” showing one of the Faces in the middle distance
    54/ 4th Doctor, facing front, looking down
    55/ 4th Doctor, in the TARDIS
    56/ 3rd Doctor, looking left
    57/ 3rd Doctor, holding the sonic, with Jo I think
    58/ 3rd Doctor in close up
    59/ 2nd Doctor, facing front, someone in a white coat behind him
    60/ 2nd Doctor, looking a bit cross, in close up
    61/ 2nd Doctor, looking glum
    62/ 1st Doctor, with the Astrakhan on, outdoors
    63/ 1st Doctor in close up, smiling broadly
    64/ 1st Doctor, imposed over image of 13th Doctor straining to break the Matrix

    Then there’s a series of images of Doctor straining like this, with various beings to her left and right:






    70/ That would be Ainley on the right.


    72/ Delgado on the left there.

    73/ Then the Timeless Child as she was first found.

    75/ An incarnation of the Timeless Child in bed
    76/ Another incarnation of the Timeless Child in bed
    77/ Another lab scene from “The Brain of Morbius” showing one of the Faces in the middle distance
    78/ Back to the Timeless Child in bed
    79/ Another incarnation of the Timeless Child in bed
    80/ Yet another incarnation of the Timeless Child in bed
    81/ The Timeless Child as an adult attending the Division interview
    82/ Lab scene from “The Brain of Morbius” showing one of the Faces in the middle distance
    83 Zoom on one of the Faces from “The Brain of Morbius”: one we don’t know, Sonny Bono-ish
    84/ Zoom on one of the Faces from “The Brain of Morbius”: another we don’t know
    85/ Zoom on one of the Faces from “The Brain of Morbius”: another we don’t know
    86/ Zoom on one of the Faces from “The Brain of Morbius”: another we don’t know, bit Jesusy
    87/ I don’t know what this is

    88/DocMartin, in the TARDIS
    89/Back to the 13th Doctor, straining to break the Matrix

    Davros @replies

    I tried to post a list of the images shown when The Doctor was trying to blow up the Matrix but I think that post kind of blew up the Matrix, so I’ll break it up a bit.

    So here are the images that are shown before The Doctor blows up the Matrix. I counted 89 images, it runs for about 10 seconds, so it’s about 3 frames per image, average. It’s a bit fuzzy in places. Maybe you can help identify some of the more obscure images.

    1/ The Master (O)
    2/ The 13th Doctor and the Cyberium (from this episode)
    3/ The Fam at the door in “The Haunting of Villa Diodati”
    4/ Rakaya in “Can You Hear Me?”
    5/ Gat in “Fugitive of the Judoon”
    6/ DocMartin in “Fugitive of the Judoon”
    7/ Jack Harkness, I think in “Fugitive of the Judoon”
    8/ 13th Doctor outdoors, couldn’t work out what episode it was from, possibly “Fugitive of the Judoon”
    9/ Tesla in “Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror”

    Then these things:

    13/ Then a Dalek

    then these things:


    16/ 13th Doctor, Yaz and Graham as seen, I think, by a Dalek

    then these things:


    21/ 13th Doctor running to the TARDIS in “The Ghost Monument”
    22/ Another 13th Doctor moment in “The Ghost Monument”
    23/ “Tim Shaw”
    24/ Then back to the 13th Doctor straining to break the Matrix

    But then a couple of faces join her…

    26/ Is this the Racnoss?

    27/ One of the cat people of New Earth I guess.

    Davros @replies

    Previous mentions of the Shobogans on-screen:

    In “The Deadly Assassin”
    SPANDRELL: Just the kind of hooliganism we’re always running the Shobogans in for.

    In “Hell Bent”:
    DOCTOR: The last I heard, he stole the moon and the President’s wife.
    CLARA: Was she, er, Was she nice, the President’s wife?
    DOCTOR: Ah, well, that was a lie put about by the Shobogans. It was the President’s daughter. I didn’t steal the moon, I lost it.

    Any others?

    There are references to Shobogans in the novels Lungbarrow and The Eight Doctors.

    In all of this it appears they just some group of Gallifreyans that are outside Time Lord society.

    Davros @replies

    Interesting that The Doc’s coded memory, then, shows Brendan being shot by a criminal before falling off a cliff. Perhaps this implies that what really happened to the Timeless Child on Gallifrey with the other kid wasn’t an accident.

    Davros @replies

    BTW, The Master paraphrases Ozymandias (“Look upon my works, Doctor, and despair”) which is by Shelley, tying back to episode 8.


    Davros @replies

    Overall, I enjoyed this episode. I did not suspect that the Ireland scenes were a screen for what was happening to the Doctor as an agent on Gallifrey: not for a second. Great work by intense Whittaker and manic Dhawan. Cyber Time Lords really is an unnerving idea, so that part of the plot was nice enough in itself. Beautiful callbacks to The Deadly Assassin, one of my favourite Fourth Doctor stories. Kind and serious moments with the fam, then an old-fashioned series finale clinghanger.

    I have some questions about the impact of the new origin story for The Doctor and the Time Lords. There are possible answers, and I’m a patient man, but I’m hoping some more things are sorted out next season.

    If we do take Ruth to be part of a previous run of the Doc before she was rechildinated, then why would her TARDIS look like a Police Box?

    I suspect there is more to this story. If we take it as all true, then the Doctor was always completely alone, unique, not even the same species as other Gallifreyans. So why did her biology always pass as Gallifreyan? Were they all converted to her biology? Was she converted to theirs, using some Chameleon Arch tech? Is there some Chameleon Arch somewhere, waiting to be broken, that will convert her to her original biology?

    It’s also weird that they went to the tail end of the Cyberwars to rescue the last humans in the Galaxy, but ended up taking them back to the 21st century anyway, so the effect is the same: humans were wiped from the Galaxy at the end of the Cyberwars.

    I don’t trust what the Matrix showed The Doctor completely. It could be partly fabricated or presented with false context in order to break her emotionally.

    Still, it’s a thumbs-up from me.

    PS: The Child ran through many regenerations while Tecteun studied her. Why is she going through so many deaths? Is Tecteun some kind of Mengele? Also it was interesting that the subsequent regenerations seemed to be in ascending order of age: that’s not how it has worked for our Doctor. She got younger in appearance from 4 to 5, 7 to 8, certainly 12 to 13.

    Davros @replies

    I’ll tell you something else for free: when Brendan falls off the cliff, right after he opens his eyes there is a moment when he is covered in freckles. In every other shot he has clear skin.

    Davros @replies

    “@davros I read somewhere – probably on the Other Place, and whether it was info or speculation I know not – that the same actor played Old Brendan and Ko Sharmus….”

    I don’t see how that’s possible. They look completely different.

    Davros @replies

    Maybe what we’re seeing through the gate is not the Citadel destroyed, but the Citadel being built.


    BTW do you know the name of the actor who plays old Brendan? Often when DW doesn’t include someone in the credits, it is significant.

    Old Brendan

    Davros @replies

    This is the kind of ep I like. Mystery, WTF, action, pathos.

    I suppose you all have covered all the possibilities. The connection between Jack’s condition and Brendan’s is an obvious thought but I don’t think it is hereditary. Sadly we know that Jack’s descendants can be killed…

    Are Bren’s guardians Time Lords? Is the master stocking Gallifrey with refugees? Is Ko Sharmus Rassilon?

    Davros @replies

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son, continued: 1×11 to 1×13)

    Boom Town is not among my favourite episodes, and the Slitheen aren’t my favourite aliens… but this episode does some important setting up. We’re re-introduced to the importance of the Rift mentioned in The Unquiet Dead, we’re shown some of the power of looking into the heart of the TARDIS. Perhaps my favourite part of the episode is the restaurant conversation between The Doctor and Blon Fel-Fotch: “You’re pleading for mercy out of a dead woman’s lips.”

    One thing I did pick up from watching Boom Town, Bad Wolf and The Parting Of The Ways in succession is that Blon was dead right about The Doctor:

    Blon: I spared her life.
    The Doctor: You let one of them go, but that’s nothing new. Every now and then, a little victim’s spared because she smiled, because he’s got freckles, because they begged. And that’s how you live with yourself. That’s how you slaughter millions. Because once in a while, on a whim, if the wind’s in the right direction, you happen to be kind.
    Blon: Only a killer would know that. Is that right? From what I’ve seen, your funny little happy go lucky little life leaves devastation in its wake. Always moving on because you dare not look back. Playing with so many peoples lives, you might as well be a god. And you’re right, Doctor. You’re absolutely right. Sometimes you let one go. Let me go.

    And sure enough in Parting Of The Ways, The Doctor burns through a lot of lives to protect himself while he works on the weapon, even lying to the volunteers that their shells would be effective against the Daleks. But one, just one, he decides to spare: Rose, perversely because he knew she’d never ask to leave his side. In the end, he can’t go through with his plan (to commit double-genocide … again.)

    God how I wish RTD had not gone with the Reality TV parody angle in Bad Wolf. He could have come up with TV shows that hinted at that cultural phenomenon without referencing specific shows. Embarrassing, it is: monumental Zeerust. I never watched Big Brother or What Not To Wear but I did watch Weakest Link back in the day. Fortunately my son’s never heard of those shows so for him it was just random whatever.

    The horrific story of The Controller gave the new audience a bit more reason to hate the Daleks: they’re not just combatants on one side of a war; they do things no creatures with morals would do.

    In Parting Of The Ways, I have to say the Daleks’ plan seemed somewhat convoluted. They could probably have just put all their efforts into building the army rather than running some bizarro TV network. Slowing down development might not have helped them much. Interesting that these Daleks are human hybrids. There’s another human-dalek hybrid, of a sort, in Daleks In Manhattan. But in Heaven Sent, The Doctor says, “Nothing is half Dalek. The Daleks would never allow that.” (shrugs)

    The Doctor sets the tone for the whole of new Who by giving up a regeneration to save Rose.

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