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    Time Lord

    Oh dear… Bored now.

    Take it by PM to Craig. As I suggested. A good while ago. You remember?

    Any further additions will be DELETED. To allow the rest of the Forum to get on with enjoying themselves.

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    Time Lord

    Fair enough – get what you want from the site. It should be a place like that. I think that was the intention.

    Have a good time.

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    Time Lord


    I think most forum users here are experienced enough to see:

    1. You started this chain of events
    2. You’ve tried to propogate the argument to stupid lengths
    3. Your grandstanding is embarrassing, even towards the lurkers who just want a bit of argy-bargy

    If you want to have a laugh and and a joke, talk Who and post a couple of choona go at it. You can easily ignore me.

    But your responses indicate you want something more. So make a complaint to Craig and keep it off the forum. I always encourage complaints. Especially when the reasons are as obvious as this one. 😉

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    Time Lord


    Part of me wonders if Chibnall likes wearing hair shirts. His younger self accused Pip & Jane Baker of producing a story based on the Doctor & companion running down a corridor. For his first Who episode in “42” that’s essentially what he has Martha doing.


    All of which leads me to ask: are we witnessing the John Nathan-Turner years of AG Who?

    And you’ve just called it basically. I’ve been working up to it, but when I suggested I was going to work a blog on s11 into the mix, this was going to be my lead proposition. Is Chibnall the new JNT? Because there are some striking parallels when you look at the history.

    As a wise Cylon once said “All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again”.

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    Time Lord


    I don’t know if the Doctor himself knows how to travel the timelines. Poßibly just the TARDIS operating in 11 dimensions can work it. The only time I can think that the Doctor did it (other than Pyramids of Mars, where it was inevitable) is the implied reunion between 11 and Amelia at the end of Angels take Manhattan. Amy and Rory seem to have memories of two different timelines, and the Doctor traveling back to tell the young Amelia what she can expect is possibly a third?

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    Time Lord

    What a great track! I am blessed!

    I did get MrsP to help me (with my arthritis) and she loved it too!

    Wishing you the best xxx

    Thanks for bringing so much joy into our lives!

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    Time Lord


    ..And yet you initiated this exchange and continue to do so. How very pedantic sorry pedestrian of you? All I want is for you to enjoy your time by conversing with like minded people. I’m guessing that’s not what you want is it?

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    Time Lord


    You….almost died…?!

    Break out the tambourines MrsP and let us praise the Lord!!

    (You started this newbie – as you say, get over yourself, deal with whatever inner demons you have 😉 )

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    Time Lord

    With discussions of alternative timelines and a certain cognitive dissonance required to watch the upbeat Doctor 13 takle climate change then what can I do?

    Well, this guy Bill McClintock could help. He’s a You Tube remixer of some repute.

    His channel is seriously funny if you have a bit of knowledge about rock/metal.
    His mashup of slayer & Katrina and the waves is cognitive dissonance personified

    But,the featured track is pure brilliance. River said the Doctor got Stevie Wonder to play at the frost fairs get her birthday. I’d like to think that in a Aborted timeline this actually happened!

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    Time Lord

    My dear @peacefrog, I didn’t realise you had such talent!

    To pick up on the everyday finger fumble by the arthritic trying to use a touchpad! Lawks alordy! Trances \=\ Frances.

    God bless you! Your parents must be so proud!! I’ll show MrsP your post tomorrow. She. Will. Be . ASTOUNDED!!!

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    Time Lord


    While I’m sniggering I’ll just point out I may have arrived at a (admittedly poor) reason for last week’s mindwipe.

    The first Mindwipe was completed by the Timelords on Jamie & Zoe. If we are looking at the lies of Timelords then the memory wipe will do. Could be a reminder the TLs do have this power and the Doctor\Master may have experienced it. To forget ‘The Timeless Child” (or whatever).

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    Time Lord


    I did mean to post a response to your question earlier, but things happen.

    In the BG episodes the mindwipe never happened. Well, once, but in a different way. And is wasn’t the Doctor who performed it.

    When we finally meet the Timelords at the end of Patrick Troughtons’s run (The War Games), they mindwipe Jamie and Zoe (the companions) but leave them with the memories of their original encounter with the Doctor. They remove all the knowledge and experience they have accumulated since though.

    It didn’t happen after that. Oh, the Doctor did have mental powers to be sure, but it was mostly healing\putting people into Frances.

    Spin forward to the AG years and it’s one Steven Moffat who brings the mind powers back. In The girl and the fireplace The Doctor and Madame de Pompadour have, essentially, consentual mind sex (I’m pretty sure that’s how Moffat felt about it anyway).

    Spin forward again and you have Donna. Poor woman. I’m always reminded of that line in The Doctor, The Widow & The warbrobe “THINK OF THE VISUAL”. Because the Doctor bearing down on Donna while she’s saying “no, no” isn’t the greatest visual is it?

    And then you have the corrective. In Hell Bent Clara demands the Doctor respect her and her memories. She refuses the mindwipe. With Bill she asks “how would you feel if someone did this to you”.

    Consider Adam in Chris Ecclestons first series. Modern guy, degrees out of his ass, used to tinkering with alien tech. went to the future, sought to profit from it. The Doctor left him on Earth after deleting his download but with his memory (and future headtech implant) complete.

    Consider the Doctor took HG Wells (as @jimthefish has pointed out) to a future on a different planet (Timelash -don’t watch it, it’s awful). It inspired him to write the Time Machine. Consider that the Doctor took Vincent van Gogh to see his future legacy, but it didn’t help.

    Consider that Ada could not comprehend the words “dimensional” and “portal” together. As much as Ada was a genius for her time, she was not a chemist, physicist or electrical engineer. Looking at or even working with a modern computing device would have been like magic. There is a reason it’s taken us so long to get here. It’s all those little steps, like how to purify a mix of ammonium fluoride/hydrofluoric acid to contain less than 5 ppb Sodium to etch (via photomasking) a circuit base on a silicon wafer. That’s how we do it people! Well, since about 1996 when the ultrapure chemicals could be made.

    And I always prefer my Who to be inspirational rather than regressive. I think her experience should have been positive because she was a good character. More HG Wells than ‘mind rapey’.

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    Time Lord

    @badwolfalice @ollie14

    Just on the timelines question, yes there is a lot of history here. They are distinct from Alternate Universes in that they exist within our universe as possibilities and can be accessed only by time travel. From one starting point a myriad of possibilities are possible and the Time Lords used to monitor them all looking for danger points. An alternative Universe started the same as ours and was essentially the same until one event was different, and significant enough to fundamentally change its overall range of possibilities.

    The idea that timelines are essentially a ‘new universe’ that is created by a decision (turn left/turn right) doesn’t really work because you need an awful lot of energy to create a Universe.

    Essentially though, 50 odd years of basic scientific understanding has led to the point where ‘it’s Timey Wimey is a catch all’.

    I wrote a blog to try to illustrate a couple of points. I may have confused matters even further.

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    Time Lord


    I’ve seen Tim Minchen a few times. The last time was a few months ago. For a 50th Birthday treat we spent a week in Cardiff, with his gig being the cornerstone of the trip. Highly recommended to everyone.

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    Time Lord

    Just to say (if you don’t know) an Orphan planet is a real term for a planet that doesn’t orbit a star and usually adopts an eccentric orbit around galactic central point. They are thought to begin life around stars until something catestrophic occurs (supernova, encounter with a neutron star / black hole, etc). They are thought to be quite common.

    Don’t know why they adopted the term for a planet its inhabitants have defecated on repeatedly, but there you go.

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    Time Lord

    I actually watched this on Monday night, and then spent a while thinking how I could engage meaningfully with this episode. Then I come in and see so many of you have given it a thorough kicking, and I needn’t have worried. 😉 And @whisht deserves a good star for that post. Marvellous!

    And @bluesqueakpip is on the money here. I don’t mind made up science in normal Hurley burley of sci-fi and sci-fantasy. I think when you address a real world current issue where the truthfulness of the science is questioned constantly, you are honour bound to get the basic science right. This did a lamentable job.

    I’m still trying to get my head around how Chibnallls writing team works, beyond the general description of ‘we kind of have a writer’s room’. Has anyone come across an extra or interview where he outlines the process? Because this did not seem to be the same writer as ‘It takes you away’. It was more like a Chibnall script. ‘It takes you away’ was script edited by the writer of next weeks episode, so it will be interesting to compare the two.

    Overall though this left me cold and just reminded me of some of the low points of series 11. Workmanlike direction, stodgy dialogue followed by an extremely ‘on the nose’ message that’s just probably going to piss off people who support change rather than actually change hearts and minds.

    I did enjoy the comedy of the virus manifesting.

    Recycling is good for the environment!

    @juniperfish called ‘Planet of the Apes’ and @rorysmith called ‘The Time Machine’. Good observations, but no one called the most obvious reference for Doctor Who.

    And you are all forgiven! Because in the first parts of the Sixth Doctor adventure Trial of a Timelord (The part generally known as ‘The Mysterious Planet’) The Doctor and Peri arrive on a world light years from Earth and discover through means of signage of London Underground, that this is actually Earth relocated! Extraordinary!

    Raiders of the lost arc!

    After Lenny Henry killed his mum last week we have a Daughter-mum grudge match. Dysfunctional families as a recurring thing?

    I mention ‘The Mysterious Planet’/’Trial of a Timelord’ (a story so bad it finished of legendary writer Robert Holmes) because it transpired it was the Timelords plot to move the Earth and pin the blame on the Doctor. If we have an arc about the basis of Timelord lies and make reference to a story where they actually lied, that may make sense. I’m kidding myself aren’t I?


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    Time Lord


    Great to “see” you again.! 😉

    As soon as I watched spyfall PT 2 that minor exchange from Hell Bent came straight back to me. Made me realise how I missed a lot of insight by contributors on here.

    Pretty much agree with everything you say here, but to be charitable to Chibnall, I think the fate of Solomon was requested by Moffat. It dovetails into A town called Mercy and the question of the Doctors morality when not anchored by his friends.

    If @miapatrick, @juniperfish and yourself are up for a rewatch of Penny Dreadful, perhaps we can entice others in as well. It’s something that could be enjoyable, perhaps when this series of Who ends?

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    Time Lord


    While I think they did leave the ending ambiguous, I have a feeling this may be a one – shot like Jekyll (The BBC commissioned it while RTD was in charge because they wanted to see if he could deliver a project like that and take charge of Doctor Who).

    I’ve seen all of Penny Dreadful and I think once it settled down it became a stonking piece of TV. My original comment (which compared it to Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) is here. If you type Penny dreadful into the search bar, you’ll see a fair few references by others. @miapatrick was an early adopter as well.

    I didn’t get to say that series 3 Episode 4 “A blade of grass” that featured Eva Green in the mental institute confronting Dracula and Satan was one of the highlights of that years TV. It features Eva and Rory Kinnear in a two hander the year after Heaven Sent. Both bits of incredible TV.

    I’m a bit suspicious of the mindwipe coming back. Moffat was slightly ahead of the #metoo curve and the issue of consent. I do think that for someone who has positioned themselves as progressive, Chibnall can be a bit tone deaf on certain points. We’ll see how it goes.

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    Time Lord


    Like your style. I will attribute you and other contributers with these and any further observations in my retirement project – A Book entitled “Steven Moffat and his BBC projects – What the hell was going on there?!”. The truth is in here. 😉

    I was quite surprised by the relatively minor part played by Mina, but I think the Lucy part is a lot more complicated. Her letters, in the book, seem to extole the virtues of the men in her life a lot. They’re much better at everything than she is, etc. Very conformist Victorian.

    I think I’m still grappling with her depiction because it is so different. Obviously she and Dracula are Mirrors. When Dracula looks in the mirror he sees horror. When she (burnt) looks in the mirror she sees beauty. Perhaps self image is the key. What I think is clear is that she is a Clara – she’s reckless and drawn to danger. What I find also interesting is that, like Clara there is a distinct emphasis on “consent” in her outcome.

    My recent comment on the reapperance of the mind-wipe in Skyfall had everything to do with consent. When Donna was mindwipped in S4 there were serious points made in other places that this amounted to (if you’ll pardon the expression) ‘mind rape’. When we got to Hell Bent I think Jimthefish and I may have read those same conversations because he and I suggested that it was a necessary corrective. Clara argued for her memories to remain intact. Her choice, her consent. Similarly I think the novel and many previous adaptions the fate of Lucy in presented as an invasion. I can’t think of any other adaption where Lucy made the choice and gave consent.

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    Time Lord

    @fatmaninabox @miapatrick @juniperfish @mudlark

    Yeah, Dracula was a rare treat. You’ve already covered many points I had in my notes, but thanks for the reference to the barmaid in the Rose & Crown. Completely missed that on first watch!

    I just thought it was constructed brilliantly. I just wanted to point out that the most controversial point for many – the relocation to the present day, was actually in the spirit of the Stoker novel, but it’s easy to miss as it’s considered a “period” piece these days. From the authors point of view he was relocating a medieval vampire who lived a medieval life style to “contemporary” England. It’s Dracula’s desire to see the ‘new world’ that informs the book and this adaption. The book makes reference to phonograph, telegraph and Van Helsing tries to save Lucy with a blood transfusion (some years before it became a standard practice). Truly a land of miracles! I liked the update with Dracula eulogising the modern household.

    I have a special fondness for the second episode. There has been a film project in “development hell” for a couple of decades now called “The last voyage of the Demeter”. I have a feeling an actual film might disappoint after this. Well produced with lovely cinematography for a TV budget.

    Claus Bang was great as Dracula but was overshadowed by Holly Wells as Sister Agatha. She’s actually the daughter of John Wells – actor, comedian and satirical writer, and a man who’s last TV role was in the Steven Moffat comedy ‘Chalk’ (he played the School Headmaster, Richard Nixon). I must admit, watching this made me wonder what she’d be like as The Doctor with Moffat scripts behind her.

    Which is to say that Dracula and Sherlock seem to be companion projects to Doctor Who in many ways. I’ve expounded on this for Sherlock in the past, but suddenly we have a female Doctor and Van Helsing (in a very Doctor-like role). The relationships intrigue me.

    I was given a DVD of Moffat’s “Jekyll” for Christmas (I’d been looking for it for a while). Its been years since I saw it so I’m hoping to refresh myself and see if any further parallels can be drawn.

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    Time Lord

    I have to agree with @craig , @mudlark and others when they suggest this is an improvement on Series 11. To be upfront I didn’t get much from the last series and special at all, and I may write a blog about it sometime rather than going episode by episode.

    This had pace (almost frenetic compared to series 11) and I thought the direction and camera work was much more dynamic than last year (which would have really benefitted from an initial carryover of Directors from SMs last year I think).



    but it left me kind of cold, sadly

    This really. And it was the recycling in this episode that really stopped me getting into it and grading it higher.

    We have the the Master blowing up a plane mid air (ah, Missy in Death in heaven), the Doctor communicating to someone from the past via video recording (how could we forget blink) the gang being set up and taunted by the bad guy while pursued through contemporary London ( done better or worse in last of the Timelords do we think?)

    Add in remote controlled cars with killer satnav (did no-one learn from ATMOS!) Gallifrey being burned again and even a returning joke from Curse of Fatal Death (at least the Master didn’t have to crawl through sewers this time) and yeah, this just left me disconnected.

    It’s a pretty piecemeal approach to developing a story. Now that’s what I call Doctor Who volume 2020 (the RTD and SM years, resampled and remixed).

    To someone not overly familiar with the recent past, or a younger viewer I guess this wouldn’t be an issue. But we live in a modern world of binge watching and catch-up.

    I can’t help but think that, to someone like that, this density of recycling may make the episode seem a bit tired. And confused, because I think the return of the mindwipe was a big mistake. To a binge watcher we are only a series away from the Doctor getting his memory of Clara back and Bill’s “how would you feel if someone did this to you”. People see future technology all the time in Doctor who. Bringing the memory wipe back seemed like just a call out to Donna, ignoring the fact that she was dying and Ada… Wasn’t.

    Ten points from Hufflepuff, Chibnall.

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    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip @mudlark

    Thanks for the well wishes. Not there quite yet, health-wise but an end is at least in sight.

    Look forward to reading your thoughts on Dracula, there is a small discussion on the TV thread which I’m going to contribute to at the weekend. I’d also be interested to hear what you think of Star Trek Disco @bluesqueakpip. I’ve seen both series, so no spoilers. 😉

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    Time Lord

    I’d like to apologize to all members for my absence. Dysfunctional kidneys seems a poor response, but there you go. I hope to touch on why I think Chibnallls first series is small “c” conservative, Dracula is brilliant, and why Worzel Gummidge could be the saviour of humankind;-) in forthcoming posts. I’m catching up!

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    Time Lord

    And please @pedant.

    Don’t bother @craig with yet another complaint about me. Yeah, we know, you’re ‘special’. He’ll get the gist. As a wise man once said (it may have been @whisht) “go fuck yourself”.

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    Time Lord

    No m’dear @blenkinsopthebrave. He’s a massive bellend with no sense of when he has gone too far. I have awakened and any further infractions will be deleted.


    Reviewing your conduct towards other members has made me reach for the mind bleech. You really are an objectionable tit of the most massive proportions. I will take pleasure in deleting even the most innofensive post you make until you apologise to @whisht personally via PM or (preferably) make such apology in public.

    If you can make one of the most innofensive members of this forum tell you to go fuck yourself, then consider the advice carefully while staring at your cold-blank face in the mirror, you prick.

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    Time Lord

    Hello, and seasons greetings to one and all.

    Just dashing through to post a word of thanks to @wolfweed and post a question about a question.

    Wolfweed posted a link a while ago about pre-screenings of Twice Upon A Time up here in t’frozen North. MrsPhaseshift seized the opportunity to apply for tickets and only bloody did it! We go today to Bradford for a showing.

    To explain while I’m feeling a bit giddy, I studied Chemistry in Bradford between 88 and 91. I was there at the ‘death’ of Doctor Who’s original run. in that year (89) I met a blazing redheaded maths student who I canoodled with at the Odeon cinema on many a date. The cinema closed later that decade and fell into some disrepair. The blazing redhead was MrsP.

    The old building is undergoing a regeneration at the moment and we’ll be present for the first cinema showing for quite a while. It’s going to be a peculiar experience for both of us, I think. Personal Time Travel.

    It also sounds as if we have guests with Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi turning up and a Q&A thing. So my question is really ….. What question would you ask? I’m happy to ask the question you’ve always wanted to ask if I get the opportunity.

    Anyway here is a news item about the screening and the cinema.

    Hope to have a bit of time between Christmas and New Year to go back to fill in the blanks about series 10 which I had to leave because I was so far behind.

    See you all after the show!

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    Time Lord


    I’ve just got back from the NE and was surprised by the number of spoiler thread comments myself. I’ll be back to post some thoughts on the last couple of episodes tomorrow, but I’m currently laughing at the notion that Theresa May may have just ‘won’ a hung Parliament. Delightful (but being realistic, unlikely).

    Anyways, a while back you @blenkinsopthebrave and @arbutus had a conversation about the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. I can only echo @blenkinsopthebrave s thoughts on Viv Stanshall, but just add that the band had another genius in the form of Neil Innes. I was delighted to find out that a large amount of his solo work from ‘The Innes Book of Records’ has been uploaded to YouTube.

    So, on the subject of Elections, here is Neil on the subject of apathy:

    And a thought on the nature of democracy by a much older Neil:

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    Time Lord


    interjecting with a possible Bowie ref for this episode:
    On the day of execution/only women kneel and smile

    Hi! Now that is a good catch. I have to admit I’ve listened to Black star (the album) once and found it difficult listening at the time (just after his death). I’ve just listened to the track with the video for the first time. Wow – lots to chew over in that as imagery goes!

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    Time Lord

    @steffstaff @miapatrick

    The origin and purpose of The Veritas in the simulation is quite interesting.

    We’re told the book is thousands of years old and somehow came to be in the possession of The Vatican – locked in their library of heresy that was established by The Naughty Female Pope With The Castanets, shortly after she met the Doctor. Doesn’t that last bit send alarm bells ringing?

    So let’s assume that what SimDoctor said was true – the simulation was too accurate. The Veritas and the Library actually exist. Given what we know the text says, someone in the past, using the terminology of ‘demons’, etc. seems to accurately predict the scenario where the world is Simulated and leaves a shadow test.

    As a time traveller, you think “hey, the people who had the prescience to write The Veritas may have some information on the big bad Demon behind this” and set off into the past. Your first port of call is surely to your old friend the Pope to question if she has any clues as to the source of the text she’s about to lock in her brand new library.

    Alas, she doesn’t have a clue about the text. Or the Library. You sigh and think “oh, no – not again!” and sit down to start writing The Veritas from the Simulated recording you’ve been sent from your Simulated self. All the time urging The Pope to put her Castanets down and apply herself to the more mundane interior design requirements for a forbidding ‘Library of Blasphemy’.

    If anyone in the real world manages to translate it from the obscure combination of languages you’ve selected in the real world, they will be reassured that they are in the real world shortly before bursting into tears that they’ve spent years translating something akin to an April 1st Joke. In the intended Simulated world it would be devastating. A weapon. Ultimately a weapon designed to destabilise the simulation and introduce The Doctor to this ‘war’.

    Yep – it’s our old friend the bootstrap paradox. “Who wrote Beethoven” becomes “Who wrote The Veritas” (well, precisely)

    Not saying this is accurate by any stretch of the imagination, and we’ll see how it plays out, but it does use concepts pre-established in the show and should be familiar to viewers. Even though some of them would undoubtedly pour onto the internet claiming it doesn’t make sense. Main reason I mentioner this? The writer of Next weeks episode is the same guy as Before the Flood.

    It also occurs that the ultimate spoke in the machine of whatever the Monks plans entail is going to be Missy. Locked up in her quantum vault she does represent a huge chaotic variable that I assume the simulations haven’t been able to account for. Maybe she’ll be a hero, if only just for one day.

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    Some slightly befuddled thoughts because I’ve got that jet lag feeling. I thought production on this was superb. The ‘inevitable confluence of events’ witnessed by the Monks starting with Erika’s journey to work reminded me of the last season of Sherlock – not only the filming style, zooming to specific points or clues, but the idea that with enough data you could become omnipotent.

    It’s interesting that the Doctor actually recognises the plan and his solution is sound (the countdown clock winds down) but his pride with regard to his sight proves the ultimate undoing as Bill succumbs to the temptation offered. Is she “the (wo)Man who sold the world?”

    I can’t help but think that, in recognising and desiring an emotional response we aren’t dealing with proto or disguised Cybermen. Their campaign seems directed towards the Doctor. I wonder if their claim to have killed this Doctor ‘many times’ was just in simulation or as a result of something like the Confession Dial. We look like corpses to them because, as Clara once claimed, we all look dead to a Time traveller. A Pyramid materialises out of nowhere? A very Matrix like simulation? Are they somehow Rassilon and the exiled high council?

    Probably not. Will need a thorough rewatch of this tomorrow AM I think.

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    Hey, I’m getting better. It’s only three days later and I’m reviewing Extremis!

    I’d find this difficult to rate as a standalone, but felt we were getting a little bit more for our time as the ‘setup’ phase was out the way. It’s interesting that the trend to echo the past is still strong though. Silence in the Library comes to mind, not only for the Library, but conjoined with the Simulated world that echoes CAL’s environment in that two parter.

    It’s all remixed to good effect . Out of all Moffat’s ‘puzzle boxes’ this is the most direct and simple. I’m pretty bewildered by some assertions elsewhere that this is in any way difficult to follow.

    Instead this is much more a character piece looking at our main players and the relationships between them. This concept of Truth we’re highlighting plays into notions like Bill’s ‘closeted’ status with her Foster Mother and The Doctors reluctance to tell Bill the truth about his eyes. Of all the main players the hapless Nardole seems to be the only one that has no secrets. He’s doomed I tell you!

    Obviously the truth of those two secrets will out, but as I suggested before the episode I think a bigger secret is in play here. I think @alexwho and @mudlark have picked up on it. The offer for Confession for whatever the Doctors remorse is due to by the Cardinal was a punch in the air moment. The fact that the episode immediately segues into a Doctor flashback with Missy would seem to indicate that the Doctor does have a confession to make to Missy. I think that Truth is going to cause a lot of damage.

    Random other things:

    – The Doctors devastating impact on his companions dating lives continues to raise laughs. This made the comedy of errors between Clara and Danny Pink in Listen look tame. Also loved the fact that the Doctor made up for simDoctors mistake, and bigged-up Bill’s confidence to ask Penny out.

    – The custodians of the Execution world reminded me heavily of the Jaffa from Stargate, with their ornamental robes and elaborate staffs and neckpieces.

    – I thought the ‘look me up’ moment (again reminiscent of Silence in the Library) was funny and well earned by the setup. These people obviously take a particular pride in ending life, elevating it almost to a religion. Having ‘The Doctor’ as a cause of death in their Database is very funny. Then try to imagine some of the entries that may be on it. Morbius? Magnus Greel? Sutek the Destroyer, ancient Osirian God? Death by Doctor. Satan!? They couldn’t run fast enough! 🙂

    As others have said, putting a blond wig on the President would probabloy have been a step too far, but the thought of a president driven to suicide by the revelation that he’s a fake in a fake world, as a fake news report plays in the background is quite a strong image in itself.

    @wolfweed & @whisht

    Bowie. Well it’s an interesting one this. When Bill and Nardole enter CERNs canteen, their, and our, first clear look a the timer is heavily signified (I think it’s minutely slowed down when I watched it closer on i-player).

    Screen grab:

    cern countdown

    Which reminded me of this

    I’ve posted it here because the cover of Heathen, the album it’s on is worth dwelling on. A ‘blind’ Bowie. And surely the Doctor is the ultimate ‘Heathen’ being consulted by the Catholic Church. This song is about moving on after a personal loss. Very apt for the Doctor in those flashback scenes.

    The rest of the title made me wonder – blind Doctor vs. Weeping Angel? Could Moffat resist?

    Need some sleep. Long night doing improbable things in a field. Same again tonight.

    Back with more thoughts at some point I hope.

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    Hilarious isn’t it? I wonder if she knows that the comparison with Supreme Commander Servalan that a lot of people are riffing on now originates with Doctor Who performers and writers like Nicholas Pegg? (Click on the pic as it probably won’t show it all)

    I’m not on twitter, but I occasionally check out feeds for writers and directors on there. I thought @janetteb may enjoy this. Writer Jamie doing some bonkers theorising on his own episode!

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    Intertextuality Alert!

    Do not continue if specultion on intertextuality disturbs you, brings you out in hives, etc! Skip this one and make a calming cup of camomile tea instead.

    Yes, Veritas – the Goddess of Truth. That most elusive of beings and concepts. She was often thought to hide in a well, according to myth.

    When Sherlock went seeking the truth of his sister, he too found an unexpected truth hidden in a well.

    Yep – I’ll be back on intertextuality watch between now and the end of the series. I can’t help but think the general shape of the Euros plot will be mirrored onto Missy, but the path will be reversed. I think the Doctor holds a big secret or truth about Missy – the original reason he left the Confession Dial to her, to open only on his death. Something he feels guilty about. Something about her daughter, perhaps. A bit of a game changer.

    Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the next seven weeks.

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    I like pushing the Bowie envelope a bit, so:

    It was ‘The Passenger’ that sent us on the Bowie frenzy, believe it or not. The version I posted can be found here (easy to miss as the music thread can take some time to load)

    + @cathannabel & @whisht

    I was really surprised noone selected this. The enemy in space – lower pressure. The time when you see the Universe’s true face? When they are Under Pressure.

    ‘Walk away from it all like a blind man’

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    I’ve only just watched Oxygen, and pretty much loved it. It’s strange to say, perhaps, but can anyone think of an episode of Doctor Who in recent times being this ‘hard sci-fi’ in approach?

    I think there are an astonishing number of references to other works (including Who history) in this but, unlike Smile a few weeks ago, I thought it produced something coherent and very direct from them.

    Pearl Mackie continues to be a compelling foil for Capaldi. I actually thought Nardole was a useful addition here as well. I think the revelation that his past is quite shady, coupled with his nervous tendencies but pragmatic ‘let’s get this over with’ style puts me in mind of Vila from Blake’s 7. I’m guaranteed to be drawn to him in other words and would guess at this point his own Arc will not end happily but with a certain nobility.

    A lot of people have mentioned Ark in Space, mainly I think for the Space Station design. I came away thinking of the follow up to that story set on station Nerva Beacon – Revenge of the Cybermen, because the basic nature of the body in a robot suit eerily echoes them.

    I’ll also say that the effect of the ‘suit virus’ that passes between suits and disables the wearers nervous system, that network of blackening lines on the face, is very similar to the Cybermen neurotrophic virus used in Moonbase and Revenge. I’m left with a haunting impression that this could actually have been the greatest Cyberman story that we’ve never seen in the modern era.

    Something else from the past that I’m surprised our Frobisher appreciation society pals @wolfweed @jimthefish and @frobisher didn’t mention – the run of Doctor Who comics for Six with the Penguin introduced the ‘Skeletoids’ basically a design for a space combat suit with AI. The AIs decided that the weak link in the ongoing strategy were the humans inside, so they kept them docile while they went about their business and until they went nice and gooey.


    Ultimately though, I think it’s a delight to have that message that capitalism taken to its logical extreme sees its workers as easily disposable assets broadcast on a Saturday night. I wonder if Theresa May still claims to be a fan?

    Like @miapatrick , while I’m looking favourably at the initial batch of Episodes for message and essentially ‘doubling down’ on certain issues, I’m hoping that tonight’s episode by Moffat ups the bonkers level significantly. A conceptual trio of linked stories by Moffat, the writer of Kill the Moon and writer of God Complex may be just the ticket.

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    Oooh – An early entry on choose-a-choon from @wolfweed .

    I’m afraid my choice is a little more predictable. Yes, it’s Knock on Wood.

    Possibly not the one you were expecting though. 😉

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    I don’t really know Mike Bartlett, as Doctor Foster passed me by. That was a nice little self-contained house of horror story though, and the general feel of it, with the rumbling thunder and lightning in the background, was just right.

    Again, there were a couple of notes in Capaldi’s performance that I think I want to rewatch. I don’t know if anyone missed it, but the BBC are releasing a version of this story with a soundtrack designed to provide a 3D experience if you use headphones on i-player. I have no idea how or if this will be available outside the UK, but I think I’ll try to do my rewatch using that version. There is an article about it with a couple of comparison clips here.

    My single watch of Thin Ice didn’t throw any immediate Bowie references at me, but the storage box for the 1977 residents in this had a seven inch single of ‘Heroes’ inside it. Result!

    Do we think there are any other candidates for being in the vault other than Missy with that dialogue at the end?

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    My commiserations on your workload. I find myself in a similar position as you can probably guess. It’s frustrating as I would have liked more time to talk through Moffat s last full series as showrunner.

    & @nick

    Thanks both for the comments, and I agree. One of the things I was going to mention was that the stories superficial similarities to The Beast Below (which I think many people have picked up on) really highlight this issue. In that, we had Amy becoming familiar with the Doctor and his instincts to break his rules ‘whenever a Child cries’.

    I was just thinking about the Mysterio Christmas special and the Doctors instinctive grabbing onto Grants legs and he rises and flies. There is something in the scene with Spider that is troubling. It is that lack of immediate instinct and apparent care. There is a lot of ambiguity in Capaldi s performance around this point, but is that fear?

    I also can’t help but remember Sarah Dollard s last script in Face the Raven. The transformation in Clara to mirror the Doctor making her more fearless (or reckless). If this is the opposite, with the Doctor becoming more human, is he more fearful? As in that a more immediate instinct for self preservation is kicking in?

    Good to see you back @nick. I don’t think you were around to comment on The Pilot, so the bit that made me sit up was the line:

    Bill: I saw it all for a moment. Everything out there. She was going to let me fly with her. She was inviting me. I was too scared.
    The Doctor: Scared is good. Scared is rational. She wasn’t human anymore.

    And then the Doctor offers her the same thing as Heather (Everything out there). He’s never been human though, but perhaps living like a human is making him subconsciously think from their/our perspective?

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    Late last week also saw the news of the passing of a true great in comics and illustration, Leo Baxendale. There is a fine & comprehensive tribute to the man by the Guardian’s political cartoonist Steve Bell, here.

    From my point of view growing up as a nipper in the 1970s, some of his biggest achievements were in the past. He was responsible for creating characters like Minnie the Minx and The Bash Street Kids in The Beano during the 1950s and 1960s. His combination of intricate jokes and anarchic anti authority stance were hugely popular and influential. His first strip for the Bash Street Kids saw them commandeer a tank and deliberately crash it into a Police station. That’s pretty strong now. Imagine it in the buttoned up 1950s!

    The material I experienced in the 1970s included his work on Wham with Grimly Feendish (surely the inspiration for Gru in Despicable Me) and the completely and wonderfully bonkers Badtime Bedtime and Willy the Kid books. A heady combination of anarchic subversion with occasional forays into the macabre.

    Those later books sometimes drew on or lovingly parodied concepts from Doctor Who, which was always a delight when two of your childhood interests came together. From the Willy the Kid books, Willy meets the Loch Ness Dalek:

    The Loch Ness Dalek

    If anyone wants to learn a bit more about this period in comics, and the impact Leo had (he features), this BBC documentary narrated by Armando Iannucci is fab:

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    @blenkinsopthebrave @janetteb

    Yes, very sad about the death of Moray Watson. One of those character actors who always seemed to turn up in things I’d be drawn to. Such a long career as well, all the way back to The Quatermass Experiment in ‘53.

    We did indeed look back on Black Orchid during our last major series of retrospectives.

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    So Thin Ice. Generally loved the look and feel of this one. After Smile, which seemed almost a two-hander for the majority of it’s run time, this one seemed bursting with life with the kids, revellers, performers a moustache twirler of villain and assorted henchmen.

    I think the relatively simple story with so many repeated aspects does allow a glimpse of what may be the defining characteristic for Capaldi’s final year – the change in the Doctor that inevitably leads to regeneration. With 10 it was the Time Lord Victorious stuff. With 12 I think it’s the fact that he is thinking and, more importantly, reacting immediately like a human. The Doctor’s speech about how progress is measured is brilliant. The flaw is that it’s delivered after the punch.

    The punch. Who doesn’t love a punched fascist? I have a phone gif of Rory punching Hitler that I can watch and it always raises a smile. It’s a very human reaction isn’t it? Not really the Doctors style though. In fact it’s lampshaded immediately before with the I’m a 2000 year old alien and I don’t have the time for the luxury of outrage bit. Followed by a instinctive outraged punch.

    The child drowning is also unusually positioned. Like @whisht it originally occurred to me they were highlighting the Doctors more ‘alien’ quality, but I think we are past that now. I think the only time Capaldi has played it slightly aloof with a Child was with Danny Pink, very early on. His subsequent child encounters such as In the forest of the night, young Davros, through to his delight at Rigsby’s baby ‘Bring the New Human!’ and his easy relationship with young Grant in the Christmas special. This scene doesn’t really feel quite right somehow. Maybe after a rewatch.

    So yes, I think I’m adding these to my list of slightly off-putting Doctor behaviour to consider as the series goes on. Like the line about Heather not being human, and the instinctive desire to blow up the Vardy in Smile.

    Can’t wait for tonight. That’s the one good thing about not being able to watch this one until today. I get a double bill! Or double the Bill, even!

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    @mersey @jimthefish @juniperfish @mudlark @bluesqueakpip

    Just as a contribution on the tricky question of clues and our interpretation of them, my own particular take on them is this:

    A lot of what we talk about is invariably a construct we propose and then test. The one thing I’ve always liked about this forum and the group of people who participate in it and, in the past, our former home of the Guardian was the breadth of knowledge we bring to the table. I suppose the ultimate question is whether you think the show deserves such analysis or not.

    I think it does, and perhaps I can give an indication of why. The costume designer from Asylum of the Daleks through to Last Christmas was a guy called Howard Burden. A nice bloke and lovely interviewee (his previous work includes Red Dwarf and he appears quite a lot on the extensive DVD documentaries for that show). His interview in Doctor Who magazine when he ‘retired’ was actually quite revealing. For the series he worked on (7 & 8) he was given comprehensive notes from Moffat on the episodes, notes on the periods the show was visiting and the ultimate goals and ideas of the series Arc. He was then left to work with the Directors, cast and wider production to make choices reflecting what he had been told with practicalities like the Actor’s personal tastes.

    It’s a fascinating glimpse into a deep production process from a point of view I’ve never really followed – clothes. He confirmed he played with reds and blues for the Doctor “continuing the trend of his predecessor”. This will surely delight @juniperfish whose dogged determination in following the red and blue shift of the Eleventh Doctor’s bow-ties is legendary. He worked extensively with Jenna in Series seven to mirror the Doctor (note red in Asylum and blue in the Snowmen) but also made use of anachronistic combinations of styles in the lead up to Name of the Doctor to indicate Clara was ‘misplaced in time’. The choice of poppy print blouses throughout series eight for Clara was a choice based on the final revelation of the soldier’s promise and Remembrance. It’s astonishing stuff that just indicates a fraction of the stylistic and symbolic significance that the wider production team place into the series because they are encouraged to think that way.

    I, like many others, would love to see a RTD style ‘Writer’s Tale’ style book from Moffat on his approach. I think it would confirm a lot of aspects we talk about in terms of ‘texture’ to the show. I enjoyed Russell s take on the show in the main but there appears to be a massive gear change with Moffat with adventurous choices in writing, production and direction. Much more experimental.

    As for certain lines of thought or clues being ‘dead ends’ I must point out that Moffat loves misdirection both in real life and scripts. It’s a tradition in the Detective fiction works that @mersey compares it to. The ‘Red Herring’, a clue deliberately placed to misdirect or provide false alibi, etc. In some ways, I think references to Magician’s and conjurers are, in a small way, how Moffat may see his own work. Show the audience a puzzle box, and misdirect them with sleight of hand. I’m sure this approach infuriates as many as it attracts. I’m one them it attracts. I don’t think we’ll get that book I mentioned earlier though. Conjurers are loath to reveal how their tricks work. They prefer to have it talked about and analysed for some time after the event. It adds longevity.

    I think I’ll post some thoughts about Chibnall after this series finishes. I can’t help but think it may be a period that won’t engage me as much and will be deliberately more purposefully populist in approach. Whether that actually translates into being ‘popular’ will be another matter. My hope is that Chibnall has been chosen because he’s now best known as a character based mystery writer. One would hope that, even if his own inclination is not to add this ‘texture’, he will be inheriting a production team who will continue to do so.

    Generally I think most of what Moffat has done is commendable. He’s avoided a lot of tricks and traps that devil writers, played with the episode and series structure making the experience unformulaic, discounted huge amounts of troublesome ‘legacy’ continuity and left the ‘whoniverse’ largely reset and open for his successor. Let’s hope Chibnall grasps the legacy with both hands.

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    Great choice of track for Smile. A warm-fuzzy was experienced.

    I was drawn to to concept of the false Smile, with my immediate reaction being old friends of the forum and the people who gave us “Heaven Sent/Hell Bent” (thanks @craig) The The, with Uncertain Smile (a version with Jools Holland from Later with..?)

    But, with the plea for “modern music” combined with the thought the synths were quite strong at certain parts of the soundtrack for Smile, I bring you something from this century. Astonishing, I know. From the Earth year 2005, when a little show called Doctor Who came back. I love the 80s synths at the beginning of this as I love them in Smile. The Killers – Smile Like you mean it.

    As an extra, I thought you, specifically, @whisht may enjoy this because I remember your comments the last time I posted a Carter USM track. It’s a fun cover version of the Pet Shop Boys Rent (The Doctors offer to negotiate made me remember it). I wish it were more widely known rather than being an obscure B-side to a single. Enjoy:

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    No, @thane15 , I think @tardigrade has called this one pretty well, because I came in to make the some of the same points. I hope @tardigrade won’t mind if I post what I wrote last night as it reiterates certain points. Fair warning – @tardisgrade was kinder than I am.


    So, third rewatch and Smile still baffles me slightly. I like a lot of what it does – the start, and exploration of the problem is great (special mention must be to the soundtrack which is quite synth heavy in parts -eerie 80s synths!). It’s the resolution that seems a bit messy. I was sure I’d missed something on the first couple of watches, but I’m not convinced the thing I was looking for was actually there. I was looking for the point of it all.

    I’ll pick out a couple of things I noticed which I think haven’t been discussed first.

    – Bill’s classification of the Doctor as a sort of interstellar policeman is interesting given the montage she later reads in the book that profiles the rise and fall of humanity. The montage before the bomb is heavy with politically charged pictures of Policemen. Orgreave, the Poll Tax protests, race riots are all in there in a ‘Blink and you’ll miss them’ montage. In Bowie terms, ‘take a look at the lawman beating up the wrong guy’, perhaps. I suppose this leads into:

    – The Doctor wanting to blow something up as first option is pretty unusual. It’s more like Pertwee era Brigadier. That’s pretty much mirrored by the reaction of Med-Tech One. He’s the highest qualified Medical person on the mission. He’s a Doctor, and he get’s pretty gung ho himself from the off.

    Both these points are pretty aimless and don’t really play into anything other than maybe the Doctor isn’t as sharp as he was?

    Weirder still, the Doctor seems to preempt that the Vardy are sentient by calling them a ‘generic slave race’ early in the episode. Slavery is a loaded word. You take the freedom from a self determining being by making it do what you want rather than what it wants. I understand the original understood derivation of Robot as ‘slave’ but language changes. If anyone seriously suggested that a BMW assembly Robot was a ‘slave’ I’d be tempted to give them a slap for devalueing the term ‘slave’. The Doctor may as well come into your house an berate you for using a dishwasher or washing machine for doing your chores. “Stop oppressing your Toaster! You could build a fire and burn bread yourself!”

    I think realisation that the Vardy have developed sentience is fine and the relationship between human and Vardy would have to change. But the fact that the Doctors solution on discovering their sentience is to effectively ‘mind wipe’ them as first action doesn’t particularly sit well with the resolution of The Pilot. There are some real mixed signals here, especially the final thought that the hope filled agrarian Utopia could not have developed a relationship between Human and Vardy that was a bit different than – Capitalism, yay!

    Very odd.


    but i accepted it as the least of three evils, the two greater ones being: wipe out the vardy to save the humans (which, if done successfully, would cause the building around them to possibly collapse, or simply doom the colonists to a slow death without their helpers?), or allow the humans to be killed in a war with the vardy (y’know, kinda like humans are wont to do, like, always and forever). the reboot was simply grasping at the closest solution to hand, to save the maximum amount of life, on both sides…

    Maybe there is another option though.

    You know the point at which the Doctor launches the emojibot into the cold fusion reactor, and it squeals? Perhaps we could cut to the others and they show puzzlement? One of us is not here anymore.

    The Doctor could sonic another. A cut scene shows some emojibots with ‘anger’ and some with ‘sorrow’.

    The colonists fire on the emojibots and the Vardi, and the tsumani of emotions resonates. Fear. Anger. Surprise. Sadness. The Vardi, in experiencing loss come to understand ‘grief’ and start to show it with ‘idea’ and ‘embarrassment’ They stay their hand, showing they have understood and they are sentient. And then the negotiations begin. At a point where grief is not the enemy of happiness, but is the fertiliser of hope that may lead to happiness? This may seem trite. There are other ways. I think I would have preferred it to the hollow mess the underlying story actually is though.

    Ultimately I can’t help but think this tries to take a broad swipe at a lot of issues and in too short a time and doesn’t actually connect with any of them. I’ll keep coming back to it as time progresses and see if any themes seem relevant.

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    I have to confess to being totally knackered when I watched this, and I need to rewatch to get a feel for it. Tomorrow!

    Overall though, my first impression was, like @jimthefish ‘old-skool’ with a bit of the jauntiness of the modern show rubbed down. I think they are letting Pearl and Peter gel by having them do a lot of talking in relative quiet moments at the start. If this is a one seriea deal for both of them this could be important – Pearl doesn’t have the time for an expansive arc like Amy and Clara.

    This does look gorgeous though. I think if you go back and watch The End of the World and then compare it to this, the texture and ambition of the show has grown so much.


    * even if the outline was to some extent predictable for anyone who has read a lot of the science fiction written in the past 50 years or more

    Just on that I was interested in the reference to Erewhon, a book that was recommended to me years ago and I’ve still not read. I know it’s a satire on utopias, but I just wondered if anyone has read it?


    I think that may have been Benjamin Cook who writes for DW magazine? I think he said the last time they bumped into each other he said ‘no – I’m not doing Doctor Who’ and ran away. I think the context was more ‘I’m sick of this question’ 😀

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    “I’m so happy, I hope you’re happy too”

    @cathannabel and all. I think the Bowie Game is surely on! 🙂

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    Just got in after a lousy run at work, but my mind’s buzzing with a couple of ideas so I’ll mind-splurge ahead of tonights show.

    Our little game of ‘choose-a-choon’ for The Pilot on the music thread (excellent choice of tracks @whisht and @thane15) found us dwelling on the possibility that Heather was a David Bowie tribute (the girl with the mousy hair, with a disconcerting left eye, and more than a little bit of an unearthly starchild).

    The question that remained was, really, why? Well, I’d forgotten something Peter Capaldi mentioned at the beginning of series 9, another thing on his wish list. He would have loved Bowie to appear on the show (he also said that if he had access to a real TARDIS he’d go back to watch the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars concerts – showing himself to be a man of impeccable taste). It would have been awesome, especially if they’d gone with my own suggestion of asking him to reprise his role of Nikola Tesla from The Prestige.

    And then came 2016 🙁 . As Peter seems to be getting some of his other wishes granted this year, I’d see this as potentially a tribute by a couple of fan boys.

    I genuinely haven’t met an older fan of Doctor Who who isn’t drawn to Ziggy Stardust. They play on the same turf and the call outs to Bowie over the years in Doctor Who have been many and varied. We also know Doctor Who was very much on his radar. In 1973, after recording Jean Jeanie for Top of the Pops, the band went to the BBC television centre Bar to spend an evening drinking with the Doctor Who team who were working on Planet of the Daleks. Apparently onlookers were convinced that the band (who were still in costume) were making an appearance on the show. Much later, Bowie seriously considered playing Sharaz Jek in Caves of Androzani (it didn’t go ahead because he was on tour and the production could not delay for three weeks. If Peter Davison’s last story had been the end of the season, with another story before it, it could’ve happened. This is another reason (if any were needed) to dislike Twin Dilemma).

    So, yeah, if Heather is part of a tribute then she isn’t a monster and things are not as they seem. Watching this, she’s a mirror for the Doctor. She offers Bill travel in Time and Space and keeps her promise to not leave without her. The Doctor warns against it because ‘she isn’t human anymore’. Neither is the Doctor, of course, he’s never been human. But perhaps living like a human in his rooms and having a day job has led him to forget that to an extent. His ‘alien’ viewpoint may be compromised.

    I just thought I’d put the idea out there. Bowie has a tremendous back catalogue and I’d be lying if I said my knowledge of his career and work was anywhere near comprehensive. I adore the seventies stuff in the main. So, if you think you’ve spotted a reference then make it known.

    If, for example, the Mark Gatiss episode (set on Mars apparently) sees the appearance of John Simm as the Master, then that is intertextual gold (John being the Star of Life on Mars of course, a show I’ll recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen it).

    See you all after the (freakiest) show.

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    I was trying to think of a good music link for this and failed with Pilot, but then thought “well, this is more about The Passenger isn’t it?”.

    Hence The Iggster of Pop with The Passenger. Then I paused, and thought “oooh”. Iggy wrote the song while a passenger in David Bowie’s touring car. There were some suggestions Bowie may have contributed to writing it, uncredited, but he absolutely provided backing vocals, Piano and Organ. The slogan for this series is “A Time for Heroes”, and the first episode features an space oddity with an unusual eye. Bowie didn’t have heterochromia, but anisocoria, as this interesting article explains.

    Indeed, the ‘star shape’ on Heather radiates around her black iris. Almost like a heliosphere to a central ‘Black Star’. Wondering if there are little tributes going on here in the first series since Bowie’s death?

    Still, I do think this works (especially Water Heather’s mind meld appeal to Bill):

    We’ll see the bright and hollow sky
    We’ll see the stars that shine so bright
    The sky was made for us tonight

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    and of course Bill and Heather is a nice little tribute to (the) Hartnell(s)

    Oh, well done that fish. Didn’t think of that reference at all. William “Bill” Hartnell and Heather McIntyre. A definite love story. I suddenly feel the need to rewatch An Adventure in Space and Time.

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    You’re back! And it’s about time! 😉

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