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    Time Lord


    Movellans. That necessitated a rewatch of Destiny of the Daleks

    I don’t really believe in the concept of ‘guilty pleasure’ but I have to confess that Destiny of the Daleks (a story most fans give a good kicking) is the nearest I’ll come to it.

    As an adult I recognise its limitations. It’s a weak sequel to a big story (Genesis).

    But it does have some glorious Douglas Adams touches (he was Script Editor) including introducing Oolon Colluphid, the author of the “trilogy of philosophical blockbusters” entitled Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God’s Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway? from HHGTTG to Doctor Who. The Doctor is pretty scathing when he reads one of his books while trapped.

    It introduces Lalla Ward who is officially awesome as Romana. Her relationship with the Doctor a delight from the off. Having Adams on board, the jokes come thick and fast.

    I have a massive soft spot for the disco robots. When I first saw the story I thought that the idea that their spacecraft buried themselves on landing was such a cool concept.

    It’s funny, but they were in the same season as Shada, the story Douglas Adams wrote that had to be abandoned because of a BBC strike for the Studio work. Shada saw a retired TimeLord living in a University as Professor Chronotis, which this set up certainly reminds me of. I wondered if the inclusion of The Movellans was to reinforce that link?

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    Time Lord

    After a second viewing I reiterate my love for this.

    Thinking about it, there are a couple of vibes I picked up on this (I think @juniperfish called one with the Rose and chips vibes).

    The main ones in terms of AG years came from series 5 and 6. During early series 6 we (and I’m sure @juniperfish will remember this) expended a lot of pixels on the Guardian blogs talking about ‘watery portals’ and the prevalence of water both as symbolic of time and as a mirror to other realms and dimensions. The other is The Lodger from series 5. An intelligent machine seeking a pilot and gauging candidates by their desire to not be in the place/situation they were in. A desire to escape. But this seems different and, somehow, kinder? The Silent Time Machine simply sought a pilot. This one sought a pilot and companion. Someone to share the journey and escape the mundane.

    I can’t help thinking that this will be one of those occasions that the Doctor may have it wrong, and rather than a malevolent digesting of Heather, this is something else completely. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her. As the Doctor has said, It’s a big Universe. In front of the TARDIS. (Can I just say, in my capacity as a former Goth teenager of the eighties that if you locked eyes with someone as Bill and Heather did, with Love Will Tear Us Apart as a soundtrack, you may have just found The One, rather than having a crush).

    This would fit in with both Series 8&9 both featuring characters as Orpheus, braving extremes like the Nethersphere and Confession Dial to recover loved ones.

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    Time Lord

    Hi all,

    I was genuinely over the moon with that, a lovely introduction to the series and for Bill.

    Recent Episodes have got to breakneck speed, but the leisurely pace at the start goes all the way back to Rose, I think, in the amount of space allowed to introduce a companion to the Doctor.

    SMs previous companions have been central to a specific mystery, and I though he was going to play a similar trick here, with the Doctors obvious fascination with Bill from the off. Not so, I now think. The fact that she is so Sci-Fi aware could lead to a great avenue to uncovering the real mystery of the vault though, with its mysterious Gallifreyan writings. Not the first time the Doctor has secreted an ancient Gallifreyan artifact near an educational institution. The egg-whisk of Rassilon, perhaps.

    We really should list outstanding plot points from the last couple of series though. Rassilon, out there, for instance. I’ll post some thoughts on the BBC approved spoiler thread tomorrow about that final trailer. That got the blood pumping!

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    Time Lord

    @juniperfish @theconsultingdoctor @thane15

    Just on your mediations on memory in Series 4, can I suggest when you rewatch from the start of series 1 you listen out for references to memory. They are many and varied, and when Moffat repeats something in a long game it is usually relevant.

    As well as memory, you’ll find references to traumatic childhood in many episodes or, when absent, you may see a child undergoing a traumatic experience (such as the focus on the little girl who sees John trapped in the Bonfire). The Holy Grail of references though – Chekhov’s Dog, if you will, takes place in Series 2 and is reinforced in His Last Vow with Magnussen’s ‘scan’ of Sherlock.

    @theconsultingdoctor posted a meta thingy which almost had it on the Abominable Bride thread (congratulations to the author).

    The text reads in the Red Pressure points

    Redbeard (see file)
    Hound of the Baskervilles

    So, in that episode, Henry Knight sees his father killed by what he thinks is a monstrous dog. He’s so wrong.

    Sherlock: Someone needed to keep you quiet. Needed to keep you as a child to reassert the dream that you both clung on to. Because you had started to remember. Remember now, Henry. You’ve got to remember. What happened here when you were a little boy?
    Henry: I thought it had got my dad. The hound. Oh Jesus, I don’t— I don’t know anymore! I don’t …
    Sherlock: Henry, remember. “Liberty in”. Two words. Two words a frightened little boy saw here twenty years ago. You started to piece things together, remember what really happened here that night. It wasn’t an animal, was it, Henry? Not a monster. A man.
    Sherlock: You couldn’t cope. You were just a child. So you rationalized it into something very different. Then you started to remember so you had to be stopped. Driven out of your mind so no one would believe a word you said.

    Now that is great isn’t it? A traumatised child rationalises a human being into a dog. You can understand why, even as a child he subsequently tried to get the police to investigate the Carl Powers Murder (from the last episode of series 1). His first case and Moriarty’s first victim perhaps. One child killing another by ensuring he drowned. Something disturbed the Deep waters of his subconscious.

    This was expertly put together.

    PhaseShift @replies
    Time Lord


    Yes, I think Moffat was having more than a little inter-textual fun with Who/ Sherlock this year.

    Thanks for responding to the hypertext query. Probably my faulty understanding of the Wikipedia entry:

    Hypotext is an earlier text which serves as the source of a subsequent piece of literature, or hypertext. For example, Homer’s Odyssey could be regarded as the hypotext for James Joyce’s Ulysses.

    So I suppose from that example ACD stories are the Hypotext to Sherlock’s Hypertext?

    I think the ‘game’ has been going on from the start though, although it’s very Timey Wimey. Concepts like Clara being addicted to danger in Series 9 mirrors Johns from series 1. The Mind Palace makes a transition from Sherlock to Doctor Who in Heaven Sent. In return, in this series of Sherlock we have a theme of confession and characters forced to make confessions in a seabound fortress (the confession Dial).

    Moffat was once asked how he kept writing Sherlock and Doctor Who apart in his head and he suggested:

    “I just remember that Doctor Who is about a God who wants to be more human, and Sherlock is about a human who wants to be God”

    But both are, apparently “Great men who may well turn out to be Good ones”

    It’s an interesting puzzle and if you consider this from that God analogy, that Sherlock often waxes lyrical about the “icy cold reason he holds above all else.” He also makes the point in the first episode that if he enough data he could foresee every possibility. He would, in effect, by omnipotent. The trail of prediction he makes in The lying Detective would seem to suggest this.

    From this perspective and knowing that Eurus is much, much better at this than him, then when he walks into that cell, he’s not meeting his sister, he’s daring to approach a God (she is well named). In a meaningful way, she is the God who created the person that Sherlock is now. She’s Nemesis (in the Goddess meaning of the word). I’m not surprised he forgot the code word!

    I think the concern about John not recognising bones has to be taken in context with the situation he was in. In a well, poor lighting, under stress. Also, I’m sure he could name all the bones in a body as he breaks them because they are neatly arranged in a body. During murder investigations it can take an expert to identify random bits of one mammal from another. From this, I think you can safely deduce that I’ve watched far too much of the series ‘Bones’, Doctor Temperance Brennen being another direct inheritor of the ACD legacy.

    The big question for me regarding the thematic climax of this and Doctor Who is that if this is a man who wishes to become a god, meets one and finds that result to be something terrible what does that mean for the God who wants to be more human?

    If Eurus represents Missy, will she also act as Nemesis and give the Doctor what he deserves? After all, from The Magician’s Apprentice.

    Doctor: Davros is my archenemy. Why would I want to talk to him?
    Missy: No, wait. Hang on a minute, Davros is your archenemy now?
    The Doctor: Hush.
    Missy: I’ll scratch his eye out.

    I think the unspoken question here is if Davros is the archenemy, then what is Missy?

    I think Moffat deliberately avoids confusing Nemesis and archenemy because he thinks of them as separate things, even though common usage has blurred them. I’ll touch on that and other bits and pieces you’ve mentioned in Who when I get to The return of Doctor Mysterio. Because in that story the Doctor is Grants Nemesis.

    I will say that in mapping characters across I think John would represent every companion, but because we deal with a mortal hero he is the constant companion. (This observation doesn’t exclude a sexual relationship between John and Sherlock – the game may use similar characters, events and concepts with different or opposite consequences)

    If Irene Adler represents the introduction of the femme fatale to adventure literature then her equivalent in Who is River Song. Both Sherlock and the Doctor are excited by the intellectual challenge as well as being frustrated by them. To them, they are ‘the Woman’.

    PhaseShift @replies
    Time Lord

    @blenkinsopthebrave @thane15 @craig @juniperfish

    Many thanks for the kind welcome and best wishes. Much appreciated. I hope you’ll forgive me when I have to drop out of conversation though. Things are still difficult and I’m really hoping that they’ll be better by the time the good Doctor returns in April. And hugs are always welcome Craig.

    PhaseShift @replies
    Time Lord

    Did you miss me? 😉

    Firstly, a question to all the writers on the forum (of which we have an embarrassment of riches). If we consider the intertextuality of Sherlock and Doctor Who (the deliberate and pointed exchange of ideas between the two) does the fact that they are written in parallel preclude them being considered hypertexts? Is there a better word for what they are? Of course, Sherlock uses its relationship to ACD as its hypertext, and I think drawing a line between ACD towards both BG and AG Who may be the point of Sherlock anyway, so the question may be redundant.

    Secondly, apologies for absence. Life (and, unfortunately, a death) rather ruined my 2016 from the start. Let’s just say that the depression of Brexit and Trump suited my mood perfectly. Hopefully, circumstances will be better when Doctor Who returns.

    As such, I’ve only recently been able to catch up with the latest offerings from both Doctor Who and Sherlock. Astonishing they are, and if this is the audacious end for Sherlock I applaud it (While hoping for more, obviously).

    From the Abominable Bride thread I congratulate the deductive powers of those that unraveled the plot and pointed out the gender neutrality of the sibling (forum cap goes to @blenkinsopthebrave for that I think) and the astonishing knowledge of ACDs canon from @jimthefish , @bluesqueakpip and others. It was an important episode for me for another reason, as the Bride herself unlocked another aspect of this remarkable series. Unfortunately, I’d spent some time whining about this particular aspect, so the blame is mine for not spotting it earlier. I don’t have the depth of knowledge of the Holmes canon that others do, but I do know a good deal of obscure pop culture.

    For if we look at what, at the beginning of Sherlock, Gatiss and Moffat promised to do, they’ve done something stunning. They promised to have fun with the canon and be less reverential than other adaptations. Liberties would be taken, other adaptations referenced and paid tribute to, and the wider cultural impact of ACDs legacy celebrated. And the last one’s the killer.


    Reading The Final Problem as taking place in the hitherto established “real world” of BBC Sherlock makes absolutely no sense. As @mudlark says there are too many ridiculous and improbable fictions. Eurus has been able to enslave people with her mind since she was five? Then why did she stay locked up on Sherrinford for so long, if she can escape any time she likes?!?!?

    I think considering the world of Sherlock to be the, or a “real world” is a mistake, and one which is possibly the cause of much recent criticism. You see, we are actually forewarned about the nature of this world in A Study in Pink with the play on Mycroft’s identity during their first encounter.

    Watson: His enemy?
    Mycroft: In his mind certainly. If you were to ask him he’d probably say his archenemy. He does love to be dramatic.
    Watson: Well thank god you’re above all that.

    It’s a misdirection, obviously – the audience is supposed to think that Mycroft is Moriarty. We then get:

    Watson: People don’t have archenemies.
    Holmes: What?
    Watson: In real life. People don’t have archenemies.
    Holmes: That sounds a bit dull. So what do people have in their real lives?
    Watson: Friends, people they like, people they don’t like, boyfriends, girlfriends.
    Holmes: Like I said, dull.

    Ultimately, Moffat is a fair writer. We know that we aren’t in the real world or real life. We know that Sherlock does have an archenemy. The world of Sherlock is filled with archenemies, supervillains (“See Sherlock battle the monstrous …. Gollum!”), secret government installations conducting genetic experiments, fiends, femme fatales, super spies and, ultimately, Nemesis.

    As series 4 starts we are wrapping up our adventures in Spy world (let’s call it for now) after the confrontation with the Bondiest Bond villain imaginable. The tone starts to change and become disturbing and hallucinogenic (as @blenkinsopthebrave notes). The world of Sherlock is being invaded by a disturbing force representing the final inheritor of a mini tour of cultural inheritance. Do we not now see who Eurus represents?

    MISS ME? But who is me?
    MISS Eurus
    MISS E

    Because Sherlock is being invaded by Doctor Who and Eurus is the Master. Introduced by Terrance Dicks to be (in his own words) the Moriarty to the most Holmes inspired Doctor ever. The Master of disguise. The Master of hypnotism who, when UNIT captured him and locked him up in a prison, takes it over and makes it a convenient headquarters with enslaved servants and all the Clangers he wanted. The Master, whose most recent incarnation came back female when people expected him to be a man. One of the Doctors own people (in Sherlock terms, she’s a Holmes). Someone who knows his secrets and challenges him to see things from his/her point of view.

    It’s a brilliant conceit, this Great Game of cultural intertextuality that has overlain Sherlock. Culverton Smith, for example, is one Monster (a serial killer) who represents another. How often do monsters in Who act as a metaphor for the worst of humanity? And through this Great Game we can examine another legacy of ACD – the one that everyone forgets in discussing the great Sherlock Holmes. John Watson.

    Season three, for example, sees Sherlock enter the world of Bond. Bond is an indirect inheritor of ACD. Fleming described Bond as Bulldog Drummond from the waist up and Mickey Spillane from the waist down. A blunt instrument. Bulldog Drummond, a replacement (and reaction to) Holmes in The Strand Magazine. Not the ‘effete intellectual’ but a man’s man. Led with his fists with no follow up. An easy patriot and right wing bigot. Mickey Spillane, whose tails of Private Dicks being led by theirs as they followed the femme fatale figure through mundane intrigues. With Fleming boasting a literary inheritance like that no wonder Bond is the man he is.

    What Fleming took from ACD directly is the archenemy and ran with it. Every time you see a Bond Villain, with their networks of agents and strange plans you see a shadow of Moriarty. So when we meet Charles Augustus Magnussen he’s clearly a Bond Villain. Hear him say his name in that carefully controlled voice in His Last Vow. When you have the voice in your head imagine him saying Ernst Stavro Blofeld. He’s even played by an actor whose brother recently played a Bond Villain! It’s brilliant!

    And so is the series metatext. We’ve already been informed by Mycroft that Sherlock is not the “blunt instrument” of Bond in text. What is Sherlock? He’s “a finely honed surgical instrument wielded with precision”. After the setup establishing Spy World in the Empty Hearse, we get the marriage in the Sign of Three. We are introduced to the Mayfly Man and, let’s be clear here, he’s James Bond. Or rather the Mayfly Man is an assassin who uses women to gain information and access to his target. Pretty much the historic M.O. of Bond. His plan thwarted and his methods treated with contempt by Sherlock, he delivers his verdict. “You should have remained in the shadows”.

    In the next episode something strange has happened. Sherlock uses Janine to gain access to his target. We soon discover why, because we have undergone an exchange of power. Sherlock has traded John Watson to a Spy, Mary, in an episode that revels in revealing to us the astonishing human being John is (a magnificent piece of writing).

    The man who can redeem ridiculous men like Sherlock has been traded to a Spy, and he seems to have lost his moral superiority. It’s also dulled his senses because he’s treating Magnussen as a Bond villain, forgetting that all Bond villains are shadows of Moriarty. He assumes that Magnussen’s power comes from his glasses, a gadget (Bond and his enemies are obsessed with technology) or to be found in his Supervillain HQ of Appledore. Magnussen, however, is just a renamed Holmes villain and a distorted reflection of Sherlock. He’s equipped with a Mind Palace.

    Faced with a threat to John and Mary, Sherlock has a choice. Lose Watson forever and face a life of Bond, or become the blunt instrument temporarily and hope for redemption later. He chooses the latter and shoots Magnussen. Mycroft looks down at his Brother and sees a lost little boy. In the light of the finale, we fully comprehend and have context for all this. Magnussen may have had access to a file marked Redbeard, but he couldn’t have comprehended the psychology he was dealing with. He’s threatened to take away the best friend of Sherlock Holmes.

    The final act of this story becomes apparent in Series 4, Watson shows that he can redeem ridiculous spies to the point they can make a sacrifice themselves. Bond can never be redeemed because the authors Fleming used to formulate Bond didn’t understand the power of Sherlock Holmes. They underestimated the requirement for a Watson. A Watson can redeem a Spy to the point that they will sacrifice themselves for friendship. Bond is not Sherlock Holmes because he has no real friends.

    I ask you. Imagine going to the trouble of putting all that together, underlying the obvious narrative, and being presented with a Guardian article saying Sherlock is becoming Bond and this must not stand! Were they taking the piss, do you think? Gatiss wrote a poem. Presumably after screaming in frustration for three continuous hours.

    I won’t bore you with the meta for Series 2, just point out that we explore the idea of Sherlock through the eyes of one of his earlier cultural successors. Gotham’s Dark Detective, Batman. Remember the ‘Hat Man and Robin’ headlines in Scandal? The feline quality of Irene Adler, seeing her through a filter of Selina Kyle, Catwoman (The Whip Hand, indeed). With Lestrade as Jim Gordon trying to work out which side of the law Sherlock stands. All a cunning trap weaved by a Moriarty seen through the filter of Batman’s own archenemy, The Joker. This last part, some may remember, was my whinge. “Why him, again!”, I despaired. Then is saw the Bride. Well yes, she is the bloody Joker with her white face and smeared lipstick. Lestrade’s description as he calms his nerves with a drink is straight from the comics. She’s the avatar for Sherlock to work out how Moriarty survived. Nuff said.

    It’s just another layer of intertextuality weaved in the mix. The cultural inheritance of ACD. Another part of The Great Game. Did you spot the Alan Moore references, future followers of the game may ask? What could they mean? Did he write for Sherlock Holmes!? (He did, as it happens, in a work that made these points by imposing modern ideas from pop culture on their earlier counterparts). There are others and the game can lead you to many interesting destinations. I’m still being rewarded with other references.

    Yep – they did it. They delivered. All of their promises with wit, style, grace, adventurous direction and writing that befit something based on the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

    When the initial overreactions have calmed down and the increasingly vitriolic internet takes a collective deep breath I think these episodes will be re-evaluated and increasingly celebrated. The message will sink in and the ramifications considered. Just how much popular culture has ACD influenced? The mind boggles. He deserves the tribute, and the fact that fans of caped crusaders, super spies and wandering travellers in time and space and huffily saying that it’s a bit comic book/Bond like/Doctor Who-ish just means that they haven’t got the message. ACD started all this.

    Remarkable TV.

    PhaseShift @replies
    Time Lord

    @lisa (and others)

    I think he may have been a tad disingenuous

    I think ‘disingenuous’ is an interesting word to use in the wider context of this debate.

    For example, your Oncologist friend, who is complaining that the EU limits her working hours, may be being a little bit disingenuous in her presentation of the issue. Because I know it to be a fact that she, along with her entire noble profession, has the ability to opt out of the EU Working Time Directive that limits her time to 48hours per week.

    If you disbelieve me then consider the guidance issued by the British Medical Association (BMA), your friends Professional body that actually have the power to strip someone of their Medical Practice certification.

    It is not possible to opt out of the rest requirements, so doctors will still need to ensure they take the necessary breaks, and their employer will still need to monitor the hours they work. The opt out provision is available to all doctors, however the CC strongly recommends that doctors do not opt out of the collective agreement and are afforded full protection under this health and safety legislation. If you do opt out, make sure you get paid the appropriate number of PAs.

    So you can opt out and work more hours as long as you acknowledge the breaks suggested. That’s pretty fair isn’t it? Would you feel comfortable with primary care delivered by a health professional who was obliged to remain on call for 36 continuous hours? That was the situation before these hard won rights were delivered by the EU. Tiredness and stress are big killers, as the health profession continually remind us. It’s probably for that reason, whenever this issue comes up at BMA conferences, Medical practitioners vote overwhelmingly to support them these days. And that the Consultants Committee (CC) advise people like your friend not to take that route. It remains her right to disagree with the consensus. And opt out.

    The video you posted is highly disingenuous, having been funded by the backers of UKIP. I smiled at the sight of some old ‘friends’ that have since left the building. Don’t you find it odd that videos produced in the 2000s rely so much on video and issues from the 1970s? Seriously, to put this into context, in the horrible event of a Trump victory, it would be like saying to a Democrate “naaah mate. Don’t worry. It’ll be alright! Just look at this!!”. And then post a Youtube link to one of Trumps speeches.

    Finally, the dredging question. I’ve said on many occasions that I am an environmental consultant. It’s what I’ve done for the best part of twenty years. My original discipline was Chemistry to degree level. My MSc is in Environmental Science. I’ve conducted flood risk assessments (site specific, so some supported, some refused), developed mitigation methods and flood defences, investigated flood events in four countries, provided expert witness testimony in Civil and Crown Courts, and contributed to numerous research projects for insurers and regulatory bodies such as the Environment Agency and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. This is my turf.

    My considered opinion on the question of dredging is that it is offensively simplistic to allocate any blame on mass flooding events to a lack of dredging. It’s a simple sound bite for simplistic politicians to be spoon-fed by aligned media to a credulous audience who cannot, or will not, face the true ramifications of global warming coupled with our failure to adequately plan development on River catchment areas.

    Any housing, industrial or retail development (with roofed or paved areas) that we add to the mix simply collects water. A lot of it. Whereas before it would percolate slowly downwards through soil to join the aquifer and flow underground to the nearest water body, we efficiently collect it, and send it at high velocity directly towards the nearest surface water. Couple that with changing climate that tends towards short but devastating periodic volumes and you have a disaster. Home government places a low priority on the EU led call for Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) which stop this type of thing (the UK MEPs watered (ho-ho) down the original Directive which would have made SUDS in development a priority). Apparently it was down to us retaining our Sovereignty. Or something.

    In over 40 major flooding events I have studied (including two big ones in Carlisle) the damage that could have been prevented by dredging amounts to a fraction of 1%. It is perverse to blame this on the EU when there is no prohibition on the dredging of Rivers AND the UK regularly dips into the EUs emergency budget when it looks like they, and insurers, are going to fail to deliver effective remediation.

    On our beloved Sovereignty. I’m led to believe by Politicians with their tongues firmly in their cheeks that this is what they campaigned upon, and not demonising foreigners.

    I thought our Sovereignty was pretty much intact to be honest. We and France insist on maintaining a ruinous nuclear deterrent no matter how many of the other EU members laugh at us. We maintained the right to join an ill thought out Invasion of Iraq in spite of our European partners having some serious concerns. We’ve been allowed to implement policies and foster a system where social mobility becomes less likely, and conduct periodic fire sales of our assets to multinationals while more sensible European Partners jealously hang on to theirs.

    But no – we’ve truly taken back control, my friends. I have a dream! We will finally have our freedom. Our freedom to be potentially misdiagnosed or mistreated by a junior Doctor Who hasn’t had much sleep in the last week. And blame them. Our freedom to, once again, become the dirty man of Europe. We can let our children paddle in shit infested coastal waters (never did us any harm), breath freely on airborne pollutants (put hairs on your chest) and roll back the many social and environmental benefits we’ve taken for granted! Let us march proudly backwards to the 1970s!

    Funny how some dreams turn so rapidly to nightmares, isn’t it?

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    Time Lord

    During my absence I’ve contributed to a Doctor Who Kickstarter campaign (The campaign is fully funded now, so no pleading for your hard earned dosh). If you’re currently twiddling your thumbs as you wait for the next series of Doctor Who, this may give you a thumb alternative from September.

    The campaign was to help pay the licensing costs for a full conversion of the Bally Doctor Who pinball table of the early 1990s into a digital format to play on a device of your choice through Farsights Pinball Arcade App.

    I’ve long been a fan of the silver ball and encountered the Doctor Who table in a Bradford pub in 92. It was a marvellous experience for a number of reasons. Primarily because this was post cancellation and the future of the series seemed to lie solely in book form with the New Adventures. This was new, fun and strangely comforting. Perhaps there was life in the old dog yet?

    @jimthefish wrote a great blog about the troubled history of Doctor Who computer games (although I don’t seem to be able to find it at the moment), and some of the reasons for the difficulty in translating the Doctor to your computer screen. It’s a problem the more abstract arcade pinball table never had.

    It has a plot of sorts, separated into three episodes. That naughty Master has trapped all the incarnations of the Doctor at various points in their history with his devilish Time Expander. The Seventh Doctor and Ace manage to escape and must try to free other incarnations of the Doctor (you select a Doctor at the start of each ball). It later emerges that the true power behind the plan is Davros and his Daleks. The Doctors must unite in multiball madness mode to throw waves of invading Daleks into the Time Vortex.

    The table really was a gem. Both the Mechanical and Electrical Engineer involved were big American fans of the show from the PBS era. Sylvester McCoy, Anthony Ainley and Terry Malloy recorded dialogue for the soundtrack, and there were lovely little flourishes. One of the interesting things was the selection of Doctor changed the rules (or perhaps the personality) of the table and therefore you could develop different strategies for gaining the most points for those beery as hoc tournaments we indulged in at University.

    So, in the run-up to the 30th anniversary in 1993, we had The Seven Doctors anniversary special delivered through the anarchic medium of the silver ball. Much better than Dimensions in Time.

    Pinball Arcade is available for just about every device format available today. I tend to play on a relatively inexpensive Acer tablet running Android. Download is free and comes complete with complete access to the Tales of the Arabian Nights table. You can also download trial versions of any of the other tables which let you play to a score limit. You can buy full access to any table or Seasons of table thereafter if you are interested. A new digitised table is released each month and there is a table of the month feature in which you get unlimited plày on one of the older tables.

    I’ve found it a great way to revisit some old favourites like Funhouse, Addams Family and Twilight Zone while getting a chance to experience many tables I’ve just heard about by reputation (both good and bad).


    Due to the relative success of the Kick-starter and the cooperation of the BBC the developer has gained not only the rights to the various actors, writers and estates of those involved in the original table, but additional ones as well.

    They intend to release Doctor Who Pinball: Regenerated to bring the table up to date with post 7 Doctors and features. The layout of the table (ramps, ball runs, etc) will be the same but it sounds very interesting. An image of John Hurt as the War Doctor was released as “how he will appear on the playfield’ to suggest they are going for a more photorealistic backdrop.

    The teasing blurb for the game reads:

    The Doctor’s existence is fading… and only you can save him!

    After reshaping the events of the Time War, paradoxical fissures have created a causal nexus by ripping the very fabric of space and time. Taking advantage of these anomalies, the Doctor’s most devious adversaries have entered these tears in an effort to defeat him across various points in his life.

    Like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff…

    As his newest companion, you can relive all the best moments from the Doctor’s most recent incarnations and adventures.

    Revisit old friends. Battle against terrifying villains and monsters. Save the universe with attack eyebrows.

    Come on pudding brains, what are you waiting for?

    Will Missy be replacing the Delgado image and Ainley voice? Will Cybermen be demanding an upgrade to include them? Will the Eighth Doctor be looking ” like a great big Ponce” ( (c) Lucie Miller) or in Night of the Doctor garb? Will there be Fez bonuses?

    I can’t wait to find out!

    PhaseShift @replies
    Time Lord

    We had a series of electrical brownouts last night (probably caused by storm whateverhisnameis) and so I’ve only just managed to watch the episode. If you happened to hear random swear words cursed into the night, possibly curdling milk and disturbing sleeping children then it was probably me. Even if you were in Australia.

    As many know, like @jimthefish I’m pretty resistant to the ‘charms’ of the Time Lords. As such I think this is the second best use of them after Deadly Assassin. It shares some characteristics with that story as well, which is probably why it worked. It focused on the hopelessness and fear of the most powerful race in the Universe. And the corruption of their ruling class.

    I loved the Western vibe of the drylands. The Doctors foot drawn ‘line in the sand’ then becoming a line of guns in the sand as ‘old Gallifrey’, in the form of Rassilon is humiliated. I also liked the riff on ‘the Mountain must come to Mohammed’ as Rassilon is drawn down the path to his own defeat.

    The regeneration of the General was a first. Seriously, in all the Time Lord deaths in the old series we never saw one of them attempt regeneration. And it’s into a black woman, who is relieved her ‘one off’ as a man is over. Take that, conservative fandom. Suck. It. Up.

    Loved the idea of the Matrix Wraiths. I was sure I saw a couple of familiar faces in their ever changing screaming Faces. The Castellan from Five Doctors for one.

    The idea that something deleted can be determined by the holes it leaves behind is a nod to Nightmare in Silver. Neil Gaiman. He really has got a lot of references this series, including meeting an immortal at the end of time (see his Books of Magic). I loved the knocking on that old (squee inducing) TARDIS door referencing Listen. Awesome Pink lived in fear, potentially, of Maisie Williams who wanted someone to talk to.

    Ah, that old TARDIS. With a dodgy chameleon circuit. My headcanon now reads that they stole a museum piece type forty. After countless Adventures with Me she drops it off on Gallifrey, in the past and recommends it to Doctor one. “It’s navigation is knackered, but it’ll give you a lot of fun”. Two careful owners. Stolen as seen. No returns.

    So we leave Gallifrey to stew at the end of time. Good riddance. Someone will bring it back, no doubt.


    I would have preferred the sadder ending

    I think I asked for optimism for Clara, and I think this works. Like the Doctor retreating into his mind palace, she can accomplish so much between her heartbeats,and then face the Raven as you say. Definitely having your cake and eating it. And cake is nice in moderation. 😀

    Definitely agree with @jimthefish about the corrective nature or counterpoint to Donna in this. Yes, 10 gave Donna a life and saved her, but destroyed the person she had become with no choice on her part. This inverted that choice and left Clara to plead the case she would rather die than change. Can the people who regularly call Moffat a misogynist please STFU?


    The answer to who the hybrid is was written all over the series, but articulated by Missy. ” We’re all hybrids, in one way or another”.

    Congratulations to @blenkinsopthebrave for calling my speculation that Missy was involved a load of old tosh. I still think Michelle Gomez would have been a fab guest in the last half of this though.

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    So, here we are. Facing the end episode. Time for one last spin of the roulette table of bonkers speculation?

    Reading people’s theories, I’m inclined to believe that Missy is behind the Raven and Confession Dial scenarios and will make an appearance tonight. I think my reasoning comes down to:


    Missy has the advantage of knowing the Doctor ‘since he was a little girl‘. Hence the construction of the veil as a childhood terror of his.

    The choice of Rigsby could be Me’s watching events, but I can’t help but remember that Missy appeared to be watching the events of Flatline from the Nethersphere. “Clara, My Clara. I have chosen well.” I think Me may genuinely not have known that Clara would make her sacrifice. Missy may have engineered it though, knowing the bond that they shared on that first encounter.


    Missy could touch the Confession Dial and had it for an unspecified time prior to meeting Clara in Magician’s Apprentice. Ample opportunity for tampering. Whether she acted alone or as an agent of the Time Lords or a mixture of the two, she’s in play … they are not.

    She’s the one person who could give Me the rather cynical view of the Doctor we saw in The Woman who lived. The one who told Me he ‘ran away’ and about his marvellous Space/Time ship (Me neatly sidestepped the Doctor asking ‘who told you that’ both times).

    And generally it just makes sense that if Heaven Sent is an attempt at the Matrix episode of Deadly Assassin, and that we’re going to explore Gallifrey, then both of Gallifrey’s most notorious children will be in the mix. Probably with Missy acting as Time Lord agent, but with her own goals in mind. Having the Doctor grief stricken, and with the knowledge of what his other selves endured to get him out of the Dial must leave him in a delicious place for someone who wants to corrupt him.

    Needless to say, I’m really excited for the episode tonight. Will this be that rare beast? A good Gallifrey set tale?

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    I hadn’t seen @django s comment on The Prisoner when I typed this on the G, but just to echo @jimthefish:


    So, @phaseshift was right last week about Gallifrey returning, because what else could have been about to happen? But it isn’t clear whether links between the “Skaro degradations”, the “Could’ve-Been King” and the Knightmare Child were co-incidences, insanely detailed continuity or so many Theories More Bonkers Than What’s Actually Going On.

    Look, with my track record of being a Cassandra, I’m claiming a win and doing a lap of honour at the moment!

    You know, when I was in my teens in the 80s I got to see The Prisoner on C4. I watched the final two episodes with my father, who had watched the first transmission. I thought it was spellbinding TV. Audacious, bizarre and challenging. He hated it on first transmission and repeat and confessed he wanted to kick the TV screen when the final episode was shown. Such is life, and opinion.

    I just want to make the point that on a Saturday night, before the watershed, after a celeb dance show and with a singing competition on the other main channel we’ve been treated with something similarly audacious. A one hander. A 55 minute contemplation on mortality and sacrifice.

    Just incredible. Doctor Who. I want to kiss it to death. Thank you to all involved. I wish more TV could dare to be this different.

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    I’d also suggest The Veil as a death figure. I think at the end of the series we should take time to reflect on the Tarot issue for series 8 and 9 because there are some interesting notions going on here.

    For instance, in series 8 we have the Doctor initially positioning himself as The Magician, before ending the series declaring himself ‘The idiot'(or fool). An inverted journey perhaps?

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    Yeah, Howard Burden was the costume creative from Asylum of the Daleks till Death in Heaven (he did Red Dwarf earlier in his career as well). He says he inherited the blue-red convention from his predecessor, rather than coming up with it but says he enjoyed mashing up styles and influences for the Doctor and Clara during his time with clues for the fashion conscious (Clara dressing anachronistically during season 7, poppy print dresses for Remembrance, etc.)

    A fun guy.

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    so the time lords spend 2 billion years trying to torture information re. the hybrid out of the doctor, he breaks out and apparently confesses almost immediately

    Interesting that. Did he say ‘The hybrid is me’ or ‘The hybrid is Me’ (meaning Ashildr). I still think the hybrid is Clara though, and that is misdirection

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    There is a philosophical debate about teleportation that has been explored in sci-fi for decades from Star Trek onwards. Every time someone undergoes it, the ‘original’ is destroyed and conveyed as digital information to be reconstituted at the destination. The uncertainty over this process led Doctor ‘Bones’ McCoy to distrust teleportation.

    If this is your view, then the Doctor hasn’t been the ‘original’ since 1969 when he first teleported.

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    Bloody hell!

    Now, as high concept Episodes go, the Doctor gets condemned to hell for an eternity and riffs on the torment of Tantalus is pretty strong stuff.

    It was an astonishing piece to watch. Lots of callbacks to the Moff era in general, but an awful lot of that surrealness that stuff like Mind Robber, Deadly Assassin and Kinda could generate. I can’t think of any other show that would contemplate doing something like this. My jaw actually sagged when the meaning of the Skulls became clear.

    And to borrow an idea from Sherlock – the Doctors mind palace is a deathtrap filled fortress. Of course that makes sense.

    I still can’t quite get over that. Oh, and Gallifrey!

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    Just on Sarah Dollard, I thought I’d mention I’ve been watching the Sky comedy ‘You me and the Apocalypse’ and, while it’s not perfect it has raised a few laughs with a very varied cast. I particularly enjoyed Rob Lowe’s turn as a priest. And Pauline Quirke lusting after him. She’s on the writing team and credited with episode 5.

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    Oooh – I’ve never come across that correlation with suits. The only stylistic theory I’ve come across with 10 was that his hair height indicated his mood. Happy? Quifftastic! Sad? Flat and plastered down. 🙂

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    I commend you on the trouser research. It reminds me of @juniperfish and her dedication to bow tie colours. Her theory that they were linked to Time travel (red and blue shift) was actually confirmed by the costume designer after his departure.

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    Just on the Soul question, @juniperfish pointed out in the early days of the site (on the Faces of the Doctor thread) the rise in references to soul under Moffat. It doesn’t particularly concern me because it has been used in the old series and as a concept is mixed up with the animating principle and consciousness, not the particular everlasting soul concept of religion. Take this from The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe:

    Describing trees:
    DOCTOR: They’re pure life force. Souls, if you like.

    And the fate of said trees:
    DOCTOR: The life force of the whole forest has transmuted itself into a sub-etheric waveband of light, which can exist as a
    (He is stopped by a Look.)
    DOCTOR: The souls of the trees are out among the stars, and they’re shining, very happy.

    I think @ichabod asked about the BG years, and The Savages with William Hartnell sees The Doctor’s life force being referred to as soul, and there are a few other instances with Troughton, Pertwee and Baker. Image of the Fendahl is the last that comes to mind. The Fendahl consumes life force. The Doctor agrees with the Witch who helps them that the thing ‘wants her soul’.

    I think the Doctors decision to upload River to CAL was based on responding to his later self’s wishes @juniperfish and given her convoluted story may not be at an end (and her echo came in very useful in Name of the Doctor) the future version may have his own perspective. Even so though, uploading to the Gallifreyan Matrix was the natural end for Time Lords. A good foreshadowing of her nature.

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    I had a feeling you weren’t quite feeling it for this series (or the last with a couple of exceptions). A bit like the way you talk about the Eccleston year? If it’s any consolation, while I appear to be enjoying it more than you, I don’t think Peter Capaldi has topped the peculiar and mad personification of the Eleventh in my eyes.

    The one aspect I think he is extraordinary at is monologues and keeping my attention. This goes back to Into the Dalek and Listen, and have only increased this series. He is really good at that stuff. So I’m particularly interested by the sound of tonight’s episode.

    Right now, I’m not even sure I want to watch next Saturday’s episode. 🙁

    With your acting background I can’t help but think you’ll watch it just to see if they can pull off an entire 50 minutes of Doctor single hander. The nearest they came to that was the Matrix in Deadly Assassin. I’m hooked by the prospect.

    Just on Clara’s fate, I don’t think I agree with the assessment that she couldn’t be the Doctor. She was too good at it in some regards. Reckless it may have been, but the desire to save her ‘companion’ and agree to take the fall echoes Five and Peri, and Ten and Wilf. The Doctor just has that get out of jail free card. Regeneration.

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    I’ll have a pint of Hobgoblin please.

    I don’t know how it is around your place, but the wind is lashing rain against the window and it’s pitch dark here. The perfect night for a creepy episode, so I hope SM has obligingly written one in anticipation. Timey Wimey.

    I should be around a bit more tonight as my internet hasn’t been throttled down, which happened last weekend.

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    Oooh. I’ll nip over in a second and have a look.


    I’m guessing Time Lords. I think a lot of us thought that Ashildr had gained knowledge of the Time Lords from Missy. What if Missy is acting as an agent of the Time Lords?

    Looking at CapDoc in this, I can’t help but remember the furious eyebrows in Day of the Doctor.

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    OK, that was….startling.

    A couple of things occur that I’ll blab on about so the meat of the post doesn’t show up in the activity thread.

    Wasn’t it hilarious that casting had managed to find an Eric Pickles look-a-like to play the ‘Earth normalised’ Sontaran? I laughed.

    I’m guessing most of the usual internet blarney will mention Harry Potter, but there are an awful lot of nods here to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Gaiman has had an awful lot of references this series.

    I mentioned Janus in connection with Osgood a couple of weeks ago. The keys of Janus would make a great Doctor Who title, but they are an instrument of the Hierophant in Tarot. And the Janus was released by a key.

    OK – Clara and her fate. Emotionally involving and well played by all. Jenna superb. Peter terrifying. Maisie actually looking appalled at the ramifications of her choices.

    Astonishing stuff, but amazing that this was penned by a newcomer to the writing team. This is integral to the arc and feels like the Utopia to Last of the Time Lords in season 3. Hopefully SM will exceed that particular trilogy over the next two parts.

    It does feel like a false ending in a way though. As @bluesqueakpip says “I don’t quite believe it”. The story of Clara leaves questions unanswered. It reminds me of God Complex in Series 6. A false ending for Amy and Rory that in that case that paid off two episodes later (and ultimately 6 beyond that).

    Just glorious stuff though. So much to pick through.

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    It’s as well to remind people on the spoiler front as we approach the end of the series, and I’ll apologise myself for using the title of tonights episode late last night. I’ve given myself a stern talking to.

    I’d had a few beers on my night out. 🙂

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    On the hybrid issue, I’m pretty convinced that the eventual realisation of that Plot is that it is nothing to fear, despite its build up as something terrible. It goes back to my thoughts on what it is to live in a multicultural society and the place we find ourselves currently in.

    This is going to be pretty long as it’s series to date, so apologies in advance.

    We start the series with the Doctor having a party in a fairytale castle with lots of references to Arthur and the Grail. Pure mythology and a story of how Arthur united the tribes of ancient Britons under noble and just laws.

    A myth, and one that has, on occasion, been seized on by the extreme right with their obsessions about racial purity. They are a bit like Davros in that regard. Whose entire shtick is based on Nazi philosophy. As the Doctor says:

    The Doctor: Davros is the Child of War. A war that wouldn’t end. A thousand years of fighting ’till nobody could remember why. So Davros, he created a new kind of warrior. One that wouldn’t bother with that question. A mutant in a tank that would never ever stop. And they never did.
    Clara: The Daleks?
    The Doctor: How scared must you be, to seal every one of your own kind inside a tank

    Last season we considered fear as a superpower, this season the dark paths it can lead you down.

    We know the Arthurian legend to be a myth because that period is documented to the extent we know that the Britons were still divided into Kingdoms when the Vikings rocked up and started looting, pillaging, and more importantly settling in the UK. We have no idea of Ashildr’s route. Did she come with the initial Norse settlers? Or did she come via Normandy with William in 1066. Those Vikings who had settled in France to defend against their own kind? We certainly know she fought in the 100 year war to defend against another incursion.

    Largely, the difference is immaterial these days. After a 1000 years does anyone hold any of these distinctions against people anymore? It’s part of our Great British heritage. We remember them, but the differences don’t matter anymore. We’ve been hybridised as a culture so many times. We have Roman and Norse Gods as days of the week.

    We skip forward again and see the Zygons attempting to assimilate on the world. An analogy for so many groups in the multicultural society we live in. With its conflicts and pressure points. A message of tolerance, but above all, breaking the cycle of violence. To strive in hope until, as Osgood says about her status:

    I’ll answer that question on the day it doesn’t matter anymore.

    Skipping forward centuries we find the underwater base. The references to Star Trek perhaps a direct reference to the aims of that series. Deliberately cast to show that humans had gone past the absurd pressure points of the time it was filmed in. Black and Russian members of the crew. Looking at the makeup of the Drum crew we have an afro caribbean Captain saving his deaf second in command and a British Pakistani character offering love advice to British Indian character. A message of hope, because in the face of love (like Osgood for her dead sister) the differences don’t mean a damn.

    And in this episode, even further into the future, we see a hybrid of the IndianJapan cultures. With a Geordie accent. With a trans actor whose gender shouldn’t really matter. Differences that shouldn’t really matter because surely it is the character’s actions that should define them?

    So given what we’ve seen this series, and that the hybridisation or fusion of cultures and people that have led inexorably towards us, do we really think that the hybrid will be archvillain material? Or will they be someone a bit like us? As Missy (the Master is inherently an evil but largely truthful character) said “We’re all hybrids in one way or another”.

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    @bendubz11 @bluesqueakpip

    Sorry for the delay. I’ve spent the evening being entertained by Ed Byrne in a comedy gig.

    I’ve removed that bit in the post. Now to catch-up on stuff before we Face the Raven!


    Put your back into it son. That’s lousy trolling.

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    Well said. I think Clara and Jenna will always hold a place in our affections because it was Christmas 2012 (and her appearance in The Snowmen) that led to The Doctor Who Forum being formed (you can look at The Snowmen forum and see us staggering, drunkenly, into the light of a new dawn). That’s almost three years of debate and cogitating on Clara and her astonishing relationship with The Doctor.

    Whoever our personal favorite companion may be, Clara and Jenna will always be special here.

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    I think the eye booger monster (thanks @drben) objections passed me by, because once you have got past the Adipose (your fat just walks away!) and the total conversion of bodily material to fat in the shape of small cute alien blobs, you are in a mindspace to accept anything! 🙂

    I do think they missed a trick here though. If it turns out this is truly a stand alone episode for this series, then I think they should have broadcast it on Halloween in the place of the first Zygon two parter. I think promoting it as a quirky take on horror movies (like the Amicus films @whisht and I referenced) would have put people in a better mood for it.

    Just on the Halloween subject alone, you could make a case for this referencing Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. It was the one that John Carpenter, bored of the slasher flick they became, sought out Nigel Kneale of Quatermass fame. He came up with a bizarre anti corporation and TV parable that saw a witch in charge of a toy making conglomerate trying to unleash a spell by technomancy.

    Any kid wearing a mask subjected to one of his adverts would convert to your worst nightmares. As Gatiss is a known fan of Kneale’s works, I can’t help but feel this could have been a minor inspiration.

    Also @whisht, that Sandman animation is still brilliant and disturbing stuff.

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    Many thanks, and hopefully it may. @danmartinuk is very kind to us in that regard and has often referenced us in blog. It continues to be appreciated.

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    I know it’s a bit early to mention Christmas, but I thought I’d highlight something that’s definitely gone on my personal list and it originated from dialogue in a Mark Gatiss episode.

    Remember his Night Terrors, in which the Eleventh Doctor tried to reassure young George?

    When I was your age—about, oo, a thousand years ago—I loved a good bedtime story. The Three Little Sontarans. The Emperor Dalek’s New Clothes. Snow White and Seven Keys to Doomsday, eh? All the classics.

    Well, Penguin are publishing a collection of those ‘Classics’ as Time Lord Fairy Tales, by Justin Richards who knocked out quite a few good books in the Eighth Doctor range. It seems to be getting good reviews with some praise for the sinister edge and giving some of the Tales less than happy endings. Looks lovely as well.

    I genuinely have enjoyed some previous works which have touched on extrapolating the Doctor into old storytelling styles. Things like the Arabian Nights-esque story of how The Doctor trapped Fenric in the flask in the novelization of Curse of Fenric. In a similar style, Paul Magrs novel The Scarlet Empress sees the Eighth Doctor become fascinated by a book called the Aja’ib (wondrous or miraculous one). It leads to some great in jokes as the Doctor recounts the latest exploit he’s read about, declaring it preposterous and not getting it’s about him. It’s actually a great book about the necessity of storytelling in relation to fleeting memory. It also has Iris Wildthyme, which is a bonus. I think storytelling avenues like this are ripe for exploitation by authors who can get the right style.

    Back to fairy tales and just as enticing is the audio book, released next week which features a host of Who actors tackling a story each. I can’t think of anything better than lying in bed on a winter’s night having Dan Starkey narrate The Three Little Sontarans (preferably as Strax), or Tom Baker waxing lyrical. Like a Doctor Who Jackanory (and there lies a big omission – a project like this would have surely benefited from the mighty Bernard Cribbins).

    Here are teasers of the fifteen Tales, and the narrators for the audiobook.

    Little Rose Riding Hood (Rachael Stirling, Ada in Crimson Horror)

    Deep in the woods, Rose is travelling to her grandmother’s cottage. She’s careful to watch out for the Bad Wolf, but what about the strange woodcutter she meets, wearing a black leather jacket? And why does Grandmother suddenly have such sharp teeth?

    The Gingerbread Trap (Samuel Anderson, Danny Pink)

    Lost in a forest, Everlyne and her brother, Malkus, find a house made out of gingerbread and sweets. But the kindly old woman who lives there is not all she first seems – in fact, with her strange metal craft and mysterious barrels of oil, she might not even be human . . .

    The Scruffy Piper (Nicholas Briggs, voice of just about everything)

    Space Station Hamlyn is under siege. Thousands of small metal creatures are flying through space, sent by silver warriors to burrow inside the station. The crew’s only hope is a slightly scruffy-looking stranger, with a recorder and a mysterious blue box . . .

    Helana and the Beast (Pippa Bennett-Warner, Saibra in Time Heist)

    Kept captive in a castle by a terrible beast, Helana befriends the castle’s only other resident – it’s grumpy, grey-haired librarian. Will the Beast and the librarian turn out to be more than meets the eye?

    Andiba and the Four Slitheen (Yasmin Paige, Maria in The Sarah Jane Adventures)

    Out walking in the hills one day, a young woman called Andiba hides when she sees several strange creatures beside an odd metal craft. Can she stop their dastardly plans for the local distillery, before it’s too late?…

    The Grief Collector (Michelle Gomez, Missy!)

    Melina and Varan are childhood sweethearts. Their wedding day should be the happiest of their lives – but when it all begins to go horribly wrong, can they trust a mysterious stranger in a pin-striped suit to set things right?

    The Three Brothers Gruff (Paul McGann, yer actual Eighth Doctor)

    Three brothers are walking home to their village. One brother is very strong, one is very brave, and the third – although weak and small compared to his brothers – is very clever. What will happen when they encounter a short (but fierce) member of a military clone race?

    Sir Gwain and the Green Knight (Andrew Brooke, The Gunslinger, Town Called Mercy)

    The Court of King Halfur is in session, attended by the greatest and bravest knights of the realm, when they have an unexpected visitor. A huge, green warrior clad in reptilian-like armour smashes his way into the chamber – but why does he need their help?

    Garden of Statues (Joanna Page, Elizabeth I)

    Children have always played in the garden of the Big House – though sometimes, the stone statues there seem to move about of their own accord.

    Frozen Beauty (Adjoa Andoh, Martha’s Mum, Francine)

    A spaceship crash-lands on a mysterious planet, the crew frozen in cryogenic suspension, unable to save themselves from the slithering dangers that lurk outside. Can a handsome Space Captain find the sleeping travellers before it’s too late?

    Cinderella and the Magic Box (Ingrid Oliver, Osgood)

    Cinderella has lost all hope of attending the royal ball with her stepmother and sisters, when a strange man in a blue box arrives and begins to grant her every wish. But at the palace, Cinderella soon discovers not all the guests are as noble as they seem . . .

    The Twins in the Wood (Anne Reid, Plasmavore)

    The Emperor of Levithia has been murdered, leaving his two children as heirs to the throne. With treason and traitors around every corner, the children are soon forced to flee into space. What will become of them when they crash-land on a strange planet, full of it’s own surprises?

    The Three Little Sontarans (Dan Starkey, Strax)

    In an epic battle against a lone Rutan, three Sontarans take up very different strategies to defeat their interminable nemesis, once and for all.

    Jak and the Wormhole (Tom Baker, who needs no introduction)

    After burying a strange device on his farm, Jak finds himself whisked away on an incredible adventure. Faced with a mysterious, horned enemy, it’s up to Jak to save the world from total destruction.

    Snow White and the Seven Keys to Doomsday (Sophie Aldred, Ace)

    The planet Winter was once ruled by an evil tyrant who built a Doomsday Machine. When he was defeated, the machine’s seven vital operating keys were hidden across the planet. Now, a villainous queen is plotting to locate the keys, but Snow White is determined to stop her . . .

    All in all, it sounds a treat.

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    I find the easy way to do it is to find the post you want to link to and then click on the number on the top right. This changes the http address in your browser to that of that specific post. Copy that address (ctrl + c) and use the link function in the text box as usual when you format the post, pasting (ctrl + v) when directed to input a web address. It takes you directly to that post.

    Hope that helps.

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    I should have possibly mentioned that I made a rare excursion to the G on Saturday, taking Dan’s “Theories even more insane than what’s actually happening” as an invite to bang the drum, as it were.

    The last time I really had an opportunity to do that was in S7b. While this may bring a few ‘one hit’ moaners who don’t particularly get the site ethos, we’ve also pulled more than a few valuable members along the way. Swings and roundabouts. And hey! I got an excited “OOOOOOOOOH!” From @danmartinuk . I may have titivated his fronds. 🙂 Always a pleasure.

    What’s kind of interesting is that the response BTL on the G for this one reminds me of Rings of Ankhaten which got a bit boisterous with a lot of “worst episode ever” comments. Read about it in retrospect these days and most people seem complimentary. Perhaps the Episodes that are constructed differently do need time to bed in?

    Like “In the forest..” Last year I don’t think this is ever going to appeal to everyone, but I think there should be at least one experimental episode per season. This does have a few cheeky subversions which set it apart.

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    At the moment I’ll leave it up, even if it serves only as a clear example of the lazy minded general Ad hominem attack that plagues other boards.

    If @erebos can actually mount some semblance of a critique without resort to abuse as @kharis suggested, he may win a point or two. If not the delete button awaits.

    As always, I recommend making those who seem to want to troll to work hard for a response. If it becomes too much like hard work they go away. If they genuinely want to talk they will. Never spend as much time on your response as they have on writing the thing in the first place.

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    Question for @janetteb or any other Babylon 5 fan here.

    After callouts to Star Trek earlier in the series I thought ‘Space station’. Everyone is cosplaying Bablyon 5 characters!

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    The signal was embedded at the end. The professor asks if you saw it, and doesn’t it make you tickle, before his collapse begins. The Doctor and the others leave before he can appreciate the plan because they leave without seeing the end of the footage.

    It’s kind of the perfect Penny dreadful/Amicus ending you’d expect from Gatiss.

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    I was a bit wary of this because I’m not a big fan of found footage type projects (your Blair Witch and Cloverfields of this world). If I wanted to get a headache and sea sickness from an experience I’d go to a fun Fair.

    Actually though, it didn’t go down that route too much and I didn’t need the motion sickness tablets. On balance I’d congratulate Mark Gatiss on producing something very different from his previous Who work, which simultaneously feels very Mark Gatiss.

    It misses his usual preference of the past to go for a future that echoes the great Sun Makers (in which Pluto sees a privatised remnant of humanity worked to death while being a convenient tax base for an alien corporation) which was also set in this period. Lots of nice background material delivered in an off the cuff way, which I’d suggest it would be good to develop. This could be Marks future touchstone period in the same way the early 50th century became SMs.

    Bethany Black got the gift that keeps on giving in Who terms: A clone part! I liked the cultural mixup in this that leads to the leader of the taskforce having a Geordie accent, Pet.

    One might almost call it well…. A hybrid!

    Or not because this episode does show the signs it was written at the same time as Robot of Sherwood, and held back. It doesn’t strike you as being linked into this series in the same way as every story we’ve seen so far. You could easily see this alongside Mummy on the Orient Express last year.

    Still, the nice ideas and Reece Shearsmith made it worthwhile. The final monologue and disintegrating head will have left a few kids watching with that lovely horror ending feeling.

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    what kind of stationery do you think he would use?

    Somebody else’s stationery, the thieving git! 🙂

    Seriously, he often uses what’s to hand, like the TARDIS blue paper and envelopes he got from Craig to send his chums an invitation to his death in Series 6.

    He nicked Ministry paper to falsify an introduction letter from the Prime Minister in Curse of Fenric, and jotted a note to Leonardo da Vinci on the back of one of his sketches.

    There was a suggestion in spin off media that he had letterheads for his I.M. Foreman, Scrap Metal Merchant cover while he was on Earth in the Sixties (which would make sense).

    When he got all official at home in The Deadly Assassin, he used blank paper, and signed using his official Prydonian Order seal, screen grab below:

    Doctors note Deadly Assassin

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    Enjoy your day! Must be an especially frustrating position for Sarah Dollard to be in as she was also at the London Comic Con with SM last month. She hasn’t got a history of Episodes to discuss and her one this series isn’t broadcast till next week so … Spoilers. 😉

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    Hi all,

    There is a nice little interview with Peter Harness here, discussing writing for the show. I’m sure @blenkinsopthebrave will be delighted that his reference to Invasion of the Body Snatchers is confirmed as first and foremost in his mind as he was writing. The 1970s version which may delight @purofilion. Àpparently the inspiration for Amazing Grace. I have to say, I found the 1970s version impacted more on me as well. The isolation and paranoia in an urban environment spoke to me in a way that the invocation of small town America (in the original) could not.

    I’m particularly envious of members like @bluesqueakpip at the moment. Apparently every writer for Series 9 will be at the Doctor Who festival this weekend, which has never happened before. I’m sure that will be a fascinating panel.

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    I didn’t get a chance to post on previous threads, but I found the idea discussed by some that the Knightmare and Nightmare scenario may reference ‘The Nightmare Child’ quite interesting, especially when I had a look at the dialogue that surrounds it.

    The first mention is Stolen Earth/Journey’s End in that Davros’ command ship was seemingly destroyed at the Gates of Elysium after flying into the jaws of the Nightmare Child. He raided the Gates of Heaven and was swallowed by a Nightmare.

    I found the reference in the End of Time even more interesting. The Doctot tells the Master:

    You weren’t there. In the final days of the war. You never saw what was born. But if the time lock’s broken then everything is coming through. Not just the Daleks, but the Skaro Degradations. The Horde of Travesties. The Nightmare Child. The Could-Have-Been King with his army of Meanwhiles and Neverweres. The war turned into hell! And that’s what you’ve opened. Right above the Earth. Hell is descending.

    OK, one referencing Heaven and Hell. More importantly though, Listen saw the Timelock gone. And if the Timelock is gone then everything is coming back? Perhaps signs and portents of the return of Gallifrey?

    The Daleks? Well, they only ever went briefly.

    The Skaro Degradations? I can’t help but think of the Sewers in Witches Familiar. Mutations stripped from armour, degraded in form and spirit.

    The Could-Have-Been King? The Fisher King with his knowledge of the Time Lords.

    Poetic Licence, but armies of Meanwhiles and Neverweres, I’d see as abstract menaces to the timelines. Distortions to the timelines to introduce things of the imagination. The things that never were. Anachronisms and myths. Vikings with horns. Robin Hood. The Moon is an egg.

    The Nightmare references may point us to Ashildr or something else.

    Not quite sure if anything fits the Horde of Travesties (You could make a pithy reference to The Mire. A Horde who had a reputation that turned out to be a bit of a travesty), but there is still time left obviously.

    Anyone got any different interpretations of this lot?

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    I was thinking, one of the potential ramifications of the Osgood and Zygon relationship if we take it as granted that Zygons can copy her bioprint or memory from other Zygons, is that Osgood is, like Ashildr, a technically immortal character. All it requires is a continuing line of Zygons who are committed to the plans of the originals.

    That actually has a pleasing symmetry, especially for Remembrance Sunday (last Remembrance Sunday we were recovering from Death in Heaven of course). Her memory will remain.

    Just on the Tarot front, while I still like @juniperfish s summation of Osgood as Tempererance, as a being with two Faces I can’t help but think of Janus, the Roman God. In terms of conflict and warfare he saw both the beginnings and endings of conflict with perfect clarity, enabling understanding. The Hierophant in Tarot is often depicted holding a set of keys – a deliberate call out to Janus and his understanding of future/past.

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    I thought that was a nice conclusion to the two parter. Slowing down the pace slightly from the globe trotting first part really worked, and the face off in The Black Archive nicely bookended the initial references to Day of The Doctor.

    It’s tempting to say Capaldi owned it for the power of that final confrontation, but that would be a huge disservice to Jenna Coleman who I thought worked incredibly well as Clara and Bonnie, especially their ‘mind battle/interrogation’ scene.

    Really enjoyed Ingrid Oliver in this too. Osgood definitely feels more fleshed out after this. The Doctor’s “I’m a big fan” feels well earned.

    Lots to ponder on. The Doctor has had “a month from hell”. I’m presuming this is a compressed month from his time perspective. A month for him in which he tried to contact Clara 120 odd times. Hmmmmm.

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    Remember, remember the fifth of November,
    Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
    I see no reason that the Gunpowder Treason
    Should ever be forgot.

    I think I’ve mentioned before that, as a child, I was more likely focused on November 5th than Halloween. Ostensibly, it’s the date the UK celebrate the triumph of Protestants over Catholics by ritually burning an effigy of a man who wanted to reverse that dynamic.

    Or it was. Even before I was born it seemed to become something else. A surly resistance against authoritarianism. Because authorities really didn’t like us building bonfires that could get out of control. Even if we turned out to be good at it and stood about, as families, baking our potatoes on a huge conflagration we kids had erected on a public space.

    Guy Fawkes will always be ‘A Penny for the Guy’ but the effigy we built and threw on the fire transmuted over the years. For much of my youth it was Margaret Thatcher. And Reagan. Briefly Major or George Bush. Blair. Dubbya. Brown. Cameron.

    It became the night of sticking your fingers up at the authorities who tried to tear down your bonfire and you built it again. And again. And so a stupid celebration of one potential theocracy over another just became a symbol of sticking your fingers up at authoritarianism.

    So, to remember the 5th, you need V for Vendetta. Originally a comic book, and then a movie, I’ll always direct people to the graphic novel first and foremost, but I’m one of those who still love the movie as well.

    A sprawling tale of a ‘1984’ style fascist Government gaining power, and an individual who stands for anarchy, for freedom and ultimately for Vengeance against them. It was astonishing work in the 80s but I think the movie, though not having the weight of multiple Plot lines that benefited the comic, ultimately conveyed the same message adapted to new times.

    Seek out the movie, or the graphic novel, but Remember.

    A few reasons why I love the movie:

    People of the Nation, please attend.

    It doesn’t quite match the mad lordly satire of the comic, as V addresses his audience as the faithful staff to his employer, but this is pretty good, and we get a glimpse of Bollocks girl.
    v address

    Bollocks girl was a symbol of youthful rebellion in a few panels in the book. She’s wove into the film a bit more as a major piece in the Domino effect.


    The single most emotive episode in the original book, which is pivotal to Vs and Eveys rebirth.

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    I’m afraid I struggled again for music this week, but I thought the pub might be a good venue for the odd bit of poetry. Let’s give a big hand to Attila the Stockbroker (more info), whose recent collection ‘The UK Gin Dependence Party’ should win an award based on title alone. This is from way before Doctor Who returned, but seems oddly appropriate:

    They claim their planet’s dying:
    that soon it’s going to blow
    And so they’re coming here – they say
    they’ve nowhere else to go….
    With their strange computer voices
    and their one eye on a pole
    They’re moving in next door and then
    they’re signing on the dole…..

    Asylum seeking Daleks
    are landing here at noon!
    Why can’t we simply send them back
    or stick them on the moon?
    It says here in the Daily Mail
    they’re coming here to stay –
    The Loony Lefties let them in!
    The middle class will pay……

    They say that they’re all pacifists:
    that doesn’t wash with me!
    The last time I saw one I hid
    Weeks behind the settee…
    Good Lord – they’re pink. With purple bumps!
    There’s photos of them here!
    Not just extraterrestrial….
    The bloody things are queer!

    Yes! Homosexual Daleks
    And they’re sponging off the State!
    With huge Arts Council grants
    to teach delinquents how to skate!
    It’s all here in the paper –
    I’d better tell the wife!
    For soon they will EXTERMINATE
    Our British way of life…..

    This satire on crass ignorance
    and tabloid-fostered fear
    Is at an end. Now let me give
    One message, loud and clear.
    Golf course, shop floor or BNP:
    Smash bigotry and hate!
    Asylum seekers – welcome here.
    You racists: emigrate!

    6 May 2002

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    Was it a Koestler coincidence, or are you telepathic?

    Synchronicity? Hmmmmm. More like anticipating that Peter Harness (previous recipient of the Dennis Potter award) would bring forward the sub and metatexts that I thought I’d seen in the Episodes (and perhaps more importantly in the reactions to the episodes). I honestly didn’t expect him to be so direct though. While I’m recuperating I may write a bit more about the series to date.


    Glad you enjoyed the mural. Agree with you both about the Supermarkets attitude.

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    Yes, in the absence of a handy memory worm and/or timespace travel to collect one, a handy vat of Mind Bleach is an essential when looking at right leaning papers comments sections.

    Cheap and nasty:

    mind bleach

    Luxury Mind Bleach:

    beer mind bleach

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    @missy @lisa

    I was a bit confused by the comment about deleting this episode because the Series DVD was on its way. Isn’t the release this week Season 9 Part 1 (Episodes 1-6)? Part 2 (Episodes 7-12) is released in December right after the finale.

    I think a single Series 9 complete box set isn’t released till next year.

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    @arbutus (I really want to try that Pumpkin Stout) @purofilion @whisht @juniperfish @blenkinsopthebrave

    Thanks all for indulging an old idealist. I made the huge mistake earlier of reading a few online reviews. ATL all is pretty complementary. BTL – oh, dear. The Daily Telegraph had comments that made me ask for the mind Bleach.

    Anyway, on a lighter note (and a reminder of the kinder, slightly bonkers side of our National Character). I was in Whitehaven and had one of those random ‘blue plaque’ moments that can give me a bit of a boost. For anyone not aware, a Blue Plaque you find attached to buildings usually because at some point a person of note was born, lived in it for a while, or died in it.

    Mostly they’re quiet and discreet, but occasionally people get creative. So I’m making my way haphazardly from one side to town to the other on foot, enter a small square and come across the house that Jonathan ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ Swift lived in as an infant (he sometimes claimed to have been kidnapped as a child and forced to live there, but he was a notorious fantasist).

    Isn’t this brilliant?

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