Tag Archives: river song

5 things I learned from The Name of the Doctor

1. THE NAME OF THE POSTAL DISTRICT

chiswick

I love a season finale. It’s a chance to tie up loose ends and deal with all the nagging unanswered questions from the past year. One thing that was troubling me was where exactly in London Clara lives, that has a row of semi-detacheds overlooking a sweeping view across the City (see: Doctor Who and the Horrible Broadband). So it’s good to find out it’s Donna Noble’s old stomping ground of Chiswick. Hope any fans visiting enjoy those panoramic vistas!!

2. THE NAME OF THE RANDOM OLD TAT

space spectacles

A very long time ago, these two lads were toiling in the Spirograph factory that we always knew must be hidden deep beneath Snowglobe City the Capitol on Gallifrey when suddenly– oh never mind that, look at those honking Space Spectacles! Even Kanye West might draw the line at those. The Time Lords have always had a proud history of filling the place up with cheap tat, though, as a glimpse of 1978 Gallifrey moments later reminded us. You can’t go wrong with that inflatable plastic furniture in the corridors!

inflatable tat

3. THE NAME OF RIVER SONG

river snog

I bloody love River Song, and her final goodbye was the highlight of the episode for me. That might have been the tenderest kiss we’ve ever seen in Doctor Who. River SNOG more like, right lads? Meanwhile in case you thought they’d forgotten about the Gay Agenda, Madame Vastra tricked Clara into her special magic teapot room with a scented candle. I mean, really.

4. THE NAMES OF ALL THE CLARAS

Cushion Clara

Fans have been having fun imagining Clara working her way through all the Doctor’s previous adventures, as this picture shows. But if she’s been reborn thousands of times after setting off “to put right what once went wrong”, by my reckoning there are several dozen of her loose in 1980s England alone. I wonder if they all meet up regularly and swap notes. Perhaps sometimes they have a special guest – Old Welsh Clara, the one who threw the jars of honey at the Bannermen in 1959.

5. THE NAME OF THE ENDING

the naughty doctor

I absolutely hated that ending. Not because it failed to reveal the Doctor’s name, because who cares. But because it was convoluted, anticlimactic and failed to make sense even in its own context. The Doctor’s greatest secret is… that there’s a naughty Doctor? Except he’s not called the Doctor because Matt Smith says so. Except he is, because a big caption flashes up saying that he is. “So he’s the future Doctor?” shrugged my fella, which seems like a reasonable assumption. But apparently completely wrong. Here’s a very helpful blog post explaining what Steven Moffat’s intentions seem to be. But, you know, if you need to read a blog post to make sense of a hugely hyped ending, then it’s failed as mainstream entertainment. And the last time Doctor Who stopped being mainstream entertainment it shrivelled up and died.

5 things I learned from The Bells of Saint John

1. The BELLS of GROOMING

clara kiss

When the Doctor’s not busy licking leaves or running around the TARDIS with his Spirograph and a ballpoint pen, he likes to pick up girls. The prequel to the episode reminded me that it’s not exactly the first time that the Doctor’s met someone as a child who, in their later life, he’ll go on to snog.

amy kiss

Not even the second.

river kiss

I blame The Time Traveler’s Wife for all this.

reinette kiss

They’re not even safe in their prams. Especially now we know from Closing Time that the Doctor “speaks baby”.

rose kiss

It was all the other way round with Captain Jack, but there you go.

captain jack kiss

2. The BELLS of EVERY GOOD BOY DESERVES CLARA

Of course, companions these days are generally predestined to meet the Doctor anyway, by dint of sending themselves messages from the future, being the future mother of the TARDIS-child or the TARDIS-child herself, and so on. Even lovely, ordinary Donna – who escaped the gallery of shame above – lived under an anvil of cosmic coincidence. And Clara’s story is the most extreme of the lot. The wireless password forming a reverse-engineered mnemonic of her deathbed catchphrase is the sort of contrivance even Jacob from Lost might have thought a step too far.

3. THE BELLS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Kislet's tablet

Regular readers will know I like to analyse classic Doctor Who villains through a prism of businesss jargon, invoking client/agency relationships at every step. How thoughtful of Steven Moffat to save me all the work on this one, with a classic ruthless PM versus terrifying client set-up. The four key qualities that Miss Kislet controls in her employees are Conscience, Paranoia, Obedience and IQ. It’s not exactly The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, but then what is? I like that she has a little weather forecast handy on her tablet of terror too.

4. The BELLS of OBSCURE CONTINUITY REFERENCES

At this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if the fact that Clara nannies for a family called “Maitland” turns out to be a link-in to The Sensorites.

5. THE BELLS OF WHAT AMY DID NEXT

summer falls

Exciting to learn that Amy became a writer after leaving the Doctor! What sort of a book IS Summer Falls? From the cover it looks to be a Famous Five sort of adventure – and I wish it had been the little white dog that came to life on the stairs rather than the snooty girl – and yet Chapter 11 will have you crying your eyes out, apparently. Of course, in going from model to children’s author, Amy’s career path is closely following Katie Price’s. Did Amy ghostwrite any of Katie’s books? This Mermaids and Pirates series looks a lot like a better-lit The Curse of the Black Spot.

mermaids and pirates

Tied up with string: August

AN ACTRESS

I bloody love Ann Mitchell. She was a childhood hero in Widows and now here she is as a regular in EastEnders, dispensing unpalatable truth in that gravelly voice like it’s 1983 again. Her brilliant performance has elevated a certain piece of dialogue into being the most quotable EastEnders line in ten years:

FYI, the previous ‘most quotable line of ‘Enders dialogue since 2001′ was given to Syd Chambers (Nina Toussaint-White, seen in Doctor Who this week as “Mels”), who introduced herself to Bradley with the dog-related chat-up line “My Sugar’s taken a shine to you.”

(Poor Sugar.)

AN ALBUM

Toddla T’s Dance With Me is a big favourite already. I have all the time in the world for thoughtful party albums, and what a party this is. The whole thing is stuffed with beats and dripping with sex, quite literally in the lyrics of Cherry Picking, in which Róisín Murphy quotes Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and boasts she can break a lover’s fingers with her vaginal grip before climaxing with what we can only call an ‘I’ll have what she’s having’.

ANIMAL OF THE MONTH

It is the spider in my bathroom, who, for setting up in a high, quiet corner and deciding to stay all summer, is Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web to my mind. We’ll have to gloss over the evening when I drunktweeted about trying to hold a conversation with her. And let’s not think about the County Fair and the coming of Autumn. I can’t bear it.

Day of the Loon

There’s nothing quite like an online forum, is there. I tend to avoid them if I can at all help it – it brings me out in hives to see all those abrasive personalities ranting away and missing the point.

But now that Facebook is taking everything over, these sorts of conversations are closer and easier to stumble across than ever before. And a Facebook comments feed is a terrible place for hundreds of people to attempt an involved debate about a complicated piece of TV. Following the discussion threads and working out who’s replying to what is near impossible when everything appears in one lump at breakneck speed.

So to save you all the bother, I had a trawl through the comments on the post that the BBC’s official Doctor Who FB profile put up after Day of the Moon aired last night, which asked “What did you think?”

Controversial. But I suspect Lucy is making some sort of meta-comment about how this series, just like the last full series from both Steven Moffat and RTD, is already drenched with clever, integral emotional themes based around memory and forgetting.

Yes it was confusing, wasn’t it Eli. A very dense and involving bit of telly with lots of unanswered questions. I did look all the way through the rest of the comments, and everyone was debating the big surprising thing that happened in the story and changed our perceptions of what was going on. But I don’t think anyone confirmed whether it was a plot twist or not.

Blimey. To be honest “how the little girl ended up in New York 6 months later” isn’t on my list of burning questions. Considering that earlier on, this episode glossed over 3 months of the main characters’ lives, and covered the paradigm shift in the plot during that time with a few lines of dialogue, I don’t think we’re expected to find it puzzling that a little girl who runs away from a nightmarish children’s home might end up homeless on the streets of New York a few months later.

(Oh and let’s not fall into the trap of assuming it’s the little girl who’s in the spacesuit when it comes out of the lake in 2011, either…)

Chirag has sadly got Doctor Who mixed up with Don’t Scare The Hare. Understandable.

I rather like this comment. The episode did put me in mind of Steven Moffat’s writing on Coupling, and all those intricate structural conceits he enjoys so much.

Facebook. Reaching the parts of the internet that a quick TV listings search, not to mention the iPlayer, can’t.

David, speaking to us from 1982 there. I suppose what he’s objecting to are that things like marriage, pregnancy and romance are taking centre stage in the ongoing story. Not that I don’t love soaps, but I think he’d only really have a point if each of those elements weren’t being subjected to clever, poignant twists which could only happen in a wildly imaginative show about time travel. In fact, in the Moff’s hands, the main focus of the series these days seems to be to consider every possible emotional ramification that a time-travelling lifestyle would have.

Heh. I did try and write something witty taking the piss out of this comment, but to be honest I couldn’t top it.

And I can’t show you the last comment that made me laugh because it had been deleted by the time I went to do the screengrabs last night, so you’ll just have to trust that I saw it with my own eyes. Somebody actually went onto a comments thread set up specifically for people to talk about something they’ve all just watched, to ask people to stop dropping spoilers because he hadn’t watched it yet. Now that’s timey-wimey.

The bucolic world of Steven Moffat

Where does Steven Moffat get his character names? As we gear ourselves up for a new series of Doctor Who, I’m left wondering just how pastoral the names are going to be this year. Because they’ve been pretty damn rustic up until now…

Here’s your cut out and keep guide, click to enlarge.

Separated at birth?