Tag Archives: steven moffat

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 Rings of Akhaten

1. THE ACCESSORIES OF AKHATEN

clara necklace

That necklace that Clara’s had on constantly for the last two weeks looks a lot like the Zoroastrian Faravahar to me. It represents the fravashi, the eternal guardian spirit who sends your soul out into the material world to join the battle between good and evil, and then receives the soul back after death to collect those experiences. I’m sure this has nothing to do with Clara at all.

2. THE MOPEDS OF AKHATEN

mopeds in space

Well here we have this year’s repeated meme. Last week, the Doctor and Clara rode a motorbike around London. This week they straddled a moped across space!! Hopefully in next week’s 80s-set episode, they ride a space hopper round a submarine.

3. THE UNFORTUNATE TIMING OF AKHATEN

clara's mum's grave

According to Wikipedia, the day Clara’s mum died was the same day the first TV trailer for the new series of Doctor Who starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper aired. Well it was a shock for all of us.

And speaking of that series…

4. THE “IT’S A NO FROM ME” OF AKHATEN

song of the bee child

“What happened?” asks Rose woozily after the cathartic climax of The Parting of the Ways. “It’s like there was this singing.”

“That’s right,” replies the Doctor. “I sang a song and the Daleks ran away!” It’s a brilliant joke. No-one expected it would be used as an actual plot resolution. I mean there was Delta and the Bannermen, and Steven Moffat just about got away with Katherine Jenkins singing to a shark a couple of years ago – well it was Christmas for one thing, and it was a satisfying, cleverly constructed story for another. But this gloopy hymn on Akhaten had me shouting FUCK OFF at the screen throughout. If I want to see a terrified, charmless kid singing for their life in front of a malformed monster on a podium, well The Voice is on straight after Doctor Who, thanks very much.

5. THE TOURIST BOARD CHALLENGE OF AKHATEN

Lovely sunset, shame it's the last one!

Exciting to learn that the Doctor visited Akhaten long ago with his granddaughter! I use the word exciting advisedly. Presumably on that occasion he DIDN’T overturn the entire society, leaving them without a culture, religion or – oops – a sun. Still I’m sure it’ll be a lovely place to visit next time around.

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

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.