Dear Steven Moffat: The Eaters of Light

Dear Steven,

There was much anticipation in Doctor Who land when it was announced that Rona Munro, the woman who became the ultimate hostage to fortune by writing a classic series serial called “Survival” at a time when BBC mandarins were plotting to axe the show, had been brought out of storage to pen a fresh chunk. Well, as we now know Steven, those bastards did it. Munro’s story, featuring a lesbian Cheetah woman and the horror of Hale and Pace, turned out to be the very last of the 1963-89 run. That misfortune made her an immortal part of Who lore. Perhaps that’s why you thought of her when it came to finally bringing back a member of the old guard – a historic bridge between two epochs of time travel chicanery.

With 28 years to think of a new story, which many would call plenty, Munro might have produced something a little more substantial than “The Eaters of Light” – an episode that played like dips from the Time Lord tombola – interdimensional locusts, Pict warriors, the lost Roman ninth legion – and as ever the limited single episode running time didn’t give the new characters much time to develop beyond their core motivation. Yet, a tonal shift was evident, which combined with old school BBC standbys like remote native locations and smoke machines, gave the story a classic era buzz.

Perhaps it was psychological projection, maybe just fantasy, but I’m sure I detected a hint of the McCoy/Aldred era in the deadpan witticisms and line delivery. It’s almost certainly insanity, but when Capaldi said he was “very very cross indeed”, I heard the 7th Doctor. But truthfully, I hear him every day – in the supermarket, at the massage parlour, on Pornhub, watching The Hobbit. I don’t know why.

And maybe it’s a good job there was more dry comic patter than usual, because Munro’s plot was a real snooze fest. No fucks were given – indeed they remained sealed in their boxes – about Romans and tribal Scots coming together to defeat a luminescent alien. The Doctor’s willingness to sacrifice his future to guard the portal that separated the monster realm from ours meant little because there was no possibility of him following through. I’m not sure how the united enemies entering the gate helped – apparently they were stuck there in perpetuity or something, and I didn’t care.

That’s the problem with single episodes, Steven – either the scribe hired can work out how to inject a little psychological intrigue and character-building detail into the fleeting scenario or they can’t, but if they can’t, we’re left with a truncated serial that has no depth, just a concept.

Much as I dread Chris Chibnall’s arrival as show runner, one thing that came out of his recent interview in Television, other than the shocking, depressing titbit that the BBC begged him to take the job, proving the powers that be don’t watch the drool box, was a hint that in order to meet the Beeb’s revamp remit – be bold and take risks – he may innovatively go back to the ‘60s and revive the serial format; possibly even extending a story over an entire year. Groundbreaking, if it’s 1986 and the story is “Trial of a Time Lord”.

If you want my opinion, and you don’t, I think that’s a good idea. As I’ve said many times, I wouldn’t go that far – I’d just commission four great screenplays a year and divide them up, but as Munro’s re-emergence has us looking backwards, let’s remember a time when Doctor Who stories had time to breathe and supporting characters a chance to make a fleeting impression. Wouldn’t that be nice? But Chibnall, if you’re watching – no return to Hale and Pace cameos please. Do take it seriously, there’s a lucky geek.

Yours in time and cyberspace,

Ed

P.S: “I’m against charm.” Me too, Doctor. Me too.

P.P.S: The words “wi-fi password” should never again feature in a Doctor Who story. I know you insisted on this so Rona’s off the hook.

P.P.P.S: Fuck, John Simm’s Master returns next week for the grand finale, just as we’d got over him. Rest assured I’ll be watching through the haze of a damn good bottle of wine. No, not the shit you drink. Decent stuff. Decanted.

The Old Man’s Last Stand

Christmas 2016:

Christmas 2015:

The Old Man and the C: 

The Clara Oswald Show:

Smith – The Dark Suit Jacket Years: 

Smith in his Pomp:

Deep Time:

Dear Steven Moffat: Empress of Mars

Dear Steven,

We don’t have many episodes left together, so it was a matter of some regret that with just four episodes remaining, you followed the recent trilogy with yet another disposable three quarters of an hour. “Empress of Mars” has Mark Gatiss’s slapped on it, and assuming this was his final contribution to the show, nothing became his legacy like this fun but frivolous slice of genre mashing Victoriana.

The concept of Flashman versus the Ice Warriors was fine, but like other brundle-episodes, Gatiss’s “Robot of Sherwood” claws at the mind, there was nothing more to the story than its one sentence pitch. I enjoyed the setup; an imperial garrison, imagining they’ve conquered Mars for the Empire and enslaved its only remaining native, unwittingly help said colonial free his combative dormant species. But what I suppose I missed was the moral dimension that might have made this thing about something. You can say that’s Star Trek’s domain and you’d be right, but morality plays induce reflection and therefore tend to live longer in the memory that episodes that don’t test the character’s assumptions and sunny optimism.

Sure, you could argue the Doctor got to extol the virtues of peaceful co-existence and all that shit, but honestly, who cared? The Colonel got his honour restored, not that it mattered in the grand scheme of things, and the Ice Warriors took their place in the Galactic League, or whatever, having been reconciled to leaving their now barren homeworld. Super. But you’re aware that Peter Capaldi doesn’t have much screen time left, right? Shouldn’t this precious chunk of temporal real estate have been used for the start of his run in – I mean, more than the last 30 seconds? Perhaps others were too busy enjoying their nostalgia to feel cheated but I did, Steven. I did.

The only real point of interest offered by “Empress of Mars” was further insight into the Doctor’s pop cultural knowledge. Initially I was cheered by the news that this 2,000 year-old alien genius, invested with knowledge of countless planets and civilisations, hadn’t seen The Terminator. It’s a great movie, but I just couldn’t picture our hero sitting down to watch a fictionalised story of time travel, killer robots and apocalypse. The constituent elements constituted a child-like view of the day job. And having barely survived the Time War, one imagines the last fucking thing he’d want to enjoy as entertainment was a story about a scorched planet overrun by machines. So, a big thumbs up there, but then I remembered this was the same man who had seen Ghostbusters and knew the theme. A fact he reminded us of in one of the series’ worst ever moments.

No, the Doctor hadn’t seen James Cameron’s movie or John Carpenter’s The Thing – again, one imagines for obvious reasons. But he had seen Disney’s Frozen and once again, for the benefit of a throwaway gag, we were left wondering when our favourite Time Lord found the time to watch a fairy tale aimed at Earth children and what compelled him to watch it in the first place.

During your time as showrunner you’ve never managed this problem, despite the damage it does to the unreality of the show. The Doctor should be divorced from all the transient crap that preoccupies us, because he’s an alien and that being the case, there should be some distance between him and the audience. Let us aspire to be him, rather than relate to him on a personal level. We got through the entire classic run, 26 seasons, without the Doctor referring to his movie collection, favourite pop hits or top 3 computer games. I’d like to believe Chris Chibnall will reinstate the Doctor’s dignified silence on this front…but he won’t, obviously.

Yours in time and cyberspace,

Ed

P.S: Missy’s out then. So I suppose the meat of the series, Capaldi’s goodbye, begins next week. I’ll be sure to set my crotch watch.

The Old Man’s Last Stand

Christmas 2016:

Christmas 2015:

The Old Man and the C: 

The Clara Oswald Show:

Smith – The Dark Suit Jacket Years: 

Smith in his Pomp:

Deep Time:

Dear Steven Moffat: Extremis/The Pyramid at the End of the World/The Lie of the Land

Dear Steven,

As someone who’s campaigned for more long form Who, a return to the storytelling ethos of old, a time when stories had room to breathe, I thought I’d wait until this three-parter concluded before giving you the benefit of my esteemed judgement. And when I say that, I’m relying on a Monk-like retconning of history to furnish the statement with credibility.

I know these stories are planned and filmed half a year before transmission, so you, Peter Harness and Toby Whithouse would have known nothing of the snap election, but it seemed to me this strange, enjoyable blend of Dan Brown, The Mummy and Nineteen Eighty-Four, had a timely quality if you will (and frankly, even if you won’t) that significantly improved its potentially yawn inducing alien invasion of Earth premise.

In the Monks we had a pious enemy that made a fuss of free will, the notion of consent, while clandestinely doing everything they could to crush independent thought. The dry husks, humanoid in appearance, but lacking communicative dexterity, vitality, colour or warmth, used advanced computer simulations to wargame their strategy for taking over. In “Extremis” we learned they’d anticipated every rear guard action, every counter argument, using, as Nardole helpfully put it so others didn’t have to, something like the holodeck in Star Trek. Then, in “The Pyramid at the End of the World”, they used this information to prey on a vulnerable, frightened, ill-informed populace to effect dominion over the population. Bill – a naïve youth – was groomed to give the world away, the aliens requiring our consent to establish their global protection racket. Her love of the Doctor, the closest thing she had to an elderly relative, was used against her as the Monks promised to save the old duffer and restore his faculties for a sky-high fee. Her vote duly acquired, “The Lie of the Land” saw the Monks established as our conquerors, initiating a ruthless programme of mass indoctrination, designed to naturalise their reign – propaganda that retooled all humanity’s achievements as their own. The order was recast as our traditional rulers and the guardians of social order.

Watching this, just days out from an election, I and millions of others, dropped our four chocolate desserts,  cupped the breasts of our high class escorts, and screamed the same question at our televisions. Were the Monks a thumping great metaphor for the Tories?

“You are corpses to us”, “In darkness we are revealed” – shit, Steven, these could have been Tory slogans. In fact, they felt so familiar I had the check the Conservatives’ website.

It surely wasn’t incidental that they were ultimately defeated by a black woman’s idealised view of humanity – an image plucked from the halcyon days of the 1980s – when Labour’s opposition was underpinned by absolute moral certainty (as well as ideological confusion, but let’s not get into that).  The imaginary version of Bill’s Mum, whom she’s inexplicably chosen not to supplant with the real thing, despite knowing a man with a time machine, represented love, youth, empathy and, being a psychic construct, the immaterial. She was, essentially, a spiritual manifestation. The antithesis, in other words, of Thatcherite materialism.

Once the world remembered the era Bill’s dead teat merchant represented, a time before the odious assumptions that bedevil today’s unequal society became embedded, and therefore problematic to reverse, they rallied to change their society and the Monks, realising the game was up, moved on, rightly fearing a backlash that would see more than a few members of the order forcibly brought down hard on those pyramid tips.

In a story where blindness was a structuring theme – the literal being joined by classics like false consciousness, ignorance, short memories and deference to authority, it was reassuring to enjoy this positive propaganda that tried to have it both ways by first telling us to think for ourselves, then suggesting that maybe the Doctor had the opportunity to fix a few problems with human thinking – namely racism and, the big one, people talking in the cinema. Hard to argue with that, except of course if one believes in free will, one has to accept that some people will always make bad choices. Though if they choose to talk at the flicks while I’m there they’re risking their lives.

Yes, Steven, this was the right story at the right time. What a pity the average viewer would be too young to vote, even if they managed to see past the sci-fi camouflage and internalise its message.

Of course that could all be bollocks.

Yours in time and cyberspace,

Ed

P.S: The Veritas surely represented Dan Brown’s novels, no? A book that once read makes people commit suicide? I was in hospital once and the only book nearby was the Da Vinci Code. They had to move me to intensive care.

P.P.S: Missy has a 1,000 years to kill in the vault and all she’s been given is a piano? And why is there a containment area within the vault. Isn’t the vault its own containment area? I mean, she could wait by the doors, then run out, but it seemed cruel to further limit her space for a millennium. Couldn’t you just put your ear to the door and if you heard snoring, go in?

P.P.P.S: Why do all computer monitors in this show has to have a conspicuous computer-like font? Are you concerned that if you show something that doesn’t look like a TV computer display, we won’t understand it’s an image generated by a computer? The audience have their own, you know.

P.P.P.P.S: “It would be easy to believe their lies.” Too easy, kids. Think on. Election day’s this Thursday.

P.P.P.P.P.S: Would killing Bill have been so bad?

The Old Man’s Last Stand

Christmas 2016:

Christmas 2015:

The Old Man and the C: 

The Clara Oswald Show:

Smith – The Dark Suit Jacket Years: 

Smith in his Pomp:

Deep Time:

Dear Steven Moffat: Oxygen

Dear Steven,

Often in this one-sided meaningless dialogue we’ve talked about – well, I say we, your contribution is more implicit, the spectre of inconsequentiality that stalks many Doctor Who episodes. Yes, it looms the way the imagined expectations of the audience bedevil your writers room.

But Jamie Mathieson’s “Oxygen”, though familiar in design and conception, came dangerously close to providing stakes we could believe in and, hold the TARDIS phone, consequences. By the time the closing credits rolled, Peter Capaldi was blind, his vault protecting mission compromised, and worse he realised he’d ruined his faculties, hitherto successfully maintained for two thousand years, to save Bill. No wonder he was ashen faced and the usually glib Nardole angry and exasperated. The Doctor fucked up (and a half) and there was no handy reset for next week.

It was also nice to see a Doctor Who episode about something, in the best traditions of the series. Not for nothing did “Oxygen” open with a variant on Star Trek’s “space the final frontier” monologue, though with the Whoniverse addition that it was a foreboding place that more often than not would kill you. Trek, at its best, is a morality play, and in that spirit Mathieson’s story blended an off-the-shelf horror premise, killer space suits, with social comment.

The company that ran the station on which space miners were attacked by their own kit, rendered lifeless occupants of artificially intelligent overalls, had done the deed remotely, having decided that the suit fillers were inefficient, wasteful consumers of oxygen. The titular element was a valued commodity in the void, charged by the breath – too valuable to expend on the work shy, docile labourers that failed to hit all those all-important productivity targets.

The Doctor lamented capitalism gone wrong, a message that would have delighted all the Corbynistas at home, inventing a solution that cleverly boosted the surviving workers net worth, making them too valuable to kill. I liked that, even I didn’t care about any of the people in question (Mathieson’s good but he couldn’t quite achieve the holy trinity of great premise, core cast development AND memorable guest characters – but two of three ain’t bad). But it was the Doctor’s decision to put himself at risk, trying to save Bill from the harsh vacuum of space, that added human interest to the story’s stunt complications. The Doctor’s disabled, and a nation rubbed their own bloodshot peepers in disbelief.

I must say, I’m fully on board when it comes to making the Doctor more vulnerable in the run up to his regeneration. It seems to me that if you’ve got that ultimate get-out clause in your pocket, and it’s on the horizon, why not experiment with chipping away at the old man’s ability to do his thing – make him suffer a bit. It adds intrigue to the character and a new dynamic to the stories, the Doctor no longer the quasi-invincible, super-confident supreme being who can always stay one step ahead of the opposition.

Next week is much more tantalising because he can’t see, and with just a half-dozen stories for this Doctor left, why not go further and see how tough it can get for him before his body gives up and becomes someone we can’t yet imagine but will almost certainly despise? Capaldi, the audience knows, is the right man to play the Time Lord in a state of crisis – he has the acting chops to make great work of it – so this is a development that promises much. Let’s hope your gang don’t fuck it up and restore him to perfect health by the end of next week’s episode.

Yours in time and cyberspace,

Ed

P.S: “I thought I sent you to Birmingham for a packet of crisps.” Sadly, Nardole saw through that ruse.

P.P.S: “Relax or die.” I have a self-help tape with that title.

P.P.P.S: I hope we get to hear the Doctor’s crop rotation lecture in full at some point.

P.P.P.P.S: Bill thought of her dead mother in what she imagined to be her dying moments, though weirdly she still hasn’t asked the Doctor if they can visit her in life. Perhaps she needs more oxygen to the brain.

The Old Man’s Last Stand

Christmas 2016:

Christmas 2015:

The Old Man and the C: 

The Clara Oswald Show:

Smith – The Dark Suit Jacket Years: 

Smith in his Pomp:

Deep Time:

Dear Steven Moffat: Knock Knock

Dear Steven,

As a man brought up by his Mother, a single parent, nursing a lifelong close identification with his old dear, I can imagine I’d do almost anything to keep her going. All mother’s boys feel this of course, and they dread their infant teat merchant becoming decrepit. No one wants to be the responsible one and nobody, and I mean, nobody, wants to wake up one dreary morning, likely a Sunday, and realise that unconditional love is a thing of the past, along with the all the good stuff that comes with it; comforts of childhood like your walking womb’s homemade cheesecake (actually bought from Tesco Express), and idiot advice like, ‘a walk a day cleanses the mind’.

Consequently, millions of manchildren watched Mike Bartlett’s “Knock Knock” and empathised with creepy Hercule Suchet, who’d accidentally gifted his materfamilias a parasitic alien woodlouse that cured her terminal 1930’s aliment (fascism?) by turning her into a humanoid tree. Poirot, grateful to the extra-terrestrial bugs for saving him from the orphanage, intuited that the invigorating isopods would need sustenance to keep them and Mumsy healthy.

He also learned, though it wasn’t clear how, that every 20 years they required a glutinous blowout. His solution was to rent out the eerie family house to students who, in a wry comment on exploitative landlords, found problems with the place coming out of the woodwork.

Sure, this seemed like a risk, as one would think that disappearing students, with concerned parents lurking in the background, would have their absence noticed quickly, and the fact that each and every one of them were last seen at the same address, and that cohorts of missing kids kept registering it just prior to vanishing without trace, might arouse suspicion. But fortunately, David Marple’s character must have chosen young men and women nobody gave a fuck about, as he’d been getting away with it for 80 years.

This apparent plothole was somewhat mitigated by having Bill and her feckless, one dimensional University friends (has she enrolled now, I thought she worked in the canteen) be the latest batch of victims. One had to suspend one’s disbelief that the Landlord from hell, who like a mother lovin’ Fred West, liked his tenants in the walls, would be unlucky enough to dole out a tenancy agreement to the Doctor’s companion. But with stock characters this boorish, (one actually says, ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’), there was no doubting their expendability.

A lesser man would make jokes about wooden performances but I’m not going there. I only say once again that with an episodic rather than serial format, where supporting casts change by the week, it takes writing of wit and economy to get characters in quick and make us care about them. Frequently, your team fail to do this. I can’t even be sure they’ve thought about it.

There was something sad, perhaps touching, about Poirot’s devotion to his Ma – an obsession that had left him alone and housebound, and her senile, unable to remember who he was. But watching the denouement, with Eliza convincing her pensionable boy that they’d had their woodchips and should do the decent thing and be eaten, I couldn’t help but think that your writers have been briefed not to worry about internal plot logic provided they can deliver strong emotional beats.

Like last week’s “Thin Ice”, “Knock Knock” – thought to be so good by you it was named twice, made little sense once end credits had rolled. Why was Pavel’s absence ignored for so long? Because Bartlett read the part of the series bible that demands you foreshadow the threat by engineering a kill, pre-titles. It was odd that no one looked for him, given they were still moving in, but what can you do? You can’t unkill him. Except you can, and Bartlett did – inexplicably wussing out on loading the story with consequences by pressing the reset button and having the lice mysteriously restore the lost characters. If they could do that, why was it necessary for them to be absorbed in the first place? And couldn’t Eliza have had them restore her, ending her wooden torment? Why was she special?

But as Mike Bartlett didn’t give a shit about any of this, why should we? Still, having scribes that actually thought through plot complications and made the horrors of the Whoniverse matter by producing real corpses, would really tickle my balls. What do you think, Steven – maybe have a word? Oh yes, the series is in the can. Nevermind.

Yours in time and cyberspace,

Ed

P.S: When Bill, in her latest annoying Q&A session, prompted the Doctor to talk about regeneration, there was a moment of uncomfortable silence. We know the old man’s time is nearly up but here was the first suggestion that maybe he too has access to the Internet.

P.P.S: Bill dared to mock the Time Lords. For me this is conclusive evidence that she should not be in the TARDIS.

P.P.P.S: Another week, another nod to Bill’s dead Mother (here represented by a wall mounted picture). Given the overarching theme of the episode, this made sense, but why in fuck’s name has this so-called inquisitive character, who apparently never misses a trick, not yet asked the Doctor to use his time machine and reunite them? Is she afraid to ask or just worried about coming out to her ‘80s parent? Could Bill’s mother be a Tory?

P.P.P.P.S: Bill’s a fan of Little Mix, huh? Well colour me surprised.

P.P.P.P.P.S: I liked the Doctor’s Quincy Jones anecdote. More anecdotes from Peter Capaldi please. Yes, I know it’s too late to ask this now.

The Old Man’s Last Stand

Christmas 2016:

Christmas 2015:

The Old Man and the C: 

The Clara Oswald Show:

Smith – The Dark Suit Jacket Years: 

Smith in his Pomp:

Deep Time:

Dear Steven Moffat: Thin Ice

Dear Steven,

Since Doctor Who returned in 2005 – an occasion I celebrated with vigorous intercourse with my then inamorata, Bilie Piper looking on appalled, a recurring issue has been the change in format from serial to episodic storytelling. The latter, adopted presumably to make the show friendly for foreign markets, i.e. the Americans, has been both a gift and a curse.

A gift, because if a story’s derivative, clichéd, boring, tonally ill-conceived, or plot rather than character driven, and I insert an unrelated clause referring to the first two episodes of the series here, then knowing it will be over in 45 minutes is a relief. But if the story has potential, say an interesting backdrop, an enjoyable villain, and is character-centred, then single episodes seem too short, necessitating the scribe set it up, move in on and tie it off before we’ve had the chance to savour the ideas. It’s like decanting a fine wine, then knocking it back like a vodka shot. You know, the way you drink it. That characterful lacquer doesn’t touch the sides.

On balance, “Thin Ice” which doubles as a description of where the show stands with its audience right now, belonged in the latter category. We could have more of it; extra time for the story to breathe.

Sarah Dollard, who last year forced Clara to face the raven, something we’d wanted, euphemistically, for some time, is clearly interested in character dynamics and what makes the Doctor tick. So in this high-concept stopover in 1814 London, she used a throwaway monster of the week premise; a giant fish eating poor people below the frozen Thames; to explore the Doctor’s perspective on death and egalitarianism.

He first shocked and disgusted Bill, with his apparent indifference to a boy-thief who was sucked under by the big fish’s legion of finned acolytes. But later had her (irritatingly) bursting with pride with a speech to Lord Bastard, Nathan Barley, who’d planned a frost fair to give the fish sustenance, as it defecated super-fuel or something, that attacked the toff’s social and, gasp, racial preconceptions.

It was a speech unlikely to overturn a lifetime of social conditioning for an aristocrat raised in the late 18th century, but taken together, these two moments were there to give us the measure of the Doctor’s enlightened but pragmatic approach to humankind. He didn’t have time to mourn, he said, and sometimes appalling circumstances meant hard pragmatism. But he had a bottom-up view of society and saw helping the little man and woman as essential to the greater good. Yes, the Doctor was a liberal despite his social advantages. An easy position to take when you have a TARDIS and unlimited resources of course, but perhaps more admirable for all that.

So if the episode’s primary purpose was to tease out, or perhaps reaffirm this aspect of the Doctor’s psyche, what was Bill’s role in this madness? Well, Dollard rightly intuited that because she didn’t know much about the Time Lord’s new friend; the previous two scripts providing no help, as they passed on the opportunity to add depth to said companion; the most effective way to build Bill was to establish her role as the Doctor’s new conscience and moral barometer, the same role fulfilled by every companion since 2005. In pushing for a more considered reaction to the boy lost on the Thames and by having an identity that when attacked by Lord Bastard, roused the Doctor’s fury, we both learned a little about the gap between our hero’s rhetoric and deep feelings, and Bill’s constitution and outlook.

Look Steven, Bill is too earnest for my taste, at least in this stage of her development, and I don’t think everyone on your team should be so allergic to subtlety, but I appreciated the attempt to add both a psychological dimension to the duo’s relationship and provide us with some sense as to what kind of person Bill is. I also suspect you named the character – Bill Potts, B.P, as a tribute to the aforementioned Billie Piper, whose wide-eyed optimism and lack of nuance you’re rehashing. Still, it would nice to take a risk and find a chink her armour, as right now she appears to be the personification of every virtue signalling bore on Twitter, and perhaps we’ll get to that in time, but this was a small turn on the depth dial in the right direction (clockwise).

Yours in time and cyberspace,

Ed

P.S: This could have been a serial, Steven, and maybe a good one. We could have revelled in the period atmosphere, explored the social mores of the time, and given Lord Bastard more than a couple of scenes. Any human villain in league with an alien fish, whose industrial strategy is “grinding up children for profit” deserved more than two scenes.

P.P.S: “I care Bill, but I move on.” I hope I don’t end saying this about the show one day.

P.P.P.S: The Doctor gave his hat to some girl then mysteriously, a few scenes later, without revisiting the TARDIS, had a replacement – and not just any replacement, but one full of pies. What the fuck happened there?

P.P.P.P.S: On behalf of the whole world, can I beg you to finally, permanently, rein in Murray Gold? Sometimes, listening to his overwrought scores, is like trying to watch the show while some other bastard plays their music in the background. Less is more. After scoring nine full series, he really should understand that by now. Perhaps hire a second composter to score alternate episodes, thus giving an up-and-comer a much needed chance to provide a contrast and show him how it should be done? I’ll leave that with you.

The Old Man’s Last Stand

Christmas 2016:

Christmas 2015:

The Old Man and the C: 

The Clara Oswald Show:

Smith – The Dark Suit Jacket Years: 

Smith in his Pomp:

Deep Time:

Dear Steven Moffat: Smile

Dear Steven,

You’d like me to smile, would you? Well, fuck you. Why don’t you tell your writers to focus on great storytelling rather than the uncanny appropriation of everyday things the youth recognise? The bastard youth – who ruin everything by convincing the people who make television that futureproofing their work, ensuring it will still be enjoyed decades hence, isn’t worth the effort. I mean, an emoji episode, Steven? Were you demob happy when you waved that one through? Is there an emoticon for desolation?

You see in TV, momentum matters; the converse of Labour politics. If a series starts strong, it can afford a few duff mid-run fillers because the audience have been captivated early and are now in the habit of tuning in. This run of Who opened weakly with “The Pilot” – a light introduction for Bill. I’d have preferred Bill to have earned her TARDIS wings as a character in a larger, more complicated story – an opening three-parter perhaps, but you can just about get away with froth under the guise of getting to know the newbie. What you can’t do is follow that up with another passive, inconsequential instalment.

Surely the opportunity here, was to devise a second episode that would add depth to Bill’s character and cake on a bit of intrigue regarding the Vault? Instead, we got a show that, the new companion’s stupid questions aside, could have dropped anytime during the series; a cookie cutter story, taken from the episode 2 chapter of Russell T. Davis’s browning series bible, where the Doctor takes his new pal to an alien setting in the future, and low and behold there’s some kind of hidden threat to the human population (see, “The End of the World”, “New Earth”). Episode 3 of the same bible says you follow that up with an episode set in Victorian times, so it was good to see something like that promised next week.

When Bill was asked whether she’d prefer to travel to the past or future, what we knew of her already suggested she’d choose the past, as she’d surely immediately seize on the opportunity to meet the dead mother whose absence she’s felt her whole life. A character-based story could have been built around that meeting, perhaps the gap between expectation and reality the B-Story to a meaty A-Story for the Doctor, but Bill’s a prisoner of a tired formula, so instead had to opt for the future and the thin gruel that is killer emoji robots.

I wouldn’t have lasted long on that colony, Steven, as I experienced my own grief tsunami, watching Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s tale go through its predictable paces. A nice set and sense of scale couldn’t compensate for the shoulder shrugging concept, sigh inducing barely human supporting characters, or indeed, the short-sightedness of developing an antagonist based on a contemporary fad. What else have you got lined up for us, Steven? A cat video planet? Whatsapp world? An antagonist who corrupts Snap Chat as a form of mind control? Is the turgid nature of these ideas and fleeting recognition from excitable kids, really worth the time and expense these episodes take to produce, or would it better just to hire some real writers?

My God, this is what it’s going to be like every week under Chris Chibnall, isn’t it?

Yours in time and cyberspace,

Ed

P.S: Might it be a measure of how thin the script was for this story that our understanding of the situation was entirely contingent on the Doctor’s intuition and analytical mind? Yes, I know that’s how every episode works, but usually we’re fed a few clues, or some straw man or other says something that lodges in the Doctor’s mind, so solves the puzzle. In “Smile”, our hero just walked around and put it all together through observation alone. Fine, but there was nothing for the viewer to do but sit back and let him get on with it. Did we even need to be there?

P.P.S: The TARDIS has broadband does it? If we’re demystifying the thing completely, why don’t we say there’s a branch of Costa in there too? You see, it’s easy to type this shit but it does damage.

P.P.P.S: On which note, “don’t look at my browser history”? So, for the sake of a cheap gag, the Doctor surfs porn now? Are your team actively trying to shed viewers, Steven?

P.P.P.P.S: Let’s hear more about the Doctor’s oath and the Vault soon, for God’s sake, because it’s the only thing of interest happening in the series thus far.

P.P.P.P.P.S: “All traps are beautiful.” Tell that to someone who’s looking at the bloody teeth of a bear trap and what used to be their leg.

The Old Man’s Last Stand

Christmas 2016:

Christmas 2015:

The Old Man and the C: 

The Clara Oswald Show:

Smith – The Dark Suit Jacket Years: 

Smith in his Pomp:

Deep Time:

Published in: on April 23, 2017 at 09:47  Leave a Comment  
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Dear Steven Moffat: The Pilot

Dear Steven,

Recently, I’ve been giving thought to what I’m doing to do without you. Your last series of Doctor Who was looming like a trial date for sentencing following an outrageous and unjust conviction for credit card fraud (the Underhills leant me their account details), and consequently the focus of my empty and joyless life would also be coming to a close. I’d have Star Trek: Discovery later this year of course; a welcome opportunity to transfer my mania and vitriol elsewhere; but something would be missing. You and me.

In a world run by Chris Chibnall, where will I go? How will I live? During our time together I’ve tried abstinence based recovery, self-harm, booze, escorts and amateur taxidermy but the memories remain, the heartache endures. And it’s not acid reflux Steven, it’s the afterimage of Amy that sits on my face to this day, if that’s the right metaphor, and the line that runs from her all the way to Nardole. Who will I meet capable of giving pleasure and pain the way you can? When it’s all over, perhaps I must do what Luke Skywalker did – namely buy an Island off the Irish coast and live there in total isolation.

Perhaps only then will I find peace.

But before I pack my bag, place an ad for some warning buoys and row out to my new archipelago, I must do my duty and respond to your final Doctor Who episodes. Ahead of “The Pilot”, the new series opener, the hype focused on new companion Bill, Earth name Pearl Mackie, who’d be the first openly gay TARDIS tenant, not to mention the one with the biggest hair. This nod to identity politics was deemed highly significant, because up until now, gay viewers had found nothing in the show to enjoy or relate to – just a parade of stuffy heterosexuals like Adric, Melanie Bush and Captain Jack Harkness.

Bill’s sexuality, apparently being a thing worthy of our attention, would have to be a plot point then, else there’d be a real danger of no one giving a fuck. So I was pleased to see the story pivoted on a love interest for the lesbian debutante, a student called Heather, who Bill managed to keep wet throughout. Symbolically, I felt that was laying it on a little thick. I mean, imagine Clara in the series before last encountering Danny Beige and him being afflicted with a condition thereafter that kept him rigid at all times. But the important thing, if you believe literal identification with the characters is intrinsic to Doctor Who’s emotional and psychological connection with its audience, was that Bill was a confident homosexualist who bestrode the screen looking for knowledge and pussy. The rub was a lack of refinement, the kind that has you asking to take a piss seconds after stepping into an alien time machine.

Which brings me on to my concern about Bill, namely that she’d be a broad, gawping irritant who asked stupid questions and forced the Doctor to explain things we’re highly familiar with, something a companion drawn from the future or an alien world, may be less inclined to do.

One of the tensions in Doctor Who, especially in its post-2005 incarnation, is that between choices made in-universe and those that can be clearly marked as real world, that is – decisions made by the writers and producers that betray the Doctor’s enlightened adventures as a construct born of less cerebral beings. Trivial examples may be the Doctor’s propensity to use kid-friendly idioms, or refer to social media, or to have cultural frames of reference identical to the audience’s. But the real kicker is, why does this genius consistently choose to travel with his intellectual inferiors – people who’d bore his fellow Gallifreyians to death?

I used to liken this to a man moving around with his favourite pets, but if you’re a member of the upper caste of one of the universe’s most highly developed societies, it’s always struck me as odd that you wouldn’t want a little more challenge in your day to day existence. With the exception of Romana (and Romana II) the Doctor’s consistently hung around with idiots. Sweet, kind hearted, inquisitive idiots, to be sure, but from his point of view, morons none the less.

Now we’ve all done this to a degree. Who doesn’t like having a stupid friend? If you’re insecure yet narcissistic, it’s very nice indeed to enjoy someone you can feel superior to, patronise without consequence, and occasionally educate, thereby affirming your intellectual credentials. But as everyone knows, it gets tedious in the end. There’s only so much assured ignorance, vulgarity and senselessness one can humour before it starts to drag. What started as a crutch for a fragile ego soon becomes a test of endurance. Try as you might, you can’t rustle up enthusiasm for a screening of St Elmo’s Fire – your pal’s favourite film. You laughed the first time they insisted David Icke had a point, it was endearing in a naïve way, but now their unquestioning embrace of his theories just makes you angry. And the knowledge they bawled their eyes out when Princess Diana died, unable to return to work for two weeks, such was their grief, is an anecdote, the significance of which has built over time. It’s not fun anymore, in fact the association represents a very real threat to your I.Q.

The Doctor courts clods at the behest of TV’s Gods because they’re a proxy for us, the ordinary fuckwits who watch the show. Their wonder is our wonder, their questions are our questions, and their dull, middling obsessions, are ours too – the irony being that we watch this shit to escape from them from time to time, only to find our awful surrogates mirrored back to us, though in an uncanny way, like staring at your own reflection in a puddle of extra-terrestrial bio-fluid.

In-show, however, it doesn’t ring true. If the Doctor were a real being, he’d leave the likes of Nardole on the nearest space rock, and that goes double for other non-entities like Rose, Donna, Rory and Bernard Cribbins, all of whom, in close proximity, for months on end, would rile most of us, let alone a man eager to test the knowledge and experience of a dozen lifetimes against the most perplexing problems the universe has to offer.

Consequently, Steven, it was clever of you to make “The Pilot”, a sort of ‘Educating Bill’ – with the Doctor as Michael Caine’s character, impressed and enchanted by the inquisitive and open mind of his uneducated student. Bill’s credentials were underlined by her not being a registered student at all, rather a canteen staffer who sneaks into the Doctor’s university lecture series, a sideline he’s developed while lying low for reasons currently unknown. Shit, she even had big hair like Julie Walters.

This was a plausible and effective way to introduce Bill and make us believe that the Doctor would see something in her. The student/teacher dynamic had echoes of the Seventh Doctor’s association with Ace and her propensity to call him Professor, something I’ll take over a young woman smitten by the student entertainment officer she met on holiday any day. That’s not to say I found Bill particularly interesting, she’s a little too wide-eyed and innocent for my taste, Billie Piper reborn, but I could just about suspend my belief and imagine the Doctor might want to peel her layers before discovering there aren’t that many and it might be best to wipe her memory and return her to her chip fryer after all.

Still, not every companion can be an instant smash like Amy or even an impish conundrum like Clara, but if this new pairing’s going to work, particular with Matt Lucas’s vacant Nardole bringing up the rear, Bill better become a grounding influence and fast. We can’t have three people mucking around in time and space, week on week. That would be like being trapped in a lift with that friend who took a fortnight off to come to terms with the death of the People’s Princess.

Yours in time and cyberspace,

Ed

P.S: We’ve always known the TARDIS had a toilet, do we really need to talk about it?

P.P.S: Bill noticed that TARDIS was an English acronym but she didn’t pick the Doctor up on the fact he speaks English or has a Scottish accent or looks completely human or adopts human social conventions like wearing clothes and employing humour in conversation, so how sharp is she really?

P.P.P.S: Heather, the girl made from alien water, can travel from the UK to Australia in one minute and a further 23 million years and the length of the universe in an instant, so why can’t she catch people when they’re standing right in front of her? Is she trickling down those stairs and moving slowly toward her prey for japes?

P.P.P.P.S: “I’m in disguise”. As yourself, Doctor?

P.P.P.P.P.S: Regarding Nardole’s line about using the shitter, isn’t he an android? Did you forget?

P.P.P.P.P.P.S: Nice of the Doctor to take pictures of Bill’s dead mother so she had a few. It would have been nicer still to take Bill to meet her Mother and spend some time with her, but perhaps bringing that up would make her seem ungrateful.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S: We didn’t talk about this episode’s plot, Steven. As it was a compendium of familiar and tired elements there didn’t seem much point. But I did wonder if you’d spiked Chibnall’s guns by calling it “The Pilot” and making it a sort of re-introduction to the show. I don’t think anyone new will be watching until you and Mr Capaldi have gone, so perhaps you should have saved all those reboot titles for your successor. It also occurred to me, with regret, that we’d probably be getting another version of this episode in a year’s time.

Related:

Dear Chris Chibnall: Think. Are you really the right man to run Doctor Who?

Christmas 2016:

Christmas 2015:

The Old Man and the C: 

The Clara Oswald Show:

Smith – The Dark Suit Jacket Years: 

Smith in his Pomp:

Deep Time:

Dear Steven Moffat: Heaven Sent/Hell Bent

Doctor_Who_Hell_Bent__could_Clara_return_and_other_questions_answered

Dear Steven,

A year ago I sat naked in my Doctor Who themed den and typed out a long lament for a series that had lost its way. The Doctor had become a stranger in his own show, his companion, sweet though she was, had taken centre stage – perhaps because she was young and flippant, so an easier character for you to write, and your high-concept finale was wan and confused. In fact, one might liken the experience of watching the 2014 series to punching through TARDIS-strength crystalline cum for four billion years. It hurt, it was exhausting, and by the time it was over we’d half forgotten why we were doing it.

Steven, I’m pleased to say that this year’s batch of adventures have shown a marked improvement. Doctor Who’s a little like baking – forty minutes is fine for the base but the memorable stuff, the decoration, takes at least another forty. Sometimes an hour. In 2015 stories had a chance to breathe. The ingredients were all in the correct proportions. A judicious measure of a more comfortable, more confident Capaldi, a little less Clara but enough to add a curious, bittersweet flavour to the mix, plenty of time travelling, non-linear lunacy – the show’s trump card, which you alone have fully exploited – and just the right amount of recurring guest star. Here of course I refer to Maisie Williams’ Ashildr, a character we saw develop over the course of billions of years – something you couldn’t say on any other show. And at the end, once we’d digested this strange, oddly satisfying confection, we were left in a stupefied state, wondering how you’d managed to do all the shit we hate and have criticised you for, while leaving us exhilarated and looking forward to the next series.

Sure, turning Clara into Schrödinger’s companion, a woman both dead and alive while she remained in her space box, reversing her death while keeping it as a fixed and irreversible moment in time, was both ingenious and irritating, a cheat and an opportunity to fulfil your ultimate desire, namely to turn her into the Doctor, which you did by providing her with a Type 40 TARDIS, an existence outside of time and, fuck me hard, a companion of her own. Did “Face the Raven” writer Sarah Dollard approve of this development, Steven? Or did she submit her script on the understanding you’d honour the death, only for you to send her home with a thank you note and a determination that Clara would end her time on the show as the Doctor in all but name, even if it killed you? I suppose we’ll never know but we have our suspicions.

We can argue about how effective a climax this was and whether Clara deserves this kind of conditional immortality, as well as an improvement on the Doctor’s situation, namely a companion that will never age or die (like herself, provided she stays away from Gallifrey and is never recalled by space lasso), and we can legitimately ask whether the Doctor would risk the safety of the universe and endure a four billion year cycle of death and imprisonment to extend Oswald’s mayfly existence – the Time Lord equivalent of you or I agreeing to a life sentence to give our cat a few more years, but none of that really matters.

For one thing the answer is no she doesn’t and no he wouldn’t. For another, it means we’re shining our torch in the wrong place. “Heaven Sent” and “Hell Bent” worked as a mind-bending celebration of the Doctor and Clara’s friendship, with our hero prepared to endure a transdimensional Gallifreyan torture chamber and the horror of his own people, who let’s face it have always been obnoxious, just so he could have another few days in extremis with the English teacher all teenagers would like to have an inappropriate relationship with.

Truthfully, no one on Earth cared about the hybrid question or any idiotic Gallifreyian prophesy, but the conversation at the end of the universe and the re-opened question of the Doctor’s half-human existence (Doctor Who’s answer to midichlorians, buried since the 1996 TV movie) did, in a way that was curiously affecting, remind us of the Doctor’s special emotional connection to Earth – in effect his adopted home – and consequently the contrast between him and his Gallifreyian brethren. Ultimately the story showcased the Doctor’s innate humanity, literal or no, and how his modest background and compassion for those less fortunate, set him apart from the imperious, caste-minded Time Lords who, thanks to the gift of regeneration and their dominion over time, had learned to devalue life and races different from their own.

Did it matter if the rules of the Time Lord prison were shaky, or if the Doctor was a hypocrite for caring this much about extending Clara’s life when he was nonchalant about the end of others, namely bores like Danny Pink? No, not really. One could believe in the Doctor’s decency and his sense of duty toward a woman he’d groomed for high adventure, only to see the policy lead to the death of his best friend. You’d have to have two hearts made of the same stuff as that prison wall not to feel something when Clara learned of the Doctor’s sacrifice or his modest explanation for the same. Steven, conceptually you don’t always join the dots – in truth I think you often confuse yourself – but you got the human portion of this story, the part that didn’t rely on time-babble and grandstanding, so very right.

Likewise, the decision to let the Doctor and Clara roll the dice and share the risk of one forgetting the other together, in contrast to the tenth Doctor’s unilateral choice in wiping Donna’s memory, was a nice touch. “Tomorrow’s promised to no one Doctor, but I’m entitled to my past,” Clara argued, and right she was. Her time in the TARDIS was as good as it gets for a bereaved educator with no realistic chance of a decent relationship thanks to her exposure to an impossible to beat male archetype, but the Doctor had a fantastic life to fall back on, not to mention memories of accidentally-on-purpose stumbling upon Amy in the bath. Clara, we felt, had earned her right to remember and it was reassuring to think the Doctor might recall something of her one day…though hopefully not her first series, when she was a bit annoying.

I Confess, Steven, is a great Hitchcock movie and I suggest you check it out, but also I confess I was touched when the TARDIS, thankfully Sonic Sunglasses free, left Nevada and Clara’s face, graffitied thereon at the end of “Face the Raven”, peeled off and blew away on the wind. That was poignant, symbolic – pick your word and nail it up. It was good to know Clara’s time had counted for something, if only with Clara, and that the Doctor wouldn’t spend the next series moping, because thank God his loss would be an abstraction – just a half-remembered story he told himself and the occasional diner employee. It gave us hope that Capaldi’s next chapter would be as different as this one was from his first, that there was better to come, and more importantly, he’d be doing it all with a sonic device that didn’t make you angry every time you saw it. Yes, God help us Steven, we ended this series with a sense of optimism…a sense that lasted thirty seconds until we saw the trailer for the Christmas special. Still, it wouldn’t be your show without a closing fuck you to the audience, right old fruit?

Yours in time and cyberspace,

Ed

P.S: When did we British start asking, as the Doctor did in “Heaven Sent”, ‘what is this place?’ And can we stop saying it? Surely we mean, ‘where am I?’

P.P.S: How did all those skulls get into the water in “Heaven Sent”? Did the Doctor take thousands of attempts before he got the angle of descent into the water correct, and if so where was the rest of the skeleton, or did the prison just rotate and the skulls somehow fall from the teleport room and into the water, say through an open window or floor cavity? What occurred?

P.P.P.S: Would the Doctor really be able to punch through a substance as hard as TARDIS alloy, even if he had four billion years? Wouldn’t he just break his hand…for four billion years?

P.P.P.P.S: “Hell Bent” allowed Murray Gold’s Clara theme to officially enter the Whoniverse. I don’t like the idea he and his orchestra exist there.

P.P.P.P.P.S: Gallifrey is ‘Space Glasgow’? If you mean it’s rough, I agree, if you mean it’s the centre of universal high civilization…

P.P.P.P.P.P.S: I wondered if the Doctor’s undemocratic takeover of Gallifrey was a good example to set to émigrés thinking of returning to Britain after a long absence. We have to be careful in these difficult times, Steven.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S: I’ve never liked the Doctor growing up in a barn. He’s not Jesus, you know.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S: Was that a TIE Fighter I heard in the Matrix? Does this mean the TARDIS is going to feature in The Force Awakens? Or are you about to be sued by Lucasfilm?

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S: The old Type 40 TARDIS is a thing of beauty. It saddens me to think I’ll lose this erection one day.

The Old Man and the C: 

The Clara Oswald Show:

Smith – The Dark Suit Jacket Years: 

Smith in his Pomp:

Deep Time:

Published in: on December 6, 2015 at 00:26  Comments (9)  
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Dear Steven Moffat: The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion

doctor-who-the-zygon-inversion-header

Dear Steven,

When I saw this Zygon two parter coming down the road, I admit I was nonplussed. These shapeshifters of yesteryear, for me at least, belong in the past. To modern eyes these lumbering, impractical aliens, devoid of personality, are more likely to engender a craving for seafood than fear in today’s impressionable, porn loving kids. So naturally the only way to give them a personality is to invest those traits in the human copies they inhabit, but even there, and credit to Jenna Coleman for doing her best with cold bitch Bonnie, there’s nothing much to see. Perhaps this story could have been the one to realise the horrific potential of the Zygons – sick ones that could only partially transform – a gift for makeup and CG artists, but once again the spendthrift policies of the BBC were in evidence; a small FX budget half spent.

This was one of those stories that made you pine for Who monsters with individual personalities – a race in the Star Trek mould, rather than a Who’s default variety – the uniform monsters with the self same lone characteristic. Counterintuitively, aliens are more menacing when they have relatable human personalities. You’re then free to tell stories featuring those that break from or are exiled by their parent culture, with all the dramatic goodies therein. And whereas Invasion/Inversion, had some red meat – it being a neat allegory about Islamic extremism and the fact that stable nationalism and cultural identity is inherently an interdependent project that relies on all parties recognising their mutual interests – I couldn’t really care about the Zygons. They’re paper tigers, and their lack of guile and intelligence hurt the story.

All that said, this was a story with a gutsy premise; unashamedly political, that made some salient points about war and the character of peace, in the best traditions of the series. It was ballsy to show the Zygon extremists effectively “recruiting” on council estates, in deprived areas – copied parents killing their child in one extraordinary moment; a blissful reminder of what you can get away with in prime time when the terrorists are men in silly costumes.

Yet later the story got more explicit: a downed plane, destroyed by an illegal alien’s missile no less, transmitted in the week IS allegedly bombed a passenger aircraft out of Sharm El-Sheik. Kudos Steven, it was mature of the powers that be not to give into the idiotic imperative to censor anything that uncomfortably chimes with the dark parts of the news agenda and let that go out unmolested.

But I thought Part II was braver still – particularly the gag about the Union Jack parachute and the Doctor’s assertion that it provided “perfect camouflage”. I read that a veiled critique of the myth of a uniform identity, an aside that pointed to the many cultures that exist under the same flag.

It was a point the Doctor underlined in a blistering anti-war speech at the climax. This scene chewing from Capaldi, utilising anger and sarcasm to great effect – the very qualities that make this Doctor – intelligently summed up the futility and lack of cognition that characterise radicalism and the cycle of violence that follows. Perhaps there aren’t many Jihadis who double, pun intended, as Whovians, and perhaps they’re so offensively stupid that they’d read Capaldi’s assault on their bloodlust and grievance mentality as BBC propaganda, but for anyone with half a human brain it was as good a denunciation of terrorist violence as I’ve heard this year…perhaps even better than Keith Lemon’s unexpected and barnstorming anti-war oratory on Celebrity Juice‘s Middle East special.

But story meat aside, though there were more ideas in evidence than actual plot – because Arcadia isn’t rebuilt in a day – this was really a tale about supporting characters. One, Clara, had her impending demise teased throughout, making the nods to her ultimate fate about a subtle as a Zygon with its suckers on your crotch, while the other, Osgood, was someone we wished would stay dead but insisted on sticking around.

I have to say I vehemently dislike the Osgood character, and not because her peak flow’s better than mine. She’s a sop to the show’s many fan girls – she looks like them and talks like them, in that kind of robotic, geeky way you hear at convention Q&As, and that’s the problem: no fucker wants to be reminded they share the Whoniverse with people like these. The thought of her in the TARDIS each week is truly chilling. It would be like being trapped in a lift with a professional bore. Who wants a show obsessed webhead, parroting Moffatisms and pouring over the show’s history?

Can you imagine?

No, Osgood should have stayed dead, instead of being invested with an importance unbecoming of her slight and irritating character. As we’ve discussed many times, Who works best when it doesn’t acknowledge its audience; when it has the balls to say, “we’re doing this – now get on board or get fucked”. Osgood’s existence feels a lot like the real world intruding on my telly screen, and I’d rather that didn’t happen. I want to convince myself that the show’s the province of the great and the good, not cosplayers and masturbators. I suppose what I’m saying is, let’s not see her again; I don’t want to spend another hour getting hoarse, shouting “fuck off” at the screen.

Yours in time and cyberspace,

Ed

P.S: Osgood 2 went undercover in America, apparently aware that DW’s popular there.

P.P.S: There was an odd instance of actors with generic American accents sounding distinctively faux American in part I. Were they fakes, or do all American actors sound bad when guesting on UK TV, much as our cockneys sound uncanny when appearing in US TV and Film? (see Craig Fairbrass in Cliffhanger)

P.P.P.S: “I’ve got question mark underpants.”
“Makes one wonder what the question is.”

Probably the best knob gag ever written.

P.P.P.P.S: Does the copying of Clara give Jenna Coleman an out should she ever wish to return to the series, or at least a way for you to cheat so the Doctor can have Osgood as a companion, impregnated with Clara’s memories and experience – a de facto companion regeneration? I hope not, else I’ll be buying a rocket launcher myself.

The Old Man and the C: 

The Clara Oswald Show:

Smith – The Dark Suit Jacket Years: 

Smith in his Pomp:

Deep Time: