Slightly late in the day, here’s a blog post I planned to have on here over a month ago. But as other people like Doctor Who, and so do I, it’s a ‘no brainer’ (as they say these days), so belatedly, here it is! Besides, the 50th anniversary hasn’t actually been and gone yet, so it might get some of you up to speed before the big event!
There’s nothing more satisfying and likely to make a regular television viewer happier than being rewarded by a long running series, with continuity references that only a long term fan would know. Like hearing a mention of Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street (which sad though it may seem, Always makes me happy. She was one very sexy woman; but I digress!)
Doctor Who has gone too far with this sort of continuity before of course. Producer John Nathan Turner’s era (basically the entire ‘80s) eventually went too far with resurrecting every past foe and half-forgotten character (pretty much everything from Tom Baker’s last season to the last McCoy one). Current ‘show runner’ and producer Stephen Moffet is doing it the right way, barring one to many appearances from the Daleks and the Angels. As this 50th anniversary season, it seems apt to have a few ‘kisses to the past’ in there. Since Amy and Rory left before Christmas, I’ve noticed quite a few nostalgic nods and winks worthy of mention. If you’re an avid but new viewer, this might be of equal interest.
So here is a quick run down of those ‘kisses to the past in the second half of Season seven (no, not the first Pertwee season, the third Smith season, which is the seventh series since the show returned in 2005…gosh, it gets confusing!)
The Bells of St. John: After their reintroduction in the Christmas episode The Snowmen, The Great Intelligence returns, this time in the persona of Richard E. Grant. Fans and older viewers will know the Intelligence from its part in two uber-classic Who serials from the late ‘60s, featuring Patrick Troughton’s Doctor: The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear. Both featured the robot Yeti, servants of the Intelligence, and the latter serial memorably places the Yeti in the London Underground and introduced the enduring character of Corporal Lethbridge-Stewart (later to become Brigadier).
Cold War: This submarine set story reintroduced turtle-esque armour clad enemy The Ice Warriors, who first appeared in 1967. Stalwarts of the Troughton and Pertwee eras, they last made an appearance in The Monster of Peladon, way back in Jon Pertwee’s final season in 1974.
Hide: This ghostly story features the Blue Crystals from Metabelis 3, known to enhance telepathic ability. Any Who fan will know one particular crystal as being a wedding present to Jo Grant, upon her departure from the series in 1973’s The Green Death. A year later, in Pertwee’s final story, Planet of the Spiders, the crystals would play a pivotal role.
Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS: Whenever the TARDIS gets into serious trouble, the ‘Cloister Bell’ is heard to clang throughout the bowels of the time machine. This eerie ‘call to arms’ was first heard in Tom Baker’s very last story in 1981 (Logopolis), and has featured more since the series returned in 2005 than it ever did in the original run of the programme. Maybe the Doctor is living more dangerously. Its name derives from the…er…cloistered monastery-esque part of the TARDIS it seems to emit from, as seen in the Baker story.
The Crimson Horror: The reference to a ‘gobby Australian’ is undoubtedly a reference to Tegan Jovanka, who travelled with Peter Davison’s Doctor (and was introduced in Tom Baker’s last story, the aforementioned Logopolis). Matt Smith even re-words one of Davison’s catchphrases. “Brave heart, Tegan” becomes “Brave heart, Clara”.
Nightmare in Silver: It reintroduces the Cybermen. Other than that, I can’t recall anything specific, but I’m sure there are some other references in it.
And all that is before we get to the season finale, which is The Name of The Doctor. The opening pre-titles sequence may be enough to give long term fans an orgasm. Yes, it is that much of a geek joy fest that you may need a cigarette and a lie down afterwards.
For starters: William Hartnell IN COLOUR, actually stealing the TARDIS, which is NOT yet disguised/stuck in the outward appearance as a London Police Box.
SPOILERS: If you haven’t yet finished watching this season, I will say no more, except that all is revealed about Clara, the so called ‘impossible girl’ and all is set up for the upcoming 50th Anniversary Episode.