During the latest series of Doctor Who Blogtor Who will look at all the nods and references to adventures which have gone before. So even if you are not already a Mastermind expert on all things in the Whoniverse you can appreciate the little detail as well. Perhaps you are a very knowledgeable Whovian already but did you spot them all?
Who’d have sonic? During the classic series The Master had been seen utilising the Tissue Compression Eliminator, a device which shrank people to the size of a doll. This was seen from The Master’s very first appearance in ‘Terror of the Autons‘ and reappeared throughout the 1963-1989 era of the show. However in ‘The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords‘ (2007) the TCE was replaced by a laser screwdriver. This was effectively a lethal laser weapon in the shape of a tool and had isomorphic controls so only The Master could use it. The Master used it to kill Capt. Jack Harkness over and over again but also aged the Tenth Doctor to neutralise him from interfering in his scheme.
The Doctor name checked a number of planets where Cybermen have developed, where they always develop. Perhaps the most curious is Telos. The planet was home to the Cryons (Attack of the Cybermen, 1985) but the Cybermen invaded and developed their tombs for cryogenic suspended animation. This reference implies that the Cybermen may also have assimilated the Cryons as well as human beings. In addition to the Sixth Doctor, his Second incarnation also landed on Telos with his companions Jamie and Victoria (The Tomb of the Cybermen, 1967). On Big Finish audio the Fourth Doctor, Leela, K9 and Jamie found themselves on Telos once again in the appropriately titled ‘Return to Telos‘.
Planet 14 and Marinus
Perhaps more obscure was the reference of Planet 14. It was mentioned in 1968’s story ‘The Invasion‘ as a planet, fourteenth from the sun, inhabited by the Cybermen. A comic strip published in Doctor Who Magazine in 1987 offered up a story that suggested that the Mondasian Cybermen had in fact arisen from the Voord. These creatures had appeared in ‘The Keys of Marinus‘ (1964), prior to the invention of the Cybermen. The planet Marinus is also a name attributed to Planet 14. Marinus may also be Mondas, such is the complexity of Cyberman continuity.
In addition to the original Cyberman design first seen in ‘The Tenth Planet‘ (1966), two modern versions of the silver giants also appeared in the episode. When the Cybermen returned to television in 2006 they received an upgrade. The Cybus or ‘Pete’s World’ style Cybermen appeared in ‘Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel‘ (2006). They also returned in the Series 2 finale ‘Army of Ghosts/Doomsday‘ and the 2008 Christmas Special ‘The Next Doctor‘. These Cybermen were also part of the Alliance which trapped The Doctor in the Pandorica in the Series 5 finale ‘The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang‘ (2010). One of their number also suffered physically in it’s defence of the Pandorica beneath Stonehenge. A final ‘Pete’s World’ Cyberman was also seen in the 2013 story ‘Nightmare in Silver‘.
‘Nightmare in Silver‘ saw the Cybermen receive a redesigned, very much inspired by the recent Ironman movies. These Cybermen have gone on to appear in further stories including ‘The Time of the Doctor‘ and the Series 8 finale story ‘Dark Water/Death in Heaven‘ plus further cameos in ‘Face the Raven‘ and ‘Hell Bent‘. Sadly however only three styles of Cybermen were seen. A 1980’s style Cyberman from ‘Earthshock‘ would’ve been another nice touch.
In a very surprising return to the show this week was Heather The Pilot from this series’ opening episode. A student at St Luke’s University with a star shaped defect in her iris, she was absorbed by a sentient puddle and became the oil’s Pilot. Driven by a promise not to leave without Bill, The Pilot pursued her across the universe before finally being freed from that promise. However in ‘The Doctor Falls’ she showed up to save Bill and the two were able to journey across the universe together.
The First Doctor
In the closing moments of this episode a regenerating Twelfth Doctor encountered his First incarnation, seemingly experiencing the same process. The First Doctor was played by William Hartnell from 1963 to 1966. He also returned to the role for the 10th Anniversary story ‘The Three Doctors‘ (1972/73). Sadly Hartnell passed away in 1975. When the 20th Anniversary story was due to feature the First Doctor the character was recast and played by Richard Hurndall.
Thirty years later Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary was marked with a special docudrama ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ written by Mark Gatiss. Actor David Bradley, who featured in the ‘Harry Potter’ movies and ‘Game of Thrones’, was tasked with bringing William Hartnell to life. Now it seems that he will also be bringing the character of the First Doctor to the screen once again for the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas Special.