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?
Out of Order
On examining the Police Box in the corner of the room Bill notices an ‘Out of Order’ sign on the front. The Doctor first used this sign in the first episode of ‘The War Machines’ broadcast on 25th June 1966. He explained to his companion Dodo that, “Coming back to the Twentieth Century my dear the TARDIS I’m afraid is often mistaken for the real police box.” The sign seen in ‘The Pilot’ (2017) is clearly intended to match that seen in ‘The War Machines’ (1966).
River Song and Susan
Moving across to the desk Bill sees two framed portraits. These are of course of River Song and Susan, the Doctor’s Wife and his granddaughter. The picture of Susan is from a series of publicity photographs taken during production of ‘An Unearthly Child’. Amusingly the character’s first appearance was in a version of that episode commonly referred to as ‘The Pilot’ which was made in 1963 but not transmitted until 1991 with several versions released over the years since. The image of River Song appears to be a screengrab taken from ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ (2011) with the character first appearing onscreen back in 2008’s ‘Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead’ and last encountered by the Twelfth Doctor during the 2015 Christmas special ‘The Husbands of River Song’. That episode also saw the debut of Nardole who returns throughout this series.
Just in front of the two framed pictures is a small snowglobe which recalls the much larger prop snowglobe seen in the 2012 Christmas Special ‘The Snowmen’.
In a nice desk tidy is a collection of the Doctor’s Sonic Screwdrivers. Look carefully and you’ll spot them all. The trusty sonic device first appeared in the opening episode of 1968’s ‘Fury from the Deep’. Although tricky to see there is a replica of the long cylindrical prop used by the Second Doctor. The other more recognisable shapes of the sonics used by the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth are all present. Two versions of the sonic designed for the Ninth Doctor and then a different version of that design used by the Tenth Doctor are also hinted at. Completing the set is the screwdriver associated with the Eleventh Doctor but was also used by the Twelfth Doctor during 2014.
The Twelfth Doctor has proved himself very adept with an electric guitar since it first appeared with a tank in ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ (2015). He had also previously played the opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony prior to the title sequence of ‘Before the Flood’ (2015). The Seventh Doctor had also been seen clutching Billy’s electric guitar in ‘Delta and the Bannermen’ (1987).
Bill’s job in the canteen mirrored Rose Tyler serving chips to school children during ‘School Reunion’ (2006). A popular delicacy on planet Earth, the Ninth Doctor took Rose for some chips after the events of ‘The End of the World’ (2005). Clara Oswald, however, declined the Twelfth Doctor’s offer of chips in ‘Deep Breath’ (2014), favouring coffee instead.
The Doctor is, of course, no stranger to a University campus. In the untransmitted story ‘Shada’ the Fourth Doctor and Romana visit Professor Chronotis at Cambridge University. Harold Saxon’s fake biography also claimed that he had been to Cambridge University (The Sound of Drums, 2007). The Doctor, however, claimed to have received a degree from Glasgow under the tutelage of Joseph Lister in 1888 (The Monnbase, 1967).
The Doctor identifying that a shuttle craft had landed is also a similar conclusion reached by the Seventh Doctor during ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ (1988). On that occasion, the shuttle craft was of Dalek origin and landed in a school playground instead of a university.
The villain of the piece is the fluid left behind by the spacecraft which landed on a roof in the university. It captures Heather and uses her to become its pilot. The concept of an intelligent extraterrestrial fluid mirrors the Flood seen in the 2009 special ‘The Waters of Mars’. Although seemingly not connected in any way both entities appear as humans possessed by the fluid substance.
The most notable connection with ‘the land down under’ is that his companion Tegan Jovanka was Australian. The Doctor himself had visited Cape Arid during his Second incarnation (The Enemy of the World, 1967/68) and also took Abigail Brooke to visit Uluru and the Sydney Opera House (A Christmas Carol, 2010). The Fifth Doctor also encountered an Australian Aborigine in ‘Four to Doomsday’ (1982).
In the TARDIS The Doctor states that he will receive a message on the psychic paper if the vault was to be threatened. This was a gadget introduced by Russell T Davies in ‘The End of the World’ (2005). Initially, it allowed the user to show someone whatever they wanted to be seen, such as an invitation to Platform 1. In ‘New Earth’ (2006) it was also revealed that messages could be sent to the psychic paper. It was ineffectual against geniuses such as William Shakespeare (The Shakespeare Code, 2007).
Fifth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver
Later in the episode, another of the Fifth Doctor’s sonic screwdrivers is used by Nardole. This particular version is recognisable with a white line across the circumference of the silver cylinder. The Doctor clearly has spares of his sonics lying around in the TARDIS. A good job really, given that onscreen the Fifth Doctor’s screwdriver was actually destroyed by a Terileptil during 1982’s ‘The Visitation’.
In a blink and you’ll miss it reappearance the humanoid creatures being shot at by Daleks are Movellans. They debuted in the 1979 story ‘Destiny of the Daleks’ and were revealed to be an android race at war with the Daleks. The outcome of the war was revealed in the next Dalek story, ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ in 1984, with the Movellans again name-checked. Unfortunately, a modern bronze Dalek, instead of a classic model which fought the Movellans, was used onscreen.
Friend from the Future
Doctor Who fans had already been treated to a scene from this episode, filmed in advance, to unveil the identity of the new companion. Screened on 23rd April 2016 it featured stock footage from ‘Into the Dalek’ (2014) and the newly shot material. It saw The Doctor explaining to Bill about the Daleks and her being less than impressed. However, the majority of that two-minute sequence is cut from ‘The Pilot’ (2017). This includes the moment that The Doctor receives a message on the psychic paper. Presumably, this concerned the student vomit near the vault?
After events have concluded The Doctor decides to erase the memories from Bill. He had been forced to perform a similar process to Donna Noble at the conclusion of ‘Journey’s End’ (2008). Perhaps shaken by that experience the Twelfth Doctor relented and did not perform what Bill referred to as a “mind wipe”. Additionally Clara’s theme, The Impossible Girl, was heard during the scene. This was a subtle reference to the events of ‘Hell Bent’ (2015) which saw the Doctor lose some memories of Clara. Perhaps this is why The Doctor relented because he does know what it says like to have a neural block?
Click to open
At the conclusion of the episode, The Doctor clicks his fingers to open the door of the TARDIS. This trick was first seen in ‘Forest of the Dead’ (2008) after River Song mentioned it to the Doctor’s Tenth incarnation. The Eleventh Doctor also used this method to open the TARDIS doors in ‘The Eleventh Hour’ and Clara clicked her fingers to close the doors in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ (2013). This was again seen in ‘The Caretaker’ (2014) with the Twelfth Doctor snapping his fingers to open the doors once again.
These are the things that we noticed. Let us know what you saw if they don’t appear above.