Last year friend of the blog Dan Martin took time to chat with Steven Moffat about the Doctor Who Series 7 Part 1 finale, The Angels Take Manhattan  – and more specifically, “The Washington Theory”. Dan asked the current showrunner why could Amy and Rory not just travel to Washington (or Boston, or anywhere for that matter) and meet The Doctor there? Had Moffat left a useful plot thread dangling to bring the beloved
companions back in a couple of years? Not so, according to Moffat…
“New York would still burn. The point being, he can’t interfere. Here’s the ‘fan answer’ – this is not what you’d ever put out on BBC One, because most people watch the show and just think, ‘well there’s a gravestone so obviously he can’t visit them again’. But the ‘fan answer’ is, in normal circumstances he might have gone back and said, ‘look we’ll just put a headstone up and we’ll just write the book’. But there is so much scar tissue, and the number of paradoxes that have already been inflicted on that nexus of timelines, that it will rip apart if you try to do one more thing. He has to leave it alone. Normally he could perform some surgery, this time too much surgery has already been performed. But imagine saying that on BBC One!”
Moffat has also admitted that he changed the ending several times before filing his final draft stating, “To be honest they were all quite similar. There was a slightly more involved version which put River slightly more central. But I sort of realised I was trying to tell about four stories when two was quite enough. So I trimmed it down. Increasingly, the point of the story is The Doctor doesn’t really do anything for the second half except more or less complain and try to stop everything working. Obviously there was a point when he wasn’t like that, but I realised that that was the story. Once he realises he can’t escape the fact she’s going to leave him, he becomes sort of useless, and that’s the drama. And the dramatic heart of Doctor Who is very rarely The Doctor himself because he’s the man who fixes everything. This time he’s the man to whom it happens and that makes him interesting in a different way – and an amazing performance from Matt Smith as well.”
And what about return to the show for The Ponds? Moffat said, “You could never eliminate the possibility of dream
sequences and flashbacks, but will the Doctor see them again? No. When I
was first talking to Karen and Arthur about it, we said ‘let’s make it
the proper ending’. Bringing back things just gives you sequel-itis.
Just end it and get out. Heaven knows if they’ll appear in some form of
flashback – I have no plans to do that I have to say – but the story of
Amy and The Doctor is definitively over.”
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Cameron K McEwan was the first owner and site editor of Blogtor Who since its creation in May 2008 until Dec 2015. A lifelong Doctor Who fan, Cameron has also written two books, The Who’s Who of Doctor Who and Doctor Who: The Big Book of Lists, and directed a film all about Doctor Who fans throughout the years, Who’s Changing - An Adventure In Time With Fans. Cameron also contributes TV and film news and reviews to BBC Radio London, Metro, Digital Spy, New York Observer and Den of Geek. He lives in London with his one trousers.

13 COMMENTS

  1. And if you're really missing the Ponds you can read the ongoing Doctor Who comic from IDW! Lots of Pond/Doctor fun to be had! And the latest story arc has the return of Lady Christina de Souza!

  2. I really don't get all the fuss over this, the Doctor basically stated that in the episode anyway. As Time Lords aren't actually real, there's only one rule: if the Doctor says it's not possible, then it's not possible. (Unless he's lying, obviously. Still with me?)

  3. I had my own idea. They could travel to Washington or Boston or even just wait a few years in New York and then he could show up and rescue them.

    But.

    That would mean they'd be older. On top of the ethical quandry about going back and rescuing them when there's a very real chance of creating an unsolvable paradox that rips Earth's history apart, it's well established in this episode that the Doctor doesn't like seeing his companions get older. They're already visibly aging. "I don't like them, they make your eyes look all liney," and then he learns it's not the reading glasses that she suddenly needs, it's that she really is developing wrinkles.

    And he's just had a lesson in the inadvisability of changing history; he wasn't able to prevent River breaking her arm. And he still felt guilty about it.

    He hates endings. "Never let him see you age." Saving them here would've been extremely dangerous and risky . . . and he'd still have to face an ending again, and he'd see them older, and lose them again anyway.

  4. Thought the same thing about New York burning even if they moved somewhere else to rationalise the entire thing. It makes sense that New York would still burn and that he would never be able to see Amy and Rory again. Karen did say she wanted a proper send off with a proper death. Nice to know that I was thinking along the same length as Steven on this one.

  5. Seems kinda unfair though for the Ponds to not at least be in the Anniversary Special this year, with the Doctor's name being revealed (or something along those lines). Amy and Rory had been with the Doctor at the beginning of the whole mystery, they deserve to be there with him when the secret's revealed.

  6. I find it amusing how some fans can't let certain companions go. (Or Doctors for that matter). Certainly a far cry from the days when companions often stayed only for a season, or not even a complete season (see, for example, Dodo, or Katarina, or even Adric, who never had a complete single season). Characters and Doctors come and go, and that's how the show has survived 50 years. If you keep looking backwards, the show will not progress. The world won't implode if the Ponds, or Rose, or Romana for that matter never appears on the show again. When Clara's story arc is properly finished, it'll be time for her to go too – and whether that's the end of Series 7 or she sticks around for a while, it depends on whether Moffat has things left to do with her.

  7. Meh. Still not quite buying it. The Doctor's going to continue traveling in time, and Amy & Rory being Amy & Rory, it's unlikely they'd stay in one place the rest of their lives, either. So if they accidentally bump into each other, the world blows up? Shaky storytelling there, Moffat.

  8. It could have been worse, the Ponds could have had their minds erased because of reasons contradicted by the very same story, and dropped back off on Earth as though nothing they'd learned or experienced in their travels with the Doctor mattered anymore.

  9. Anonymous — Adric did have a full season's worth of episodes. He had five serials (out of seven) in Season 18, while he was a companion for 6 (out of seven) serials in Season 19 — but actually did make a brief appearance in the final serial of Season 19 ("Time-Flight") as an apparition used to try and trick Tegan and Nyssa.

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