Everyone has their “Doctor”. Even if you don’t particularly like Doctor Who, there has to be a Doctor that you either remember or identify with. As a “Xennial” (born in the early 1980s), my “Doctor” is Sylvester McCoy. You know… funny hat, funky jumper, umbrella with the question mark handle, companion also moonlighting as a CBBC presenter… Sylvester McCoy is MY Doctor. Or at least he WAS. Enter stage left Jo Martin, the first black Doctor Who.
Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s as a first-generation African immigrant, born in South London, tomboyish, not quite sure of her sexuality, I was always a bit of an odd bod because I didn’t do or gravitate towards stereotypical “black” things. I’d rather watch “Lost In Space” over “Love and Basketball” (Hey! It had Joey from Friends in it and Apollo 440 did the theme tune!) Sci-Fi wasn’t really something black girls were expected to be openly enthusiastic about. But I carried on regardless.
But going back to Jo Martin. The Doctor. The Black Doctor. The female Doctor. The BLACK FEMALE Doctor. Of course she can be the Doctor. I mean, she’s already in Holby City as a neurologist, so doctoring is already in her bag. Or TARDIS. Her unassuming confidence, her lack of black stereotypes, her articulation, her locks, her outfit… Totally loving the outfit! Anything remotely edging towards patterns resembling kente cloth is always going to be a massive plus for me! To be watching a show that has been going on for over fifty years and to have the main character look like me is something I didn’t realistically think would happen. At least, not in my lifetime. An alien Time Lord with two hearts? Totally believable. One that can change gender AND ethnicity?! You what?!?
When Jo first came on screen as Ruth Clayton, I thought, “Oh, a strong female black character. Let’s see how long SHE lasts in this episode”. After what happened to the awesome Grace (Like Graham and Ryan, STILL not over it!), I wasn’t holding much hope. Once it was revealed that Ruth was indeed the Doctor, a part of me did think, “Is this canon? Are they going to doctor-bait me like they did with David Morrissey?” So once it was quickly confirmed that a) it IS canon, b) she isn’t another version of the Doctor, c) I didn’t imagine it and d) they were going with another female Doctor, I could sleep soundly.
I always say that representation matters. Being able to see or hear someone and think, “They’re just like me” means the universe. It can be a friend to support you. The teacher you can learn from. The comfort blanket you can snuggle with. The parent you can depend on. Having a black Doctor Who shows that sci-fi CAN and SHOULD be for black people. We’re more than a stereotype. We’re more than having more melanin. We are fans, we are here to stay and a black Doctor shows we belong. For years, I had to watch characters in shows I loved that didn’t look like me but try to identify with. Now, I don’t have to. Not with Jo Martin. MY Doctor.
What do you think of Jo Martin as the Doctor? Let us know @thetimeladies_ or email us at email@example.com
The third episode of Doctor Who series 12, Orphan 55, has turned out to be a divisive one among fandom. Some of us love it, some of us loathe it – like marmite, but with added space adventures. The only thing we can all agree on is how iconic the line ‘BENNI!’ is. In order to cover all sides of the story, we present to you; Time Ladies Debate: Orphan 55!
ORPHAN 55? NOT FOR ME… says Kez
In some ways, Orphan 55 is the very essence of Doctor Who – a base siege, a chase, a threatening monster… but it never truly landed for me. The first scenes of the fam landing at the plush spacey spa were brilliant – the pace from Spyfall was still there, as was sustaining the brilliant wit from the leading characters. I was overjoyed at the mental imagery being conjured of Graham lounging with a cocktail, and them all taking a damn break after wrestling with a deep-space squid, well deserved.
As in the series opener, the fam were expertly split off from each other, primed for different versions of the adventure. But alas, were (literally) crammed together again for large parts of the story, a massively missed opportunity. Talk about three being a crowd – when you have a main cast of four, adding another seven (!) onto that means that frankly, we’re not going to have time to become emotionally invested in these guest characters. You could barely keep track of who was there, who had died and who was left behind. Something that really highlighted this for me was the use of sacrifice in this story – something that should hold such impact – a total stranger giving their life for the Doctor and their friends. But this was done four times in one story. When we don’t have time to become invested in these characters, we probably care little when they die, let alone when it becomes a ‘thing’ that happens.
This need for sacrifice feels like it’s there to create peaks in a story that fundamentally is a constant chase. A chase that, instead of thrilling, completely flatlines when they leave the building. After the pacey beginning, where was the push and pull from each side? When the Doctor looked into the mind of the Dregs, she could see the terrifying reality of who they were. But why did we not have the opportunity to learn about this further, to hear about what happened, and how to help them now? Leaving the planet with no resolution apart from ‘hoping it’s just one possible future’ felt like they were running away from the problem rather than facing what had been done. Climate change is a real terror, it’s not something we can run away from. It felt callous and abrupt to simply leave it there.
I admit that as someone who was completely transfixed by the end of Spyfall, I may have been a little disappointed by the drop in focus. But a story centred around such an important message? It could have been better.
ORPHAN 55? THE BEST OF SERIES 12 SO FAR… says Beth
Orphan 55 captures many aspects of my favourite parts of Doctor Who; Action. Adventure. Love. Danger. An important message. There are many layers and characters woven throughout the Tranquillity Spa – something I believe works well to establish the world we’re immersed in. Thanks to Ed Hime’s brilliant characterisation, everybody has a personality and a reason to root for them. Then there are the dregs, some of the scariest and well-designed Doctor Who creatures for a while. Not only do they look incredible, but the truth behind their existence is even more gruesome and hammers home the message of the tale. It’s great to see the Doctor teaching her friends too – even though she’s suffering. It’s particularly interesting to see the fam’s relationship changing out of mistrust and the Doctor’s sorrow, which ties in brilliantly to the storyline.
The truth of Orphan 55 is hidden inside a wrapper of capitalism and human fault – the planet is Earth’s future and the dregs are the human race, evolved and terrifying. This is the type of plot that Doctor Who was made for. In a similar vein to The Green Death, it educates and opens the mind to the climate crisis as well as providing fun and escapism on a Sunday night. There is a positive to come out of such an on the nose message. Because even though Doctor Who is an escape, a place to disappear away from the terrors of our world, it is also a reminder that we can be better and that we should be better – and that’s the most positive thing of all – that we still have hope. As the Doctor tells us at the end of the adventure; ‘Be the best of humanity.’ Hopefully, we won’t let her down.
After we discussed the story, we decided to put our differences aside and have a custard cream and a cup of tea. After all, Doctor Who is vast and complicated and beautiful – we won’t always love it or hate it!
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After a year’s wait, Doctor Who finally returned to our screens last week in the huge Series 12 opener, Spyfall. The two-part story exploded with twists and turns that took our breath away – leaving us with a whirlwind of questions and ponderings. The Kasaavin! The Master! Gallifrey! It’s more excitement than a Time Lady can handle. There are five main things we’ve managed to get our brains around and thoughts down, but a million more questions inside each one…
Who are the Kasaavin?
The Doctor managed to stop the Kasaavin and their evil plan to upgrade human beings by travelling back in time and planting a virus in their tech. But just who are the Kasaavin? We know from what we’ve seen so far that the creatures are ‘alien spies’ who have been collecting information on the human race, but is there more to them than we’ve seen in Spyfall? We aren’t sure what they truly look like or the real reason they appear the way they do. Plus, their plan to upgrade and make humans better all seems a bit… Cybermen. We know the Doctor’s deadly foes are returning later this series (as seen in the S12 trailer) – could they be in on the plan too? We’re intrigued and hope series 12 expands more on these deadly villains.
Barton also nips off to an unknown location, leaving us questioning what became of him. As seen on the scanner in Part 1, He isn’t 100% human – so what is the other 7%? Will he stay in league with the Kasaavin? Where has he disappeared to?So many questions!
What happened to Yaz?
Poor Yaz got zapped to the Kasaavin dimension during Spyfall Part One. The next time we see her, she is transported to Australia where the Doctor, Graham, and O are investigating – but what happened to her, and why was she taken? It’s unclear why she was moved between the dimensions and if anything significant happened to her there. She is visibly shaken and distraught from the experience, even telling Ryan she thought she was dead. It seems like something deeper might be going on here and that Yaz might not be the same person who went into Barton’s office.
Building on this, the Master pays significant attention to her and tells her to stick with him. This could just be his way of messing with the Doctor by teasing her friends – or perhaps something more is going on with the pair since we are unaware of what happened to Yaz in the Kasaavin dimension. One thing seems clear though; Yasmin Khan has been through a lot – who knows where her character arc will go next?
Who is the Timeless Child?
The Timeless Child was first mentioned in The Ghost Monument (2018). Surrounding the Doctor and the gang, the deadly shrouds hissed at the Doctor; ‘We see deeper though. Further back – the Timeless Child.’ At the time, none of us were sure if it was a hint at a story arc or just a throw-away line, but it looks like Chibnall has been planning this one for a while. At the end of Spyfall, The Master tells the Doctor that he destroyed Gallifrey because the Time Lords lied to them; ‘built on the lie of the Timeless Child.’
Who is the Timeless Child? What is the lie surrounding them? Will we find out this series?
Will the fam ever truly know the Doctor?
During Spyfall, we see Yaz, Ryan, and Graham split up from the Doctor. Of course, a returning villain like the Master brings up LOADS of questions and the fam realise the absence of knowledge about their friend. At the end of the adventure, Graham asks, ‘Why don’t you ever share anything with us?’ Rightly pointing out that she knows everything about her TARDIS team but they don’t know much about her at all. She reveals where she’s from and the name of her race, telling her friends who the Master really is. But will their relationships be affected by how little they know about her? It seems like the lack of trust may be a continuing plot thread in this series, and we are very intrigued by this deeper look into the Doctor and her companions.
What will the Master do next?
The biggest surprise of Spyfall has to be the return of the Master… seriously, who was expecting that?! Played by the incredible Sacha Dhawan, the Master disguised himself as agent ‘O’ in order to fool the Doctor and help the Kasaavin with their plan. Hell-bent on killing the Doctor and her friends, he puts them on a crashing plane with a bomb in the front seat. Of course, the Doctor isn’t letting her fam die in a hurry and manages to save them from their impending death. The Master follows the Doctor through time, trying to track her down and end her once and for all; even having time for a deep chat on the Eiffel Tower. Good will always win out though, and when the Kasaavin hear the truth of the Master’s plan they disappear to their realm, taking him with them. What will the Master do next? Will he be stuck there? If the Gallifrey storyline continues, we’re bound to see him pop up again…
What did you think of Spyfall? Do you have any other questions or theories? Let us know via Twitter, Instagram or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here at The Time Ladies, we are committed to lifting female, trans and non-binary voices, and getting their work seen and heard. There are many amazing female artists, writers, creators and cosplayers that we adore – and we want to share them with you.
Some of these fans are incredible artists, and were lovely enough to share some of their work with us. Let’s meet the women who draw, paint and sketch Doctor Who…
When we decided on Imogen’s art to feature in this post, we didn’t know we were picking a future fan art competition runner up! Her beautiful artwork Positive Energy was printed onto t-shirts for fans to purchase here, and announced at San-Diego Comic Con last month. Imogen counts Mandip Gill as one of the many fans that adore her work and has even given prints to her in person.
What inspired Imogen to create Doctor Who art? ‘Probably my dad. He is a bigger fan than I am and is the reason I started watching the show In 2005! He used to work in graphics so always encouraged my artistic abilities. I admittedly trailed off making Doctor Who art until Jodie became the Doctor. When I saw her costume design I fell in love with the colours and I’ve been drawing her a lot since. Her expressive face is a treat for us artists to draw!’
Fetin is a huge 13th Doctor fan and frequent attendee at London’s biggest Doctor Who quiz, The Quiz of Rassilon. We love her adorably soft aesthetic that creates dreamy pieces featuring our favourite Who characters. ‘I originally started as cosplaying Doctor Who characters at Comic Con, and it was only a few years ago that I decided to properly get back into drawing.’ Fetin revealed to us.
‘I naturally tend to turn my creativity towards the things I love, and for me that has been Doctor Who, ever since it was brought back to our screens in 2005! It doesn’t look like I’ll stop loving it and stop creating Doctor Who art anytime soon.’
This wonderful artwork captures our hero animatedly giggling and sonic-ing her way through space. We adore the colours and mood the piece creates, giving us ALL the Thirteenth Doctor feels.
‘I started to make Doctor Who art because I wanted to capture the Thirteenth Doctor’s energy through my style’ Lucy tells us. She has also created pieces featuring Yasmin Khan, the Eleventh Doctor and more, adorably created with a cute anime-esque style that we love. Her use of colour and characterful expressions are the highlight of her work, we could pour over them all day!
For commissions contact through email or socials :
Rosie’s Doctor Who art regularly fills our Twitter timeline with pops of colour and fun that is much appreciated during the long hiatus when the show isn’t on air. This Thirteenth Doctor piece is full of fun and captures the Time Lord perfectly as she stares off into the distance with a knowing expression on her face. ‘I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was 4, and I’ve basically been making fan art for it ever since! (I once came home from school with a drawing of Satan’s Pit, much to my parents’ dismay)’ Rosie told us.
‘Something I love about the show is that it’s ever-changing, which means there are always new Doctors and companions to fall in love with, and inspire my art!’ We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!
The most serious piece we’ve picked for this spotlight was beautifully created by Sefie Roselund, a chemical engineer and Doctor Who fan living in Finland. ‘I really started watching Doctor Who 7-8 years ago and was immediately sucked in!’ In her spare time she paints digitally, creating life-like and atmospheric art celebrating our favourite show.
‘For me, fan art in general is about celebrating the original media. When I really like a show or a character, I feel very inspired to draw something related to the show. Basically, drawing Doctor Who art is me saying “I really love this show!”. Sefie explained to us.
We’ve added these wonderful artists and other content creators to the new Our Friends page – a space for you to find art, podcasts, video, cosplay and more from the most talented, hard-working Doctor Who fans – KEEP AN EYE OUT!
If you’d like to send us your creations, you can do so at email@example.com
The big news this month is the release of The Macra Terror – a second Doctor story currently missing from the BBC archives. All four parts were wiped to save space back in the 60s, meaning they aren’t available to watch anywhere! Luckily, the audio for the entire adventure was recorded by a fan and with the help of some rare clips and stills, it has been animated for us all to enjoy!
Fast Macra facts
The serial was first aired in 1967 – the seventh story of the fourth series of Doctor Who.
The Macra Terror features the second Doctor played by Patrick Troughton and his three companions: Polly – Anneke Wills, Ben – Michael Craze and Jamie – Frazer Hines.
It was the first story to feature the Doctor’s face in the title sequence.
The Macra returned to Doctor Who in Gridlock (2007) – 40 years after their original appearance!
The whole story has been released in animation on DVD, Blu-ray, Steelbook and downloadable in colour and black and white, available from March 25th 2019
Anneke Wills (Polly, companion to the First and Second Doctors) spoke all things Macra and Who at the press launch:
Anneke excitedly revealed details about the original Macra props; ‘They were huge, clunky creatures made of papier-mache. Patrick took one look and said ‘We’re going to have to cover this with Polly’s blood curdling screams!’ She went on to gush about Patrick’s portrayal of the Doctor, saying that she thinks it’s his iconic voice that makes him so distinct, ‘It’s frightfully posh!’ She continued to say that ‘If it hadn’t been Patrick who took over the role of the Doctor, we wouldn’t be sitting here today – we should always be grateful to him.’
‘I felt curious’ was her response when she found out she was being animated. ‘In a way you remove yourself, because it’s not about you.’ She did have one qualm though – the animation team just didn’t manage to get her eye makeup right! ‘I want to take you back to the storyboard and show you how I did my make-up. It was the eye make-up of the time, a false eyelid.’ We totally agree, those wings have to be on point!
Anneke and Frazer both praised the hard work of the team and enjoyed the animation immensely – it was wonderful to hear her speaking so fondly of our favourite show.
The Animation Journey
The BBC Studios team, headed up by Charles Norton and Paul Hembury (Executive Producer, BBC Studios) decide which missing story will be animated – this depends on time, budget and the detail and scale of the episodes.
Sound extraordinaire Mark Ayres enhances and cleans up the sound recordings available from the story’s first transmission. This includes slightly adapting the recordings as they can sometimes be muffled or bad quality.
Artist Martin Geraghty draws each character down to every movement they make. Charles Norton said of the work; “(Martin) Draws every single facial expression, every mouth shape, every eye blink, every frown, every smile – from every single angle for each character.” Phew – that’s a LOT of work!
They even have a library full of different hand gestures – the Second Doctor takes up alot of room!
Sun and Moon Studios animate Martin’s drawings to bring them to life, using an animation tool called ‘Toon Boon’
After months of hard work, everyone’s work comes together to create a fully animated, complete set of episodes for The Macra Terror – ready for fans old and new to enjoy
We were lucky enough to watch episode one of this epic adventure in advance of its release, so what did we think?
The Macra Terror animation is an exciting addition to any Doctor Who fan’s DVD collection, bringing to life a missing part of one of our favourite eras of the show. The team at BBC Studios have done a fantastic job of creating smooth, detailed animation that works brilliantly for the adventure. You can really tell the difference in quality from the last animated story – Power of the Daleks – with the use of new software and a bigger budget as well as more time to produce.
As Doctor Who fans who weren’t alive in 1967, it feels like such a treat to have an insight into a story we once thought we’d never lay eyes on. Episode one is pacy, with a mystery apparent as soon as the team set foot outside the TARDIS and capture an escapee from a colony. Snappy scenes, quick-fire dialogue and plenty of action set the story up against some of our favourite Second Doctor stories. As for the Macra in animation? We’re pretty sure it’s the best they’ve ever looked! Now, when can we see even more Ben and Polly please…
Two years of The Time Ladies? Where has the time (and space) gone?! These past couple of years have been incredible for us. From our tiny beginnings (back when we were a team of four!) to the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor. Doctor Who magazine, radio appearances, interviews and more – it’s been a crazy ride!
We’ve been able to meet the most amazing friends and people through this little blog, which has truly been the most life changing experience that we’ve had from it. We’ve had the chance to share the blog with some amazing contributors and we can’t wait to continue this in the future. We’ve interviewed some of our favourite cast members and worked with some fabulous Doctor Who brands to bring you behind the scenes content, competitions and posts.
Most importantly though, we’ve been able to talk about mental health, body image, representation and more important topics. The reason we started this space was to give women a voice that they may not usually be able to get heard. We wanted to change fandom in a way that means everyone has an equal opportunity to air their opinions, and create a space for women that they feel safe and comfortable in to celebrate the show.
Looking back over the last couple of years, we feel it’s safe to say we’ve made at least a tiny dent in the world of Who – and with Jodie Whittaker at the forefront of the show, it’s finally time for women to have their say.
Finally, we want to thank you for all your support. For reading our posts, giving us feedback and tweeting us your opinions. For listening to our podcasts and supporting us all the way. You’ve even read our bits in Doctor Who magazine, listened to us on the radio and made us fan art! For all of this we couldn’t be more grateful.
Thank you fellow Doctor Who fans – for changing our lives forever and for coming together with us to celebrate our favourite show. To the next two years and beyond!
If you’ve always wanted to experience an adventure with the Doctor first hand, 2019 is the year for you! Escape Hunt and BBC studios have teamed up to bring us Worlds Collide: A live Doctor Who escape game, where you can become the Doctor’s new fam and save the world.
We recently tried out the exciting game before its opening in Bristol – so what did we think?
It’s best to experience the game for yourself to get the most out of it, so we’ve left out any surprises and spoilers for the adventure.
The storyline is simple and original – The Doctor needs your help! After a quick briefing from the Time Lord herself, you are transported into the future to the offices of ChronosCorp HQ. Here, eccentric billionaire Alastair Montague’s efforts to develop commercial time travel have caused a tear in the fabric of space and time, which the Cybermen will use to attack Earth.
You then have 60 minutes to work out how to close the tear before the Cybermen break through, using only what remains of Montague, his prototype time engine and the extensive collection of time-related artefacts acquired over the course of his experiments. The fate of the universe rests in your hands – if you take too long the human race will be ‘upgraded’!
There is a nice mixture of time and space folded into the story, particularly as it is set in the future. 6 artefacts must be collected by completing puzzles and riddles, each one with a historical meaning. These elements mean that the adventure feels like proper Doctor Who, all timey-wimey and fun. The pay off if you complete the story is brilliant and will leave you wanting to travel the universe with the Doctor forever!
This Doctor Who live game has been created in a similar vein to the Doctor Who Experience, but with a much more interactive nature. Inside you’re left almost entirely on your own to complete the mission, with a little hint here and there from the ‘Game Master’ via audio cues. Other than that, there are vague instructions in the form of videos, written documents and other props that create a true sense of reality. You don’t necessarily need to be a fan of the show to play either – there are subtle references here and there but the story and Cybermen are explained well. From a fan perspective though, the moments when you find a prop/reference are a real payoff.
The escape room can be a real test on your communication and team working skills, so make sure you REALLY LOVE the people you’re playing with. The game is a mixture of easy and not so easy tasks, but most of the difficulty comes from finding out what you need to do with a prop or section in the first place. Once you realise what it is for, it’s generally quite easy to complete a puzzle, but some take more time than others. There is nothing better than completing a task and getting one step closer to saving the world…we may or may not have done a few air jumps and screams of excitement. You’ll realise that your many years of watching the show may finally pay off when your brain connects the dots throughout the adventure!
There is no danger of wobbly sets around here! The room is designed so realistically that you forget you’re underground in a game. Some of the set is sealed down and cannot move, but lots of it is moveable and interactive, meaning you can never entirely be sure if an object is of significance or not. As time goes on you will notice that some props will be more familiar than others. Because you’re in a set you never know what anything means, so it’s best to play about with the fantastic surroundings and see what happens or is relevant to any instructions you’ve been provided with.
There aren’t many special effects because the props and set do much of the talking, but the way objects interact has been brilliantly thought out and will surprise and excite the child inside of you when you get parts to work together. It really is like living an episode of Doctor Who, and you’ll never want it to end.
There are a couple of lovely mementos that you can take away from your adventure with the Doctor; You’ll get a certificate for saving the Earth with your game time written on, and there are photo opportunities with specially made signs featuring captions such as ‘The Doctor’s number one team’ and ‘Space and time were on our side’. If you post your photos on Instagram using the special hashtag, the lovely Games Master will print out a polaroid version of it for you to keep so that you never forget your special day.
From January 16th, fans can battle through space and time at Escape Hunt Bristol as well as book tickets for the immersive adventure which will be arriving at other Escape Hunt locations on the following dates:
Doctor Who series 11 may be over, but the fun doesn’t have to end! To celebrate the release of the soundtrack and box-set of series 11, we’ve compiled the perfect guide on how to relive and enjoy Jodie Whittaker’s first run of adventures.
It doesn’t have to end with an occasional re-watch – you can listen to music from episodes, enjoy fan blogs, vlogs and podcasts to really immerse yourself. Read on to become a fully-fledged team TARDIS/Fam member!
Soundtrack pick –The Woman Who Fell to Earth(Track 7) – Close your eyes and relive the 13th Doctor’s magical beginnings with ‘The Doctor’. This song covers every aspect of our favourite Time Lord – from its rapid pace changes to its ambient backdrop, it is a wonderful reminder of what the character is all about. Hollie Buhagiar’s stunning vocals will drop you right back in to The Woman Who Fell to Earth instantly. Listen Here
Soundtrack pick – My Beautiful Ghost Monument (Track 11) – One of the most iconic scenes from series 11, the Doctor being reunited with her TARDIS in ‘The Ghost Monument’ has been etched on our memories ever since. You can enter the TARDIS and feel its wonder through this single track, the song will leave you awestruck and ready to pull that lever into adventures in time and space! Listen Here
Soundtrack pick – Parks, Rosa Parks (Side 2 Track 3) – This episode brings emotional music like no other, so we love the track Parks Rosa Parks. With hints of her theme strewn throughout, there is an underlying sense of danger and tension as portrayed in the story’s battle with racism. The wonderful strength and sense of unity in Rosa’s theme intertwined with the darker moments create an image of hope – one we can all stand by. Listen Here
Fan creations – We love this review from YouTuber SesskaSays. Well, we pretty much love every review from her but this one in particular, as she goes on the same emotional journey we did during her watch.
Soundtrack pick – My Fam (Track 14) – Relive the beautiful moment that Team TARDIS decided to adventure together in this emotional track from Arachnids in the UK. My Fam brings together ambient tones and instrumentals to symbolise the hope and love the characters have for each other. Warning: you may not leave the track with a dry eye. Listen Here
Soundtrack pick – Resus One (Track 16) – The futuristic drama of Resus One creates the perfect spacey atmosphere, meaning you can relive The Tsuranga Conundrum musically whenever you like. We love the drums and heavier tones used to emphasise the danger the team are in, with a hint of magic and hope as the song goes on. Segun really knows how to pack his music with emotion. Listen Here
Soundtrack Pick – Yaz and Nani End Credits (Side 2 Track 12) – One of the absolute highlights of the series 11 soundtrack has to be this hauntingly beautiful version of the Doctor Who theme tune, played at the end of Demons of the Punjab. The vocals are stunning and proves that the iconic theme tune works perfectly when sung as opposed to the usual instrumental. It is slow and raw, picking up on the important and saddening topic of the story it concludes. Listen Here
Soundtrack pick – Kerblam (Track 17) – This eight minute song from the series 11 soundtrack will take you through the Kerblam mystery via a musical journey. From beginning to end, the piece builds tension with hints of mystery, while dropping subtle character themes and emotions throughout. The vocals and strings used create the perfect sense of humanity for the piece – just like the heart of the story. Listen Here
Soundtrack pick – King James (Side 2 Track 13) – A historical episode gives the composer a chance to create something different and show off exactly what they can do, and this track is a great example of that. The violins give it a medieval royal feel – perfectly fit for a king. This little taste of the 1600s is exactly all you need to relive The Witchfinders! Listen Here
Soundtrack pick – Reverse the Polarity (Side 2 Track 16) – This roller-coaster of a story must be matched with a roller-coaster of a score – and this song doesn’t disappoint. You can almost feel the Doctor’s brain ticking away as the beat taps in the background of the piece. Get a slice of the action and character development all wrapped up in one song whilst falling back into the crazy world of It Takes You Away! The pitter patter sounds and raw strings of the piece create a universe of wonder – a real highlight to the soundtrack. Listen Here
Soundtrack pick – Ranskoor Av Kolos (Track 19) – Send yourself back through the emotional end to the series with this stunning piece filled with ambient atmosphere and built up harmonies. The epic finale brought tension, emotion and drama which is exactly what this track from the story emanates. Listen Here
Fan creations – Another exciting cosplay by the amazing Phoebe Britnell!
There we have it – your complete guide to reliving series 11 of Doctor Who. Let us know your favourite moments, soundtrack picks and fan creations by tweeting us @thetimeladies_ or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Whether you celebrate it or not, Christmas is a special holiday for many. It’s a time of rest and giving, for spending with family and loved ones… and for watching Doctor Who. Tradition is important during the festive period and Doctor Who on Christmas day has become just that for many families. Since The Doctor and Rose saved the Earth during Christmas 2005, we’ve been treated to a special festive episode every year.
Taking the prime time evening slot, families would sit down together filled with mince pies and turkey and enjoy an adventure through space and time. This year though, Doctor Who is embarking on a new tradition – the yearly special episode has been moved to New Year’s Day instead of Christmas.
Christmas can be difficult if you’ve lost someone. It can be difficult if you suffer with mental health struggles or family issues. Throughout all of my Christmases, and all of these difficulties, I’ve always been comforted by the Doctor Who Christmas special. It has been there to wrap its arms around me and tell me I’m not alone. It’s taken me on adventures and helped me escape when I’ve found the festive period hard.
No matter the contents of the story, the Christmas episodes are always based around one core theme: hope. This is exactly what I and many others need during the holidays, particularly on the big day itself. I spent Christmas day sick and alone, and I really could have done with that Doctor Who episode this year. Somehow I’ve been left feeling like my hope was taken away, or my only saviour around Christmas time had let me down. That is the importance of this show to me and many others.
In times like this, it’s easy to get upset with how the show changes when it means so much to us, or when things differ from its traditional way. But Doctor Who has lasted for 55 years for a reason – it thrives on change. In the words of the Doctor, ‘If things didn’t end, nothing would ever get started.’
Despite my feelings, I am very excited for a brand new adventure with team TARDIS on New Year’s Day. What better way to begin a new year than with my favourite form of hope – Doctor Who! Christmas may have been hard without it, but January will be much easier with it.
Am I upset with the lack of Who on Christmas day? Yes. But times change, and so must Who. We will begin 2019 with The Doctor and friends taking us on a brand new adventure. So begins a new tradition – New year, new Who.
What do you think of the move from Christmas day to New year’s day? Let us know @thetimeladies_
Now that The Tsuranga Conundrum has hit our screens, we’re officially half way through series 11 of Doctor Who. We’ve been from Sheffield 2018 to the 67th century – with spiders, spaceships and iconic historical moments in-between. Grab a cuppa and a custard cream as we delve into the beginning of the 13th Doctor’s debut series.
The 13th Doctor – Beth
The 13th Doctor is everything I’d hoped and dreamed that she would be. There was one thing I wanted from Jodie’s performance, and that was for her to feel like the same character I’ve loved for all this time. I wanted 13 to be Doctor-y, and Jodie absolutely hits the nail on the head. A few scenes at the beginning of the series felt slightly out of place to me, as Jodie didn’t seem to play the complicated language convincingly, but as the episodes go on she grasps it more and more. Her comedy and demeanour as the Doctor really feel spot on, and I miss her when the stories end each week. I can’t wait to find out where she’s going this series and to see Jodie play some more big, emotional moments! I’d love to see more character development and emphasis on what traits her Doctor will be remembered for – as well as more wonderful costume variants!
Companions – Kez
So, we have 3 companions in the TARDIS, aka a TEAM! Doesn’t this feel like a long time coming? Now there are more opinions, viewpoints and life experiences that add to every story. Having the age contrast between Graham and the others adds so much more depth and breaks the 2005+ rule of what a permanent companion is: aka an attractive young woman. Having lived a very different life to the others including surviving cancer, it’s given him such a unique view on what he wants the rest of his life to look like, especially without his wife Grace. This is mirrored in Ryan too. The thing I love about Tosin Cole’s performance is the very real bravado from a 19 year old, mixed with a beautiful vulnerability. Ryan’s arguably had alot of the focus so far this series, and I’m enjoying how he’s growing as a person, as he opens up more to Graham, Yaz and most importantly, life as he sees it. He’s already speaking to a disillusioned young male audience who I hope will continue to watch his journey. Yaz is our most under-developed companion, and I’ve been massively frustrated with the lack of who she is – it’s still hanging in the air 6 episodes in! However, with Demons of the Punjab brings more Yaz, and her relationship with her family and heritage. Before series 11 started I was most excited to see the dynamic between a female Doctor and companion, and this one is still developing. I feel like the Doctor has the best on-screen bond with Yaz so far – but is that just me watching two women together? I’m not sure. I’m absolutely loving seeing the three of them react to each other and the Doctor, but I’m not fully sure we know everything about them yet… so bring on the second part of the series.
Episode Quality – Beth
Five episodes in, and the quality of series 11 is high. If we’re talking scripts though, the stories have been consistent in the way that they’re simple, fun Doctor Who plots. The characterisation has been outstanding, as has the acting from our main cast – propelling the episodes from average to brilliant. The general tone and look of the show this year means that this series has quickly become one of my favourites, and I’m thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. I don’t feel there is anything to dislike, but of course that all depends on what you like to get out of an episode of Doctor Who. There are off bits of course, such as awkward acting or non-resolutions to some plot points, but it’s hard to judge until the whole series has aired. Personally, I think these 5 episodes have been some of the highest quality Doctor Who ever, and I can’t wait to see where it is going!
Music – Kez
Segun Akinola’s music pulses and breathes throughout each story, like it’s a living part of the plot. This is so different from Murray Gold’s scores which were beautiful and reverent, but triggered emotion foremost, rather than reflecting the atmosphere of a story. Ambient and subtle in parts, the music from the first half of series 11 has raised the collective heart beat of the UK without us even realising that this is largely down to the score. As well as this, the use of contemporary music in both the promotion of the series and within, like Rise Up by Andra Day used at the end of Rosa blends easily, and makes it feel like Doctor Who has cooly been doing it for decades. What I’m looking forward to though, is that sweeping grandeur during a ‘I am the Doctor’ moment. We’ve had that feeling in the music a couple of times in series 11 but it hasn’t quite left me feeling awe-struck and teary eyed, which is really what I want in those moments (sorry). I can hear the music of each Doctor from 2005+ in my head, and I can’t quite figure out what the Thirteenth Doctor sounds like yet. This is completely a personal opinion since I enjoy openly weeping at Rose’s theme in Doomsday, but I hope we get that feeling again.
Special Effects – Beth
The special effects this series have taken a massive step up from anything that’s come before, taking it into cinematic territory. There’s something so exciting about having such high standard effects on our little old show that is famous for its wobbly sets. A highlight is the wonderful new title sequence that stuns with its purple hues and liquidy textures. Arachnids in the UK gave the vortex a proper appearance as the TARDIS adventures through space and time and we see its true extent – every fan’s dream! the explosions and CGI work brilliantly together to create convincing moments and realistic scenes. I love how the creatures of the series stand up well, from the deadly Remnants in The Ghost Monument, to the giant spiders in Arachnids in the UK.
Storylines – Kez
The stories across series 11 so far have shown a staggering range of pace, location and character. I appreciate that immensely, and no two stories have felt the same, but in the same vein it doesn’t feel that neatly wrapped package of a series I quite want (yet). Of course Doctor Who is about throwing different stories at us, but Rosa felt like a different show to The Tsuranga Conundrum. This, again is a personal opinion and has had no effect on ratings so I’ll take that as me being a perfectionist! There have been some truly beautiful, ‘first in Doctor Who’ moments: watching the Doctor take an emotional step back in Rosa, and being vulnerable with her friends at the end of The Ghost Monument… but balanced with some familiarity: watching Yaz’s relationship with her family and as always, an awful lot of running. Something that’s new as an overall feel is how educational the show is. We’re having history and science lessons each week, with every story showing a strong moral compass and lessons learned. I’m not adverse to this – it’s quite in-your-face but maybe that’s a good thing? It’s only teaching children about being kind and encouraging learning which we can’t really complain about! Character wise, what I’m really hoping for in the second half of series 11 is for our guest cast to be more fleshed out. We need to have time to get to know who they are, so we can empathise with their story. My feel so far is that in each story there have been a few too many people, and that crowding makes each character less significant as a result. More time with these characters please! Chris Chibnall’s show running has so far brought Doctor Who to the forefront of British television, and the stories have brought literally millions of new watchers in. So welcome, new fans!
Monsters and Villains – Beth
We’ve had a whole host of exciting creatures and villains this series so far, and I think they’re all iconic. First up we had the deadly ‘Tim Shaw’ and his face full of teeth – terrifying! His appearance in The Woman Who Fell to Earth was perfect for a series opener and a brilliant first villain for the 13th Doctor to face. My favourite villain however has undoubtedly got to be the Pting from The Tsuranga Conundrum. The adorable creature is original, memorable and fun – something this series needed after the darker villains in Rosa and Arachnids in the UK. Both of those stories featured characters who were morally corrupt and putting others at risk with their close minded, selfish behaviours. They are written brilliantly, and I love that Doctor Who is dealing with bigger, deeper issues, but there’s nothing like a good old alien invasion. Looking forward, I have high hopes that there will be more original aliens and creatures to balance out the moral and educational storytelling that we’re seeing so often this series. Oh, and a Pting plush in time for Christmas please.
Highlights – Kez
As mentioned already, there have been some truly special moments in this series. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that watching Rosa – the whole experience, was pretty amazing. To see Doctor Who tackle these big historical moments so relevant to people’s experiences today, felt really important. Equally, the way that Grace’s death has been handled has been a tough watch but so real. Graham and Ryan’s grief has been tangible throughout the series, and it just makes them more believable. Seeing their reactions when they officially join team TARDIS was so touching, and a real milestone for all their characters, including the Doctor. This time she knows what may happen, this time she makes sure they know, and they do. It was a pillar moment for the Doctor – really challenging the feelings of companions, knowing they may say no. The smaller moments which help define this era are absolute highlights for me: Yaz’s family chat about pakora, Know Me From by Stormzy being played to scare spiders away, Graham moaning about not having time to eat, tea at Yaz’s, the Pting… I could go on. Lastly, a highlight has to be just how amazing this series looks and sounds. Doctor Who has never been so current, and doesn’t feel out of place with shows we’re all watching which have double the budget.
Keep sharing your thoughts about series 11 with us over on Twitter – @thetimeladies_
Think you know everything there is to know about the Doctor’s space-time machine? The TARDIS Type 40 Instruction Manual details exactly how the ship works and its entire history – including the low-down on the 13th Doctor’s TARDIS. To celebrate, we got hold of ten exciting facts from the book to tantalise your taste-buds, including previews of some of the pages!
1 – The name ‘TARDIS’ was given to the space/time machine by the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan. The word is an acronym, standing for ‘Time and Relative Dimension in Space.’ As the capsule The Doctor and Susan stole happens to be the mostly widely used TARDIS in the universe, the term has been taken and spread among the stars as the official name for the ship.
2 – When properly maintained, the TARDIS is indestructible.
3 – The TARDIS uses Artron energy generated by the eye of harmony in order to travel through space and time.
4 – The 13th Doctor’s TARDIS is the first to feature the reverse of three sides of it’s exterior on the inside of the ship, making it look like almost the whole box is attached to the interior.
5 – The TARDIS has a bathroom that features a hologram of a leopard, with toilet facilities located just past the macaroon dispenser.
6 – The TARDIS also features a karaoke bar, a swimming pool, an art gallery and a Green house, among other infinite rooms
7 – Although it never appeared on screen, Missy travelled in a type 45 TARDIS with a dark purple desktop theme.
8 – The ‘wheezing, groaning’ noise that can be heard when the TARDIS materialises is down to the ship being ripped out of or forced into normal space.
9 – Despite the Chameleon Circuit being broken and the TARDIS being stuck as a police box, periodic software patches have updated specific design details of its appearance. This occasionally means that features such as the windows and light can change, as well as the shade of blue on the outer shell of the police box design.
10 – The telepathic circuits inside the TARDIS can be used to gather extra data about a destination and calculate an optimum point to land, as well as being used to send psychic messages within the space-time vortex.
The TARDIS Type 40 Instruction Manual is available now
The opening shots of Arachnids in the UK crawl along the floor of locations as if we’re the spiders themselves, discovering the setting for the story about to unfold. This makes for perfect Halloween week viewing and sets the eerie tone straight away. It’s a tantalising beginning to this week’s spooky adventure as we discover there’s a problem at hand… isn’t there always when The Doctor lands on Earth?
Speaking of landing – there’s a time vortex sequence! We finally get to witness this TARDIS in flight through space and time, and it couldn’t be more wonderful. It’s had a bit of an update since we last saw it; dark and glittering like a deep night sky with bursts of life and colour throughout. The scene is only brief but is a much-needed bit of continuity that makes way for a lovely bit of Doctor – attempting – to – land – the – TARDIS. We all know the scene – the Doctor insists that everything is under control, while the companions fall about the TARDIS like they’re on a bumpy rollercoaster and question whether the Doctor *actually* knows how to fly the ship. And Jodie nails it! There’s no flicker of a doubt that it’s the same old Doc we know and love, flying her ship terribly and having a laugh while doing it. Of course, the TARDIS takes them where they need to go – home, Sheffield 2018.
When they arrive, the Doctor is faced with the potential of being completely alone for the first time in this regeneration. The pain on her face and in her voice make it clear that this incarnation isn’t one for the lone wolf life. As British as ever though, it’s a cup of tea that saves the day when Yaz suggests going back to her place. Hurrah! This TARDIS team are so utterly thrilling to watch that even the thought of them drinking tea together has us all excited. Yaz’s family are fun and relatable, with her dad immediately trying to feed them and her sister barely looking up from her phone. The humour and timing are spot on from Jodie in this scene, proving every second that she’s finding her feet and becoming the Doctor. The fun doesn’t last for long though, as the team start splitting up and huge cobwebs begin to dominate every shot…
Giant spiders. We’re not talking size-of-your-hand-trap-them-under-a-glass spiders, we are talking BIGGER THAN A DOG size spiders. It’s sort of a genius move for a scary episode of Who, especially when they’re suffocating people with their massive webs and terrorising trump-esque villains. The team all find out about the impending spider doom in their separate ways and come together to face it, in true Doctor Who style.
Our guest cast is a real highlight of this story, from Yaz’s mum Najia to spider scientist Dr Jade McIntyre. The development of Yaz’s family takes a natural progression and is integrated into the story by Najia’s job being at the same hotel the spiders happen to be converging around. Mandip Gill particularly shines as we get a look into Yaz’s life, as well as Shobna Gulati playing her mother. The warmth that comes with a sense of family is what Doctor Who does best, and Chibnall gets the balance of character development and scary plot perfectly. The heart-breaking scenes of Graham returning home for the first time since Grace’s funeral resonate with anybody who has suffered a loss, and the writing hits home that human emotion to its core. Bradley Walsh is mesmerising and brilliant, playing every moment perfectly. We’re also treated to some lovely Graham-Ryan development – Ryan seemingly warming to his step grandfather, almost describing him as ‘proper family.’ At its heart, this story is about the characters, and every scene makes you wish you could hang out with them and stop a spider invasion too.
The spiders themselves make for disgusting
viewing, ranging from dog to bus sized and killing humans for food. But these aren’t aliens at work here; an important lesson is behind this terrifying tale. Power hungry hotel owner Robertson has built his empire on unused sites around the world – meaning this one is atop a huge landfill of toxic waste. Coupled with spider carcasses from Jade’s lab, and we have toxic mutant angry Arachnids as a result. The lesson at the episode’s centre is all about our treatment of this planet, and the way money hungry people choose to misuse it. This is a deliberate message on Chibnall’s part, taking Doctor Who back to the reason it was created; to educate and teach the younger generation about the world around them.
The plot wraps up with a humane trap for the Arachnids and an inhumane murder from our villain. The scene is reminiscent of previous Doctor’s; their wonder and care taken over all creatures and beings as she mourns the huge arachnid. This solidifies Jodie’s incarnation even more as her fourth story reaches its end.
Oh, and what an end. Every episode this season seems to have ended on massive, emotionally impactful scenes and this one doesn’t break that habit. Graham, Ryan and Yaz deciding that they want to travel with the Doctor permanently seals them in our hearts as they explain their reasons not to stay in Sheffield.
‘Being with you and seeing all these things… it really helps’ Graham tells her of his grief. Yaz and Ryan want to escape their mundane lives and travel with the best person they’ve ever met. There is a fully thought out, deeper decision being made here than with previous TARDIS travellers. They want to escape, see more and do more with their lives. They want to see wonders, and marvel at the universe, forgetting the grief they face back at home. That’s what Doctor Who is to all of us, isn’t it? An escape from the world and the problems we face, a light that is there for us even in the darkest of times. Team TARDIS head off together into time and space, leaving the world a little brighter in their wake. But what awaits in ‘The Tsuranga Conundrum’?
What did you think of ‘Arachnids in the UK’ let us know your thoughts @thetimeladies_ or email us at email@example.com!