Forbidden Planet x Doctor Who Winter Collection

Our friends at Forbidden Planet are regularly treating us to unique Doctor Who merch, and their new winter collection is no exception! They’ve given us an exclusive look at the new designs for their next batch of Who themed t-shirts so that you can be the very first to get your eyes and hands on the collection. We say treat yo’self…

Blink & You’re Dead

“Don’t blink!”

The Weeping Angels are posed to break free. Even this great t-shirt can’t contain them.

Heed the Doctor’s warning. Blink and you’re dead!

A UK exclusive to Forbidden Planet.

Doctor Who - Blink & You're Dead

Release date: Monday 2nd September

RRP: £15.99

BUY NOW

 

Tour Dates

Vworp vworp! It’s the TARDIS experience… on tour!

Celebrating multiple faces across multiple dates, taking the cosmos by storm. Now at a time and dimension near you!

This fun Doctor Who t-shirt is inspired by classic band t-shirts of yester-year.

Release date: 25th October

RRP: £17.99

PRE-ORDER

 

High Council Of Time Lords

Behold the seal of the High Council of Time Lords.

Printed in metallic gold ink, this is one t-shirt no Doctor Who fan can be without.

Release date: 25th October

RRP: £15.99

PRE-ORDER

 

Every Companion Ever

Celebrate the history of Doctor Who with this unique tee, exclusive to Forbidden Planet.

Featuring all of the Doctor’s travelling friends from over 50 years of television adventures – from Susan, Ian and Barbara all the way through to Graham, Yaz and Ryan.

This beautiful design brings them together on one glorious t-shirt.

Release date: 29th November

RRP: £15.99

PRE-ORDER

 

Dalek Blue Prints

“Seek, locate, annihilate!”

Dalek blue prints, on a beautiful t-shirt.

One for Dalek fans everywhere!

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Release date: 29th November

RRP: £15.99

PRE-ORDER

 

This Is Team TARDIS

The Doctor, Graham, Yaz and Ryan – it’s Team TARDIS!

Four times the fun, this t-shirt is only available at Forbidden Planet.

Release date: 27th December

RRP: £15.99

PRE-ORDER

 

There’s something for everyone in this extensive collection!

You can find the collection at one of the 9 Forbidden Planet stores across the UK: London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Coventry, Croydon, Liverpool, Newcastle or Southampton

or at ForbiddenPlanet.com

 

Doctor Who and Mental Health: Why does it have such a positive effect on ours?

by Beth Axford

The discovery of a world like Doctor Who tends to start a personal journey that many usually do not forget. Whether you discovered it as a child or found it whilst going through a difficult period, the show remains a part of you forever. Maybe you stumbled upon it whilst searching through Netflix, or a family member/friend/ex-partner introduced you to it. Perhaps Doctor Who shone out of your television (or preferred device for media consumption) and wrapped its arms around you. Either way, there is no denying that the 55-year-old show has impacted thousands of people, transforming lives with its message and community. But what is it that makes Doctor Who so good for our mental health, and why does it have such a huge impact on the people that love it?

‘There is, surprisingly, always hope’

Writer and Doctor Who fan Heather Challands thinks that it is the message of hope that the show portrays: ‘It meant, and continues to represent, a lot of hope for me. I would watch Doctor Who under my covers, after being unable to face school that day. It made me think that the next day, I might be brave.’

Bravery. A sentiment that has passed through the show since the very beginnings in 1963, when school teachers Ian and Barbara were kidnapped by the Doctor and taken on a trip of a lifetime. The original TARDIS team faced history, human evils and alien monsters, representing bravery and courage to inspire children all over the UK. This message has continued consistently throughout the years. 2015’s Face the Raven saw companion Clara Oswald sacrifice herself, facing her death with courage whilst telling herself to be brave. Last year the show presented bravery in a different way, in the form of facing up to prejudice, racism and sexism. The portrayal of these issues on screen empowered many and gave them hope. Hope for the world, for themselves and for the future. The Eleventh Doctor told Amy Pond that ‘There is surprisingly, always hope.’ – a quote that engraved itself into many viewers minds from 2010’s The Big Bang, and the thirteenth Doctor talks about being hopeful across most of her stories so far, stating that ‘love is a form of hope. And like hope, love abides in the face of everything.’ The man behind this quote, Vinay Patel, explained to us why he thinks people have such a deep connection with the show: ‘Beyond the Doctor’s innate compassion and instinct for fairness, I think the answer lies in their embrace of the stranger side of life and the universe. That willingness to engage, to be curious when others condemn. The Doctor always seeks to understand – in turn, we ourselves might hope to be understood.’

‘You see Doc, the thing about grief is it needs time’

Doctor Who is a television drama set in a fantasy world – but deals with very real, very human situations. The nature of travelling the universe battling monsters and aliens is that nobody is guaranteed to be safe, leaving the stakes high for the characters that we adore. Through the loss of companions and Doctors, we are taught about life, death and grief. When researching for this piece, it became apparent that Doctor Who had helped many people through difficult times over the years, with grief topping the list. ‘It’s funny, the day you lose someone isn’t the worst. At least you’ve got something to do.’ said the Twelfth Doctor. ‘It’s all the days they stay dead.’ Our hero uttered this harrowingly relatable line during Heaven Sent (2015) whilst reeling over the death of Clara Oswald. The Ninth Doctor’s whole personality centred around his grief-stricken mind after the events of the time war and the loss of his entire race. Throughout series one we see the ways in which the Doctor is saved – by Rose and the universe and helping people. We also see his rage, pain and sorrow. There is plenty of relatable grief in Doctor Who, which in a way is helpful to us. It helps us to cope and understand the ways to deal with life after losing someone, as well as providing a distraction from the worse of the pain. Doctor Who fan Daisy Price told us ‘My mum sadly passed away when I was 18 and I pretty much stayed in all the time and watched Doctor Who. It helped me and gave me real comfort. Every time I watched I felt like I was out of the real world for a while.’ That comfort and familiarity is something that many of us feel towards the show – even the bits we don’t like or agree with, we still connect to the feeling of Doctor Who. Sometimes grief is the thing that starts somebody’s journey with Doctor Who, sometimes it is the thing that makes them stay. Most importantly though, grief is more bearable to lots of us because of Doctor Who – a gift that is not easily found in the world.

‘Please save me from the monsters’

The Doctor, through fighting real monsters, helps us to fight our personal monsters. The creeping presence of anxiety that many suffer from can feel like a real monstrous being, mentally and physically taking a hold of its victims and turning their lives upside down. Anxiety takes many horrible forms, making us question ourselves and altering our grip on reality. It could be social interactions, personal trauma, health worries or stress. In these times, we want comfort. We want familiarity. We want the escapism that Doctor Who offers and to feel safe in the TARDIS with our friends. Joy Wilkinson (Writer of The Witchfinder’s, 2018) explains how she thinks Doctor Who can help us feel less alone:

‘Doctor Who is such a vast universe of stories that whatever you’re going through, there’s a place where you can escape it or a place where you can face it and hopefully come back feeling stronger in some way, if only because you know you’re not alone. The community beyond the show is also second to none, so you can feel part of something bigger than yourself, which may be helpful if you’re feeling lost.’

The sense of community and inclusion that the show offers seems to be a big help to many fans who suffer with anxiety, giving them something to concentrate on and people to share passions with. It has to be mentioned that anxiety can be hard to deal with if you are involved in online fandom – where opinions cannot be had, and hatred fuelled people can ruin it for others. But let it be said – I have suffered some of the worst of this hate, and yes it has most certainly changed Doctor Who for me. But no matter the situation, the show has brought me more good things than bad – from close friendships and relationships, to jobs and opportunities. Anxiety should be the reason people watch the show. It’s one of the best types of escapism there is. Let us talk about it, destigmatise it and use Doctor Who to improve the lives of people suffering from it, because at its heart, that is what the show is about.

‘You’re unique in this universe. There is only one you and there will never be another’

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK alone. A theme that seems to be especially prominent with fans who fall under the autistic spectrum is that the Doctor was one of the only people or characters in the world that they could identify with. Thirteenth Doctor fan Katie Maxwell told us her story, and how the character of the Doctor helped her: ‘One of my favourite things about the Thirteenth Doctor is how much of myself I see in her, in a way. I have Asperger’s syndrome, which is a form of Autism. Before series eleven came out, I was ashamed and depressed over how people have treated me in the past.’

‘Seeing a character who is just like me, having problems with communication, people acting like she is a freak and not having good fashion sense – it’s given me acceptance in who I am. It made me think that if the Doctor can be the leader in the room, then maybe I can be like that as well. This had led me to giving a speech in front of my NHS colleagues about Autism and how it has affected me – I definitely would not have done this before Doctor Who came into my life.’

‘You don’t just give up. You don’t just let things happen. You make a stand!’

The term ‘social justice warrior’ is thrown around the internet as an insult to those who believe in, well, social justice. This is odd considering that being a ‘social justice warrior’ seems to be the very basis of the Doctor’s essence. Our hero has traversed the universe for over 55 years now, saving civilisations and standing up for what is right. The show has tackled subjects such as racism and equality in between its monsters and aliens – taking on the darkness at the depths of our humanity. There’s something about Doctor Who that seems to play into our inner social justice warrior, making us feel better about the bad things in life, because the Doctor always saves the day.

We spoke to Doctor Who writer and fan of the show, Paul Cornell, about why we connect to the Doctor and their fight for social justice: ‘I think that because the Doctor has only his or her wits, and stands against those with greater power, that really connects with people who are similarly unarmed, and face opponents, inner or outer, that would otherwise daunt them.’ He explains. ‘Also, the Doctor is just a person, in that they don’t display a hard-line code or set of ethics, like a superhero. They’re someone who makes moment by moment decisions, like we all do, and sometimes gets them wrong. That’s very relatable too.’ We’re all unarmed in the world before us, just trying to figure it out and do our best. For those of us who find it harder to deal with inequalities and discrimination, the Doctor is there for us to look up to, to hope for, and most importantly; believe in. And sometimes, in order to give us purpose, we just need something to believe in.

‘We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.’

Not bad for a little old show known for its wobbly sets and overtly emotional plots, eh? It’s those sets that give it charming re-watchability, the emotion that makes us relate and love it. It may seem odd from the outside, but if it changes people’s lives to this extent, maybe Doctor Who should be taken more seriously. In fact, fandoms should be taken more seriously and celebrated for what they bring people around the world. After the way that a show like Doctor Who has improved people’s lives, it’s hard to imagine a world without it. We are incredibly lucky to have not only the show, but hundreds of books and audio adventures to keep us company throughout the difficult times. We have spin-offs, live events, games and many more ways that will keep the universe of Doctor Who alive for years to come. But wherever and whenever we may be, there is one thing for sure; The Doctor will always be there with open arms, ready to take us on an adventure.

 

 

Thanks to everyone who contributed and gave their thoughts! Let us know what you think about Doctor Who and it’s effect on mental health @thetimeladies_ or email us: thetimeladies@yahoo.com

If you enjoyed this blog post, please consider tipping us below, or donating to our chosen charity Mermaids.

 

The Time Ladies Doctor Who Fandom Spotlight: Art

by Beth Axford

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.

Last summer we ran an exciting competition with our friends at Big Finish for the opportunity to write for their Bernice Summerfield short-story collection, In Time. Brilliantly, some of the finalists have also been commissioned to write for Benny boxset The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield Volume 5: Buried Memories as well! We’re so proud of all the talented Doctor Who fans we know.

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…

Imogen 

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!’

You can find her portfolio HERE

Commission Imogen by emailing her at incommissions@gmail.com

Get the shirt

Follow Imogen on Twitter


Fetin Sardaneh

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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.’

You can find Fetin on Twitter

Or purchase her artwork on Etsy


Lucy Ward

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 :

Instagram: lucy_m_ward

Rosie Vernon

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!

Follow Rosie

Commission some art

Shop her art

Sefie Roselund

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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.

Follow Sefie here

Take a look at her portfolio

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 thetimeladies@yahoo.com

 

International Friendship Day: My Friend the Doctor

by Beth Axford

Dear Doctor,

Down here on planet Earth we like to celebrate things. In the turbulent times we’re living in, it’s easy to forget the amazing things we have, so we celebrate them with special days and events. From doughnuts and cats, to kissing or sleeping – there is a dedicated day for everything you could possibly think of. Today – July 30th, is quite the important one. It’s International Friendship Day!

I enjoy the warmth and positivity of a day like this, when everyone is reminded of one of the most important things in life: friendship. There are posts all over social media, friend dates being had, and moments taken to appreciate. So, I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate you and the friendship *we* have.

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Doctor, you are always there for me. You make me smile, laugh and cry (in a good way). You make me feel safe and loved, even when things aren’t that great. Your adventures empower me to take a stand and do what is right, even when everybody else just runs away.

Your friendship means everything to me and thousands of others. Your kindness reverberates through our souls. Even during those weeks in the year that you do not grace us with your weekly presence, there are plenty of other places where your adventures are documented that we can enjoy. There are hundreds of people out there collecting and documenting your travels, sharing them with us so that we can be by your side always.

Some of these people are my friends too – you’ve let me reach more amazing people than I could ever imagine. When you can’t be there for me because you’re too busy saving the world, they are. When you’re stuck on a different planet or recording your adventures on camera, we have each other. This is one of the greatest gifts your friendship has given me.

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Good friendships are meant to teach you and help you grow. Doctor, you have taught me so much. Every day I learn to be a better person and I wouldn’t have had such good foundations for this if it wasn’t for you (and my mum, probably.) Your intelligence and bravery inspire me to try harder every second of the day. You touch so many people and never stop to be thanked – I aspire to one day be like you.

You’re also not perfect. You are flawed, as we all are. Sometimes you do the wrong thing. You get angry and mess things up, or make stupid mistakes. You wallow and get sad and don’t always deal with things in the best way. But that’s okay – its how you deal with it and grow that really matters. You are so inspiring, Doctor! You make me feel like it’s okay to not be perfect, as long as I am trying my best.

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Doctor, we need your friendship now more than ever.
There are people out there who are choosing unkindness, intolerance and inequality. These people are ruling our countries. They decide who we can love and who we can be, where we can settle, and even the future of the earth we live on. Others do not quite have that power, but have authority in their own corners. Some of them even claim to be your friend, but we know that you would never condone their behaviour. I hope these people choose to do what is right and follow what you really stand for; hope, love and acceptance. I will never stop fighting to make the world a better place and that is because of you. Please continue to teach your lessons and show us that these people will never win.

I hope you’re spending this International Friendship day somewhere up there in space, eating custard creams with Yaz, Ryan and Graham. I’ve sent this via a Kerblam man, but if it doesn’t turn up, it will be circulating the internet here on earth – I hope it makes its way to you.

Thank you for being my friend, Doctor – it really means more than you know.

Is Donna Noble the most relatable Doctor Who companion?

by Beth Axford

With the release of series four in steel book format, it’s hard not to get excited about watching the Doctor’s 2008 adventures in HD. The beautifully designed cover and re-release reminded us of one of Doctor Who’s strongest and most wonderful companions – Donna Noble.

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Sophie Cowdrey’s incredible artwork for the series four steelbook.

Over ten years have passed since the series aired and Donna went on her unforgettable journey, a personal one that not many companions have experienced. As well as saving planets and defeating monsters, Donna Noble learned her worth and proved that anyone could change the universe if they put their mind to it. Her family life, friendships and career all featured frustrations that only beat her down, her experiences leading her to want and strive for more. So, what was it that made her so relatable and real?

Her Family

Donna has a complex relationship with her family. Her mother seems to enjoy putting her daughter down and being generally not very supportive of her. We all have a family member who we want to avoid at birthdays and Christmas and it’s particularly terrible if that family member happens to be your parent. Seeing her being treated this way by her mother meant that we were rooting for her from the start, to prove her wrong and be brilliant. Donna’s grandfather Wilf is a firm favourite amongst fandom and the pair have an adorable relationship that creates a sense of family that you just want to be a part of. These elements of her family life tie together to give the audience something to identify with, a world they can see themselves in and people they might see in their everyday lives.

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Donna, Sylvia and Wilf make up the Noble family. 

Her Love Life

Donna has an unfortunate history with her love life, as we see in The Runaway Bride when her fiancé turns out to be working with an alien spider queen that wants to take over the Earth. Her heart seems to be open and she is forthcoming with her interest in men, a situation many of us find ourselves in when it comes to dating. It’s easy to feel like Donna is a friend taking on the struggles of finding someone when she is so open and desperate in her relationship with Lance. He plays on this basic human emotion of wanting to be wanted, something we all feel, and uses it against her in a devastating way. This solidified Donna in our hearts because we feel sorry for her, care for her and most importantly – we are her. We’ve been there, had our hearts broken and all feel lonely at some point or another. Donna’s love life is almost a tragedy that she turns into changing her future – something we all strive towards.

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If it wasn’t for Lance, Donna wouldn’t have even met the Doctor so… all swings and roundabouts, eh?

Her Self Image

Everyone has negative feelings about themselves. Hang-ups, image worries, and anxieties plague us whether we like it or not. Donna starts her journey in Doctor Who with quite a low opinion of herself and often down plays her successes or achievements. We see throughout the series that this probably stems from her family and experiences, but then is continued on in how she perceives herself. We know she’s brilliant and incredible, but she doesn’t see it. This is completely relatable and feeling like you’re not special is something many of us can identify with. Of course, as Doctor Who has taught us, everyone is special, and Donna gets to prove herself in every story she appears in. It’s important to see that a normal woman with a dysfunctional family, disastrous love life and an un-satisfying career can take on the universe and realise the potential she had inside her all along.

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Donna becoming her best self, series four.

Her Appearance

Why does this matter, you may be asking? Well, it’s no secret that Doctor Who’s women are known for being super beautiful and eye-catching and Donna Noble is no exception. However, if you look at the women to have graced our screens in new Who, Donna has a different body type – one that is represented a lot less in television. It is incredibly refreshing to see a woman in the show that looks different because most other new Who women have the same thinner frame and it is an untrue representation of society that all women look this way. This may not be something everyone thinks about, but for many it is hard to watch television and never see your body type represented in what you’re watching. Donna looks like you or me and it is a powerful message to portray in that you can be any shape or size and still be amazing.

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Killin’ it in roman attire.

Her friendship

Last but not least, Donna Noble is truly the best friend we all want to have and be. She is fiercely loyal to the Doctor and her friends and incredibly welcoming to new people like Martha and Jenny during the series. Her kindness goes beyond measure and although her sass can land her into all sorts of situations, her heart is always in the right place. She’s also hilarious and an absolute hoot to watch on screen – exactly the type of mate you’d want to pop down the pub with. These qualities and her personable nature create a character that everyone can relate to – which is why we’ll hold her in our hearts forever.

What are your favourite Donna Noble moments? Tweet us @thetimeladies_ or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com.

You can purchase the series four steelbook HERE

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Is Doctor Who doing enough to create awareness about our environment?

By Beth Axford

Doctor Who has always been known for wading in on things going on in the real world. From it’s very beginning in 1963, the show has been to educate, inform and get people thinking. The world around us is heavily featured in the show with many stories set on Earth in present day, so it is hardly surprising that our environmental issues are portrayed in Doctor Who’s canon. 1973’s The Green Death is famous for its climate change themes and Russell T Davies’ era of the show featured a running gag regarding the ‘bee’s disappearing’ – a nod to the worries that environmental impact may be causing bees to become extinct.

More recently, in last years Arachnids in the UK, the Doctor and her friends are faced with giant spiders that have mutated from toxic waste at a landfill site. The story is a tale in real life terror – what horrors await us when we treat our planet badly? It portrays the flippancy of unconcerned leaders who only care about money and the lack of understanding towards waste and climate change that many corporations seem to have in our world. The outside of the episode is a spider themed horror, but deep down there is an important message for the audience.

The Doctor discovers the truth about Sheffield’s spider infestation.

There is an obvious science fiction exaggeration in Arachnids, but underneath its heart is set on telling a truth to the audience – that we’re harming our planet. The conversation is everywhere you go in 2019 – Recent protests have spread awareness all over the world about the effects of our actions, leading the UK government to declare a national Climate Change emergency. Adding to this, BAFTA have recently called for more TV shows to feature environmental themes in their story lines in the hope that it will spread awareness and change people’s attitudes towards climate change. So how has Doctor Who led the way over the years?

One of the first portrayals of human interference when it comes to our planet happens in 1967’s The Moonbase. The classic story features a system in which humans are controlling the Earth’s weather from the moon. They’re soon intercepted by the deadly Cybermen who try to destroy the planet using the machine – so that they can have the Earth all to themselves. The sentiment here and in a few stories mentioned below is that messing with the Earth = BAD NEWS.

In a similar vein to Arachnids in the UK, the events of The Green Death (1973) feature some giant nasties that you wouldn’t want to come face to face with. In this adventure, the third Doctor and Jo discover some giant maggots created by – yes you guessed it – dumped global chemicals! Aggressive and deadly, the maggots killed anyone who tried to get near them and caused a whole load of havoc. Luckily, Jo and her environmentalist boyfriend stop them using fungus. We love an environmentally aware team! Today’s lesson: DISPOSE RESPONSIBLY KIDS. For a story nearly 50 years old, The Green Death is incredibly relevant to the society we live in today.

Giant maggots – YUM!

Series four (2008) regularly slips in little mentions to climate change too – perhaps because it was becoming more and more prominent in the news around the world. Planet of the Ood brings the Doctor and Donna to the far future where Donna mentions that she is surprised humans still exist on Earth. She tells of the news in 2009 predicting human extinction and, notably, the disappearance of the bee population due to global warming.

Another notable environmental impact in-plot happens in The Waters of Mars. We’re on Earth in 2040 and agriculture has become so harmed by climate change that new ways of growing food needed to be developed to feed the world. The human race resort to growing food on Mars – leading to a horrific alien discovery and almost causing the end of life on the planet altogether.

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The Waters of Mars (2009)

2010 brought us our first Moffat era focus on how humanity messes with the Earth in The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood. Nature seems to fight back after a team of humans attempt to drill deeper into the planets surface than ever before to retrieve rare minerals. There, they find an ancient civilisation of Silurian’s and a war almost erupts among the races. The story points out the dangers of tearing the earth apart for our own gain and the Silurian plot is almost a mirror to how many species lose their homes thanks to human interference.

Following this, series 8 episode In the forest of the night uses underlying themes to portray how important trees are for us and the planet. The story goes that one day, hundreds of trees grow over night all over the world, covering the planet in thousands of huge forests. As the Doctor, Clara and Danny struggle to work out why this has happened, the people of Earth try to burn and remove the new trees without success – because nature is trying to save the planet. The trees have sprouted overnight to protect the Earth from a solar flare! The plot-line seems to be a comment on the power of our world and the natural elements that inhabit it – and that we really shouldn’t mess with them because they’re doing their job.

Production art for In the forest of the night (2014)

With our most recent environmentally aware Doctor Who episode airing last year, it seems that the show is actually doing pretty well to spread the word about climate change. It’s certainly a brilliant way to teach children (and even adults) the errors of humanity and must be a front contender for shows that mention the environmental changes the world is facing. But does it need to be more obvious? Recent stats show that we have approximately 12 years to sort out our environmental problems to stop catastrophic changes and danger to the people of Earth. Seeing the Doctor deal directly with the effects of climate change would be a huge step in terms of creating awareness of our issues, but for now we should celebrate that Doctor Who has been pushing the agenda for over 50 years.

 

What are your thoughts? Let us know @thetimeladies_ or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

*Ticket Offer* Meet the Ladies of Doctor Who – 10% off Bedford Who Charity Con

We all want to be like the Doctor, sorting out fair play throughout the universe. Why not start in the UK with Bedford’s charity Doctor Who convention, Bedford Who Charity Con 5?

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Bedford is holding its 5th Doctor Who charity Convention.

The event on Saturday 13th of April gives you access to all your favourite Doctor Who cast members as well as raising money for Bedford foodbank.

The money raised from this wonderful event will go towards feeding families, providing women with sanitary products and helping people out of tough domestic situations. It currently feeds 600 people a month who are dependent on donations to survive. This is a massive problem happening all around the UK that affects over a million people a year- but you can do your bit AND have an amazing Who-filled day while you’re at it!

There are several of Doctor Who’s amazing women attending, ready to sign autographs, take photos and take part in panels. Here are the time ladies attending:

SOPHIE ALDRED     

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Ace McShane actress, Sophie Aldred will be in attendance at the event.

JANET FIELDING     

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Janet Fielding will be there to sign autographs, take photos and bring laughs!

CAROLE ANN FORD

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The original time lady, Carole Ann Ford will also be in attendance.

LOUISE JAMESON   

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No Who convention would be complete without Louise Jameson – or Leela to us!

Charity is something we’re really passionate about here at The Time Ladies, and we’ve teamed up with the organisers of the event to give you 10% off tickets. Just mention ‘The Time Ladies sent us’ when you purchase your tickets.

Get your tickets HERE

 

 

The Macra Terror review – everything you need to know about the animation

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!

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The second Doctor Polly and Ben.

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
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The second Doctor and Polly, Ben and Jamie aboard the TARDIS – in stunning animation for The Macra Terror.

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.

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Jamie McCrimmon – animated for The Macra Terror.

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

Our Verdict

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The Time Ladies meet Polly and Jamie.

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…

You can purchase The Macra Terror on DVD, Blu-ray, Steelbook and via download.

Two Years of The Time Ladies

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!

Beth and Kezia x

Doctor Who Quotes to Live By

By Beth Axford

It’s the beginning of the year. The weather is gloomy, the world of politics is rife with anger and confusion and a new series of Doctor Who is still (what seems to be) a lifetime away. Dear friends, whatever must we do?

Aside from rocking back and forth to the sound of the Doctor Who theme (we’re fine), we love looking to our favourite quotes and moments from the show to keep us going. So, if you’re in need of a little motivational boost – or just a little bit of Who to fuel you through the week, we’ve got you covered. Here are ten Doctor Who quotes to live by and take with you through each day:

1 – Love abides in the face of everything

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._

2. Make a stand and do what’s right

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (2)

3. Make the most of your story

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (3)

4. Appreciate small beautiful events

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (4).png

5 – Always be kind

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (5)

6. Know your worth

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (6).png

7. Embrace change

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (7).png

8. Live life your way

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (8)

9. Be childish sometimes

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (9).png

10. Never give up

_Love is the most powerful weapon we have. because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything._ (10)

Talking to the writers behind Big Finish’s ‘The Eighth of March’ for #IWD

By Beth Axford

The 8th of March marked International Women’s Day – a time to celebrate women everywhere and highlight the ongoing movement to achieve equal rights. To celebrate, we’ve teamed up with Big Finish to bring you a look at their new The Eighth of March audio boxset, written exclusively by women and starring our favourite female characters from Doctor Who. We’ve also partnered with The Who Shelf and contributed a post on how women are written in the exciting new set.

Consisting of four standalone stories, The Eighth of March features previous companions River Song, Leela and Ace as well as Big Finish companion Bernice Summerfield. The Paternoster gang and the ladies from UNIT also feature, making it the ultimate celebration of the women of Doctor Who!

Lisa McMullin, writer of Emancipation

How did you become a part of The Eighth of March boxset?
Matt Fitton (script editor) knew I’d been wanting to have a go at a River story and approached me with the idea of pairing her with a classic companion. I immediately loved the idea of River with Leela – they are such contrasting characters – so I pitched a story idea for the two of them and away we went.

What was the process of writing the story like? How were the characters, plots and themes chosen?
I always start with character. The joy (and challenge) of writing for Who characters is that they have already been drawn so brilliantly. So you’ve got River, a wonderfully erudite character and Leela, a thoroughly instinctive character – one woman who uses her head, the other who follows her heart. What if they have to work together? I wanted River to know everything about Leela but for Leela not to trust River as far as she could throw her. It’s a classic ‘odd couple’ set up. And from then you think about what sort of situation might bring them together – what might they have to face that would reveal the things which unite them rather than divide them? And the story then reveals the themes – sacrifice, oppression, emancipation. The idea of religion as oppressor is something which recurs in Who a lot and I’m interested in the way religions (all religions) treat women – and River and Leela can both connect personally to this.


What was your favourite part of the project?
I loved it all – but I did get a bit giddy at the recording. As a writer, to be there whilst these fantastic actors are making your script sound SO much better than you could have hoped, is thrilling. They originated these characters and know them better than anyone and watching them perform was joyous. I was a fan long before I thought I’d be a writer – you can’t imagine how exciting it is to write for Big Finish.

Who is your favourite female character from Doctor Who?
I’m not choosing. There are too many. But River and Leela are right up there.

There are themes of the importance of female relationships in Emancipation – was this something you purposely added in, or was it a natural progression of the characters?
A bit of both. But mostly everything stems from character and situation – for me, anyway, the way the characters respond to the situations reveals the themes. I realised right at the end that one of the main themes is about identity and having the autonomy to define yourself. Both River and Leela are quite unique in that they have both made conscious efforts to forge lives for themselves outside of their connection to The Doctor. For International Women’s Day, that’s a message I’d like to promote – don’t be defined by your relationship to anybody else – you are important in your own right.

 

Sarah Grochala, writer of Narcissus

There are themes regarding self-love, conventional beauty standards and how women are perceived in society throughout Narcissus, why did you feel it was important to portray this in The Eighth of March boxset?
I was interested in a comment that was made in the TV series about how Osgood’s sister was prettier than her. It implied that Osgood was a little insecure about her appearance. This seemed in stark contrast to how the character is presented in other moments as independent, self-sufficient and incredibly sure of herself in terms of her intelligence. I wanted to explore this potential vulnerability in Osgood a little more. When the other members around UNIT can clearly see Osgood’s value regardless of her appearance, it was interesting to me that she should be insecure about this one more superficial aspect of herself. I was also interested in the world of elite dating sites. Online dating is always a little bit like shopping, you’re selling yourself as a product and you’re judging potential partners on a range of personal qualities almost like you would if you were purchasing a car or a piece of furniture. The elite dating sites take this a step further as you have to be validated by the site as a special person in order to join. I was interested in the level of vanity and/or insecurity that the existence of these elite sites point to and how a malign force might take advantage of this.

How did you become a part of The Eighth of March boxset?
I heard that they were looking for women to write for Big Finish so I got in touch. I’ve been a fan of Dr Who since I was a child so it seemed like a great opportunity.

What was the process of writing the story like? How were the characters, plots and themes chosen?
I was given a pretty free rein. I was allocated the UNIT characters, which I was really thrilled about. There were a few basic parameters. The story had to take place eon the 8 March and, obviously, being UNIT it had to be modern day earth. I then suggested a number of plot lines and the Narcissus one was chosen. I then rewatched all the TV UNIT appearances and listened or read all the Big Finish stories so that I got a clear sense of how the characters’ stories were developing. I wrote a couple of drafts of the script and got a few notes from my script editor, which I then incorporated into the piece.


What was your favourite part of the project?
Probably having a chance to be at the recording and hear the whole piece coming together. The cast and the crew were absolutely brilliant and really brought the whole piece to life.

Who is your favourite female character from Doctor Who and why?
As a child it was definitely Romana. It’s difficult to remember exactly why my 7 year old self liked her so much but I suspect it was because she felt more of the Doctor’s equal than other companions had been. In the new series, it’s River Song, for similar reasons.

You can purchase The Eighth of March from Big Finish Productions here.
Read Beth’s review of The Eighth of March on our favourite blog for Doctor Who books – The Who Shelf!

 

Celebrating Sarah Jane Smith and Scratchman

By Beth Axford and Kezia Newson

Sarah Jane Smith has long been a legend of the Doctor Who world. First appearing in 1973’s The Time Warrior, her character returned multiple times and even gained her own spin off shows The Sarah Jane Adventures and K-9 and Company. She’s one of the most iconic women to have stepped foot on the TARDIS, and with lines like “Now just a minute. There’s nothing ‘only’ about being a girl”, she’s a feminist icon.

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This month’s release of fourth Doctor novel Scratchman sees the return of our favourite TARDIS girl, and reminded us why we love her so much. The novel, written by Tom Baker himself, is a wonderful testament to a legendary era of the show. Based on an idea Tom Baker and Ian Marter devised for a Doctor Who story, or potential movie back in the 70’s, Scratchman is told from the perspective of the Doctor and features Sarah Jane and Harry alongside him. When interviewed for the book release, Tom Baker said of Elisabeth Sladen (who portrayed Sarah Jane on screen):

‘Yes it was fun and very poignant. It was marvellous to be with them again, and it was marvellous to be with them in real life.

‘I thought Elisabeth was wonderful. She didn’t stick around, which was a terrible pity. I missed her terribly – she was legendary, wasn’t she? I loved her and she loved me and there was a wonderful relationship, a confident relationship which comes out in Scratchman, I hope.’

There are some real kick ass moments for our Sarah in this book, but we won’t spoil them for you – we’ll leave you to read them yourself!

It got us thinking about Sarah Jane moments that are close to our hearts, so to celebrate the release of Scratchman, here are our highlights from her time in the world of Doctor Who.

Kez

Sharing feminist advice across the universe

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As mentioned above, we couldn’t not include this character defining moment from Sarah Jane in The Monster of Peladon. After visiting Peladon previously with Jo, the Third Doctor is back, and this time there’s a young woman on the throne, Queen Thalira. At the brink of civil war, and with men left, right and centre advising her on what to do, Thalira despairs. Spending time with Sarah to get some advice, she hears about how women are treated on earth. Thalira can’t see how anything like feminism could ever be replicated on Peladon, “It would be different if I was a man. But I’m only a girl.” Not having any of it, Sarah replies “Now just a minute. There’s nothing only about being a girl, your Majesty. Never mind why they made you a Queen, the fact is you are the Queen, so just you jolly well let them know it.”

I think we could all do with that pep talk from Sarah once in a while.

“I can manage. I don’t need your help, thank you!”

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One of our favourite interactions between Doctor and companion is in The Ark in Space between the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane. Struggling to squeeze through the ship’s conduits to feed a wire through and ultimately save the day, Sarah gets jammed (and it looks bloody terrifying too!). After being encouraging, the Doctor tries a different tactic and hurls insults at her: “That’s the trouble with girls like you. You think you’re tough, but when you’re really up against it, you’ve no guts at all.” Absolutely enraged, Sarah struggles to get at the Doctor to show him exactly what she’s made of. She bats away any help and, if it wasn’t family television, would have mouthed off to the high heavens at the Doctor. Her determination and tenacity are a complete wonder, and dispel any myth about female companions in classic Who being simply fluff. In fact, we like to think her feminism saved everyone on that ship.

Standing against anti-feminist language

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The relationship between Sarah Jane and her fellow time traveller Harry Sullivan is quite a unique watch. Put quite simply, she finds him incredibly irritating, (which he is really.) Sticking to stereotype, he continuously puts Sarah down, laughs at her or simply infers that she can’t do exactly what she intends to do. He’s incredibly well meaning and thinks very highly of her, but is a perfect example of what society’s impression of masculinity can have on a perfectly nice man. In The Ark in Space, after referring to Sarah affectionately as ‘old girl’ or ‘old thing’ many times previously, he says “Steady. Steady on, old girl. Steady on.” as Sarah is coming round. The first thing Sarah can say is “Harry, call me ‘Old Girl’ again and I’ll spit in your eye.” It makes us laugh every time! Sarah showing where her priorities lie straight after being knocked unconscious. She won’t stand for any dated language, and refuses to be Harry’s inferior in any way. You tell em’ Sarah Jane.

Being vulnerable with her feelings

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As much as we love Sarah Jane for her resilience, what makes her so amazing is how she isn’t afraid to show her emotions. In School Reunion, after being blown away that the Doctor is there in front of her, she doesn’t shy away from the difficult conversation. Speaking on behalf of millions of women getting answers from their ex, she heartbreakingly asks “Did I do something wrong, because you never came back for me. You just dumped me?” It’s so sad that Sarah would have questioned, just like other women after a break up, that they weren’t good enough, that they didn’t do enough. As much as she saw the universe, she opened up her heart and ultimately had it broken. Being brave enough to confront the Doctor, to tell him she had waited for him, and missed him sounds all too domestic and familiar –a place where Doctor Who excels. The dialogue is controlled solely by Sarah, with the Doctor bashfully trying to display his affections, and quite frankly, failing. In this moment Sarah Jane showed girls everywhere that women can be tough and vulnerable at the same time. What a hero.

Beth

Compassion and Humanity in Robot

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Sarah Jane’s compassion and humanity are some of her greatest features and are demonstrated perfectly in 1974’s Robot. The fourth Doctor’s debut appearance featured a Robot called K1, created to carry out activities that are dangerous to humans and housed in a facility called ‘Think Tank’. When Sarah sneaks into Think Tank and asks the director if K1 is dangerous, they order it to kill her and watch on as it struggles in distress. It is explained that it is impossible for K1 to harm humanity, and as a result the robot suffers with the conflict of the instructions and it’s basic programming. Sarah Jane empathises with K1, even though its owners suggest it has no feelings. She apologies to K1 and says that the demonstration of its distress was cruel – a touching and powerful moment that solidifies why we love her so much.

Sarah Jane Returns

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School Reunion solidified Sarah Jane into the hearts of a whole new generation of Doctor Who fans, and the instant we first see her on screen again after so many years is delightful. Even if you’ve never seen the show before, you know that its an important moment for the Doctor and the woman who has just walked into the room. Sarah continuing her journalism and research into strange goings on is a golden highlight for us. In a new regeneration since he last saw her, she has no idea who the Doctor is and introduces herself while he smiles delightedly. When he tells her that he is ‘John Smith’, the ruse continues, and she even recalls that she ‘knew a man who went by that name’. The exchange is full of nostalgia and is wonderous to watch, but most of all it’s amazing to see Sarah continuing to boss life all those years after leaving the TARDIS. The way she carries herself and her strong willed nature shine through in the same way it always did, leaving no doubt that the character is legendary.

Sarah Jane meets Jo Grant

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Sarah Jane Smith and Jo Grant are two of Doctor Who’s most iconic women, so it’s no surprise that their meeting is one of our favourite moments from the both of them. After being called to the Doctor’s ‘funeral’ they both excitedly share stories and hugs while explaining their doubt that their time lord friend is really gone. The scene fills our hearts with adoration for the pair as they bond over their mutual friend, and it’s truly wonderful to see the characters on screen after all those years. Together, they work out the truth and help the eleventh Doctor save the day. The sheer dedication and force of nature the two possess in this story is why we love them both so much, and shows Sarah Jane at her very best.

Goodbye Sarah Jane

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Sarah Jane’s final appearance in Doctor Who came in David Tennant’s swansong story, The End of Time. The episode saw the tenth Doctor embark on a farewell tour, saying goodbye to all his friends before his regeneration. As Sarah’s son, Luke Smith, crosses the road in front of an oncoming vehicle, the Doctor stops the inevitable collision and saves Luke’s life. This moment is much more poignant now after the death of Elisabeth Sladen – who plays Sarah Jane – in 2011. The moment Sarah runs out into the street and has one last goodbye with the Doctor is in fact her final appearance in Doctor Who itself. Elisabeth carried on saving the world in The Sarah Jane Adventures until her death, but this scene feels final and heart-breaking considering the sad context outside of the show. *Sob*

If you want more Sarah-Jane, or even more fourth Doctor or Harry, you can purchase Scratchman by Tom Baker now.