Time Ladies Debate: Orphan 55

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

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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

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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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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.

 

Worlds Collide: The Doctor Who Escape Room

By Beth Axford

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.

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Storyline

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!

Fan Experience

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.

Difficulty

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!

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Set/Effects

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.

Mementos

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.

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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:


Leeds – 25/01/2019
Oxford – 08/02/2019
Manchester – 22/02/2019
Reading – 08/03/2019
Birmingham – 22/03/2019

 

Tickets for Doctor Who: The Live Escape Game, Worlds Collide are on sale now and are bookable via Escapehunt.com/DoctorWho

 

 

Reliving Series 11 of Doctor Who

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!

Episode 1 – The Woman Who Fell to Earth

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Jodie Whittaker wowed audiences in her debut story ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’

Watch the episode – Take yourself back to the 13th Doctor’s debut via the Series 11 Boxset or BBC iPlayer

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

Twitter reacts to Jodie Whittaker’s debut

Directing Episode One

Fan creations –

We adore this cosplay by Georgia Grace Ranwell! This is some real costume and photo editing TALENT.

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Cosplay and image by Georgia Grace Ranwell

Episode 2 – The Ghost Monument

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Team TARDIS on their first outer space adventure.

Watch the episode – Crash back into our first space adventure with the Series 11 Boxset or BBC iPlayer

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

Remnants Case File

Fan creations

We love this drawing of 13 finally getting back to her TARDIS by Sophie Isles!

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Sophie Isles recreates the amazing moment the Doctor is reunited with her TARDIS.

Episode 3 – Rosa

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The Doctor and ‘fam’ take a trip back in time…

Watch the episode – Visit America’s deep south with the TARDIS fam via the Series 11 boxset or by BBC iPlayer

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

Access All Areas

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.

 

Episode 4 – Arachnids in the UK

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Who ya gonna call? TEAM TARDIS.

Watch the episode – Find the Doctor and her friends chasing giant spiders via the Series 11 Boxset or BBC iPlayer

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

11 of the Scariest Everyday Horrors in Doctor Who

Fan creations – Listen to Kez talk to one of our favourite podcasts Galactic Yoyo as they have a debate over their opinions of Arachnids in the UK

Episode 5 – The Tsuranga Conundrum

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When you realise you messed up.

Watch the episode – Join this classic sci-fi story by purchasing the Series 11 Boxset, or find it on BBC iPlayer

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

Cute but Deadly Creatures in Doctor Who

Fan creations – Listen to when Beth chatted about her opinions on The Tsuranga Conundrum on the Eruditorum Presscast Podcast

Episode 6 – Demons of the Punjab

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Doctor Who explores the partition of India in ‘Demons of the Punjab’

Watch the episode –Take a trip into the history of the partition by purchasing the Series 11 Boxset, or find it on BBC iPlayer

Soundtrack PickYaz 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

Thijarians Case File

Fan creations –

Read Demonology and The Doctor here

Episode 7 – Kerblam!

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Kerblam it!

Watch the episode – Deliver yourself an exciting adventure by purchasing the Series 11 Boxset, or find it on BBC iPlayer

Soundtrack pickKerblam (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

10 of the Worst Businesses in Doctor Who

Fan creations – We ❤ Sam Richard Bentley’s brilliant poster for the story.

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Poster by Sam Richard Bentley

Episode 8 – The Witchfinders

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The Witchfinders

 Watch the episode – Magic yourself into the story by purchasing the Series 11 Boxset, or find it on BBC iPlayer

Soundtrack pickKing 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 WitchfindersListen Here

10 Times Doctor Who Entered the Wizarding World

Fan creations –

Cosplay goals! Amy Spencer, 13th Doctor cosplayer has nailed this outfit!

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Cosplay by Amy Spencer

 

Episode 9 – It Takes You Away

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Team TARDIS take a trip to Norway.

Watch the episode – Take a trip into an unknown universe by purchasing the Series 11 Boxset, or find it on BBC iPlayer

Soundtrack pickReverse 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

The Antizone Case File

Fan creations – Listen to Beth talk to the Trap One Doctor Who podcast about her reaction to It Takes You Away

Episode 10 – The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos

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It’s the final battle…

Watch the episode – Battle the Stenza with the Doctor and friends by purchasing the Series 11 Boxset, or find it on BBC iPlayer

Soundtrack pickRanskoor 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

The Ux Case File

Fan creations – Another exciting cosplay by the amazing Phoebe Britnell!

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Cosplay by 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 thetimeladies@yahoo.com!

Christmas without Who

By Beth Axford

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.

The Christmas Invasion (2005) begun a Christmas tradition for many.

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.

The Doctor, the widow and the wardrobe (2011)

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.

Resolution airs New Years day

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_

Demonology and The Doctor: Demons of the Punjab review by Diksha Bhugra

There is no doubt that the Punjab of 1947 was populated with far more than its fair share of demons, and did not need any alien assassins to help with the bloodshed. And yet, I was afraid that might be where the plotline of Demons of the Punjab was headed. But the writers of Doctor Who have yet again managed to pleasantly surprise me and I could not be more relieved. Not only has Vinay Patel managed to depict the atrocities of Partition through a heartbreakingly poignant script, but also introduced us to one of the most compassionate species of the Who universe, the Thijarians.

Team TARDIS lands in 1947 Punjab to witness the wedding of Yasmin’s grandmother, Umbreen. Only Umbreen isn’t getting married to Yaz’s Muslim grandfather, but a Hindu man – Prem, that she has never told her granddaughter about before. Yaz is filled with confusion and injured feelings for having been kept in the dark about such a crucial fact. But in walking away from his murder at the end of the episode, Yaz shows the inner strength and maturity of her character. Perhaps Prem’s sacrifice and her newfound understanding of love might act as inspiration for her somewhere down the line as she travels with the Doctor. But more importantly, she finally understands her heritage and the importance of the distinctiveness of her identity in modern-day Sheffield. This all harps back to the ‘demons’ that had ‘cursed’ the days and the land her grandmother had escaped from.

Perhaps the most striking part of this predominantly historical episode, apart from the stunning set location, is the dynamic and shifting definition of the ‘demon’. Umbreen’s mother, in the characteristically superstitious words of a rustic Punjabi woman, is the first to call the alien a demon. But while the Thijarians, in the beginning, seem like the perfect cooking pot of all the villainous ingredients of a typical Doctor Who episode, it is somewhere else that the true evil lies. Even the Thijarians are only there to witness the consequences of that evil.

Is the demon really Manish who kills his own elder brother, Prem, for marrying a Muslim? Or is the demon inside every one of the mindless mob who is hell-bent on bloodshed? The villains of Partition weren’t always complete strangers. They were very often neighbours, friends and in Prem’s case, family. All the outside world within the episode seems like the enemy, and yet there is no escaping the fact that despite their actions, every single one of the mob is just a human being. In typical Doctor Who style, Demons of the Punjab makes you wonder who the true villain is, and whether they might deserve at least a part of our compassion.

By painting a picture of the oncoming violence and rioting impartially yet solemnly, the show remains respectful of the suffering of countless victims and fills my heart, quite like the Thijarians, with empathy for all those who died without being properly remembered. The Partition of India remained for a long time, an event consciously denied by many. Even for those who went through the confusion and terror of immigration, like my own grandparents did, it was something too traumatic to be shared. Forceful eviction and neighborhood violence are perhaps some of the less darker stories of the times. Partition was more of a civil war, both for and against identity, which cannot easily be depicted on screen. Demons of the Punjab, in that sense, has an even deeper meaning behind its title than most will see. In many ways, this honourable portrayal of such a huge tragedy seems like the final closing of a book that had been open for too long, both in its representation in Doctor Who and in the act of Graham reassuring Prem that he is a “good man”. It seems like the end of a long history of colonial resentment and the beginning of a relationship of newfound trust and respect.

In the midst of this implied violence, Umbreen and Prem’s wedding is one of the most emotional scenes of series 11 so far. It is also a real cultural treat. The Hindu and Muslim rituals blend beautifully into Doctor Who with the Doctor even officiating at the wedding, a golden marigold propped over one ear. Truth be told, they really couldn’t have found anyone better for the job. Traditionally, Hindu weddings are performed by a priest (pundit) or what the Hindus might call a ‘learned man’ and who, really, could be more learned than the Doctor?

The only hiccup for the episode, for me, occurs, when Prem and Umbreen share not just one, but two passionate kisses in the episode right in front of Umbreen’s mother. While this may appear normal on the 21st century television screen, it’s a decidely startling scene for someone like me who grew up in a relatively conservative family in India, aware that gestures of physical affection like this were seldom made in front of family members in the India of 1947. Perhaps the scene may be justified, seeing as how extraordinary the situation was, or maybe there was the need for dramatic impact. But the lack of any reaction whatsoever from the bride’s mother on this open intimacy remains an eyebrow-raising mystery to me.

But overall, the performances of Amita Suman (young Umbreen), Shaheen Khan (Umbreen’s mother), Shane Zaza (Prem) and Hamza Jeetooa (Manish) are exceptionally commendable not just for portraying the complexity of the emotions of their time, but also for managing to retain the distinctive South Asian body language and subtle speech gestures of native Punjabi and Urdu while delivering dialogues in English. The TARDIS translation is apparent throughout, making it a thoroughly enjoyable watch.

Also worth praising is the special score for this episode without which the true essence of the story’s setting would be lost. The Punjabi remix of the Who theme by Segun Akinola is as much a delight to the ears as a dagger to the heart. The deep, resonant notes of Indian classical music and soulful percussions of the tabla, the traditional Indian drums, tie the episode even more profoundly to a nostalgia for the homeland that is at the heart of the tragedy of Partition. It brings back forgotten as well as passed down memories of a time and place we all wish we could go back and save, if only we had a time machine.

This guest piece was written by Diksha Bhugra.

You can find her on Instagram @dikshabhugra and her blog: awriterscauldron.wordpress.com

Doctor Who Series 11: Our Half-way Verdict

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

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The Doctor finds the outfit of her dreams in The Woman Who Fell To Earth.

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

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The Thirteenth Doctor and her friends

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

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Team TARDIS in The Tsuranga Conundrum

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

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Hearing the music from the climax of The Woman Who Fell to Earth was a highlight

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

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The new TARDIS interior stuns with its atmospheric lighting and smoky doorway…

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

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Yaz with her family in Arachnids in the UK

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

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The Pting captured the hearts of Doctor Who fans everywhere in The Tsuranga Conundrum.

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

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The Doctor asks her friends if they’re ready to become team TARDIS in Arachnids in the UK

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_

Arachnids in the UK Review

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.

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Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Najia (Shobna Gulati) investigate

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

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Jodie Whittaker brings a comedic side to her Doctor throughout the story

 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.

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Bradley Walsh mesmerises with his grief-stricken performance

‘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 thetimeladies@yahoo.com!

The Woman Who Fell to Earth Review (Spoiler Free)

By Kezia Newson

A real TARDIS, a red carpet entrance and the actual Doctor in the audience… not quite our normal viewing of Doctor Who! No pyjamas or cups of tea in sight.

Before the episode begins, I have a moment of reflection – this is the newest Doctor Who has been since, well arguably Rose. With not just a new Doctor, but new companions, a new showrunner and all-new crew. There will be girls and boys (and awkward 14 year-olds) starting their journey just as I did and falling in love with the show on October 7th, boy is that exciting.

The Woman Who Fell to Earth begins as a slow unfurl into our new reality of the show, something which is quite unexpected. There’s a sense of change coming in every word the characters speak, but we have time as an audience to settle into these new people we’re going to know so well. We live with them for a while, are given small pockets of who they are; and it’s a joy.

The cast, maybe unsurprisingly are what stand head and shoulders above anything else in this first episode from the Thirteenth Doctor. I never had any doubts, but Jodie Whittaker is truly everything that is the Doctor, and everything you want to see from a Doctor in their first episode. Post-regeneration and not quite knowing who she is yet, she knits her own existence together throughout the story, and her new friends seem to weave effortlessly into this recent incarnation, creating new foundations of Doctor.

These companions are never unneeded or in the way – this small gang of surprised humans all have their own skills, attitude and determination to be justified, and the dialogue between them is perfect. A warm, comfortable rhythm of relationships old and new, moulding around the strange situation they find themselves in. Each person is individual and wonderful, and I cannot wait to see more of them.

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Jodie’s performance feels both familiar and unrecognisable, which is surely everything a new Doctor should be. In the Twelfth Doctor’s costume, she navigates who or what she is, with the subtlest hints of previous incarnations. Nothing is in-your-face Doctor Who, you just believe instantly that she is the same Time Lord as the one Patrick Troughton, Tom Baker and Matt Smith have played before her. This subtlety that Chris has got down so well means that truly anyone can watch The Woman Who Fell to Earth and not feel left behind. There are no ‘nudge nudge, wink wink’ moments, you simply feel the reverence and respect for the past, but this story is firmly placed in the here and now.

The light and dark in episode one show Chris’s strengths as a writer. It’s a brilliant balance that if gone too far either way would be on the cusp of something not quite right, and yet it oozes confidence in its choices. This is the point where it’s incredibly hard not to spoil anything, but feel reassured that while there are jokes, quips and moments of fun, this is Doctor Who that trusts its audience, whatever age to take it seriously. Scheduling wise, it’s nailed it. This is high-level, beautiful drama and sits proudly as a younger sibling next to the sought after 9pm slot.

This high-level feel is surely largely down to director Jamie Childs whose every shot is like nothing Doctor Who has been before. The impeccable pacing allows for tight shots on characters we would never have had real time to appreciate before; showcasing performance over quick wins, whilst stylistic choices such as the strong depth of field throw a contrast of human and not-so-human into stark horror for viewers.

And what is incredible drama without music? Segun Akinola’s score has a masterful effect on your blood pressure as it marries perfectly with the script and direction. It’s very ambient – contributing to the atmosphere of the story rather than demanding your attention. In this way it’s both humble and exciting, and absolutely what’s best for the show. Although other parts of episode one may not be shouting from the rooftops about its ancestry, Segun’s sampling of Delia Derbyshire’s work is such a treat it almost brings tears to your eyes.

And so we leave it there. The Woman Who Fell to Earth is not nervous or faltering – it crashes into our comfortable world of what we think Doctor Who is and raises the bar of what it could be. It’s slick, fun, warm and scary all at once, with fantastic performances and beautiful direction. We’re absolutely onboard and ready for all the adventures the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends want to take us on.

“I hope it demonstrates everything that you come to love about Doctor Who. There’s fun, there’s monsters, there’s action, adventure and an amazing new Doctor… What we’ve tried to do is show the range of what Doctor Who can do visually, emotionally and geographically through time and space… the whole range of everything.”
– Chris Chibnall at the Q&A event post screening

The Woman Who Fell to Earth will be broadcast on BBC One at 6:45pm, Sunday 7th October.

Why Doctor Who Will Be Perfect on a Sunday

Today comes the news that Doctor Who will be moving to Sundays when it hits our screens next month. Traditionally airing on a Saturday, its a massive change for the show and it’s audience. There are many exciting reasons to be excited about the news, so in case you’re not quite sure, here’s why we think Doctor Who will fit perfectly into the Sunday schedules!

Sunday has become the prime drama slot

Over recent years, Sunday evenings have become the prime slot for big TV dramas. Doctor Who following suit means that it will stand tall among the greats of TV as it begins its brand-new era. Being given an important ‘event TV’ slot means that everyone is bound to be excited about new Doctor Who!

No more dreaded Sundays

It’s Sunday evening and you’re at home preparing for the week ahead. Homework is littered about, clothes are screaming to be ironed and all you want to do is lounge in front of the TV with a cuppa. Sound familiar? The great thing about our favourite show airing on a Sunday is that it may just be enough to take the dread out of the weekend ending. Escaping on adventures in time and space is the perfect way to prepare for the busy days that lay ahead. Nobody looks forward to Sunday evenings, but now our minds might just be about to change.

More viewers

Not only will it change how we look at Sundays forever, but it will make the show available to a brand-new audience. The likelihood of families sitting down to watch it together is much larger when everyone is actually at home. People are much more likely to watch on a day when families are traditionally together and staying in for a relaxing evening. If you were to say ‘What day are most people at home, ready to sit down and watch telly?’ the answer would 100% be Sunday. It’s a no brainer!

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You’re less likely to miss an episode

You won’t have to cancel plans or miss an episode! Whether you’ve run out of excuses to tell your friends to explain why you’d rather stay in on a Saturday or you’re a total party animal, neither will be a problem anymore. Friday and Saturdays can be spent however one pleases without the stress of trying to load iPlayer outside a club or cancelling on your friends for the fifth weekend in a row. Kids and parents can have family outings and fun galore without missing the TV event of 2018. Sounds like a good deal to us!

Less competition

Okay, so we can’t pretend that viewing figures won’t be the topic of conversation the day after every episode airs. A tradition among fans and always a hot topic for the media, the number of people who watch each episode live is counted and scrutinized across the internet every series. Airing on a Sunday as opposed to being aired against huge Saturday shows like The X Factor means that viewing figures might just go up. However, we’re not sure how much they matter these days considering that TV viewing habits have changed drastically over recent years, meaning that people are less likely to watch TV live. Either way, at least the audience won’t have to pick between Doctor Who and the many big, colourful entertainment shows that Saturday night TV offers.

Autumn/winter nights

There’s nothing better than cosying up on the sofa with a great show and tasty snacks. Especially during autumn and winter. As the nights draw in and the air turns cold, Doctor Who will be there to warm us up. What better evening is there for relaxing and flying away in the TARDIS than Sunday? As well as the comfort and joy the show will bring, it’s also perfect TV for a spooky month like October. As we gear up for Halloween, new scary Who will be perfect!

Change my dear…

And it seems not a moment too soon. With an exciting new era about to begin, it seems only right that the schedule gets a shake-up. New faces, new worlds, new times… new air day! Doctor Who thrives on change, leaving things fresh and exciting. Surviving for 55 years doesn’t just come from keeping everything the same! The move to Sundays is a welcome, refreshing change to how we’ve experienced the show for the last 13 (or 55!)  years and will serve it well. There is an excitement in rediscovering the world we love so much that only comes from changes like this. In the words of the Doctor… ‘This is all new to me…’ and hopefully new for all of us too.

 

What do you think about Doctor Who airing on a Sunday? Let us know by tweeting us @thetimeladies_ or emailing thetimeladies@yahoo.com

Doctor Who Series 11 Trailer Breakdown

‘All of this is new to me. New faces, new worlds, new times. So if I asked really, really nicely… would you be my new best friends?’

It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for… the series 11 trailer. Not a teaser, a full on footage-of-the-Doctor-running-around trailer.
So, what did we think? And what did we see in the trailer?

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‘AH! AHH! OOOH!’
The Doctor greets us in a post regeneration haze, wearing her predecessors outfit and looking (more than) a bit shook. We think this is the first time she is present since falling out of the TARDIS, thoughts?
side note: this is kind of how we reacted when we first saw this trailer.

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‘All of this is new to me…’
The Doctor utters, as Ryan gasps exasperatedly. #relatable
We love this shot, what is he looking for? It looks like it’s set in a classic Who industrial building, we do love a good factory or quarry.

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Graham appears, looking slightly worse for wear as the Doctor continues… ‘New faces…’

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Yas stares off dramatically into the distance, looking like an absolute queen while doing it.

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What’s this? Is this the same place Yas was in the previous shot? A sunny, rocky landscape with a mysterious looking bit of tech in the foreground, some of which is on fire. Is it a crash? Is it a spaceship? ARE WE IN SPACE? AHHHH.

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‘New worlds…’
And it certainly looks new, exciting and… sandy? Actually, if you pause at the right moment you’ll find that the Doctor and her friends are on a beach.
Maybe they’re just out for a whippy ice cream.

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‘New times…’
Our TARDIS team are on the run! It was pointed out by Lizo Mzimba that the lettering on one of the buildings confirms it as being the motel where Martin Luther King was killed… so a clue for the story setting.

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‘So if I asked really, really nicely…’
(POST REGEN ALERT!) Where is she? A cave? This doesn’t look like the UK?
Unless it’s a really dingy bar…

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The Doctor is once again oohing and aaahing, clutching her head in pain. Girl, pls take some paracetamol.

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A glimpse of Graham staring up at an unknown sight… with some mysterious gear and a patch near his eye hmmm mysterious. This looks as if it’s the same place as the ‘on fire crash’ scene earlier in the trailer.

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‘Would you be my new best friends?’
The Doctor asks, and we get a wonderful shot of our new TARDIS team in a Pertwee-esque era pose. This shot further confirms the motel theory surrounding the Martin Luther King assassination.
And a new version of 13’s outfit… A PINK VARIANT!

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The dramatic music continues as the Doctor gets her goggles on and begins firing up some sciency… wiency… stuff… We’re guessing the background isn’t the TARDIS. It looks like some sort of lab.

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Ryan and Graham look pretty on edge. ARE U OKAY BOYS?

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And a mysterious tunnel that looks like the inside of a spaceship. Or just a really fancy corridor. Either way, could it be more Doctor Who?!

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When you’re waiting for your parcel… The Doctor peering through what appears to be a letterbox! There are lots of files behind her. We’re thinking an archive, or an office and she’s peeping in someone’s letter tray.

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A beautiful landscape that looks like our adventurers have landed on the planes of Africa? A+ horse riding.

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WHAT A SHOT! We don’t know if they’re on earth or another planet, but it looks BEAUTIFUL. We’ll take a holiday with that beach and those 3 suns.
We also spot Graham sporting some shades. Yas.

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Ryan doing that thing when someone opens the curtain in the morning and the sun comes in. We wonder what’s blinding him? Is it Mandip Gill’s good looks?
He’s doing the shot so many Doctor Who companions have performed before him. Congrats, you’ve passed Tosin.

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The Doctor and the sonic screwdriver IN ACTION. She looks SO DOCTORY.

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Explosions + corridors + running + the Doctor = Peak Who.

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This scene looks like a big reveal or cliffhanger, look at that light! Now if only we could see what they where looking at.
It’s also the first proper glimpse we get of a supporting cast. Can anyone identify the actors on the right?

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Is it? What does it want? We can’t come to the phone right now, we’re busy crying over Jodie Whittaker.

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‘Well, this is gonna be fun!’
announces the Doctor, and we couldn’t agree more. TAKE US WITH YOU NOW PLEASE.

Yes. Yes Doctor, we will be your new best friends. We want to travel to new times and worlds with you, meeting new faces. YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO ASK NICELY.

WHAT. A. TRAILER.
It has given us so much and yet held so much back – we still don’t know anything about series 11, but it gave us a great chance to finally see the gang in action. And more importantly, Jodie as the Doctor.

What were your favourite parts? Let us know by tweeting us @thetimeladies_ or emailing thetimeladies@yahoo.com

11 hopes for series 11

The next series of Doctor Who is (kind of) right around the corner with 6 months-ish to go! To maintain excitement levels in this quiet period, we’ve been thinking about what we hope for the 13th Doctor and the future of our favourite show. Read on to find out our 11 hopes for series 11…

Focus on diversity

As the casting for series 11 has revealed so far, the TARDIS team has gained lots of fresh faces on the show this year. We’re hoping representation is at the forefront of the show including people of all genders, ethnicities and sizes in stories! Something Doctor Who does best is keeping up with change in the world and being an advocate for people from minority backgrounds. Saying that, more work still needs to be done and we’re looking forward to seeing Chibnall’s take on this for his era of Who!

Historical Episodes

The past is a vast subject that can provide endless prospects for Doctor Who stories. Famous figure-heads, world changing wars and the history of the human race lies ahead for The Doctor and her friends! Since we’ve only been given a handful of historical adventures in the last few series, we’d love to see more stories that help shape our new companions and teach the audience about what led us to the society we’re in today. And what’s better than a TARDIS team in period costumes?! Bradley Walsh in Tudor attire? Big yes!

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New Monsters and Villains

We’d love to see the 13th Doctor fend off new monsters and villains as she navigates through her new regeneration. The last few series have lacked any long-lasting iconic new monsters, so some creepy new creatures are just what’s needed to send us behind the sofa, and we honestly can’t wait to be scared – scare us damnit! Every Doctor has had an iconic villain and we’re excited to see what 13’s may be. Robots, aliens and villains galore, there’s a whole universe of baddies to defeat…

Space Stories

Visits to far-away worlds is what the Doctor does best, excitedly showing her TARDIS team the universe. There’s nothing we love more than stepping foot on a new world and discovering what hides in the shadows. Some of our favourite Who moments are on alien soil and we can’t wait to watch our new companions witness new worlds and see things through their eyes. Give us brand new planets, civilisations and cities to explore!

Educational episodes

Doctor Who was originally created to be an educational show and teach its young audience lessons about history, science and other very school-based subjects. Throughout the show’s history we’ve been taught life lessons, historical moments and scientific facts that have stayed with us. We’d love to see if the show can still teach the children who watch, and challenge the thoughts of adults who swear by it. From social and political behaviours to the way our planet works, Doctor Who is our classroom and The Doctor is our teacher.

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Re-Brand

Series 11 is a complete overhaul for the brand of Doctor Who and we can’t wait to see its shiny new format. We hope it’s new, fresh, exciting and blows the television world apart. New Doctor, new TARDIS, new logo; we’ve already been treated to some elements of the re-brand and these teases made us drool in anticipation. We want to see more – more of her costume, new writers and directors, the show could go anywhere.

TARDIS team

As a family show, one of our favourite elements is the feeling of a team or family aboard the TARDIS. We know that Yasmin, Ryan and Graham are joining the Doctor for adventures, so are our dreams of having a full TARDIS coming true? Which characters will we relate to? Who will be our parental figures or our dream best friend? We can’t wait to find out!

Answers

Twice Upon a Time left us questioning just how The Doctor will survive that cliff-hanger. After regenerating from into the 13th Doctor, the TARDIS threw her overboard mid-flight leaving her falling down to Earth! Well, we presume it’s Earth. WE LITERALLY DO NOT KNOW. How will she get out of it? How does she meet her new companions? Where does that outfit come from? Damnit Chibnall, we want answers!

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Equality/More Female Writers/Directors

There have been some amazing women working on Doctor Who in recent years, but unfortunately only a handful. With new Who only producing 3 female writers so far, it’s kind of not good enough?! We’re really hoping that the team recruit more women to bring the first female Doctor to life. They could even go as far as splitting the writing duties equally, and making sure people of different ethnicities and sexualities are included so we can get the most realistic and fair version of Doctor Who as possible.

Story Arcs

We love a good story arc! Threads sewn throughout the series that pay off in the finale is a traditional Doctor Who trope that works perfectly with its format. We want to spend every week analysing and creating theories about what’s to come. We’re loving all this mystery surrounding series 11 and really hope it continues into the show whilst on air so we can experience some truly jaw-dropping moments.

Fun

Recent Doctor Who has been an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. With saying goodbye to the 12th Doctor and Steven Moffat’s whimsical era, we’ve almost ran out of tears! We’re looking forward to hopefully having light, fun Doctor Who again after Steven’s darker, more complicated classic take. Of course, all eras of the show are different which just adds to our excitement about where this one will take us.

What are your hopes for series 11? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us!