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!

Follow us on Twitter for more Series 12 content, news and reviews!

5 Questions we have after Spyfall

By Beth Axford

After a year’s wait, Doctor Who finally returned to our screens last week in the huge Series 12 opener, Spyfall. The two-part story exploded with twists and turns that took our breath away – leaving us with a whirlwind of questions and ponderings. The Kasaavin! The Master! Gallifrey! It’s more excitement than a Time Lady can handle. There are five main things we’ve managed to get our brains around and thoughts down, but a million more questions inside each one…

Who are the Kasaavin?

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The Doctor managed to stop the Kasaavin and their evil plan to upgrade human beings by travelling back in time and planting a virus in their tech. But just who are the Kasaavin? We know from what we’ve seen so far that the creatures are ‘alien spies’ who have been collecting information on the human race, but is there more to them than we’ve seen in Spyfall? We aren’t sure what they truly look like or the real reason they appear the way they do. Plus, their plan to upgrade and make humans better all seems a bit… Cybermen. We know the Doctor’s deadly foes are returning later this series (as seen in the S12 trailer) – could they be in on the plan too? We’re intrigued and hope series 12 expands more on these deadly villains.

Barton also nips off to an unknown location, leaving us questioning what became of him. As seen on the scanner in Part 1, He isn’t 100% human – so what is the other 7%? Will he stay in league with the Kasaavin? Where has he disappeared to? So many questions!

What happened to Yaz?

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Poor Yaz got zapped to the Kasaavin dimension during Spyfall Part One. The next time we see her, she is transported to Australia where the Doctor, Graham, and O are investigating – but what happened to her, and why was she taken? It’s unclear why she was moved between the dimensions and if anything significant happened to her there. She is visibly shaken and distraught from the experience, even telling Ryan she thought she was dead. It seems like something deeper might be going on here and that Yaz might not be the same person who went into Barton’s office.

Building on this, the Master pays significant attention to her and tells her to stick with him. This could just be his way of messing with the Doctor by teasing her friends – or perhaps something more is going on with the pair since we are unaware of what happened to Yaz in the Kasaavin dimension. One thing seems clear though; Yasmin Khan has been through a lot – who knows where her character arc will go next?

Who is the Timeless Child?

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The Timeless Child was first mentioned in The Ghost Monument (2018). Surrounding the Doctor and the gang, the deadly shrouds hissed at the Doctor; ‘We see deeper though. Further back – the Timeless Child.’ At the time, none of us were sure if it was a hint at a story arc or just a throw-away line, but it looks like Chibnall has been planning this one for a while. At the end of Spyfall, The Master tells the Doctor that he destroyed Gallifrey because the Time Lords lied to them; ‘built on the lie of the Timeless Child.’

Who is the Timeless Child? What is the lie surrounding them? Will we find out this series?

Will the fam ever truly know the Doctor?

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During Spyfall, we see Yaz, Ryan, and Graham split up from the Doctor. Of course, a returning villain like the Master brings up LOADS of questions and the fam realise the absence of knowledge about their friend. At the end of the adventure, Graham asks, ‘Why don’t you ever share anything with us?’ Rightly pointing out that she knows everything about her TARDIS team but they don’t know much about her at all. She reveals where she’s from and the name of her race, telling her friends who the Master really is. But will their relationships be affected by how little they know about her? It seems like the lack of trust may be a continuing plot thread in this series, and we are very intrigued by this deeper look into the Doctor and her companions.

What will the Master do next?

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The biggest surprise of Spyfall has to be the return of the Master… seriously, who was expecting that?! Played by the incredible Sacha Dhawan, the Master disguised himself as agent ‘O’ in order to fool the Doctor and help the Kasaavin with their plan. Hell-bent on killing the Doctor and her friends, he puts them on a crashing plane with a bomb in the front seat. Of course, the Doctor isn’t letting her fam die in a hurry and manages to save them from their impending death. The Master follows the Doctor through time, trying to track her down and end her once and for all; even having time for a deep chat on the Eiffel Tower. Good will always win out though, and when the Kasaavin hear the truth of the Master’s plan they disappear to their realm, taking him with them. What will the Master do next? Will he be stuck there? If the Gallifrey storyline continues, we’re bound to see him pop up again…

What did you think of Spyfall? Do you have any other questions or theories? Let us know via Twitter, Instagram or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

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.

 

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.

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!

 

What has Doctor Who given you? 55 stories for 55 years

To celebrate the 55th birthday of Doctor Who we asked our wonderful Twitter followers to share what the show has given them. And what a response. From career inspiration, relationships, a sense of self… it seems there’s no end to what the Doctor has done for us. We chose 55 answers we particularly loved – see if you can spot yourself!

Happy birthday Doctor Who, from us at the Time Ladies and everyone below. We love you.

Don’t forget, we’ll be shouting out our 5 favourite entries, who will each win a prize.
Want to join the conversation like everyone above? Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.