Doctor Who stories to watch during isolation – Picked by the Cast and Crew

It’s safe to say that what the world needs right now is the Doctor. If you’re like us, and stuck in isolation with not much to do, you’re probably itching to watch some Doctor Who.

We sought advice from those closest to the show – the show-runners, writers, cast and crew – to bring you a list of their favourite and most comforting Doctor Who episodes to watch during this unprecedented time.

The Pirate Planet | Russell T Davies

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‘Given the length of this isolation, I’d say all of them!’ jokes former show-runner Russell T Davies. ‘But… The Pirate Planet. Enormous fun. Curiously underestimated, it rarely makes the list of favourite episodes – when it outstrips most of TV!’

Heaven Sent | Joy Wilkinson

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The Witchfinders writer, Joy Wilkinson, chooses Heaven Sent as her isolation episode. ‘I’m a big fan of Heaven Sent‘ she says. ‘It seems apt as a tale of bravery, tenacity and resilience against all odds, over a long time, alone. And I especially love how it’s embedded in the form that restrictions force creativity – in storytelling, as in life.’

Vincent and the Doctor | Matt Strevens

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‘I think now is the perfect time to revisit Vincent and the Doctor.” says current executive producer, Matt Strevens. ‘I love the historicals and this one is one of the best’ he explains. ‘It’s funny and witty and action packed, as always, but the metaphor of fighting your own monsters and the way it deals with mental health is perfection. I also defy anyone to keep a dry eye as the Doctor and Amy take Vincent (one of the great guest performances from Tony Curran) to the Musee d’Orsay to see his legacy. Despite the subject matter it’s totally uplifting and life affirming. A comfort watch must!’

The Green Death | Terror of the Autons | Dalek

Katy Manning

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70’s companion actress Katy Manning has not one, but three suggestions for us. ‘My first suggestion is Dalek by Robert Shearman’ she tells us. ‘This is one of my favourites of the new Who series from the brilliant Russell T Davies. This features daleks just the way I find them most disturbing – void of any human look or connection! With Christopher Eccleston & Billie Piper, such a perfect team!’ She then goes on to tell us her favourites from her run of the show. ‘From my era with Jon Pertwee I’d pick The Terror of the Autons with the introduction of the Master. I also love the character growth of Jo Grant and the wonderful relationship that blossomed between her Doctor (Jon Pertwee) that pays off so touchingly in The Green Death – both earth bound episodes which show awareness on the problem of plastics & pollution.’

The Lodger | Emily Cook

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‘Wouldn’t it be brilliant fun to be stuck in quarantine with the Doctor and Craig?’ Says Doctor Who Magazine’s Emily Cook. ‘If only for the fact that the Doctor makes amazing omelettes, which are my all-time favourite food!’ perfect lockdown dinner anyone?

‘I think Matt Smith and James Corden have amazing chemistry in this episode. Also, seeing the Doctor attempting to live a normal life never fails to cheer me up. I love domestic Doctor Who!’ Anyone for an indoor game of football or hallway cat chat?

Androids of Tara | City of Death | The Ribos Operation

Paul Cornell

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Fathers Day and Human Nature writer, Paul Cornell, couldn’t just pick one story! ‘I’d opt for anything with Tom Baker and Romana under Graham Williams, especially Androids of Tara, The Ribos Operation or City of Death. The most civilised and comfortable Who, all nonchalant clowning, expert detail and gorgeous world-building.’

The Girl in the Fireplace | Vinay Patel

‘It was the episode someone tried to introduce me to New series Doctor Who through – try saying that when you’re drunk!’ 13th Doctor writer Vinay Patel tells us. ‘I hadn’t paid attention – “he’s on a horse now?!” – but during my own journey through the series I was struck by how *full* it was. Creepy and funny and moving all at once – Doctor Who at its best.’

Robots of Death | Louise Jameson

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When we asked Leela actress Louise Jameson what her chosen lockdown story would be she picked a Leela classic, Robots of Death. ‘Especially the scene where Tom (The fourth Doctor) tries to explain why the TARDIS is bigger on the inside. All these years on and I still chuckle. What a glorious piece of writing!’ Leela and the fourth Doctor in a space murder mystery? Perfect comfort viewing!

Beverly Sandford | The Eleventh Hour

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Doctor Who author Beverly Sanford chooses The Eleventh Hour. ‘It’s a perfect episode, with the exact right amount of wonderfully silly japes and makes you fall in love with the eleventh Doctor instantly – even though you’re still pining for the tenth Doctor.’ Fish Custard always cheers us up.

Time Ladies Pick

Kezia | The Shakespeare Code

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I’m a sucker for a period drama, so the Doctor and Martha bumping into William Shakespeare is right up my street. And paired with witchcraft?! What larks! I love how quick witted and fun this story is – it knows exactly what it’s doing and doesn’t take itself too seriously, not even for a second. The joy of watching this Shakespeare flirt outrageously with both Martha and the Doctor and the fair maiden in ultimate hag-mode (not unlike me WFH at the mo) never fail to make me chuckle. This is a story that fits you like a cosy jumper; warming and comforting down to a T.

Beth | Arachnids in the UK

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Arachnids in the UK has all the elements of my favourite comfort Who. It’s set on Earth in the 21st century, we get a sneak peak into the companion’s family lives and there’s an invasion to investigate. At the heart of the story is an important message on environmentalism and capitalism – one of the things that Doctor Who does best. On top of that, there are terrifying giant spiders and and a mystery to figure out. It fills me with joy and nostalgia for a world where the TARDIS lands on an ordinary estate – where anything magnificent can happen!

There we have it – a perfect playlist of Doctor Who episodes picked by the wonderful people behind our favourite show. You can find all of the classic episodes mentioned on Britbox, and the new series ones on BBC iPlayer.

What is your favourite comfort episode of Doctor Who? Let us know @thetimeladies_ or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

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

How to style Doctor Who Merchandise

Doctor Who and fashion seem to go hand in hand. The Doctor’s friends are always suited up in the most on-trend gear or rocking a unique personal style. But when we want to show off our love for the show, just how do we wear it fashionably?

With the help of a few friends, we got to work creating a look-book to show you just how to wear your tee’s, bow-ties and badges!

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Bow-ties are cool – the Doctor says so. As well as being the second and eleventh Doctor’s signature look, the new series 12 trailer features the 13th Doctor sporting one as well! If you’re anything like us, preferring to stay indoors on the comfy sofa, you’ll probably not have a lot of reasons to dress up in a bow-tie either. With this in mind, we thought we’d try and re-purpose our bow-tie into something more casual – a cute hair accessory. Hairbands, scrunchies and clips are huge in the fashion world right now. They look fun AND serve a ‘please get this hair out of my face’ purpose!

We’re wearing the 11th Doctor Bow Tie clipped around the top of the head and under the hair for maximum cuteness. 

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When it comes to Doctor Who tee’s, it can be hard to make them match your style. We love to take inspiration from our favourite 70’s companion, Jo Grant, and wear ours with big chunky coats and flares. Add some autumnal vibes with cord and rusty colours and you have yourself an outfit fit for a UNIT adventure! Make sure to pair with chunky boots for a strong, comfy statement. 

Find your perfect Who Tee  HERE or HERE

Teddy Bear Coat

Flares

Chunky boots

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Another of our favourite ways to dress up a Who tee uses a famous winter fashion technique – LAYERING. Throw on your favourite jeans and a comfy roll neck as the base of your outfit. Add your favourite Who shirt over the top and tuck both the roll neck and t-shirt into your jeans to keep the warmth in. Pick out a stylish belt – chunky buckles are on-trend- and sink your toes into some chunky boots or platform trainers to complete the look. Continuing our Jo Grant theme, we love pastel coloured, fluffy coats during the colder months to channel that Three Doctors look.

We also love to jazz up outfits with jewellery and accessories to add a bit of personality and sparkle. Hoop earrings and long necklaces are staple items that match almost every outfit. Jewels and piercings aren’t for everyone though, so you might choose to bear your ears and wrists with pride!

Every Companion Ever T-Shirt

Black High-Waist Jeans

Belt

High Neck Tops

Fluffy Blue Coat

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BRRR! It’s cold here in the UK, giving us the perfect excuse to wear cozy, comfy clothing. Our favourite Doctor Who fashion trend right now is the thirteenth Doctor’s rainbow scarf worn in Resolution. The original is from Paul Smith, but luckily our friends at Lovarzi have created an alternative just as beautiful.

Based on thirteen’s rainbow T-Shirt, the TARDIS blue scarf is edged with the iconic pattern and made from 100% acrylic. It is super soft and will complete any outfit with subtlety – you’ll look stylish as well as repping your favourite show!

Complete your winter style with the Thirteenth Doctor Scarf

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If you want to embrace thirteen’s rainbow stripes and wear them across your chest with pride, it’s a great chance to create a fun outfit with a pop of colour. We love the bright fuchsia of the Doctor’s shirt variant in Series 11 – so we’ve chosen a pink theme for the rest of this outfit. As the shirt is so bright, choose a coat and bag that are more muted colours to compliment the accents on the stripes. To give the top half of the outfit more of a pop, finish off with a black high-waist skirt, tights and boots. If you’re not a skirt person, this is another great opportunity to rock some cords or jeans. Add a cosy beret and you’ll be channelling Romana two and the Thirteenth Doctor in one stylish outfit!

Get the Doctor’s fuchsia rainbow shirt here

Pink Coat

Bag

Beret

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Throwing a long coat, culottes and boots together is totally a Doctor look – personalise and change it up with patterns and colours to make it yours. For a bigger statement, take a colourful Who tee and add a bright coat. We’ve paired ours with 13th Doctor style culottes, but the look will work great with any trousers, jeans or skirts. Colourful rainbow earrings and rings add style and a pop to this already bold outfit. Colour blocking is a huge trend, so don’t be afraid to pair up big colours together.

Rust Coat

Teal Trousers

Retro Who T-Shirts

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 If you’re not into wearing Doctor Who themed clothing, then accessories are a great way to show off your love for the show. Add a badge or bag to your outfit for just the perfect amount of fandom subtlety. We love this mini backpack from Loungefly and the premium TARDIS backpack from the Time Meddlers. The detail is lovely on both and the TARDIS one is softer (as well as bigger) on the inside. With pockets galore and metallic detailing, these are the perfect bags to complete your look.

Premium TARDIS backpack

Loungefly Doctor Who Bag

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If you’re looking for something even more subtle, or you’d like to add more fun to your outfit, these replica badges from the series are just what you need. Choose from the 6th Doctor’s Cat, the 5th Doctor’s celery or the 4th Doctor’s paint palette and wear on your coat with pride. Add Chunky rings and sparkly nails for a fabulous, Jo Grant inspired look (we love her, can you tell?)

Replica Badges 

Now we’re wrapped up warm in our scarves and, we want to know what you think! Show us how you style your Doctor Who merchandise over on our Twitter/Instagram or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

 

Happy 56th anniversary of Doctor Who everybody! 

Which episodes will you watch to celebrate? Tweet us @thetimeladies_

23 Stories to Revisit on Doctor Who’s 56th Anniversary

The 23rd of November marks the 56th anniversary of Doctor Who – a milestone it wouldn’t be close to reaching without the passion and devotion of its incredible fan base. Over the years we’ve been treated to a number of specials that specifically celebrate each anniversary – all of which are obvious choices to re-watch each November. 

This year we decided to ask 23 contributors to share with us a story that sums up the magic of the show, no matter how unique or controversial. The results showed us that actually, it isn’t the big celebratory, spectaculars that capture what we love about Doctor Who. In fact, it’s the smaller and more personal stories full of life lessons and heart.

Surprisingly, hardly anyone picked the same story as another. The diversity of options and opinions shows that Doctor Who truly has something for everyone. So, if you’re having trouble picking a DVD from your shelf this anniversary, look no further than these 23 stories special chosen by female, trans and non-binary fans.

An Unearthly Child – @0hmyst4rs

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It wouldn’t be a Doctor Who anniversary if you didn’t watch the very first episode, would  it? The magic begins in 1963 as two teachers follow their student into a Junkyard to discover more about her, unaware the truth is bigger than they could ever have imagined. The relationship between the characters are wonderfully unique, these brief and chaotic encounters eventually blossoming into a magical TARDIS team. Full of black and white charm and 60’s vibes that makes me nostalgic for an era I never knew, this story is a special one for us all – the very beginning!

The Five Doctors – @Tardis_monkey

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The Five Doctors’ was the first-ever Doctor Who story I watched as a kid. It was the most fantastical story with five actors playing The Doctor, a menagerie of companions and a whole load of classic villains. What more could you want from a Doctor Who story that celebrates not only its history, but was in aid of a brilliant cause: Children in Need. It opened up so many doors to the world of Doctor Who and I have never looked back. Thank you, Terrance Dicks and happy anniversary Doctor Who.

Hell Bent – @Clara_paige

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I love Hell Bent! It’s perfect for an anniversary rewatch because it packs in so much of what works in Doctor Who. Before Jodie took to the TARDIS, Clara Oswald assumed the role of the Doctor and flew off to have adventures in her own right. What could be more inspiring?

Flatline – @vranouk

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From the tiny TARDIS to the iconic “goodness had nothing to do with it” closing line, Flatline is a work of genius that joyfully subverts nearly every rule in the Doctor Who playbook. It manages to turn a very simple concept – The Doctor is trapped and the companion has to get them out – into a thoughtful exploration of Doctor Who itself. The casual horror of the Boneless walking, the joy with which Clara calls herself the Doctor, ‘local knowledge’ Rigsy, the visual gag of the Doctor moving the tiny TARDIS Addams Family-style: all of these are stand-out moments in a near-flawless episode. But perhaps most importantly of all, Flatline is a story about the Doctor and the consequences of being around them. For 45 brilliant minutes, the roles of the Doctor and Clara are reversed, and she is confronted with the impossible choices the Doctor makes every day. Years before the Thirteenth Doctor, it was an absolute joy to watch.

The Husbands of River Song – @FaceofBoaz

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I love The Husbands of River Song because it gives us a glimpse into both how The Doctor sees the Companion role, and how a Companion behaves without The Doctor around (as far as she knows). While it’s all great fun, there is still a hurt that permeates – River doesn’t need The Doctor or care about him at all. The eventual revelation that she truly loves him and the counter revelation that he truly loves her is one of the most feel-good resolutions of an episode. Especially knowing that this is River’s last true interaction with the Doctor, it gives us a nice bow on their relationship, echoing her words from The Wedding of River Song – “I can’t let you die without knowing you are loved . . . and by no one more than me.” Watching relationships play out in often unorthodox fashions is one of my favourite elements of Doctor Who, and this episode is one of the best representations of that aspect of the show.

The Woman Who Fell to Earth – @Niamhmakennedy

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“We’re all capable of the most incredible change”

After Jodie was announced as the 13th Doctor, I couldn’t watch any of her trailers, or appearances in character, without crying. Bit weird, I’m aware. Turns out I was going through a personal experience just as monumental as the casting, to me, at least. Gender has never quite sat right with me. I didn’t know why, but being a ‘woman’ or ‘man’ felt restrictive and gross. Watching 13 bound onto the TV, improvising her way through saving the world, not only comfortable but rejoicing in her new body and personality while also not giving a frick that it happened to be a woman’s one, showed me the possibilities open to me if I did the same. A few months later, I came out as non-binary, and I’ve never been happier. (And yes, I cried all through the episode. It was awesome.)

Genesis of the Daleks – @abitmeddlesome

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Genesis of the Daleks is a story that captivates by the title alone. As the audience, we’ve seen the Daleks but were never given an origin. It begins with the Doctor and his friends dropped into a war to end all wars between two races: the Thals and the Kaleds. We watch as a mad scientist creates the Doctor’s most fearsome foes. Among the chaos, our hero is faced with a terrible choice: with his foreknowledge, does he allow these creatures to evolve knowing what they will become, or does he obliterate an entire race at their birth?

Demons of the Punjab – @NatalieRobyn812

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Demons is probably not the first episode that would come to mind when you think of a Doctor Who anniversary rewatch, but for me, it’s a perfect example of a type of story that Doctor Who does so well, yet you’d never really think about it. It’s all about the darkest side of human nature, think about stories such as the Caves of Androzani or Planet of the Ood or Oxygen. But what Demons does differently is provide us with a strong emotional connection to the story and the characters that it has, which leads up to a devastating conclusion. It’s just another case of the show being extraordinarily good at forming a connection with characters we barely know. And yet, it ends perfectly like Doctor Who, with the idea and theme of hope always being there.

Dimensions in Time – @JDenchen

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I’ve chosen this story as my entry into essential viewing for 56 years of Doctor Who, not just as it means so much to me on a personal level, but as I genuinely believe there is something for all fans here. If you look past the obvious lack of plot and shoehorned addition of EastEnders, which in fairness are huge things to look past, it has all surviving Doctors of the time, bundles of companion cameos, the madness of the JNT era (after all this was his last story in charge of the show) and the charm of 90s television. This story serves more as a celebration of the series rather than a plot-driven piece.

As far as John Nathan-Turner and David Roden were concerned this was the final legitimate Doctor Who story. I believe it celebrates the series in such a way, not with the plot, or cameos, or Doctors, or references, but the ambition.  I believe the same ambition went into bringing the show back and the eventual casting of the first female Doctor Jodie Whittaker. This story is one of those people either love or loathe, and hating it isn’t fair. Don’t take it seriously. Watch it for its comedic and bizarre nature and it’ll make for great viewing. This is why I think it’s perfect viewing to celebrate 56 years of Doctor Who. I’m not saying Dimensions in Time is “Heaven Sent” drama, but that its uniqueness will make a fun viewing.

Boom Town – @HarryLikesSuits

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Boom Town may seem like an odd choice of an episode to pick out as one to watch to celebrate Doctor Who’s anniversary, but it’s a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, has great moments for everybody in the TARDIS team, and that allows the viewer to simply enjoy themselves. After all, who could forget Margret the Slitheen’s dinner date with the Doctor? Or the TARDIS defeating her by turning her into an egg? No, it isn’t the most profound story that Doctor Who has ever had, but it’s pure fun – and, at the end of the day, isn’t that what the show is supposed to be?

The Green Death – @IreneWildthyme

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The Green Death is to me, a perfect Doctor Who story. Love, environmental justice and fighting for what you believe in. Giant maggots in Llanfairfach lead The Doctor to BOSS and Jo Grant to Professor Clifford Jones, Biologist, expert of fungus, who she would marry by the end of the story. An ending Jo deserved and an adventure that has been long explored throughout the Who universe and continues to thrive, particularly through Big Finish. Mike Yates undercover, Metebelis 3 and The Doctor’s many disguises are all memorable, the most poignant being the subtle exit of The Doctor in Bessie after toasting the happy couple never fails to make one shed a tear. It is truly the end of an era for Pertwee fans but also the beginning of new adventures for The Doctor, Jo and UNIT. That is why this will forever be one of my favourite stories.

Love and Monsters – @strange_cherry

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I don’t know any episode as misunderstood as “Love and Monsters”. I know most of you probably cringed when you saw this name in this list. “What is this… thing is doing here? I am here to celebrate Doctor Who!” Indeed you are. But is it not a great way to celebrate Doctor Who than to watch again an hommage to its fans?

 L.I.N.D.A. is the most accurate representation of Doctor Who fans you can find… and it comes from the show itself! A group of people with various backgrounds, various hobbies, but united by one passion: The Doctor. Friends sharing many fond moments, even if they have nothing more in common than this Gallifreyan folk. If it is not the quintessence of the fandom, I don’t know what is.

The Doctors Wife – @christawolf94

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For me, one of the stories that is a perfect illustration of everything worth loving about Doctor Who is The Doctor’s Wife, Neil Gaiman’s first and best contribution to the show. By focusing on the TARDIS and giving her a voice, it changes how we see the show: not just the story a madman (or madwoman) with a box, but the story of two very close friends exploring the universe together. Even when the Doctor hasn’t got any human companions around, they’re never really alone. The TARDIS will always be there, ready to go on another adventure.

Journeys End – @jodieewhittaker

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As someone who grew up with the Tenth Doctor and his companions by my side, who fell in love with Russell T Davies’s new version of a very old show, there is no better episode that sums up my love for Doctor Who than Journey’s End. It has threat on the largest scale (the literal destruction of the universe), it has buckets of emotion (who doesn’t cry throughout the final fifteen minutes?) and, most importantly is has the friendships that make Doctor Who the show that is. Nothing celebrates this show, and particularly its revival, better than the display of family in the scene where everyone is towing the Earth back home and it’s the perfect episode to sum up the era of my childhood.

The Holy Terror (Big Finish) – @mumford_98

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Listening to The Holy Terror for the first time was an incredibly unique experience. I love the DWM 6 comics and their breezy, fun feel and Holy Terror is able to capture the dynamic between the two leads while still feeling unique thanks to the high concept setting and mesmerizing score. The episode plays with character archetypes ranging from dark fantasy to Shakespeare plays to biblical stories. This gives it an almost theatrical feel and managing to deconstruct said tropes in a way that is both funny and also plays into the ultimate narrative scope of the story; one that’s both powerful and puts much of the story in an entirely new context. The full story manages to be a piece on trauma, parenthood, hierarchy & tradition, the ethics of fiction and a humanistic perspective on the concept of godhood.

Twice Upon a Time – @timelesbians

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Twice Upon A Time remembers the First Doctor in a beautifully written story of self-discovery and new beginnings. A perfect anniversary watch, it honours old companions and new alike, honours those who fought for our country, and introduces Jodie Whittaker as the thirteenth, the first female aligned Doctor, after a lead up to just who she will be and what she will represent. The Twelfth Doctor meets himself in his first incarnation, both of them refusing a change, and follows their journey as they accompany each other in a story of self-contemplation to wrap up Capaldi’s time on the show. It is heart-warming and heart-breaking, powerful and brilliant, and encompasses everything Doctor Who is truly about.

Vincent and the Doctor – @brittanyplus

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 Vincent and the Doctor is one of the most quintessential episodes of Doctor Who. Very few episodes capture the heart and warmth of the show, while also reminding the audience that not everything can change. I believe it’s perfect for an anniversary rewatch because it captures the show’s essence. It will leave you feeling warm but heartbroken, just like all the best of Doctor Who should.

Fear Her – @Safarox8

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Although it’s not my favourite, Fear Her will always have a special place in my heart because it was, oddly, the first Doctor Who I ever saw. Although I enjoyed it, I didn’t properly discover the show for a few more years and was delighted when I came across the episode once again (“Oh, so *that* was Doctor Who!”). I love the humour and warmth it radiates while dealing with the heavy, and to me, personally meaningful topic of family trauma. That’s what I love about the show; even the most unlikely of stories can make a lasting impression.

Aliens of London/World War Three – @AlexFacemelter

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 Aliens of London and World War Three as one full story is, in my opinion, one of the most authentic interpretations of Doctor Who I’ve ever seen. The Doctor is portrayed more realistically than ever, the alien plot is creative but chillingly realistic, the arc of each character is phenomenal, and the dialogue is beautifully written. The Doctor’s reactions are so truly in character, he wants to experience and be in the middle of history and nothing could be more exciting than watching humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial life. The character arcs of Jackie, Mickey, and Harriet Jones are realistic and wonderfully clever.

The pinnacle of the story is the Doctor. If the Doctor was a real person, I can bet he would be a lot like he’s shown here. The way he stands unafraid of the aliens and the way he bluffs them and the way he analyzes the fake alien in the hospital room, all of it is perfectly Doctor Who. You may be worried about the fart jokes, and while I hate them with a seething passion, I still think this story is one of the best that Doctor Who has to offer. That’s how good this story is. So if you want to watch some Doctor Who to celebrate its anniversary, I can wholeheartedly recommend this story. It is, in a word, fantastic.

Invasion of the Dinosaurs – @Jessicatzen

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Invasion of the Dinosaurs has everything a classic Doctor Who story should have – a big goofy looking monster, UNIT, and a bit of excitement. The best part, I think, is that it’s a true test of loyalty for some of the Doctor’s friends, and without spoiling anything, the Doctor and Benton make a really good duo!

The TV Movie – @bexpls

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The TV Movie is one of the first Classic DW stories I watched, and it’s one of my absolute favourites. It’s one of only two televised Eighth Doctor stories, and both of them are amazing, but that isn’t a reason to watch it. As a Doctor Who story, the TV Movie really shines for me because of how different it is, completely unique from the Classic and NuWho runs. It’s one of the best introduction stories to a Doctor and a great exit for the Seventh Doctor, whose scenes are superb. While I adore the Big Finish audios and BBC Books’s Eighth Doctor Adventures series (which people wanting to experience more of the DW Extended Universe should look into by the way), it really does make you wish the Eighth Doctor had more televised stories, because Paul McGann is honestly a delight. It’s a perfect anniversary-celebration story because it highlights the fantastic, often under-appreciated Eighth Doctor in one of his, including all the books, audios, and comics, best stories ever.

Resolution – @FetinSmiles

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For me, Resolution is the perfect episode to watch for the anniversary; it’s dramatic, tense, and nostalgic. For the first time in series 11, we find The Doctor faced against a monster from her past. What better way to end the Thirteenth Doctor’s first series than by having to stop a Dalek invasion from happening on Earth? There’s a real sense of danger, especially for viewers who know the history between The Doctor and the Daleks. The Team (Gang? Fam??) work brilliantly together, and the episode leaves us wanting to see what they will get up to next in series 12.

Listen – @lookingfortelos

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I got into Who in 2014. Series 8 was the first time I watched live. Also, sad coincidence, 2014 was when my life took a stark downturn. Depression is bad, especially when it’s been brewing for a long time and feeds on your issues with sexuality and gender. And I think that’s why this season of Who in particular stuck with me: not just because it’s really good (although, it is), but also because it was the one that was most helpful to me, personally. “Listen” is a story about how the whole canon of Who, all the mysteries and the lore and the cleverness, ultimately are irrelevant, because what truly matters is that it can be present, in the end, to comfort a crying child. It’s a ghost story where the ghosts are the characters’ own pasts and neuroses, and where they have to find beauty and balance in their inner turmoil. And as someone who was very afraid for a very long time, being told by the Doctor that it was alright – that was invaluable.

Happy 56th anniversary of Doctor Who everybody! 

Which episodes will you watch to celebrate? Tweet us @thetimeladies_

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.

 

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

By Beth Axford

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giant maggots – YUM!

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

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

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The Waters of Mars (2009)

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

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

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

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

 

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

Doctor Who Quotes to Live By

By Beth Axford

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

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

1 – Love abides in the face of everything

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

2. Make a stand and do what’s right

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

3. Make the most of your story

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

4. Appreciate small beautiful events

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

5 – Always be kind

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

6. Know your worth

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

7. Embrace change

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

8. Live life your way

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

9. Be childish sometimes

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

10. Never give up

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

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_

10 Things you didn’t know about the TARDIS (From the Type 40 Instruction Manual)

Think you know everything there is to know about the Doctor’s space-time machine? The TARDIS Type 40 Instruction Manual details exactly how the ship works and its entire history – including the low-down on the 13th Doctor’s TARDIS. To celebrate, we got hold of ten exciting facts from the book to tantalise your taste-buds, including previews of some of the pages!

1 – The name ‘TARDIS’ was given to the space/time machine by the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan. The word is an acronym, standing for ‘Time and Relative Dimension in Space.’ As the capsule The Doctor and Susan stole happens to be the mostly widely used TARDIS in the universe, the term has been taken and spread among the stars as the official name for the ship.

2 – When properly maintained, the TARDIS is indestructible.

3 – The TARDIS uses Artron energy generated by the eye of harmony in order to travel through space and time.

4 – The 13th Doctor’s TARDIS is the first to feature the reverse of three sides of it’s exterior on the inside of the ship, making it look like almost the whole box is attached to the interior.

5 – The TARDIS has a bathroom that features a hologram of a leopard, with toilet facilities located just past the macaroon dispenser.

6 – The TARDIS also features a karaoke bar, a swimming pool, an art gallery and a Green house, among other infinite rooms

7 – Although it never appeared on screen, Missy travelled in a type 45 TARDIS with a dark purple desktop theme.

8 – The ‘wheezing, groaning’ noise that can be heard when the TARDIS materialises is down to the ship being ripped out of or forced into normal space.

9 – Despite the Chameleon Circuit being broken and the TARDIS being stuck as a police box, periodic software patches have updated specific design details of its appearance. This occasionally means that features such as the windows and light can change, as well as the shade of blue on the outer shell of the police box design.

10 – The telepathic circuits inside the TARDIS can be used to gather extra data about a destination and calculate an optimum point to land, as well as being used to send psychic messages within the space-time vortex.

The TARDIS Type 40 Instruction Manual is available now