Time Ladies Debate: Orphan 55

The third episode of Doctor Who series 12, Orphan 55, has turned out to be a divisive one among fandom. Some of us love it, some of us loathe it – like marmite, but with added space adventures. The only thing we can all agree on is how iconic the line ‘BENNI!’ is. In order to cover all sides of the story, we present to you; Time Ladies Debate: Orphan 55!

ORPHAN 55? NOT FOR ME… says Kez

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In some ways, Orphan 55 is the very essence of Doctor Who – a base siege, a chase, a threatening monster… but it never truly landed for me. The first scenes of the fam landing at the plush spacey spa were brilliant – the pace from Spyfall was still there, as was sustaining the brilliant wit from the leading characters. I was overjoyed at the mental imagery being conjured of Graham lounging with a cocktail, and them all taking a damn break after wrestling with a deep-space squid, well deserved.

As in the series opener, the fam were expertly split off from each other, primed for different versions of the adventure. But alas, were (literally) crammed together again for large parts of the story, a massively missed opportunity. Talk about three being a crowd – when you have a main cast of four, adding another seven (!) onto that means that frankly, we’re not going to have time to become emotionally invested in these guest characters. You could barely keep track of who was there, who had died and who was left behind. Something that really highlighted this for me was the use of sacrifice in this story – something that should hold such impact – a total stranger giving their life for the Doctor and their friends. But this was done four times in one story. When we don’t have time to become invested in these characters, we probably care little when they die, let alone when it becomes a ‘thing’ that happens.

This need for sacrifice feels like it’s there to create peaks in a story that fundamentally is a constant chase. A chase that, instead of thrilling, completely flatlines when they leave the building. After the pacey beginning, where was the push and pull from each side? When the Doctor looked into the mind of the Dregs, she could see the terrifying reality of who they were. But why did we not have the opportunity to learn about this further, to hear about what happened, and how to help them now? Leaving the planet with no resolution apart from ‘hoping it’s just one possible future’ felt like they were running away from the problem rather than facing what had been done. Climate change is a real terror, it’s not something we can run away from. It felt callous and abrupt to simply leave it there.

I admit that as someone who was completely transfixed by the end of Spyfall, I may have been a little disappointed by the drop in focus. But a story centred around such an important message? It could have been better.

ORPHAN 55? THE BEST OF SERIES 12 SO FAR… says Beth

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Orphan 55 captures many aspects of my favourite parts of Doctor Who; Action. Adventure. Love. Danger. An important message. There are many layers and characters woven throughout the Tranquillity Spa – something I believe works well to establish the world we’re immersed in. Thanks to Ed Hime’s brilliant characterisation, everybody has a personality and a reason to root for them. Then there are the dregs, some of the scariest and well-designed Doctor Who creatures for a while. Not only do they look incredible, but the truth behind their existence is even more gruesome and hammers home the message of the tale. It’s great to see the Doctor teaching her friends too – even though she’s suffering. It’s particularly interesting to see the fam’s relationship changing out of mistrust and the Doctor’s sorrow, which ties in brilliantly to the storyline.

The truth of Orphan 55 is hidden inside a wrapper of capitalism and human fault – the planet is Earth’s future and the dregs are the human race, evolved and terrifying. This is the type of plot that Doctor Who was made for. In a similar vein to The Green Death, it educates and opens the mind to the climate crisis as well as providing fun and escapism on a Sunday night. There is a positive to come out of such an on the nose message. Because even though Doctor Who is an escape, a place to disappear away from the terrors of our world, it is also a reminder that we can be better and that we should be better – and that’s the most positive thing of all – that we still have hope. As the Doctor tells us at the end of the adventure; ‘Be the best of humanity.’ Hopefully, we won’t let her down.

 

After we discussed the story, we decided to put our differences aside and have a custard cream and a cup of tea. After all, Doctor Who is vast and complicated and beautiful – we won’t always love it or hate it!

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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_

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

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

By Beth Axford

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giant maggots – YUM!

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

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

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The Waters of Mars (2009)

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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_

Arachnids in the UK Review

The opening shots of Arachnids in the UK crawl along the floor of locations as if we’re the spiders themselves, discovering the setting for the story about to unfold. This makes for perfect Halloween week viewing and sets the eerie tone straight away. It’s a tantalising beginning to this week’s spooky adventure as we discover there’s a problem at hand… isn’t there always when The Doctor lands on Earth?

Speaking of landing – there’s a time vortex sequence! We finally get to witness this TARDIS in flight through space and time, and it couldn’t be more wonderful. It’s had a bit of an update since we last saw it; dark and glittering like a deep night sky with bursts of life and colour throughout. The scene is only brief but is a much-needed bit of continuity that makes way for a lovely bit of Doctor – attempting – to – land – the – TARDIS. We all know the scene – the Doctor insists that everything is under control, while the companions fall about the TARDIS like they’re on a bumpy rollercoaster and question whether the Doctor *actually* knows how to fly the ship. And Jodie nails it! There’s no flicker of a doubt that it’s the same old Doc we know and love, flying her ship terribly and having a laugh while doing it. Of course, the TARDIS takes them where they need to go – home, Sheffield 2018.

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

When they arrive, the Doctor is faced with the potential of being completely alone for the first time in this regeneration. The pain on her face and in her voice make it clear that this incarnation isn’t one for the lone wolf life. As British as ever though, it’s a cup of tea that saves the day when Yaz suggests going back to her place. Hurrah! This TARDIS team are so utterly thrilling to watch that even the thought of them drinking tea together has us all excited. Yaz’s family are fun and relatable, with her dad immediately trying to feed them and her sister barely looking up from her phone. The humour and timing are spot on from Jodie in this scene, proving every second that she’s finding her feet and becoming the Doctor. The fun doesn’t last for long though, as the team start splitting up and huge cobwebs begin to dominate every shot…

Giant spiders. We’re not talking size-of-your-hand-trap-them-under-a-glass spiders, we are talking BIGGER THAN A DOG size spiders. It’s sort of a genius move for a scary episode of Who, especially when they’re suffocating people with their massive webs and terrorising trump-esque villains. The team all find out about the impending spider doom in their separate ways and come together to face it, in true Doctor Who style.

Our guest cast is a real highlight of this story, from Yaz’s mum Najia to spider scientist Dr Jade McIntyre. The development of Yaz’s family takes a natural progression and is integrated into the story by Najia’s job being at the same hotel the spiders happen to be converging around. Mandip Gill particularly shines as we get a look into Yaz’s life, as well as Shobna Gulati playing her mother. The warmth that comes with a sense of family is what Doctor Who does best, and Chibnall gets the balance of character development and scary plot perfectly. The heart-breaking scenes of Graham returning home for the first time since Grace’s funeral resonate with anybody who has suffered a loss, and the writing hits home that human emotion to its core. Bradley Walsh is mesmerising and brilliant, playing every moment perfectly. We’re also treated to some lovely Graham-Ryan development – Ryan seemingly warming to his step grandfather, almost describing him as ‘proper family.’ At its heart, this story is about the characters, and every scene makes you wish you could hang out with them and stop a spider invasion too.

The spiders themselves make for disgusting

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

 viewing, ranging from dog to bus sized and killing humans for food. But these aren’t aliens at work here; an important lesson is behind this terrifying tale. Power hungry hotel owner Robertson has built his empire on unused sites around the world – meaning this one is atop a huge landfill of toxic waste. Coupled with spider carcasses from Jade’s lab, and we have toxic mutant angry Arachnids as a result. The lesson at the episode’s centre is all about our treatment of this planet, and the way money hungry people choose to misuse it. This is a deliberate message on Chibnall’s part, taking Doctor Who back to the reason it was created; to educate and teach the younger generation about the world around them.

The plot wraps up with a humane trap for the Arachnids and an inhumane murder from our villain. The scene is reminiscent of previous Doctor’s; their wonder and care taken over all creatures and beings as she mourns the huge arachnid. This solidifies Jodie’s incarnation even more as her fourth story reaches its end.

Oh, and what an end. Every episode this season seems to have ended on massive, emotionally impactful scenes and this one doesn’t break that habit. Graham, Ryan and Yaz deciding that they want to travel with the Doctor permanently seals them in our hearts as they explain their reasons not to stay in Sheffield.

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Bradley Walsh mesmerises with his grief-stricken performance

‘Being with you and seeing all these things… it really helps’ Graham tells her of his grief. Yaz and Ryan want to escape their mundane lives and travel with the best person they’ve ever met. There is a fully thought out, deeper decision being made here than with previous TARDIS travellers. They want to escape, see more and do more with their lives. They want to see wonders, and marvel at the universe, forgetting the grief they face back at home. That’s what Doctor Who is to all of us, isn’t it? An escape from the world and the problems we face, a light that is there for us even in the darkest of times. Team TARDIS head off together into time and space, leaving the world a little brighter in their wake. But what awaits in ‘The Tsuranga Conundrum’?

What did you think of ‘Arachnids in the UK’ let us know your thoughts @thetimeladies_ or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com!

The Woman Who Fell to Earth Review (Spoiler Free)

By Kezia Newson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Companions in Color by Samantha Harden

From the moment I happened upon Matt Smith dipping fish fingers into custard on an iTunes promotion, I knew I would love Doctor Who. But I wasn’t prepared for how much. No other show has so often made me feel like the world might just be okay.

However it’s still a bit of a rarity to see myself represented on screen, and despite the show’s 55 year history it will only have its first writer of Color in the upcoming series 11. In a show that is so often in touch with relevant issues of our time, it’s disappointing and even hurtful when it fails to address the nuanced struggles of the marginalized groups and minorities who watch and adore it. Despite this lack of behind screen representation, the show has turned out several thought provoking characters of Color, although much is still missed in the overall picture.

Mickey

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Undervalued by Rose, the butt of the jokes in the TARDIS, Mickey was left with more than a little time to consider what the universe had to offer by the time Rose and the Doctor returned to the Powell estate. Despite being dubbed ‘Mickey the Idiot’ by the Doctor, he had skills, and assisting the TARDIS team in their shenanigans made him realize that maybe the simple life wasn’t for him after all. So. he took a deep breath and decided to retroactively accept the Doctor’s offer to join the crew, only to have it immediately made clear by Rose that his presence was anything but welcome.

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He joined to learn; to explore and discover things within himself that he had only begun to scratch the surface of on his earth-bound gallops. But he was ignored, figuratively invisible as he held a button for half an hour because the Doctor literally forgot he was there. They mocked him as if he was at fault for following orders – but when the Doctor tells you to do something, you do it. He just doesn’t usually forget you exist in the middle of it. But like the ‘insignificant little power cell’ that ended up restoring the TARDIS in Rise of the Cybermen, he had infinite potential that with the right encouragement would save worlds. He realized this and, not unlike Martha decided to leave a vaguely toxic environment to stay where he could become his best self. When he returns in Army of Ghosts there is a change in his countenance. He’s confident, fiercer, harder and almost indistinguishable from his parallel self, Ricky. This new man is most certainly different. He fits so neatly into the box of performative masculinity often associated with Black men, and I wonder why his gentleness had to be sacrificed for it.

Martha

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“But how does it travel in time? What makes it go?”

“Oh, let’s take the fun and mystery out of everything.
Martha you don’t want to know, it just does.”

Martha’s opening words on her first TARDIS trip prove her keen mind, but the Doctor is unreceptive to this. The curiosity and brilliance which he praised in countless others before her (a certain beautiful French aristocrat comes to mind), are seen as bothersome and fun-sucking here. Perhaps he is resistant to a companion who doesn’t see him as a magical anomaly, but acknowledges that there must be some logic behind the smoke and mirrors. I remember being taken aback the first time I witnessed it, confused as to why my Doctor, kind hero and encourager of curiosity and questions galore, would ever discourage constructive inquiry. If I, a Black woman of eighteen at the time, was wounded by his response, imagine the effect it could have on younger viewers of Color. Mickey wasn’t clever enough, but Martha was a killjoy; who must they become to be worthy of respect?

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“If you don’t mind my saying, you seem a little familiar with him.
Best remember your place.”

Something else I found startling as a new Whovian was the overwhelming vitriol in the fandom directed at her character. Yes, many bristled at the thought of anyone new taking centre stage after the passion that Rose incited, but the more I saw, the more the general disdain looked much less wholesome. How dare this intelligent, (slightly) more age appropriate woman fancy the Doctor? What gave her the right? But whether or not she was liked, she taught the Doctor, viewers and the future writers of the show much more than they could have anticipated. The Doctor learned not to dismiss his companion’s worries as they walked through times that were not made for them, in a world whose prejudices they were all too familiar with. His failings with Martha became his triumphs with Bill.

Danny

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“Oh I bet you are. I know your type.”

Unlike Mickey, Danny was actively pursued by Clara, removing the problematic notion that she was his prize. However, Danny was constantly assumed to possess the type of masculinity that Mickey aspired to, despite consistent evidence to the contrary. Clara uses this to her advantage to shade the Doctor’s perception of Danny when she’s lying (to both of them), characterizing him as over-protective to the point of being controlling.

Companions of Colour post
She meant no harm besides a days work in slight manipulation, and it certainly couldn’t have fallen on better ears than the Doctor’s who was hardly listening, but often what seem like fairly harmless white lies have had dangerous implications for Black men throughout history. You only have to type the name Emmett Till into a search browser to see one of the most horrific examples the ramifications of such a small lie can have. Throughout history, even to this day, White lies largely hold more power than Black truth. If Clara had been careless enough to spread these inaccuracies of Danny’s personality to others, and one day she didn’t come back home, Danny would most likely have found himself in a well of hot water, similar to that of Mickey in series one. He was the prime suspect in Rose’s disappearance for twelve months, but upon confronting Jackie, Rose and the Doctor with his justifiable anger, not only is he denied the dignity of an apology from Jackie or Rose, he is then called an idiot by the Doctor. Although Danny was an interesting example on the variations of masculinity, I would still be reluctant to say that Doctor Who has done particularly well in its treatment of Black men. I’m looking forward to series 11 in hopes that this changes with Ryan.

Bill

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“Most people when they don’t understand something they frown. You…smile.”

most people when they don't understand
With that sentence Bill not only became the first companion of Color that was never at any point treated like a burden, but she also became the first from a very long line to be specifically chosen. Not just thrown together with the Doctor by chance and precarious circumstances, not a mystery to solve. On a sunny day in a comfortable office with no looming threat peeking ‘round the corner, the Doctor looked at Bill and said, ‘You. I want you.’

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“My mum always said, ‘with some people, you can smell the wind in their clothes”

On a snowy Yuletide evening Bill sits in the Doctor’s office and invites him into her head, where she frequently converses with her late mother. You get the feeling that this isn’t a normal exchange for Bill. She utters the words with enough comfort in the Doctor’s presence, but her eyes briefly flit askance, indicating her lingering shyness. But he’d established a trustful relationship with her; she knows her thoughts are free to move and stretch in his company. The gentleness of this exchange strikes such a wonderful chord with me. The issue of freedom of expression in Black youth is a prevalent one. One discourse in particular discusses the whimsy of Willow and Jaden Smith, who are often mocked for their abstract blend of philosophical and scientific ideas, which are really just the product of an excellent education paired with ripe, creative minds. As Twitter user Son of Baldwin states:

‘Sometimes I think we hate Jaden and Willow Smith because they are free black
children and we don’t know what free black children look like.’

The Doctor gives Bill a similar education as her tutor, teaching her about the interconnectivity of the universe, never letting her forget that “…Everything rhymes.” So often Black children (people in general, really) are dismissed or called mad for having unique ideas, or possessing a slightly larger dose of oddity. Their Blackness is then called into question by those in and outside their community alike, the latter of which use the oft uttered micro-aggression ‘But you’re not really Black’. As a lifelong oddball myself, I found my heart pleasantly aching at the recognition of another ‘Free Black Child’ in a story I hold so dear.

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“Look! There’s Bill! Dead, dismembered, fed through a grinder and squeezed into a Cyberman, doomed to spend an eternal afterlife as a biomechanical psycho-zombie. It was hilarious! …Ripped out her heart, threw it into a bin and burnt it all away”

I honestly loved the series 10 finale. The crisp, eeriness of the cinematography and set, the chilling music, and the excellent dialogue that kept you rapt, though the plot is a slow, steady unfurl. But despite all of that, my stomach churns every time I hear those lines. The lucidity and grotesque violence in the description of her death are incredibly jarring. We don’t live in a particularly squeamish time; I myself enjoy a fair bit of action and non-gratuitous violence, but continuously seeing the apparent relish with which writers victimize Black and queer women, usually to deepen the pain of a White protagonist is exhausting. The Whoniverse now has an interesting track record of turning Black characters into Cybermen. There’s Danny Pink, and in Chris Chibnall’s Torchwood episode Cyberwoman not only is a Black woman (the girlfriend of a protagonist) the titular character, but she is also hyper sexualized in way that is almost comical, if blatant fetishization ever could be. However, this quite literal othering of Black characters didn’t slide firmly into place until Bill.

In The Doctor Falls, a small girl with afro-puffs vaguely reminiscent of a younger her, brings Bill a mirror and says, “Everyone’s too scared to talk to you, but I’m not.” Bill turns it over and sees not herself, but what they made her into. She is not a monster, she never could be, but the mirror is telling her otherwise.

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“This won’t stop you feeling the pain, but it will stop you caring.”

The surgeon’s discomfiting words are staunchly reflective of the historical global oppression of people of Color, and the often implemented strategy of dehumanizing them to the point where they no longer cared about their suffering. As Frederick Douglass stated in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,

“I have found that to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one…he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceased to be a man.”

Unlike Oswin from Asylum of the Daleks, or Clara in The Witch’s Familiar, Bill did not have an elaborate world created in her mind to mask the pain, nor was willingly stepping into or even consciously aware of her alien exterior. She was killed; her insides violently wrenched from her, and remade into their image. The Doctor theorized that Bill’s time spent living under the Monks’ fascist regime taught her to hold onto herself, but she already knew how to do that. When you grow up hearing that you shouldn’t be who you are, you cling onto yourself a little tighter than most.

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D: “Bill, I’m sorry but you can’t be angry anymore. A temper is a luxury you cannot-“

B: “Why can’t I?! Why can’t I be angry?! You left me alone for ten years! Don’t tell me I can’t be angry!”

D: “Because of that, that’s why. Because you’re a Cyberman.”

B: “People are always going to be afraid of me, aren’t they?”

Despite the violence of Missy’s words from the previous episode, it was this moment that pricked me the most from the finale. The Doctor, champion of rage, forbidding the righteous anger of a Black woman. ‘The Angry Black Woman’ is such a pervasive myth throughout history that it’s become its own problematic trope in media. From Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman reinforcing the idea within Black culture, to countless works using Black women’s anger as a gimmick or comic relief, it persists, reducing the outrage of a century’s brew of sexism, racism, as well as personal baggage into a punch line.

Once more humor becomes the socially acceptable tool to assuage the fear of those around, an irrational fear which ironically they have conjured themselves. Somehow The Doctor Falls manages to slip into a faux pas of metaphor; an attempt at a touching, bittersweet scene, becomes a work of Afro-surrealism gone wrong. Bill is shot, stripped of her agency, brutalized, othered and then told that she cannot afford the ‘luxury’ of her anger. However, when your very existence is called into question, and your life is at constant threat, anger is not a luxury. Harnessed properly it becomes a tool to ensure your progress and eventual triumph. But Bill’s anger never is harnessed, until the Doctor, persistently in the form of a White man, tells her to direct it at an obstacle he sees fit to be removed.

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To Moffat’s credit, and my immense relief, Bill was not wasted and fridged like so many queer women and women of Color before her, but was instead restored with a warmth and beauty that brought tears to my own eyes. It was wonderful to see her character get an ending she deserved, her months of studying the universe with the Doctor a precursor of the infinite adventures to come, and an easy way back into the narrative should a future writer ever want to bring her back. And yet, I couldn’t help being struck by one last troubling thought. In a world where White women’s tears have repeatedly been a rallying cry to violence against people of Color, and the tears from women of Color are dismissed, it was Heather’s tears, not her own that saved her. Perhaps it’s intentionally left for the audience to interpret whether the tear she cries in the closing scene of World Enough and Time is nothing but an echo of her former self shown for our benefit, or one of Heather’s tears. But regardless, it holds no power. It doesn’t save her, it merely illustrates the depth of her suffering.

With series 11 approaching, I am so recklessly optimistic for the future of this show I adore. I know that with each passing day, we get closer to a world where everyone will be able to see themselves in these mirrors of media we make for ourselves. I’m crossing my hearts that it’s soon.

Written by Sam who you can follow on Twitter and Instagram
Her new project ‘Sam & Am’s Tea Party’ Podcast you can find on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Doctor Who Look book: 1960s Companions

By Kezia Newson & Beth Axford

60s Doctor Who is full of charm, wonderful stories and amazing characters. We’re obsessed with the fabulous women aboard the TARDIS and their amazing 60s style – yes, even Dodo’s! The best part about their wardrobe is that it’s actually quite easy to recreate; most of the items have been back in fashion re-inspired so are easy to get hold of. And because it’s black and white, we can really experiment with different colours but still keep the authentic companion vibe.

For those of you who want to look just like your favourite companion, we’ve created a 60s look book to get you started with your new wardrobe and show you exactly how to become a style icon fit for a black and white adventure!

Susan

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Original Time Lady Susan Foreman was your typical 1960s gal when it comes to fashion. The Doctor’s granddaughter sported chic cropped pixie hair and fierce eyeliner as a staple to her look, framing her inquisitive, young face perfectly.

Stripes, turtle necks and comfy trousers are favourites of Susan’s, making it really easy to recreate her style. Pick a striped, long sleeved top and pair with plain trousers and cute pumps to recreate her signature look:

Black Jeans

Striped Top

Pumps

Barbara

Barbara

Barbara took her teacher style guide on her travels in the TARDIS, always looking fashionable as well as practical. She also sported the thick eyeliner look, big lashes and back combed her hair into a small bee-hive to die for. Blazers, that turtle neck and simple dresses and skirts fill Barbara’s wardrobe, taking classroom couture to the next level: Time and Space! Grab a pale turtle neck jumper and pair with plain trousers and pumps for an easy Barbara look:

Pumps

Blue Roll Neck

Relaxed Jeans

Watch

Vicki

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Vicki Pallister’s style is adorable 60s space chic, with cute dresses and fun hair-styles! Her outfits are a little more edgy than the women before her, keeping the style of the time but with a futuristic hint symbolic of her character. Straight cut dresses and knee high boots are her aesthetic along with signature pig-tails and eyes lined to perfection. A dark shift dress, statement necklace and stand out boots will give you the perfect Vicki look:

Shift Dress

High Neck Shift Dress

Knee High Boots

Dodo

Dodo

Dodo’s outfits are an eye-catching miss-matched mania! Bright prints, colours and patterns feature heavily in her wardrobe, as well as crazy combos. The Doctor isn’t too happy with her crazy outfit choices, especially in The Ark where she famously carries off two different coloured legs. Today’s look for Dodo can be a bit less daring, look for retro prints, colour block shift dresses and *the* hat of 2018: the baker boy cap.

Striped Dress

Colour Block Shift Dress

Print Shift Dress

Baker Boy Hat

Polly

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Polly Wright is the epitome of a 60s fun time party gal! Her job in the city means she has a disposable enough income to afford all the latest fashions and there’s no doubt in my mind she spent weekends trotting along Kings Road in a mini skirt. She carries this all off with an easy, breezy air of a woman who knows just how fab she looks, and we love it. Modelling the Brigitte Bardot bangs and heavy eyelashes, her look is pretty easy to try and replicate today. Think mini dresses, psychedelic or floral prints and white knee high or ankle boots. Snip in that fringe and get on down to Inferno night club to party like Polly!

White Block Boots

Patterned Dress

Retro Mod Dress

Sleeveless Shift Dress

Victoria

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Victoria Waterfield isn’t your average 60s girl. In fact, she’s from the 1800s! Her back story of losing her parents and being brought under the wings of The Doctor and Jamie make us love her even more and brings an innocence to her wardrobe. Her style is very different from previous companions as a young Victorian vibe with a hint of steampunk. Victorian era dresses, frills and strong colours are her main looks, but in The Abominable Snowman and The Ice Warriors she wears something a bit more practical; an almost suit like combo with chunky boots complete with a beautiful frilled shirt and brooch to pull it all together. To achieve this you’ll need plaid trousers, dark blazers and frilly accessories:

Brown Tapered Trousers

Jacket

Embroidered Blouse

Cigarette Trousers

Lace Up Brogue Boots

Zoe

Zoe

Zoe’s style is practical yet fun with a futuristic space-age-maths-genius feel to it. Opting for bright dresses and glittery cat suits makes her stand out and look ready to save the universe at the same time. Who said you can’t be a scientist AND wear funky outfits? Her comfort is always first and foremost in her wardrobe, even commenting that the dress she gets given in The Dominators just ‘isn’t practical enough’. Get yourself a pinafore dress, frilly shirt and some patent loafers to perfect the space girl look (feather boa is optional):

Red Pinafore Dress

White Blouse

Feather Boa

Red Patent Loafers

Red Tights

Do you already own the perfect 60s space girl style outfit? Let us know and show us your pics by tweeting us: @thetimeladies_ or emailing us at thetimeladies@yahoo.co.uk

Thoughts on Regeneration: A Trans Perspective by Emma Jones

Doctor Who has been in my life since I was eight years old when I first watched Rose in 2005. As I started to struggle with gender identity and finally realised I was transgender around the time Matt Smith became the Doctor, the show became an escape. Then it introduced the concept of gender swapping regenerations which it expanded on over the years till the culmination of the Thirteenth Doctor, and it helped me understand myself better.

After dealing with his own identity crisis, the Twelfth Doctor says, ‘…you look at me, and you can’t see me’ and it immediately clicked. It allowed me to articulate my feelings about how it hurt to be misgendered, to feel like and know you’re a girl but have everyone look at you and think and refer to you as a boy. Not too long afterwards I began my gender transition.

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It’s July 16th, 2017 and my heart is beating fast. I’m nervously refreshing Twitter in anticipation of the announcement of the Thirteenth Doctor. I didn’t particularly want to know, but as a British person I knew that it’d spoiled as soon as I set foot out the door, so I decided to take the initiative. As the mysterious figure pulled their hood down to reveal Jodie Whittaker, I’m filled with wonder and joy and at the back of my mind; envy.

I was envious because while the Doctor gets to regenerate into a woman in an instant, painlessly and without incident, I’m not so lucky. Instead of a remarkable transformation, my ‘transition’ has been a slow, frustrating, expensive process.

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It’s December 25th, 2017. My eyes are wet after Peter Capaldi gives his beautiful and sad final speech, each long pause he gives makes me think ‘this it, she’s a-coming’. Like a lot of Doctor Who fans, I was apprehensive about how the regeneration would be handled. Would Chris Chibnall take a The Curse of Fatal Death type approach and make quips, or go another route and just not mention probably the biggest change in the show’s history. Then I went from crying to smiling in the space of a minute when they took the third option, having the Doctor be ecstatic, with that big grin and just two simple words. Not only was it just so perfectly crafted but as a trans woman, I felt I could relate to her feelings of excitement.

Despite the challenges of transitioning and having to deal with gender dysphoria, which for those that don’t know is a sense of discomfort as a result of your biological sex not matching your gender identity, trans people can sometimes experience the opposite: gender euphoria. Which is joy at seeing yourself as your real self in a mirror or a TARDIS monitor for example. Having the Doctor be thrilled seeing herself is such a powerful thing to see as someone who’s struggled with accepting their body.

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While I think one possible reading of Thirteenth Doctor regeneration is that she is transgender, it is perhaps overanalysis two words and a smile. But regeneration in the new series always has been about how the Doctor approaches the construction of their self and their identity. Having the Doctor be the same person even if they express themselves in different ways in a different body is an excellent parallel for trans people’s lives.

As much as I want Thirteen to be a woman, I’d love in future for the show to explore the whole diverse and beautiful spectrum of identities. By having the Doctor referring to themselves as a man when in a male body and as a woman when in a female body can serve to reinforce cisnormative gender assumptions. For example, in regards to other Time Lords (like Missy), does her newfound empathy and acceptance of femininity support the notion of biological essentialism which argues that the differences between men and women come from nature? Having the Doctor rejecting binary pronouns and identity would make perfect sense for their character, seeing as actual human beings are already challenging binaries let’s have the Doctor break some more ‘rules’. They’re nothing if not a rebel.

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Doctor Who can often be an escape from something, from harsh realities. But that also means it’s an escape to something as well – to a place where gender and its associated stereotypes are irrelevant and where if you want to be a woman, you can. Regeneration isn’t just a convenient excuse to change actor, it’s a statement and a promise: Anyone can be the Doctor. That’s such a powerful message for trans people to hear, especially relevant in a media environment that is nearly devoid of any other stories that can even relate to trans experiences like Doctor Who has shown. The fact that young trans people can take inspiration from the new Doctor shows how important this show is, how significant this change is but also shows how much more work we need to do.

Written by Emma, who you can follow on Twitter here.

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