‘We’re more than just a stereotype’ – Why a black Doctor matters to me

By Miranda Ashitey

Everyone has their “Doctor”. Even if you don’t particularly like Doctor Who, there has to be a Doctor that you either remember or identify with. As a “Xennial” (born in the early 1980s), my “Doctor” is Sylvester McCoy. You know… funny hat, funky jumper, umbrella with the question mark handle, companion also moonlighting as a CBBC presenter… Sylvester McCoy is MY Doctor. Or at least he WAS. Enter stage left Jo Martin, the first black Doctor Who.

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Jo Martin as Ruth Clayton – Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: James Pardon/BBC Studios/BBC America

Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s as a first-generation African immigrant, born in South London, tomboyish, not quite sure of her sexuality, I was always a bit of an odd bod because I didn’t do or gravitate towards stereotypical “black” things. I’d rather watch “Lost In Space” over “Love and Basketball” (Hey! It had Joey from Friends in it and Apollo 440 did the theme tune!) Sci-Fi wasn’t really something black girls were expected to be openly enthusiastic about. But I carried on regardless.

But going back to Jo Martin. The Doctor. The Black Doctor. The female Doctor. The BLACK FEMALE Doctor. Of course she can be the Doctor. I mean, she’s already in Holby City as a neurologist, so doctoring is already in her bag. Or TARDIS. Her unassuming confidence, her lack of black stereotypes, her articulation, her locks, her outfit… Totally loving the outfit! Anything remotely edging towards patterns resembling kente cloth is always going to be a massive plus for me! To be watching a show that has been going on for over fifty years and to have the main character look like me is something I didn’t realistically think would happen. At least, not in my lifetime. An alien Time Lord with two hearts? Totally believable. One that can change gender AND ethnicity?! You what?!?

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Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor, Jo Martin as Ruth Clayton – Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: James Pardon/BBC Studios/BBC America

When Jo first came on screen as Ruth Clayton, I thought, “Oh, a strong female black character. Let’s see how long SHE lasts in this episode”. After what happened to the awesome Grace (Like Graham and Ryan, STILL not over it!), I wasn’t holding much hope. Once it was revealed that Ruth was indeed the Doctor, a part of me did think, “Is this canon? Are they going to doctor-bait me like they did with David Morrissey?” So once it was quickly confirmed that a) it IS canon, b) she isn’t another version of the Doctor, c) I didn’t imagine it and d) they were going with another female Doctor, I could sleep soundly.

I always say that representation matters. Being able to see or hear someone and think, “They’re just like me” means the universe. It can be a friend to support you. The teacher you can learn from. The comfort blanket you can snuggle with. The parent you can depend on. Having a black Doctor Who shows that sci-fi CAN and SHOULD be for black people. We’re more than a stereotype. We’re more than having more melanin. We are fans, we are here to stay and a black Doctor shows we belong. For years, I had to watch characters in shows I loved that didn’t look like me but try to identify with. Now, I don’t have to. Not with Jo Martin. MY Doctor.

What do you think of Jo Martin as the Doctor? 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

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_

International Friendship Day: My Friend the Doctor

by Beth Axford

Dear Doctor,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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.

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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 Spirit of Rosa by Samantha Harden

 “I have a duty of care.” These words spoken so often by the 12th Doctor are what immediately spring to mind when I reflect over this week’s episode of Who. So many, myself firmly included, have waited so long for this episode; not “Rosa” specifically, but any story which addresses the history and culture of people of color, written by someone who can authentically tell it, and this week after a grueling 55 year wait, Whovians of color finally got their first taste of what that could be. In the weeks leading up to “Rosa” I found myself nervous, but overwhelmingly optimistic in anticipation of this story, because, as the saying goes, after waiting all this time, it has to be good, right? Even so, when I finally found myself sitting down for a borderline religious viewing session, my stomach was gripped with nerves.

     Upon finishing it, I was a little baffled with myself; I definitely liked it, it was Doctor Who and therefore automatically enjoyable to me, but I didn’t feel the immediate warmth that floods over me with reckless abandon, as with so many instant favorites before it. My initial reaction was disappointment, three quarters with myself for not being uncomplicatedly enthused. See, I’d latched on to one part of the episode more strongly than the rest; the main conflict lies in the fact that Krasko and the TARDIS team believe that “nudging” history just enough so Rosa doesn’t commit her act of civil disobedience that day, would completely topple the Civil Rights Movement. “Parks won’t be asked to stand, she won’t protest, and your kind won’t get above themselves.”

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     Growing up in the South, I’d spent a lot of time learning about the efforts of the NAACP and all of the work that went into organizing the Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement. As a bit of an organizational mess myself, I was always in awe of their tireless dedication in pursuit of equality, which is why I think this erroneous assumption hit me so hard. Even if Rosa hadn’t “sat her ground” that day, the Boycott would have eventually taken place. Tensions were incredibly high, many women had done what Rosa did that day before, but she made an excellent icon because she was a paragon of the Black community. This fact does not in any way make her less of an important figure however, in fact it is because of the activism she and other members of the NAACP did previous to that fateful December night that the Boycott was able to create such an impact, despite lasting over a year, through the hot Montgomery summer months. However upon a second viewing of the episode I was struck by this thought; even taking into account the writers’ knowledge of the work of the NAACP, the belief that Rosa was the key to the CRM doesn’t ring as outlandish for either our “Space Racist”, the TARDIS Team, or even the Doctor herself to have. So often people, even those in marginalized groups themselves, don’t realize or acknowledge all the thought, planning, and persistence that goes into the mere right of existing as an equal in a society structure that’s stacked against you.

     Hit with that thought my stomach unknotted, and though I had noticed it before, I was able to completely appreciate all of the earnest care that went into this story.  Aside from a single off color joke Yaz makes about using Ryan as a piñata (maybe not the best laugh to have in an episode where the threat of lynching is constantly hung above Ryan like Damocles’ Sword), Yaz and Ryan really do feel like old school mates reunited. I enjoyed their amiable banter in quiet moments as they allowed themselves to relax, alien threats less pressing, and the earth familiar and solid beneath their feet. The Doctor is wholly kind and encouraging, proving with every passing moment that after years of work she can now effortlessly be the best version of herself.

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     Though as a Southern American I found the levity with which they all strode off the TARDIS more than a little alarming, in context it makes perfect sense; I doubt even Martha or Bill would be as concerned about visiting the comparatively more modern era of the American 50s. One would think that segregation doesn’t hold a candle to slavery, however the reality of the danger involved in such a trip for three quarters of young Black men could hardly be stated to be much less. The message still doesn’t seem to quite hit home with them though, as following their disturbing encounter, they still act with little regard for the basic rules around them (shocker, I know), at the risk of Ryan and Yaz’s safety.  The Doctor has never had to navigate the nuances of privilege before this series and I am so looking forward to the day when she does not possess the advantage of fair skin, opening the possibilities for some wonderfully intriguing storytelling. All the Doctor does is make waves, how will they operate when their non-compliance could derail history?

     More than anything else however, the great triumph of this episode comes down to Rosa herself. Her portrayal was so incredibly honest and heartfelt. Unlike so many larger than life historical figures before her, Rosa is wonderfully grounded and three dimensional; the smallest amount of time spent with her left me with a feeling of immense calm. Her quiet fierceness and kindness shines in every scene, her activism is neither forgotten nor overshadowed, opening the door for curious viewers to learn more and be inspired by her efforts*. Leaving this episode, you feel as if you’ve met the real Ms. Parks, and you are all the better for it.

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As much as this episode is overdue, it is also extremely timely. Today when we’re faced with so much political chaos, with some scrambling to mask injustice with the guise of legality (as Blake said, “Law’s a law”), it is so very important to remember how far we’ve come in such a short span of time, and how far we have yet to go. It’s encouraging to know that her story will inspire a whole new generation of fans. In the end the message is clear; never let anyone silence you, go on with the spirit of Rosa.

[i]   In addition to being secretary for the NAACP, Rosa spent years dedicated to registering Black voters in the face of deliberately discriminatory registration laws 

Learn more about Rosa and the Civil Rights Movement

‘Before Rosa Parks there was Claudette Colvin’

Missed In History Podcast: Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott pt 1

Missed In History Podcast: Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott pt 2

Eyes On The Prize – (Part 1) Awakenings 1954–1956

Written by Sam, who you can follow on Twitter and Instagram.

What did you think of Rosa? Let us know by tweeting us @thetimeladies_ or emailing us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

Companions That Never Were

Over the years there have been some incredible women to grace the world of Doctor Who, but sadly never made it as long-term companions. This week we’re taking a look at these fantastic characters and what made them that extra bit special…

Lynda

Helping the Ninth Doctor and Rose escape the TV shows of platform one,
‘Lynda with a Y’ fitted the team effortlessly and stole all of our hearts
with her adorable nature. The Doctor took a particular shine to her and
even offered her the trip of a lifetime – before she was brutally exterminated
by the dreaded Daleks. JUSTICE FOR LYNDA!

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Joan Redfern

Falling in love with The Doctor is never easy, but completely impossible when
you don’t know he’s The Doctor. Joan Redfern heart-breakingly became John Smith’s
lover only to find out he was an alien in disguise. The perfect match to the tenth doctor,
we are still hurting from the pair parting ways, especially after seeing the potential wedding scene. CRY.

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Astrid Peth

Astrid Peth brought an exciting new take on a companion role to the show,  played
by none other than actual Queen KYLIE MINOGUE. A tough lady from space, she compliments The Doctor perfectly and her adventurous side is infectious. Unfortunately, her bravery and kindness was quite literally the death of her – by saving the earth and everyone on the ship from their demise, she had to take down Max Capricorn and lost her life in the process. I mean… it’s just not fair!

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Jenny

Jenny, or more famously ‘The Doctor’s daughter’, gave us all hope that our hero
would finally have another of his kind around to keep him company. Perhaps she took on too many of his good qualities though since she sacrificed herself for him by the end of the story! Right at the end of the episode she is revived by the source energy and flies off for adventures of her own… And finally, ten years on, Big Finish are giving her the spin off she deserved!

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Lady Christina 

Lady Christina is the ultimate badass woman we need in the TARDIS. Stealing from museums, helping The Doctor save the world and then whizzing off in a flying bus? It’s been nearly 10 years and we’re still sad she didn’t stay for more fun! And, as if Big Finish couldn’t get any better, they’re also giving Lady Christina De Souza her own adventures! We can’t wait to hear more of what she got up to after Planet of The Dead.

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Rita

Rita helped The Doctor, Amy and Rory face off the Minotaur in 2011’s The God Complex. Smart, brave and kind, she would have made the perfect companion – so much so that The Doctor jokingly offered her a place on the TARDIS. After helping the trio find out what was going on, she sadly sacrificed herself and left a hole in our hearts. There’s a running theme here, isn’t there?

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Osgood

Osgood is literally ALL of us. A massive fan of The Doctor’s, she helped save the world a number of times and proved she was perfect for the TARDIS team. A scientist working for UNIT, she’d already helped save the world long before she met The Doctor. Her and her Zygon counter-part continued to live on after the events of Day of The Doctor… until Missy murdered one of them in Death in Heaven. We still don’t know which version of her perished, but it doesn’t matter as long as Osgood lives on!

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Journey Blue

After The Doctor saved Journey Blue from death, she then returned the favour when she convinced her uncle not to kill him. The team then take on the task of going inside a real Dalek, whilst they’re miniaturised and everything! After the adventure ends, she asks The Doctor to take her with him, to which he refuses because she’s a soldier. This seems totally unfair since he’s practically a solider himself! Brave, exciting and funny, we wish he had given her a chance.

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  Shona

One of the most famous ‘almost companions’ of recent times, Shona wowed audiences in Last Christmas with her hilarious personality and funky dance moves (!) She even gets a story set-up at the end of the episode, alluding to her backstory and possible future in the show. We would have loved to have seen her aboard the TARDIS, but Clara stayed on and the rest is history! BRING SHONA BACK!

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O’Donnell

An absolute highlight of Series 9, O’Donnell appeared in Under The Lake/Before The Flood, helping save the world from The Fisher King and his ghosts. Incredibly kind, sassy and most importantly, Scottish, we LOVED her. In another heartbreaking end, she proclaims her giddiness over The Doctor, the TARDIS and we get so excited for her future… till she’s murdered by the fisher king leaving us more than a little bit weepy. Her bravery helped the rest of the team survive, making her one of the best guest characters of recent years.

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So there we have it… there’s definitely a recurring theme here, right? All the best characters die… and that RTD and the Moff are evil.

These are just some of the amazing guest companions from recent years, but who would you love to have seen more of? Let us know by tweeting us @thetimeladies_!

The Beginners Guide to the Women of Big Finish

The extended world of Doctor Who is vast and glorious and very hard to keep up with. Books, comics, games, spin off shows… the adventures go on forever! One of the fantastic ways the show is kept alive is through Big Finish, who’ve been creating brilliant audio stories for nearly 20 years. The audios are officially licensed, technically canon and feature all our favourite Doctor Who actors. They’ve filled in gaps, created new characters and given the eighth Doctor the story he truly deserved.

Big Finish have given a new lease of life to our favourite female characters, giving them their own spin offs and adventures with different doctors. They’ve even created some of the most amazing women to grace the world of Doctor Who! As our favourite show is currently off the air, we thought we’d bring you a beginners guide to our favourite women of Big Finish, from old characters to new…

Bernice Summerfield

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If you love: The 7th Doctor, Ace, River Song

Seventh Doctor companion Bernice Summerfield originated from the Virgin New Adventures books that filled the ‘wilderness’ years when Doctor Who was off air. At a time when Big Finish was just starting out, they plucked her from the New Adventures pages and gave Benny her own series. In her nearly 20 years of audio stories she’s had adventures with the Seventh and Eighth Doctor’s as well as featuring in a Twelfth Doctor novel and travelling with an alternative, unbound universe incarnation. An archaeologist from the 26th century, she’s smart, brave, and a force to be reckoned with. It’s also worth noting that the fabulous Lisa Bowerman -who brings Benny to life also appeared in the very last Classic Doctor Who serial, Survival as Karra! Keep an eye out for our candid interview with the actress, coming soon.

We recommend starting with: The New Adventures Of Bernice Summerfield

Check out all of Benny’s adventures here

River Song

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If you love: River Song, New Who/Classic Who mashups

Ever wondered what fantastical tales lie in that mysterious diary of River Song’s? Well now you can find out in The Diary Of River Song, all her own adventures outside the TARDIS. There are three boxsets to devour featuring the Doctor’s wife, telling us more about the pairs history and what she gets up to away from his company. She meets the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth doctor’s in these stories, taking her Doctor total up to 7. Soon to meet the Fourth Doctor, she’s certainly ticking off the checklist!

Start here

Check out all River Song here

Lucie Miller

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If you love: Rose Tyler, The Eighth Doctor, Early 2000’s Who

If you love Rose Tyler or the vibe of 2006 Doctor Who, you’ll LOVE Lucie Miller! Her feisty personality and hilarious sense of humour make her one of our favourite Doctor Who companions. Big Finish give the Eighth Doctor a bit of a new series spin, making these adventures feel like the RTD/Paul Mcgann series we never had. Featuring in four series of adventures, Lucie’s story is timey wimey and exciting from the very beginning. You will absolutely fall in love with her and want to be her best friend as she sasses The Doctor and helps him save the day.

You can listen to Lucie’s first series on Spotify

Check out all her stories here

Donna Noble

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If you love: The New Series, The Tenth Doctor, Donna Noble

Donna Noble makes her glorious return to the world of Doctor Who after nearly 10 years in The Tenth Doctor Adventures. Big Finish bring her to life so well that it’s almost as if we’ve been transported back to 2008! Feisty, brave and as funny as ever, these audios do her character a great service, and are a perfect place to start for Big Finish beginners. The set consists of 3 stories featuring the Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble, reuniting David Tennant and Catherine Tate once more. Death and The Queen is a particularly lovely story where Donna really shines, somehow making us love her even more.

Check out the set here

Other Tenth Doctor Adventures

Charley Pollard

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If you love: Historicals, companions from the past, the Eighth Doctor

If you’re looking for something a bit different, Charley Pollard may be the girl for you. An adventurer from 1930’s England, Charley was a stowaway on a British airship when she met the Doctor. Saving her from the airship when it crashed, the Doctor caused a temporal paradox from her death being a fixed point in time. Charley ended up having adventures with the Eighth and Sixth Doctor’s and even has a spin off series of her own. Having a companion from the past is a brilliant change and gives a whole new perspective on travelling with the Doctor.

Start here

Check out all Charley Pollard here

Now that we’ve introduced you, why not go on some adventures?…

Let us know what your favourites are @thetimeladies_!

We love you, Doctor Who.

Dear Doctor Who,

I mean the show, not the character. Although they’re pretty much the same thing, right? Does it really matter? I can hear the William Hartnell fans typing furiously as we speak!

Anyway. It’s Valentines coming up. A time of love, friendship and  tweeting about ‘how great your day of Netflix and pizza’ has been and buying reduced heart shaped chocolates the day after. Love comes in many different forms: Romantic, platonic, that feeling you get when you hear your favourite show’s theme tune…and each should be celebrated just as much as romantic love.

Which is why I’m writing this love letter. You see, I hold you (yes you!), my cosy little TV show, very close to my heart. I love you. Sorry to drop the L bomb so early on, but really, it’s best I get straight to the point.

You see, I have a lot to thank you for. Throughout my life, I have felt directionless, lonely and without meaning. This is typical of many people attempting to survive the world that is thrust upon us, which is why escapism is such a necessity. Which is why you, DOCTOR WHO, are such a necessity. When something is always there for you, brings you joy and friendships and shapes you as a person, it becomes a life line. So, thank you Doctor Who, for being my life line.

I love you because you’re always there for me. I love you because I can jump in that blue box any time and experience another universe. I love you because you teach me lessons and make me the best version of myself. But most importantly, I love you because you’ve given me friendships. The people I’ve met through our shared love for you have changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. Smart, kind, loving people who continually help and support me whenever they can. You did that, you created this world for me and many others.

This was bound to get a bit cheesy, but all the best love letters are. You are loved, so much and by so many. Even when you go a bit weird and the sixth Doctor tries to strangle Peri, or that time when you made us sit through giant eye bogey monsters. OR when you kill off characters only for them to come back an episode or two later. Oh, and that time whe- sorry, that sentence got away from me. What I’m trying to say is, that despite all your flaws and mishaps, we still treasure you. You are lots of people’s everything, and that is the most beautiful thing of all.

So, thank you Doctor Who. I love you with all my heart.
Yours tearfully,

A Time Lady.

Our favourite love stories

Ian and Barbara


Both of us absolutely adore the relationship between Ian and Barbara. It’s so real: two colleagues and friends, slowly getting to know each other better… and just see what blossoms. It’s not showy and there are no grand declarations – it’s respect and trust. Two of the things that should be the foundation of any close relationship. Although their love for each other is never confirmed in script, we all know that surely they live happily ever after, best friends and companions till the end. Because who else would they fall for?

The Doctor and Jamie


Two male characters who go on adventures, are best friends, (technically) live together and regularly exchange hugs and hand holds? You couldn’t write that in 2018! In a world where male friendships have to be a testosterone filled beer-and-gaming-and-no-talking-about-feelings fest, it’s so refreshing to watch the Doctor and Jamie. Although the TARDIS has had many male companions since, not quite the same friendship levels have been reached.

The Doctor and Rose

The most classic of all love stories: boy meets girl, they fall in love, boy regenerates into another body… wait what. Personally, we almost love the relationship between Rose and Nine more than hers with Ten, controversial? We like seeing the mutual respect and friendship grow between them. When the Doctor thinks that he’s lost Rose in Dalek, you can visibly see the moment when his heart(s) break. But regardless of which Doctor, it’s a relationship that stands the test of time (quite literally) and when the Tenth Doctor burnt up a sun just to say goodbye… tell us you didn’t sob. Arguably the most romantic of relationships between The Doctor and his friend, we lapped up every minute.

Donna and Wilf


As we’re celebrating all types of love, we had to include two of our most devoted characters. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to have a close relationship with an older family member, you’ll love seeing the friendship between Donna and Wilf as much as we do. Not only is he her Grandfather (or ‘Gramps’), he’s her best friend, confidant and most trusted advisor. Who else would she tell about about a flying blue box and know they wouldn’t laugh in her face? He celebrates her wins with her and picks her up when she’s low. “You go and see the stars, and then bring a bit of them back for your old gramps.” We all wish we had a Wilf.

The Time Ladies

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Because we’re big ol’ cheeseballs we had to include ourselves! Galentines was just a day ago and we love celebrating friendship above all kinds of love. We started talking about this blog, the need for it and our mutual love for all things Doctor Who a year ago and look at what’s happened! As much as your romantic relationships, tell your best friends you love and adore them, they need to be adored by you too. Thanks for bringing us together, Doctor Who.

Let us know your favourite Doctor Who love stories whether they be romantic, platonic or family related, we want to hear them all!
Comment below or tell us on Twitter or Instagram.