back to article Doctor Who's Under the Lake splits Reg scribes: This Alien homage thing – good or bad?

Readers please note: THIS IS A POST-UK BROADCAST REVIEW – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! Gavin says: I know there's something wrong with Doctor Who – Under the Lake, but it hits me only at the end. It isn’t the standard sci-fi set up of humans stranded in isolated and hostile setting – scientific/industrial/military facility/hotel/ …

  1. WibbleMe

    At least I could understand this one unlike the last two episodes

  2. Gordon 10

    Meh. I thought it was weak and lacking in material for a 2 parter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Abyssmal

      The suckertron was on full blast for this soggy old bilgewoggle.

      At first, a nearly 'Quatermass and the Pit' feel. You Millenials go look that up. Then ended up feeling more like an episode of Stingray. In fact I wondered when there would be a talking dolphin and Roy Scheider taking the helm á la seaQuest DSV.

      Then oh dear back to nutty old Doctor who is trying ever so desperately to be cool and funny. The suckertron is set to full power. Why couldn't Clara die again? It was fun the first time. Couldn't she keep dying until she leaves? That would be fun. Like she's indestructible - like Captain Scarlet. Millennials - go look that up.

      Alien? Don't make me laugh. This is embarrassing. You can't compare this to Alien. That's like comparing an episode of Geordie Shore to The Breakfast Club. Millenials - oh off you go.

      1. PhilipN Silver badge

        Re: The Abyssmal

        First time I see a post mentioning both Captain Scarlet and Stingray but more to the point you reminded me why I never watch TV these days*. 99 percent has been done before - old episodes of Kojak, Bonanza, Pathfinders in Space, Get Smart etc etc. But then 99 percent could probably be found in Aesop and Homer. That's why Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings is for Millennials and proto-Millenials whereas I cannot watch such stuff without feeling I've seen it all before.

        *although I did enjoy Fargo.

        1. amanfromarse

          Re: The Abyssmal

          >But then 99 percent could probably be found in Aesop and Homer.

          Agree 100%

          But there is stuff worth watching. Mr Robot?

        2. Archie Woodnuts

          Re: The Abyssmal

          Pfft. Lord of the Rings. Silmarillion master race.

      2. Mike Flex

        Re: The Abyssmal

        "The Abyssmal"

        I was surprised that The Abyss escaped the roll-call of SF films in the articles - underwater base, alien, even the shot from above of the base all lit up, like the fleet.

        Mind you, at least The Abyss was set at sea. This base appears to be submerged in a reservoir. Why do you need an underwater base and a trillion dollars of drilling kit to drill under a reservoir? Rather a bit too much SF running down corridors as well.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: The Abyssmal

          He's been running up and down corridors since Troughton hasn't he? Bit late to complain now.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Abyssmal

        "soggy old bilgewoggle"

        An inadequate description: I think 'excrement' comes a little closer. The level of 'sci' in this sci-fi/sci-fantasy story barely approaches the level of astrology. We have an environmental management system that checks the integrity of door locks every minute during the day cycle but not at all during the night cycle - wtf? A nuclear reactor designed not to SCRAM in an emergency but to open its core to the outside environment i.e. the lake, but via the living quarters, rendering both the entire station (or at least the bits left after the inevitable ruptures in the pressure hull due to the water entering the core flashing to steam) and the lake highly radioactive - another wtf? That's just two examples: there were many more.

        First rule of sci-fi/sci-fantasy writing: ensure you have at least some modicum of understanding of the science you're going to be using in your story. If you don't you'll end up with sci-farce, which is what Who has become.

  3. graeme leggett Silver badge

    Base under siege

    When Alien came out in 1979, Doctor Who had been doing base under siege stories for over a decade.

    1. amanfromarse

      Re: Base under siege

      Yes, but badly.

      I loved Dr who, when I was 10. Can't watch it now. I could watch Alien repeatedly.

      It's like Coronation Street vs The Wire/Breaking Bad/whatever, where they know how to write a script and not continually plagiarise and dress it up as an 'homage'

      1. earl grey

        Re: Base under siege


        I think you meant "fromage".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Base under siege

        "Yes, but badly."

        As a counter, I offer Horror of Fang Rock.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Base under siege

      And Doctor Who had the Alien story four years before Alien...

      1. Arctic fox

        "And Doctor Who had the Alien story four years before Alien..."

        A E Van Vogt included the original in his compilation of novellas "The Voyage of the Space Beagle" in 1950. He had in fact already written the novella concerned, "Discord in Scarlet", for the Dec 1939 edition of "Astounding Magasine". I fear that both the Alien and Dr Who franchises were well and truly beaten to the punch by one of the greats from Sci-fi's "golden age".

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: "And Doctor Who had the Alien story four years before Alien..."


          Dark Star.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: "And Doctor Who had the Alien story four years before Alien..."

            Wha...? Why the down vote? Without the whiney negative feedback about the crappy alien in Dark Star, Dan O'Bannon would never have thought "Not scary enough? Right, I'll show 'em."

  4. Chris King

    Dematerialised over the shark ?

    I knew there was something else bugging me about the Sonic Sunglasses - it makes the Doctor look like he's fiddling with a Google Glass.

    (Time Lord to Glasshole in three episodes - this isn't looking good)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dematerialised over the shark ?

      The thing that bothered me about the glasses, is that they continued to work in the Faraday cage.

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: Dematerialised over the shark ?

        The thing that bothered me about the glasses, is that they continued to work in the Faraday cage.

        Why shouldn't they? A Faraday cage electrically isolates the inside from the outside, an electronic item will work as well inside as outside if it is self-contained and does not need any signals from external systems.

        If electrical systems failed inside a Faraday cage them people would die on entry as life is basically an electrical system.

        EDIT: If he was broadcasting WiFi or similar from inside the cage then that is silly and would plainly not work.

        1. Known Hero

          Re: Dematerialised over the shark ?

          He was, there was a video stream from the glasses. Or did that fail when he went inside? I can't remember.

        2. Simon Harris

          Re: Dematerialised over the shark ?

          "If he was broadcasting WiFi or similar from inside the cage then that is silly and would plainly not work."

          Or maybe there was a WiFi router in the cage with an optical network connection to the outside.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Dematerialised over the shark ?

            MRI scanners live within Faraday cages. You can make holes in them that allow specific frequencies through. Though why anyone would do that with the stated purpose of the cage... although it is a converted base. It might have had a function before.

  5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    I quite

    enjoyed it.

    Could have done with more tension, but dont forget .. its a pre-watershed show and we cant scare the kiddies too much... sadly

    Did'nt see the 2 parter ending coming though...

    But as a brain out piece of tv hookum... it was worth watching while I scoffed my dinner

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: I quite

      They're all two partners in this series.

      I'm quite liking the slow burner thing. Not quite so much the sudden cliffhanger at the end of part one though, but I suppose they have to have one.

      But broadcasting over WiFi with sonic glasses live from a Faraday cage? Let's just say that could have been safely dropped.

    2. Mike Pellatt

      Re: I quite

      its a pre-watershed show and we cant scare the kiddies too much...

      I feel sorry for today's little kiddies, who will never, ever have memories of hiding behind the sofa from Daleks and Cybermen. So sad to miss such a vital part of growing up.

      1. Chris King

        Re: I quite

        "Genesis of the Daleks" was the first story I can remember watching - what an introduction to the show that was, spent mostly behind the sofa !

    3. Lamont Cranston

      Re: "its a pre-watershed show and we cant scare the kiddies too much"

      This is the trouble with watching these things as an adult. I watched in the company of 3 under 9s: 1 fled to his bed as soon as the first ghost was revealed, 1 had her head tucked under a rug any time an eyeless spook appeared, and the other was sent to bed, filled with concern over The Doctor's fate ("He's not really a ghost, is he Daddy? Why hasn't he regenerated?"). I'd say this hit just the right note of terror for the kids (Daleks and Cybermen will never be scary to today's kids, but that's not to say that they can't enjoy seeing The Doctor defeat them time and again).

      Kicking myself for not spotting the glasses/wifi/farady goof, but I was too busy enjoying the episode to notice! Enjoying an episode of Doctor Who? Not something I got to do during the previous series, so I hope the current one can keep it up.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Event Horizon in the same league with Alien?

    No, Sir.

    Alien is, purely and simply, a strike of genius. Imagery, cinematography, music, special effects, script, pace, buildup.

    Event Horizon? Don't know, really. I was never able to watch it from beginning to end. I probably watched many times over by accidentally watching fragments here and there over the span of a few years.

    It's not that they aren't in the same league. They aren't even playing the same sport.

    1. Gordon 10

      Re: Event Horizon in the same league with Alien?

      That's a little unfair on Event Horizon. Whilst not in Aliens league it was a deeply unsettling film. Sam Neil's eyeless face still gives me nightmares.

      championship to premiership maybe.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Event Horizon in the same league with Alien?

        It was amazingly good for B-grade horror. Like "The Shining" in space. With a core. And more random camp horror vision eyeless flashback terror shocks. And discordant horror-clockwork-in-accelerated-motion music by "Orbital". And lightning, ffs. In space!

        And the logbook on a CD-RW. Which, entirely predictably, gets stuck in the drive in a dark cellarbridge. One would imagine that an industry that can build enormous ships clearly not built from lowest-bidder preassembled kit fired into space piece-by-piece would be able to manage the "stuck CD drive" problem.

    2. FreeTard

      Re: Event Horizon in the same league with Alien?

      Hold on there, as a fan of Alien I agree with you about watchability, but that is only because I am absolutely terrified of watching Event Horizon again. That flic gave me nightmares for weeks such is its genius - and I'm in my 40's FFS.

      They are totally different movies and cannot be compared.

      1. BenR

        Re: Event Horizon in the same league with Alien?

        "What makes you think I'll miss?"

    3. Paul Kinsler

      Re: Event Horizon in the same league with Alien?

      I recall seeing Event Horizon in a cinema in Leeds - a proper pre-multiplex job, with a screen so wide I can only assume it must have been built at peak cinema. Quite enjoyed it, even if it did go a bit toosupernatural horror at the end.

  7. Mike Bell


    I've not seen Doctor Who for ages, but the thing I saw on TV last night reminded me of an episode of 3-2-1, that God-awful show where some mad clues led to a prize or – more likely – the appearance of Dusty Bin. Maybe the whole thing has just been done to death.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. TeacherMARK

    The weekly fawning...

    I'm now on episode three of The Register's weekly fawning over this asinine and un-watchable BBC politically correct homage to what used to be a bloody good TV program.

    Your misguided and child-like unwavering belief that this trashy bollocks is worth so much effort and page space is nothing short of spectacular.

    Your authority on other things (normally held in high regard) are diminished by this fervent and all-consuming crush on a kid's TV show which has been raped, then murdered and then horribly mutilated since it's disastrous reboot at the turn of the century.

    If you are going to advertise at least be honest about it and stick a label at the top of the page.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The weekly fawning...

      gallifreybase is thataway -->

    2. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: The weekly fawning...

      Oops. Would have up voted but the language is a tad emotional. Maybe it's one of those programmes that does that to you. For my money the real Doctor is William Hartnell. All the others are pretenders. The right style, and the only bloke back then with shoulder length hair.

  9. steamrunner

    Mid-season cliff-hangers aren't new...

    Not to be picky (oh, OK then) but mid-season cliff-hanger episodes are *not* 'new' for 'new Who'. They've been part of the series since it returned in 2005 — The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances being the first.

    There have been numerous since. Series two had Rise of the Cyberman/The Age of Steel. Series three had *two* mid-season two-parters, as did series four and series five. Series six had one, plus two linked episodes which fell over the mid-season break (ok, the latter two arguably being mini finale/openers). It's only series seven and series eight that didn't until now.


    1. Stephen W Harris

      Re: Mid-season cliff-hangers aren't new...

      Yeah... just to get started

      Empty Child / Doctor Dances (May 21, May 28)

      Rise Of The Cybermen / Age Of Steel (May 13, 20 May)

      Impossible Planet / Satan Pit (Jun 3, Jun 10)

      Daleks In Manhattan / Evolution Of The Daleks (Apr 21, Apr 28)

      Human Nature / Family Of Blood (May 26, Jun 2)

      and so on. Plenty of two-parters in the middle of a run.

      1. Simon Harris

        Re: Mid-season cliff-hangers aren't new...

        The difference being, if you look at the episode titles and director lists for this series, most, if not all, are going to be two-parters.

        1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          Re: Mid-season cliff-hangers aren't new...

          No complaint if so. That list of two-parters contains some of the highlights of the programme since its restart; although yes, there were some duds that got stretched out to two episodes as well.

          40 minutes of screen time is too little to resolve some of the overly complex setups of the recent series (plural). My big complaint with Moffat's era in charge is that the script runs out of run-time at about Minute 30, so the only way to finish things is with an enormously unsatisfying Deus ex Machina ending. Giving another 40 minutes to properly fix things has to be an improvement.

          Personally I found the "read the cards" gag to be jarringly out of character - but its a while since such a small thing has been my only complaint after watching an episode of this programme..

  10. David Roberts

    Watching it now in Australia

    Yes, it is shit.

  11. Chris King

    Science happens to other people

    Okay, I can't let this one lie, Cass lip-reading from a video feed coming over wi-fi from the Sonic Sunglasses... a Faraday Cage ? A LEAD-LINED Faraday Cage that the Doctor has ALREADY SAID BLOCKS ALL RADIO WAVES ?

    This show needs a Science Advisor again. It's like the BBC have gone back to the bad old days of hi-tech mumbo-jumbo that descended to its nadir with "BUGS" back in the 90's... Jaye Griffiths was wooden in that too. (She played "Jac", the UNIT geek in "The Magician's Apprentice")

    Yes, yes, I know it's not supposed to be realistic, but there's a difference between suspension of disbelief and totally making it up as you go along.

    1. a cynic writes...

      Re: Science happens to other people a Faraday Cage ?

      I thought that for a second then I realised that a Faraday cage wouldn't block sound. Sonic Sunglasses - the hint's in the name.

      The science is still bollocks of course but then it always has been. Unless you know a way to "reverse the polarity in the neutron flow"?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Science happens to other people

        He said it was WiFi. Putting aside whether there'll be WiFi 100 years from now, soundwaves don't magically convert into radio waves when they leave a Faraday cage. They should have brought her down to look through the window.

        No pass from me. Bah, humbug.

        1. Jess

          Wifi in a faraday cage - not a problem.

          You simply have an access point on the inside.

    2. Tom 7

      Re: Science happens to other people

      There is a big window in the door - plenty of bandwidth for a variety of transmission methods.

    3. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Science happens to other people

      Oh. BUGS.

      I think I actually did wet myself laughing when what's his name off Neighbours finally got the really important piece of hardware and...

      ...holds up an Astec UHF modulator.

      Wow, that show could really repurpose mundane electronics things into the epic. It's not a soldering iron it's a mumble mumble red button reset device mumble!!!

      1. Chris King

        Re: Science happens to other people

        That, and pulling a "DVD" out of a server - hang on a moment, that's an MD-data disk !

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      And this is why I like reading El Reg, we all focus on the tech side of things and seemingly overlook the rest. I mean: forget about those radio waves getting out: what about the doctor?

      Several 'ghosts' which can outrun humans, all banded together in the faraday cage and the doctor decides to join them. We see that they quickly gather around him and continue to repeat their message. We also learn that the 'ghosts' realize their predicament; otherwise they wouldn't try to tamper with the computers again later on.

      So how did the doctor get out of there? That's the part which irked me. Maybe he told them a joke and mentioned something in the likes of "Look behind you!" while he quickly slipped out?

      It's like I mentioned some weeks ago; this series will most likely become massively entertaining but the quality is bound to drop a bit. Which I think is just what happened here.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the plus side

    It featured one of the best rants about the Doctor being a dick for a long time.

  13. Paul Shirley

    dumbed down Clara

    Looks like they're pandering to the Clara haters and giving her nothing to do or say. Death by neglect. Give the girl a decent exit and do it soon.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: dumbed down Clara

      It looks like Clara is wearing something similar to the pinafore outfit she had on when she first became the Assistant; stylistic bookends?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has anyone seen my turd polishing kit? Though I think it would struggle with the latest episode of Dr Pooh. I'm wondering is Mr Tumble going to be in part 2?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The companion role has been a bit "oh, we thought you were leaving last series"; in the first two episodes missy and clara seemed to be included only give the other one something to do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's odd, 'cos I saw it as a means for the relationship between the Doctor and the companion to be considered. The way Clara/Missy act is a parallel to Clara/Doctor but with added psychotic verve.

      It also stops the episode being an Eastenders style two-hander Davros and the Doctor talking in a room which people would definitely complain about. And unless they go in the sewers and also someone into the Dalek the story doesn't play out and wrap up tidily.

  16. Zot

    Still camp though...

    "I missed "Shirley Bassey" he says whilst skipping passed the camera.

    How gay do they want to make him now? Geeez.

  17. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Whenever I see those virtual reality controlling things with outstretched arms, I know I'm in the realm of clueless arts graduates without an ounce of engineering knowhow amongst them. Try doing that for more than two minutes, it will feel like your arms are dropping off. You need to be comfortably sat down with your arms resting on a surface just in front of you. Isaac Asimov got this right with the VR controlled spaceship in the later Foundation novels.

  18. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Abbott And Costello spoiler

    Who's in the box.

    1. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: Abbott And Costello spoiler

      well, Moffat did the person you'd least expect in the Pandorica Opens/Big Bang

      so it ought to be the obvious. I suspect whether it will be or not, the occupant will be the key/solution to the episode.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Abbott And Costello spoiler

        "so it ought to be the obvious. I suspect whether it will be or not, the occupant will be the key/solution to the episode."

        My bet is on it being the doctor in there.

  19. x 7

    can I just point out that the corridor chase / shutting door sequence was pinched from Alien3, not from Alien......

    1. Mike Flex

      "the corridor chase / shutting door sequence was pinched from Alien3, not from Alien..."

      To be fair, Alien 3 is the one we all try to forget.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        > To be fair, Alien 3 is the one we all try to forget.

        Nah, it has its charm and considering the fight during production time, still works. Alien 4, however....

    2. Steven Raith

      I did think that - for people who are whining about how Dr Who is bad sci-fi etc, the amount of time it took for someone to point that little factoid out is, at best, worrying.

      FWIW I thought it was a decent homage and twist on it. And if all the rest of the series will be two parters, at least it'll mean that they might get a chance to write something meaty and not have silly 'kiddy' episodes like that bloody Robin Hood thing last year.

      You might not think Alien 3 is all that, but that aforementioned episode makes Alien 3 look like fucking Shakespeare.

      Steven R

  20. Andy 73 Silver badge

    Miserable much?

    You lot are miserable, we're rather enjoying this series. Some good dialogue, blink and you'll miss it references, Capaldi no longer worrying about whether he's allowed to be Doctor Who and at last stories long enough to catch breath.

    Sure, it's not as good as a classic film with a million times the budget (let's just ignore how bad the rest of the Alien franchise got, and the dozens of other films of the time that tried and failed to go there), but it plays with some nice ideas and still brings the occasional surprise. Maybe I'm just not cynical/smug/self referential enough to see through this dumb kiddies programme, but on a Saturday evening, it goes down rather well.

    1. trance gemini

      Re: Miserable much?

      Hey look! - it's another happy person on the internet! I thought we'd all given up trying to keep our heads above the rising tide of negative-biased slurry that passes for communication these days.

      YOU, beautiful being, can stroke my tail

      1. trance gemini

        Re: Miserable much?

        just the once though

      2. Andy 73 Silver badge

        Re: Miserable much?

        Nice tail. The purple suits you.

  21. phil dude


    at least I have stopped thinking the Doctor will be dropping F-bombs, so that's a plus point to PC.

    And as an aside, he *sounds* a little bit like Tom some phrases....


    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: well....

      He can say 'fuck' all he likes for all I care. Depending on the incarnation. Nine it would fit fine. Ten or Five, it really wouldn't. The wording that bothered me this episode was when he said "Oh god!" seemed pretty out of character for him. I mean he's met a few and they'd hardly inspire devotion in him. Usually he kills them or banishes them to some outer dimension.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe most of you lot have it in for Clara.

    I for one would really miss her. She really gets my wrist err… pulse going

    1. x 7

      "She really gets my wrist err… pulse going"

      you'll have to wait for the episode "Clara does Dallas" if you want to do that

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        FUND IT!

  23. Bruce Ordway

    Doctor Who is still better than 99% of other shows on TV.

    I always view Doctor Who... even when I might not quite like some of the modern scripts or characters.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BBC America doesn't care what we think

    It was boring, but hundreds of commentators on an american TV site I read are raving about it so don't expect any changes anytime soon.

  25. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    "This is a first for a regular, non-series opener or final or special since Doctor Who rebooted in 2005 with the ninth Time Lord."

    No. There have been previous two parters that weren't season openers or finales. The three that spring immediately to mind were from the RTD era, but written by Moffat. There's a thing.

  26. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    "It’s difficult to escape the powerful gravitational force of science-fiction totems like Alien, Aliens, Predator, The Thing and Event Horizon."

    Except of course that Who was doing this type of plots long before those films were made.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Ancient Greeks were doing these type of plots, really.

      We are talking HIGH IMPACT MOVIE.

      1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

        You can't accuse somebody of copying something from a HIGH IMPACT MOVIE when the movie came later. Next you'll be arguing allof Apple's parents are valid even though they failed to acknowledge prior art and smaller companies did it first because Apple are a HIGH IMPACT COMPANY.

        1. x 7

          " allof Apple's parents are valid"

          whats an invalid parent - one in a care home?

          1. Alister

            whats an invalid parent - one in a care home?

            He's just trying to say Apple are Bastards, without actually saying "Apple are Bastards"

    2. x 7

      " Who was doing this type of plots long before those films were made."

      just not very well......

  27. Six_Degrees

    Clara and The Doctor just seem incapable of gelling. Neither seems at all comfortable with their roles, let alone with each other.

  28. lorisarvendu

    Damned if you do and damned if you don't

    A certain American blogger (who often points out "racist" elements in Doctor Who) recently complained about Captain Moran being the first to die, claiming that it was another unfortunate case of killing the black character first. However it could be seen as an example of the far more powerful trope of "killing the Captain first", and I wonder if Colin McFarlane had been cast as anyone other than the Captain then he would have complained that once more a black character is not portrayed as being in charge.

    In terms of screen time Moran may well have been killed first, but rather than just remaining a corpse it actually made him one of the most important (and scary!) characters for the next 45 minutes. But I guess you sees what you wants to see.

    Note: Happy icon to express my enjoyment of the episode!

    1. x 7

      Re: Damned if you do and damned if you don't

      what I don't understand is how Colin McFarlane's character is still alive a few hundred years after the events of "Children of Earth".......and seems to have been demoted in the process

      are the BBC running out of continuity staff? or out of actors?

      1. Alien8n

        Re: Damned if you do and damned if you don't

        There are plenty of real life examples to allow this. There was a story just this year of 2 totally unrelated people who actually lived in the same town and went to the same school but who look like twins. And then you get all the people who actually make a living impersonating famous people. So getting away with having the same actor play 2 different characters in a series isn't that far fetched (and not the first time either in Dr Who, at least 2 companions have started out as secondary characters before becoming companions, and that's just since 2005)

        1. Simon Harris

          Re: Damned if you do and damned if you don't

          Not to mention a minor character who went on to become the Doctor.

          1. x 7

            Re: Damned if you do and damned if you don't

            "Not to mention a minor character who went on to become the Doctor"

            thinking about it he actually played two characters........the civil servant in CofE (Frobisher???), and also the chap in Pompeii

            but in the case of the Pompeii episode there may be an excuse.....somewhere along the line there was an episode which seemed to indicate that the Doctor on regeneration could only copy the faces of people he'd met....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damned if you do and damned if you don't

      Wasn't the blogger pleased that the greedy snivelly piece of work was a white guy?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Under the Lake?

    There are no lakes in Caithness.

    That is all.

    1. x 7

      Re: Under the Lake?

      "There are no lakes in Caithness"

      there are if you understand that lake, loch and lough are all mispronounciations of the same historic word, with the same underlying meaning

      1. lorisarvendu

        Re: Under the Lake?

        If it had been called "Under the Loch", that might have led everyone to assume it to be a sequel to 1975's "Terror of the Zygons".

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Under the Lake?

          Are we sure it isn't Zygons? Are they coming later?

          1. Simon Harris

            Re: Under the Lake?

            "Are we sure it isn't Zygons? Are they coming later?"

            The story after next by the look of things.

      2. Alister

        Re: Under the Lake?

        if you understand that lake, loch and lough are all mispronounciations of the same historic word,

        You forgot Llyn.

        1. x 7

          Re: Under the Lake?

          "You forgot Llyn."

          The Welch equivalent appears to be "llwch"

          LLyn / Lin / Linne appears to be a from a different stem, though if you go back far enough who knows for real.......?

  30. Alien8n

    No more Dr Who?

    Just read that next year's series may actually get cancelled (it's speculation, but given who's in charge it's not far fetched speculation) to be replaced by 3 or 4 "specials" similar to Sherlock. The other option is to completely reboot the series from scratch the following year. The big issue for me with this is Dr Who seems to have become a poisoned chalice where no actor remains long enough to really make their mark in the way the first 4 did. The only one to do that since the reboot was David Tennant. Add to this the ridiculous scheduling, you don't know from one week to the next when it's going to air, it's no wonder they can't maintain viewing figures if no one even knows when to watch it.

    1. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: No more Dr Who?

      It's been speculation for a while that there might be a "year off" to avoid viewer fatigue.

      The announcement of the BBC3/teenager-targeted "Class" series which looks to occupy part of the usual Doctor Who production schedule seems be fuelling this.

      Alternatively it may be more a case of displacing the run of Doctor Who to a different part of the year when scheduling will not be affected by Strictly. (because Strictly has to be filmed entirely in one evening, results show included it's start time is inflexible )

      A year of specials was done before, at the tail end of Tennants run and that was to give time for Moffat Matt Smith and the rest of the incoming team to get up to speed for Series 7. As yet there is no expectation of a suitable successor to Moffat available though I did hear one commentator suggest Anthony Horowitz.

      1. lorisarvendu

        Re: No more Dr Who?

        The Specials year certainly did combat "Viewer fatigue", garnering "New" Who's highest viewing figures from 2005 to date (the only one that dipped below 10 million was "Planet of the Dead").

        It's possible that viewer fatigue had set in by Patrick Troughton's era, with Season 6 being watched by an average of 6 million. When Jon Pertwee came along, the show was reduced from 44 episodes a year to 27, and by the time of his 4th year was back up to almost 9 million viewers.

        Of course by the time it was cancelled in 1989 it was just 14 weeks long with an average figure of 4 million, so what do I know...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No more Dr Who?

          Specials year was made up of stories shown on Easter Saturday, Christmas Day 2009/New Years day 2010 two-parter, with another in November. Some of those should have got above average viewers compared to an ordinary Saturday broadcast anyway.

          1. lorisarvendu

            Re: No more Dr Who?

            Well "Planet of the Dead" pulled 9.7 million on Easter Saturday, while "Waters of Mars" pulled 10.3 on a non-holiday Saturday in November. Both "End of Time" episodes beat 12 million and they were over Christmas. However "Last Christmas" was also over...well Christmas...and that only pulled 8 million, scarcely more than an ordinary episode.

            That does add credence to the idea that Specials in a year with very little Who do far better than one that comes just over a month after a complete 12-week series.

            Doctor Who tends to pull in viewers if there's something unusual happening (new Doctor, new companion) or if it hasn't been on for a while (season openers always seem to add an extra million).

  31. David Nash

    Viewer "fatigue"?

    There aren't that many of them anyway, how easy do these viewers get "fatigued"?

    And talk of "completely reboot the series from scratch " - what would that mean in this context?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Viewer "fatigue"?

      Ratings typically around 6 to 7 million over course of week plus something around 1 million iplayer "requests"

      'reboot' in this context would be new actor playing the Doctor, new companion(s), and a new production team/showrunner

      1. x 7

        Re: Viewer "fatigue"?

        "'reboot' in this context would be new actor playing the Doctor, new companion(s), and a new production team/showrunner"

        so nothing new then.....

        though I can't help feeling a real total clear-the-decks reboot would help, with nothing left from the current team at all - not like the baton-passing which handed the show to Muffit

    2. Andrew Moore

      Re: Viewer "fatigue"?

      Surely if Viewer Fatigue was a thing, Eastenders and Coronation Street would have disappeared years ago.

    3. 2Fat2Bald

      Re: Viewer "fatigue"?

      As a geek I have to say "That would depend if they save to non-volatile storage before rebooting" ;-)

  32. 2Fat2Bald

    I liked it. Reminded me of the Dr Who from when I was a kid. Made with modern technology, but the story was right out of the Tom Baker era. I have a feeling that Clara's dress was worn by an early Dr Who companion. But I can't think who.

    Looking forward to part two.

    1. x 7

      " I have a feeling that Clara's dress was worn by an early Dr Who companion"

      Jamie's kilt perhaps?

  33. Howard Hanek


    I'm waiting for the "Phasers set on stun' command......

  34. Bucky 2

    The "New" Clara

    I'm actually extremely happy with this season's Clara.

    Last season, all she did was waffle about which man she wanted to submit her will to. Boo! Blech! Heroes don't behave that way.

    This season, she's much more the self-assured, bright, adventurous heroine that Companions are supposed to be. I think the episodes so far move much more smoothly, and are much more fun to watch because of the change.

    1. lorisarvendu

      Re: The "New" Clara

      "...This season, she's much more the self-assured, bright, adventurous heroine that Companions are supposed to be...."

      Almost to the point of cocky at times. This seems to be a recurring characteristic of at least 3 of the new series companions now - hubris and a touch of arrogance. Both Rose Tyler and Amy Pond were guilty of this is some stories, ending up having to be rescued by the Doctor. I'm thinking of Rose losing her face in "The Idiot's Lantern" and Pond walking into the clutches of the fish vampires in "Vampires of Venice".

      I'm not objecting you understand. Just pointing it out. They are after all not Real People.

  35. E net

    Hey Mr Moffat

    112 Comments and counting. Job Done !

  36. Maldax

    Jumping the Shark

    Dr Who's been trying to jump the shark since 'Blink' they should have stopped there! Not going to get any better

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