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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Scott
    March 17, 2014 @ 1:28 am

    "And more to the point, nothing like this had ever happened to Doctor Who, or indeed to any show: a massive hit continues with none of its cast or major creative team after a massive epic ending with the main character’s death."

    The only thing I can think of which even comes close is the original Law & Order, and that has a strictly episodic format, several key members of the creative team staying throughout the run and, well, Detective Briscoe was never trapped in an exploding time machine or anything of quite that epic scale.


  2. Thomas Lawrence
    March 17, 2014 @ 1:53 am

    There's an ominous final sentence.

    Were you any other author, I'd suspect that sentence, combined with your focus on the commentary rather than the episode, as indicating that you don't like the episode much and are setting up for a demotion of it on Wednesday…

    Of course, demolitions aren't really your style…

    I did really appreciate the focus on Julie Gardner's creative influence on the show during this era, though: it's something regrettably and somewhat sexistly elided in many critical accounts. It also seems like there's some through line here leading from your observations about Kate Orman, feminist fandom and slashfic to Julie Gardner's apparent interest in shipping Doctor/Master.


  3. Thomas Lawrence
    March 17, 2014 @ 2:01 am

    So, what IS the deal with the mystery Lady Time Lord in this? Doctor's Mum? To talk about the Doctor-mum is to not only raise the spectre of Lungbarrow and other such whoniversal concerns, but also the whole half-human business. (Personally I can see an easy solution there, with Human Nature's chameleon arch business establishing that Time Lords can change species, thereby allowing the Doctor's mother to be Gallifreyan and human at once – I can even imagine a neat if distressingly Campbellian story in which the Doctor recounts how his mother was inspired by humanity in some way to take the decision to change species before conceiving the Doctor, and discovering this being formative to the Doctor's interest in humanity….)

    On the other hand, maybe she's the Rani.


  4. Alex Wilcock
    March 17, 2014 @ 3:21 am

    Word of author or not, I still think of her as Susan.

    But, anyway, she can't be the Rani in that shot – just look at it! I'm quite certain whoever took that particular screengrab deliberately picked one with her most angelic halo just to look more Christmassy 😉

    I rather love this episode, but my much less angelic inner fan is still sniggering out of context at "a partially CGI turkey".


  5. Seeing_I
    March 17, 2014 @ 4:13 am

    Well this seems like as good a time as any to link to this fabulously self-indulgent song where RTD and Julie actually ARE the Doctor and Donna.


  6. Seeing_I
    March 17, 2014 @ 4:23 am

    Well I think RTD was wonderfully vague about this – at the end, when Wilf asks who she was, the Doctor looks off towards Donna, framed with Sylvia in the foreground, showing us in one shot a companion, a daughter, a granddaughter, a wife and a mother. So you can take your pick really!


  7. Thomas Lawrence
    March 17, 2014 @ 4:55 am

    She's all of the above? Wibbly-wobbly, incest-wincest…


  8. J Mairs
    March 17, 2014 @ 5:45 am

    "Personally I can see an easy solution there, with Human Nature's chameleon arch business establishing that Time Lords can change species, thereby allowing the Doctor's mother to be Gallifreyan and human at once – I can even imagine a neat if distressingly Campbellian story in which the Doctor recounts how his mother was inspired by humanity in some way to take the decision to change species before conceiving the Doctor, and discovering this being formative to the Doctor's interest in humanity…."

    Two words: Metacrisis Mother.


  9. Lewis Christian
    March 17, 2014 @ 6:00 am

    It's wonderful that this leaked; it's a true delight and sums up the Davies/Gardner era and partnership wonderfully.


  10. othemts
    March 17, 2014 @ 6:04 am

    That's my main frame or reference for Davies and Gardner's relationship, so I was kind of expecting that to be referred to somewhere in the post. Then there's the equally fabulously self-indulgent wrap party music video set to "500 Miles."


  11. Lewis Christian
    March 17, 2014 @ 7:03 am

    Also, I think Phil Collinson deserves a brief mention. Whilst he left at the end of Series 4, his contribution to the Davies/Gardner era was no doubt massive, and the three of them together really were something special.


  12. jane
    March 17, 2014 @ 7:22 am

    "She's all of the above? Wibbly-wobbly, incest-wincest…"

    Oh great, the Supernatural fandom has rooted us out…


  13. Daibhid C
    March 17, 2014 @ 7:44 am

    Beaten to it!

    And in terms of "if they were fictional, you'd ship them", it might be worth pointing out that this is a parody of a song about a married couple about to have sex.


  14. encyclops
    March 17, 2014 @ 7:49 am

    I'm still learning more about the production side of the RTD era — I haven't watched any of the Confidentials or listened to any of the commentary, ever (I know!) — and I love that you spent this post lauding the Davies/Gardner partnership. Maybe other fans already had a clear picture of how this worked in the new Who era but I didn't, and I really enjoyed reading your take on it.

    I can't imagine how what you have to say about Part Two could top this, but I can't wait to find out.


  15. encyclops
    March 17, 2014 @ 7:52 am

    He must have liked something about it — it narrowly made the "8" bracket in his story rankings, just ahead of "Father's Day" and just behind "The Aztecs."

    Maybe, like me, he has a mixed reaction to the whole thing; there are some parts of "The End of Time" I find really engaging and charming, and other parts I can't stand. We'll find out!


  16. BerserkRL
    March 17, 2014 @ 8:22 am

    The CGI effect to make the Nobles’ turkey look cooked after the set department used a raw turkey

    They should have just explained that Clara went back in time from "Time of the Doctor" and switched her raw turkey for their cooked one.


  17. BerserkRL
    March 17, 2014 @ 8:23 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  18. Chadwick
    March 17, 2014 @ 9:10 am

    In the build up to this episode I remember the Times columnist, Caitlin Moran, doing a spiel in her column and on TV that Dr Who should end with Tennant's and Davies' departure and I always equated the suggestion that it should end with them as the views of a particular type of Tennant/Davies fan who had no sense of the show's history. That it may have been mooted within the Dr Who production team is a revelation, although how serious that idea was I don't know….probably not very seriously. To have done so assumes that the show is embodied by one individual, which it never has been. The change of production style and the efforts of Davies to bring back the show could lead someone into thinking that.


  19. liminal fruitbat
    March 17, 2014 @ 9:54 am

    No – Clara's the explanation for things being fixed. This was Great Intelligence work – if he can reshape Yeti he can uncook turkeys. For reasons.


  20. liminal fruitbat
    March 17, 2014 @ 10:13 am

    Which brings up this thought: has anyone suggested the Woman is Time Lord Clara yet?


  21. Corpus Christi Music Scene
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:34 am

    Both of those videos shouldve been on the DVD


  22. Jarl
    March 17, 2014 @ 12:10 pm

    So did anyone else pick up a weird incestuous vibe from the Naismiths?


  23. Thomas Lawrence
    March 17, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

    I hadn't seen this before! It's quite wonderful.


  24. Spacewarp
    March 17, 2014 @ 2:26 pm

    With no Mum Naismith in sight? Oh yes, very much so.


  25. Bennett
    March 17, 2014 @ 3:03 pm

    I guess you could claim that when you're sitting at the feet of immortality 'reproductive futurism' loses all purpose and meaning, hence the father-daughter relationship would have to redefine itself as something new.

    Though that doesn't make all the touching and orgasming they do any less creepy. But then again, they are obscenely rich. It's probably a British class thing.


  26. storiteller
    March 17, 2014 @ 3:25 pm

    I always thought she was Romana. After all, she takes the companion role of being his conscience. Also, Romana was President of the Time Lords, so it completely makes sense for her to be on the High Council.


  27. Matthew Blanchette
    March 17, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

    I'm surprised, Phil; thought you'd do "The End of Time" all in one go, like the other one-catch-all-titled, multi-episode "Who" stories.

    However… I'm a bit excited: The current missing episodes rumor is that they've found "Marco Polo"… and "The Massacre". Only a rumor, but… to think…


  28. Elizabeth Sandifer
    March 17, 2014 @ 5:46 pm

    I originally was going to, but I wanted to do two very different things with the story, and they didn't go together in one post at all. Notably, this entry makes no attempt to only be about Part One, and likewise, neither will Wednesday's. But the two parts really just didn't go together in one entry, so.


  29. Elizabeth Sandifer
    March 17, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

    Demolitions aren't my style, and I do quite like End of Time, but as I've often said, this is not a review blog, and sometimes my personal views on a story are subservient to the larger narratives of the blog.


  30. ferret
    March 17, 2014 @ 6:19 pm

    It's a great post, and I wonder if you'll do an entry on "The Writer's Tale", although posts like this and others that touch on it may have covered its points of interest.


  31. ferret
    March 17, 2014 @ 6:26 pm

    I still wonder why they bothered with the Mystery Lady at all – the only usefulness of her character seems to be there to give Wilf some insight and motivation, which I'm sure wasn't plot-breakingly necessary.

    Whereas the Naismtihs, I'm amazed how underused they are when they should be the prime movers of the nefarious elements of the plot, instead of fading into the carpet as they do. Why not have them engineer the Masters resurrection and grab him from the get-go, so we can spend more time with them?

    I have a lot of issues with The End Of Time, and even after having read The Writers Tale I'm still flummoxed as to how it this 135 minute show turned out to be (in my personal opinion) such big a mess.


  32. Matthew Blanchette
    March 17, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

    I half-expected, Phil, that you were going to do it in a similar way you did the ending of Series 1, with those parallel columns.


  33. Elizabeth Sandifer
    March 17, 2014 @ 6:52 pm

    I am going to do a Writer's Tale post, but it may be out of sequence. It will be worth the wait, however. I promise. I have something really special planned for it.

    The two posts does, in its own way, mirror the parallel columns thing, and I'm conscious of that, but the two posts aren't the same length and really do have very, very different takes. So two posts it is.


  34. Seeing_I
    March 18, 2014 @ 3:38 am

    Something special, eh?

    (Ballad of Russell & Julie) Shall you email some young male to alleviate the stress on thee?


  35. heroesandrivals
    March 18, 2014 @ 12:50 pm

    Thanks for the link, I'd never seen this before!


  36. heroesandrivals
    March 18, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

    The first review was a commentary on the commentary track, which was surprisingly fascinating. I look forward to seeing how it sits behind the 'part 2' review.


  37. drfgsdgsdf
    March 20, 2014 @ 7:58 am

    It kind of makes me sad that while fans pay more attention to what goes on behind the scenes, be it a sensitive look at the works of Ian Briggs outrage at the return of Stephen Thompson but it does mean that some also overlook the achievements of RTD and Julie (and Phil C)

    Talking to non-fans who know about television, what they did was amazing, On Saturday , primetime, science fiction old cult show. It was unheard of and then the way they sustained it for years (rather than it just being Who fever)
    But to some fans the idea of bringing back Doctor Who is a no brainer, of course it was going to happen, if anything RTD and Julie ruined it's natural triumphant return and success by filling it with burping bins, farting aliens and Peter Kay. Oh and "destroying the mythos" that was one I read today

    I can understand a non-fan like Julie considering bringing the show to a close, I mean if you imagine RTD creating it, that's what you would do after 5 or so years, if the lead actor is leaving and the showrunner is nearly dying from overwork.

    Also want to send out some love for The End of Time, such a strange wonderful mix of elements. Not RTD's best work, but enough of his big mad images and humanity to satisfy me


  38. Alan
    March 21, 2014 @ 8:50 am

    Honestly, I thought she was his young trophy wife right up until the moment he said she was his daughter.


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    April 8, 2014 @ 9:20 am

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