The struggle in terms of the strange

Skip to content

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.

53 Comments

  1. prandeamus
    January 8, 2024 @ 9:18 am

    The era was frankly boring, most of the time. The Doctor faces the mindless Infodump creatures of Spelundar 98, has acres of plot mansplained to her, with bad lighting to boot. Chibnall writes characters who see a spaceship in the sky, point, and say “oh look a spaceship” as if no one can use their eyes. Which, given the poor lighting choices, is quite a lot of people.

    People vaguely recall this grey goo, have some vague memories of wokeness, and decide there’s a causal connection between them.

    I do think the team, like so many others, was royally screwed by Covid. Sometimes I think the best Jodie scene was the monologue to camera encouraging kids not to be scared (while she was avoiding Sontarans or something). Inside the Flux mess is a good story trying hard to get out.

    Such a waste.

    Reply

    • Ross
      January 8, 2024 @ 11:28 am

      A couple of weeks ago, I tried to go over The Flux in my head, and discovered that despite being able to remember everything that HAPPENED in that miniseries, I have no idea what the plot actually is. There’s a dozen things going on, and it’s not clear if any of them have anything to do with each other. Are the Ravagers part of Tecteun’s plan, or just opportunists running taking advantage of the Flux to run their own plot? What does the Master Serpent and his plot have to do with…. Anything? The time tunnels are there because… Um… Time is a sentient malevolent force, which is deligthfully Sapphire and Steel, and it has…. Something? To do with… Um…. No, it’s just a pile of parts, each of which makes its own kind of sense, but there’s no underlying thread of sense assembling them into a coherent story.
      It feels like it was written by an AI – a remix of coherent parts that are assembled in a way that meets a technical definition of a story, but composed statistically by someone who knows what things go in a story but not how or why they work.

      Reply

      • William Shaw
        January 8, 2024 @ 11:59 am

        I once heard Flux described as a story being told by a parent before bed, that they hurriedly wrap up once they realise how late it’s getting.

        ‘And then they were rescued by oh, let’s say… Joseph Williamson.’

        Reply

      • wyngatecarpenter
        January 8, 2024 @ 5:00 pm

        It did occur to me that maybe somewhere there was a good idea behind Flux, that the Flux itself represented the way that people’s lives had recently been disrupted by the pandemic – characters suddenly being seperated from each other and evrything they knew. But if it was , that seems to be as far as the idea went, and I suspect it was accidental. I agree with more or less everything you’ve said just there. The entire first epsiode felt like one long season trailer and it didn’t get much more coherent from there.

        Reply

      • Aristide Twain
        January 8, 2024 @ 7:54 pm

        Over in the Eruditorum Discord I have taken the title of Flux Understander for being cursed with the ability to answer questions like this. Taking yours in order:

        — The Crystal Wonder Twins (I love them but will not do them the disservice of calling them “Ravagers”) were deliberately released by Tecteun in the hope that they’d cause temporal destruction to match the purely physical destruction of the Flux, and thereby finish destroying the universe ‘for’ her even though they’ve historically been enemies to Division. She just didn’t expect them to achieve this by killing her to highjack her Flux-controlling machinery.

        — In the present day, the Grand Serpent is there to facilitate the Sontarans’ second invasion of Earth. It just so happens that this particular Lytton/Delgado-Master hybrid used to be the very space-dictator who separated Bel and Vinder some time back in revenge for them exposing his corruption. (Bel and Vinder being otherwise-random alien survivors of the Flux who happen to bump into the Doctor & gang.)

        — The Time Tunnels and other time-anomalies are there because the Flux destroyed part of the Temple of Atropos, which means the Time-Lord-instituted laws of rationality and linear-time are being weakened. This also means that the sentient incarnation of Time itself is beginning to free itself from its primordial shackling. The Crystal Wonder Twins worship Time-the-deity and their original beef with Division was that they viewed shackling it as blasphemy (it’s all rather like Faction Paradox’s Enemy if everything was a lot dumber).

        Reply

  2. John Binns
    January 8, 2024 @ 12:31 pm

    There is undoubtedly a lack of flashiness to this episode, to the season that follows it, and to its (lack of) paratext. And it clearly isn’t accidental. Look at the lack of title sequence, and the holding back of the TARDIS interior reveal. Look at the refusal to tease the audience (fan or otherwise) with tidbits of news or gossip, or returning monsters or characters. It’s as if the aim is to show a new sort of integrity, where the show eschews such gimmickry in favour of standing on its merits, a simple hour of drama with the Doctor in it. Was that the idea? (Not meaning to make excuses for it, mind – it seemed willfully perverse to me at the time, more so since – but it does seem to be part of the mission…)

    Reply

    • Arthur
      January 11, 2024 @ 7:19 am

      There did seem to be a move away from the the show being something that had to be part of or compete with ‘shiny floor’ Saturday night shows like Strictly or Ant & Dec, and to be seen as worthy drama. Maybe to capitalise on Chibnall’s Broadchurch reputation.

      Reply

      • Arthur
        January 11, 2024 @ 8:01 am

        Um, that’s weird – I 100% did not post this comment (I did post the previous two comments under my name) but the site seems to have applied my name/website link to this (and e-mail address? dunno, I guess only Elizabeth can see that). Weird.

        Reply

        • wyngatecarpenter
          January 12, 2024 @ 12:39 pm

          I posted a comment a few days ago and it prefilled name , email and website with Kate Orman’s , but I spotted it on time – very odd.

          Reply

          • Kate Orman
            January 12, 2024 @ 5:45 pm

            Like the PsiCorp, I’m everywhere — for your convenience.

  3. Rei Maruwa
    January 8, 2024 @ 12:33 pm

    For my money – and this isn’t a thesis I’m 100% sure how to word – “a normal, traditionalist story with progressive social politics” strikes me as an inherently contradictory premise. There’s always been a link between the way people criticize “weird” art and the way they criticize people – look up the Nazi concept of “degenerate art” for example. As such, any rejection of the weird in storytelling feels politically conservative to me, and so it’s an inevitability that the diversity of Chibnall’s show remains surface level. Contrast this heavily with Davies running out the gate with Wild Blue Yonder and The Giggle, which are plainly comparable to concepts from SCP Foundation and Doom Patrol respectively, works which (admirably, imo) embrace weirdness for its own sake.

    I know, of course, there are lots of other minorities who disagree with me and hold the same conservative criticisms of weird art (“pretentious”, “nonsensical”, etc.), and similarly lots of minorities who enjoyed Chibnall’s diversity. Not much I can do about that, but I’ll always feel more represented by something that embraces the margins of the world, not just pulls the marginalized into the normal, central world.

    Reply

    • John Binns
      January 8, 2024 @ 12:41 pm

      ‘Storytelling with diversity’ as opposed to ‘divergent storytelling’? With RTD2, finally Doctor Who is both.

      Reply

    • TheWrittenTevs
      January 9, 2024 @ 4:05 am

      I don’t think that there’s any inherent link between “weird art” and “politically progressive art”. Take Futurism for instance, or the works of Erza Pound. It’s entirely possible to embrace experimental story structures while not caring for a progressive aesthetic, much like it’s possible to want to produce a bog-standard example of a genre the writer likes starring a person who looks more like them.

      I do agree that one of biggest specific problems with the Chibnall era is its non-functional attempts to marry its progressive aesthetic to an attempted “realistic” view of the world, such that Team TARDIS spend many episodes trying to affect the world around them but keep finding they can’t. In order to work as the symbols of hope that Chibnall wants his characters to be, they really should’ve allowed the show to be more utopian and engage in some more fantastical wish fulfilment every now and then.

      Reply

      • Rei Maruwa
        January 9, 2024 @ 12:54 pm

        It’s possible to do whatever someone wants, but that doesn’t change my opinion at all. I simply don’t find the latter to be very progressive. Moreover, the link I was establishing has less to do with any individual artwork and more to do with how these things have been framed historically – the Nazi “degenerate art” ideas are still pushed by people like PragerU in the present day.

        Reply

    • Brian B.
      January 14, 2024 @ 12:34 am

      The television series “Leverage” is a very traditional, episodic collection of heist stories in which the diversely-cast heroes are lefty radicals who expose/ rip off/ punish very realistic businesses and corporations for very standard corporate evils. The novels of Terry Pratchett are tightly-plotted, action-packed gatherings of Tolkienesque elements that are literally all about the hows, and whys of social progress. For that matter a lot of my early deep distrust of cops and the military came from reading Stephen King novels at an early age. “Traditional” storytelling can go with radicalism. It just doesn’t, in Chibnall’s case.

      Reply

      • Rei Maruwa
        January 14, 2024 @ 3:38 am

        I apologize, but I find that listing individual counterexamples is not really engaging with what I was getting at. I also feel like Pratchett and King are probably much, much closer to “weird” than Chibnall is? Certainly none of these guys were working from a base seed of “I’m going to do something really normal, because tradition is good!” – their idea WAS the new things they brought to the familiar table, and I don’t think they would reject any weird elements ideologically. Chibnall’s idea is just to stay seated at the damn table (at least from my experience).

        Reply

        • Cyrano
          January 15, 2024 @ 3:49 pm

          I feel like if both pointing out that there are fascists who have embraced weird art and traditional art forms have been used for progressive political attitudes don’t give you at least pause, your point is less a point and more a vibe.

          Sure the Nazis talk about decadent art, but they’re not right! Traditional seeming art can absolutely have socialist or progressive leanings, and experimental art can actually be by and for fascists.

          Reply

          • Rei Maruwa
            January 16, 2024 @ 3:39 am

            My point was not “there are two categories everything falls into let me list them”, though. And yes, you could describe “I’m not sure how to word this yet, but this strikes me a certain way in this context” as a vibe, because it’s explicitly presented as an undeveloped feeling, so, yeah…?

            I’m not sure what else to say about this – certainly I have much more to say about Chibnall’s outright rejection of the weird in the context of Doctor Who, but that seems fruitless in the face of an absolutist point I didn’t intend to make.

    • Ike
      May 27, 2024 @ 4:55 pm

      Thanks so much for giving voice to a Chibnall criticism that I was struggling to grasp. One of my biggest complaints about this era is that it’s just not weird enough, and to me, if it’s not at least a little weird, it’s not Doctor Who, but I couldn’t express why that bothered me so much. That’s also why “It Takes You Away” is my favorite this season, because it has a frog that’s also a universe, and there’s nothing else even close to that delightfully strange all season.

      Reply

  4. Charlie Greep
    January 8, 2024 @ 1:42 pm

    It’s surprisingly good for a Chibnall episode. I remember at the time, as you say, people were more than willing to give this new era a fair chance. I also remember how the horrible one-two-punch of Arachnids and Tsuranga completely killed people’s enthusiastism for the new era and it never really recovered.

    Reply

    • Kate Orman
      January 8, 2024 @ 2:44 pm

      Remembering that time of hope, optimism, hope, forgiveness, hope, and then, partway through the season, the collapse, the admission, the rueful chuckle: “This isn’t any good, is it?”

      We wuz robbed. May this day be long delayed, but Mr Gatwa should regenerate into Miss Marple (only athletic enough for all the running, obvs).

      Reply

    • Przemek
      January 20, 2024 @ 5:49 pm

      Yeah, that was exactly the moment when my wife decided not to watch anymore. I can’t blame her.

      Reply

  5. John Anderson
    January 8, 2024 @ 1:59 pm

    Somewhat fatuous maybe, but this is Doctor Who made by “centrist dad”.

    Reply

  6. wyngatecarpenter
    January 8, 2024 @ 5:20 pm

    I think you are right that overall there was a sense of goodwill towards the series at the time. I rememember being optimistic about as well for personal reasons as I watched it with my son ( the first time we’d watched a new epsiode together) who had been diagnosed as dyspraxic a few months before, in fact just before we watched it I had been out with him trying to help him get the hang of riding his bike, so it seemed almost perfect. After watching the epsiode he wasn’t interested in watching Doctor Who anymore! The exception was The Tsungra Conundrum – he loved that, probably way more than anyone else has ever loved it.

    Reply

  7. Bedlinog
    January 9, 2024 @ 6:53 am

    This episode was the first to go out on a Sunday (in the UK). Which, on the BBC, is where ‘prestige’, serious drama goes out. Whoever made this decision, I think, it was a damaging one. Dr Who suddenly had a dour, earnest feel to it. And many, many kids who watched this would have been associating it with that uneasy, dread feeling that many get on a Sunday evening before having to go back to school …

    Reply

    • David
      January 9, 2024 @ 4:15 pm

      Yes, Sunday doesn’t suit Doctor Who – see also New Year’s Day. This is Doctor Who made for people who’d really rather be watching Poldark or Call the Midwife, but who won’t switch over after Countryfile if it’s gentle enough.

      The utterly misplaced “coming soon” trailer immediately after TWWFTE, featuring a load of D-list ITV soap stars, utterly uninspiring to pretty much anyone who might actually be interested in Doctor Who, was another sign of things to come.

      Reply

  8. Nick
    January 9, 2024 @ 10:14 am

    For your American non-Dr. Who fans, may we pretty pretty please get some more installments of Last War in Albion? It is a treat whenever the latest missive in the battle comes down.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      January 9, 2024 @ 10:16 am

      That won’t be coming until late this year at the earliest, I’m afraid.

      Reply

      • Nick
        January 9, 2024 @ 10:30 am

        Ah well. You can count on this Patreon’s support and the purchase of the next volume regardless of when it comes out.

        Reply

  9. Anton B
    January 9, 2024 @ 10:58 am

    It lost me early on because, dramatically, there was no reason I could see for any of the new companions to decide to travel with this Doctor.

    I wanted to love it. A new broom, new production crew, visual effects team and composer promised much but in effect proved defiant of analysis. It affected a kind of surface sheen. An inconsequential mood where, it seemed, nothing mattered as much as the Doctor and her pals’ passive-aggressive inaction in the face of episode after episode of low-level threats.
    This ineffectual, low-stakes, series paid lip-service to liberal concerns while focussing on the middle-aged white bloke’s angst about the fridging of his POC wife.
    This was a ‘Doctor Who’ era with nothing to say, constructed according to a genre formula of what a committee
    might decide a genre show of this nature should look like and cobbled together with no true purpose other. It was full of lampshaded signifiers that think mentioning a thing is the same as addressing it effectively. “I’m dispraxic” “I’m an Asian policewoman” “I’m a civil rights activist” etc etc. That thinks the past exists as nothing more than a prologue for a perfectly adequate present and that, for instance, making a stand for workers rights (the dreadful ‘Kerblam!’) makes you an insane murderous terrorist or fighting for equality (the well meaning but toothless ‘Rosa’) at best will earn you a pat on the head in the shape of the establishment naming a bloody asteroid after you.

    This non-confrontational Doctor only really worked when she was placed in a scenario where there was nothing to confront. Whittaker’s portrayal of the Doctor however, was at least convincing from her first appearance despite being given absolutely nothing to go on by the writers. She was never given a defining ‘Doctor’ moment. Her character as written was functional in the role but annoyingly unspectacular. Steven Moffat, with Michelle Gomez’s incandescent Missy provided a template for how a female Doctor could be done but Chibnall,albeit for reasons one can understand, clearly wanted to make his own mark and eschewed the madcap chaotic for the bland and ineffectual.

    Reply

    • prandeamus
      January 9, 2024 @ 12:37 pm

      Maybe it was an attempt to go for the Barbara/Ian aesthetic of being unwilling travellers at least for a few episodes. Since the “hugely unreliable TARDIS” concept has been out of favour for decades, it’s not sustainable. Clearly by the time of, let’s say Arachnids, the fam have enjoyed their time so much they stay with her.

      Not that this was particularly evident in the storytelling, but I see how it could have worked. And credit where it’s due, delaying the TARDIS reveal until the end of Ghost Monument was an interesting spin on the usual mechanics of a fresh regeneration/TARDIS.

      Spoiled because of that unearned “Ryan is dyspraxic until he isn’t” moment. And the “All-powerful vaguely bad guy just disappears” moment. And the “don’t touch the water it could be dangerous but nothing happens never mind let’s move on” moment. I haven’t bothered to rewatch since transmission, but taking GM and WWFTE together it’s just a sequence of things that happen.

      If you are able to extrapolate what it could have been, and some people seem to be able to do this, it’s great. But it doesn’t work for me.

      Reply

      • prandeamus
        January 9, 2024 @ 12:39 pm

        Attached to the wrong comment somehow. Oh well, no harm done

        Reply

      • Ross
        January 9, 2024 @ 2:41 pm

        I think – hope, really – that it was less about wanting to recreate the 60s trope of unwilling companions (I remember back in the RTD1 era some Old School Types saying it was an “insult” to the memory of former companions that companions now were allowed to go home and visit their family whenever they wanted. I pointed out that he was complaining that the Doctor had stopped kidnapping unwilling victims) and more about wanting the “moment” of the companions, having gotten home, realizing that they did in fact like doing this and wanted to stay.

        Reply

  10. SeeingI
    January 9, 2024 @ 11:01 am

    I was rather surprised Grace wasn’t mentioned in the Toymaker’s puppet show of companion deaths. The only one where the Doctor couldn’t stammer out an excuse for the Toymaker to mock. Do you think RTD thought it was just too grim? Perhaps she didn’t count as a companion? Or was he actually engaged in teasing Moffat, while going easy on Chibnall for what is widely seen as the most egregious fridging in many a year?

    Reply

    • Richard Lyth
      January 10, 2024 @ 4:58 am

      It’s more likely that the majority of the audience would have thought “Eh? Grace who?” and there would have had to be a long explanation of who she was to catch them up.

      Reply

      • Einarr
        January 10, 2024 @ 8:30 am

        “And zen zere was Grace, lovelee lovelee Grace, ze cancer nurse and zen ze wife of your friend Graham, ze poor older Dame who ist gefallen to her death from a Sheffield crane, ja?”

        “Ryan and Graham can still see her as a ghost sometimes.”

        “WELL THAT’S ALRIGHT THEN!”

        Reply

  11. arcbeatle
    January 9, 2024 @ 12:22 pm

    It’s strange looking back on my memories of this episode–I was at a convention, and they did a big screening of it in a room so packed people stood crowding the back, and sitting on the floor around the seats. The whole mood during the screening was electric: the laughs landed, the crowd ooo’d and ahh’d. There was applause at the end, and I watched wide eyed little girls jumping up and down with excitement walking out with their parents. I thought “Okay, wow, there was something special here.” It wasn’t my tea, but it was clearly someone’s, and I was excited to see where all of this went.

    A friend of the family’s child was enraptured by it, very quickly it had become her favorite show and she talked all the time about Doctor Who–and this new 13th Doctor who was her Doctor.

    I later asked how that child liked Flux. She hadn’t watched it, I’d been told. She’d lost interest after Series 12, and move on to other things. Not with a bang, but a whimper….

    Reply

    • Einarr
      January 10, 2024 @ 6:08 am

      That’s both desperately charming, and desperately sad. What a waste.

      Reply

  12. Dan
    January 9, 2024 @ 8:49 pm

    I particurly wanted this era to work because I had met Chris Chibnall at the DWAS Merseyside Local Group in 1986. I expected a brilliant Doctor after that first trailer. A dark costume, not to be messed with. The costume she had offered even greater possibilities of wrong-footing adversaries who underestimated her. Maybe this happened? I any case, I liked Jodie’s Doctor, while recognizing the era could have been better. At the same time, few eras deliver what I hope for them.

    Still this is an era with some very good episodes – It Takes You Away, The Haunting of Villa Diodati, Village f the Angels, and a lot that worked as entertainment.

    Reply

  13. Jesse
    January 9, 2024 @ 11:17 pm

    The benefit of the doubt! I too remember extending this era the benefit of the doubt. I don’t remember when exactly I stopped extending it, mostly because I have forgotten so much of what happened in these episodes, even the OK ones. Among its many sins, the Chibnall era was just not very memorable.

    (We’ll see how many memories come flooding back as I read your retrospective.)

    Reply

  14. Dan
    January 9, 2024 @ 11:28 pm

    Can we look forward to the redemptive readings of yore?

    Reply

    • prandeamus
      January 10, 2024 @ 2:25 am

      A redemptive reading of the last Jodie season would certainly be welcome.

      Reply

    • Einarr
      January 10, 2024 @ 3:18 am

      I wouldn’t hold your breath.

      Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      January 10, 2024 @ 1:54 pm

      Any, yes. Not a ton, because of specific challenges with this era I’ll talk about in subsequent posts. But it’s a thread I engage with throughout the era.

      Reply

  15. Arthur
    January 11, 2024 @ 6:35 am

    I just got to this in my watchthrough of the series and… OK, let me address the thing which made me really mark the episode down.

    Chibnall: hey gang, let’s have a female Doctor and a diverse set of companions and make Doctor Who more progressive than ever!

    Also Chibnall: fridges a Black woman in his first episode on the job.

    Grace’s death seems, to me, to be self-evidently a thing that happens primarily to motivate Graham to go adventuring in the TARDIS (since he now doesn’t have a wife back home to worry about) and to give him a bit of emotional baggage. Killing off a woman to give a man motivation is pretty much the dictionary definition of fridging in storytelling, and that’s what happened here. It does not augur well for the future.

    Reply

    • Arthur
      January 11, 2024 @ 7:03 am

      Oh, and a further thought: has there been any time other than An Unearthly Child where the show has attempted to introduce three new companions plus a new Doctor all at the same time? Doing it this way here seems to exacerbate the problems with not enough time being available to give everyone a scrap of character development, and also means we end up with a crew who are all ordinary people from contemporary Earth.

      I understand – but don’t agree with – the perspective that you need to have someone from the audience’s own societal context to be their mouthpiece, and I appreciate the attempt at diversity helps to widen the scope of that, but equally if all three companions are going to try and fill the “audience identification” role, that doesn’t suggest much in the way of niche protection (and of course you can hit the diversity mark just as easily with people from other time periods).

      Reply

      • prandeamus
        January 12, 2024 @ 11:41 am

        Rebooting a large main cast has happened before, but look at the different approaches
        – “Rose” Focus on new doctor and Rose + show concepts. We didn’t know Mickey and Rose’s family would return, and even then they were not really as a permanent set of companions in the old school sense.
        – “Eleventh Hour”, we see Rory in that episode but not again until “Vampires”. We see River a bit later and she’s never a week-in-week-out companion
        – The introduction of the early squabbling 5th Doctor team was staggered over several stories and much longer in real time.
        – Other big reboots like 3rd Doctor and Liz or 12th and Bill were smaller affairs.

        So it was a biggggggg shuffle of the team and the showrunner didn’t think to stagger the introductions. Maybe (guess) he was hoping for a big special with extra run time, and didn’t get it.

        Reply

        • Arthur
          January 12, 2024 @ 12:20 pm

          Maybe? But he did get extra runtime, Woman Who Fell To Earth is an hour long…

          Reply

          • prandeamus
            January 12, 2024 @ 1:51 pm

            Oh, right.

          • Arthur
            January 12, 2024 @ 2:42 pm

            To be fair, I can’t blame you for misremembering. When I think back over that episode it really doesn’t feel like enough happened to fill 45 minutes, let alone 64.

  16. David Cook
    January 28, 2024 @ 11:35 am

    I liked the Sheffield setting as it seemed more “normal” and “real” to me than “fictional” London. I say “fictional” because London to me is an unreal city, seen through the mirrors of Conan Doyle, The Sweeney, Dr Who or The Avengers. Even though I have visited it a few times, it’s still an unreal place.

    Reply

    • Kate Orman
      January 28, 2024 @ 5:19 pm

      In some ways I feel like I partly grew up in imaginary London / SE England, thanks to constant doses of Doctor Who and The Goodies (amongst many others). In the way kids have of not separating fiction from fact, London was both just another place in my neighbourhood, and fantasyland. I wonder if new Who has made London that place for further generations of kids. I feel like it probably hasn’t done it for Sheffield.

      Reply

      • Moon J. Cobwebb
        May 21, 2024 @ 7:10 am

        Davies clearly favours a fantasyland setting for Who – his stacking continuity of Big Worl Events over the late 00s and general 5 Minutes Into The Future setting of each season a year ahead of transmission was all about ungluing the show from strictly the world outside your window, while making it more kitchen sink than ever. A mad contradiction that nonetheless worked – now we have Mavity and a sense that time is incredibly malleable doing similar duties!

        By contrast Moffat was all about setting Big Events on the day of transmission where possible (Amy’s Wedding et al) while moving us out of the accessible unreality of London(tm) into – change is as good as a rest! Mind you we were back as soon as three years later, and then swung by Bristol for Bill. By this time much sense of alien invasions mounting in continuity had gently dissolved (although all Moffat actually ever completely retcons are the events of Journey’s End, make of that what you will)…

        And lastly Chibnall – I’m as big a critic as they come of his era of the show, and I certainly don’t think he had a clear take on half of the underlying ideas above (should people in Eve of the Daleks remember The Flux a few weeks ago? Do people ‘in universe’ remember Harold Saxon or Harriet Jones? Should the series feel like it’s set in reality or on television? Mostly I think he would say the former while writing the least inspired examples of the latter…), but I do think the northern shift in his era is one of the things it did well. Not all that impressive – Liverpudlian Writer Represents North Passably is hardly big news, but it was anything fresh, anything personal in the mix and lent little touches of verisimilitude otherwise sorely lacking. I expect it meant a lot to kids from those areas.

        I certainly look forward to the next new locus for the series whenever the current London renaissance subsides.

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.