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The Hidden History series of articles don’t review the episodes, or even outline the plot (though they might give things away), what these articles are for is to show you the depth of continuity woven into the stories, to see how each new story relates back to previous episodes in the recent and long distant past of Doctor Who.

The 2 Christmas episodes were dealt with in Part 1, and boy what a lot of hidden history we had in those 2 stories. Now to deal with Season 10 for real, to look at what the story was behind the story of the first 2 episodes The Pilot and Smile.

10.1 The Pilot

So, let’s start with the episode title The Pilot. Interestingly Doctor Who never had an episode called Pilot before, but it DID have two versions of the very first episode An Unearthly Child (1963). The original take of the episode had a fair few gaffs in it, such as TARDIS doors that would not close and some details about the Doctor’s history that they decided perhaps be kept more mysterious. The original take obviously showed promise, but was entirely reshot for transmission. Ironically, despite many episodes of the show being lost, both versions of this episode still remain in the archive. I guess as The Pilot introduces a new companion, it is one of the many “jumping on points” in the history of the show, so the producers must have decided that now was the time for the pilot.

As the action begins you hear squeaking from beyond the door, and then servo motors as Nardole raises his arm before a bolt drops to the floor. So this is a bit more of the backstory as to how Nardole got a body again. He was decapitated by Hydraflax in The Husbands of River Song (2015). We learned in The Return of Doctor Mysterio (2016) that the Doctor had reassembled him, but no real idea of how. So now we know that Nardole is part robot, and use of the word “reassembled” might mean he was before too.

As Bill investigates the room she sees an Out of Order sign, something we saw the First Doctor use in The War Machines (1966) when he landed the TARDIS in London, at a time Police Boxes were still in use.



She then notices 2 photos. One of River Song who we first meet in Silence in the Library (2008), the other being Susan Foreman, the Doctor’s Granddaughter, first seen in An Unearthly Child (1963) . The Doctor left her on Earth at the end of The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964), pretty much against her will, but he wanted a normal life for her. As he leaves her, the First Doctor delivers his famous “One day I shall come back” speech, which gets seen again in the cold open to the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors (1983) and again at the very end of the 50th Anniversary docu-drama An Adventure in Space and Time (2013).

Of course he did return, albeit off-screen in audio form, but still with Carole Ann Ford playing Susan, and Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor in Big Finish’s audio drama An Earthly Child (2010) where the Doctor meets his Great Grandson Alex, ironically played by Paul McGann’s son, Jake McGann. Then Susan’s story continued for the latter part of the Eighth Doctor’s 4th season with Big Finish, starting with a Doctor Who family Christmas in Relative Dimensions (2010). Who knows we may yet see Susan again.



Then she notices a pot full of sonic screwdrivers, and this is almost the full set, some of which he must have found copies of in a TARDIS cupboard, as we have definitely seen some of these destroyed. The Second Doctor was the first to use a sonic screwdriver in Fury from the Deep (1968), this was a very simple design with a glowing tip, the closest other variant to this being the War Doctor’s in The Day of the Doctor (2013), neither of which can be seen in the pot. In the pot on the left we have the Third Doctor’s with the yellow striped collar, famously seen exploding land mines in The Sea Devils (1972), then on the far right with a dark burgundy collar we have the Fourth Doctor’s which we first see in Robot (1975) setting off landmines without the head, and then he adds the head to use it as a sonic lance to cut through a door. Slightly off to the left we see an almost identical one with a red ring, this in fact IS the same one just repainted after the paint wore off, as it was the same prop used from the Fourth Doctor’s first story to the Fifth Doctor’s Visitation (1982) where it was destroyed by a Terileptil. From that point on the Fifth Doctor no longer had a sonic screwdriver, making do with a “kettle and a piece of string” as observed by the Tenth Doctor in Time Crash (2007). Neither did the Sixth, but at some point in the Seventh Doctor’s reign, after Survival (1989) he got himself a new one off screen, which is next left in the pot, sporting the silver ring and the red nib. We see this one for the first time in Doctor Who (1986) in the Seventh Doctor’s belongings, before it ends up being the Eighth Doctor’s as well, still in his possession in The Night of the Doctor (2013).

Twenty First century sonic screwdrivers started life with the Ninth Doctor using one in Rose (2005), which was the same one the Tenth Doctor until he fried it in Smith and Jones (2007), replacing it with a subtly different one. The Ninth and Tenth Doctor sonics are much shorter than the others “at rest” as it is extended as it is turned on. They are both in the pot, low down towards the front. The amount of them you can see isn’t really enough to tell which is which so it’s just a guess. The Eleventh Doctor started with Ten’s screwdriver in The Eleventh Hour (2010) but inevitably he fried that one, and replaced it with a chunkier device with an extending claw like head, which you can just about see at the back of the pot, behind the Fifth Doctor’s screwdriver. Twelve finally gets his own sonic at the end of Hell Bent (2015) but it’s presumably in his pocket, as it’s not in the pot.

Then we hear the Doctor’s guitar, first seen in The Magician’s Apprentice (2015), and he’s playing Beethoven’s Fifth, just like he did in Before the Flood (2015).

Whilst Bill is talking, the record he is holding, is on the His Master’s Voice label. A nice foreshadow of what is to come this season.

So as Bill starts talking, the subject turns to chips “that’s life, the beauty of chips”, since the series returned in 2005 chips have been used as a metaphor for the normal or mundane. In Rose (2005) the Doctor comments that “you lot, all you do is eat chips, go to bed and watch tele”. In The End of the World (2005) after witnessing the events of the demise of Earth they come back and Rose has a craving for chips to ground herself again, and chips appear as a recurring theme over the series to be a shorthand for plain and normal. This is rammed home when he asks Bill why she wanted to come to University, she replies that she always wanted to come here and the Doctor cuts her down with “yeah to serve chips”.

Then when Bill asks what to call the Doctor we get another play on the running “Doctor who?” question, first seen in The Cave of Skulls (1963), but this time we get “Doctor what?” just like Rose did in Rose (2005). Though it’s what is NOT said that is important here, in that the Doctor if fulfilling the role of a University Professor, so the more obvious choice would have been Professor, which is exactly what the Seventh Doctor’s companion Ace used to call him, right from when she first met him in Dragonfire (1987).

So after the credits we get a fast forward of Bill’s day, just like we did with Rose in Rose (2005), even starting with the same alarm clock tone that woke Rose. Yet again the chips are there for the mundane parts of each day, even in the “if everything happened at once” part of the lecture.

The first time we see the vault, as well as hexagons and circles reminiscent of TARDIS décor, we also see elements of Gallifreyan Circular Script, first seen on the TARDIS console in Rose (2005), though only if you were really paying attention. However the same script appears over and over again throughout the 21st century version of the show.
Having already seen the Doctor look at the picture of Susan as if comparing her to Bill, we then find out that the mystery woman with a star in her eye is called Heather, which by freaky coincidence was the first name of First Doctor William Hartnell’s wife, and William Hartnell himself was known as Bill or Billy to his friends.

Then time moves on to Christmas, which due to not having a season of the show in 2016 means we have 3 consecutive episodes featuring Christmas day across 3 years, with The Husbands of River Song in 2015, The Return of Doctor Mysterio in 2016 and this episode on 2017. Something that has never happened before. However, though regular Christmas episodes only started with The Christmas Invasion (2005), it was not the first Christmas episode. In the First Doctor’s era episode 7 of The Dalek Master Plan (1965) subtitled The Feast of Steven, actually fell on Christmas day, simply as part of series 3’s weekly run. Though nominally part of the bigger story, The Feast of Steven was more of a cutaway story, and is written in such a way that you can watch the bigger story without it. For this reason, when The Dalek Master Plan (1965) was prepared for overseas sale, The Feast of Steven was not copied as part of it, making this episode the least likely missing story ever to turn up, as every other episode was at least copied to film once for overseas sales.

When Bill is looking at old pictures of her Mum, she spots the Doctor in a reflection, looking exactly as he does now. This is not the first time a new companion has seen the Doctor in old pictures, with Rose being shown historic events featuring the Ninth Doctor in Rose (2005).

When examining the puddle the Doctor asks if it is his face, with Bill querying if he was a bit flexible on the subject. This is of course a reference to the fact that the Doctor regenerates, and is the 13th face to inhabit the role. There were hints in The Brain of Morbius (1976) that the Doctor had used more faces before what is currently known to be the first, though it was never explicitly stated on screen they were his faces, just “how many faces have you had Doctor”. Later that year The Deadly Assassin (1976) established the 12 regeneration limit, so the extra faces were quietly forgotten and the later Mawdryn Undead (1983) categorically confirmed the Fifth Doctor as the 5th face.

Also around the puddle we see six scorch marks, indicating a spaceship may have landed there. Of course this isn’t the first time the Doctor has encountered scorch marks in a “school yard” either. In Remembrance of the Daleks (1988) he found 4 large scorch marks, later found to be made by a Dalek shuttle.



As Bill talks to Heather outside you see water pouring down Heather’s face, quite a horrifying sight. This technique has been used before in The Waters of Mars (2009) and is just as creepy now as it was back then.

And then comes “the scene”, the one that nearly every new companion has to go through as they step into the TARDIS for the first time. A scene repeated so many times that the Doctor even had a go at it himself in The Husbands of River Song (2015) to see it done properly. As Bill steps into the Doctor’s box it’s done slightly differently, capitalising on a feature of the interior design first introduced in The Snowmen (2012), namely the narrow catwalk entrance the reflects the exterior dimensions, and also capitalising on this Doctor’s energy conscious habit of letting the TARDIS go into standby when he’s not there, last seen at the end of Hell Bent (2015). So as Bill first steps into the TARDIS, she is so focused on what is happening outside she doesn’t notice the unusual dimensions behind her until the lights come on.

Then we get the unusual line of “can I use the toilet”, which is a long standing critique of many a TV drama where nobody ever seems to need the toilet, but it also reveals a little more about Nardole. His “I’d give it a minute” statement seems to indicate he still has some biological functions, so it not entirely robot. I suspect the mystery of Nardole will be told over many episodes.

They also play out the final realisation that it’s not a “knock through” waiting for the “It’s bigger on the inside” line for quite some time, so much so Nardole and the Doctor celebrate the utterance of the classic line. Despite running since 1963, and having many new companions encounter the TARDIS, it’s not actually until The Three Doctors (1973) that the Third Doctor says “Well Sergeant, aren’t you going to say that it’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Everybody else does”, which is quite ironic that for the first 10 years nobody had used that exact phrase, but then it became more common place afterwards. The best scene for grasping the dimensions has to be when Leela joins the crew, and in Robots of Death (1977) the Fourth Doctor explains to Leela how trans-dimensional engineering works with the reaction of “that’s silly” from Leela, and here we have Nardole almost repeat that explanation, starting with imagining a very big box inside a very small box.

When they are in the cellar moving away from the vault, towards the TARDIS, if you look to the right of the doorway you will see the name plate of the Mary Celeste, visited by the Doctor during The Chase (1965).

Being a true jumping off episode we also get the explanation as to why the TARDIS looks like a Police Box – essentially because it’s broken and is supposed to blend in. We first learn that it’s supposed to change in the second ever episode The Cave of Skulls (1963) when the Doctor notices “It’s still a Police Box, why hasn’t it changed?”. This is due to a faulty chameleon circuit, which he first tried to fix in Logopolis (1981) with disastrous results, and then again in Attack of the Cybermen (1985), with amusing results. Of course the real reason is though it was intended to change, they soon realised it would be cheaper reuse the same prop each week than design and build a new one.

Then in the middle of the war zone, when they see a group of soldiers heading their way Bill asks “Who are those guys?”. Who indeed!


Many have mistakenly identified them as the Daleks oldest, and original enemy, the Thals, but the Thals have blonde hair. These guys have silver dreadlocks, white uniforms, silver belts and cone shaped pink weapons, they can only be one thing – Movellans. Movellans are an android race that have only ever turned up once before in Destiny of the Daleks (1979). Remember in Hidden History Part 1, when I mentioned the Doctor’s lack of plan scared the Daleks to death, well these guys are why that is the case. The Movellans and Daleks found themselves locked in perpetual stalemate as their purely logical tactics meant any attack plan either side had, the opposition was ready to counter. This is why the Daleks sought out and revived Davros, after shooting him in Genesis of the Daleks (1975), to give them a less logical tactical edge. So the Doctor’s lack of plan is always something they cannot predict and counter. Whilst the original Movellans looked fairly camp, their modern day equivalent look bad-ass, I’d like to see more of them.

Then Bill sees what they’re firing at, the deadliest fire in the universe, a Dalek. Ironically, though the Doctor’s oldest enemy, they are the show’s saviour. When the show launched in 1963, four episodes in, the show wasn’t well received and on the verge of cancellation, but at the end of the 5th episode The Dead Planet (1963) we get our first sight of a Dalek, albeit only an approaching sucker arm, by the sixth episode school yards across the land reverberated to the cry E-X-T-E-R-M-I-N-A-T-E and that was that. The show became so popular that the first season ran to 42 episodes, and had just a six week break before starting the next.

Back at the university the Doctor wants Bill to forget about the TARDIS, but she doesn’t think she can, but then moves to grab her head to do a memory wipe. This is the same move he made on Donna Noble at the end of Journey’s End (2008) to save her life. Then Bill asked him to imagine how he would feel if someone did it to him, which of course happened at the end of Hell Bent (2015) even though he doesn’t remember.

Though we heard it mentioned many times in the episode, just like the Doctor, I thought I’d end the report on this episode with Time And Relative Dimension In Space. Often quoted with plural dimensions, even in the show, the British public first heard this phrase on the 23rd of November 1963, and the word TARDIS has become engrained in British culture. Any time anyone encounters anything roomier than it looks, or is able to fit more in than is expected, the word TARDIS is usually uttered. It was Susan who first told us she had made up the name TARDIS from the initials in An Unearthly Child (1963), something probably not true, since all Timelords use the word, not just her and the Doctor, unless of course she was the one that coined the name back before they left Gallifrey – Who knows!


10.2 Smile

Talking about how to fly the TARDIS we discover it’s a matter of negotiating a point between where you want to go, and where you need to be. To be an interesting series the TARDIS needs to go somewhere different each week, and as the show first started, it trod the line between a faulty TARDIS, and questioning the Doctor’s ability to fly it, even after the first flight was saw in The Cave of Skulls (1963) the Doctor is complaining about instruments not working correctly. This premise pretty much lasted for the first 6 seasons, then in War Games (1969) the Timelords took the knowledge of flying the TARDIS from him and most adventures then took place on Earth, with the occasional destination picked by the Timelords. When he got the knowledge back, things were still erratic for a while, but from time to time he would get to where he wanted to be. However in The Ribos Operation (1978) he had to find 6 pieces of the Key to Time, with the core telling him where to go, somehow he managed to get there. Then of course in the following series they had to hide from the Black Guardian, so a randomiser was fitted to the TARDIS in Destiny of the Daleks (1979), going back to the concept of not knowing where they were going.

Gradually again the Doctor got more competent to the point that by the time of Rose (2005), the Doctor was quite good at getting where he wanted to go with many accurate short hops, though in The Doctor’s Daughter (2008) we find that sometimes the TARDIS takes control, albeit getting it slightly wrong and causes the events she was taking him to address. In The Doctor’s Wife (2011) the TARDIS herself confesses that she sometimes takes them where they need to be, rather than where they want to be. But by now the Doctor is an absolute master of the TARDIS and can use it to nip downstairs and back up again, via somewhere else entirely and still arrive in time for the kettle to boil.
Then we get the confession that the TARDIS was stolen, that we first learn of in War Games (1969) and see happen in The Name of the Doctor (2013). Also the TARDIS itself confessed to letting the Doctor steal her as she wanted to see the universe in The Doctor’s Wife (2011). We also get a mention of it being stuck in one shape again, just like in the previous episode.

Then we get one of those wonderful references to continuity that hasn’t happened yet, when the Doctor talks about a thing that happened a long time ago, and he made a promise to guard a vault. Except that though it’s a long time ago for the Doctor, we don’t see it until a later episode Extremis (2017).

Then after needing the toilet in The Pilot (2017) Bill again asks about the loo, which the Doctor dismisses as probably having an app for that by now.

When it comes to food, Bill gets one portion, the Doctor gets two. Despite Bill thinking sexism is in play even in the future, with blokes getting bigger portions, the Doctor points out he has two hearts. Something we didn’t find out about him for seven years until Spearhead From Space (1970), which is discovered when the Third Doctor ends up in a human hospital. Something that happens again when the Seventh Doctor gets shot in Doctor Who (1996) and his surgeon Grace is convinced it’s a fault in the x-rays.

When the Doctor dumps Bill back at the TARDIS he says she’ll look after her till he gets back. Throughout the show the Doctor has often referred to the TARDIS as female, the Third Doctor being particularly fond of referring to her as “Old girl”. Now whilst you might think of that as an affectation, like many humans refer to ships as female, in The Impossible Planet (2008) we learn they are grown, so have a biological element. Then in The Doctor’s Wife (2011) we get confirmation that she is indeed female.

After being dumped back in the TARDIS by the Doctor, Bill comes back out and looks at the white “public call” sign, which hasn’t always black words on a white background, though starting that way in An Unearthly Child (1963), from the The Seeds of Death (1969) onwards we see the sign on the TARDIS with a blue background and white letters. Then from The Curse of Peledon (1972) the background is now black, and appears to go back to blue background from Castrovalva (1982), though it’s difficult to tell in some episodes as the TARDIS prop gets quite worn out between repaints and rebuilds. It finally returns to white background with black lettering from Rose (2005).

Now at this point I have to say just how rich in continuity pointers these episodes are, on the other door is the St John’s ambulance sign, which you might think inconsequential, yet when I was checking out what the Doctor actually played on guitar in The Magician’s Apprentice (2015) for The Pilot (2017), I noticed something else I’d not spotted when writing The Hidden History of Season 9 – Part 1. Despite the fact that as I write these Hidden Histories I watch each episode scene by scene, I spotted something new in The Magician’s Apprentice (2015), the history of which pertains to Bill’s bigger question being asked in this episode. So back in season 9, as Clara is waiting in the wings of the arena, whilst the Doctor is talking about Dudes, you see behind her an injured man on the floor, and another man tending to him with the Cross of St John on his back. So despite introducing the word Dude way ahead of its time, he may also have started the St John’s Ambulance Brigade a little early too.


The badge has some history in Doctor Who too, technically it first appeared on the TARDIS door in An Unearthly Child (1963), I say technically as the exterior shots of the TARDIS are dimly lit, and a decision was made to make the TARDIS look more worn in the reshot pilot. In the original unaired pilot (left picture) you can clearly see the badge. In the equivalent shot in the transmitted pilot (right picture) it’s barely visible to the right of Barbara’s hand with Ian’s finger in the middle of it. It often looked like it kept disappearing and reappearing as the badge on the main prop often got filthy and hidden in dirt, whilst on other episodes it was very clear, usually when they used a miniature model, which kept a cleaner badge. Watch Planet of Giants (1964), Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964) and The Romans (1964) to see this in action so to speak. When it disappeared is hard to ascertain, it’s still visible in The War Machines (1966), but in pretty bad condition, and then so many episodes are missing to be sure. The only surviving shot of the TARDIS from The Tenth Planet (1966) is shrouded in snow, but it’s gone in Power of the Daleks (1966) if you look at the surviving telesnap. So it either went at the beginning of Season 4, or with the Second Doctor. Never to be seen again until The Eleventh Hour (2010) as the TARDIS rebuilt itself after the Tenth Doctor’s rather explosive regeneration in The End of Time – Part 2 (2010). The badge even got an episode named after it in The Bells of St John (2013) and is still there today as you can see.

So Bill’s question of why is it stuck that way isn’t that the exterior cannot change, because we can see from this history that the TARDIS can change the exterior, and does so, as clearly demonstrated in The Eleventh Hour (2010) and can then be seen in The Day of the Doctor (2013) with Ten and Eleven’s very different TARDIS exteriors side by side. But it still thinks that it should look like a Police box, so the part of the chameleon circuit that is broken is not the element that reconfigures the external geometry, just the part that detects when it needs to.

Bill’s next big questions is why is the Doctor Scottish. The Doctor replies that he’s not Scottish he’s just cross. Which reflects back to his regeneration episode Deep Breath (2014) when he sees his eyebrows are independently cross and realises he’s Scottish, so he can complain about things. Then the question about whether there is a Scotland in space is a nice parallel to the “Lots of planets have a North” from Rose (2005).

Then Bill realises, he likes the sign on the TARDIS door, because he likes to help, which also reflects on his name. In a conversation with the Master in The Sound of Drums (2007) the Master accuses the Doctor of being sanctimonious for choosing his name as “a man who makes people better”. A topic revisited in The Name of the Doctor (2013) which revealed his one incarnation, the War Doctor, that refused to do things in the name of the Doctor, and can be heard refuting that name in The Day of the Doctor (2013) and The War Doctor (2015) audio series, as he commits atrocities to try and end the Time War.

Continuity references go quiet for a bit, but in case you hadn’t noticed the ship, UESC-190484 Erehwon, is Nowhere backwards. So when the Doctor is in the engine room, he’s in the middle of nowhere. Though I’ve yet to figure out the significance of 190484, it’s probably an important date for somebody connected with the show e.g. 19th April 1984.

When the Doctor mentions he’s bumped into a few colony ships along the years, we have one with the First Doctor in The Ark (1966), the Fourth Doctor in The Ark in Space (1975), though strictly speaking that was a space station, and of course Starship UK in The Beast Below (2010), which has a similar montage of bad events that drove towards the eventual evacuation of Earth, and the Happy/Sad dummies playing a similar role to the emojibots.

When the major action is over, the Doctor pilots the TARDIS back to where the kettle is boiling, a little reminiscent of “and somewhere else the tea is getting cold” in the final speech of the 20th Century series at the end of Survival (1989). Which would have been more prophetic, given the TARDIS doors opened to snow and a frozen Thames.

This is a nod to a very old feature of Doctor Who, the run-in, in the original run each episode would end with a cliff hanger with someone in peril, except the final episode of the story would feature the first scene of the next story to draw you in. So An Unearthly Child (1963) ended with the radiation counter swinging to high as the crew left the TARDIS heading into The Daleks (1963) and as that story ends we saw the TARDIS having problems heading into The Edge of Destruction (1963). This gradually faded away with each story being completely stand-alone with no run-in to the next. Probably the biggest two exceptions to this in the 20th century run would have been season 16, which told the Key to Time story from The Ribos Operation (1978) to The Armageddon Factor (1978) and season 23’s Trial of a Timelord (1985) which though credited as a single story, was actually 4 linked stories The Mysterious Planet, Mindwarp, Terror of the Vervoids and The Ultimate Foe, which are the titles under which the stories were released as Target Novelisations. Before the original season 23 episode concepts were scrapped, the season 22 finale Revelation of the Daleks (1985) DID have a run-in ending of the Doctor saying to Peri “I know I’ll take you to Blackpool” as a direct lead to The Nightmare Fair, which was to feature a return of Michael Gough reprising his role from The Celestial Toymaker (1966). However, after the threat of cancellation the original plans for season 23 were scrapped and all future repeats and commercial releases of Revelation of the Daleks (1985) ended with “I know, I’ll take you to…”. Since then Blackpool became something of an in-joke in Big Finish audio dramas, with the Doctor often suggesting, but never getting to Blackpool.

The 21st century era of the show generally has gone for standalone stories, with a loose season arc, such as Bad Wolf, or Mister Saxon, with run-ins being reserved for Christmas teasers. Such as, Donna Noble appearing in the TARDIS at the end of Doomsday (2006), the Titanic crashing into the TARDIS at the end of Last of the Timelords (2007) and not forgetting the mid-credits appearance of Santa in Death in Heaven (2014). Interestingly all of these run-ins are studio bound, allowing the production team to keep the details of the Christmas episode secret until the season finale is transmitted.

So that’s a whole host of references in the first two episodes, for more see Hidden History of Season 10 Part 3 when it arrives, which covers Ice, Lice and Air.
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