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Sorry it's been a while since the last part, been a bit busy, but in Part 1 we covered the Christmas Specials leading into Season 10, and in Part 2 we covered The Pilot and Smile. So now it’s time to cover the continuity hidden away in Thin Ice, Knock Knock and Oxygen before we head into the Monk’s Trilogy in Part 4.

So if you’ve seen as far as Oxygen and want to find out more about those episodes, read on…

10.3 Thin Ice

So we continue with the themes of negotiating with the TARDIS rather than steering her, and that the TARDIS is female, and has her own personality, as discussed in Smile (2017) in Part 2.

Another interesting bit of continuity is Bill starts off with a story set largely in her own time in The Pilot (2017), then one in the future with Smile (2017) and now one in the past with Thin Ice (2017), so in her first three episodes she covers Present, Future and Past. Almost identical to Rose’s introduction with Rose (2005) in the present, The End of the World (2005) in the future and The Unquiet Dead (2005) in the past. Then a slight switch around with Martha and Donna with Smith and Jones (2007) in the present, The Shakespeare Code (2007) in the past and Gridlock (2007) in the future for Martha, and Partners in Crime (2008) present, The Fires of Pompeii (2008) past and Planet of the Ood (2008) future. Then back to the old order for Amy with The Eleventh Hour (2010) present, The Beast Below (2010) future and Victory of the Daleks (2010) past.

Then we hear about the wardrobe, often mentioned, and first hinted at its existence in Marco Polo (1964) when Ian, Barbara and Susan all appear dressed for the cold, in contrast to what they wore in the first two stories. Ian and Barbara certainly didn’t bring a change of outfit with them. We usually only ever see the wardrobe around regenerations for each Doctor to choose his own clothes. The Second Doctor never really bothered to change, just rummaged around in a trunk and found his recorder in The Power of the Daleks (1966). The Third Doctor stole his clothes from a Hospital in Spearhead from Space (1970), as did the Eighth Doctor in Doctor Who (1996) and the Eleventh Doctor in The Eleventh Hour (2010). In Robot (1975) the Fourth Doctor clearly has a wardrobe in the TARDIS as he keeps popping in an out in different outlandish outfits. In Castrovalva (1982) the Doctor seems to find the TARDIS cricket pavilion and changed there. It’s not until the Sixth Doctor, in The Twin Dilemma (1984), that we see it in all its glory, with clothes from all over space and time in there, including the First Doctor’s trousers, the Second’s fur coat, and the Third’s velvet jacket. Going one further in Time and the Rani (1987) the Seventh Doctor tries on caricatured versions of 3, 4 and 5 in the wardrobe. In the 21st Century we get a look at the new look wardrobe, including spiral staircase in The Christmas Invasion (2005) as the Tenth Doctor browses past many familiar outfits on the rack. We never saw the Eighth Doctor choose his final costume, though Big Finish listeners will have heard his old jacket being shredded in Dark Eyes (2012), this general look kind of got inherited by the War Doctor in The Night of the Doctor (2013), and we never saw the Ninth Doctor choose his look.

Bill asks if anyone notices the TARDIS, to which the Doctor replies that her species hardly notices anything. Which is really hiding an important fact, it was revealed in The Sound of Drums (2007) that as well as a chameleon circuit to disguise it’s exterior, it also has something called a perception filter, which makes people that aren't really paying much attention look straight past it, without noticing anything odd. Of course the perception filter is also slightly damaged and leaks a little. So after landing in Cardiff in Utopia (2007) it left residue to disguise the entrance to the Torchwood hub.

One thing we do notice is the Doctor wearing a top hat, which of course he’s done before, in recent times in The Big Bang (2010), and then again in Let’s Kill Hitler (2011). Of course the second Doctor was a bit partial to a similar stove pipe hat, first seen in Power of the Daleks (1966).

We see Bill tentatively stepping onto the frozen Thames, and with good reason. In modern times the Thames never freezes over in Central London, but during a period between the 17th and 19th Centuries known as the Little Ice Age the Thames might freeze over as much as once a decade, and great Frost Fairs were held upon the Ice, the last one being in 1814.

When Bill asks if he's been here before the Doctor replies "yeah a few times", having had many adventures in old London between the 17th and 19th centuries. He pretty much shaped the look of old London in 1666 in The Visitation (1982) by being party to starting the Great Fire of London. He averts a Dalek plot in 1867 in The Evil of the Daleks (1966). In The Talons of Weng Chiang (1977) the Doctor foiled a plot by Magnus Greel from the 51st century, who was stranded in late 19th Century London and met theatre impresario Henry Gordon Jago and Pathologist Professor George Lightfoot who went on to their own Big Finish audio series, Jago & Lightfoot. In the 21st century run he thwarts the Cybermen in London 1851 in The Next Doctor (2008), met one of the many fragmented Clara's in The Snowmen (2012) set in London 1842, when he also met up with Vastra, Jenny and Strax again. Deep Breath (2014) saw the newly regenerated Twelfth Doctor team's up with the Paternoster Gang once again, before nearly getting himself hanged in 17th Century Tyburn, a famous place for old London justice, in The Woman Who Lived (2015).

Though of course the one most relevant was when he took River Ice Skating on the Thames for her birthday at the very same Frost Fair in 1814, accompanied by Stevie Wonder. Now if you don’t remember that, well that’s because we never saw it, we only heard about it in A Good Man Goes to War (2011) when Rory picked her up from the Storm Cage, also on her birthday.

When the Doctor admits to being a bit of a thief, that’s really how the show started, he stole a TARDIS and fled his home world of Gallifrey. We find out about this in The War Games (1969) and see it happen in The Name of the Doctor (2013).
So then Bill gets to find out the things she saw in the pot in his study in The Pilot (2017) are actually sonic screwdrivers, and she actually questions how is it a screwdriver, well occasionally it is in The War Games (1969), The Monster of Peladon (1974), The Ark In Space (1975) and Castrovalva (1982).

Then comes the big question “Have you killed anyone?”, well generally that’s something the Doctor tries to avoid, a courtesy he even extends to other species and enemies. In Genesis of the Daleks (1975) when the Timelords kicked off the Time War sending the Doctor to kill the Daleks before they were a threat, he had the wires in his hands to blow up the Dalek incubator but hesitated delivering the famous “Have I the right?” speech. Sometimes controversially he would use a weapon and directly shoot something, such as a Cyberman in Attack of the Cybermen (1985), or allow someone to die when he could have saved them as in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (2012). Probably his biggest body count was in the Time War itself, and he has dwelled for years on how many people he killed when he destroyed Gallifrey, having “watched them burn” as mentioned in Dalek (2015), but eventually in The Day of the Doctor (2013) he saved them instead.

So then we get an age check, the Doctor is 2000 years old, give or take a few decades. We first learn the Doctor’s age when he’s the Second Doctor in Tomb of the Cybermen (1967) when he confesses to being 450 years old. Whilst the Third Doctor claims to have been around for thousands of years, he never claims it as an age, so is often thought to mean how many years of history he has covered. The next specific age check is with the Fourth Doctor in The Brain of Morbius (1975) puts him at 749. In The Ribos Operation (1978) he claims to be 756, but Romana corrects him to 759. He’s turned 760 by the time of The Power of Kroll (1978), but Romana teases him again about his claimed age of 750 in Creature from the Pit (1979), and in The Leisure Hive (1980) he finally confesses to rounding down to hide his true age. The Sixth Doctor hit’s 900 by the time we reach Revelation of the Daleks (1985), and the Seventh Doctor hits 953 by Time and the Rani (1987).

Then we hit some problems, the Ninth Doctor claims to be 900 in The Empty Child (2005), so he’s either doing some serious rounding down, given that the Seventh hit 953, and Eight and the War Doctor were both long lived, or he’s perhaps switched to Gallifreyan years, which may be longer than human ones. But from that starting point we know that the Ninth Doctor must be the shortest lived of all the Doctors, as we know in Rose (2005) he’s only just regenerated, having seen his ears for the first time, when by Voyage of the Damned (2007), the Tenth Doctor is only claiming 903. By The Day of the Doctor (2013) Ten was 904, and just before he regenerated in The End of Time – Part 2 (2010) he was 906, so at this point the Doctor appears to be ageing in real time, unlike the old series which left big off-screen gaps.

Then Eleven puts things back on track with more off-screen ageing, in The Impossible Astronaut (2011) we meet one Doctor who is 909, and another who has come back from after the events of The Wedding of River Song (2011) who was 1103. In The Doctor’s Wife (2011) we get to learn that the TARDIS has been travelling with the Doctor for around 700 years, which at 909 made the First Doctor around 200 when he left Gallifrey. Having travelled around some more without Amy and Rory, by A Town Called Mercy (2012) he’s 1200. We get some serious rounding down in The Bells of St John (2013) when he claims he’s 1000,but when the War Doctor asks him in The Day of the Doctor (2013) he claims to have lost track and admits 1200 and something. Then he spends a VERY long time in The Time of the Doctor (2013) in the Siege of Trenzalore, which turns out to be around 800 years as in Deep Breath (2014) he rounds out at 2000 years, a figure the Twelfth Doctor seems happy to stick with. Events in Heaven Sent (2015) may lead you to think that as the episode took place over billions of years that the Doctor is now that old, but each time round the loop, we start with a Doctor the same age he was at the end of Face the Raven (2015), so he only actually ages the amount of time it takes to complete one loop, a fact confirmed by his name check here in Thin Ice (2017).

Though nothing to do with Doctor Who history, the story the Doctor reads to the children is Heinrich Hoffmann’s poem The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb.

Of course this isn’t the first monster under the Thames that the Doctor has encountered, he referred to it as the Loch-less Monster at one point. The Fourth Doctor encountered a relocated Loch Ness Monster in Terror of the Zygons (1975). Though that actually turned out to be the Skarasen. It was also not the first giant beast in chains, as the Star Whale was used to power Starship UK in The Beast Below (2010).

The Doctor uses his psychic paper to bluff his way past the dredgers, which we first saw in The End of the World (2005), but we do get to learn that he’s had it for quite some time as the War Doctor uses it in Legion of the Lost, part of The War Doctor – Series 2 (2016) audio drama box set, and the Eighth Doctor uses in in The Time War - Series 1 (2017). He also uses the alias Doctor Disco, which he first used in The Zygon Invasion (2015).

When they get back to the University, Bill is looking for evidence of what just happened, not able to believe that people could see a monster in the Thames and it not make a mark on history. She uses the Search-Wise.net search engine (now optimised for mobile). This is the same search engine that Rose used in Rose (2005) that put her in touch with conspiracy theorist Clive. This is of course a “prop” website, operated by Compuhire, commonly used in TV shows. She finds no evidence and can’t understand it, but the Doctor explains it as the human ability to overlook the inexplicable, which of course they do again 37 years later when a giant Cyberman rampages London in 1851 during The Next Doctor (2008).

Then we get another example of forward continuity as Nardole reminds the Doctor of his oath, which we don’t actually get to see until Extremis (2017), later in this season.


10.4 Knock Knock

Well of course the episode starts with the unspoken joke – Knock Knock – Who’s there? Well he isn’t but his companion Bill is.

So despite being 4 stories in, this is the first time Bill hears that the Doctor is a Timelord, which in the big scheme of things is quite quick, as first time around it took 6 years before the 20th Century show mentioned that little detail in The War Games (1969), which was also when we found out he ran away from Gallifrey, though surprisingly despite a second Gallifrey based story in The Three Doctors (1973) we didn’t learn the name of the Timelord’s planet until The Time Warrior (1974). The first hint for a penchant for big collars didn’t appear until Genesis of the Daleks (1975) but it wasn’t until The Deadly Assassin (1976) that the classic Timelord collar we see today first appeared. He also drops the concept of regeneration on Bill for the first time, and then avoids the topic. So we’ll avoid it here for now, as we’ll have plenty of opportunity to cover that later. But if you must know more, look at Talkin ‘bout my regeneration.

We then see the time honoured tradition of students everywhere, of drafting in family vehicles to help them move their gear in. I can personally vouch for this tradition having done it for both my boys, but I don’t think it’s ever been done with a TARDIS before. Of course the Doctor isn’t family, but to avoid awkward questions they both adopt the pretence of him being Bill’s Grandfather. Of course we’ve seen this hint before in The Pilot (2017) when Bill asked “Why me?”, he looks at a picture of his actual Granddaughter Susan, and sees a resemblance. Susan left Gallifrey with the First Doctor, as seen in The Name of the Doctor (2013), but actually travelled with the Doctor from An Unearthly Child (1963) to The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964).

When Harry talks about one of his Grandparents greypacking along the wall of China, there is also a cut sequence of lines that talks about his other Grandfather, a Naval Surgeon called Harry Sullivan, who travelled with the newly regenerated Fourth Doctor having been appointed as his physician in Robot (1975). However, as writer Mike Bartlett explains “It was decided that, in 2017, people might not remember one companion from 40-odd years ago, so it got cut.”. Which is odd considering that in just the previous season Harry Sullivan was credited as being the inventor of the Zygon killing gas in The Zygon Inversion (2015).
For those not in the UK, the plug sockets in this house use the very old style of 3 round pin plugs. The modern 3 rectangular pin plugs have been around since 1947, but it was still common to see the old 5 amp round pin plugs in houses as late as the 1970s. You would often find houses with a mix of square and round pin outlets, with round pin outlets tending to be used for low current devices such as lamps or radios.

But as far as the rest of the story goes it is fairly continuity light, other than Bill mentioning living puddles, robots and big fish from The Pilot (2017), Smile (2017) and Thin Ice (2017) respectively, and of course the ongoing vault mystery.


10.5 Oxygen

So we start with the cold open really living up to its name, in the icy clutches of the void, and dropping in a little Star Trek reference. For the first time this season the opening sequence does not include any of the primary cast. This is not so common these days, but in the 20th Century version of the show it was quite common for a large chunk of the opening episode of a story not to include the primary cast at all, dramatically to set the scene that our heroes are about to stumble into, but from a production perspective it gives time for the main cast to be rested, or to make more scenes in parallel. Probably the biggest example or this was Mission to the Unknown (1965), a standalone story that included none of the primary cast, to introduce a longer story, The Dalek Master Plan (1965) which was to start in 4 weeks. Because the early series ran for around 40 weeks a year, it was not uncommon for a major cast member to find themselves absent for an entire episode, in The Wheel In Space (1968), the Doctor was unconscious for an entire episode, because Patrick Troughton was taking a holiday.

In the modern era, it was more common to have one “Doctor-lite” episode a year to accommodate a Christmas special into each year without extending the filming time, so the use of second units would allow two episodes to be filmed in around the same time as one. The first of these was Love and Monsters (2006) where the story was told from the point of view of a fan, with very little involvement of the primary cast. The following year they got better at this and produced the excellent Blink (2007) in which most of the Doctor’s elements were video inserts, all filmed in a short session, but sprinkled over the episode. After that they tried something new with back to back Doctor-lite and companion-lite episodes, with Donna being hardly present in Midnight (2008) and the Doctor being dead in Turn Left (2008).

When we finally get to the scene in the TARDIS when Nardole holds aloft a fluid link. Now we know that the mercury filled fluid links are crucial to TARDIS operation as one developed a fault in The Daleks (1963) and needed refilling with mercury before the TARDIS could take off. In the end this turned out to be a ruse by the Doctor to explore Skaro, and there was nothing wrong with the fluid link. Knowing the importance of the fluid link Nardole had removed it to prevent the TARDIS moving. Which turns out was also a ruse and they weren’t important at all – Rule no 1, the Doctor lies – Let’s Kill Hitler (2011).

So then we find ourselves on a space station of classic design, a Wheel In Space (1968), a style seen again with Beacon Nerva in The Ark In Space (1975) and Revenge of the Cybermen (1975) with a few more examples in Trial of a Timelord (1986) and Sattelite 5 appearing in The Long Game (2005) and Bad Wolf (2005). It’s also not the first time we encounter attacking space suits, having seen them in The Ambassadors of Death (1970), never really seeing what was inside, and more closely in Silence in the Library (2008) with the Vashta Narada animating the suits.

Of course we see the destruction of another Sonic Screwdriver, the most famous instance of which was at the end of The Visitation (1982) when the Sonic gets destroyed, and the Doctor then works without one for quite some time, or as the Tenth Doctor put it in Time Crash (2007) “using a kettle and some string”. He did get a new one at some point during the Seventh Doctor’s reign as we see one in his possessions during Doctor Who (1996). Both the Tenth Doctor and Eleventh Doctor get their screwdrivers destroyed in Smith and Jones (2007) and The Eleventh Hour (2010), but they get replacements pretty quickly.

The concept of being charged to breathe, capitalism gone mad, is not the first time the Doctor has come across such extremes. In The Sunmakers (1977) where the colonists on Pluto are taxed to an exorbitant level to pay for the artificial suns.

Now whilst we’ve not had a blind Doctor before this episode, we have had many temporarily blinded companions with Sarah Jane Smith in The Brain of Morbius (1976) , Leela in The Horror of Fang Rock (1977) and Grace Holloway in Doctor Who (1976). Then we have Davros who was blind in Genesis of the Daleks (1975) and of course the Daleks are quite prone to being blinded if you take out their eye stalk, leading to “My vision is impaired I cannot see” in many, many episodes in both versions of the series.

So we’ve seen a fair bit of continuity in 3 unrelated episodes, but you wait a whole decade for a 3 part story to come along and two come along at once. So after last season’s Face the Raven (2015), Heaven Sent (2015) and Hell Bent (2015) we get a second 3 parter with the Monk trilogy, up next in Part 4.
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