Doctor Who

Season 6 Episode 1

The Impossible Astronaut (1)

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Apr 23, 2011 on BBC America
out of 10
User Rating
420 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


The Doctor and his companions find themselves on a secret summons that takes them the desert in Utah, right to the Oval Office in 1969. With the help of Canton Everett Delaware III, they must help President Nixon who's taking calls from a little girl afraid of a monster.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • The Impossible Astronaut

    The Impossible Astronaut was a pretty great episode of Doctor Who. I really enjoyed watching though it was tough to pick up on every thing the first time watching it. The story was interesting and suspenseful. I liked the character and plot development along with the various characters. The acting was awesome and the guest cast was amazing as usual. It was great learning more about River and her relationship with The Doctor. Amy tells The Doctor an amazing secret. The ending was interesting and I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Sorry, but the 11th Doctor just isn't working for me

    Sorry, but the 11th Doctor just isn't working for me.

    We are supposed to believe that the Doctor is some sort of irrepressible free spirit, the life of the party. But the 11th Doctor's relentless exuberance feels totally forced. He reminds me of a stand up comic whose routine is bombing and who is fighting flop sweat.

    The 9th and 10th Doctors were far better cast than the 11th. They more or less pulled it off. The 11th Doctor's forced joviality however, rings hollow and grates on my nerves.

    By contrast, other cast members have been able to pull off the devil may care schtick successfully. Alex Kingston is entirely believable as River Song/Melody Pond, a "woman who runs with the wolves."

    If it weren't for the strong plot-themes, I would have rated this and other episodes far lower than I did.

    A character who fails dismally in his attempt to be suave and debonaire can work extremely well. But only if his self-delusion is made the focus of the humor. Two examples are Jacques Clouseau in the Pink Panther and Maxwell Smart in Get Smart.

    Since this was not the case with the 11th Doctor, it can only be considered a major failure in casting and acting.moreless
  • A Rating of 9.2!?! Seriously?

    Now, it's a;ways been hard for me to review the first episode of a two parter, but this is different. The begging started out fairly well, with you-know-what happening (no spoilers). They should have let that be the basis of the episode instead of shoving it into a completely different storyline. This episode feels like it has two parts, as if they ran out of room and had to fill up the space. I know it's not true but it feels like it.

    This season is the reason why premieres should be one episode and finales should be two! The plot for this two parter is decent but in the first, everything is too stretched out! The finale would have been great but they crammed everything into 50 minutes! But I'm not going to talk about the finale. Not now.

    If you ask me, the Silence were unnecessary and felt like a rip-off of the Weeping Angels. Which is sad, because Steven Moffat wrote that one too! Steven Moffat is a brilliant writer but, I hope his episodes in Season 7 are more impressive, and that they DON'T make the premiere a two parter.moreless
  • The best series opener ever!

    I really enjoyed this episode which was full of surprises. First we've got the doctor's death. I was really wondering what the rest of the episode would be like after seeing the doctor die. But it turns out that it was a future version and the present version soon appears. Just who is the astronaut?

    Canton 3 was a good character and he was a good addition to the crew.The silence were new enemies where you couldn't remember them if you looked away. My favourite scene was when Joy was killed by the silent.

    Overall, this episode was funny, surprising, entertaining and just fantastic. One of my favourite episodes of this show ever!moreless
  • Dr Who or X-Files?

    It sure starts off with a bang (no pun intended... or was that 3 bangs?), but I felt something was amiss when I heard Amy's narrative over the opening credits. Wha'? No one narrates over that epic cool opening sound that's like fingers on an electronic chalkboard, no one! Not even Rose! Not even Sarah Jane! And they were the best companions ever!

    I love an episode of Dr Who where, like the doctor, you're tapping your chin contemplatively with your sonic screwdriver and musing: there's something I'm missing... but there were so many loose ends to this episode, and so many WTFs. Then there was the flirting and sexual tension between the Doctor and River Song. Then there was Amy's incredulous admission (no spoilers) - which, by the way, felt like a shark-jumping moment to me. Pretty soon it dawned on me: I'm watching the Doctor and companions in an X-files episode. Somehow, they've broken the parallel universe barrier, but instead of finding Rose, they found Mulder and Scully (or their parents, anyway). Roll end credits and lo! and behold, produced in part by BBC America. Figures. No wonder it didn't feel like a proper episode of Doctor Who. No wonder it felt like another Americanized sci-fi show with too many embedded plot twists. I'm going to keep an open mind about the conclusion, but I hope BBC America steps off and we see more of what made this series so stellar thus far. Steven Moffat is a great writer, but other than elements of the story, it didn't really feel like ~his~ episode.moreless
W. Morgan Sheppard

W. Morgan Sheppard

Old Canton Delaware

Guest Star

Marnix Van Den Broeke

Marnix Van Den Broeke

The Silent

Guest Star

Stuart Milligan

Stuart Milligan

President Richard Nixon

Guest Star

Alex Kingston

Alex Kingston

River Song

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The streets of Jefferson, Adams, and Hamilton are located in Palmetto, FL in the county of Manatee. However, it is neither an industrial area nor a three-way junction as shown in the episode, but rather a residential neighborhood and a three-way intersection shared by Jefferson and Hamilton, with Adams being the street one block to the east of Jefferson.

    • The TARDIS becomes invisible for the first time since the original series and the story The Invasion, although on that occasion it was an accident caused by damage to the visual stabiliser. Here it is intentionally made invisible.

    • The Doctor tells a scared Canton "Brave heart". His fifth incarnation told this to his companion Tegan several times.

  • QUOTES (26)

    • Canton: Doctor Who, exactly?
      Amy: Ah. That's classified.
      Canton: Classified by whom?
      Amy: God knows.

    • (River slaps the Doctor)
      The Doctor: Okay, I'm assuming that's for something I haven't done yet.
      River: Yes it is.
      The Doctor: Good, looking forward to it.

    • Richard Nixon: Who are you?
      The Doctor: Nah, boring question. Who's phoning you? That's interesting. Because Canton III is right. That was definitely a girl's voice, which means there's only one place in America she can be phoning from.
      Canton: Where?
      Carl: Do not engage with the intruder, Mr Delaware!
      The Doctor: You heard everything I heard, it's simple enough. Give me five minutes, I'll explain. On the other hand, lay a finger on me or my friends and you'll never, ever know.
      Canton: (pointing to the TARDIS) How'd you get it in here? I mean, you didn't carry it.
      The Doctor: Clever, eh?
      Canton: Love it.
      Carl: Do not compliment the intruder!
      Canton: Five minutes?
      The Doctor: Five.
      Carl: Mr President, that man is a clear and present danger.
      Canton: Mr President, that man walked in here with a big blue box and three of his friends, (indicates Carl) and that's the man he walked past. One of them is worth listening to. I say we give him five minutes. See if he delivers.
      The Doctor: Thanks, Canton.
      Canton: If he doesn't, I'll shoot him myself.
      The Doctor: Not so thanks.
      Carl: Sir, I cannot recommend...
      Richard Nixon: Shut up, Peterson! (to Canton) All right.
      Canton: Five minutes.

    • The Doctor: Mr President! That child just told you everything you need to know, but you weren't listening. Never mind though, because the answer's "yes". I'll take the case. Fellas, the guns? Really? I just walked into the highest security office in the United States, parked a big blue box on the rug... You think you can just shoot me?
      River Song: (Bursting out of the TARDIS) They're Americans!
      The Doctor: Don't shoot. Definitely don't shoot.

    • River: This is cold. Even by your standards, this is cold.
      The Doctor: Or "hello", as people used to say.

    • Rory: What did you mean, what you said to Amy? "There's a worse day coming for you."
      River: When I first met the Doctor, a long long time ago, he knew all about me. Think about that. Impressionable young girl, suddenly this man just drops out of the sky. He's clever and mad and wonderful, and knows every last thing about her. Imagine what that does to a girl.
      Rory: I don't really have to.
      River: Trouble is, it's all back to front. My past is his future. We're travelling in opposite directions. Every time we meet, I know him more, he knows me less. I live for the days when I see him. But I know that every time I do, I'm one step further away. The day's coming when I'll look into that man's eyes, my Doctor, and he won't have the faintest idea who I am. And I think it's going to kill me.

    • Rory: What's through there?
      River: No idea.
      Rory: Something bad?
      River: Almost definitely.
      Rory: You're going to open it, aren't you?
      River: Well, it's locked. How's a girl supposed to resist?
      Rory: Is this sensible?
      River: God, I hope not.

    • The Doctor: Rory, would you mind going with her?
      Rory: Yeah. A bit.
      The Doctor: Then I'd appreciate it more.
      Rory: (sighs) Hang on, River. I'm coming too.

    • The Doctor: Be careful.
      River: Careful. Tried that once. Ever so dull.
      The Doctor: Shout if you get in trouble.
      River: Don't worry. I'm quite the screamer. Now there's a spoiler for you.
      Canton: What's going on?
      The Doctor: Uhh, nothing. She's just a friend.
      Rory: I think he's talking about the possible alien incursion.

    • Amy: But why? If you can make it all the way to Earth, why steal technology that could barely make it to the Moon?
      The Doctor: Maybe because it's cooler. Look how cool this stuff is.
      Amy: Cool aliens?
      The Doctor: Well, what would you call me?
      Amy: An alien.

    • Amy: Okay, but why would anyone want to trap us?
      The Doctor: Ah, let's see if anyone tries to kill us and work backwards.

    • The Doctor: And Doctor Song, you've got that face on again.
      River: What face?
      The Doctor: The "he's hot when he's clever" face.
      River: This is my normal face.
      The Doctor: Yes it is.
      River: Oh, shut up.
      The Doctor: Not a chance.

    • The Doctor: Jefferson isn't a girl's name. It's not her name, either. Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, River!
      River: Surnames of three of America's Founding Fathers.
      The Doctor: Lovely fellows. Two of them fancied me.

    • The Doctor: I'm going to need a SWAT team ready to mobilise, street maps covering all of Florida, a pot of coffee, twelve Jammie Dodgers, and a fez.
      Canton: Get him his maps.

    • President Nixon: Who are they? And what is that box?
      The Doctor: It's a police box, can't you read? I'm your new undercover agent, on loan from Scotland Yard. Code name: The Doctor. (indicates Amy, Rory, River) These are my top operatives, The Legs, The Nose, and Mrs. Robinson.
      River: I hate you.
      The Doctor: No you don't.

    • River: Richard Milhouse Nixon. Vietnam, Watergate. Some good stuff, too.
      The Doctor: Not enough.
      River: Hippie.
      The Doctor: Archaeologist.

    • President Nixon: You were my second choice, Mr. Delaware.
      Canton: That's okay. You're my second choice for President, Mr. Nixon.

    • Amy: Trust me.
      The Doctor: Okay.
      Amy: You have to do this. And you can't ask why.
      The Doctor: Are you being threatened? Is someone making you say that?
      Amy: No.
      The Doctor: You're lying.
      Amy: I'm not lying.
      The Doctor: Swear to me. Swear to me on something that matters.
      (long pause)
      Amy: Fish fingers and custard.
      (pause, the Doctor smiles at Amy)
      The Doctor: My life in your hands. Amelia Pond.

    • The Doctor: Time isn't a straight line, it's all bumpy-wumpy. There's loads of boring stuff, like Sundays and Tuesdays, and Thursday afternoon. But now and then there are Saturdays. Big temporal tipping points when anything's possible. TARDIS can't resist them, like a moth to a flame. She likes a party, so I give her 1969, NASA, because that's space in the 60s. And Canton Delaware Everett III, and this is where she's pointing.

    • The Doctor: I'm being extremely clever up here and there's no one to stand around looking impressed. What's the point in having you all?

    • The Doctor: Now, then, Canton Everett Delaware the Third. That was his name, eh? How many of those can there be? Well, three, I suppose.

    • Amy: You're okay. How can you be okay?
      The Doctor: Hey, of course I'm okay. I'm always okay, I'm the King of Okay. Oh, that's a rubbish title, forget that title. Rory the Roman, that's a good title. Hello, Rory.

    • Rory: Hey, nice hat.
      The Doctor: I wear a Stetson now. Stetsons are cool.

    • Amy: So what's been happening? Because you've been up to something.
      The Doctor: I've been running. Faster than I've ever run. And I've been running my whole life. Now it's time for me to stop.

    • Rory: So when are we going to 1969?
      Amy: And since when do you drink wine?
      The Doctor: I'm 1103, I must've drunk it sometime. (spits it out) Oh, white's horrid. I...I...I thought it would taste more like the gum.
      Amy: 1103? You were 908 the last time we saw you.
      The Doctor: And you've put on a couple of pounds. I wasn't going to mention it.

    • Amy: "The personal intervention of the King, the unnamed Doctor was incarcerated without trial in the Tower of London.
      Rory: Okay, but it doesn't have to be him.
      Amy: "According to contemporary accounts, two nights later a magical sphere some 20 feet across was seen floating away from the Tower, bearing the mysterious Doctor aloft."
      Rory: Okay, it's him.

  • NOTES (8)


    • The Doctor gives River the cover identity of "Mrs. Robinson". In the 1967 film The Graduate, Mrs. Robinson was a middle-aged woman who had an affair with a younger man.