Doctor Who: Meanwhile in the TARDIS review

Review

Meanwhile in the TARDISMeanwhile in the TARDIS review

Amy: There have been others travelling with you?
The Doctor: Yeah, sure. Loads of ’em, they’re just friends, y’know, chums, pals, mates, buddies – not mates – forget mates.
Amy: And out of all those friends how many, just out of curiosity, were girls?
The Doctor: Some of them I s’pose…

Doctor Who Season: Two scenes during S31.
Story Number: n/a, though – between 203 and 204; between 206 and 207.

Two scenes that are exclusive to the BBC disc versions (the DVD and Blu-ray) of the Doctor and Amy’s first season…

Meanwhile in the TARDIS reviewpicSo why do these scenes exist? The form of them is probably because of the idea of providing some “value added” material to the discs from the BBC.

picMeanwhile in the TARDIS reviewThey fill in the gaps between two sets of adjacent stories in the season – that’s the form of them. As to the “why” of the actual content, Moffat seems to have written them with the potential audience of the discs in mind, which might include a sizeable proportion who don’t already have all the basic Doctor Who “knowledge”.

picpicIf the main basic elements of the show (as argued in this review of Victory of the Daleks) are: the Doctor and the Daleks, these the other basic elements are (a) the TARDIS and (b) the Doctor’s companion – and these two scenes are here to fill in a bit of history for both.

picpicThe first scene – set between The Eleventh Hour and The Beast Below and actually bridging them so there’s an absolute continuous join between their last and first scenes – when filling the viewer in on the TARDIS also answers a few pertinent questions about its Time Lord pilot, with Amy quizzing the alien Doctor, on whether he’s “a tiny little slug in a human suit, is that why you walk like that?” – “Amy, this is me!” It’s interesting that this kind of question hasn’t come up more often in the programme – actually during The Daleks’ Master Plan the question is posed though, whether the Doctor’s appearance is just a ploy to look human.

picpicThe scene ends underscoring the rather eccentric nature of the Eleventh Doctor with him, er, encouraging Amy to enjoy the wonders of space.

picpicThe next scene – which is between Flesh and Stone and The Vampires of Venice but more of a coda to the previous episode – is all about “the companion”.
picpic“Aw, typical bloke, straight to fixing his motor” – the Doctor isn’t that interested in Amy’s advances towards him. picThe scene actually starts the same way as the 2008 Amy Pond was introduced – with a slow camera move from legs and up. He’s not a bloke though, the Doctor protests.

pic“Then what are you like?”

“Gandalf. A space Gandalf. The little green one in Star Wars“, as he makes a lightsaber noise.

“You really are not. You. Are. A bloke”

picpicThere’s an interesting description of this Doctor showing off to all the girls from Amy – which actually fits this Doctor (The Vampires of Venice) in a way it wouldn’t for all of the 11 Doctors.
pic
After all this banter – the reason for the Doctor’s companions (according to number Eleven), it’s to have a unjaded perspective on the TARDIS travels, “after a while, everything is just STUFF” for him. This poignant moment is glided over though as it’s back to Amy quizzing the Doctor.

In the RTD era, a companion finding out she “wasn’t the first” was a major – emotional, dramatic – plot thread of the story School Reunion. Here it’s used for some farcical comedy and some saucy lines from the pen of Moffat.

“And out of all those friends how many, just out of curiosity, were girls?”

“Some of them I s’pose…”

Amy manages to get the TARDIS (or rather manages to get the Doctor to get the TARDIS) to play a recap of the past companions after querying whether the female companions were “hot” – the Doctor has already said it’s “probably, slightly, a little bit over” half of the companions were women. Were they hot?

“Probably not. Maybe one or two”.

The TARDIS shows the Doctor hasn’t exactly been describing the history of Doctor Who accurately as a parade of attractive women fills the TARDIS screen.

So the Doctor protesting he’s just not interested in what Amy was propositioning at the start of the scene doesn’t sound quite so convincing to Amy as she goggles – “Ooh, Gandalf!”, she admonishes.

“Is that a leather bikini?”

Moffat’s Doctor Who doesn’t shy away from pointing up some of the apparent absurdities of the show, and also weaves them into the comedy. The Doctor tries to change the subject by making plans for the next adventure in Venice, with Rory.

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