Another week, another Doctor Who. And on Free Comic Book Day too. We are so blessed to be living in such times.
1. Old Joke's Home
It was the favourite joke in the seventies. A few years ago, my eldest daughter made out to me. The revamp twelve years ago brought it back.
You got it.
– every single kid in 1976.
The emphasis on the knocking and answering in tonight's episode was no accidental. Not often you make an episode about a forty-year-old joke about the TV show you're working on, but there you go.
2. Theresa May's Britain. Well, It's Not Harriet Jones's.
Housing is a problem in Britain today and this underpins the reality of students trying to find somewhere, anywhere to stay. And seven people randomly squished together on a quest for a roof is not uncommon. In a more equal society, Doctor Who teaches us, people would not be forced to seek accommodation in a house made out of human-eating alien woodlice. Right, kids?
3. Little Grey Jail Cells
The other lesson is, basically, never have David Suchet as your landlord. Especially is his character is called The Landlord. Seriously, no matter how desperate, choose the house next to a power station and a tip rather than a place owned by someone who had played every baddie going in an attempt to divorce himself from the role of Hercule Poirot.
And now playing, well, Norman Bates, rather.
4. Man With A TARDIS
He can travel to anywhere, anywhen in the whole of Time and Space. So obviously he becomes a man with a van. Does the neat materialising-around-something trick, and another excuse for new viewers to get a bit of Time Lord backstory. And to foreshadow the regeneration on its way, "He's a coming" as Eleven once said about Twelve.
And a chance for him to play the surveyor too. And a stalker.
5. Grandfather Again
It's a long time since someone called the Doctor "grandfather". Is this foreshadowing for what is to come? Susan?
Oh yes, gay people can be grandfathers too. Indeed, Harry's grandfather was originally intended to be Harry Sullivan from Doctor Who past. Looks like that got cut along the way…. as did some orientation-bending. He might have recognised the "Sleep is for tortoises" line too – that's Talons Of Weng-Chiang. And Bill uses the get-out clause for unwanted male attention…
6. Step Up
The Doctor's Companion used to be someone who would scream at any oncoming monster. But now she walks towards danger to find out what's going on. Thank Sarah Jane, Leela, Romana and Ace for those developments.
Even if she likes Little Mix. X-Factor winners from six years ago for the uninitiated. Even Americans have heard of them. I confess I have a little time for "Shout Out to My Ex"…
But Bill does an awful lot of surviving by chance this week. And that line abuot saving the one who brought you into the world, with the previous focus on her mother, is that a plotline to come? The Doctor did seem to be in her mother's past after all. Will she get the chance? Will the Doctor let her? Will the Master?
7. Who's In Charge?
A common question asked to people suspected of suffering from dementia was to ask them who the Prime Minister was. Margaret Thatcher rather destroyed that measure as everyone knew it was her, whatever mental ailment they were suffering from. But now the question can be asked freely again. Is he really to blame for not knowing it's Theresa May? But, yes, note fictitious Doctor Who prime minister Harriet Jones is mentioned alongside Thatcher, Wilson and Eden. Probably more Doctor Who watchers will know Harriet Jones over Eden anyway.
8. It's Normally The House That Is Haunted Than Doing The Haunting
No one ever reads those contracts do they? I don't think I ever did, but the woodlice we got didn't try to make us part of the fixtures and fittings. And someone really wanted to give us a mental revisit for the Weeping Angels, didn't they? Crying real sap… and the location looks a bit like the one that the Angels first send someone to in Blink as well.
9. Reset Buttons
So all the recent people who were made part of the house can be returned clothes, souls and all – any reason why the ones from previous years could also not be revived? And what happened to the police that came calling in 1997? Or in 1977? I suppose Fred West got away with it…
Oh and couldn't we have seen a little more of the dissolving house? And what actually happened to all their stuff?
10. Nuts And Vaults
Space ships that leave pilot-seeking-puddles? Houses haunted by alien woodlice? Is it purely coincidental that they are happening in spitting distance of whatever is playing the piano in that Vault for the last seventy-five years? Is someone leaking out? How masterful…