Tuesday, 14 October 2014

DW 08-08: Mummy on the Orient Express

A Guide to Classic Who references in New Who episodes.

The eighth episode of series 8.  It's not my fault if you can't read the episode title.

Warning: May contain Spoilers for

"Mummy on the Orient Express"

Viewing Order

  • 7-06 "The Bells of Saint John" (Suggested viewing - reintroduction of character, plot connection)
  • 8-01 - "Deep Breath(Suggested viewing - reintroduction of character.)
  • 8-02 - "Into the Dalek" (Suggested viewing - introduction of character.)
  • 8-06 - "The Caretaker(Suggested viewing.)
  • 8-07 - "Kill the Moon"  (Suggested viewing - story reference.)


[1ST] - First appearance in Doctor Who.
[NEW] - Stuff seen previously in the New Series.
[OLD] - Things that first appeared in the classic series (or the film.)  Episode List.

  • [OLD]  A Mummy - Space mummies previously appeared in the Fourth Doctor story "Pyramids of Mars" (Osirian Service Robots) and the Eleventh Doctor story "The Rings of Akhaten."

  • [OLD]  Bow Tie - The bow tie the Doctor wears is in the style of the First Doctor.

  • [NEW]  The Orient Express - A real train, most famously from the Agatha Christie novel "Murder on the Orient Express" a title referenced/suggested in  "The Unicorn & the Wasp."  An Egyptian Goddess who'd escaped onto the Orient Expressed was mentioned at the end of "The Big Bang" (The phone call from that episode is mentioned in this episode.)  The future use of a space ship in the form of famous 20th Century transport is reminiscent of the aliens races replica Titanic in "Voyage of the Damned."

  • [1ST]  Space Trains - First appearance in the TV series.  May have appeared in other material.

  • [1ST]  Hyperspace Ribbons - First appearance of these "rails."

  • [1ST]  The Magellan Black Hole - The first mention of this body.  Possibly a black hole (the centre of) the Large Magellanic Cloud or the Small Magellanic Cloud, two local galaxies, or a black hole discovered by one of the Magellan Telescopes in Chile, especially the Giant Magellan Telescopes planned to look for black holes when completed in 2020.  Or a black hole in one of the Magellanic Clouds discovoered by the Giant Magellan Telescope.  Or just a black hole named after explorer Ferdinand Magellan, like the Clouds and the Telescope were.  Or someone else with that name.  Probably nothing to do with the Magellan Space Probe that mapped Venus, also named after the explorer, but at this point I think a normal person would have on to the next note...

  • [1ST]  Obsidian - First mention of this planet obviously named after the black glass formed by volcanoes and known for it's blackness because it's in perpetual darkness.  However that works.  But let's not go there.
  • [1ST]  Planet made entirely of shrubs - First mention of this planet made entireliiiiiii of... shrubs.

  • [1ST]  Therion IV - First mention of this planet where your car insurance does not cover weather damage to your car's paint.

  • [OLD]  What are you a Doctor of? - Not a Medical Doctor, or is a Medical Doctor or maybe a doctor of lots of things.  See THE DOCTOR'S Title.

  • [OLD]  Two Thousand Year Old Man - A reference to the Doctor's Age (more than 900 in the original series and significantly increased since) rounded up.  Not a reference to anything else.

  • [1ST]  Excelsior Life Extender Chair - First of mention of this device (or the company that makes them) in the series, but I'm sure you can pick up a second hand one on ebay.

  • [1ST]  The Foretold - Not previously mentioned.  Ironic given the name.

  • [OLD]  Jelly Baby - A real lolly.  The Second Doctor ate, offered, or threw jelly babies a couple of times.  The Fourth Doctor did all those things many, many times, sometimes calling lollies other than jelly babies jelly babies.  The Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth all had them on their person.  A duplicate of the Eleventh Doctor referenced jelly babies in "The Almost People."

  • [NEW]  Stick Insect - In "Listen" Clara called the Doctor a grey-haired stick insect.

  • [1ST]  Suppression Field - First mention of this as-yet not overused weakness for the sonic.  Not an uncommon term in other science fiction.

  • [1ST]  Hard Light Holograms - In other science fiction and comics a term for holograms that can be touched, just as it was used here for the first time in Doctor Who.

  • [1ST]  Gloriana - First mention of this craft probably not based on the barge built to commemorate Queen Elisabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, but who knows?

  • [1ST]  The Valiant Heart - First mention of this craft.

  • [1ST]  He even phoned the TARDIS - As mentioned above, at the end of "The Big Bang" the Doctor got a call telling him that was an escaped Egyptian Goddess on the Orient Express.  The call was to the console phone before Clara used the impossible door phone. 

  • [OLD]  Respiratory Bypass System - One of the Doctor's special powers, which allowed the Fourth Doctor to survive being strangled by a mummy in "Pyramids of Mars."  Yeah, being able to breath through his skin is a thing.  The term is used to describe the Doctor's ability to resist poisonous gases and lack of oxygen (even brief exposures to the vacwm of space.)

  • [1ST]  Drive Stacks - First mention of this part of the TARDIS.

The 10 Rules to Doctor Who.

10.  TARDIS:  The TARDIS is used for basic transport.  There is at least an excuse for not running off in it this episode.  [1]
9.  Meeting Yourself:  No one tries.  [X]
8.  Non-sequiturs:   Yes.  [1]
7.  Serious/Frivolous:  Certainly.  [1]
6.  Series Final:  This is not a series final.  [X]
5.  Companion:  Clara, contemporary British female.  (Future space story).  He does offer a future human a chance to be a companion, but the offer is declined  [1]
4.  Emotionless:  The mummy showed no emotion but wanted to end so, yeah. [.5]
3.  Title Spoilers:  The title is a spoiler, but for about the first 5 minutes of the episode, tops. [.5]
2.  The Threat:  A mummy only the victim can see?  The Doctor knows exactly what that sounds like.  [.5]
1.  Last of It's Kind:  The mummy is dangerous and malfunctioning long after its need.  May be the last of its kind, but never specified.  The Doctor is still dangerous, even to those he's trying to protect.  [.5]

Score:  6/8.

~ DUG.

The Time Crash blog was created to help New Who fans understand Classic Who references - and to know if something isn't a reference but a new idea.  If there's a reference I missed or a subject that you feel needs more explaining, please comment.


  1. "Not a reference to anything else." <--cracked me up

    The "Are you my mummy?" line also cracked me up.

    Interesting. I didn't connect Gloriana with QEII's barge but with QEI herself. Your potential connection makes more sense, though.

    1. That's the problem with references beyond the show... it gets too open. It may be the barge (With a "Gus uses space versions of previous transport" theme) or, as you say, could be just ship named after a famous person (Like the Madam de Pompadour and the Aristotle.) It's interesting to hear other people's suggestions. Thanks.