Tuesday, 29 December 2015

DW Christmas Special 2015: The Husbands of River Song

A Guide to Classic Who references in new Who.

Doctor Who Christmas Special #11.  The Doctor meets up with an old friend.  It's River, obviously, her name's in the title so it's not like a spoiler or anything.


[OLD] - Things that first appeared in the classic series (or the film.)  Episode List.

For context, the following are also covered:
[1ST] -  The first appearance of things in Doctor Who series.
[NEW] - Things that first appeared previously in the new series.

Ongoing References...

  • [OLD]  The TARDIS - The Doctor's time and space travel vechicle.  TARDIS stands for Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space.  Like a lot of Time Lord technology it is "bigger on the inside."  The Doctor stole his Tardis when fleeing Gallifrey.  It is an older model ("Type 40") and unreliable, often ending up in the wrong location and the chamleon circuit - designed to make the Tardis appear inconspicuous in any surroundings it appears has failed so it always appears as a police telephone box from 1960s England.   It is often implied to have a personality, which was given form in "The Doctor's Wife" and previously disliked Clara (who later entered the Doctor's time scar) and refused to visit Tranzelor (which had the Doctor's time scar and also had a future version of the TARDIS).  In Season 1's "An Unearthly Child" the Doctor's granddaughter Susan claimed to have invented the name, but later other Time Lords use it (although some call it a TT Capsule.)  He has never previously given anyone hologrammatic antlers.

  • [NEW]  River Song - A time traveler born in the 52nd Century, concieved on the TARDIS by the Eleventh Doctor's companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams while travelling with the Doctor on their honeymoon.  The Doctor and River met usually in reverse order at one point married.

  • [NEW] Sonic Sunglasses - A sonic device that replaced the Doctor's famed Sonic Screwdriver and first appeared in "The Magician's Apprentice."

  • [OLD]  Time Lord - The time traveling ruling elite of Gallifrey.

  • [OLD]  Two hearts - The fact that the Doctor had two hearts was first noted in "Spearhead in Space" (Season 7) the Third Doctor's first story.  Previously it seemed that the First and Second Doctor only had one heart.  Since then it is usually implied that Time Lords always have two hearts (with early references being retroactively regarded as goofs) although some non-televised sources claim that Time Lords have only a single heart in their first body (or the number changes).  Other non-televised sources state that the First Doctor and his granddaughter Susan actually had two hearts.   In the new Who episode "Dalek" Henry Van Statten discovered that the Ninth Doctor had two hearts and in "Smith & Jones" Martha made the same discovery.  Having two hearts saved his life in "The Shakespeare Code."

This episode...

  • [1ST]  Mendorax Dellora - First appearance of this human colony.

  • [1ST]  5343AD - First appearance of this year, and the second appearance of the 54th Century, after 5345AD appeared in "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe."

  • [NEW]  "Sometimes Professor, but mainly Doctor" - River entered Luna University to study archaeology at the end of "Let's Kill Hitler" and received her doctorate at the end of "Closing Time."  By the time of "Angels Take Manhattan" River had received her professorship, so by this appearance she was both a doctor and a professor.

  • [NEW]  People usually need a flowchart - While they do exist, the episode makes it clear that this episode occurs, for River, between "The Angels Take Manhattan" and "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead."  This makes this episode the second last living appearance of River in her timeline, and the last living appearance of River in the Doctor's (as she was previously unaware that he had additional regenerations.)

  • [NEW]  Husband of River Song - The Doctor and River were supposedly married in "The Wedding of River Song."

  • [1ST]  His Infinite Majesty King Hydroflax - First appearance of this husband of River Song.

  • [1ST]  The Halassi Androvar - The first appearance of this diamond.  Also the first mention of the vault it was kept in and the people who owned it.

  • [NEW]  The Bone Meadows - Location of unseen adventures of the Doctor and River, occuring for River sometime before "Time of the Angels"/"Flesh and Stone" and for the Doctor sometime after that but before this episode.
River: Where are we up to? Have we done the Bone Meadows? 

  •  [NEW] Probably a chap with a big... - A reference to something.  Who knows what with these people.

  • [1ST]  Second wife - First reference to River having any wives, let alone at least two.

  • [NEW]  Sonic Trowel - The latest in a long line of sonic devices.

  • [1ST]  Ramone - First appearance of this husband of River Song.

  • [OLD]  "He only has these 12 faces"/"He has limits" - Time Lords are limited to 12 regenerations for a total of 13 face.  The limit was first mentioned - and was an important plot point in - "The Deadly Assassin" (Season 14).  River is displaying very personal knowledge of the Doctor here, having a picture of the War Doctor (who even Clara didn't see while visiting all of the Doctor's timeline) and knowing that the Tenth Doctor counts as 2 regenerations.

  • [NEW]  The War Doctor - The Doctor's ninth body.

  • [NEW]  The Ninth Doctor - The Doctor's tenth body.

  • [NEW]  The Tenth Doctor - The Doctor's eleventh and twelfth bodies.

  • [NEW]  The Eleventh Doctor - The Doctor's thirteenth body, and last of his original regeneration cycle.

  • [OLD]  "It's bigger on the inside" - A common reaction.

  • [OLD]  Roundels - Until the Doctor Who movie the console room set was dominated by them.  In a couple of episodes the Fifh Doctor had one open and was working on circuitry behind it.  The Tenth and Eleventh Doctor previously discussed them in "The Day of the Doctor" as did the Twelfth in his first episode, "Deep Breath":
Not completely entirely convinced myself. I think there should be more round things on the walls. I used to have lots of round things. I wonder where I put them?

  • [OLD]  "A perpetually stablised black hole, that's your power source?" - According to "The Deadly Assassin" (Season 14) Rassilon brought back a black hole or its singularity to create the Eye of Harmony which powered the Time Lords' time travel.  The spaceship Ship siphoned off a black hole accidentally created by scientist in Switxerland and used it as fuel (The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "The Mad Woman in the Attic" Part 2.)

  • [NEW] "If necessary, a bomb." - In "Last of the Time Lords" the Master had Toclafane rockets each containing a black hole converter.

  • [OLD]  The cloister bell - A TARDIS warning which sounds when the TARDIS, the universe or both are in danger, in this case a robot body attacking people in the console room seems to count.

  • [NEW]  Deadlock Seal - Something added to locks to make them virtually unbreakable, with even sonic devices being unable to pick them.

  • [1ST]  River's spray - First appearance of this quick change spray.

  • [NEW]  Eugmented lifespan - River has Time Lord DNA, the ability to regenerate and to manipulate how old she looks, which may account for her living to 200, or it may be something else.

  • [NEW]  River's diary - Given to River by the Doctor in "Let's Kill Hitler" it is how River keeps track of her adventures with the Doctor.

  • [1ST]  Shoal of the Winter Harmony - First appearance of this race, religion, organisation or location.

  • [NEW]  The Pandorica Opens - Perhaps unsurprisingly a reference to the episode "The Pandorica Opens," although in "Flesh and Stone" River announces:
No sneak previews. Well, except for this one. You'll see me again quite soon, when the Pandorica opens.

  • [NEW]  Picnic at Asgard - Referenced by River in "Silence in the Library"

  • [NEW]  History of escaping - Both from the Stormcage Containment Facility (repeatedly) and many life and death situations, including escaping from...

  • [NEW]  The crash of the Byzantium - The events at the start of "The Time of the Angels," also mentioned by River in "Silence in the Library."

  • [NEW]  Jim the Fish - Previously mentioned by River in "The Impossible Astronaut."

  • [NEW]  Just been to Manhattan - Presumably the events of "The Angels Take Manhattan."

  • [OLD]  "Aren't there rules?" - As noted above, there's the rule limiting Time Lords to 13 regenerations, however, the Time Lords were able to break that rule - in fact the Master, in a stolen body (having used all of his regenerations), was offered a new regeneration cycle if he helped the Doctor in "The Five Doctors."

  • [OLD]  "A thing happened." - That thing was Clara in "Time of the Doctor."

  • [NEW]  Elizabeth I - Married the Doctor in "Day of the Doctor."

  • [NEW]  Marilyn Monroe - Married the Doctor in "A Christmas Carol."

  • [1ST]  Cleopatra - The Tenth Doctor called her Cleo in "The Girl in the Fireplace" and River herself pretended to be her in "The Pandorica Opens."  This is the first reference to either the Doctor or River marrying her.

  • [NEW]  The Singing Towers of Darillium - Mentioned by River as their previous meeting in "Forest of the Dead":
Funny thing is, this means you've always known how I was going to die. All the time we've been together, you knew I was coming here. The last time I saw you, the real you, the future you, I mean, you turned up on my doorstep, with a new haircut and a suit. You took me to Darillium to see the Singing Towers. What a night that was. The Towers sang, and you cried.

  • [NEW]  Two of you - A reference to one of the Doctor's aborted attempts to take River to Darillium, where there ended up being two Doctors and three Rivers which appeared in the minisode "Night & the Doctor: Last Night."  The mind boggles.
~ DUG.

No, you don't.

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.

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