Monday, 17 July 2017

DW 04-07: The Unicorn & the Wasp

A Guide to Classic Who references in new Who.

Doctor Who series 4 episode 7 (Story 38) in which Donna and the Doctor meet Agatha Christie.

Warning: May contain spoilers for

"The Unicorn & the Wasp"


[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.
[AC] - Agatha Christie references.

Ongoing References...

  • [OLD]  The TARDIS - The Doctor's time and space travel vehicle.  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 chameleon 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.

  • [OLD]  The Doctor - The central character of both series of Doctor Who.  This is the Tenth Doctor.  He's a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey.  This, it turns out, means he can survive cyanide poisoning.  The fact he's wearing his brown suit probably isn't a coincidence.

  • [NEW]  Bees - Donna's continued obsession with colony collapse disorder.  Nothing will come of it.

  • [OLD]  Cybermen - Long term enemy of the Doctor in the old series [See Foes: Cybermen] and the new

Agatha Christie References...

  • [AC]  "Why didn't they ask...?  Heavens!" - A reference to the 1934 novel:  "Why Didn't The Ask Evans?"

  • [AC]  Agatha Christie - The woman in question.

  • [AC]  All six - Christie's first 6 novels were:  "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" (1920); "The Secret Adversary" (1922); "The Murder on the Links" (1923); "The Man in the Brown Suit" (1924); "The Secret of Chimneys" (1925); "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" (1926).

  • [AC]  Belgium detective - Hercule Poirot, who appeared in 3 of Christie's first 6 books:  "The Mysterious Affair at Styles"; "The Murder on the Links"; "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd."

  • [AC]  "Body in the library" - A reference to Christie's 1942 novel.  Christie saw the body in the library as a cliché when she wrote the novel and wrote it as a reference to that fact.

  • [AC]  "Murder on the Orient Express" - A reference to Christie's 1934 novel.

  • [AC]  "Little grey cells" - A catchphrase of Poirot, first appearing in "The Mysterious Affair at Styles":
"I am sorry for that," he said. "I always had hopes of that letter. But no, it was not to be. This affair must all be unravelled from within." He tapped his forehead. "These little grey cells. It is 'up to them'--as you say over here." Then, suddenly, he asked: "Are you a judge of finger-marks, my friend?"

  • [AC]  "M or N?" - A reference to Christie's 1941 novel.

  • [AC]  "Nemesis" - A reference to Christie's 1971 novel.

  • [AC]  "Cat among the pigeons" - A reference to Christie's 1960 novel.

  • [AC]  "Dead man's folly" - A reference to Christie's 1956 novel.

  • [AC]  "They do it with mirrors" - A reference to Christie's 1952 novel.

  • [AC]  Miss Marple - The other of Christie's two most famous characters.  She first appeared in "The Murder at the Vicarage" (1930).

  • [AC]  "Sparkling cyanide" - A reference to Christie's 1945 novel.

  • [AC]  "Endless night" - A reference to Christie's 1945 novel.

  • [AC]  "Crooked house" - A reference to Christie's 1949 novel.

  • [AC]  "Taken at the flood" - A reference to Christie's 1948 novel.

  • [AC]  "The moving finger" - A reference to Christie's 1942 novel.

  • [AC]  "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" - Agatha's latest novel at the time that this episode is set.

  • [AC]  "Death comes at the end" -  A reference to Christie's 1945 novel.

  • [AC]  "Murder at the vicar's rage" -  A reference to Christie's novel:  "Murder at the Vicarage."  As noted above, it was the first Miss Marple novel.

  • [AC]  "Death in the Clouds" -  Christie's 1935 novel:  "Murder at the Vicarage."  As noted above, it was the first Miss Marple novel.

This episode...

  • [1ST]  "The Planet Zog" -  First mention of this planet.  Obviously a joke name, or is it?

  • [1ST]  "Morphic Residue" -  First mention of this substance.

  • [NEW]  "Charles Dickens... surrounded by ghosts... at Christmas." - This actually happened in "The Unquiet Dead" (Doctor Who (2005) Series 1).

  • [1ST]  Vespiform - First appearance of an alien of this race.

  • [1ST]  "Carrionites" - This race appeared in "The Shakespeare Code" (Doctor Who (2005) Series 1).

Previous:  "The Doctor's Daughter"Next:  "Silence in the Library"

~ 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.

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