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When your working day is spent making up alternatives to reality and trying to ensure they make the same kind of sense that real reality does (if not more so), there are always going to be people who have questions. And when that alternative reality involves time travel, your answers will probably generate even more questions, which will require more answers, and so on.
That’s why the cleverest phrase in all of Doctor Who is “wibbley-wobbley timey-wimey” because it covers a multitude of headscratchy moments all round.
And if that fails, well you do what Steven Moffat has done, in the current issue of Doctor Who Magazine, and attempt to tackle direct questions head-on, specifically with regard to The Angels Take Manhattan, and the Statue of Liberty in particular.
When asked how the Statue managed to get across New York – even New York in the ’30s – to Winter Quay, without causing, at the very least, a huge traffic jam, he said:
“The Angels can do so many things. They can bend time, climb inside your mind, hide in pictures, steal your voice, mess with your perception, leak stone from your eye… New York in 1938 was a nest of Angels and the people barely more than farm animals. The abattoir of the lonely assassins!
“In those terrible days, in that conquered city, you saw and understood only what the Angels allowed, so Liberty could move and hunt as it wished, in the blink of an eye, unseen by the lowly creatures upon which it preyed. Also, it tiptoed.”
Ah! So that explains how appears that the very metal Statue of Liberty is one of the ‘living stone’ Angels…
And this isn’t even the first time these questions have come up. In a recent interview with Blogtor Who he answered the other big timey-wimey question: why didn’t the Ponds just leave New York and meet the Doctor somewhere else?
His answer is just-as-brilliantly detailed:
“New York would still burn. The point being, he can’t interfere.
“Here’s the ‘fan answer’ – this is not what you’d ever put out on BBC1, because most people watch the show and just think, ‘well there’s a gravestone so obviously he can’t visit them again’. But the ‘fan answer’ is, in normal circumstances he might have gone back and said, ‘look we’ll just put a headstone up and we’ll just write the book’. But there is so much scar tissue, and the number of paradoxes that have already been inflicted on that nexus of timelines, that it will rip apart if you try to do one more thing. He has to leave it alone. Normally he could perform some surgery, this time too much surgery has already been performed.
“But imagine saying that on BBC1!”
I can’t even imagine saying it in my house.