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Doctor Who - 'Under The Lake' (Photo: BBC)
Doctor Who - 'Under The Lake' (Photo: BBC)
Doctor Who – ‘Under The Lake’ (Photo: BBC)

The Doctor (and his companion) arrive on a base or other enclosed industrial environment, which is then afflicted by a siege from an alien force. This is the essential plot of quite a few classic Doctor Who stories, from “The Tenth Planet” to “Cold War,” and it’s always a welcome set-up, providing the aliens are chilling (tick!), things go very wrong (tick!) and there’s no chance of escape (tick!).

So, while we’re all trying to figure out how the Doctor gets out of his latest temporal pickle next week, here are few points of interest we jotted down along the way:

While Cass is the first deaf character to converse in Doctor Who (Rigsy’s aunt Karena in “Flatline” was “deaf,” but not shown interacting on screen) there was a plan that the character Toberman in the 1967 Second Doctor adventure “Tomb of the Cybermen” would be deaf. By the time the story hit the screen, this had been taken out of the script, but it remained part of the novelization. This was written by Gerry Davis, who had co-written the TV version.

Game of Thrones fans may not recognize that the Tivolian fellow in the top hat and teeth is Paul Kaye, who played Thoros of Myr in Season Three.

Doctor Who - 'Under The Lake' (Photo: BBC)

“Hello sailors” is quite the provocative opening gambit from the Doctor, given that it was notoriously used as a sexual advance by women (and men) whenever the navy sailed into dock. The phrase has entered common usage, becoming the title to a book by Monty Python star Eric Idle, a 2007 museum exhibit in Liverpool about the lives of gay sailors and a running gag in Zork, one of the earliest text adventures from the early days of home computing. If you said it to a viking at a key moment in the story, you got a vial of invisibility potion.

“Calm, Doctor, calm – you were like this when you met Shirley Bassey” is, of course, the only right and proper reaction to meeting one of the best singers Britain has produced. Dame Shirley is also the only singer to perform three theme songs from James Bond films: “Goldfinger,” “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Moonraker.”

When the Doctor gets excited about meeting ghosts for the first time, it’s because he’s been in the presence of spectral beings before, but they never turn out to be the incorporeal deal. These include the time traveling solders the Third Doctor met in “Day of the Daleks,” the Gelth in “The Unquiet Dead,” the arriving Cybermen in “Army of Ghosts” and most recently a lost time traveler running away from a lovesick beast, in “Hide.”

Faraday cages aren’t the stuff of future science. In fact, they are a very real and very useful way to keep safe from electrical fields, as the Tenth Doctor proved when his double decker bus acted as a Faraday cage, protecting its inhabitants from the ill effects of falling into a wormhole, in “Planet of the Dead.” Or, for a real-life demonstration, here’s Mythbusters star Adam Savage dancing in one, while two Tesla coils play the Doctor Who theme:

Clara has etiquette cue cards for the Doctor so that he can converse with people who are upset without really getting on their nerves. One of them reads “It was my fault, I should have known you didn’t live in Aberdeen,” which is exactly what the Tenth Doctor should have said when he met Sarah Jane Smith in “School Reunion,” given that she had been dropped off there by the Fourth Doctor when they first separated. Sarah Jane was, famously, from Croydon. So that’s like telling someone to drop you in New Jersey and finding that you’re in Orlando, Florida.

Doctor Who - 'Under The Lake' (Photo: BBC)

There was a welcome return from the TARDIS handbrake, as used by Clara to furiously prevent the Doctor from taking her off on another wild adventure at the end of “Kill the Moon” and famously left on by the Doctor in order to create that asthmatic whoosh when taking off and landing (according to River Song in “Time of Angels,” at any rate).

This is not the first time Colin McFarlane—the hollow-eyed Moran, first of the crew to become ghostly—has appeared in the Whoniverse. He was the voice of the angelic robots the Heavenly Host in “Voyage of the Damned,” and he played General Austin Pierce in the Torchwood: Children Of Earth episodes “Day Three,” “Day Four” and “Day Five.” He is also in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, playing Police Commissioner Loeb.

Colin McFarlane as Moran in 'Under The Lake' (Photo: BBC)
Colin McFarlane as Moran in ‘Under The Lake’ (Photo: BBC)

And finally, this is “Mysterious Girl” by Peter Andre, the song the Doctor got stuck in his head for two weeks, until he was “begging for the brush of Death’s merciful hand.”

Oh sorry, possibly shouldn’t have given you that earworm, given the circumstances…

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By Fraser McAlpine