Friday, October 17, 2014

Steven Moffat Q&A for DWM #479

ANTHONY FINCH asks: Why is it that the TARDIS doesn't rattle and crash about when in ordinary flight anymore? The Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors' TARDISes were always a bit unstable.

Oh, what do you want here? The "in-universe" explanation, or in Cardiff?
In universe: following the terrible events of the Time War, the TARDIS is a bit ropey for a long while. Instead of its (mostly) placid locomotion before the War, it bumps about all over the place. Gradually he fixes the old thing up, and it's back to plain sailing, except for solar storms and dramatic effect.
In Cardiff: I think we gradually forgot. Oh, don't grump, it happens. And speaking of dramatic effect, it was always a bit flexible, wasn't it? I mean, reading Madame de Pompadour's letter while clinging to the console wouldn't have been brilliant, would it? Actually, thinking about it, maybe it's not so much forgetting as gaining confidence that the audience know that this is a flying spaceship, not just a big room with a high-tech mushroom in the middle. It's so clever in Star Trek that they basically fit the bridge with a windscreen so it feels like they're moving. All the TARDIS thrashing in the early days was mainly to remind you we're on the high seas. And to be honest, maybe we should be doing more of it...

CATHERINE GRAHAM asks: In Deep Breath, Madame Vastra says to Clara that the Doctor trusted her when he regenerated and became an older man, showing his great age and "lifting the veil". But in The Parting of the Ways, the Ninth Doctor regenerates to become even younger than before. Does this mean that the Doctor didn't trust Rose like he trusted Clara, or became younger in order to flirt with Rose?

Well, that's only Vastra's theory - and she's arrogant, so she talks like she's right. To be fair, she generally is. But let's also remember the Doctor is at a very different place in his life. Chris was the war-survivor Doctor, the high-plains drifter, pushing everyone away. But then he's brought back to life by a girl he falls in love with, and when he regenerate perhaps he reaches out to her a bit. He becomes a more suitable 'boyfriend'. Often, when talking to women, I've wished that I could turn into David Tennant - and I'm pretty sure they've all wished that too.
But a thousand years on Trenzalore is a very different learning curve. He watches generation after generation die in front of him, and remembers that he is nobody's boyfriend - he cannot afford to love or be loved. When he regenerates, instinctively, he lets Clara see who really he is.

CHLOE HASTINGS asks: Will the Silence ever find out that the Doctor didn't really die on the shores of Lake Silencio?

The Kovarian were a splinter group, who travelled back in time to stop the Doctor ever reaching Trenzalore. The Silence who tackle him there clearly know the plan has failed. However, in researching the matter, I uncovered this rare transcript of a meeting between two high priests of the Silence Movement.
SILENT 1: So, brother - did the Doctor truly perish at Lake Silencio, or did that
          double-hearted schemer live to fight another day?

SILENT 2: ...Who are you?

SILENT 1: You did it again. You broke eye contact. We mustn't break eye contact, or
          this will take all day.

SILENT 2: Sorry. Bit distracted at the moment.

SILENT 1: We have to maintain eye contact at all times. It is the eternal law of the 
          Silence Praesidium.

SILENT 2: Who are you?

SILENT 1: You see, now you've looked out of the window. Don't look out of the window.

SILENT 2: Sorry, I was just wondering where Jeff was with that coffee.

SILENT 1: We can't really send people for coffee - we should remember that.

SILENT 2: Remember what?

SILENT 1: Who are you?

SILENT 2: Who are you?
SILENT 2: Is that a Weeping Angel?

SILENT 1: Keep looking at it!

SILENT 2: Keep looking at what?

SILENT 1: I don't know, who are you?

SILENT 2: What's that rising under that blanket?

SILENT 1: Don't look at it!!

SILENT 2: Don't look at what?

SILENT 1: Hang on, didn't we send Jeff for coffee?

SILENT 2: I'll go and look for him.

SILENT 1: Good idea.

SILENT 2: Who are you?
I think that clears everything up. It goes on for another 8000 pages, but it gets a bit repetitive.

JACK SYNNOTT asks: In Listen, how did Orson get his hands on a Sanctuary Base 6 spacesuit? He is seen wearing it on the news footage dated circa 2110, but SB6 didn't come into existence until the forty-second century.

Oh, blimey. Okay. Mentally rolls up sleeve (which would be a fantastic trick if I could do it).
That's not a Sanctuary Base spacesuit in the news footage, it just looks very much like one.
Those red spacesuits became standard issue for many centuries, so your mistake (you can't see it, but I'm looking shifty) is understandable. The Doctor, of course, has a Sanctuary Base suit, and has used the TARDIS clothing replicator (come on, he must have one, it's the only explanation!) to make several more. When he first meets Orson, he notices that his red spacesuit is in a terrible state, and so gives him one of his. From that point on, Orson is wearing a Sanctuary Base suit. Frankly, I'm surprised this wasn't perfectly obvious and deplore your inattention. (Dear the Internet - that was a JOKE, that last sentence. Ask your Mum and Dad, they were popular back in the day.)

MICHAEL ALLAN asks: In Listen, it is established that there are no monsters. So what was hiding under Rupert's bed sheet?

Oi! It is in no way established that there are no hiders, not at all. The Doctor's theory is never disproved, and by its nature, couldn't be. At every point, there are TWO explanations for the phenomena they encounter. So, under the bedspread it was either (a) a hiding creature (b) a kid, possibly wearing a mask. The whole point of the story is that we don't know, and can't, and that's all right. All that we know is that the monster under the Doctor's bed happened to be Clara.

NIALL DUFFY asks: The Doctor has visited England, Scotland and Wales, but why has he not come to Ireland?

He's been many times, but it never coincided with an alien intervention (because the Irish are just TOO HARD), so he had a lovely time, and we were unable to make an episode, because he was basically just having lunch and a bit of a jig.

JAMES LAWRENCE asks: I enjoyed Into the Dalek very much... However, seeing that they were noticeable by their absence, I do have to ask, are the Paradigm Daleks ever going to reappear?

You know when you ask someone if your bum looks big in this...?

If you have a question you'd like Steven to answer, email with 'Ask Steven' in the subject line.


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