God is in the detail (xi)

Goodness, it’s been a while.

Revisiting ‘The Name of the Doctor’ took things in an unexpected, food-related direction. It is said that oranges are not the only fruit, and we’ll reaffirm that sentiment tonight. Without further ado, then, here’s my list of SEEMINGLY INSIGNIFICANT THINGS in the seventh series finale that are going to be OF VITAL IMPORTANCE in ‘The Day of the Doctor’, or its seasonal successor, the swansong of Smith. (Aha! Alliteration…)

Early on, we’re greeted with a nice establishing shot of the sky over Glasgow.

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Simple, right? Wrong. Look at the placement of that chimney. It’s sandwiched neatly (all right, not terribly neatly) between the ‘L’ and the ‘A’ of Glasgow. We’re clearly supposed to look at that. LA, of course, is short for Los Angeles. In other words, chimneys in Los Angeles. Well, that’s a needle in a haystack. What do we do with that?

But wait! Disney have their main studio at Burbank, Los Angeles county. And in May to September 1963 (fifty years ago – I repeat, FIFTY YEARS AGO) they were filming a now little-known musical they called Mary Poppins, after the book on which it was (somewhat loosely) based. And, of course, a notable sequence in said film involves two children traveling up and down a chimney with a magical, other-worldly guardian who has a fondness for hats, umbrellas and bow ties, and who carries a bag that’s much bigger on the inside. But I didn’t need another excuse to show this.


The chimney sweep of the film, of course, was played by Dick Van Dyke, who became famous in later years for playing Dr Mark Sloan, which in its full form, rearranged, becomes ‘Doctor Ark Man Sol’. This is a clear reference to ‘The Ark In Space’, in which Tom Baker comes across a ship containing the cryogenically frozen remnants of humanity orbiting the Earth. Oh, and where does Dick Van Dyke live? Malibu, which – like Burbank – is part of Los Angeles County. But you knew that, didn’t you?

Onwards. Here’s the Doctor wearing an impromptu blindfold.

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With blue diamonds. You know, sort of like this opening shot from ‘Midnight’.


CLEARLY and UNAMBIGUOUSLY a reference to whatever life form crept along the surface of that planet. And to the Tenth Doctor, who starred. And also to David Troughton, who will ALMOST DEFINITELY appear in ‘Day of the Doctor’ playing the human child of the Second Doctor, now working at UNIT and godfather to Kate Stewart’s daughter.

Now, here’s a shot at the end of the episode, when Clara lands on the ground in the middle of the ruins of …ooh, somewhere in the Doctor’s head, where she’s saved by the Eleventh Doctor. But notice the pattern the branches make.

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It’s a bow and arrow, isn’t it? And those of you who know your New Who will recall David Tennant carrying a bow at the end of ‘Blink’.


“Got to dash,” he tells Sally Sparrow. “Things happening. Well, four things. Well, four things and a lizard.” We’re led to assume that the hatching to which Martha refers is somehow connected with the lizard. But what if it’s not? In fact, I’m fairly certain that it’s not. I’m fairly certain that the lizard is Madame Vastra, and that the use of birds (Sparrow, Nightingale) was a cryptic reference back to Jenny, whose surname – I’d be willing to bet – was Wren. See? SEE? Moffat knew what he was doing even back in 2007.

Now: you will recall this image.

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Ignore the lovely lighting. Stand on your head. Actually, don’t, because it might be easier if I just do this.

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Here, the Strax / Jenny / Vastra have clearly formed a letter F. Which refers to Dorium’s earlier prophecy about ‘The Fall of the Eleventh’ – a fall unconnected, it is now apparent, with any sort of physical downwards pull, or even a bit of appalling wordplay on the part of the chief writer. Instead, the Fall of the Eleventh is happening around us, right now, because we’re in the middle of autumn – or, as it’s named on the other side of the pond, the fall. With me? It’s the first time we’ve seen the Eleventh Doctor on screen like this in the autumn, so THIS IS THE FALL OF THE ELEVENTH.

I’ve saved the best until last. Have a look at Clara’s bedroom.

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Under her bedsheet? Well, that’s a yellow duvet and pillow set, isn’t it? Well, no. It’s a banana.

Which means I get to do this:

It’s definitely a banana. There’s no getting away from it. Bananas are synonymous throughout Doctor Who – they even have their own page in the TARDIS Wikia. We could, for example, refer to images from ‘Ghost Light’.


Or the conversation between the Doctor and Jack in ‘The Doctor Dances’ (written by Moffat).


Or David Tennant’s embarrassing faux-drunk routine in ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ (also written by Moffat).


Or the image of Alex Kingston threatening the Doctor with a banana in ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ (you’re sensing a theme here).


Or we could even go to the most convoluted explanation for any riddle in TV history, courtesy of Adam West and Burt Ward:

Batman [reading]: One: “What has yellow skin and writes?”
Robin: A ballpoint banana.
Batman: Right! Two: “What people are always in a hurry?”
Robin: Rushing people? Russians!
Batman: Right again! Now, what would you say they mean?
Robin: Banana… Russian… I’ve got it! Someone Russian is gonna slip on a banana peel and break their neck!
Batman: Precisely, Robin! The only possible meaning!

But if you need any proof that this is somehow connected with New Who, and what’s about to happen, here’s a picture of John Hurt eating a banana.




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