I’ve had a busy week, what with birthday parties and cleaning and the like. Only yesterday I chopped eight swimming noodles in half so we could fashion them into makeshift lightsabers. But I’m not going to let a silly little thing like the vacuuming stop me from delivering your regular dose of speculation and analysis. So here’s this week’s installment of VERY IMPORTANT CLUES AND SIGNS – this lot, as you’ve probably guessed, are from ‘Smile’. Buckle up, the sea’s a bit choppy this evening.
First of all, here’s a good old universally compatible incorruptible map.
Consider the subject matter of this episode, and the concept of robots destroying humanity for its own good. It’s a safe bet that the cowboys who programmed them have never even heard of Asimov, but I suspect that doesn’t necessarily apply to you, dear reader – and if you’re not familiar with Asimov’s robot stories, now’s a good time to get yourself acquainted. (Just avoid that Will Smith film. It’s rubbish.)
Asimov’s most famous AI-themed collection, of course, was I, Robot – and if you examine the map you will discover nine of them, all turned sideways. This refers to the first nine Doctors. But in order to reach each ‘I’ without retracing your steps – known as the Chinese Postman Problem – a curious shape emerges. To illustrate, I’ve prepared this graph, which highlights both the ‘I’s and the required route.
What’s that shape? Is it a tower, perhaps? Or an upside-down ‘T’? It’s the latter, of course, but it’s what it indicates that’s interesting. Because it indicates an inverted – or parallel – Tenth Doctor (or Tennant, if you prefer).
Unfortunately, it’s at this point that the theory falls apart, because as far as we know there are no inverted Doctors stuck in parallel universes.
Oh, wait – there are!!!
But that’s not all. Look closer and you’ll see that four of the ‘I’s are situated inside a hexagon: in other words this is a letter sitting inside a number. But if we transpose ‘I’ into its Roman numeral equivalent (and, lest we forget, Peter Capaldi made his Whovian debut playing a marble merchant in ancient Pompeii, before relocating to Rome) we have number 1 inside a 6-sided object: to put it another way, Six of One, which happens to be the name of the Prisoner Appreciation Society – A SHOW THAT IS CELEBRATING ITS FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY NEXT YEAR. You know as well as I do what’s going to happen next, so there’s no need to go on about it.
Now: a familiar sight, but totally transformed.
To interpret this we need only examine the letters over which Bill has placed each finger: the letters ‘D’, ‘E’, ‘A’ and ‘L’.
This works on two levels, and has numerous connections to past episodes. Notoriously, The Deal was a 2003 drama about Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, starring David Morrisey and Michael Sheen. Sheen and Morrisey both appeared in Who as the characters House and Jackson Lake, respectively: a clear and ABSOLUTELY UNMISTAKABLE nod to The Lake House, Alejandro Agresti’s time travel themed romantic drama. If this needed any further qualification it should be noted that Keanu Reeves appeared in the Matrix trilogy (various episodes of Classic Who make references to the Matrix) and Sandra Bullock acted with former Torchwood star Bill Pullman in While You Were Sleeping.
However, you will note that Bill’s index finger (that’s Bill Potts, now, not Bill Pullman) rests not on a single letter but rather straddles an ambiguous path that connects the ‘N’ of ‘Respond’ with the ‘O’ of ‘Officers’, thus creating the words ‘NO DEAL’, a reference to Noel Edmonds, presenter of the inexplicably popular Deal Or No Deal. Edmonds – he of the dodgy jumpers and questionable relationship with Mr Blobby – is a well-known advocate of Cosmic Ordering, a vacuous wish-fulfillment fantasy, and we may therefore conclude that Chris Chibnall’s first series in charge will see the Thirteenth Doctor encountering an extraterrestrial con artist offering enlightenment, played by Christopher Plummer. Further proof, as if any were needed, may be found in the fact that ‘Noel Edmonds’ may be rearranged to form ‘End old me, son’ – and it is from this that we may conclude that THE THIRTEENTH DOCTOR WILL BE PLAYED BY MICHAEL TROUGHTON.
Bit of scenery next. Ooh, look at all the little black dots.
There are two things going on here. The first is the appearance of the monolith from 2001: ANOTHER FILM CELEBRATING ITS FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY NEXT YEAR, making a Who-related crossover an inevitability. But note also the indented panels running down either side: eleven on the left, fourteen on the right, with Capaldi – the thirteenth actor to play the Doctor on television – SAT RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE. Also note that Capaldi is indicating the left column, and is indeed pointing to the furthest panel down, meaning that an Eleventh Doctor reunion is not just on the cards, it’s done and dusted and the ink is dry on the contract.
But there’s more to it than that, although in order to see it we’re going to have to do a little Photoshopping.
And you all know who that is, don’t you?
Our excursions into art don’t stop there, as we take a look at cubism.
Three cubes. Cubed: the power of three. There are three characters present in this scene, if you count the robot. The robot has three bolts across its front (just above the chin) and three on either side of its face (where the ears should be). And all this occurs in the third episode of Capaldi’s third series as the Doctor (assuming you count ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ as part of the same block, which the BBC tend to do).
But consider a few things:
– ‘The Power Of Three’ featured a massive, global spate of cardiac arrests which also affected the Doctor, knocking out one of his hearts, thus recalling the Wham song ‘Where Did Your Heart Go?’
– The video of ‘Club Tropicana’, another song by Wham, was filmed in Ibiza, some 93 miles from the city of Valencia. Doctor Who celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 1993
– While You Were Sleeping, a film we’ve already mentioned, can also be said to be the plot of ‘Last Christmas’ – also a song by Wham
– The cube layout on the plates reads 1+2, which can also be written as 12: the 12th Doctor’s 12th episode was entitled ‘Death In Heaven’ and was an encounter on the cusp of the afterlife, thus mirroring the song ‘The Edge of Heaven’ – also a Wham song
So what, you’re asking? Well –
That’s the City of Arts and Sciences in – yep, you guessed it, Valencia, the location of choice for the episode (and, I’m informed by an old friend with strong connections to the area, something of a local controversy, what with allegations of cronyism and the like).
And ‘SMILE WAS SHOT IN VALENCIA’ can be rearranged to form ‘WHAM IS SILENCE SALVATION’. And there it is in black and white, or at least black-on-off white, if you’re reading this on a PC. I think I need a lie down.