Here are the 25 nagging questions you still have about Doctor Who “Heaven Sent”
You absolutely loved it, of course. I mean it was a brilliant slice of telly. But all through the week you’ve had some nagging questions in the back of your mind about Doctor Who Series 9 Episode 11: “Heaven Sent”
And here they all are…
*** WARNING: Obviously contains many many many spoilers and #HotTake opinion. ***
1: How did the show’s opening monologue get written up on to the wall of the castle?
2: Are wooden doors really telepathic?
3: When did the Doctor start being cruel to insects?
It really wasn’t like him to flick that fly, although I suppose he is a bit cross at the start of this.
4: Would this scene have worked if this was Peter Davison and Adric?
No it wouldn’t, would it.
Now, concentrate. The next bit is tricky.
When the Doctor is in the TARDIS working out how to survive the jump, he says to the Clara figure that it took seven seconds from throwing the stool through the window to hearing it splash, allowing him to calculate the height of the fall.
5: So why is he shown jumping out of the window well before the seven seconds have elapsed?
6: Why are there no underpants drying?
The Doctor must either be going commando, or wearing some very soggy pants for the rest of the episode.
7: What was this meant to signify?
It flashes up again when he is in the garden, so I’ve come to assume that it is another message telling him to dig that hole. But it isn’t exactly the clearest of clues, is it?
Talking of the garden…
8: Were they deliberately trying to remind us of the TARDIS Cloister Room?
9: Are there two of the creature, or did it shuffle off and find a secret trap-door to allow it to emerge from the ground?
10: Had Moffat just been watching loads of Fort Bayard on acid when he wrote this?
11: Oooooh, the castle where they filmed this looks amazing. I wonder where it is?
12: Hang on though. That writing isn’t English. Is that a feature of the location the production crew weren’t able to mask out, or was it meant to be significant?
13: Is he drawing a map of the castle? Or is that actually meant to be written Gallifreyan?
I think map, with the room numbers and all that.
14: How did I not understand what was happening when they literally did a fade from the Doctor to the skull on screen?
Incidentally, they scanned his head to reverse engineer what Capaldi’s skull actually might look like.
15: Was that actually Jenna Coleman in most of this, or a body double?
16: Is this the longest pull-back shot we’ve ever had of the TARDIS control room in the history of the show?
I’m prepared to accept that the answer here is no, because Paul McGann’s one-off movie TARDIS control room looked like it was the size of Westminster Cathedral.
17: Why did we believe the Doctor when he said the TARDIS was beyond the wall?
It clearly doesn’t say TARDIS.
18: Hang on mate, you’ve had your flippin’ annoying Sonic Sunglasses™ with you all episode and this is the first time you thought to put them on?
Are you fucking kidding me? Still, at least you haven’t got the guitar tucked in your back pocket.
Now, this is a biggie…
19: Why oh why oh why oh why did the Doctor decide to punch the wall and not use the bloody shovel?
Mate. There’s at least one shovel in the castle. Possibly two.
Hit the bloody diamond stuff with that, you wrong’un, don’t punch it
And then there is this humdinger…
20: How come every room in the castle resets EXCEPT for the diamond stuff?
[Actually this is sort of explained in the dialogue — the Doctor says every room resets “if I wait long enough”. The diamond room was obviously on a very long setting before refreshing. Two billion years or so.]
21: Why isn’t there any trace left of the Doctor’s clothes, or the rest of his skeleton apart from the skull in the teleport room?
Where do his bones go?
22: Is this actually happening inside the Doctor’s own Confession Dial?
Or, is having tortured and imprisoned the Doctor for two billion years somebody else’s confession? *taps nose, spoilers sweetie*
23: Who the fuck is this kid, and why would he do what a random angry old dude in the desert asked him to do?
Also, would you let your kid play out in the desert like that? On a planet that tends to get invaded or destroyed or put in timelock pocket universes.
24: Please tell me they won’t fuck up my perfect vision of what Gallifrey is meant to be like next week?
Like every Who fan, in your head, you imagine exactly what Gallifrey is like. Even though, if you actually re-watch them, the Time Lords in “The War Games”, “The Three Doctors” and “The Deadly Assassin” are quite different people and societies.
But the very most important question of all…
25: What were the BBC doing not holding Gallifrey back as a surprise, and even mentioning it in the programme synopsis on iPlayer? You weirdos.
Why would you do that?
Although, to be honest, the eagle-eyed among you might have spotted that the teleporter was Time Lord technology in the opening 50 seconds of the episode…
Or is that a map of the castle?
Anyway, until next time…
Doctor Who is the property and copyright of the BBC and I love it unconditionally. No disrespect intended.
Martin Belam is a journalist & designer who has worked for the BBC, Guardian, Sony and the Daily Mirror. He helped start UsVsTh3m & Ampp3d, and runs digital consultancy Emblem. Follow Friday Reading on Medium to get a selection of links to interesting media, tech and politics stories once a week.