We know it’s been a long time coming but we are BACK fam. And ready to regale you with our thoughts on THE STAR BEAST in this not-so-mini minisode! We recorded before “Wild Blue Yonder” and “The Giggle” came out, so there are no spoilers for those episodes herein!
Lucia Kelly: Hello and welcome to the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Podcast!
Talia Franks: I’m Talia Franks, media critic, fanfic enthusiast, and there’s an alien on the loose! This is amazing!
Lucia Kelly: And I’m Lucia Kelly, expert at applied analysis, and I’m so glad you’re back, Donna, cause it killed me. It killed me. It killed me. It killed me.
Talia Franks: That scene killed me. Okay.
Lucia Kelly: That, oh my gosh, I can’t wait to talk. Okay.
Talia Franks: Alright, we are here today for a Wibbly Wobbly Minisode! Hopefully. This was a very intense episode, but we’re gonna try to keep it short.
Lucia Kelly: We’re going to try, we’re going to try it, because today we’re going to be talking about The Star Beast, which is the first episode of the 60th Anniversary Special, otherwise known as the DoctorDonna 2: Electric Boogaloo! I’m so excited! (Talia and Lucia laugh)
Talia Franks: I didn’t even see that you had written that. (Lucia giggles) Alright. The Star Beast aired on November 25th, 2023. It was written by Russell T Davies and directed by Rachel Talalay.
Lucia Kelly: Reminder that time is not a straight line. It can twist into any shape, and as such, this is a fully spoiled podcast. We might bring things up from later in the show. The — Well, earlier in the show, I guess. (Lucia and Talia giggle)
Talia Franks: Yeah. This is the latest so far.
Lucia Kelly: The comics — This is the very latest episode.
Talia Franks: Unless we release this after the next episode comes out because of editing snafus. But let’s not go there.
Lucia Kelly: Let’s not go there! We’re gonna, we’re gonna be so good at editing this time.
Talia Franks: Mm hmm. Totally.
Lucia Kelly: Mm hmm. Definitely.
Talia Franks: We didn’t, we didn’t just take eight months off.
Lucia Kelly: Hee Hee. Um, we might bring things up from earlier in the show, the comics, the books, the audio dramas, or even fan theories, articles, and trailers.
Talia Franks: With that out of the way, Donna is back, baby! So let’s get in the TARDIS.
Lucia Kelly: Okay the IMDb synopsis for this episode is that The Doctor is caught in a fight to the death as a spaceship crash lands in London, but as the battle wreaks havoc, destiny is converging on the Doctor’s old friend, DONNA!
Talia Franks: Our synopsis is that this is the episode where we finally get some really explicit and positive representation and — It does sometimes miss the mark, which we’ll get into, um, but overall, this is an episode that has some meaty representation in it that other previous episodes tried to do, and (Lucia mm hmms) this episode just did it so well. This episode really, really tries. And you can tell it’s trying. And I feel like there was some really good representation in earlier episodes of the show, but this episode really takes it up a notch. And one of the things I really thought about was that, you know, a lot of people think “Oh, David Tennant, Donna Noble are back.” and we talked about how people were worried that with RTD coming back and … this nostalgia of people saying like, “Make Doctor Who Great Again,” and thinking about how , a lot of us were worried that this would just be regurgitating old stuff and trying to bring people back who we don’t really want back. The people who are all like, “Oh, David Tennant is The Doctor and The Doctor can’t be a woman and like, and The Doctor can’t be anything other than this cisgender male that we’re used to.”
Talia Franks: And it was just really important for me that we had all these positive moments in the episode where we really see that like, no, RTD’s not about to do that. He’s not about to cater to the “Not my Doctor”s, to the transphobes, to the racists. And instead, he really makes an effort to provide representation, and the reason I say that I feel like it sometimes misses the mark is because — and we’re just gonna jump right into one of my main points —
Talia Franks: My real, my only real bone to pick with what is an otherwise excellent episode is the way that they just force it so hard on the gender essentialism right after you have —
Lucia Kelly: Right at the very end, yeah.
Talia Franks: Right at the very end. Like, you have all of this gorgeous representation, we meet this new Rose who is amazing and fantastic and just a wonderful kid just a wonderful person and that’s the thing that we focus on, and the thing is it does acknowledge the fact that she’s trans, the fact that she deals with transphobia and actually, even the scene where she’s being deadnamed, a lot of people had issue with that because, deadnaming someone is wrong.
Talia Franks: Um, and like, it’s not the sort of thing that we like to see happen, but the other thing is, unfortunately, it is a thing that does happen. It is a thing that does happen, and if we’re going to have authentic representation of the first explicitly trans character in the show where their genderfluidity is acknowledged and also celebrated, we also have to acknowledge things that they go through.
Talia Franks: And I think one thing about this episode where, again, it’s a little bit iffy for me, is that it’s very much centering the experience of what it’s like to be the parent of a trans child. It’s very much from Donna’s perspective, and we do see, a lot of Rose, and what she’s going through, but also I feel like the episode really centers Donna in a lot of ways and, I mean, Donna’s the primary companion, so that makes sense, and I’m of two minds about it, because on one hand, I would love for trans representation that more fully centers the experience of a trans person and I also feel at the same time that it is really important to show what there is to do in order to support people and provide genuine allyship. When you think about Donna and, how strongly she protects Rose, and you think about Sylvia and how she’s just continuously trying, and even when she messes up she has a really brilliant response to it, which is like, her immediate thing is she messes up, she says sorry, and she, more importantly, doesn’t do that in front of Rose.
Talia Franks: You know what I mean? When she has her moment, it’s in front of Donna, and what I love is Donna doesn’t say, “it’s okay.” Donna doesn’t say something dismissive. She internalizes the apology and like, has like, a thoughtful, compassionate response.
Talia Franks: And like, I just love that we had that moment, because I think what’s really important is not just seeing how trans people are treated when they’re in the room, but also seeing what’s the best way to talk about someone and engage with their relationship when they’re not in the room, because I think it’s so important to see what people are like when they’re not faced with it explicitly, but the kind of conversations we should be having when there aren’t people in the room who have that direct, specific, lived experience.
Talia Franks: Because I can’t tell you how many people have said, like, really racist things about Asians in front of me. And, like, I’m like, “Hmm, if you’re saying all this stuff about Asians, if you’re saying all this stuff about Latine people, if you’re saying all this stuff about, like, any other marginalized group that you don’t think I’m a part of?” I’m like, “That’s a red flag!”
Talia Franks: I don’t trust them to not also be saying shit about Black people behind my back. And so, I really appreciate seeing that. And I really appreciate Rose as a character. And then to go back to the deadnaming, I just wanted to address, I saw a short clip of an interview that included both RTD and Juno Dawson. She’s the writer that helped Ella Watts pioneer Doctor Who: Redacted. She’s a trans woman. She’s written so many great things across the board, but she’s also written a lot for Doctor Who. She wrote, one of my favorite Doctor Who books. It’s a Thirteenth Doctor book.
Talia Franks: And, I’m blanking on the title, but, uh —
Lucia Kelly: The Good Doctor.
Talia Franks: The Good Doctor! Oh my God, yes, okay. Anyway, the point is, what was I saying? Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So, Juno Dawson is a great author, contributor to Doctor Who, and a trans woman, and one of the things that she said was that it’s really important to see these moments of lived experience, and like, deadnaming is something that happens horribly, horribly often, and if we didn’t show that it would be kind of weird to pretend that Rose and Donna and all them live in a society that’s just moved past deadnaming, when we really haven’t.
Lucia Kelly: Exactly. And also, the framing of the narrative is everything here. They’re literally not even in the frame, right? (Talia mm hmms) It’s not about them.
Lucia Kelly: It’s about how it lands on Rose and more importantly, it’s about how Donna reacts. Do you know what I mean? So in terms of the framing of the narrative, there is no way to see that scene and think, “deadnaming is okay,” or “deadnaming is the right thing to do.” It is categorically a bad thing.
Lucia Kelly: And that is what’s more important. It’s not about the presence of the thing. It’s about “how is it framed?” Right? And it, all leads back to this idea of “you can only have good things in media.” or like —
Lucia Kelly: No! You need to show the world as complex and, as this mesh of good and bad actions.
Lucia Kelly: And it’s not about you remove all of the badness. It’s about how you frame what is not appropriate.
Talia Franks: And I will say one more thing about that scene specifically though, is I did see some commentary of people thinking that Donna was not actually as defensive and protective of Rose because she didn’t say anything explicit.
Talia Franks: The person who said this said that they didn’t perceive Donna as doing enough in that moment. And so, like, for me, you see Donna handing the box off to Rose like, hold my purse like, taking off like — (Lucia laughs incredulously)
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. Donna was ready to beat down on some teenagers.
Talia Franks: This is, this is, Donna was ready to fight.
Talia Franks: She was ready to beat down on some teenagers. And then Rose is the one who says, “No, don’t do that.” (Lucia hums in agreement) And so I just want to be clear in case anyone was confused about what Donna was doing in that scene. But no, Donna was ready to beat down on those teenagers.
Talia Franks: And I feel like that needs to be explicitly acknowledged. That Donna really would burn the world down for Rose, I’m not kidding.
Lucia Kelly: Exactly. And in that moment, it is far more important and far more powerful that Donna listened to Rose and actually followed her lead.
Talia Franks: Yes.
Lucia Kelly: If Donna had dismissed Rose’s intention and leadership in that moment, like, as an ally, it is your job to follow and to support. It’s not your job to white knight. It’s not your job to presume you know better than the person, or people, that you claiming to protect and fight for. You need to put those people in positions of power. They need to be the ones in charge. If Rose says, “Stop.” You stop. (Talia mm hmms) And that is far more powerful and far more important.
Lucia Kelly: And Gosh, I love the kitchen scene so much. I love it so much. It’s so — I love the way that Sylvia has grown. So much through Season Four, we get Sylvia being a really terrible parent. Who doesn’t acknowledge Donna, in any way that is positive, any way that is supportive, and I think what’s so beautiful is that you can clearly see that last conversation she had with The Doctor, she really took that to heart when The Doctor called her out and was like, “You should tell her she’s brilliant. If you actually think that. You should tell her. Because she doesn’t know.” It broke my heart when they’re in the spaceship together, and she keeps on insisting that she’s no one, that she’s not special, and the heartbreak in David Tennant’s face, in his voice, when he says, “No, you’re not!” Like, they worked on this! They actually got to a point where Donna had a good amount of self-worth and it’s all gone again and that’s so heartbreaking, but yeah, back to, back to Sylvia in the kitchen —
Talia Franks: Yeah, and I just — One more — Sorry —
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: I just want to say one more thing for the listeners.
Talia Franks: We actually recorded all of our episodes through Season Four already, even though, yes, I know we still haven’t released Gridlock yet. Don’t come for us!
Lucia Kelly: It’s coming. It’s coming. Don’t worry.
Talia Franks: It’s coming. It’s coming. We’ll get there. That’s been our mantra from the beginning. We’ll get there.
Lucia Kelly: From day one. We’ll get there when we get there.
Talia Franks: From day one. We’ll get there when we get there. But yes, the kitchen scene.
Lucia Kelly: Oh. It’s so powerful to see, as someone who, who’s been in Sylvia’s position, been in Donna’s position, to see that represented on screen and that, like, the awkwardness and the fact that you love this person, that you want to support them, that … you’ve got no doubt, in your mind, of where you stand towards this person — that you adore them — but, (Talia mm hmms) it’s suddenly — everything gets called into question of like, “How do I show that?” And, “Am I doing wrong?” And you just want to be able to support and … there is a learning curve.
Lucia Kelly: And it’s so important to … The whole, like, “you need to be perfect from day one,” is so destructive. (Talia mm hmms) It’s such a destructive narrative because what’s so much more important is that person keeps showing up every day.
Talia Franks: Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: It’s so much more important that they keep trying. That that love, and that support, and that care, is present.
Talia Franks: Yeah, and it’s definitely also important to dismantle that narrative that everything has to be perfect from day one, because if people think everything has to be perfect from day one, they’re just going to give up after they fail on day one.
Lucia Kelly: Exactly. Exactly. It’s a self-sabotaging narrative that actually leaves you with less support. (Talia mm hmms)
Lucia Kelly: And so to see that, it’s just, it’s gorgeous and I love it.
Talia Franks: And, as we alluded to the beginning, the gender essentialism —
Lucia Kelly: Yes!
Talia Franks: — in that last scene undoes a lot of it because, just before that even, you have the part where they talk about being binary and how Rose says “non-binary,” and that moment was so, so powerful because when they explicitly go to say like, “The Doctor is a man, and a woman, both and neither,”
Lucia Kelly: “and more.”
Talia Franks: And more. Yeah. That they’re not just a man or a woman or neither. They are more. That’s what I mean. They are encompassing. And I think that was so important, both to state explicitly in the show, and also to explicitly have Rose say non-binary, and to acknowledge the vastness of genders.
Talia Franks: And The Meep is a whole other thing that we’ll try to make time for. But one of the things about The Meep is that when The Doctor asks The Meep what The Meep’s pronouns are, The Meep is like, “I use the definite article, just call me Meep.”
Talia Franks: And so, I feel like that’s actually really important to show from a perspective of like, there are some people who just don’t use pronouns. They’ll use like, a definite article or they’ll use another neopronoun, like, “xe/xem/xyr,” like that, for example —
Lucia Kelly: Or like, “it’s”!
Talia Franks: Like “it’s”. Yeah, but, or it’s, they will use … Like, people use a wide variety of pronouns and like, I really loved that The Doctor made space for that.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. Also, everyone talking about how like, “Oh my Gosh, you’re assuming he as a pronoun?” was meme-y or like, shoved in. Have you talked to a teenage trans person lately? (Talia laughs)
Talia Franks: Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Yasmin Finley’s delivery was literally perfect. Shut up. Sit down!
Talia Franks: Yeah, and I think part of the problem is that a lot of people watching this are not teenagers.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah!
Talia Franks: That they’re not tapped in to the current — Like, for me, I’m 27. Most of my cousins are in their teens. I have a handful of cousins over 20, but most of my cousins are in their teens. And that’s just how teenagers talk!
Lucia Kelly: It’s just how teenagers talk! It’s so stupid. Like, why are you nitpicking?
Talia Franks: Literally!
Lucia Kelly: Russell T Davies really took the most well-known British television show. That is not an overstatement. Doctor Who is iconic. It is one of the mainstays of British television.
Talia Franks: It’s their flagship show!
Lucia Kelly: Broadcasted it on the BBC — which is a TERF haven — and said, “Fuck you, Black trans love saves the universe.” Focus on that!
Talia Franks: Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Focus on that.
Talia Franks: It’s a gorgeous episode and the literal only quibble I have with it is why they had to go there with saying The Doctor didn’t think of it because he was male presenting. The thing that specifically bothers me about it is actually specifically that they do say “male presenting”. (Lucia hums in agreement) Because I get what they’re going for. It’s that stereotype of like, “Oh, Men are emotionless. They can’t process. They don’t think. They don’t have the ability to let things go.” And so it really bothered me also that they were saying “male presenting”, because, when they say that, they’re also implicating trans people, they’re implicating like, trans men, like, non-binary masc folks, and you tried, but you just couldn’t fully stick the landing. You stumbled a little bit.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: You stumbled a little bit.
Lucia Kelly: But also the fact that emotional maturity is not about gender.
Talia Franks: It’s not!
Lucia Kelly: Thirteen has never let anything go in her life!
Talia Franks: Exactly!
Lucia Kelly: Like, If Thirteen was there, Thirteen couldn’t get there anyway. It’s not about her gender. It’s not about The Doctor being in a male or female body. It’s about emotional maturity. Like —
Talia Franks: Yeah, and it’s —
Lucia Kelly: Hi, Lucia from the future here. I just want to clarify something because I’ve listened back to it and I don’t like the phrasing. I said male or female body. That’s not what I meant. I meant whether The Doctor identifies as male or female, or whether they identify as non-binary, or trans, or whatever it is. The point I was trying to make was it’s not about the body. It’s about the person. The soul. And the intelligence. The emotional intelligence. Whether someone has the capacity to let something go. Anyway, uh, Lucia out.
Lucia Kelly: Bye.
Talia Franks: Especially when you think of the fact that Thirteen — I love her. She’s an amazing Doctor. She’s definitely in my top favorites. — She buries stuff down so much, and she literally refuses to have a relationship with Yaz even though she loves her and she wants to be with her.
Talia Franks: She literally says that she has too much baggage. She’s like, “I got too much baggage for this shit.”
Lucia Kelly: Literally! Half her arc is about the fact that she is not acknowledging her emotions. It’s —
Talia Franks: Yes! So like, the idea that, she would be better at it? Cause you know, you know, if any of the past Doctor’s had enough emotional maturity to figure that shit out, it would have been Twelve, in my opinion.
Talia Franks: All the Doctors are deep in grief, but the reason I say that I think Twelve is one of the most, I think, emotionally mature is because right up until he loses Bill, he’s on such a great trajectory of coming to terms with who he is, what he does.
Talia Franks: I just, I can’t emphasize enough how much I love Twelve.
Lucia Kelly: I know. Well, if anything, if anything, Fourteen would be able to get there because Fourteen, unlike Ten — like, I love the fact — because I know we were worried about it. — I know that we talked about how worried we were about how Fourteen would just be Ten again, but he’s not. Ten and Fourteen are different characters. And Fourteen is so — Not only full of love —
Lucia Kelly: Like, Ten was full of love. Ten was a hot glass of emotion, right? Like he, he had so much shit going on, but he didn’t process properly, right? But Fourteen, like , when he calls Donna his best friend in the entire universe? And how he loves her? And he’s so open! And he talks, like, he actually acknowledges emotional connections with people.
Talia Franks: Yeah, when he thinks that Wilf is dead, he says, “I loved that man.”
Lucia Kelly: I know!
Talia Franks: And Ten would never.
Lucia Kelly: Ten would never!
Talia Franks: Ten would never. When you even think about how Ten regenerated, it was because of Wilf. But he was so reluctant.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, no. The parallels when he was once again stuck behind a glass barrier with one Noble on the other side. Russell T, you knew what you were doing! How dare you!
Peter Davison: Hello, you’re listening to the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey podcast with me, Peter Davison.
Talia Franks: Just want to take a moment to say I see the Disney influence, (Lucia giggles) I see the Disney influence, cause so much of this episode — It was givin’ Avengers. It was givin’ MCU. The mind control with the blue eyes? The trigger words that unlocked Donna’s memories? Very similar to the trigger words that activated the Winter Soldier, only I guess in reverse.
Talia Franks: Even when they broadcasted it at Chicago TARDIS, there was an introductory thing about “The Whoniverse”. I didn’t see it when I re watched it again on Disney+ but when they showed it to us at Chicago TARDIS, they literally had a Marvel opening credits style thing, (Lucia laughs) showing the word “Who” and like, all the different characters from past seasons of the show — They showed like, clips of them walking through the letters, and then it flipped and showed the word “Whoniverse”, and I was like, “I see you, Disney. (Lucia giggles) I see you. I see what you’re doing. I see what you’re doing.” It was giving Marvel.
Lucia Kelly: It was giving Marvel a little bit.
Talia Franks: It was giving Marvel.
Talia Franks: Yeah, even when you get to, like, the fact that the action sequences are so intense! (Lucia makes enthusiastic noises of agreement) The fighting! You can — They got Disney money.
Lucia Kelly: They got Disney money.
Lucia Kelly: But like, can we have a shout out? No People of Colour died! Yay!
Talia Franks: Yes!
Lucia Kelly: Thank God.
Talia Franks: Yes. Let’s just have a little shout out for that.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, because when I tell you I was terrified for both Singh and Fudge, I was like, “Oh God. Oh God. Don’t do this.”
Talia Franks: Yeah. Yeah. And, also I just want to take a moment to say the deep, deep level of love that I have for Shirley.
Lucia Kelly: Holy shit, she’s so cool.
Talia Franks: Oh my God. I mean, she’s so cool.
Talia Franks: I think that Donna and Rose are the standout characters of this episode, but Shirley is a very close third. She’s so awesome. And I love also that she has weapons in her wheelchair, which is just amazing. And the fact that she’s such an active part of the episode and shown having autonomy and skill and smarts and she’s celebrated for it. It’s just brilliant. And also, even though we’re seeing how an amazing badass she is, we’re also seeing the real world effects of what it’s like to be a wheelchair user, what it’s like to be a disabled person in a world that is not built accommodatingly.
Talia Franks: When you
Talia Franks: think about the fact that she couldn’t get up to the spaceship because they put stairs. (Lucia hmms in agreement) And that’s a real thing that happens, is that people who need mobility aids to go places, if they’re not accommodated to be able to use them, then they just can’t go. What are they supposed to do when stairs are the only option?
Lucia Kelly: And immediately that’s shut down, right?
Talia Franks: Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Immediately, she’s like, “Don’t make it about me. Get up there.” You know?
Talia Franks: Yeah, and you can tell when she says “Don’t make me the problem.” You can tell that there are so many people who have considered her to be a problem. (Lucia mm hmms)
Talia Franks: Considered, like — And it’s just so brilliant that they are able to show all of that.
Talia Franks: But I realized we’ve been talking for like, a really long time. So this is going to be a very long episode. Sorry. We failed at being a minisode. Because we haven’t even gotten to talking about what the episode is actually about.
Talia Franks: The Star Beast. The Meep.
Talia Franks: We touched briefly on The Meep, but I just want to say I loved the transition from The Meep being a cute, soft, cuddly creature to suddenly being this evil being that wants to control the world. (Lucia giggles) And like, know that The Meep doesn’t say “Fuck this shit,” but that’s what The Meep said in my mind.
Lucia Kelly: The Meep should have sworn.
Talia Franks: The Meep should have sworn. I think The Meep actually said “To hell with this,” or something like that. But in my heart of hearts, The Meep should have said “Fuck this shit.”
Talia Franks: But I don’t think they can drop F bombs. I don’t think the BBC will let them drop F bombs on the show. As much as I know Russell T wants to.
Lucia Kelly: I remember watching Doctor Who Confidential when — Gosh, what’s the episode? Martha’s first episode. — I forget what it’s called. When they’re on the moon. And It was a big deal when Martha said, “We’re on the bloody moon.”, I remember Russell T Davies saying like, “That was a big deal. We had to push for that.” So, like …
Talia Franks: Yeah. But it’s just a wonderful episode. And the fact that The Doctor is like, “I named this ship Delusions of Grandeur!“
Talia Franks: As you said, Ten and Fourteen are very different characters and I feel like that is actually what makes me more okay with calling Fourteen, Fourteen, instead of just a revival of Ten because they are different characters. I was being really salty about Ncuti Gatwa being the Fifteenth Doctor and not the Fourteenth Doctor.
Talia Franks: And I still am salty. I still feel like we should have gone straight to Ncuti. And at the same time, I am now more willing to embrace that Ncuti is going to be the Fifteenth Doctor because he is going to be a very different character from both Fourteen and Ten and every other Doctor. And like, it’s kind of annoying, but it’s, it’s fine. It is what it is. I’ve accepted it at this point.
Talia Franks: To get back to the episode, it was such a good episode.
Lucia Kelly: It was excellent. I loved it.
Talia Franks: I was so worried and anxious, but I’m feeling a lot better about it now. And like, obviously there’s still things to improve, but, yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Because here’s the thing, Doctor Who is silly and ridiculous and sincere. And that’s where it shines. Right? (Talia hmms in agreement) And I feel like even though we’ve got this Disney money now like, even though it’s got a little bit of Marvel in it now, it feels like it’s returned to base. You know what I mean?
Lucia Kelly: And again, sorry to bring it back to the gender essentialism, but like, cause what frustrated me more about, and I, I swear this is relevant, but what frustrated me more about the whole “if you were still a woman you would understand” when a Doctor regenerates, he doesn’t forget everything that came —
Lucia Kelly: he still has all of those experiences and all of that growth and all of that everything that came before is a part of him. Just the way that through anyone’s life, everyone’s journey you remember what comes before, what you’ve done before shapes how you are now.
Lucia Kelly: Um —
Talia Franks: Which — It’s exactly what Eleven said when he was regenerating into Twelve.
Talia Franks: He says “We all change throughout our lives when you think about it — and like, uh, I forget the exact line, but he says like — we’re all different from who we’ve been throughout our lives, and that’s okay. That’s good. You got to keep moving. As long as you remember all the people you used to be.”
Talia Franks: And that’s when he says “I’ll not forget. I’ll not forget when The Doctor was me. I won’t forget the experiences I’ve had.” Which, also, it’s funny when you think about though The Timeless Child, because then you think about The Doctor actually has forgotten a lot but also even if you forget who you are, who you’ve been … Do they really forget? Cause think about Donna, (Lucia: Exactly) like she had her memories wiped, but she still remembered in her heart, in her soul, she had it inside her all along.
Lucia Kelly: She had that retrograde memory loop that made her give away 166 million pounds, you know?
Talia Franks: And also it just slips through in small moments, like (Lucia hmms) when she calls him “The Doctor” when he’s never told her that he’s The Doctor since she lost her memories. (Lucia hmms)
Lucia Kelly: The show on a metatextual level, the show mirrors The Doctor in a lot of interesting ways (Talia mhmms) and similar to regeneration, right?
Lucia Kelly: So it’s an interesting phenomenon that, we’ve got RTD back as showrunner and, in that same sort of way we’ve got The Doctor and Donna back, right? It’s a mirroring of the fiction and the reality of the behind the scenes.
Lucia Kelly: And, I feel like, as much as I have loved these latest seasons, and I think they’re brilliant and I think they’re fantastic, I don’t want to undermine anything of what’s happened since RTD left, but I know that a consistent criticism that has been shared by a lot of people is that a lot of the silliness and the whimsy of the show has been lost, and it’s not celebrated in the same way.
Lucia Kelly: And that sort of celebration of ordinary people and, humanity as a core sort of essential part of the show has been sort of lost in the flash and the bang and the special effects. And it was
Talia Franks: I don’t think that’s true for the Thirteenth Doctor, but okay.
Lucia Kelly: And I feel like this episode, “The Star Beast” really it delivered that silliness and that ridiculousness and that sincerity in spades. And I really enjoyed that. And I think that is an exciting… marker of what the rest of this, both the rest of the specials and the upcoming season is going to be like. .
Talia Franks: I very much disagree when it comes to the Thirteenth Doctor Seasons and arcs because I feel like so much of the Thirteenth Doctor Seasons, especially season Twelve feel really grounded in like humanity and the everyday and there are episodes that do feel like very, very camp to me as well, very energetic, very funny and interesting. And I feel like the Thirteenth doctor does not get enough credit and Chris Chibnall does not get enough credit for how much they’ve been able to accomplish and build on, and I think a lot of it also is that the more Doctor Who there is, the more mistakes they make, and the more they know how to fix them in the future.
Lucia Kelly: Exactly.
Talia Franks: And so, obviously we don’t let people get away with like, racism and bigotry and terrible stuff, but we also judge things based on when they were made and in what context they were made and what precedented them.
Talia Franks: Just even think about how Netflix pioneered streaming, but is now in many ways been surpassed by like Disney plus (Lucia makes a noise of interest and agreement) and not just because Netflix doesn’t have as much access to all the digital catalogs as it did before when it was the only guy out there. Think about like, all the different mistakes that Netflix has made and successes that Netflix has had and other streaming services have used as a template and as knowing things to avoid, like part of success is not just having good role models, but also having bad role models, so you know what you’re not supposed to do.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, no, exactly. When I say, when I say that, what I mean is, like, I think what so many people, don’t acknowledge is that like, Ten was built on Nine, right? Like, Ten would not have had the success that Ten has if Nine wasn’t there. And in the same way, Fourteen and Fifteen are built on Thirteen and Twelve and Eleven. It’s a progression. (Talia mhmms in agreement)
Lucia Kelly: It’s always continuing. It’s an evolution. It’s a regeneration, right? (Talia mhmms in agreement) And, evolution is often framed as this constantly positive thing. It’s not. Evolution is just the path forward and what succeeds, succeeds, right? And—
Talia Franks: Progress is not inevitable.
Lucia Kelly: Exactly. What I meant was, to clarify, was that the tone of The Star Beast was very Nostalgic for me, like when it opens with the like, PowerPoint presentation blue screen.
Lucia Kelly: Um — (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: Oh my god. So, Rachel Talalay didn’t direct that part. She told us in the Chicago TARDIS audience that she actually didn’t even see it yet It was tacked on. She didn’t see it until she watched it for the first time.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah,
Talia Franks: it’s not part, it’s very much not part of the rest of the episode
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, it’s not. It’s very much like, when I saw that um, like it’s very much sort of like that’s a refresher for everyone who’s coming back being like, “Hey, remember how Season Four ended? (Lucia laughs and Talia mhmms) This is the stuff you need to know.” But like, yeah, the sort of, it was so dorky and it was so silly.
Talia Franks: Yeah,
Lucia Kelly: it just it made me happy.
Rupert Booth: Hi, I’m Rupert Booth.
Paul Ferry: I am known as Paul Ferry.
Barry Williams: And my name is Barry Williams.
Rupert Booth: Together, we host Time Ram.
Paul Ferry: TimeRam’s a cruel mistress.
Barry Williams: It’s a random number generator.
Paul Ferry: That also.
Rupert Booth: We roll a number from 1 to 30, and that’s our doctor. Then 1 to 300 for the story. And then, we ram them together.
Barry Williams: Even if it doesn’t make sense.
Paul Ferry: Cruel, I tell you.
Rupert Booth: Time Ram. Putting the wrong doctors in the wrong stories, so you don’t have to.
Paul Ferry: You’re listening to the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Podcast.
Talia Franks: So what are we looking forward to for the next few episodes?
Lucia Kelly: Um, I’m really excited to see the DoctorDonna. I think it’ll be so exciting and, it was interesting, I was actually having a conversation with my sister yesterday about “Planet of the Dead” and about how like, Lady Christina is presented as this kind of perfect companion because she’s so cool and awesome. But there’s this decision at the end of that episode where it’s like, she’s a bit too competent (Talia mhmms) to work narratively with how the show presented itself at that time.
Lucia Kelly: As it’s written into the show The Doctor needs to be able to be the hero. And with a character like Lady Christina, or with the original DoctorDonna, she’s just a bit too awesome (Lucia laughs and Talia mhmms) to be a companion. And so, I’m really looking forward to seeing how they, sort of, deal with that and hopefully do it well.
Lucia Kelly: Um, I’m really excited to see Wilf again. I can’t wait.
Talia Franks: Yeah, I’m really excited to see Wilf again, especially because with that whole With that whole scene where The Doctor thought that Wilf had died. I’m like, “Oh God, please don’t tell me they wrote out Bernard Cribbins after he died.”
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: But thankfully they didn’t. It’s going to be heartbreaking to see him again, but I’m really looking forward to it.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: And I think… I think good things are coming, because of the opportunities again with having Tennant back. I would be really excited to see the return of some other Ten companions. Like, obviously, you know I want Martha back because Ten needs to apologize. Ten needed to apologize.
Talia Franks: And now that Fourteen has that face again. It’s his responsibility to use that face to apologize to Martha. If they don’t bring Martha back, I’m going to be so pissed, but also specifically I’ll be pissed off if they bring Rose back, but don’t bring Martha back. That would be what really pissed me off.
Talia Franks: Honestly, if they bring neither back, I’m okay. But if they bring Rose and not Martha, I’m going to throw hands.
Lucia Kelly: You know what? Fair. Fair.
Talia Franks: I’m gonna write a strongly worded letter to Russell T Davies and be like, “what the fuck?” But yeah, I don’t know if either of them are going to come back. But if they do… if only one comes back, it has to be Martha because Rose is stuck in an alternate universe.
Talia Franks: Anyway, um, but I will say one more thing, like the fact that Rose chose the name Rose when she chose her new name is like, beautiful to me. . It’s such a good plot point that has so many callbacks. And although it does make things very confusing in my brain thinking about which Rose I’m talking about, but also because Yasmin Finney’s name is Yaz, and it makes me think of Yaz from Yasmin Khan, and I’m just like, fuck, so now I get confused. Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: You know like, when you’ve got two people in a class that have the same name and it’s like Rose N and Rose T? (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Also, quick shout out, very, very quick shout out to Shaun Temple for being like, the best dad in the universe.
Lucia Kelly: I loved him so much. (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: I love Shaun Temple. And I also, it’s not just that he’s the best dad in the universe, because he is, I But also I love that he’s the best dad in the universe and he’s Black, because when you think about this horrible narrative of absent Black fathers, Black dads who are just terrible, it’s just really great to see represented, it’s so, so beautiful to me that we’re actually seeing a Black dad being a good dad.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. I love his and Donna’s relationship. I love that we see them just supporting each other and really all those tiny ways. He’s so solid with her and like when she teases him about being like, “well, other husbands would worry.” and he’s like, yeah,
Talia Franks: but not with him,
Lucia Kelly: It’s not gonna happen (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: And it also is really refreshingly different from Danny Pink. Who, as much as I loved Danny as a character for so many reasons he was also like, really controlling of Clara in terms of not wanting her to be with the Doctor, and like, a lot of his concerns were valid especially when you consider that he was murdered by the Master, although that’s not actually confirmed in the show the reason you know that Missy is responsible for Danny Pink dying is because of a book that shares more details, but, she’s the reason he dead. And Clara ended up dead and then half alive traveling through the universe in a TARDIS that looks like a diner.
Talia Franks: It’s not a happy ending in a lot of ways.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. But no, I love it. I love them. The Noble-Temples. (Lucia laughs) And the fact that like, The Doctor remembers Donna well enough to know that the mention of Nerys will get him through. (Lucia laughs while saying “like”)
Talia Franks: Yeah. But also the fact that The Doctor remembers how Donna takes her tea, or coffee. When you consider from the doctor’s perspective, he has lived billions of years. In in Heaven Sent, which is another fantastic episode from Rachel Talalay the direction in that episode is (Talia makes a kissing noise) Chef’s Kiss, amazing and Peter Capaldi’s performance in that episode should have won all the awards.
Talia Franks: But the thing is he didn’t actually remember those billions of years, but he still was basically tortured for billions of years and then kept dying and coming back again. But even when you disregard that, Matt Smith’s doctor, when you think about the Christmas episode, when you think about the fact that he like, took a 200 year vacation before he thought he was gonna die and all of that all of those thousands of years The Doctor remembered how Donna likes her coffee.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. It’s such a gorgeous callback to her first episode where like, that’s how Lance got his in! Is he made her a coffee, because “no one makes the temps a coffee.”
Lucia Kelly: No one thinks about Donna that way. No one remembers her coffee order. She’s a no one. And it’s just this perfect little cinch in of like, “No, you’re not. You’re Donna fucking Noble and I love you.”.
Talia Franks: Yeah. And also the fact that even when she lost her memory, she didn’t lose the core of who she was. She was willing to die. She knew, The Doctor was explicit like, “if I do this, you will die.” And then Donna’s like, “My daughter’s down there. I can’t not do this.”
Lucia Kelly: She accepts it immediately.
Talia Franks: Also like, I just want to also acknowledge, I’m pretty sure, I know in the modern era, I’m not finished with the Classic yet, but Donna is the first companion.
Talia Franks: That is like, a whole ass adult with a kid in a family that’s actual, chronological family. Not like the Ponds. And the way she said, the Doctor’s like, “One last trip?” And she’s like, “I’ve got adventures of my own now.” but she’s still, she still goes on the TARDIS. She’s still craving that.
Lucia Kelly: I know. And it’s so silly the way they like, jump at the excuse to be like, “Oh, but we should see Wilf!”. Never mind that Shaun could drive us there, never mind, we’ll take the TARDIS. It’ll only be one trip!
Talia Franks: And I loved the callback to Kate Stewart, I need to see Kate. I need to see Kate.
Lucia Kelly: I need to see Kate.
Talia Franks: I need to see Kate. \ I’m pretty sure she’s coming back at least in Ncuti’s season. Kate is like the Brigadier, literally, in that she is the actor that returns and links all these eras together.
Lucia Kelly: Mhmm
Talia Franks: Just like her father before her, (Lucia laughs) she is the one who links the Doctors together.
Talia Franks: I would be shocked if she does not show up in Ncuti’s season. Because we’ve already heard a mention of her. She’s gonna come back. But yeah, I also need more past companions coming back. But not just modern Who Companions. I want the classic Companions back. I want them back!
Lucia Kelly: I want them back!
Talia Franks: I know some of them have passed away, but honestly, all time favorite for future Doctor Who, I just would love beyond measure to see Susan back.
Lucia Kelly: Oh, that would be gorgeous.
Talia Franks: If Susan doesn’t come back at some point, I doubt she’s gonna come back in the specials, but like, she just needs to come back. She is so foundational to the series, the Doctor’s granddaughter like, she she deserves to be back.
Lucia Kelly: She deserves to be back!
Talia Franks: I was at a panel at Chicago TARDIS and someone was like, ” do you think that Susan actually has two granddads and The Doctor and the master was just the messiest divorce ever?” (Lucia and Talia laugh)
Lucia Kelly: Oof. Oof.
Talia Franks: Yeah. But anyway, we’ve gone on way longer than we meant to. If this episode, oh god, this episode is going to be so long. Okay. Anyway but yeah. thanks y’all for joining us in our first proper—
Lucia Kelly: We’ve gotta give our, is it funky fabulous or foul?
Talia Franks: Oh wait, yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Resounding fabulous.
Talia Franks: Oh yeah, resounding fabulous.
Lucia Kelly: Resounding fabulous.
Talia Franks: Sorry, I didn’t even think to talk about whether or not… It was fabulous, funky, or foul because it’s just so obviously fabulous.
Lucia Kelly: It’s so obviously fabulous.
Talia Franks: Oh my, I’ve got low battery, my Mac’s gonna sleep soon. Alright, thank you for joining us.
Lucia Kelly: Thank you!
Talia Franks: We love you, we appreciate you. Whether or not you’re coming back after we were gone since March.
Lucia Kelly: We’re back!
Talia Franks: We’re back! And we will also be back next week to talk about “Wild Blue Yonder.” Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Bye!
Talia Franks: Bye!
Dalek Voice: Direction point! Direction point!
Larry: A Doctor Who Podcast Network.