travel in the tardis

Since Bill has been announced as the first openly gay Doctor Who companion…. 

- Bill who flirts with all sorts of 19th century women until the doctor has to pull her away because planet to save Bill, come on!

- Bill who almost accidentally destroyed the hierarchy of an alien monarchy by giving the cute princess a flower (a violent declaration of war on their planet)

- Bill who makes amazing food for anyone and everyone

- Bill who sits people down and gives the best, and bluntest, advice when they’re having girl trouble

- Bill who heard that all of these women fell in love with the doctor and just started fucking laughing

- She was in hysterics for the next ten minutes 

- She still finds it hilarious, even now 

- Because all these pretty women

- And him?

10 ways in which fans rewrite their favourite television shows:

1) Recontextualization - the production of vignettes, short stories, and novels that seek to fill in the gaps in broadcast narratives and suggest additional explanations for particular actions.

2) Expanding the series timeline - the production of vignettes, short stories, novels that provide background history of characters, etc., not explored in broadcast narratives or suggestions for future developments beyond the period covered by the broadcast narrative.

3) Refocalization - this occurs when fan writers move the focus of attention from the main protagonists to secondary figures. For example, female or black characters are taken from the margins of a text and given centre stage.

4) Moral realignment - a version of refocalization in which the moral order of the broadcast narrative is inverted (the villains become the good guys). In some versions the moral order remains the same but the story is now told from the point of view of the villains.

5) Genre shifting - characters from broadcast science fiction narratives, say, are relocated in the realms of romance or the Western, for example.

6) Cross-Overs - characters from one television programme are introduced into another. For example, characters from Doctor Who may appear in the same narrative as characters from Star Wars.

7) Character dislocation - characters are relocated in new narrative situations, with new names and new identities. 

8) Personalization - the inserted of the writer into a version of their favourite television programme. For example, I could write a short story in which I am recruited by the Doctor to travel with him in the TARDIS on a mission to explore what has become of the Manchester United in the twenty-fourth century. (However, as Jenkins points out, many in the fan culture discourage this subgenre of fan writing.)

9) Emotional intensification - the production of what are called “hurt-comfort” stories in which favourite characters, for example, experience emotional crisis.

10) Eroticization - stories that explore the erotic side of a character’s life. Perhaps the best known of this subgenre of fan writing is “slash” fiction, so called because it depicts same-sex relationships (as in Kirk/Spock,etc.)

- Henry Jenkins Textual Poachers pg 162-177

Meta Monday: Rose Tyler Defence

Today’s Meta Monday post is brought to you by the person who left a full-fledged rant against Rose Tyler in a comment on one of my fics. For the record, if you spend 500 words putting down one half of my OTP, you cannot say you respect that I ship Ten/Rose. Also, RUDE.

So, I’m going to break down the comment point by point. This was left on my ficlet about Martha, and about halfway through, it switches to ranting about how Martha was treated by the Doctor. For the sake of length, I’ll cover that part next week. Bullet points in quotes are taken directly from the review.

1) Rose was selfish.

At times, yes. Because Rose was human and humans have flaws. She was a well-written character who didn’t always do the right thing for the right reason.

Can we talk for a minute about why Rose is selfish? She’d recently ended a relationship with someone who took advantage of her. Jimmy Stone took off and left her £800 in debt. When you’re used like that, you learn to look out for yourself first, because no one else will. It’s a habit that takes time to break. 

Now, this accusation often includes, “Rose was selfish to leave her family to travel,” and I will argue against that with my dying breath. It is not selfish for a young woman to decide to leave her family and create her own life. That is natural. I know Jackie and Mickey struggled with it, but that’s their thing to deal with. Honestly, them expecting Rose to never change and always be the same Rose they remembered is more selfish than Rose choosing to create her own life.

Don’t we tell girls all the time that they should plan their lives based on what would make them happy, not on what people expect them to do? Isn’t that part of what feminism is? So why do we insist it’s selfish when a young woman is actually bold enough to flout expectations and forge her own path?

2) “She ditched Mickey immediately when she heard the Doctor telling her that Tardis is a time travel machine.”

Why is it so horrible that Rose jumped at an amazing opportunity for a better life? She was obviously bored and dissatisfied before meeting the Doctor. (Look at her face when she’s working at Henrik’s. That is not the face of someone content with their life.) 

And let’s get rid of the notion that Mickey was a perfect boyfriend. Do you remember the part in “Rose” where she asks if she can borrow his laptop? And he says yes, but then in a panic tells her not to look at his email? That’s supposed to be a hint that he was cheating on her–another sign that her life was not ideal, meaning she was at a perfect spot for a change.

I understand that it hurts to be the person left behind. I’ll even agree that Rose should have said a bit more of a goodbye to Mickey than she did. (Though since the Doctor had already left once, I don’t blame her if she thought there was a clock ticking.) However, I refuse to blame Rose for wanting a different life. That’s grossly unfair. 

Think about this: Donna pitched the keys to the car she shared with her mother in a bin, then took off without saying a word about travelling. And yet, I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about the way she left her family. Why is what Rose did so much worse?

3) “She also not only made Jackie grieve over her, therefore making her get Mickey go to police 5 times the whole year.”

Oh boy. One of my favourites. 

THE MISSING YEAR IS NOT ROSE’S FAULT.

We don’t know how long Rose had been with the Doctor when they landed at the beginning of “Aliens of London.” If we go strictly by time we’ve seen, it’s less than a week. If we believe there are adventures that happen offscreen, then maybe 2-3 weeks. 

Not only that, but she had been assured that to her mum, only 12 hours would have passed. She walked into that flat thinking she’d been gone overnight, thinking her phone call from Platform One would have been plenty to ease any worries. 

It is not Rose Tyler’s fault that the TARDIS, purposely or not, skipped a full year.

That means none of the things that happened to people on Earth during that time are her fault. It’s not her fault that her mum thought she was dead. It’s not her fault that Mickey was dragged in for questioning. Jackie and Mickey resenting Rose for the missing year does not make it actually Rose’s fault. 

4) “She flirted with Adam and Jack and broke up with Mickey, making him feel like crap.”

Right. Mickey who told Rose–in the middle of trying to chat her up–that he was seeing Trisha Delaney? Which he told her purposely to make her angry? Mickey is not superior here, so don’t even try to make it out like Rose is the horrible tramp and Mickey is the long-suffering boyfriend. 

And if she’d broken up with Mickey, what does it matter that she flirted with Adam and Jack? This kind of slut-shaming needs to end. Flirting is not a sin.

5) “She ripped Tardis console to become Bad Wolf, despite the fact that Tardis was an sentient being.” 

I see this thrown out as a horrible thing all the time. Do you know who did not get angry at Rose for opening the TARDIS? The Doctor. Not once in his explanation to Jack during “Utopia” does he say anything bad about Rose opening the TARDIS. Not once does his voice betray anything but awe at what she became. 

No one knows and loves the TARDIS more than the Doctor. If he wasn’t upset with Rose for opening her heart, maybe it wasn’t a bad thing for her to do. 

Also, if you’re thinking Bad Wolf was a selfish choice, then you’re purposely reading your opinion that Rose was selfish into the text. Rose knew looking into the heart of the TARDIS could kill her–she’d seen what had happened to Margaret the Slitheen. But she chose to do it anyway, because it was the only way to save the Doctor. 

Rose becoming Bad Wolf is not about her pouting because he sent her away. That is the wrongest interpretation of that scene I have ever seen, and it makes me angry every time. In the diner, when she’s trying to explain to Jackie and Mickey why she’s so upset, she starts with, “Two hundred thousand years in the future, he’s dying, and there’s nothing I can do.” And when Bad Wolf explains her choice and her purpose to the Doctor? “I want you safe. My Doctor. Protected from the false god.” 

Not to mention her glorious speech in the diner, which is entirely about understanding that life is better when you live it for other people. Bad Wolf is Rose Tyler at her least selfish and she is absolutely brilliant. 

6) “Martha actually worked hard to become a doctor, while Rose could not even get herself a job after getting her job blown off.” 

Wow. There’s so much classist garbage in here, I don’t even know where to start.

  1. Yes, Martha worked hard. That doesn’t mean Rose didn’t. Stop putting down one companion to praise another. 
  2. You don’t have to have an upper class job like doctor to be a hard worker. Poor people work their tails off, doing things no one else wants to do. Even Martha complained that she had to work in a shop. (Blink)
  3. Rose left with the Doctor twenty-four hours after Henrik’s blew up. 
    1. No, she didn’t go out job hunting the day after almost dying. 
    2. Lucky she didn’t, because if she hadn’t spent the day looking up the Doctor, she might not have been there when he faced the Nestene Consciousness. And the Doctor himself admitted that he would have died if it wasn’t for her.

What you’re really saying is that instead of going off to have a fabulous life, Rose should have stayed on the Estate. I’m being kind and not adding, “where she belonged” to the end of that statement, but really–that’s what you’re implying. That as a young woman from the Estate, Rose didn’t deserve the kind of life she found with the Doctor.

Why not? 

Rose Tyler was clever. Practically the first thing the Doctor says to her is a compliment because she’d come up with a logical explanation for the Autons. It was wrong, but he was impressed by her logic. 

Rose Tyler was brave. She saved the Doctor that first day, she ran into the TARDIS even though he told her it would be dangerous, she ran after the ghost in “The Unquiet Dead…” Do I need to go on? Rose Tyler shot out the window of the rocket she was on so she could kill Satan. How’s that?

Rose Tyler was compassionate. She objected strenuously to the Doctor asking Gwyneth to channel to Gelth. She saw a little boy calling for his Mummy and tried to help him. She refused to let the Doctor kill a Dalek. She was outraged by the slavery of the Ood.

Rose Tyler stood up for what she believed in, no matter what the cost. She never hesitated to tell the Doctor if she thought what he was doing was wrong, even though she knew he could always take her home if he got annoyed with her. When he was passed out from regeneration sickness, she stood up to the Sycorax in his place. She got in Mr. Connolly’s face in Idiot’s Lantern when he was being a sexist jerk, talking down to his wife. 

Rose Tyler was clever, brave, and compassionate. When she was gone, the Doctor missed her ability to spot things he missed. “Rose would know,” was not just a sentimental comment–the solution to their adventures often started with Rose spotting something out of place and pointing it out to the Doctor. (The Unquiet Dead, The Long Game, Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, School Reunion, Idiot’s Lantern and Fear Her, just off the top of my head.)

So no, random reviewer, Rose is not flawless. But she’s also not the selfish girl you insist she is.

10

“It’s the oldest story in the universe, this one or any other. Girl and girl fall in love, get separated by events. War, politics, accidents in time. She’s thrown out of the hex, or she’s thrown into it. Since then, they’ve been yearning for each other across time and space, across dimensions.

This isn’t a ghost story, it’s a love story!

The fundamental misunderstanding of the state in which Heather exists in after she becomes ‘the pilot’ is what drives the conflict in this episode, but it’s made abundantly clear that she is not dead.

When they meet in the park outside the Doctor’s study, Bill, seeing her in this new form, mutters “you’re dead!”, which is repeated back to her by Heather’s mimicry - the clear intention here (supported by Lawrence Gough’s brilliant directing style) being to establish the misunderstanding of her being ‘the monster’ while playing it off as a ‘horror’ moment. But, in classic Moffat fashion, the entire point of this episode is to subvert that idea.

I really have to praise Stephanie Hyam’s performance here because it’s key to understanding that Heather’s pursuit of Bill across time and space was something that she was directing. Notice how much emotion appears on Heather’s face whenever she catches up to Bill - she looks extremely sad when she appears in the Doctor’s study (see the fourth image above) and Bill gets in the TARDIS because that’s exactly why she’s here… to fulfill her promise to Bill that she won’t leave without her.

She appears positively elated to see Bill when they travel several million years into the future and cross to the other side of the universe, as her face emerges out of the water. There’s multiple occasions where Bill has a flashback to their time together earlier in the episode and we’re meant to think that it’s her remembering the girl that was before she became this creature, playing to a rather typical trope in how horror films are directed. But it’s actually establishing the opposite, as Bill slowly pieces together the reason why this is happening and realises that this has been Heather all along.

Perhaps the most obvious clue is given to us in how Heather assumes the form of a Dalek that’s trying to kill the Doctor. A Dalek! The Doctor wonders why she didn’t fire on them. She had a gun, after all - “the deadliest fire in the universe”, a Dalek’s weapon.

But she doesn’t use it…

Face-to-face, at last, she affirms her feelings towards Bill when she’s told “I really liked you”. Hyam’s performance here is just brilliant because she’s obviously having to mimic what Bill says, but you can distinctly hear the tone of sadness in her voice as she says the line back to her because this is where they part ways.

And she extends another offer to Bill, showing her what she’s become - how she sees the universe differently now, and all of time and space. And Bill is enraptured with it, but releases Heather from her promise because she’s (naturally) scared. Things still aren’t totally clear: she doesn’t know or understand what she’ll become if she accepts this offer because Heather isn’t totally human any more, but, as we’ve seen time and time again throughout the episode, right up to this moment, she’s still Heather.

The end of The Pilot has two rather important moments regarding the episode’s narrative arc with Heather. Back in the Doctor’s study, Bill asks if she’ll ever see Heather again, to which the Doctor rather cynically responds “I don’t see how”.

But, after Bill calls him out on the mind wipe situation and he’s reminded of Clara - who he’s very clearly still yearning to find - he shows up outside the university in the TARDIS and tells Bill:

“It’s a big universe. Perhaps, one day, we’ll find her…”

I can’t for the life of me find the quote, but, some months ago, Moffat said that there’s a very particular story they have in-mind to tell with Bill. I definitely don’t want Pearl to leave after one series, but it seems like a distinct possibility with the handover to Chibnall ushering in the next era of the show…

As such, I can sort of see how Bill’s story could potentially end if she’s only going to be in Series 10 and won’t carry over into the Chibnall era.

Similar to how Clara and Ashildr ended up with their own TARDIS and went off together to travel in time and space, Heather has her own time travel capabilities and Bill is clearly hoping that, in travelling with the Doctor, they will find each other again.

Naturally, that sets the stage nicely for Bill to continue travelling after her time as the companion is done with her new cosmic girlfriend.