Ten Things About Who: Cold War

Ten discussion points about the Doctor Who 2013 episode, Cold War by Mark Gatiss

This post has been edited, tidied up and expanded to form part of my new ebook, TEN THINGS ABOUT WHO, available on Kindle. Buy it now for £1.99More details

1. A timely reminder

No amount of foresight could have anticipated that this episode of Doctor Who would be aired in the week of Margaret Thatcher’s passing. As it was, though, it meant that the schedules in the week leading up to this broadcast were full of echoes of the 1980s.

The pre-credits sequence refers to “NATO exercises”, which the Captain dismisses as “sabre-rattling”. Given that the story is set in 1983, this could be a reference to Able Archer 83, a ten-day exercise in November which led to the USSR’s own escalation, in the belief that the war games could be masking preparations for a genuine conflict.

Although if that were the case, and this episode is taking place while UK audiences were celebrating the 20th anniversary of a certain TV show by watching Elisabeth Sladen roll down the world’s gentlest incline, the North Pole would be a lot darker than it is shown to be here…

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Confidential canned

In today’s column on The Stage, I give my opinions on the departure of BBC3’s documentary series Doctor Who Confidential.

What Confidential has done, and for which will always get full credit from TV Today, has been to pull back the curtain and show a new generation of enthusiastic, imaginative youngsters that there are careers in the creative arts that don’t revolve around being on camera, that for an actor to look good on set takes a huge amount of effort from a large number of people.

But after six years, there’s only so much “look how we blew things up this week” we can take.