How I would love to be posting a review of ‘Listen’ this evening. But tonight, alas, I won’t be watching, let alone listening to, the latest episode of Doctor Who.
Subtract one from the probable Sarurday night ratings of 5.2 million viewers – I am forced by inescapable but highly pleasurable events to take off my Whovian hat and pop back into real life for a day or two. Birthdays, parties and anniversaries have that oh so annoying habit of falling on a Saturday. And tomorrow is no exception. Consequently, this post has wibbly-wobbled from back in time. From today. Or, for you, yesterday. Oh, I’m confused.
Today, instead of a review, I have drawn up a list of ‘listens’ from Doctor Who. All picked at random from the show’s history…
‘An Unearthly Child’ – in the very first episode, we meet Susan Foreman listening to “John Smith and the Common Men” on her transistor radio.
‘The Daleks’ – Ian implores: “Now listen, Doctor, I don’t want to argue with you. We’re fellow travellers, whether you like it or not!”
‘Galaxy Four’ – Steven is bemused: “Listen to what? I can’t hear a thing.” The Doctor replies, “Exactly. Exactly. There isn’t a sound out there. Not a sound!”
‘The Creature from the Pit’ – The Doctor uses a stethoscope to listen to Erato’s spaceship. Which other Doctors have used one? Answer at end of article!
‘Earthshock’ – Adric has been arguing with the Doctor about going home. Nyssa is trying to reassure him, “Look, why don’t you calculate the course home? Show the Doctor it can be done…” The distraught Alzarian is doubtful, “But will he listen?”
‘The Five Doctors’ – Sarah Jane famously laments “Oh, K9, why didn’t I listen to you?”
TV-Movie – Grace is on the phone with her ex to be, Brian, about to operate on the wounded Seventh Doctor, “Listen, I am on call….No, no, Brian, don’t say that. Listen, just wait till I get home. Brian?”
‘Rose’ – The Doctor asks Rose if she believes him that the Nestene Consciousness want to overthrow the human race. When she says no, the Doctor replies, “But you’re still listening!”
‘School Reunion’ – The Doctor introduces K9 to Rose and Mickey. They mock the Doctor’s former pet, calling him a bit ‘disco’. The Doctor jumps to his defence, “Oi! Listen, in the year five thousand, this was cutting edge!”
‘Blink’ – In Steven Moffat’s other tale with a ‘sensory imperative’, we see the Doctor on a TV screen and he makes a dire warning, “They’re coming. They’re coming for you, but listen, your life could depend on it!”
‘The Eleventh Hour’ – The Doctor empties Amelia’s glass of water and uses it to listen to the crack in the wall. In the same episode he despairs, “Do I just have a face that nobody listens to?”
‘The Name of the Doctor’ – the madman, DeMarco, whispers some mysterious words to Madame Vastra, “In the babble of the world there are secrets, if you know how to listen. The Doctor has a secret, you know.”
‘The Day of the Doctor’ – Eleven scolds Ten for his dubious romantic involvements – “Listen! What you get up to in the privacy of your own regeneration is your business!”
Have you got any other favourite ‘listening’ moments in Who? Let me know in the comments box. And listen! A review of ‘Listen’ is coming, just as soon as normal Whovian service resumes…
(As well as the Fourth, the Second, Eighth, Tenth and Eleventh have all used a stethoscope!)