Tangerines aren’t the only fruit!

“Nobody likes the tangerines!” exclaims Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor in the trailer for 2014’s Doctor Who Christmas Special “Last Christmas”. And, as we saw in Series 8’s “Robot of Sherwood’, he is quite partial to another fruit, the apple. In that recent adventure he chomped into one, before giving it a good once-over with his sonic!

Over this festive period, I have decided to look back on and update some of my favourite articles in the context of Series 8. This one was originally called “An Apple a Day”…

We all know how the common adage finishes – “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” but why on Earth, Gallifrey or Raxacorricofallapatorius would we ever want to do that? 
The saying highlights the health benefits of the fruit and researchers have indeed discovered that 8500 deaths a year from strokes and heart attacks could be avoided among the over-fifties by eating an apple a day. Apples also act as a toothbrush, cleaning bacteria in the mouth and…..hang on! Aren’t we here to read about the Doctor with a capital D? What have apples got to do with Doctor Who? After careful perusal of my Doctor Who magazines, I have failed to find any articles on the role of apples in Doctor Who. Would you Adam and Eve it? Free of worries of whether apples actually matter or not and given the total absence of Cardiff gossip and spoilers (as juicy as Golden Delicious themselves) I have decided to investigate the matter.   
Let’s start with the recently departed Eleventh Doctor. On meeting young Amy Pond for the first time in “The Eleventh Hour” he says, “Could I have an apple? All I can think about. Apples. I love apples!”, before deciding that he hates them. He later returns the apple to an older Amy with a face carved in it, to prove his credentials. In the following story “The Beast Below” the sad little girl heads for Apple Sesame Block and in “The God Complex” the Doctor finds an apple, not unsurprisingly, in a bowl. In “The Snowman” the Doctor dressed as Sherlock Holmes deduces “I see from your collar stud you have an apple tree and a wife with a limp!” Apples, apples everywhere! Fifty years of phone box travel and we never mentioned the apples! 

Doctor Ten wasn’t averse to some fruity goings on. He borrowed Jackie’s boyfriend’s dressing gown in “The Christmas Invasion” and exclaimed “Why’s there an apple in my dressing gown?” We discover that her fruit-laden lover Howard sometimes got hungry in his sleep. In “New Earth” he and Rose are delighted to smell apple grass, one of the reasons why everyone heads skywards in “Gridlock”. In “Blink” Kathy’s cloth-capped husband from Hull is sitting on a wall eating an apple. In Ten’s finale “The End of Time” we hear the words “And an apple of love fell off my apple cart” sung in the alien bar where Captain Jack is drinking with the apple of his eye, Alonso.
What about Doctor Number 9? In the “End of the World” the Doctor states, “This is the year five point five slash apple slash twenty six.” and in “The Empty Child” himself bends down to pick an apple up in the Lloyd’s dining room, though how he expects to eat it through the gas mask…
What about “classic” apples? Let’s upset the apple cart and start with the First Doctor where we hear some most interesting apple expressions. In “The Smugglers” Pike uses the phrase “The choicest apples, top of the barrel, Innkeeper?” and in Hartnell’s last adventure “The Tenth Planet” Cutler says “We’re going to get you down here, sure as God made little apples!” But our first apple encounter is in “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” where Barbara is asked to hand out some apples in the rebels’ underground headquarters. “Core” blimey!

We see the Second Doctor rummaging around his pockets in “The Five Doctors”. He finds odds and ends such as a catapult and, yes you guessed it, an apple. In his final story “The War Games” Jamie and Carstairs eat apples. What better way to pass the time in a seemingly never-ending ten-parter? 

In the Third Doctor adventure, “The Time Monster”, Hyde uses a similar expression to Cutler saying “As sure as God made little green apples”. Jo speaks with her mouth full eating an apple in “The Green Death” but fortunately the title of the story is not actually referring to the fruit! Sarah Jane’s first appearance features an apple as Irongron puts one on a cabinet in “The Time Warrior”. 

The Fourth Doctor has an apple core in his waistcoat in “The Revenge of the Cybermen”. There is a flying apple in “Underworld”. The Doctor explains how to make fruitcake in “The Image of the Fendahl” saying “Throw in the apple cores very hard”. In “The Ribos Operation” the Doctor claims the tracer can peel apples and in “The Pirate Planet” he tells how he hid up a tree and dropped apples on Isaac Newton’s head. 

Not mistaking cricket balls for apples now, Bigon offers an apple to the Tardis crew in “Four to Doomsday” and Tegan drops apples onto Aris to get his attention in “Kinda”. In the same story the Doctor takes one and begins to recite the age-old adage “An apple a day…” In the other Mara tale, “Snakedance”, Tegan goes into a trance and remembers dropping the apples. The Sixth Doctor finds Peri’s apple irresistible in “Attack of the Cybermen” and chomps into it. A boy gives the Seventh Doctor one in “Delta and the Bannermen” and he listens to it!

Are there any conclusions we can draw from all these apples bobbing up and down in the Whoniverse? Firstly a lot of appearances have been in the Doctors’ first and last adventures. (The Tenth Planet, The War Games, The End of Time, The Eleventh Hour). Secondly the Great Moff has penned a great deal of stories featuring said fruit (The Empty Child, Blink, The Eleventh Hour, The Beast Below) An apple a day keeps the Doctor away? Maybe that’s why we’ve had so few episodes in recent years! And if I see Peter Capaldi chomping into one, I think we have serious grounds for worry! (“Robot of Sherwood”, oh dear!)

Haven’t we forgotten somebody? The Eighth Doctor! But I don’t remember any apples in the TV Movie. Maybe we should leave the last word to him…

The Eighth Doctor: “I love humans. Always seeing patterns in things that aren’t there….”

Have I forgotten any apples? Otherwise we can all live ‘appily ever after!

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