This week Whovian Leap finds out that it isn’t just Maisie William’s role which fits that particular description…
Peter Capaldi has recently described Maisie William’s role in Series 9 as “cosmic”. Whatever show-stopping revelation may lie behind that cryptic comment, it is not the first time that the actor has used the term ‘cosmic’ when referring to Doctor Who. It is also how he described his debut at this year’s San Diego Comic Con – “It’s cosmic! I’ve never been in front of 7000 people before in my life!”
We have encountered the adjective many a time in the Whoniverse. Let’s proceed alphabetically, set our coordinates for apparently one of the most tranquil places in the universe and recall our first “cosmic”.
We have landed on the Eye of Orion. Companions Tegan and Turlough are concerned when the Fifth Doctor is taken ill in “The Five Doctors”. They ask him if he is all right and he reassures them that it is “just a twinge of cosmic angst”. In light of the dramatic events that are to ensue, the Doctor’s diagnosis unfortunately doesn’t turn out to be all that accurate.
The Third Doctor is being interrogated by golden boys, the Axons, as they try to extract from him the secret of time travel. He defiantly exclaims, “I refuse to align myself to your cosmic bacteria!”
When Romana asks the Fourth Doctor in “The Stones of Blood” why the Key to Time must not fall into the hands of one being, he ominously explains that “There are times when the forces within the universe upset the cosmic balance so badly that the entire universe is in danger of eternal chaos.”
This most noteable of nicknames was attributed to the scruffy Second Doctor famed for his stove pipe hat and baggy trousers. The latter are due to make their return in Series 9.
In “Mawdryn Undead” the Fifth Doctor speculates to the Brigadier that all the temporal coincidences they are experiencing are due to some “cosmic influence”. No wonder Steven Moffat invented “timey-wimey”!
When the Zeus 4 probe blasts off in “The Tenth Planet”, Williams reports back to base and trips over his tongue as he attempts to pronounce some scientific mumbo jumbo – “Cosmic management is now complete. Are you ready to receive data?”
In “Trial of a Time Lord” Lord Kiv reprimands Sil for his “bungling”. Sil attempts to win back favour by saying “The Mentors of Thoros Beta need your genius for cosmic mega-profit”.
In the final episode of the same story the terrified Glitz looks up to the skies in search of heavenly salvation, after hearing the Sixth Doctor from out of the sand where he has just been buried alive. The intergalactic rogue exclaims, “Oh, great cosmic protector of grafters and dissemblers, save me. Save me!”
In “The Web Planet” Barbara says that she has seen something outside the Tardis. The First Doctor explains that it is probably a cosmic ray causing interference with the scanner.
In “The Tomb of the Cybermen” Jamie notices that it is as light as day although there are no windows. Haydon explains that this is due to alpha meson phosphor, a lighting system which never goes out and works by letting “cosmic rays” bombard a layer of barium. It is quite right perhaps that the Doctor’s kilted companion responds with a sceptical “Oh aye”.
In “The Three Doctors” Jo and Tyler admire a highly sophisticated “cosmic ray” monitoring device, which has the unfortunate side effect of causing its users to mysteriously disappear with a flash.
In “Terror of the Autons” a Time Lord in a rather conspicuous bowler hat warns the Third Doctor of the Master’s arrival. The Doctor is not concerned and calls the his enemy “An unimaginative plodder”. The Time Lord reminds the Doctor, “His degree in cosmic science was of a higher class than yours”. Embarrassed, the Doctor replies that he was a late developer.
In “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” Craddock explains to the First Doctor and Ian that the Daleks first bombarded the Earth with a “cosmic storm” of meteorites six months before they invaded it.
Let us conclude with the Fourth Doctor in “The Ark in Space” and possibly the most “cosmic” speech of them all:
“Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It’s only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They’ve survived flood, famine and plague. They’ve survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They’re indomitable. Indomitable.”
Whatever Maisie William’s role in Series 9 turns out to be, it has without doubt some seriously “cosmic” competition!