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Published on April 22nd, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds

Doctor Who Series 7 – Homage to Old Series?

Interesting theories abound over at Gallifrey Base where vigilant fans are looking to piece together the mystery of the recent homages paid to classic Doctor Who in Series 7b.

Doctor Who's 2013 Logo

Commenter Peter Ould, got the ball rolling when he proposed that from The Rings of Akhetan onwards each episode may very well include a ‘sequential reference’ to a past Doctor in the episodes leading up to the 50th anniversary special:

Just had a thought. Is each of these episodes going to have some form of homage to the old series Doctors, and in sequence?

Rings of Akhetan- Reference to having been here with his granddaughter (Susan) puts us squarely with Hartnell (and of course the Queen of Years referring to her Grandfather (Queen of Years = Time Lady – not that she is Susan but rather pays homage to her))

Cold War – Ice Warrior (Troughton)

Do you see where I’m going with this? There’s exactly enough episodes to nod to each incarnation in turn.


Well, while there’s no denying that the second half of Series 7 has contained plenty of homages already; The Rings of Akhetan especially but is there any rhythm or reason to them? After all, isn’t there a mention of Omega in that same episode? And what is the connection between them all? Peter Ould has also pointed out to Kasterborous the reference to the Third Doctor’s era in the 1974 setting and setup of Hide.

Commenter Elmtree doubts that the references will follow a countdown of all the Doctors leading up to the Eleventh Doctor:

I don’t know if it’s each incarnation in turn, but certainly we’re seeing references to past doctors popping up a lot more than they ever did before. I think it started with the Christmas special… the victorian costume and his grumpiness reminded me of the first Doctor.

Certainly this past ep had pretty clear references to one, two, and three. We had Venusian Akido, fer Pete’s sake! I felt the madman with universes was a reference to the Mind Robber (though other things can fit here). So a clear 1, 2, and 3.

Will we have some Four next week, along with a dose of One, Two, and Three?

To speculate further, from a thematic point of view, wouldn’t you want the biggest story of this run The Name of the Doctor be the Eleventh Doctor’s reference as well? Wouldn’t that be a more satisfying conclusion to this particular arch?

And let’s not forget how Moffat likes to ‘Troll’ fans, as commenter SKMDC points out:

That’s EXACTLY what kill-joys said during the great “Is the coat sleeve in ToTA a production gaffe or a deliberate clue?” The loads of rubbish turned out to be right on that one. RTD was terrible at clues in the big story arc. He literally had to have his “mysteries” spraypainted on the TARDIS. Moff is so much more subtle. For example, look how seamlessly and elegantly he introduced the leaf to the storyline so breifly last week and then paid it off this week. He’s a master of subtlety and I think fans are certainly within the bounds of rationality to look deep for patterns and clues that are hidden in the episodes.

Always ignoring patterns that are there…

So could each episode house a ‘sequential homage’ counting down to the 50th anniversary special? Will each episode reference a specific trait of each Doctors reign and, most importantly, what does this mean for the special itself?

(With thanks to Peter Ould and his Homage to Old Series? thread at Gallifrey Base)


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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

11 Responses to Doctor Who Series 7 – Homage to Old Series?

  1. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    I’m struggling to remember exactly when the Doctor made any type of Venusian Akido move in “Hide”? I don’t remember him fighting or even grappling with anyone in the ep….when did this happen..?

    Aside from that, yeah, I’m spotting all these references too….it’s kinda fun and probably has some significance beyond the usual knowing the Moff….

    • avatar Rob says:

      I suppose this does work as “Journey to the Centre of the Tardis” could be an homage to 4th Dr classic “Invasion of Time” – will Nightmare in Silver be as bloodthirsty as Attack of the Cybermen and will the Name of the Doctor be as deep as Ghostlight?

    • avatar Simon says:

      He went into a Venusian Akido stance in “The Rings of Akhaten”, but then again that doesn’t fit the pattern that’s been suggested.

  2. avatar BeVibe says:

    I noticed the reference to Metebelis 3, but 11 said it differently from the way 3 did, so some folks might not have caught the reference. There was a 4 reference in The Eye of Harmony, and 11 wore the orange spacesuit from various 10 episodes.

    I am really enjoying the self-referential things from The Doctor’s past this season. It is nice to remember he has been around for quite a while, and is, I think, a nice nod from one huge fan (Moffatt) to the fans at large.

  3. Nice to see this theory getting some more airplay. I think it has legs and you will all bow in homage when you see it come to completion!

  4. avatar Simon says:

    To be fair, the entire Moffat era and a lot of the Davies era had references to the past (“The Deadly Assassin” and “The Daemons” in The End of Time, to name one), but this series definitely has had more than usual. For example

    1) Daleks
    2) Dinosaurs (“Invasion of the Dinosaurs”), Silurians (3rd, 5th, 11th Doctors)
    3) Western setting (“The Gunfighters”)
    4) UNIT (2nd, 3rd, 4th Doctors)
    5) River Song, Weeping Angels (10th, 11th Doctors)
    The Snowmen: Jenny/Vastra/Strax (“A Good Man Goes to War”), Great Intelligence (2nd Doctor), Doctor’s costume (1st, 2nd, 4th and 8th Doctors)
    6) Modern day setting (Survival; 9th, 10th, 11th Doctors)
    7) Egyptian mythology (“Pyramids of Mars”), Susan Foreman (1st Doctor)
    8) Ice Warriors (2nd, 3rd Doctors), 1983 (The show’s 20th anniversary and another series where the past was constantly referenced), HADS (“The Krotons”)
    9) Ghosts (“Ghost Light”, “The Unquiet Dead”), Metebelis III (3rd Doctor), 1974 (3rd/4th Doctors)

    By following on that, I can gather this

    10) TARDIS-Centric (“The Invasion of Time”)
    12) Cybermen
    13) Doctor’s identity (Cartmel Masterplan; 7th Doctor)

    This is all just speculation on my part, though. I definitely think the sequential theory is to a degree accurate, but it remains to be seen whether this holds true for the last four episodes of this series.

    • avatar Simon says:

      Forgot to write 11! By the looks of it, it’s a return to the Victorian setting and sees Peter Davison era stunt-casting with Diana Rigg and Rachel Stirling’s casting.

  5. avatar KevinCV says:

    This is more in reply to what SKMDC said that you cited, so forgive me. RTD was plenty subtle about some stuff. It’s just you paid more attention to the more obvious stuff that was more “in your face”, as it were. For example, the key to defeating the Carrionites in Series 3 was a VERY subtle foreshadowing of the plan the Doctor had to defeat the Master at the end of the season.

    Also, Ten’s behavior at the end of “Voyage of the Damned” at his failure to save Astrid from death and Mr. Copper’s remarks on it set the stage for Ten’s god complex meltdown during “The Waters of Mars”. Hell, said meltdawn was a foreshadowing of the revelation of what monsters the Time Lords had become during the Time War, and why the Doctor had to obliterate them in the first place!

    I do admit that RTD wasn’t afraid to throw subtlety out the window at time, but there are some really good nuggets of subtlety in there if you re-watch and see past the obvious stuff and into the minor details.

    • avatar me says:

      Not to mention that fact that there was no need to mention RTD at all. He wasn’t mentioned in the question, so he didn’t need to be mentioned in the answer. I think this person was just trying to get an unnecessary shot at Davies.

  6. The poster art for “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS”… a nod to Castrovalva?

  7. avatar Elwood says:

    Well the blue crystal from Metabelis 3 was from the Third Doctor’s final story “Planet of the Spiders”, which aired in 1974, so that tracks. I would love it if the next four episodes referred to 4, 5, 6, and 7 in similar fashion. Although frankly I’ve never seen a 7th Doctor episode, so I’ll be relying on sites like this one to let me know what the references are!

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