Doctor Who News Doctor Who Series 7 Hide

Published on April 22nd, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

SpiderGate – What Do YOU Think? [POLL]

You may or may not be aware, but a schism has occurred in Doctor Who fandom following Saturday’s Series 7 episode Hide. Despite fans taking the episode to their bosom’s some have uttered that fearsome Dalek cry of…

Doctor Who Series 7 Hide

Left of centre, a connection to the Eye of Harmony. To the right of this, a blue crystal from Metebelis Three is attached to Emma Grayling’s head. From Doctor Who Series 7, Hide.


This has all occurred over a mispronunciation (or a perceived one, at least) in which the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) contradicted his previous self, the Third Doctor. The horror of this travesty has been dubbed #spidergate on Twitter.

So to clarify:

Now, a quick browse through non-fiction and fictional works of Doctor Who will find contradictions between the following:

  • Metebelis 3
  • Metebelis Three
  • Metebelis III

You might wonder how these (mis?)interpretations are any different to pronouncing the planet as “meh-ta-bee-liss” (Planet of the Spiders, Jon Pertwee) ot “meh-teb-el-iss” (Hide, Matt Smith). And let’s not get started on things like lisps, or the very different accents of actors such as Sylvester McCoy and Christopher Eccleston in the meantime.

The poll and the comments below are where you can leave your thoughts on the topic.

Look out for our Hide review later today.


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

30 Responses to SpiderGate – What Do YOU Think? [POLL]

  1. avatar Kantaborous says:

    I believe Jon Pertwee’s Doctor referred to the Thals as “Tah-als” – Did fandom go into meltdown then? Perhaps the planet had a “pronunciation makeover” like Uranus?

    • avatar Christine says:

      Language is evolving all the time, so why not pronunciation of said language as well?

  2. More to the point, since when was the Blue Crystal part of the Eye of Harmony (which I always thought was on Gallifrey anyway).

    • You didn’t see the TV Movie then…?

    • avatar Jim Fung says:

      It’s not part of the Eye of Harmony. The crystal was on the thing the psychic wore. The part of the Eye of Harmony from the TARDIS was used somewhere else. See the illustration above.

      • Good call, Jim Fung. Especially as the illustration has a descriptive caption ;)

  3. avatar krumstets says:

    We need ‘Planet of the Spiders 2 .
    The Doctor has cause to go back there and is castigated by the humans and spiders for mispronouncing the planets name, is soaked with radiation and forced to regenerate.

  4. avatar David F says:

    Most of the time, Tom Baker pronounced Gallifrey as Galli-free. Completely at odds with his predecessor and successors. Let’s lynch him!

    • I’m outside his house with a pitchfork RIGHT NOW!

  5. My theory is that the human colonists changed the pronounciation when the spiders were defeated – after all, Kenya changed the pronounciation of its name upon independence

  6. avatar daniel says:

    what about Dax in the Armageddon Factor? He was talking about Gallifree all the time…stone him, stone him!!

  7. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    The eleventh Doctor mispronounces Spectrox Toxaemia in The Eternity Clock. I wept for six solid days. Now Metebilis gets the ‘pispronouncing my worms’ syndrome and I have reached a new nadir.

    Aside from that won’t the Spiders miss their crystal? I expect they will be at the Fields of Trenzalore baying for blood at that and for saying their home planet’s name wrongly.

    It’s this year’s arc…..

    • avatar Colin McDonough. says:

      The inclusion of the Eye of Harmony looks like foreshadowing for later in the season,probably the conflict between Clara and the TARDIS too.

  8. avatar Al says:

    This is one of the silliest controversies I’ve ever seen. The only issue I have (and it’s not really an issue) is the potential for someone to miss the reference. But that’s minor. As noted, the Doctors used different pronunciations for other words too. And I recall a deleted scene from The Christmas Invasion that revealed that the Tenth Doctor’s “new teeth” made it difficult for him to say the Ninth Doctor’s catchphrase “fantastic”.

  9. avatar David F says:

    Maybe Matt didn’t know it was a reference to an old story. If no one mentioned it at the read-through, and he was just down on the set that day with a director who didn’t realise either, it probably didn’t occur to him there was any expected way to say the word.

    Doesn’t really matter, does it? If we’re going to start picking at continuity errors, the entire history of the show will crumble in our hands.

  10. avatar TonyS says:

    Matt Smith may not have known. But Steven Moffat will have known. I suspect mischief! AQnd he HAS got us discussing the prgramme…

    • avatar francis cave says:

      I just suspect a simple cock-up….

      • avatar me says:

        I wouldn’t even classify it as a cock-up, it is simply a different way of pronouncing it, like the difference between tomato (tomahto) and tomato (tomayto) and dance (pronounced like ants) and dance (dahnce)

        • avatar David F says:

          Moffat isn’t down on the set every day. Some things are beyond his control.

    • avatar wyrdwyrd says:

      It would be great to *wish* that it were mischief. Especially with the way he paused every time before he said it and the deliberateness with which he said it. But it’s probably not. Until something in the series confirms that it was actually an intentional clue (of the most obscure kind *ever*), I’m going to have to assume that it was a simple mistake.

      A simple, glaring, ugly, wart-like mistake. Before the series is put onto DVD, I’d like them to fix it with some ADR. They could do that. They could.

      Furry cows moo and decompress.

  11. avatar Marc says:

    Any Doctor Who fan on the set should have said, “Stop! Stop right there! You cannot say it like that.” It doesn’t even roll off the tongue, when he says it the way he does. It sounds completely forced and Moffat should have noticed this error. It does matter, because he’s still The Doctor. Why would he pronounce it differently? I just think they really dropped the ball on something so simple. It may seem trivial to casual fans, but it’s the little things that matter.

  12. “New mouth, new rules!”

  13. avatar STLShawn says:

    Fish fingers and custard,,, meet Meatballs and Spree

    • avatar STLShawn says:

      Actually, while mowing my lawn,,, i thought of something else:

      There are a lot of crystals, but only a few diamonds. Quartz contains “a subset” of characteristics as diamonds, and for many applications, you could use quartz or high quality glass to produce an effect similar to diamonds (like making prisms) but not as good as an actual completely pure diamond.

  14. avatar Adam says:

    In all honesty it really doesn’t matter that much. Yes, he has the same knowledge and experience, etc as his previous incarnations… but he is a different person physically and personality wise. Several doctors have remarked over the years upon first waking from their regenerations that it would take some getting used to the new teeth or mouth. Obviously their new mouth shape and vocal chords and such are going to have an effect on pronunciation. Then there is the obvious difference in accent and dialect as well. In the end, does this really matter to your ability to enjoy Doctor Who? If this is what ruins it for you, might I suggest that a break and possibly a second hobby might be in order? I find that when something like this starts irking me I have gotten far to close and obsessed with something to appreciate it and I need to step back.

  15. avatar Marc says:

    When something has been said or done on the show a certain way and people expect it to be that way, if it’s then said or done a completely different way, it takes you out of the moment. I understand there are people that don’t give a damn, but it should have been done for the fans that do care. It’s not a matter of a new mouth or new teeth. It was said a radically different way.

  16. avatar wyrdwyrd says:

    Thanks for posting this, oh voice of Kasterborous.

    The thing is–the reason why this tiny flaw bugged me so much–it’s like this: I know that Matt Smith is just some young guy (really great actor too of course). But there’s so many people on set there. There’s the director, the camera-men, all the other actors, and then there’s all the read-through-s they must have had, etc.

    And Doctor Who is supposed to be a labor of love [Happiness Patrol, Candyman], right? So why in the seven hells wasn’t there *someone* on set who could be like “hey wait a minute–that’s not how the planet’s name is pronounced.”

    All those old-series callbacks are great. They add to the sense that this is truly a continuation of a story about the *same* man–the *same* Doctor Whoever-he-is. But only if you get all the details right.

    He’s supposed to remember stuff. He’s supposed to be the guy that once went to Metebelis. He’s supposed to know how to pronounce the name of the place *where he once faced his greatest fear and paid the (close-to) ultimate price*.

    To have him mis-pronounce it… *three times in a row* totally destroyed suspension of disbelief.

    Thanks for letting me rant. I can get back to being froody now.

    Furry cows moo and decompress.

    • avatar Marc says:

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. That’s exactly how I felt. If it doesn’t matter how it’s said, then it wouldn’t have hurt to say it how it was originally said, at least to keep those that care…..happy.

  17. avatar TonyS says:

    Watch the documentary on the dvd of The Time Warrior for Lis Sladen’s account of how we got to the accepted pronunciation of “Sontaran”.

  18. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I say its as simple as different Doctor, different mouth. So he’s bound to pronounce some words oddly from time to time. Remember the time Tom pronounced Terran as Tehran?

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