Sally Sparrow: In the original Ninth Doctor short story “What I Did On My Christmas Holidays by Sally Sparrow”, which Moffat wrote for the 2006 Annual and that he then re-worked into the episode “Blink”, she was a 12-year-old girl. In the end, it turns out that the Doctor only got into contact with her because he met her older self first - a spy on mission in ‘exotic’ Istanbul, whom the Doctor calls “beautiful” and an “amazing woman” in front of the girl. That woman gave him the essay she wrote about her meeting with him as a girl, which she apparently carried with her at all times, because he would need it someday to get out of trouble. The illustrations make the girl look like a young River, by the way. Though that could be just coincidence; I don’t think an author in an anthology has that much influence on the artist’s detail decisions. Still, the character type is clearly already there in his mind. (This is also the only Ninth Doctor adventure without Rose by his side. Though the Doctor’s costume and speech patterns are correct, so it wasn’t written before casting and initial story-planning was done. Strange - for the comics, there was an executive order that there would be no stories without Rose, because it had been implied that the Doctor had just regenerated shortly before he met her. But here Moffat is, implying months of travel without having to deal with with pesky female characters who don’t fit into his idea of what the Doctor should find attractive.)
Rose: “Red bicycle when you were 12” anyone? Yes, this is probably an artifact left over from the original idea RTD had to have the Doctor influence Rose’s life from the start to groom her into the ‘perfect companion’. As far as I’ve heard, RTD scrapped that storyline either because he saw the sort of sexual chemistry the actors had and decided to turn S1 into a love story (this is also why Rose’s stated age doesn’t add up with the baby’s age in “Father’s Day” - originally, the character was supposed to be a couple of years younger), or perhaps because someone explained to him that this plot would be too dark and creepy even if he meant to have the Doctor’s behaviour condemned by the narrative in the end. In any case, the episodes were rewritten and not much was left of this storyline. But who was the only one who didn’t erase the reference to this metaplot from his frist season script but instead acted like it was romantic? Moffat.
‘Told you, I’m a time traveller. I got it in the future. From a beautiful woman on a balcony in Istanbul.’ He smiled, like it was happy memory. ‘She was some sort of spy, I think. Amazing woman!’
You see, I know the best thing in the world. I know what’s coming. I asked the man one more question before the end of the tape. I asked how a beautiful woman spy in the future could have a copy of my Christmas homework.
‘Can’t you guess?’ he smiled. Not grinned, smiled. ‘Her name,’ he continued, ‘Was Sally Sparrow.’
Girl meets Doctor, grows up into a beautiful woman who becomes sexualised by the narrative. ‘Happy memory’ indeed, he says it like this, FULLY KNOWING that this woman was the 12 year old girl he was talking to. That’s so creepy. It also has the Doctor warning Sally about time paradoxes, which is conveniently forgotten by the time Amy comes around.
Someone in our reblogs also mentioned Lorna Bucket from A Good Man Goes to War. She’s a minor character, like Sally, but she also met the Doctor when she was a young girl and spent her whole life knowing she was going to meet him again, which she did right before she died.
And I wasn’t aware of that whole situation regarding Rose and RTD’s initial idea for her. Nevertheless, it was a good idea to scrap it because of the implications of an older man meeting a young girl and then having the romance line when she grows older. Too bad Moffat didn’t quite get the memo.
EDIT: Apparently the idea for Rose was Paul Abbott’s idea, not RTD’s. Thanks for letting us know!
You mentioned several times that in “Blink” the guy who ends up with Sally stalked her. Could you please say how did you come to such conclusion? I obviously missed the clues, or blatantly obvious signs.
I think you’re thinking of Sally’s friend, Kathy Nightingale, who was sent back in time by the Weeping Angels. When she landed in 1920, a young man saw her and followed her around even when she was yelling at him to leave her alone. They ended up getting married and having kids. Sally showed interest in the cop, Billy Shipton, who acted like a bit of a creeper when he first met her, following her down into the garage where the TARDIS was at. Some people, like Sally I suppose, are attracted to that forwardness, but general etiquette would be to NOT follow a young woman into a dark place when she’s alone.
Sally ended up with Kathy’s brother, Larry, who she showed no interest in until the very end when they held hands. He the dude who walked around naked in the beginning and who Sally thought was a bit of a loser. He seems to be Moffat’s first Rory prototype to show that the loser guy can totally get the girl no matter what.
Okay, so I’m just going to try to catalog what things are in the canon about the Weeping Angels.
This is interesting to me, because they only have three storylines/ 4 episodes. It’s not like they’ve been developing over decades, or have dozens of hours of on-air history or anything. Discrepancies in the Angels’ behavior/ physiology/ appearance from episode to episode are more damning than variations with Daleks, Cybermen, etc.
Things established in Blink:
It’s an Angel when you see it. All we know is that if you look at it, it turns to stone. Not “It pretends to be stone” or “It appears to be made of stone,” but “It is a hunk of stone in the shape of an Angel.”
An Angel does not choose to turn to stone. It’s a function of the Angel’s biology that when it is seen, it turns to stone. It cannot opt in or out of being stone. “Thinking” you can or can’t see it doesn’t matter (continuity error in The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone) Related to this, Angels turn to stone. Not copper, bronze, brass, plastic, etc.
We don’t know what the creature itself looks like. If they turn to stone when seen, they must not be stone when they are unseen. Because you cannot observe an Angel without it being forcibly turned to stone, the Angels cannot be shown moving onscreen. (continuity error in The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone)
When stone, the Angels cover their eyes so they do not accidentally see one another. Because the Angels are themselves living things, seeing another Angel (or being seen by another Angel) means one or both of them is turned to stone. This fact of their biology saved Sally Sparrow and Video Store Guy in Blink. When the Angels saw one another in a ring around the TARDIS, they were all turned to stone, and trapped as such because none of them could move. (continuity error in The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone)
Angels feed off time energy. The Angels send people back in time the same number of years they would have continued to live, and feed off the energy given off in the transferral (or something). This is why they wanted the TARDIS, and why they feared the Crack in the Universe. Moffat did acknowledge this discrepancy in Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone.
Things established in The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone:
The image of an Angel is an Angel. This is particularly problematic in The Angels Take Manhattan, because there are images of the Statue of Liberty everywhere, yet none of them come to life and zap anyone. This also creates questions about all the people with SOL postcards, T-Shirts, photographs, paintings, computer desktops, etc. Shouldn’t all those people be in mortal danger right about now? Why isn’t anyone worried about that?
Angels can strip peoples’ neocortexes and use them to psychically communicate? I don’t know, that was a weird one.
Things that are problematic in The Angels Take Manhattan:
Angels are made out of everything. Stone, bronze, copper, etc.
Angels do not look like Angels. Not just “they’re decrepit and damaged” like in Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone. The Angels in Manhattan take all kinds of forms. They’re colonial settlers, children, babies, and Lady Liberty, in addition to traditional Angel forms.
Angels do not take the Angel pose. None of the non-Angel-shaped statues cover their eyes when seen. There are some Angel statues whose eyes are covered, but by and large the other statues do not.
How the fuck did Lady Liberty get to that hotel? I had assumed from the preview that there was some mass power outage, and so Lady Liberty could not be seen. This was patently not the case in Angels Take Manhattan, so am I seriously meant to believe NO ONE, in a city of millions of people, had Lady Liberty in their line of sight for her ENTIRE WALK to Winter Quay? We heard her walking, so it’s not like she magically flew or disapparated or anything. When Rory and Amy were jumping off the roof, there were cars driving in the street below. But no one saw her?
That’s a whole lot of canon that got either sidestepped, rewritten, or ignored over the course of four episodes. Moffat’s a man with great ideas, but he’s shit with long-term plotlines and continuity.
And anyone going “CONTINUITY IS A HUGE ISSUE IN DOCTOR WHO IT’S NOT JUST MOFFAT GOD YOU’RE SUCH A HATER,” this is continuity over the course of four episodes. If he can’t keep it together for four episodes, there is something wrong. Sorry I’m not sorry.
[Note: The “Moffat in the RTD Era” is going to be an ongoing series of posts. Rather than addressing all of my problems with each of Moffat’s episodes under RTD in one massive post per episode, I’ll be focusing on specific issues in smaller posts. If you have questions about specific aspects of these episodes, feel free to send them our way and I’ll add them to the list of topics I want to cover.]
I’m going to let you guys in on a guilty secret. When I first watched Doctor Who, I thought Blink was brilliant. I thought it was clever and scary, and Sally Sparrow was my hero. It was my go-to episode for getting friends hooked on Who. Then everything changed when the fire nation attacked when I started to look a bit closer. Beyond the fact that there were some weird holes concerning how the angels and the quantum-locking worked, and the fact that Moffat was basically encouraging stalking by having Sally’s friend marry the man who followed her despite her protests (this will be covered in a more in-depth post later, I promise), I found that I wasn’t thrilled with Sally Sparrow.