Sunday, 4 June 2017

Dr Who — Series 10: Episode 8 — The Lie of the Land

4th June, 2017

You’ve possibly realised — by now — that I’m a fan of a few things.

In amongst the various bits and bobs?

I’ve been happily glued to Dr Who for quite some time.

And religious watched its spin-off, Torchwood, as well.

I missed out on The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Frankly, it wasn’t my time slot: even though I’m perfectly aware it had the late great Elizabeth Sladen played A central role in the series.

I also know I thoroughly enjoyed the latest spin-off, Class.


Patrick Ness, the show’s writer and showrunner, has issued this statement: announcing he won’t be helming any more episodes, and that Aunty Beeb was unlikely to be making a second series.

If that is the case, that Class is to go the way of The Fades?

Then that seems a terrible waste of an opportunity.


At any rate?

At any rate, Class is not why I’m posting.

Oh, no.

You’ve possibly worked out, by now?

That Sunday nights are a night off for me.

And, that, as I work on Saturdays?

Sunday is when I hit the BBC’s iPlayer service: to catch the latest episode of Dr Who.

This week?

This week is the Toby Whithouse penned episode, The Lie of the Land.

And if you’re not thinking of 1984, you really need to read more*.


Episode 8 — The Lie of the Land — begins some six months after The Pyramid at the End of the World: showing us the world Bill’s decision to ask the Monks fo rhelp has brought about.

It’s not good.   It seems the Monks have managed to erect a totalitarian state in that time.

One in which a boiler-suited humanity?

Is convinced the Monks are both benevolent … 

And been around since humanity crawled out of the ocean.

In all this?

They’re getting help: with some complicated propaganda broadcasts from the Doctor, himself.

The only person not convinced by these?

Is Bill: living in isolation, talking to a mental image of her late mother.

Until, one day?

Nardole comes a’calling … 

To say he’s found out where the Doctor’s broadcasting from … 


Now … 

What did I make of this episode?

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Monks trilogy — thus far — has been a little up and down, I’d found: with last week’s entry — The Pyramid at the End of the World — being somewhat slow: but that that was something I could live with, knowing it was part two of three.

Part Three of three, The Lie of the Land?

Is, in that sense, great.

It ties the knots of the story off in a coherent way, shows us Bill at her feistiest, deepens the relationship between her and the Doctor … 

And shows us Missy, ever-so-slowly changing.


Seemingly showing remorse at her crimes: in a way that Hannibal Lector never would.


Layered with all of that … ?

There‘s the inevitable eater eggs: although I only spotted two, myself.   At one point, the assembled crowd are watching the Doctor, on multiple screen: in Magpie’s Electricals, initially spotted in The Idiot’s Lantern.


Is the climax of the episode.   The Dr, Bill and Nardole, come to the heart of the pyramid: to find a corpselike creature at a bank of TV screens.

Granted, it’s not exact.

But if it’s not a visual reference to the Exxilon city in Death to the Daleks, I’m a duck!

There’s something else, too.

Remember, I grew up during the Tom Baker era of Doctor Who.   When the series would happily plunder ideas — or homage them, if you want to be polite — from various sources.

Talons of Weng Chiang happily referenced Fu-Manchu and Sherlock Holmes, Robots of Death was partly a nod to Dune† and Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, and to every robot story Asimov wrote.

I could probably go on.

What I will tell you?

Is that I think Toby Whithouse, the man who’s written tonight’s episode, is a fan of George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four.


We have a pyramid in a prominent London location, labeled Truth.   It’s surrounded by an oppressed population, wearing what look like Outer Party outfits.

The owners of that pyramid? 

Keep power, by re-writing the past, and in such a way that the masses cannot check.

In this episode?   Those who control the present, truly do control the past … AND the future.


I think that’s Whithouse’s‡ homage to Orwell’s masterpiece.

And, although The Lie of the Land has the happy ending 1984 doesn’t, I think that’s no bad thing.

If younger fans get introduce to Orwell’s work as a result.

After all, if you’re going to tell a ripping good yarn?

Standing on the shoulders of giants is no bad thing.

*        Remember, Winston Smithboth of him — has a connection with Dr Who.

†        The sandminer’s a lift from Herbert’s best known work.

‡        5th June, 2017.   It’s the morning after the night before.   And?   I have to admit cheekily asking Toby Whithouse, via Twitter, if he’s an Orwell fan.

He is!

I’m happy!

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