Hitting screens in the fall of 2011, Series 6 of NuWho didn’t shy away from ambitious story telling; deploying a series long story arc of high concept plotlines culminating in The Wedding of River Song, possibly the timey-wimeyist episode of Who ever.
But before getting to that explosive finale, the show continued the (welcome) trend of linking back to it’s original version with several references and mentions. Here’s a few Classic Easter Eggs from 5 episodes of Series 6 you might have missed…
IMPOSSIBLE ASTRONAUT – This divisive series premiere was certainly a visual feast; it began with the apparent murder of The Doctor by an eerie lake dwelling astronaut and led the TARDIS crew to the Oval Office in 1969, where the Doctor meets former FBI agent Canton Everette Delaware III. When Canton leaves the TARDIS after his first trip, he has trouble accepting they had moved through space and time, prompting the Doctor to say, “brave heart, Canton.”
Fans of the show during the Fifth Doctor’s reign will know that was a catchphrase of Peter Davison, often uttered to his Aussie companion Tegan in times of despair.
And Whostorians might have noted that earlier in the episode, when the Doctor is attempting to pilot the TARDIS into the White House without detection he materializes in “silent mode” It’s not the first time he slipped the time machine in somewhere sans sound; he did so in 1964’s The Dalek Invasion Of Earth.
THE DOCTOR’S WIFE – One of the most memorable episodes of NuWho, this Neil Gaiman penned gem brought the Doctor face to face with his most important companion; the TARDIS. There were a number of notes linking back to Classic Who, including the re-appearance of a HyperCube, last seen in The War Games (at that time used by the Second Doctor to beam a plea for help to the Time Lords)
Later on, while being pursued through the corridors of the TARDIS by the evil force House, the ship’s telepathic circuits are deployed to torture Rory and Amy with false images and hallucinations. Anyone who has seen 1964’s The Edge Of Destruction will remember the circuits first being referenced, when the TARDIS tried to warn the crew (then the 1st Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara) of impending doom.
REBEL FLESH – The episode that introduced Gangers to NuWho also made reference to the 1996 TV Movie, but it’s quite a subtle one…when the Doctor is informed that only one hour has passed, he replies…”alot can happen in an hour; a whole planet can get turned inside out in an hour” which of course relates to the plot of Paul McGann’s first outing as the Doctor (thwarting the plot of the Master to open the Eye Of Harmony, which would pull the entire world inside)
A GOOD MAN GOES TO WAR – AKA the “one where River’s identity is revealed”, the mid-season finale featured The Doctor leading a band of his allies to Demon’s Run to free Amy and her daughter from Madame Kovarian. It also featured a throwback to An Unearthly Child; early on in the episode when the Doctor is assembling his posse, he parks the TARDIS in the drawing room of Vastra and Jenny. When Vastra approaches the police box, it’s giving off a distinctive hum, the very same sound it emitted when first discovered by Ian and Barbara in Foreman’s junkyard.
CLOSING TIME – A sequel to The Lodger, this drama-edy pitted the Doctor and his former flat mate Craig against The Cybermen, hiding in a crashed ship underneath a London department store. It also presented the return of the CyberMat, the tiny scurrying servant of the Cybermen not seen since 1974’s Revenge Of The Cybermen.
There’s also a reference to Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor; when The Doctor arrives at Craig’s new house, he mistakenly thinks it’s been renovated and comments…”you’ve re-decorated. I don’t like it” which is verbatim what the 2nd Doc says upon arriving in the TARDIS’s new console room in The Three Doctors. And he says it again when he visits UNIT’s new HQ in The Five Doctors.
THE WEDDING OF RIVER SONG – And finally, in a touching moment during the series finale, The Doctor fulfills an earlier prophecy laid out regarding his dear friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. The Doctor calls the rest home where The Brigadier is living, hoping to take him out for a trip, only to hear that his old friend has passed away. The nurse tells him the Brigadier died peacefully, in his sleep. Just as the Doctor predicted in Season 26’s Battlefield.
It was a fitting tribute to both the character and to Nicolas Courtney, the man who so brilliantly portrayed Alastair off and on for the better part of 40 years. Steven Moffat did right by the man and the show by including the warm reminder of The Brigadier.