47 Days of Doctor Who–Day #13: Best Patch for a Continuity Gap

Welcome to Day 13 of my 47-day series about the revival version of Doctor Who (2005-present).  I’ve come up with  47 topics / questions to answer, all of them basically positive and upbeat about the program.  Each day (or as often as I can actually write these–so far so good!) I’ll pick one of them at random (using this convenient random number generator) and then write up an answer.

Why 47?  It’s my favorite number.
Why Doctor Who?  It’s my favorite show.
Why the modern day Doctor Who only?  Simply because I remember it better.
Why only positive stuff?  Because really, I write enough snark.

Today is Day #13, and around and around goes the Random Number Generator, and after a false start it reveals that today’s number is 38, which means the topic of the day is this:

“Best Patch for a Continuity Gap”

This refers to any time that the series takes the time to fill in some prior gap in the series’ storytelling. There are lots of these gaps, actually, as the show has always hinted that there’s lots more going on than what we see. Like any “patch”, these can sometimes be applied in a way that seems natural, but other times can be awkward and forced.

Sometimes these patches are covering big things, like seeing the 8th Doctor regenerate in The Night of the Doctor, or watching the Doctor bring River song to Singing Towers in The Husbands of River Song. You could even count the explanation of who the Silence were and what they were after that we eventually got in The Time of the Doctor.

But my favorite one is smaller one, one that I never expected the series to re-visit but when it did, it fit really well with the story:

The story of the 10th Doctor’s marriage to Queen Elizabeth

This started as a joke, really, back in the 3rd Season’s The Shakespeare Code, which ends with an older but furious Queen Elizabeth I showing up and screaming bloody murder at the 10th Doctor. He has no idea why she’s angry, he just knows he needs to get out of there as quickly as possible.

Much later, in The End of Time, the same Doctor, who is now going through something of an existential crisis, makes an off-the-cuff remark that implied he’d had intimate relationship with the monarch. And later still, in The Beast Below, Liz 10 (the reigning queen) confirms this rumor (as far as she knows, anyway).

And that, as far as we knew, was that, until The Day of the Doctor suddenly came along.

In that story, David Tennant returned to the series and the episode set his part of the story during the period before The End of Time, and actually went ahead and made the younger Queen Elizabeth I a major guest star. We got to see the why and how the Doctor got involved with her, and why she’s so angry at him.

If you weren’t aware of the prior references, nothing going on here gets in the way of the story. If you are aware, then suddenly this little footnote in the Doctor’s life is played out in a way that is completely consistent with what we’ve heard. And thus it adds ever so slightly to the celebratory feel of the 50th Anniversary special. Well done, Steven Moffat.

Click here for a master list for this series.


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