47 Days of Doctor Who–Day #20: Best Speech

Welcome to Day 20 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 #20, and round and round goes the Random Number Generator, and we get number 19, which means the topic of the day is this:

“Best Speech”

Fellow blogger PJ had his countdown of top 12 favorite Doctor Who speeches recently, which got me thinking a little bit about this one ahead of the game. The show has lots of great speeches over the years

I don’t have one absolute favorite, though there are some that stand out to me. First, there’s the Doctor’s confrontation with the Atraxi in The Eleventh Hour, which I’ve recently described.  Another one that stands out to me is his bold defiance of the Weeping Angels at the closing moments The Time of Angels. Also, River’s little poem at the end of Forest of the Dead.  And let’s not kid ourselves, there are lots and lots of others.

But for today, I’ve decided to pick

The Doctor describes how he “survived” in Heaven Sent

Theoretically, you could argue that nearly the entirety of Heaven Sent is actually just one big speech from Peter Capaldi, but if there is an excerpt that stands out to me (from reading a transcript, not from actually watching the episode again), it’s this one.

The moment is this:  the Doctor, confronted by a monster from his memory, and locked in a mysterious tower by an unseen foe, leaps to his apparent doom.  Then all of a sudden, he bursts into the TARDIS, and begins to speak to a figure who is more than a little reminiscent of his recently deceased companion, standing with her back to him at a blackboard:

Sorry I’m late.  Jumped out of a window.  Certain death.  Don’t you want to know how I survived?  Go on.  Ask me!  No, of course I had to jump!  The first rule of being interrogated is that you are the only irreplaceable person in the torture chamber.  The room is yours, so work it.  If they’re going to threaten you with death, show them who’s boss:  die faster.  And you’ve seen me do that more often than most. 

Isn’t that right, Clara?  Rule one of dying:  don’t.  Rule two:  slow down.  You’ve got the rest of your life.  The faster you think, the slower it will pass.  Concentrate.  Assume you are going to survive.  Always assume that.  Imagine you’ve already survived. 

There’s a storm room in your mind.  Lock the door and think.  This is my storm room.  I always imagine that I’m back in my TARDIS, showing off, telling you how I escaped, making you laugh.  That’s what I’m doing right now.  I am falling, Clara.  I’m dying.  And I am going to explain to you how I survive.  I can’t wait to hear what I saw. 

I’m nothing without an audience.

Stellar work by everyone, especially writer Steven Moffat, actor Peter Capaldi, and director Rachel Talalay.

Click here for a master list for this series.


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