Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Bells of St John - the spoiler-free round-up

Sometimes a new story comes along which is nigh on impossible to work out regarding the general storyline. The images and clips are like a jigsaw where you've lost the box lid. Then there are stories which seem to be quite straightforward and, coupled with the BBC synopsis, you can get a good idea in advance what it is about - roughly. The Bells of Saint John seems to fit this latter type of story.
Naturally, we've no idea of hidden menaces or the resolution to the tale. This is what I've gathered so far about Saturday's episode - from a variety of sources. No spoilers, but a wee bit of speculation.

The Monks. Seen in a couple of clips in the Christmas trailer. We know they are from this story as DWA has a behind the scenes picture of them today; the Doctor is seen wearing a habit in a couple of clips; and there is a character called the Abbot in the Radio Times listings.
In one of the Christmas clips the monks are seen to have a painting of Clara. I am going to assume that the monks know something about her, and they point the Doctor towards finding her. (Update: Got this wrong for a start. It is the Doctor who has the painting and he is staying with them - in Cumbria, 1207 AD).

Clara. A child minder living in the suburbs. Despite having met him in a playground as a child, she thinks he's a madman (which of course he is - one with a box). The Doctor realises turning up on her doorstep dressed as a monk was a mistake - hence the clip of him changing in the TARDIS. He then camps out outside her house. Clara has a dad who has a lot to say about the government (then don't we all...). (Forget the living in the suburbs bit - the house belongs to the family she child-minds and isn't her's).

Miss Kizlet. Played by Celia Imrie. The villain of the piece - but not the main one. She is seen reporting to someone else - a male character. The London Shard seems to feature a lot in the publicity images - so might she be based there?

The threat. An alien intelligence (described as an ancient enemy) is stealing peoples' minds via Wi-Fi. Social networks get dissed. Whatever they're up to, the London riots were their responsibility. "Don't Click It" - referring to an alien symbol which appears on tablets, laptops, smart phones etc. If you do click on it, the alien(s) infiltrate your computer.
We're led to believe that it is a villain that has been seen before in the new series - but it isn't. (You're an Idiot if you can't work this one out...).( I'm referring to the Wire, of course, when I say you might think it is a recent enemy - hence "Idiot").

The Spoonheads. Robotic creatures who are conspicuous by their absence from the publicity. When the Motorbike / Shard image was released and we caught a glimpse of them, I suggested that there was the hint of a face. The unknown alien intelligence? (There were faces, but they are of the victims - not the baddie).

Overall, several previews have stated that this has the feel of a fast paced contemporary RTD season opener (Partners In Crime has been mentioned). It also has an equally high "Moffat / creepy" quotient.
There's a reference to one of the Williams - and UNIT get a look in. (Amelia's book - and the woman in the shop...?).
There's a running gag about a cup of tea. (Think about it...).
The Doctor has a mobile phone... (The TARDIS of course).
Doctor in Bond / Bourne mode.
An implausible stunt... (The anti-grav motorbike, obviously. I assumed from the publicity picture that the bike burst out of the Shard - not the other way round).

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