Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Still redefining the cusp of what can be considered reviewable Doctor Who comes this short insert from last year's BBC Children In Need telethon, broadcast on 18th November 2011.

Outside the TARDIS, or a mock-up of a Police Box at any rate, the eleventh Doctor announces to the viewers that he's again auctioning off his clothes for the charity, and then proceeds to undress behind a screen, regaling us with jokes and trivia about each item as he slings it over the top to us.

What distinguishes this otherwise throwaway insert as worthy of consideration are the scripting by series author Steven Moffat, and the inclusion of incidental music. (yes, even in CIN there's still no escape from it I'm afraid)

Lasting barely two minutes, it concludes with the decently-exposed Doctor cuing-in a trailer for the then forthcoming Christmas special The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe, which is why I waited until after seeing that to watch this. Why sure, of course a trailer by definition should be viewed in advance, but logically, if the Doctor's introducing it, then for him that story must have happened in the past.

Well, maybe you reckon I'm over-thinking this, I mean he is breaking the fourth wall after all. And since when did the Doctor have edited movie-versions of his real-life adventures to hand to show people? Well you already know the answer to that question. Since The Trial Of A Time Lord.

For those of you who've forgotten (possibly by choice), in that story it was revealed that all TARDISes routinely collected data from within their vicinity for storage in the Matrix on Gallifrey. It's like Google Streetview only on an intergalactic history-spanning scale.

Across the second half of the last series, there was a (roughly) 199-year shortfall of the eleventh Doctor's life that was left unaccounted for. It's not inconceivable that the Doctor spent some of it - say a mere 32 years - editing down the TARDIS' cache of footage and periodically dropping off batches of the resultant episodes at the BBC each year from 1963 up until the present day.

(obviously the BBC cancelled "Doctor Who" in 1989 - that's a fixed point in time)

It's just the sort of introverted / extroverted thing the eleventh Doctor might apply himself to achieve, even revisiting events that the younger TARDIS was absent for to capture further details and edit them in.

After all, this charity appeal certainly can't come where it was broadcast - after The Wedding Of River Song - because that ended with him facing-up to the event of his death and resolving to keep a low i.e. non-existent profile from now on. Yes, definitely towards the end of his farewell tour this one, after The God Complex, before Up All Night / Closing Time, and probably subsequent to all the other minisodes that I'm squeezing in there too. The TARDIS even still retains the T-shape smoked windows from his live appearance on Comic Relief in the preceding February.

As for that trailer, well he doesn't actually say that it's for a programme entitled Doctor Who, so maybe for him it was actually just advertising the upcoming Christmas special by Charles Dickens.

Although granted, that would push this back one further episodic interface of the spectrum.

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