a real world point of view
|The Big Bang|
|Main enemy:||Time Field, Stone Dalek|
|Main setting:||London, 1996|
|Premiere broadcast:||26 June 2010|
|Premiere network:||BBC One|
|Format:||1 55-minute episode|
|Confidential:||Out of Time|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Pandorica Opens||A Christmas Carol|
The Big Bang was the Doctor Who series 5 finale. It concluded many aspects of the story begun in The Eleventh Hour—most obviously by marrying off Amy and Rory and by closing the cracks in time—but it left the audience wondering what "the Silence" was and why it wanted the TARDIS to explode. While the identity of the Silence was a major topic explored in series 6, the question of why they wanted to blow the TARDIS up remains, as of February 2013[update], what the Eleventh Doctor called "a good question for another day".
The Big Bang had an impact upon Torchwood as well, allowing it to, at least in Russell T Davies' mind, escape the confines of Cardiff. He said that closing the cracks in time also resulted in the closing of the Cardiff Rift. Although Davies did not explicitly make this point in his subsequent Torchwood: Miracle Day scripts, neither did he allow the Rift to be central to that series, as it had been to previous Torchwood outings.
In February 2013, Steven Moffat revealed that The Big Bang was likely his personal favourite of all the Doctor Who scripts he had written. He further revealed that the title was deliberate sexual innuendo, and referred to what happened just after the credits rolled. Though contemporary Bang viewers wouldn't have known it, TV: A Good Man Goes to War would later explain that River Song was conceived within minutes of the conclusion of the episode. Moffat therefore claimed that the story had "a filthy joke in the title only I knew about at the time".
The fate of all existence lies in the hands of a little girl who still believes in stars.
In 1996, Amelia Pond sits in her bedroom, praying to Santa Claus for help mending the crack in her bedroom wall. Believing she has heard something in her garden, she runs to her window. The garden is empty. Later, she gives a drawing she has done of the night sky — complete with stars and the moon — to her psychiatrist, Christine. Christine explains gently there are no stars. The night sky is empty save for the moon. That night, Amelia overhears Christine and her aunt talking about her. As she eavesdrops at the top of the stairs, she sees a pamphlet advertising the National Museum slipped through the letterbox by a familiar figure wearing a fez. He flees when she notices him. There is a circle drawn around a notice of the Pandorica exhibit and a note reading, "Come along, Pond."
Amelia and her aunt go to the museum. Amelia runs off and makes her way to the Pandorica exhibit, passing a variety of strange machines on display; other exhibits are quite wrong as well. At the exhibit, Amelia sees another note stuck to the face of the box. It reads, "Stick around, Pond." This prompts Amelia to hide out in the museum to find out who is leaving notes for her.After the museum's close — and Aunt Sharon's failure to find her — Amelia returns to the Pandorica and curiously sets a hand on it. Mechanisms on the face of the box glow green, scaring Amelia enough to make her back a few feet away. The Pandorica opens, however instead of an imprisoned Doctor, the occupant of the perfect prison is actually the older Amy Pond. Noticing her younger self, Amy tells the confused Amelia, "Okay, kid, this is where it gets complicated."
In 102 A.D. the Auton Rory cradles a dead Amy Pond, comforting himself by telling her how the universe ended; it would mean they never get born, TWICE in his case. Amy would laugh at that; he begs her to laugh. Suddenly, a fez-wearing Doctor appears in front of them, holding a mop. He tries calming Rory by saying it's not the end of the world, but then corrects himself by saying its the end of the universe. The Doctor vanishes and reappears without the mop. A confused Rory is instructed to free the Doctor from the Pandorica; the Doctor is already out. The Doctor explains that he IS already out, but back then, which is the present for Rory, he is yet to escape. Giving Rory his sonic screwdriver, the Doctor wishes him luck and informs him to put the sonic in Amy's top pocket when he's done with it.
Rory follows the Doctor's instructions, opening the Pandorica with the sonic. A confused Doctor quickly deduces he'll set up the chain of events that lead to his release. Rory questions the Doctor about the stone remains of the Alliance; they are the after-images of the races that now never existed due to the destruction of the universe. He then wonders where Amy is; Rory gives a remorseful, look. Showing Amy to the Doctor, Rory asks if there is anything he can do for her. The Doctor says he can if he had the time, angering Rory, as he continues to explain that all lifeforms except for them and humanity have been deleted from existence; "Your girlfriend isn't more important than the universe." Losing his cool, Rory gives a good blow to the Doctor's jaw, knocking him down. The Doctor quickly pulls himself back up, laughing, and relocates his jaw, welcoming Rory back; he HAD to be sure.
Putting Amy in the Pandorica, the Doctor explains that she is not an ordinary girl due to having the universe pouring through her dreams ever night thanks to the crack in her wall, so when the Nestene took a memory print off Amy, they got a bit more than what they bargained for; Rory's soul inhabits his Auton replica. Sealing the Pandorica once more with Amy inside, the Doctor explains to Rory that it prevents people from dying as it's a form of escape; it can stasis-lock Amy in a near death state until it gets an external sample of her DNA, which will take around 1900 years. Recovering River's vortex manipulator, the Doctor sets it for the future. Offering Rory a lift to the future, the Doctor is bewildered when he decides to remain behind to guard the Pandorica. Despite the warning that he'll go mad from never sleeping, Rory insists; the Doctor relents, but gives him fair warning of all the things he knows can causes an Auton to be destroyed or become faulty before vanishing into the future.
In the museum, Amy explores the Pandorica exhibit, paying no mind to the younger version of herself. She finds a video on the Lone Centurion — a man in Roman armour who protected the Pandorica wherever it went for 1839 years. He was last seen in 1941, dragging the box away from an incendiary bomb; it is believed the Centurian died in the inferno. Amy realises he was Rory, retaining her recovered memories of him, but there is no time for her to dwell on this. The restorative light from the Pandorica has reactivated a stone Dalek in the exhibition and it's heading straight for the Ponds.
The Doctor appears, having used the vortex manipulator to travel 1894 years into the future. The Dalek shoots at him and Amy, prompting them to take cover with young Amelia; they're trapped. A museum guard appears and the Dalek deems him unarmed. However, the guard uncaps his hand, revealing a laser gun to disable the Dalek. Amy rejoices when she sees that the guard is the Auton Rory. They kiss while the Doctor realises the "light" from the Pandorica restored the Dalek partially. He also takes a Fez from a display, putting it on Amelia, who refuses it; the Doctor dons the hat himself. The Dalek begins coming back to life once more due to the Pandorica still being open.
The Doctor leads the group away from the Dalek, blocking the door with a mop to buy time. When Rory recognises his appearance, he fixes the timeline by travelling back to 102 A.D. and ordering that version of Rory to let him out of the Pandorica. He leaves the notes for Amelia, all of which led her here. Humorously, the Doctor even fulfils Amelia's request for a drink while running around the timeline, snatching it from the earlier version of herself at the museum. A confused Amy wonders how the Doctor keeps vanishing, making him explain what the device on his wrist is; "cheap, and nasty time travel; it's bad for you. I'm trying to give it up."
As they head for the roof, another version of the Doctor appears at the top of the stairs, badly injured. He falls down the stairs and whispers in the Doctor's ear before dying. The Doctor announces he has only twelve minutes to live. Amy is confused, but Rory points out that they can't just leave his body there. Feeling challenged for who's in charge, the Doctor asks Rory what they're going to do about Amelia. They look back to see nothing but Amelia's spilt drink. The Doctor explains history is still collapsing, and now there was NEVER any Amelia Pond, confusing Amy; how can she be there when her younger self isn't? The answer being that they are all anomalies in the timeline, so they have greater immunity than those who are normal. They reoffend for the roof.
On the building's roof, their attention is drawn to the "sun" in the sky. Rory questions the Doctor as to why the TARDIS exploded; "Good question for another day." The Doctor then makes them think; sun was erased with every other star in the universe, so WHAT'S burning in the sky? The object keeping the Earth warm and light is his TARDIS, exploding at every moment in history. Rory's enhanced hearing picks up a voice in the sky, which the Doctor amplifies with a satellite dish. It is River Song, whose last words—"I'm sorry, my love"—are repeated over and over. The TARDIS's emergency protocols have locked the console room in a time loop to save her life. The Doctor uses the vortex manipulator to rescue her and bring her to the roof. River is cautious about Rory, but the Doctor calms her down. River explains that she has questions, but Number One is this: "What in the name of sanity do you have on your head?". The Doctor explains he wears fezzes now since they're cool; Amy removes it from his head and tosses it in the air, where River blasts it to pieces. The group is shot at by the regenerated Dalek. They retreat to the museum below.
The Doctor runs through the museum, deducing that, along with the restoration field, the Pandorica contains a few billion atoms of the universe as it was. This was how the Dalek returned despite being erased from history. The Doctor formulates a plan involving these atoms, the restoration field and the exploding TARDIS. Just as he is about to reveal it, he is shot by the Dalek, who has followed them; the Dalek lacked enough energy to make the blast quick and painless. He uses the vortex manipulator to disappear. Amy and Rory know where he is and go to him while River stays behind. As River is an associate of the Doctor's the Dalek believes she will show mercy; she tells it her name and to look her up, knowing one blast from her gun to its eyestalk will kill it. The Dalek then begins begging for mercy, shaking in fear.
Downstairs, Amy and Rory are confused. The Doctor's corpse is not where they left it. River returns to remind them the Doctor lies, informing the Dalek is dead as well. The Doctor had pretended to die to make them decoys to buy time. They return to the exhibit and find the Doctor has strapped himself into the Pandorica. He will use the vortex manipulator to fly the box into the heart of the TARDIS, exploding at every point in history. The explosion will release the atoms of the preserved universe, restoring it. River admits gravely that the plan will work only if the Doctor seals himself on the other side of the cracks. The entire universe will be restored, but not the Doctor. He will never have existed at all. However, all the good he has done for the universe will remain.
The Doctor and Amy say their goodbyes, and he admits that he took her with him because her life didn't make sense... living in a large house with only her Aunt. He then asks Amy what happened to her parents, and she answers that she lost them but is alarmed when she cannot recall the specific details. He explains that they weren't killed when Amy was young, but consumed by the time field in her bedroom wall which has been eating away at her whole life. He assures her that as long as she remembers her parents, she can bring them back like she did Rory and with her family around her she won't need her imaginary friend. He pilots the Pandorica into the explosion, resets the universe, disappearing from existence...
...and sits up on the floor of the TARDIS console room. He rejoices he has survived being erased — until he sees Amy and himself from a week earlier, travelling to Space Florida; his timeline is unravelling, meaning, "Hello universe, good-bye Doctor." He calls to Amy. She hears him, but cannot see him. His life rewinds further. He is in a street in Colchester, watching Amy leave a note for him underneath Craig's advertisement for a new lodger. She still cannot see him. The Doctor notices a crack in the road behind him, sealing itself.
He rewinds to the Byzantium; he approaches Amy — her eyes shut to avoid being killed by the Weeping Angel — and encourages her to remember what he told her when she was seven. He rewinds to 1996 and finds Amelia asleep in her back garden, awaiting his return. He carries her to bed and tells her the story of how he stole — or, rather, "borrowed" — the TARDIS, describing it romantically as "ancient and new, and the bluest blue ever." He sees the crack in her wall and tells her it can't close properly until he's on the other side and steps through, prefering not to see the rest of his life rewind. The crack in her wall closes. She wakes to an empty room and quickly goes back to sleep.
In 2010, Amy wakes on her wedding day, surprised when her mother brings her breakfast. Her mother informs Amy she may toss the breakfast out the window as her fathers a terrible cook. Amy races downstairs to see her short father, studying a joke book for his speech at the reception. Amy finds her reaction to her parent as odd and she has the lingering feeling there is someone or something else missing. When she phones Rory to see if he feels the same way, he agrees with her because he loves and fears her. Amy excitedly gets ready for her wedding.
At the reception, she enjoys listening to her mother whisper insults about her father or giggles that her father is taking time to correct his speech. Amy then spots River Song outside, walking past the window. Rory presents her with a wedding gift someone has left — River's blue TARDIS diary, all its pages blank. Amy begins to cry, wondering why she is so sad. Rory tries to explain away the diary by reminding her of the old wedding saying: "Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue." She notices some of the guests at the other tables; a bowtie and braces catch her attention just as tear hits River's diary.
Amy interrupts her father's speech to announce that her imaginary childhood friend, "the raggedy Doctor," is real and he is late for her wedding. Her mother and aunt sigh, remembering how many psychiatrists they sent her to. Amy continues yelling that she brought everyone else back from the time field, so she can for him as well, which is why he told her that story when she was little, about the ancient, brand new box. Abruptly, the TARDIS — old and new, borrowed and blue — materialises in the middle of the room. Amy walks up to the TARDIS and asks The Doctor if she's "...surprised him this time." The Doctor steps out, admitting that he is completely astonished. Everyone at the wedding is shocked to discover that the Doctor wasn't a figment of Amy's imagination, while Rory suddenly remembers everything that happened to him and doesn't understand how he could possibly have forgotten.
The Doctor introduces himself to the crowd. Amy imitates part of the wedding ceremony, telling him he can kiss her. However, the Doctor stops Amy, informing her the brand new Mr. Pond will be taking care of the "kissing duties" from now on. Annoyed, and thinking the Doctor doesn't understand earth customs well, Rory tries explaining that marrying Amy gives her HIS last name, but relents when the Doctor says his version is correct. The Doctor says he'll move the TARDIS as they're gonna need the space for dancing, which is why he came. When everyone starts dancing, the Doctor does so badly, making Amy giggle and amusing the children present; he even tries teaching them his moves. Later, watching Amy and Rory slow dance, the Doctor says to himself Rory deserves
The Doctor leaves to return to the TARDIS, now parked in Amy's garden. River Song appears behind him. He returns her vortex manipulator and her diary, explaining that the writing has come back, but he didn't peek ahead. As River thanks him, the Doctor asks if she's married herself. She wonders if he is asking, and he says, "Yes," then stammers when he realises he has just unwittingly proposed to her. River teases him with further affirmations. The Doctor wonders who she really is. She says he will find out very soon, when everything changes. She leaves abruptly via vortex manipulator.
Amy and Rory, still in their wedding finery, enter the TARDIS and encourage the Doctor to take the night off. He is reluctant — they still do not know what led the TARDIS to the date of the temporal explosion and destroyed it, much less why. He also has not figured out the meaning of the "silence." As he ponders, he takes a phone call: an Egyptian goddess is on the loose on the Orient Express in space and the royal on the other end is concerned. The Doctor turns to bid Amy and Rory goodbye, but Amy runs to the door, bids her former life adieu and closes the TARDIS doors. The Doctor smiles and fires up the engines, sending the TARDIS spinning through the time vortex.
- The Doctor - Matt Smith
- Amy Pond - Karen Gillan
- Rory Williams / Auton Rory - Arthur Darvill
- River Song - Alex Kingston
- Young Amelia Pond - Caitlin Blackwood
- Sharon - Susan Vidler
- Tabetha Pond - Karen Westwood
- Augustus Pond- Halcro Johnston
- Christine - Frances Ashman
- Dalek Operator - Barnaby Edwards
- Dalek - Nicholas Briggs (Voice)
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger and Beth Willis|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
This story had no direct Visual Effects credit, which means that it unusually didn't credit The Mill. Instead, the roll credited many more workers from The Mill than usual, and even changed Will Cohen's normal title to the grander, "Executive Visual FX Producer".
Cultural references from the real world Edit
- Prominent scientist Richard Dawkins is mentioned as involved in a "Star Cult" which believes stars are real. Dawkins is a self-professed fan of Doctor Who and married to former star Lalla Ward. They were introduced by his friend and former series writer/script editor, the late Douglas Adams. This was the second consecutive series finale to reference Dawkins. In the first he appears in a cameo role, being interviewed about the planets in the sky (TV: The Stolen Earth).
- The music playing to which the Doctor briefly dances very badly is "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by British rock band Queen.
The Doctor Edit
- The Doctor tells the sleeping Amelia that he stole/borrowed the TARDIS.
- The Doctor briefly sees the Saturnyns, Weeping Angels, Silurians, Daleks, the Star Whale, Craig Owens, Vincent Van Gogh, Dr Black, some Smilers and a Supreme Dalek during his re-wind.
- River Song claims she once went out with a Nestene duplicate who had swappable heads.
- Rory Williams says he remembers being an Auton. He would later compare his Auton memories to a door in his head; he could open it when he wanted to, but tended to keep it shut. (TV: Day of the Moon) Having spent two millennia guarding the Pandorica, Rory became a very effective warrior, as shown in A Good Man Goes to War.
- Tabetha Pond mentions taking Amy to psychiatrists about her 'imaginary friend'.
- The Doctor wears a fez during the episode. He believes "fezzes are cool". Neither Amy nor River are impressed. Amy grabs it and throws it in the air. River destroys it with her blaster.
- The fez may be a small nod to TV: Silver Nemesis, wherein the Seventh Doctor briefly wore a fez while going through the storage room at Windsor Castle looking for Nemesis' silver bow.
Theories and concepts Edit
- A small explosion when the Doctor taps the two versions of his sonic screwdriver together. It is possible to read this as an expression of the Blinovitch Limitation Effect, though this term is never used in the episode. Moreover, no such explosion occurs when both Amy and the Doctor touch their younger selves. No explanation for the discrepancy was provided by the script.
Story notes Edit
- The broadcast and narrative dates were the same: 26/06/2010. This is one of only three times in the revived series this has occurred. The others are TV: The Impossible Astronaut on 22 April 2011 and TV: The End of Time on 25 December 2009.
- This was the first BBC Wales finalé which featured neither David Tennant nor the departure of a main character.
- According to the DVD commentary, director Toby Haynes continued to use playback while recording this episode, just as he had for The Pandorica Opens. In particular, it was used with Caitlin Blackwood's solo scenes in the museum.
- River's main costume in this story was designed deliberately to evoke both Princess Leia and Han Solo, so that she looked like, according to Toby Haynes, a "female Han Solo". (DCOM: The Big Bang)
- According to Toby Haynes, this episode had no bigger budget "and maybe even a little less" than other episodes in the series. (DCOM: The Big Bang)
- 6.7 million.
- The Internet Movie Database incorrectly stated that Doctor Who veteran actor Philip Madoc would guest star. He did not appear.
Filming locations Edit
- Miskin Manor - Cardiff
Production errors Edit
- In the museum, when the trio see the "future" Doctor die, Amy walks up the stairs. The camera cuts to the Doctor, then back to Amy, when she walks up the stairs again. It was too quick for her to go back down the stairs.
- When the Amy that has just came out of the Pandorica compares height to younger Amy and guesses the date, you can see a shadow back away from the side of the camera when it pans out.
- In the museum, the Doctor is talking but a shot of him turning around shows that his lips are not moving
- The museum scenes are set in 1996, but when the Doctor and crew make it to the roof, you see the Gherkin in the skyline - a building that was built in the twenty-first century.
- While travelling backwards, the Doctor is seen wearing the vortex manipulator in the TARDIS on the way to Space Florida. In the next scene, while telling Amy to remember, it is absent. It returns in the following scene when he picks up the younger Amy.
- In the museum, after the two Amys, the Doctor, and Rory escape the stone Dalek, we see the Doctor use the vortex manipulator to go back and talk to Rory, as seen at the beginning of the episode. The third time, in the wide shot of Rory and Amy, Amy's abdomen moves from the actress's breathing. During Rory's speech at the beginning of the episode, there is faint breathing heard during his dialogue, probably from Amy.
- When the Doctor winds back to The Byzantium and encourages Amy to remember what he told her the night she waited he hadn't yet said anything to her yet. Knowing that his timeline was unraveling and that he'd get to speak with her that night he tries to get an older Amy to remember what he is planning to tell her.
- Rory says of the Doctor: "He was the stripper at my stag..." (TV: The Vampires of Venice) and notes that "I was plastic!" (TV: The Pandorica Opens) Rory later hinted in Day of the Moon and elsewhere that he had a memory of his Auton duplicate's experiences, but it was never made clear just how this was possible.
- After this episode, Rory has lived more than twice as long as the Doctor.
- The Doctor travels back through his time stream, visiting the events of TV: The Eleventh Hour, Flesh and Stone and The Lodger. Also seen are the events of Vincent and the Doctor, Cold Blood, The Hungry Earth, The Vampires of Venice, Victory of the Daleks and The Beast Below. It is implied that he would have continued travelling backwards through his entire life, with all of his former incarnations, but that he decided to stop the rewind early by walking into a crack in time.
- The Doctor says "fezzes are cool", echoing the "bow ties are cool" mantra that surrounds the Eleventh Doctor. He also sends the one-word text message, "Geronimo", another catch phrase of this incarnation.
- The Doctor has worn fezzes in other incarnations. (COMIC: Doctor Who and the Nightmare Game, TV: Silver Nemesis)
- The Doctor has been involved in the weddings of companions Sarah Jane Smith (TV: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith) and Donna Noble. (TV: The Runaway Bride, The End of Time)
- Though another Moffat script, The Doctor Dances, suggests—and even demonstrates—that the Ninth Doctor is a capable dancer, this episode proves that the Eleventh Doctor is either deliberately, or actually, uncoordinated. Other Doctors have occasionally displayed a talent for dancing, such as when the Sixth Doctor, through a bit of "timey-wimey-ness", taught himself how to waltz and foxtrot. (PROSE: Teach Yourself Ballroom Dancing) Likewise, the Fifth Doctor once claimed to know how to Charleston but refused to do so. (AUDIO: Primeval)
- This is the third time a Dalek has been put on display in a museum. An empty Dalek casing was on display in the Space Museum (TV: The Space Museum) and one Dalek was kept in the Cage in van Statten's underground museum. (TV: Dalek)
- Early in the episode, Amy's aunt stated that she didn't trust "that Richard Dawkins" because he was trying to get people to believe that somehow the stars had disappeared. In the shrinking universe, just as in the normal one, Dawkins is portrayed as a scientific rationalist opposing majority views. Dawkins is seen in the "normal" DWU in The Stolen Earth, also explaining an altered firmament. On that occasion, he was seen on television addressing the sudden appearance of multiple planets in the sky.
- The Doctor says, "Gotcha", to Amy, which was uttered by both aboard the Starship UK. (TV: The Beast Below)
- On this occasion, the younger Amy meets a future version of herself. The older Amy would have the same experience in TV: Space, TV: Time and TV: The Girl Who Waited.
- The Doctor mentions "the footprints of the Neverwere" which may have been a reference to the Army of Meanwhiles and Neverweres as heard in The End of Time.
- Rory and Amy get married in this story and continue their travels in the TARDIS. This marks the first occasion a married couple have been companions.
- The museum includes anomalies as a result of the altered timeline, including penguins in the Nile, Egyptians in the Himalayas and dinosaurs in ice.
Home video releases Edit
BBC Video - "Doctor Who Series Five - Volume Four" features Vincent and the Doctor, The Lodger, The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang. It was released on 6 September 2010 (UK Only) on DVD and Blu-ray see picture below. It was released on a full series box set on 8th November 2010 but as two sets. One is a limited edition steelbook and the other one is a Lenticular Sleeve.