a real world point of view
|The Time of Angels|
|Main enemy:||Weeping Angels|
|Main setting:||Alfava Metraxis, 51st century|
|Premiere broadcast:||24 April 2010|
|Premiere network:||BBC One|
|Format:||1x 45 minute episode|
|Confidential:||Eyes Wide Open|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|Victory of the Daleks||Flesh and Stone|
|The End of Time||Flesh and Stone|
The Time of Angels was the fourth episode of the fifth series of BBC Wales Doctor Who. It was the first part of a two-part story. It saw to the return of the enigmatic woman of the Doctor's future, River Song, and the terrifying Weeping Angels. Throughout the episode, hints are given about River's relationship with the Doctor in his personal future. It also showed the purpose the Church will serve in the 51st century.
This is the first time in the Steven Moffat Era of Doctor Who that the Weeping Angels appeared; they would reappear once each of the following seasons (so far), making a cameo in The God Complex and in another large army in The Angels Take Manhattan. This episode also saw them display new and frightening powers.
The enigmatic River Song hurtles back into the Doctor's life but she's not the only familiar face returning - the Weeping Angels are back! Following River's calling card, the Doctor is recruited to help track down the last of the Angels, which has escaped from the Byzantium starliner and into the terrifying Maze of the Dead.
A man spins dazedly in a green field on a beautiful day. There is a lipstick smear on his mouth. He is approached by two armed guards and a man in evening clothes. He tells them what a beautiful day it is. The man wipes the lipstick off, revealing the dazed guard is actually standing in the metallic corridor of a spaceship. The man in evening clothes announces grimly "She's here."
Elsewhere in the ship, a woman blasts through a steel door with a firearm; behind it is a room with a black box suspended in the center. She uses the gun as a torch and begins burning a message onto the box's face.
Meanwhile, twelve thousand years later, the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond explore the Delirium Archive, which the Doctor says is the final resting place of the Headless Monks. Amy is bored. The Doctor promised to take her to a different planet next and the museum is on an asteroid. She wonders why they are at a museum while the Doctor announces that most of the displays are "wrong" until coming to one that he says is "one of mine". Amy deduces that this is how he keeps score.
The Doctor is fascinated by the box seen earlier. He says it's a home box, which works like an airplane's black box except it homes. He says the message scrawled on the box is for him. It is written in Old High Gallifreyan. Amy asks what the message says, and the Doctor exasperatedly replies, "Hello, sweetie." They steal the box and run to the TARDIS, pursued by guards.As the Doctor connects the home box to the TARDIS monitor, Amy asks why he stole it. He explains someone is trying to get his attention. Getting a visual, he sees River smiling at the camera. Changing the footage, River is now cornered in front of an airlock by the man in evening clothes and two guards. She explains coolly she needed to see what was in the vault and warns the ship will not reach its destination. As the guards prepare to shoot her, River rattles off something and asks for an air corridor. Amy wonders what River is saying. The Doctor explains they're coordinates. He sets the TARDIS controls for River's location.
Meanwhile, River tells the men they'd better find something to hold on to; she's giving them fair warning. They see a flashing light on a device attached to the door and grab for handholds. The airlock blows open and a calm River is sucked into space just as the TARDIS materialises and the Doctor opens the doors.The Doctor pulls River into the TARDIS, but is accidently knocked to the ground by her when he does so. Amy watches this from right next to him and questions the Doctor; a surprised Doctor greets River. Picking themselves up, they watch as the ship soars away; River orders the Doctor to follow it. The TARDIS chases the Byzantium, with River yelling for the Doctor to use the stabilizers. The Doctor does not know what she is talking about until she pushes a blue button on the console and the TARDIS stops shaking. The Doctor is annoyed. The journey is now boring. River takes over piloting. Amy asks the Doctor who River is and how she can fly the TARDIS, prompting the Doctor sneer at River's style of piloting. River says she had lessons from the very best. The Doctor looks smug until she adds, "A shame you were busy that day."
River announces that she's plotted all possible landing locations, and with a soft thud, that she's parked the TARDIS next to the Byzantium. However, the Doctor protests to the TARDIS having landed; the dematerialisation noise didn't sound, so he's sceptical. River replies that it only makes that sound because he leaves the brakes on. The Doctor, grumbling, opens the door -- despite River's warnings that they must do environmental checks -- and announces they have landed on Alfava Metraxis, which has an oxygen-rich atmosphere and an eleven-hour day. River sneers. "He thinks he's so hot when he does that".
All three exit the TARDIS to see the smouldering wreckage of the Byzantium atop a stony plateau. On Amy's request, the Doctor introduces her to "professor" River Song. River, who is happy to learn that she'll be a professor of archaeology one day, says "spoilers"; the Doctor is annoyed he just gave away foreknowledge. River asks the Doctor to boost the signal of her radio to use it as a homing beacon for reinforcements from orbit. She produces her diary, saying they have a few minutes, and asks the Doctor where they've landed in his timeline, The Doctor orders Amy to keep away from it: "Her past, my future".
Before River can read off any past adventures, four men in combat uniform teleport in and approach them. Their leader, Father Octavian, is rather cross; River had promised him an army. However, she corrects him, saying that she promised the equivalent of an army - the Doctor. Knowing of the Doctor, Octavian introduces himself, but then asks if "doctor" Song has briefed him on the mission their on. River turns to the Doctor, asking him what he knows of the Weeping Angels. Hearing this, the Doctor gives a grim expression; once more he'll have to fight a nearly unbeatable enemy.
By nightfall, the Doctor is fed up with Amy's persistent questions about his relationship with River and with her disobedience of his order she wait in the TARDIS. River calls them to a drop-ship to show them footage of the Weeping Angel they're chasing. It is a four-second clip on a loop. The Doctor and River explain the nature of the Weeping Angel to Amy and Father Octavian, including their quantum-lock defense mechanism; the Angel that they're after had been patient and feigned dormancy since it was discovered. All but Amy depart the drop-ship as River offers the Doctor a book about the Angels; he reads the whole book in seconds. He is perplexed; something is missing, but he doesn't know what.While the others make plans, Amy is left with nothing to do; she sarcastically asks if there was anything she could do to help. Looking back at the tape, she realises the Weeping Angel has changed its position slightly. When she asks River if she has more than one clip of the Angel, River says no; it's just the one clip. When Amy looks back, the Angel has moved again; it now faces the camera with its arms spread out; the door also closes without Amy noticing. Amy tries to turn the television off, but it quickly switches back on. She tries to unplug it, but fails in trying to pull it out. When she looks back up, its face fills the screen. When she tries to leave, the door won't budge. She looks back again to find the Angel is now baring its fangs at her.
Outside, River wonders how early the Doctor is in his time-stream. When he replies it is fairly early, she is amused because he doesn't know who she is yet. The Doctor wonders how she knows who he is as he doesn't always look the same. River says that she has all his faces in her diary, but he doesn't show up in order; River thinks she needs a spotter's guide. The Doctor then realises what the book is missing: pictures. Why would there be no visual on what to look out for? River says there was a mention about images in the book. The Doctor returns to the sentence and reads it aloud: "Whatever takes the image of an Angel becomes itself an Angel." He ponders its meaning.
Back in the dropship, Amy looks away again. This time, when she looks back, the Angel has projected itself into the drop-ship as a hologram. Amy shouts for the Doctor. He runs to the door and tries to open it with the sonic screwdriver, but fails. He warns Amy not to blink, then looks back into the book and adds she is not to look into the Angel's eyes, however, Amy already has. The Doctor explains to River the book says that the eyes are the "doors" to the soul, not windows. River tries burning through the hull as the Doctor fails to cut the power; the Angel has added a deadlock seal to prevent the power from being cut and to keep the door from being opened.
Amy wonders why the recording has come to life and River explains an image of an Angel becomes one. Realising there is a point in the loop where there's no picture, Amy freezes the recording, ending the "image" and shutting off the screen. The Doctor and River enter; the Doctor orders River to hug and comfort Amy because he's busy scanning the plug to the television. Amy wonders what happened and the Doctor explains it was a projection of the Angel they're after; it was scoping out its foes. An explosion sounds outside, and Octavian enters to tell them the Clerics have blasted into the temple. The Doctor departs, convinced things are going to get even worse. Amy rubs her eye. She tells River there's something in it.The group climbs down into the temple, finding a gravity well inside. The Doctor says it is the perfect hiding place for the Angel. He kicks a gravity globe high into the air. With the space lit, the interior is revealed: hundreds of disintegrating stone statues! Finding the Angel is going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. The Clerics wonder how they are going to neutralise the Angel. All the Doctor can come up with is "Find it, and pray." The Doctor and Amy rush off to explore, but Father Octavian holds River back, warning her they need the Doctor on their side; the Doctor must never know why she's imprisoned. As she leaves, Octavian sends Clerics Christian and Angelo to investigate the one exit visible from the chamber.
In one of the tunnels, Amy has stopped some distance away from the Doctor to rub her eye. This time, dust runs between her fingers; Amy is shocked by this, but the dust vanishes. River appears behind her and gives her an inoculation to protect her from the radiation from the ship. Amy asks River about her relationship with the Doctor. River is evasive and Amy continues to believe they are married. The Doctor hears them, but denies it. River points out that he's holding a device upside-down. This reassures Amy that she is right; River doesn't confirm this, but simply says Amy is "good".
Elsewhere, Christian and Angelo are complaining about the mission, saying their previous mission to hunt Lava Snakes was easier. Christian decides to investigate another passage, but soon finds his torchlight flickering. He turns to call for Angelo to come to him, but the Weeping Angel kills him. Oddly, Angelo receives a transmission from the now-deceased Christian to come and see something. When he does, he also finds his torchlight flickering. He turns to see the Angel just as it kills him as well.
The Doctor, Amy and River explore the temple. He remembers the Aplans who built the temple, saying he had dinner with the chief architect. Amy is confused when he says, "Two heads are better than one", thinking the Doctor assisted; the Aplans had two heads. He changes the subject, asking River about the last line in the book - it's a rather ominous prophecy. They hear gunfire and return to the main temple. Cleric Bob has fired at a statue, thinking it looked at him. Octavian berates him, but the Doctor insists Bob's fear will keep him alert and fast; he also says "Anyone who isn't scared is an moron", before realising he insulted Octavian. Octavian orders Bob to guard the entrance with Christian and Angelo while he and the four other Clerics join the Doctor's exploration.
As they ascend the Maze of the Dead, the Doctor discusses the Aplans, the natives of Alfava Metraxis who built the temple and have become extinct, saying Amy and he should visit them. He says that with two heads, kissing wasn't a problem. However, laws were made against self-marrying; "That's the Church for you". He apologises to Octavian, who takes the apology, but still feels offended.
River tells the Doctor that something's wrong, but doesn't know what; he also knows someting is wrong, but doesn't either. Examining a statue while Amy points out the divorce of self-marriage must have been messy, River has an epiphany, as does the Doctor. They talk around it until Octavian finally asks them what they have discovered. The Doctor and River explain that the Aplans had two heads; why don't the statues? Gathering everyone behind him, the Doctor has them turn off their torchlights. When they turn back on after a second, all of the statues have turned to face them; every single statue is an Angel!
Elsewhere, Cleric Bob gets a call from Angelo over his radio, begging him to come and see something; the other Angels don't seem to want to bother with him. "Angelo" becomes increasingly annoyed that Bob won't come, telling him it's something he has to see. Finally, Bob does so; he's attacked by the Weeping Angel from the ship as well.
Back to the Doctor's group, he's deduced the angels are slowly being restored by the radiation leaking from the wreckage and they must leave now! Octavian radios Bob to warn him. Bob says he's on his way and that the others are dead. The Doctor is surprised; Angels normally displace their victims in time unless they need bodies for something. Bob explains the Angel killed him as well, making everyone look at each other with grim expressions. The Doctor takes the radio and asks Bob how he can be talking to them if the Angel killed him. Bob says the Angel reanimated a copy of his consciousness to speak to them; when Bob says that "he" is on his way, he really means the Angel.The group flees to the Byzantium while the Doctor chats with Bob, confirming he is speaking to the original Angel from the ship. As he runs to join the others, he finds Amy frozen in the corridor, her hand stuck to a rock; she tells the Doctor her hand has turned to stone because she looked into the eyes of an Angel and he must leave her. As the lights in the cavern flicker and the Angels approach, the Doctor bites Amy's hand to assure her it is not stone; though he's happy Amy has snapped out of the trance, she's rather angry with him for biting her with his "space teeth". They meet with the others, who are standing on a rocky ledge some fifty feet beneath the Byzantium wreckage; they're trapped!
Cleric Bob radios the Doctor again. He says there is nowhere for the Doctor to go and the Angels will kill them all. He also tells the Doctor the Angels are keen to have him know that the real Bob was afraid when he died; the Doctor had assured Bob that his fear would keep him fast, but he died alone and afraid. Amy asks River what the Angels are attempting to do, and River explains that they are trying to make the Doctor angry; angering the Doctor is a very bad move.
The Doctor tells Bob that he's sorry for his death, promising what's left of him that the Angels will pay. Bob says that the Doctor is trapped; there's no way he can do anything but die. The Doctor tells Bob that there is something wrong with the trap; a great, big mistake. The Doctor asks the group if they trust him. He takes Octavian's sidearm and orders them to jump on his signal. Bob radios the Doctor, asking what the mistake was. The Doctor says that the mistake is that they put him in the centre of a trap. He then shoots the gravity globe with Octavian's sidearm, plunging them into total darkness.
- The Doctor - Matt Smith
- Amy Pond - Karen Gillan
- River Song - Alex Kingston
- Alistair - Simon Dutton
- Security Guard - Mike Skinner
- Octavian - Iain Glen
- Christian - Mark Springer
- Angelo - Troy Glasgow
- Bob - David Atkins
- Marco - Darren Morfitt
|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.|
Reza Karim and Jill Reeves were interviewed on the accompanying Doctor Who Confidential, credited as "Prosthetics Supervisors". Likewise, Ailsa Berk is clearly seen providing choreography for the Weeping Angels in Confidential. However, none of these people were listed in the end credits of The Time of Angels as originally broadcast on BBC One.
Earth mammals Edit
- The Doctor states that humans are like rabbits.
- Berger was in charge of laying the explosives.
- The Doctor was on Virginia Woolf's bowling team.
- Amy guesses that River Song is the Doctor's wife in the future. River doesn't tell the truth to keep the established timeline from being polluted.
- Everyone in the service of the Church is given a Sacred Name.
- In the background of one of the shots in the episode, a grave seems to say "Isaac" on it.
- River leaves the Doctor a message in Old High Gallifreyan on a home box: "Hello, sweetie".
- Alfava Metraxis is seventh planet of the Dundra system, which is located in the Garn belt.
- Alfava Metraxis has an oxygen rich atmosphere and toxins in its soft-band. Its days last for 11 hours.
- Alfava Metraxis was terraformed nearly 200 years before the crash of the Byzantium.
- The soldiers who accompany River Song are from the Church.
- The Angels' use of the phrase, "Come and see", is a reference to the Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Revelation, specifically the Angel of Death.
- The Byzantium is a spacecraft carrying a Weeping Angel. It crash lands when its warp engines suffer a phase shift.
- Over hundreds of years Weeping Angels lose their form.
- The Aplans are a two-headed species.
- The Doctor had dinner with the Aplans' chief architect.
- The Aplans are said to have died out over 400 years before the Byzantium crashed on Alfava Metraxis.
- The Delerium Archive is the final resting place of the Headless Monks.
- There are over 6 billion human colonists on Alfava Metraxis.
- In the book the Doctor reads about the Weeping Angels, it states "that which holds the image of an Angel becomes itself an Angel".
- One of the Clerics talks about chasing Lava Snakes.
- The TARDIS is capable of creating and extending an air corridor.
- River Song says the TARDIS has brakes.
- According to River Song, the TARDIS isn't supposed to make the classic materialisation/dematerialisation noise; she says it's because the Doctor always leaves the brakes on, to which he counters, saying he likes the sound the TARDIS makes.
- The TARDIS can operate like a spaceship, following the Byzantium through space before jumping through time to reach the crash site.
- The TARDIS has blue stabilizer buttons the Doctor seemed unaware of; however, he then says that they are "boring".
- A home box is like a flight recorder; after a ship lands it flies to the spacecraft's planet of origin.
- The projection of a Weeping Angel is able to deadlock seal the landing pod, despite the pod not having the capability.
- Perception filters are referred to again.
- Gravity globes, first seen in The Impossible Planet, return.
Story notes Edit
- This was the first episode of Series 5 to be shot, and therefore the first episode featuring Matt Smith and Karen Gillan.
- This is Amy's first meeting with River Song--who, unknown to her, is actually her daughter.
- Amy Pond thinks her hand has turned to stone. Actress Karen Gillan had previously appeared in TV: The Fires of Pompeii as a member of the Sibylline Sisterhood, a cult of soothsayers whose flesh was beginning to turn to stone under the influence of the Pyroviles.
- This is the third appearance of the Weeping Angels if one counts non-TV appearances; they have previously featured in TV: Blink and in Captain Jack's Monster Files. (See WC: A Ghost Story for Christmas)
- The Doctor ripping the strap off the ceiling of one of the small ships was originally an accident; the producers liked the idea so much that they filmed Matt Smith doing it again.
- In this story, River Song is a doctor. She seems surprised when the Doctor lets slip that she will one day be a professor. In conversation with Father Octavian, she mentions that she was imprisoned for a crime, and the Doctor wouldn't help them if he knew who she was. It was revealed shortly before the episode aired that the crime was murdering "the best man she ever knew." She was convicted of the murder of the Doctor (See TV: The Wedding of River Song). 
- River Song is the sixth person seen capable of flying the TARDIS solo since the reintroduction of Doctor Who in 2005. Others have included: the Doctor; Captain Jack Harkness; the Master; Rose Tyler empowered as the Bad Wolf entity; the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor; and Donna Noble during her Meta-Crisis with the Doctor. Prior to 2005, several companions and (of course) other Time Lords operated the TARDIS in varying degrees.
- During its airing in some parts of England, an animated advert for the talent show Over the Rainbow began playing over the cliffhanger. This sparked complaints to the BBC, who later apologised. The advert contained an animated Graham Norton, who later joked about it on his own show – saying he finally secured a role on Doctor Who. However, his voice had already been overheard during the first episode of the revived series, Rose, when an error in broadcasting began playing the audio of a trailer featuring Norton for another of his talent shows, Strictly Dance Fever.
- This is the first episode of Series 5 not to feature one of the Cracks, but one does show up in the next episode. This is likely because it is the first of a two-part story. '
- One question commonly asked by fans regarding TV: Blink was why Sally Sparrow and Larry Nightingale did not try closing one eye at a time to keep the Weeping Angels at bay. When the Angel is attacking Amy, she tries this, but remarks on how difficult it actually is.
- The episode ran short in its original cut because high tides at the beach location forced the abandonment of about three scripted pages — including the scene which had been used to audition Karen Gillan for the part of Amy Pond. In its place, Steven Moffat inserted the scene where River flies the TARDIS, filmed as a pick-up. (DCOM: The Time of Angels)
- As is routine for post-2005 Doctor Who, a "NEXT TIME" trailer for the next episode is shown at the end of the episode.
- 6.8 million viewers [source needed]
Filming locations Edit
- The beach scenes on Alfava Metraxis were filmed at Southerndown beach, Vale of Glamorgan. This was also where scenes in Army of Ghosts/Doomsday and Journey's End were filmed.
- River Song's presence in this episode may indicate that it is set in the 51st century, but this is not certain, as it is unknown precisely where in the timeline River Song comes from. The Doctor mentioned that it was the 51st century.
- A teaser from Digital Spy has implied a data ghost device will appear in this episode. This was proved partially true. The same suits which have the devices were spotted in the episode, but were not used.
Production errors Edit
- When the Doctor is talking to 'Angel Bob' over the radio, he doesn't have a torch in his hand. In the next shot, running past Amy, he is shown with one.If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
- The warning on the dropship door reads "CAUTION: Trip Hazzard". The word is properly spelled "Hazard".
- When River is in space, the TARDIS has white windows. The scene cuts to a close up of the Doctor, and the windows are black. Also, the St John's Ambulance badge is missing from the door. Steven Moffat admits on the DVD commentary that it is the "David Tennant police box", but falls gentlemanly short of laying blame at the feet of any particular production member.
- Steven Moffat notes in the in-vision commentary that there are massive continuity errors throughout the episode with respect to the length of Matt Smith's hair. Indeed, careful examination reveals that Smith's hair has several different lengths, sometimes within the same scene.
- Before River is sucked out of the Byzantium, unlike the other two, the guard on the left has no pipes on his side of the corridor to hold on to, yet when River is sucked out, he can be seen hanging onto something.
- At the end when the Doctor is seen shooting the gravity globe, he does not actually move his finger, but the pistol still shoots.
- The same suits River Song and her crew wore when she became an archaeologist can be seen in this episode in the pod where Amy encounters her first Weeping Angel. (TV: Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead).
- The Weeping Angels previously appeared in TV: Blink.
- River Song previously appeared in TV: Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead.
- The Doctor refers to the events of TV: Blink.
- River Song mentions the crash of the Byzantium in TV: Silence in the Library.
- The Doctor previously used the TARDIS to chase a crashing space ship in TV: The Empty Child.
- A gravity globe was previously used in TV: The Impossible Planet.
- Amy refers to visiting a spaceship and Winston Churchill's cabinet war-rooms. (TV: The Beast Below, Victory of the Daleks)
- High Gallifreyan was previously seen in TV: The Five Doctors; the Doctor declares he is one of the few who understands the language.
- The new sonic screwdriver is as ineffective against deadlock seals as its predecessors.
- Perception filters are mentioned, though the Doctor adds that the group may have just been "a bit thick".
- The scene where the Doctor refuses to do an environment check is reminiscent of TV: The Power of the Daleks, where a post-regeneration Second Doctor absentmindedly starts to wander out of the TARDIS. When his companions protest that he hasn't checked for oxygen on the planet, the Doctor rattles off the temperature, radiation, and oxygen density and detects a likelihood of mercury deposits.
- Similar to the Fourth Doctor with Romana I, the Doctor is annoyed by someone claiming to be better at piloting the TARDIS than he is.
- After flicking quickly through the book on the Weeping Angels, the Doctor remarks, "Not bad, bit boring in the middle." He did a similar thing with a book in a Parisian cafe in TV: City of Death and "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold in TV: Rose.
- The Doctor tells River that he is not a taxi service. The Fifth Doctor told Adric the same thing in TV: Earthshock.
- The Book of the Weeping Angels later appears in the Doctor's study in his TARDIS. (GAME: TARDIS)
- River Song again uses the hallucinogenic lipstick in The Pandorica Opens.
- River mentions that she learnt to fly the TARDIS from "the best" and notes that "It's a shame you (the Eleventh Doctor) were busy that day". It is revealed in Let's Kill Hitler that River learnt to pilot the TARDIS from the TARDIS itself shortly after her regeneration, being recognised as a child of the TARDIS owing to her conception taking place while the TARDIS was in flight.
- The Doctor once again speed reads a book in a matter of seconds. (TV: City of Death, AUDIO: Invaders from Mars, TV: Rose)