Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who Discovers French Girls Are Easy
Dr Who In An Exciting Adventure In Copping A Feel
Frills & Spills in Sci-Fi
That Damn Horse: The Autobiography of Arthur Equinnus!
Fluffs - David Tennant seemed wasted on cheap aphrodisiacs for most of this story.
"Two-faced? Me? That’s a compliment where I come from. Ten-faced to tell you the truth."
"Every thing is innuendo! Give em an inch and they’ll make a porno."
"If she had a squint it would definitely improve your appearance. Er, and hers."
"I can explain... not very well... indeed, very badly... but I can explain. Forget it."
WHAT nun? WHAT bloody lift shaft?!
When the Doctor points the sonic screwdriver at the clockwork robot, its head falls off. The next shot, it’s back in place.
In fact, just clockwork robots full stop? CLOCKWORK FUCKING ROBOTS?! This spaceship has insanely advanced technology and the best it makes are clockwork robots? Clockwork robots so bleeding stupid they don’t do anything when the Doctor maneuvers around them for minutes saying inane things? Clockwork robots so contemptibly idiotic who only wire human body parts into machinery with no biological systems to maintain said body parts in working condition? Clock robots so utterly moronic that even when a couple of chavs are tied to operating tables and the robots have working dissection tools ready to go, they never actually use them? Clockwork robots so out to lunch they allow a horse to wander around their spaceship without hacking it to pieces, detecting it or even closing the open freaking door it wandered in through?! Why have a DOOR to a GARDEN anyway?!?!
Why doesn’t the TARDIS translate Reinette saying "Monsieur"?
Reinette says she was seven when she met the Doctor as a child, and yet she also says that it is 1727. However, she was actually born on the 29th of December 1721, so she can't possibly be seven. Was the tart lying about her age to older men even back in her childhood?
Why doesn’t the Doctor just use the TARDIS instead of throwing himself through mirrors? Why didn’t he just throw Mickey through the window, so he could then use the TARDIS? Is the Doctor on crack this week?!
This is the royal palace and yet there isn't ONE guard or one person with a gun in 1727? Are we sure this REALLY is the royal palace of France? Or are the French even stupider than the clockwork robots?!
And WHY do people STILL prefer "Shell Shock" to this episode?!
Fashion Victims -
While high on chloroform fumes, Mickey styles Rose’s hair to "make her look less of a chav". The Doctor retaliates by getting a set of pinking sheers to Mickey’s afro on the grounds that he "resembles one or all of the Jackson Two" and it is time "to cut yah hair, boyah!"
The Doctor makes up the term spatio-temporal hyperlink as an alternative to "magic door" which is in itself an alternative to "incredibly freaky and surreal space-time phenomenon". He also drinks multi-grade anti-oil which tastes just like red wine, only it can get [almost] any mechanical system pissed out of its diodes.
Dialogue Disasters -
Doctor: She was speaking French. Right period French, too.
Mickey: She was speaking English, I heard her!
Rose: That’s the TARDIS, it translates for ya.
Mickey: What? Even FRENCH?! ALL the verbs?! Coz that conjugation’s really tough...
The Doctor before mind-melding with Reinette:
"You want some Spock, Rose? I’ll show you Spock..."
Reinette: Are you staring at my breasts?
Louis XV: No.
Reinette: Then what colour are my eyes?
Louis XV: Kind of a pale pink, about as big around as quarters...
Reinette: EYES, you idiot! My EYES!
Mickey: If I, at any point, get mistaken for a slave, I’m going home.
Doctor: Just act with your usual style and you’ll be all right. Like anyone would keep you as the hired help.
Mickey: I’m just too good.
Doctor: "Good" wasn’t the word I was thinking of.
Mickey: Fuck you, Time Pussy.
Doctor: When the mirror broke, the shock will have severed all the links with the ship.
Reinette: Doesn’t that mean you’re trapped here forever?
Doctor: So it does. God, I’m thick. Mr. Thick-Thick-Thickety-Thickface from Thicktown thickania. And so’s my dad.
The Doctor to a clockwork robot:
"You know what grinds my gears? YOU!"
Dialogue Triumphs -
Reinette: How long will you love me?
Doctor: Not sure. How many more sexual positions do you know?
Doctor: Me and Rose? Nah. Just wishful thinking on the part of helpless romantics.
Reinette: Have you been together?
Doctor: Oh, ages. Ages. As a travelling companion.
Reinette: How can I know your heart is mine? How can I know it’s not belonging to Rose?
Doctor: Ah. Well. Er. Because... because... I have two hearts!
Doctor: Oh yes. I can last all night! All night!
Reinette: ALL night?
Doctor: Well, twice. And possibly three times.
Mickey: Madam du Pompadour looks like THAT and all she gets remembered for is a mantelpiece? We ARE stupid apes!
Doctor: I’d better get going. The longer I stay the more it will hurt. Mickey and Rose and the TARDIS are waiting and I have no idea where I’ll be going. At all Pick a direction, close your eyes and pick another direction and you still might not guess where we’re going. But I might come back. No, scratch that. I will. When we, both of us, have learned to live without each other. I can’t think of that particular time and place, even guess where it is. But wherever it is, whenever it is... I’ll race you to it.
(He turns to see that Reniette has stripped naked.)
Doctor: ...ah, what the hell?
Rose: We’re in deep space. They didn’t just nip out for a quick fag.
Doctor: Of course not. In the 51st Century they have catamite dispensing machines and do them without a second thought.
Rose: I meant, like, a cigarette.
Doctor: I know.
Mickey: What’s a horse doing on a spaceship?
Doctor: Mickey, what’s pre-revolutionary France doing on a spaceship?! Get a little perspective.
Mickey: All right, what is it with this place? Half space ship, half history channel, occasionally with body parts? And why are you more interested in getting into the pants of a French hooker than discovering the truth?
Doctor: You know your trouble, Mickey? You’re always too busy looking at the big picture!
Reinette: You were with him, the last time he came to me. that was many years ago, and yet you have not aged a single day. Just as he never does. How is this possible? What sort of moisturizer do you use?
Rose: It’s hard to explain.
Reinette: Then be exact, and I will be attentive.
Rose: Erm... there's say, um... a - a... a vessel. A ship. A sort of sky ship. And it’s full of... well, you. Different bits of your life in different rooms, all jumbled up. I told you it was complicated, sorry.
Reinette: There is a vessel in your world where the days of my life are pressed together like the chapters of a book so that he may step from one to the other without increase of age whilst I, weary traveler, must always take the slower path?
Reinette: ... bullshit.
Reinette: The future is promised to no one, but I insist upon my past. One may tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel. Especially one with an arse like that.
Louis XV: What the hell is going on?
Reinette: Oh. Doctor, this is my lover, the King of France.
Doctor: Yeah? Well I’m the Lord of Time. Can you beat that, Louis?!
Louis XV: Oh, like you’re the first strangely-dressed man with a blonde companion to turn up here and try that line! That tall old man and Jo Grant were here just last week...
Doctor: Ah, jings! Thought this place looked familiar!
UnQuotable Quote -
Doctor: I have human companions. I have horse companions. What the hell?
Links and References -
The Doctor has encountered so many clockwork-run robots that even Rose finds them in her words "passe".
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor once spent a week living with Mickey in the comic strip "The Logger", where he used the sonic screwdriver to smash Mickey’s teeth in for a laugh. He then made amends by setting Mickey up on a blind date with Cleopatra and Mickey got to go to "sixth base" with her.
Groovy DVD Extras –
The original alternative ending where Reinette joins the TARDIS crew instead of Arthur, with the Doctor’s full length "So, anyway Rose! Good news! Been getting a bit blokey round here with me and Mickey, eh? Well, I thought I’d get you a friend and here she is – another girl!" speech, Mickey’s "Look, mate, this isn’t how it works – you don’t steal my girlfriend, then steal the King of France’s girlfriend, then put us all in your camper van and think it’s going to work! You hear that smashing? Because IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT!" speech and for the first time anywhere the notorious 'Rose goes absolutely bat-shit insane and goes through the entire TARDIS slamming every single door she can find' sequence, uncut and with a special musical score by Murray Gold and a packet of dried peaches.
Some historical French people are running around like the aristocracy with their heads guillotined off while King Louis XV is having a domestic row with his favorite tart about a broken clock on a mantelpiece or some such crap before said tart sticks her head in the fireplace and starts screaming.
Oddly enough, this Vortext didn’t quite improve ratings for the episode.
The Spite of Sparacus –
"The Nun in the Lift-Shaft has to be the most eccentric story ever, like an acid trip taken after reading 'Madame De Pompadour' by Nancy Mitford - not that I indulge I just listen to Bob Dylan – and contained spade-loads of the kind of stuff that is ruining the new series like kissing and chav comedy! It’s the best of the second series - well maybe joint best with Earth 2.0, since those are the only episodes we’ve seen. And I was pleased that the Doctor was prepared to casually leave Rose stranded in space with Mickey forever for a woman he had only just met. True, it shows the Doctor as shallow, ruthless and obviously this kind of thing is designed to make the show appeal to today’s teenagers whose 'relationships' are lucky to last even a day, BUT it reveals that the Doctor doesn’t love Rose at all and prefers well-bred women. Clearly the Doctor does accept that the aristocracy are of a higher cultural quality than the lower orders - yet whenever I’ve suggested this to the production team in the past they have shot me down in flames! Literally! However, there was a lost opportunity for the new companion. They could have hired someone really charismatic for the horse - he was supposedly a charmer with a way with women - however the horse playing him looked wooden and stiff. Has NO ONE ELSE heard of Adam Rickitt??!"
Viewer Quotes -
"This is a story that rides on the crest of the wave that the series is currently travelling on and makes the wave only grow stronger! This is very probably the best episode of the new series of Doctor Who since Ruse and if the series continues like this, it will undoubtedly continue well beyond the already-scheduled third season and for many more years to come! My God, I wish I knew what any of that actually MEANT!"
- Eve Markson (2007)
"It was kind of inevitable that Rose would lose a bit of that 'new toy' sheen, if that’s not too cold, because there was so much focus and character study about her during her travels with the Ninth Doctor. It’s a bit of over-exposure. Still, a good dose of full frontal nudity should cure that, right, Billie?"
- Nigel Verkoff (2006)
"I’m so sick of seeing the Doctor’s naked arse bouncing up and down! I’m so sick of Murray Gold’s music! I’m so sick of stupid story concepts and weak villains! I’m sick of Rose and I’m sick of Mickey too! Why can’t they make like Adric and DIE already? Why can’t Moffat do the same?"
- Gabriel Chase (2006)
"Colours bled from my television set, opulence shone, costume glittered, sets sparkled... my sense went into critical overload... and yet I’m not entirely satisfied. My dealer has totally ripped me off! AGAIN! These were fucking tic-tacs!" - StonerDude212 on Outpost Gallifrey (2006)
"It hurts the weight and credibility of the story as we see a hundred nobles in a palace running from eight of those robots with some of the lamest knives I ever saw; a 10 year old could disarm one of those robots, and their bread knives are never shown to be effective! I WANT BLOOD, YOU CUNTS! BLOOOOD!!!!"
- the guy who used to do the Psychotic Nostalgia segment (2006)
"When I first heard about the new series of Doctor Who, I could only have HOPED for stories this good in the wildest of dreams!"
- Nigel Verkoff sucking up to the new show-runner (2008)
"A far inferior follow-up to Moffat’s previous story... whatever that was, something undermined by that hideous homosexual deviant creature acting as the script editor. It’s hard to really express what was wrong with the story so I won’t bother and just say it was too complicated and hollow simultaneously and had absolutely no point whatsoever. And ANOTHER obligatory snog scene! What ungodly creatures write this filth?! If I want to be told I can get quite far on my back without any moral question marks, I would have paid more attention to my parents instead of writing my true brilliance "The Normans" where the Sixth Doctor and Peri go back in time to meet my ancestors and marvel at their genius! WHY WON’T ANYONE DEMAND I WRITE AN EPISODE?!? WHY?!?"
- Ron Mallet (2007)
"This has been one of my all-time easiest reviews to write. It’s absurdly easy to find things to praise about this story, and so hard to find even the slightest thing to criticize. Personally I think it's a better story than Shell Shock two-parter, which doesn't quite earn its two-episode length. No! Don’t kill me! PLEASE!"
- Ewen Campion-Clarke (2006)
"Rose Tyler with a Big Fucking Gun? Move over, Lara Croft. I’ve got a new regular Saturday night thing and... Oh that’s just terrific! My sexual fantasies with Billie ALWAYS get screwed up when Mickey appears in them. God, I wish he’d go to some parallel world and die there."
- Dave Restal (who was double taking something chronic after the events of "Silver Finish")
"What I loved about the Eccleston Doctor was that he never did a damn thing he was an enabler, who empowered others to find their own solutions to their own problems because he just didn’t give a shit! It’s much more heroic to resist the temptation to help people and instead let them suffer and die and sometimes learn their own mistakes. The proverbial difference between giving a man a fish and letting him starve to death when he doesn’t work out how to get more, if you will. But now this Tennant twat undermines the message of lazy genocide and encourages scenarios where people PASSIVELY WAIT for the SAVIOR Doctor to come along and RESCUE them and just because he’s doing this, we’re expected to be IMPRESSED! Kids must be told to figure it out for themselves than to expect some knight in shining armor! PEOPLE ARE STUPID! WE CAN’T TRUST THEM TO LIVE THEIR OWN LIVES IN THE LONG RUN!"
- Alan Stevens (2008)
"The method of the Doctor’s victory is the best we’ve yet seen in the Russell T. Davies era: he doesn’t 'inspire' a guest character to do his work for him while he sits on the sidelines; he doesn’t even shoot the monsters or blow them up. He just does something simple, clever and brave. There's only one word for it: Doctorish. It rocks!"
- Andrew Beeblebrox (2008)
"STOP MOCKING ME!!!!" - Alan Stevens (2008)
David Tennant Speaks!
"I’m allergic to horses. Doesn’t matter how much horse comedy or equine banter I get, it doesn’t change that. I don’t care if it IS discrimination, the horse shouldn’t have its own trailer so it can work on its own ‘serious focus’. He gets a trailer, but does he get teeth that fit? Just because HE doesn’t try and steal the cameras to improve direction. People forget who the star is around here. That horse has it in for me. First scene in Casanova he was making my life misery. I’ve made it clear to everyone – if they want me to stay for more than this year, the horse has to go instead. Anyway, while we’re on the subject, I got to bang Sophia Myles. And I got paid for it. Next time you think you’ve got it good and life’s going well, just remember that I get paid to bang Sophia Myles. Don’t get ideas above your station."
Billie Piper Speaks!
"That horse is a bit of a diva, to be honest. I think me might be gay, too. I swear he kept winking at Noel. And he kept getting rewarded after every take. I mean, I’m not saying that I’d want a man shoving sugar cubes in my mouth after each scene... though we DID try that once... anyway. Stupid horse. After this series, he’s for the high-jump. In the sense he will be turned into burgers. Or glue."
Steven Moffat Speaks!
"I see Rusty’s outline for the series – Dustbins, Cybermen, Robot Santas, Slitheen and what do I get? Frocks?! WHAT?! I mean how many people go 'Oooh, next week it’s Madame de Pompadour and we’re in 18th Century France! That’s much more interesting than monsters on alien planets'? In fact, don’t tell me the answer, I don’t want to admit they actually exist in the first place. Anyway, they wanted a Celebrity Historical, so I gave them Tom’s Midnight Garden with sex. All the fans go, 'How very dare you! How could you have the Doctor want to shag Reniette when he wants to shag Rose?' Have any of you MET a man in real life? If not, how about you and me go out? Yes, I have a wife – see the point that I’m trying to make here?"
Russell T Davies Speaks!
"Yes. I admit it. The horse was a mistake. What the hell were we thinking?! I tell you, if it had been anyone other than Steven Moffat writing this, we would have twigged right away what a truly bloody awful idea it was. Even Myffanwy the Pterodactyl in Touchwood made more sense in the cold light of day. Why didn’t we use the version of the script where Arthur was a small chimp on a bicycle? WHY?!"
This episode won an award or something. I can’t be bothered to check the details. It’s not as if Moffat’s short of the bloody things, is it?
Rumors & Facts -
What more could a romantic want? A love story, flashy Rococo France, royalty, a ball, a fireplace, clockwork harlequins, tender moments, love lost, and even a bit of action rounds out the story. If I had an atom of romance left in me after so much heartbreak, I might have actually given this story the time of day. And boy did it need THAT.
During 2004, Doctor Who Executive Producer Russell "Teeth of Night" Davies was also responsible for Casanova - a three-part serial which had later inspired him to cast its star, David Tennant, as the Tenth Doctor on the basis of his performance as the Scottish time travelling lothario stranded in Venice while his police-box-shaped time vessel was out of action. Now, I know this all sounds completely irrelevant but bear with me. For crying out loud, who’s in charge of these things? Yeah, me, that’s who, so shut your goddamn trap!
Ahem. Well, anyway, RTD had a truly brilliant plan that would allow the production team to create 14 award winning hours of Doctor Who material even though they only had the budget for 13 (thanks to the late decision to make a Christmas special, coupled with the fact hardly anyone in Wales can count to ten, let alone above).
RTD’s cunning master plan was simply to repeat Casanova with a Doctor Who title sequence – it was a plan that was bold, a plan that was exciting, and a plan that worked since on its original transmission most people automatically assumed it was a Doctor Who story anyway and it rated highly in DWM even before RTD got the job of Head Honcho for 2005.
While carrying out research for some vague scenes that might convince the average viewer it wasn’t a total repeat, Davies had become enraptured by the real historical figure of Madame de Pompadour. Born Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson-Ivy in 1721 and nicknamed "Reinette" as a child when a curiously spiky-haired and Scottish fortune teller predicted she would become mistress to the king of France, Madame de Pompadour had indeed ascended to such a role as tart to King Louis XV in 1745 while, across the channel, the Second Doctor and Jamie beat up drunken Irishmen in The High Philanderers of 1967.
Steven Moffat – previous author of the overrated-to-the-point-strong-tranquilizers-are-required Shell Shock – was inspired by RTD’s anecdotes of Madame de Pompadour who, in Moffat’s words "Lived fast, died young and left a suitably supple and erotic corpse" and immediately offered to write the scenes where Casanova/the Tenth Doctor finds himself drawn to Versailles through its famous time slip and gets all sweaty with the King’s consort as a strange clockwork robot watches on.
Inspired by the sexual content that he had already invested in the Eccleston era, Moffat went completely out of control and wrote an entire script for a 45 minute episode that was effectively a one-night stand for the Doctor entitled, "For a Good Time Call Madame de Pompadour", before gaining such short-lived and amazingly tasteless titles as "Every *CENSORED* Of My *CENSORED*", "Reniette and the Lonely Angel Have Wild Monkey Sex", "Loose Connection, Hard *CENSORED*". Moffat finally settled on "The Fire in the Girly Place" but, tragically, forgot to tell anyone and so the baffling title was chosen by a bored PA.
RTD was not pleased that they were now making a completely new pseudo-historical adventure rather than the initial plan of showing lots and lots and lots of stock footage. He was not pleased they were making a script full of out-of-order meetings between the Doctor and Reinette exemplified by the sex scenes at the convent school or the Time Lord STD making the Turk attracted to her in the first place. And he was definitely not pleased when, after Paul "Shagger" Carnall noted that Moffat was ripping his work off with all the "monsters and nightmares" bollocks, Moffat did beat Carnall unconscious and bury him in the backyard. This meant it would a full year before Carnall was fully recovered to resume his sex life AND write for TV Doctor Who.
Despite RTD’s now-borderline-psychopathic misgivings at a story so experimental it barely qualified as a normal Doctor Who, he was unable to shift it back in the running order and it would have to remain as the second story of the 2006 season which, on top of everything else have Euros Lyn ANOTHER episode to direct before he could achieve Nirvana.
Originally Moffat’s visual conception of the clockwork robots was "rip off Doctor Who Versus The Clockwork Man by Justin Richards ya daft sassenach do I have ta think of everything??!" (which is beyond chutzpah when you remember Justbin Richards wrote Glaswegian Princess, where different incarnations of the Doctor bonk a princess throughout her entire life in a far more interesting way than Nun in the Lift-Shaft) but was willing to settle for full-length Cousin Itt wigs completely hiding the bodies and all that tedious clockwork business. Producer Phil Collinson was concerned that this would limit camera angles too severely and risked appearing comical, since he had pissed himself laughing at the suggestion... TWICE. And again when someone suggested having the clockwork robots wearing gasmasks asking for their daddy.
Moffat finally shrugged and suggested carnivale masks for them to wear instead after he discovered the masks caused massive psychological damage in smaller children, which was always a good yardstick for quality in his humble opinion. Meanwhile, Neill Gorton of Millennium Effects and Richard Darwen and Gustav Hoegan heard that Moffat was writing an episode and immediately were lust-craved bitches more than happy to design and construct ridiculously complicated clockwork apparatus for the droids, even after all the incredible effort done so the viewers never, ever had to see their true selves.
Moffat idly agreed to their ideas before getting very drunk and trying to bury his head in Stephen Fry’s armpit for reasons best known to himself and will no doubt be revealed in a script for Coupling circa 2010. Meanwhile, Doctor Who was forced to actually film this mess which was now completely unable to use any footage from Casanova.
Faced with the awesome prospect of trying to recreate 18th century Versailles in 21st Century Cardiff, Euros Lyn gave up completely and filmed it all in a Newport studio with the lights down and hoping that absolutely no one else would notice. Worked too, didn’t it? Even though the Doctor Who team had been forbidden from bringing a horse onto the premises for fear of damaging the carpet, they decided that no fascist bully boys told THEM what to do and not only brought in a horse but made the said horse a new regular character! Called Arthur! Who was scripted to void its bowels all over the place in every scene! HAH, IN YOUR FACE NEWPORT STUDIOS!
One character omitted from The Nun In The Fireplace in editing was Arthur the Horse’s owner, a choleric man looking suspiciously like Captain Jack Sparrow who desperately begs the Doctor to save him from the Ugly Welsh Bastards and their gun-wielding nymphomania. This turned out to be a totally unscripted adlib by John Barrowman who was deeply regretting taking part in Touchwood: The Series. Moffat was also dismayed to discover that the key exchange between Rose and Reinette in which they discuss the Doctor and the monsters had largely been trimmed down to just a few lines and worst of all seemed vastly improved. He subsequently convinced Lyn to reinsert the remainder of the dialogue, but she blanked him and soon was buried next to Paul "Shagger" Carnall in Moffat’s backyard.
A curious side effect of these repeated murders on Moffat’s part was that the end credits for the episode were never recorded and thus the end theme music played over a shot of the empty console room before Rose climbed out of the shadows, snatched up the abandoned note from Reinette and read it, before hissing, "You cunning bitch! It’s all in French!"
(Thankfully, this adlibbing from Billie Piper distracts from the fact that Moffat had altered the captioning machine so the entire credited cast and crew were each marked out of ten based on the 'intimate relationship' Moffat had had with each of them. Notably David Tennant is a great kisser and Helen Raynor is "worth another go".)
Meanwhile, the story had sparked romance between the actress playing
Reinette, Sophia Myles, and David Tennant: after making The Nun In The Lift-Shaft, they slept together for two years until Myles moved to Los Angeles in 2007. Tennant realized she had left some time in 2008, by which he had finished working his way through all the cast and crew and found himself fancying a cute blonde he saw hanging around Peter Davison in what would be the most embarrassing sex scandal in Doctor Who history... so you KNOW it’s gotta be major-league fucked up.
But those inquests and disturbing peccadilloes are all in the future, and in the past meanwhile, David Tennant continued his baffling desire to sing in every episode and, as the Tenth Doctor found himself alone with Reniette’s harp in a brief intermission between sex scenes, suddenly burst into a boisterous song:
"Time Lords will be Time Lords" by Sergeant Pepper’s One-And-Only Lonely Angel Club Bad.
I’ve had adventures I will never forget
I’ve had adventure I will always regret
But I can take it on the chin,
And say "Time Lords Will Be Time Lords!"
There’ve been ape girls that have stolen my hearts,
But the others said "They couldn’t be told apart!
They’re just tarts in miniskirts," they say
"Time Lords Will Be Time Lords!"
I’ve been Northern and enjoyed the ride
I’ve had celery like a thorn on my side,
But I hope I’ll never let you down now,
"Time Lords Will Be Time Lords!"
Even though I had Rose I could hardly restrain
Myself around Reniette, a labor of pain!
New teeth, that’s weird, now
"Time Lords Will Be Time Lords!"
Regenerated my skin so I will always win!
So thanks a lot!
I cheat and I lie
And I fight but I don't cry
While I try...
"Time Lords Will Be Time Lords!"