9 July 2018

Some Doctor Who things that are also real things

The Gravitron

Doctor Who- Weather control device in `The Moonbase` (1966)

Real life- An amusement ride that first appeared in the US in 1983. Brandon Flowers memorably referenced it in his 2015 song `Lonely Town` when he sang about “Spinning like a Gravitron”. At least we don’t think he was talking about the weather machine.
A Gravitron. Patrick Troughton not pictured.


Doctor Who- Grumpy, squishy faced aliens from `The Android Invasion` (1976)

Real Life - A traditional African village of huts, typically enclosed by a fence. I don’t think Styggron would like to live there. Mind you he doesn’t like most things.


Doctor Who- The second home planet of the Cybermen first mentioned in `Tomb of the Cybermen` (1967)

Real Life  - A Greek word meaning “end” or “purpose”. The root of the word Teleology which is the study of objects with a view to their aims, purposes, or intentions. As of course we all know.


Doctor Who- A sort of fake world as featured in the story of the same name in 1982.

Real Life - A lithograph print by the Dutch artist M. C. Escher first printed in February 1930. In the show, Castrovalva is visualised as having similarly unusual visual layouts that trick the eye. Writer Christopher Bidmead used the print as inspiration.


Doctor Who- The Time Lords’ meeting hall used for all important events first seen in `The Deadly Assassin`(1976) and a number of times since.

Real Life - A type of prison building that was designed by social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th Century. His design allows all the inmates to be observed by a single guard though the former are unable to tell if they are being watched. The series’ Panopticon does have some resemblance to the same shape. A weird coincidence is that one of the key figures in the formation and early years of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society was called Jeremey Bentham and their convention was named PanopiCon.


Doctor Who-Pint sized robots who worked for `The Dominators` in the 1968 story.

Real Life – An elementary particle that is a key constituent of matter.  Quarks combine to form composite particles to form Hadrons which include protons and neutrons. Scientists in Switzerland regularly chuck these around a circular tunnel at great speeds in their Large Hadron Collider. Nobody knows why or if they place bets on particular Hadrons. On the other hand a Quark is also a type of fresh dairy product made by warming sour milk. And definitely not to be thrown around at great speed.


Doctor Who- Technologically advanced reptile race who were on Earth long before humans according to `The Silurians` (1970)

Real Life Their Doctor Who name came from the Silurian Period which occurred from 443 million to 416 million years ago. It was the third period in the Paleozoic Era; however due to sea levels there was actually no chance of life in the Silurian period. In the story writer Malcolm Hulke has the reawakened reptiles named as Silurians to reflect the period they came from but this wasn’t accurate. They are probably Permians.


Doctor Who- The ancient imprisoned God who leaves dust wherever he treads and finds it good from `Pyramids of Mars` (1975). A difficult house guest then.

Real Life – The character was based on a real ancient Egyptian myth though is more commonly known as Set (which is acknowledged in the story). In Egyptian mythology he was the God of deserts, storms and disorder amongst other things so an equally bad house guest. 
Set aka Sutekh


Doctor Who- An alien hiding in a church in `The Awakening` (1984)

Real Life A genus of about 40 different species of apple. So not as worrying really.


Doctor Who- The legendary Time Lord first seen in `The Three Doctors` (1973)

Real Life The 24th and final letter of the Greek alphabet.

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