Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who


Saturday brought us Mark Gatiss’ sophomore series 7b story. Savvy? Join Deb, Erika, Liz, and Tansy as we cover “The Crimson Horror.” One of us really didn’t like it, and it may not be who you expect. See who thinks what about the Victorian trio. Find out who doesn’t know who The Wiggles are. Marvel that Erika bought a Doctor Who audio. And if you’re like Lynne when she’s not on the episode, yell at the recording for being so wrong!


Also covered:
POSSIBLY SPOILERY 50th anniversary set photos! And TARDIS Tavern’s multi-Doctor (2-, 3-, 5-) podcasts!
Peter Cushing on a “Great Britons” stamp!
A Celebration of Doctor Who! And Doctor Who purchases: Deadline! and Running Through Corridors!
Doctor Who, Project Who? BBC Audio!

Download or listen now (runtime 1:13:51) 

Comments on: "Verity! Episode 13 – King Crimson Horror" (18)

  1. Elvis Omar said:

    King Crimson Horror, indeed!
    Cat’s foot, Bell Jar,
    Red Mister Sweet screams for more,
    All paranoia, Mrs. Gillyflower;
    Nineteenth century schizoid woman.

    Loved the podcast, loved the episode. Thanks for a thoughtful discussion of it. I couldn’t agree more about the kiss, but Tansy’s observation is still a good one: With all that time the Doctor spent moping in London, there may be a back story between he and Jenny regarding such things (he said waving his hands).

    Erika, I hope you enjoy Deadline. Of all the Big Finish adventures, it is the furthest outside the norm, both for Big Finish and for Doctor Who in general. Having said that, it really is incredibly good. Sir Derek is perfect (as ever), and the story is very deeply moving. You chose well.

  2. Rick Broadhurst said:

    Loved it, gothic horror, comedy, Diana Rigg, Strax & co, religious bonkers and steam punk!

  3. I did think that having the Doctor kiss Jenny “before” we’ve seen Madame Vastra do it is more than a bit tacky. Besides, we have no indication that Jenny is anywhere near the point on the Kinsey scale where she’d appreciate it or welcome it. (leaving aside the whole marriage bit for the moment)

    It would be like some random male gay friend of mine kissing me out of the blue.

    I am current reading an advance reader’s copy of Queers Dig Time Lords [Which could count as my Doctor Who nugget of glee this week] and being a relatively oblivious vanilla heterosexual guy, I miss a lot of these things, but this book has put on my radar for them.

  4. mekster said:

    I was surprised how much I enjoyed this episode as I am no fan of the Paternoster Gang. I quite like Jenny’s character. I can’t quite get over A lizard with breasts though, especially one that is hidden by a veil. Is it a psychic veil? Comedy Sonataran? I find him a one joke pony that didn’t exactly make me howl with laughter on his first appearance. It was however one of the best episodes of this series which I’m finding poor.

    I really enjoyed your podcast. Especially as you brought up the kiss. I find the Sex Pest Doctor disturbing. Whatever his motivation for kissing people, it isn’t on. Repeatedly kissing people who have no wish to be kissed would get you sacked from most places. I am not mollified that apparently he isn’t written as a sex pest. It’s just that the actor chooses to portray him as one. Surely Matt Smith kissing people unnecessarily won’t be doing the BBC any favours in the current climate? I was really put off by the Doctor behaving in a way that rightfully got him a slap. It felt very wrong in the show. Erect screwdrivers? Please, give me a break. It’s becoming puerile. Seems a real shame that most of my thoughts about this episode go back to how I really dislike this side of the Doctor’s personality.

    Diana Rigg was never going to disappoint me. I also liked having a proper baddy for once. The homage to her Avengers costume is something I thought I’d find a bit twee but I really enjoyed it. Despite the bits surrounding it.

    I enjoyed the use of Quaker model villages. It was a bit unfair to make one so sinister after all they did to improve workers’ living conditions. It worked though, it was the perfect setting for such a tale.

  5. Chris (@Silver_Nemesis) said:

    So much to say about this episode! I absolutely loved it, both in its broad brush stroke tropes and the little details.

    This is the episode of season 7B that I’ve felt most connects with classic Who, helped by all the throwbacks to previous eras – the setting was very Talons of Weng Chiang (as was Clara’s hair), the pink slime in a “Sweet” factory took me back to Happiness Patrol and the references to Teagan were in the same episode as the Paternoster Gang (love them all!) returned to form a large TARDIS family, just like the 5th Doctor’s. I agree that all it missed was the Kandyman.

    I also love setting and characters. Sweetville reminded me of Port Sunlight and New Earswick and its founder Mrs Gillyflower was delightfully twisted. She fitted in perfectly to the slightly odd world of Victorian morality and her eugenics programme of picking the best and the brightest was a lovely twist on the Muscular Christianity ideal which was popular.

    Ada was wonderfully complex. She had compassion for the injured Doctor but possibly influenced by her loneliness this can’t be seen as altruistic. Although struggling with the idea of working against her mother she does help the Doctor and the annihilation of Mr Sweet by her hand was a deserved realisation of retribution for the character. The scenes where she begged her mother for acceptance and where she met the recovered Doctor were both highly emotional and very well played and will stay with me for a long time.

    The sepia flashback was a touch of genius, the constantly fainting brother highlighted the oddity of no-one else reacting and Mark Gatiss used comedy wonderfully to mask some truly horrendous concepts and imagery. The Tom Thomas joke was less good (as soon as he started speaking it was obvious) but didn’t feel as out of place for me as the Doctor’s “Sonic erection” when Jenny stripped to her leathers. I know it’s never really been a children’s show and it makes me sound like a prude but for me it didn’t fit the character, setting or tone.

    This brings me round to the Doctor/Jenny kiss. I don’t have a problem with this for a lot of the reasons which you mentioned on the podcast. It was an understandable reaction in a moment of joy but was inappropriate to the circumstances of their relationship. I don’t have a problem with this as it was effectively addressed through the ferocity of Jenny’s slap. If it had been laughed off, he’d got a mild scalding or Jenny had reciprocated then I would possibly have had an issue with it. As it was, it was shown to be inappropriate behaviour on screen.

    As a final point, as brilliant as she would be at it Diana Rigg couldn’t possibly be a Bond villain. As Mrs Bond she was the best and most beautiful Bond Girl and to have her become a Bond Villain would just make my brain fail. For anyone who enjoyed her performance and wants to see more – invest in The Mrs Bradley Mysteries, where you will also get appearances from David Tennant and Peter Davison.

  6. I (quietly) shrieked when those spoiler photos came out, and promptly forwarded them to my husband, who probably didn’t shriek, but was very pleased nonetheless.

    Overall I really liked this episode, as did my entire family. “Brave heart, Clara!” and the “gobby Australian” made my evening. My mom was SO excited once she realized it was Diana Rigg, as she doesn’t watch/read previews, so it was a surprise for her. And one of my 4-year olds thought Mr Sweet was absolutely the funniest thing he’d ever seen- he almost busted a gut laughing in that over-the-top way only a preschooler can manage.

    The kiss didn’t particularly bother me, since it was in a triumphant “hey I’m not dead” moment, and while it was rather theatrical with the dip and all, it’s not like he necessarily shoved his tongue in her mouth (unless I just need to watch more closely). I took it as, they’re friends, he did something ridiculous, got a deserved slap for it, and they moved on. My only bone to pick is that, like you mentioned, the Doctor has kissed Jenny on screen when her own wife hasn’t.

  7. I also have “Project Who” on my old but still in use iPod. I’ve listened to it more than once, but not lately, so queued it up today. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. Ray Adamson said:

    Heard director Saul Metzstien discussing the making of this story a couple of weeks ago and i remember him considering that exaggerrated performances somehow seemed to work in Doctor Who when they couldn’t work anywhere else.I felt the balance of this story was so carefully constructed that it allowed these kind of performances to work,there was such a generous amount of humour,horror,tragedy and action in the script that i never felt the extremity of how evil Winifred Gillyflower was,was too much.It also generated more sympathy for her poor daughter.I did wonder if the ferocity of the daughter’s retribution in the story indicated a latent evil in her blood,but i felt so sorry for her.Is evil just something you are or is it something you do?I hope it might be possible for Vastra to improve her condition with advanced Silurian science if Ada stays in touch with her.There was an underlying resonance in the story that misfits and monsters should stick together in the story which was very attractive.I could see problems with the plot with the finale with the rocket launch and i was a bit annoyed with how little Clara was involved with the story but there was much,much more to admire than criticise.I thought it was pretty good how Clara prevented the first attempt to launch the rocket with the chair after the Doctor had freed her from imprisonment with one.I was really impressed with the narrative decision to introduce the Doctor in the middle of the story with the surprise reveal which reminded me of ‘A Good Man Goes To War’ because it allowed space for greater emphasis on characterisation and was executed well.There were numerous homages to Poe,Frankenstein and The Avengers to appreciate which were well integrated.I’m also going to say that i really liked the Doctor’s little flying kick after Jenny rescued him which was very Tommy Steele and the scene with the Doctor in the lab isolating chemicals,probably because nobody else will.Strax was just as funny as when Moffat writes him too.Great Doctor Who as far as i’m concerned.

  9. AbsolomDaak said:

    love the spoiler photos.
    Diana Riggs played a great villain. her best line had to be when she stated that her hands are the wrong hands.

  10. I love the little mentions of Classic Who references, but I seem to find one that I haven’t heard yet.

    It seems that ever since Clara showed up, and the references started come come around more, that the Doctor assumes a karate stance every time he is startled. Anytime I think “Karate” and “Doctor” I can’t help but picture crushed velvet and judo throws.

    • Yes! I think Deb mentioned that during one of the earlier episodes. Clara tossed something to him or bumped him or something and he assumed a karateish position. It’s thoroughly unsurprising that she mentioned it and I didn’t, given our disparate feelings on the third Doctor. 🙂

  11. […] As I mentioned, I quite disliked that last tacked-on scene.  It played like the worst kind of afterthought.  In the classic series, I used to love it when one story’s end led into the start of the next.  This did not have that feeling at all.  It was like, “Whoops! There are kids in the next episode!  We forgot!  Quick, somebody do something!” […]

  12. The King mentioned in this episode was Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, who suffered from leprosy and hid his face behind a mask during his reign. Similar to Henry V, paintings of whom only depict him in profile to hide a severe facial disfigured caused by an arrow to the face while a teenager.

    I’d love to see either character in a Doctor Who historical. Preferably on TV but I’ll take Big Finish as a consolation.

  13. Sarah B said:

    I did rather enjoy this episode and your commentary.

    And I wanted to add: Tansy! The Yellow Wiggle regenerated into a woman! (a whole other Whovian can of worms)

    • She totally did!! Further evidence that the Wiggles are Time Lords and that gender switching is just fine. (I was disappointed however that the newly regenerated Yellow Wiggle was not allowed to drive the Big Red Car like her previous incarnation…

  14. Kristin said:

    I realize that I’m very late commenting here, but I only discovered Verity at Gally 2014 and am catching up.

    The kiss that the Doctor lays on Jenny struck me as rather odd and definitely unwelcome as others have said. However, I was wondering if it was somehow connected to the scene in the Unicorn and the Wasp where the Doctor has been poisoned and needs all these ‘things’ to heal. One of those things was a shock to the system which was provided when Donna kisses him. Right after Jenny slaps him, he says something to effect of “Thanks, I needed that” which makes me wonder if the slap was supposed to have the same palliative effect as Donna’s kiss – a shock to the system to complete the healing. Maybe something explanatory was left on the cutting room floor?

    Its still squicky even if that’s the explanation!

    • No problem joining the party later. That’s the beauty of podcasts, they’re always there for you! 🙂

      Glad you heard about us at Gally, and thanks for your possible explanation. I hadn’t even thought about that other kiss! Certainly something to ponder.

  15. I wish I liked the episode more! I think the idea is great, but I honestly didn’t love the characterization of Mrs. Gillyflower – it was grating for me. I love the fact that she was basically evil for the sake of being evil (which, as Deb has mentioned in a few podcasts, doesn’t happen much in Who anymore), but the character didn’t work for me.

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