The Woman Who Lived: The Fact File
The read through for The Woman Who Lived took place on Monday, 30 March, 2015. Rufus Hound was interviewed about his involvement in the episode on the same day – you can see the video now!
This is the first Doctor Who adventure written by Catherine Tregenna, although her previous credits include 4 episodes of Torchwood, one of which - Captain Jack Harkness - was nominated for a Hugo Award in 2008.
The Doctor sarcastically calls Me, ‘Zorro’ – a reference to the masked alter ego of Don Diego de la Vega, the fictional hero created in 1919 by Johnston McCulley. The word is Spanish for ‘fox’.
Me took an active role in the Battle of Agincourt, a pivotal confrontation that was fought in the early fifteenth century. In fact the battle took place on 25th October, 1415, meaning The Woman Who Lived premiered the day before its 600th anniversary.
The Doctor is branded ‘whey-faced’, a term that suggests pallor due to ill-health. A variation of it is used in Shakespeare’s Macbeth when the eponymous military man asks, ‘What soldiers, whey-face?’ And in the Third Doctor adventure, The Time Warrior, Irongron has the nerve to say to a Sontaran, ‘If you’ve lost one of your dumb, whey-faced ninnies, Linx, then look for him yourself!’
A number of the Doctor’s old friends are name-checked in The Woman Who Lived. Aside from the villagers he helped in The Girl Who Died, he talks about Captain Jack Harkness who appeared during the eras of the Ninth and Tenth Doctors. And Clara later mentions his prime minister pal, Winston Churchill.
‘There’s… a big fire that tears through London…’ The Doctor is referring to events that occur towards the end of the 1982 adventure, The Visitation. In that story a fire breaks out as the Doctor battles Terileptils in London, 1666. As the flames take hold the Time Lord remarks, ‘I have a sneaking suspicion this fire should be allowed to run its course…’ and moments later we see where the blaze has started: Pudding Lane, reputedly the site where the Great Fire of London began.
Me is told that Terileptils started the fire… This warlike race was first seen in The Visitation although more than 30 years later we glimpsed a member of their species in 2014’s Time Heist. They were also mentioned in The Pandorica Opens and The Time of the Doctor although they remained unseen in both episodes.
‘I’m an undercover constable from Scotland Yard… Do you have Scotland Yard, yet?’ As The Woman Who Lived is set in 1651, they won’t have it for over a century! Find out more about Scotland Yard in both fact and fiction!
The Doctor calls Leandro, ‘Lenny the Lion’, a possible reference to the famous puppet of ventriloquist Terence ‘Terry’ Hall (1926 –2007), an English entertainer who achieved fame in the 1950s, regularly appearing on BBC TV. Lenny was an amiable but bumbling big cat with the catchphrase, ‘Aw, don’t embawass me!’