The Time of Angels

The Time of Angels was the first episode of the new series to be produced. The read through for this episode began at 11.00 on Wednesday, 15 July and was preceded by a few words by Executive Producer Piers Wenger who noted the historic nature of the morning's work. Before any read through the cast usually say who they are and give their character's name. When Matt Smith announced he was the Doctor the declaration was met by loud cheers all round!

The crash of the Byzantium is pre-referenced by River Song during Silence in the Library. In that adventure she mentioned the incident, asking 'Have we done that yet?'

As well as being the ship that crashes in The Time of Angels, Byzantium was a city founded in the seventh century by settlers from Megara. The city's name has changed several times over the millennia and is now known as Istanbul. Incidentally (perhaps!), in the 1978 story The Stones of Blood, the Doctor encountered a race known as the Megara - sentient judging machines who put him on trial. At one point the Megara were attacked by the Ogri - killers made of stone. Sound familiar?

Alex Kingston is back as River Song. When questioned about her return Alex said that when she shot Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead she had no idea that writer Steven Moffat would be continuing her story.

At one point the Doctor mentions Virginia Woolf (1882 - 1941) a British novelist, essayist and publisher considered to be one of the most significant figures in modern literature. Her works include Mrs Dalloway (1925), Orlando (1928) and Between the Acts (1941). The BBC's 1983 dramatisation of her most famous novel, To the Lighthouse (1927), featured Simon Dutton who plays Alistair in The Time of Angels.

Several lines of dialogue reference previous adventures. The Doctor's plea for Amy not to blink refers to Blink whilst River's one-line warning - 'Spoilers!' echoes her note of caution in Silence in the Library. At one point the Doctor reads a book in about a second and comments, 'Not bad! A bit boring in the middle.' The Fourth Doctor delivers that precise line in City of Death after speed-reading a book whilst relaxing in Paris.

The scene where the Doctor and Amy have emerged from the TARDIS and talk to River whilst looking at the crashed Byzantium was the first location filming for the new series. As such it was of enormous interest to the press. The Eleventh Doctor's costume had been revealed earlier but the new look TARDIS exterior and the return of Alex Kingston were widely reported with photographs from the shoot ending up on front pages across the world.

Amy mischievously uses the phrase ''er indoors' meaning wife. This expression was popularised by the long-running comedy-drama Minder (1979 - 94) in which the roguish Arthur Daley habitually referred to his wife as ''er indoors'. The success of Minder gave the phrase common currency and it entered the Oxford English Dictionary in the late 80s. Although Arthur Daley made the expression famous it was in use before Minder and the series creator, Leon Griffiths, revealed he first heard it when used by a taxi driver.