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Mummy on the Orient Express: Fact File

The read through for Mummy on the Orient Express took place on Thursday, 1 May, 2014. Shooting started on 20 May and finished on 10 June.

Mummy on the Orient Express.

This was a very studio-heavy episode and the only locations used were for the moments involving Danny and the planet seen towards the end of the adventure. The latter scene was shot in Limpert Bay in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.

At one point the Doctor and Clara toast their ‘last hurrah’. The phrase was coined by the American writer, Edwin O'Connor (1918 - 1968) in his 1956 novel, The Last Hurrah. In his work the expression refers to a last moment of glory before a definite end.

Frank Skinner who plays Perkins is a diehard Doctor Who fan and made a cameo appearance in the 50th anniversary special, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, directed by Peter Davison. When news came through of his casting in Mummy on the Orient Express, he declared, ‘I’ve got a TARDIS ringtone, a five-foot cardboard Dalek in my bedroom and when I got the call saying they wanted me to read for the part, I was in the back of my tour bus watching episode three of The Sensorites.”

If Professor Moorhouse looked familiar it could be because he’s played by Christopher Villiers who starred as Hugh Fitzwilliam in the Fifth Doctor adventure, The King’s Demons. Janet Henfrey (Mrs Pitt in Mummy on the Orient Express) played Miss Hardaker in 1989’s The Curse of Fenric and Jamie Hill (the Foretold) is no stranger to the world of Doctor Who, either. He appeared as a Silent at the Royal Albert Hall in the 2013 Doctor Who Prom.

The singer seen near the start of the episode was played by Foxes (real name Louisa Rose Allen). The Grammy-winner chose the name Foxes after remembering using the word in a song she wrote when she was 13 - Like Foxes Do. She asked her mum what she thought of the potential pseudonym. ‘That’s so weird,’ she later recalled her mum replying. ‘Last night I had this dream about these foxes running up our street and they were howling and making these beautiful noises. And I woke up thinking… That's like your music…’

Jamie from The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances.

‘Are you my mummy?’ In terms of Doctor Who the expression is most closely associated with The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances and was the question posed by the reanimated Jamie as he tried to find his mother in war torn London. The Tenth Doctor quoted the line when he briefly wore a gas mask – itself a visual reference to Jamie – in The Poison Sky, putting the question to the unamused Colonel Mace.

This isn’t the first time an apparent mummy has featured in Doctor Who. In Pyramids of Mars the Fourth Doctor battled deadly robots that were disguised as mummies and the Eleventh Doctor faced a mummy-like monster in The Rings of Akhaten.

The Doctor offers Moorhouse a jelly baby during their discussion about the Foretold... The Doctor’s fondness for jelly babies stretches back to 1967 when the Second Doctor enjoyed one in The Dominators. He offered the Brigadier a jelly baby in 1972/73’s The Three Doctors and the Fourth Doctor was forever dipping into a bag of the sweets or offering them to others, often as a distraction technique. We saw the Seventh Doctor helping himself to a bowlful of jelly babies in the TARDIS, shortly before regenerating and the Eighth Doctor used them to confuse a policeman and a security guard when he was in San Francisco in 1999. Maybe it’s a Time Lord thing… In The Sound of Drums, Lucy Saxon is offered a jelly baby by the Master!

The idea of a murder-mystery set aboard the Orient Express echoes elements of Murder on the Orient Express, the detective novel first published in the UK in 1934, written by Agatha Christie, whom the Doctor encountered in The Unicorn and the Wasp.

The Tenth Doctor and Donna met Agatha Christie in The Unicorn and the Wasp.

When the Doctor tells Clara about the mysterious force that lured him to the train, he confides, ‘Well, he has tried to entice me here before. Free tickets. Mysterious summons. He even phoned the TARDIS once…’ It’s more than likely that he’s referring to an event that took place in The Big Bang. At the close of that adventure the Eleventh Doctor received a phone call in the TARDIS. Although we didn’t catch the ensuing conversation we heard the Time Lord say, ‘An Egyptian goddess loose on the Orient Express, in space?’ and moments later he tells the caller, ‘We’re on our way!’

When the Doctor says, ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ he’s quoting one of the world’s oldest proverbs. The earliest known use of the expression (although not in English!) is found in a Sanskrit treatise on statecraft that originated circa the 4th century BC.

Clara’s incoming call alert image for the Doctor appears to be a picture of a stick insect with a top hat! This brings to mind her words in Listen, when she tells the Time Lord, ‘People don’t need to be scared by a grey-haired stick insect, but here you are. Sit down, shut up!”