179 – Doctor Who – Mummy on the Orient Express

A mummy on the Orient Express: What could be more natural?

Find out what Ben and Eugene think about the latest episode of Doctor Who, Mummy on the Orient Express.

6 thoughts on “179 – Doctor Who – Mummy on the Orient Express”

  1. Well, yeah, I really don’t care whether Jamie is or isn’t a woman (he isn’t). But I really do care that just 4% of the writers on the show since 2005 are women (well, one woman) JUST FOUR PER CENT of the episodes since 2005 were written by a woman. I’m tempted to go off on why it matters, but I think I’d better save that for a whole blog post of its own. But let’s just mention, that among the writers who have also delivered brilliant episodes the first time they’ve written for the show such as Terrance Dicks and Moffat himself (actually, this is Mathieson’s second, but it doesn’t matter, since his first was equally brilliant) is one of the relatively few women to write 20th century Who, Barbara Clegg.

    Anyway, like you guys I absolutely loved this story. As you say, it’s brilliant to have the brilliant Doctor being brilliant again.

    And thanks for explaining to me that I was wrong to think I liked the River Song story because it was an intricately plotted Niffeneger-esque triumph, when actually, you now make me realise, I just liked Alex Kingston’s curls…

    1. Why?

      Surely the only meaningful measure of a writer is the work that they produce? It matters not what genitals they sport, now how they choose to use them, nor the color of their skin.

      I care about the story and nothing else. An episode lives or dies first and foremost on the story, and I don’t care it the story was written by a three-eyed pickle vendor from Beta Reticula or (gasp) a British white male.

      Sociologically, it’s a problem. Production-wise, it’s not a problem.

      I would imagine that, based on the stats you just gave, you, like I, saw Neil Gaiman’s recent post discussing the difficulties the DW office has in finding female writers. I personally have no experience understanding the intricacies of how to find and hire writers for Doctor Who. It may or may not be as difficult as Gaiman reports. (See article here.)

      It is only a problem if there are women writers producing work who are trying to get jobs working on Doctor Who but are denied, not on the quality of their work, but on their gender. Then I care.

      Although I personally cannot attest to checking this data, and it is a year out-of-date, the Stop It Show! blog posted an analysis of the number of female writers working on episodic television in the UK (vs America.)

      The numbers aren’t good… for whatever reason, not many women are writers in UK TV. Less than a quarter in every area. Worse in Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Is the failure based on the available pool, or is the available pool small because of some other problem?

      Oh, and you’re welcome for the River Song explanation. 🙂 I’m shocked at how many people didn’t realize that there’s more depth and characterization in River Song’s curls than there is in her “story.” Started off with a good premise in one episode and then… not so much after that.

      1. Yeah I nicked the numbers from Gaiman. I will try to express the argument as clearly as I can in a blog post. But if the judge-by-the-work-they-produce argument is used to defend the status quo, the inevitable corollary is arguing that of the best writing, only 4% is by women and I simply don’t believe that. Oh, and thanks for the ‘Stop-it-Show’ post which describes a really impressive piece of work – but even by its measure, if C21 Doctor Who reflected even just the sci-fi average we should have had around 10 more episodes written by women. Impact on quality is not the only problem with the lack of women writers… But it’s a serious one.

        Of course, it occurs to me that if it wasn’t the well-balanced narrative threads and witty character interplay in the River Song story I was enjoying, but actually the curls, I was still enjoying it. Ergo we need Alex Kingston’s curls in more stories, and presumably this time the writers needn’t even bother with all that character and depth stuff because the hair will do the work.

        1. I guess my point is that I don’t measure the success of any creative endeavor by the gender of the participants.

          There’s no intrinsic quality or lack of quality because of maleness of femaleness. I certainly wouldn’t judge all female writers by Helen Raynor’s outings in new Who.

          Do you think we’re think the quality of the writing is suffering because there are few or no female writers (depending if you want to look at Moffat era, New Who or All Who) and, if so, why?

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