Bill Potts, Danny Pink, two black Companions sacrificed on the altar of Moffatts whims

; Date: August 14, 2017

Tags: Doctor Who »»»» Season 10

Two seasons in a row we saw a BLACK companion get converted into a Cyberman and given a strange send-off. The first, Danny Pink, was supposed to be Clara Oswin's love interest -- we even saw them rescue an apparent descendent of that match-up, until Moffatt needed someone to be converted into a Cyberman. Then in Season 10, we had Bill Potts, an excellent companion, get converted into a Cyberman because Moffatt needed someone to be converted into a Cyberman. The history of Doctor Who has not seen a successful conversion of a Companion into a Cyberman until Danny Pink. With Bill Potts we have a second successful Companion-Cyberman-conversion. What's the commonality? Both the actors are BLACK?

I was going to let this pass -- until todays news included Moffatt bragging about the story twist in The Doctor Falls of having Bill Potts saved by her love interest, Heather. Ugh. Really? It's all okay because you gave yourself a magic way out of the corner you wrote yourself into?

No matter how brilliant Moffatt is in coming up with clever stories -- this shows a weakness in that he writes himself into corners, and rather than face the consequences of the story he's penned, Moffatt comes up with a magic way out.

According to ( Cultbox the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine has an interview with Moffatt in which he says: “I think it’s hilarious that anyone didn’t think I’d bring Heather back. I just thought it was so obvious. The unrequited love. The unstarted love. The love story that doesn’t happen. Come on! What else is going to happen in Doctor Who land?”

Moffatt also said that Doctor Who Companions should never be killed off. Really?

The sort of situations The Doctor is portrayed as getting into has to carry a real risk with real consequences. The Doctor should be experiencing those consequences. Instead we see The Doctor coming up with magic ways to avoid the consequences of his actions. Ergo -- his trip to Gallifrey to retrieve Clara from moments before her death, converting her into some kind of Immortal hanging out with another Immortal created by accident by The Doctor rather than allow The Doctor to experience the consequence of his actions.

Ashildr -- Died as a pawn in one of The Doctor's strategems. Rather than face the consequences of his actions, Moffatt invented a magic way so The Doctor could make Ashildr into an Immortal child.

Clara -- rather than dying because of her own stupidity and recklessness, Moffatt invented a magic way to turn her into an Immortal. But, wait, there's more, Ashildr and Clara were also gifted with a TARDIS and are free to play around with the Universe.

Danny Pink -- stupidly dying because he didn't pay enough attention while crossing the street. Then the Doctor refused to do some magic to avoid the death. That's good, reaffirming the fact of his death, the fixed established timeline, etc, helping Clara face the consequences of her actions, etc. But then we get to the end of the season and it's not that clear-cut. Instead, Danny Pink had to become a Cyberman to increase the dramatic tension of fighting Missy/Master and her legion of Cybermen. And why was that? It served a longer narrative Moffatt wanted to insert into Canon -- that The Doctor and The Master were really the bestest of friends and might have even been Lovers in some long distant past regeneration.

Bill Potts -- Killed because The Doctor put her into an extremely dangerous situation after The Doctor decided to betray the commitment he made to imprison The Master for 1000 years. The situation again served that same narrative of The Doctor and The Master actually being best friends. Rather than dying for real, Bill Potts was converted into a Cyberman. But somehow Bill Potts avoided being mentally subjugated to Cyber Control, and then eventually this magic ending occurred so that Bill Potts would instead live out her life as a puddle of water zooming around the Universe.

What we're seeing is a pattern -- Rather than have The Doctor face the consequences of his actions, Moffatt has him come up with a magic way out.

One of Doctor#10's seasons, nearly every episode included someone dying, sacrificing themselves, to save The Doctor.

  • Voyage of the Damned where a one-episode-Companion drove herself into an abyss to kill the evil guy
  • The Poison Sky The stupid uber-genius kid that made a deal with The Sontarans, did a suicide mission to kill the Sontaran fleet
  • Forest of the Dead In River Song's entrance into Doctor Who, we saw her sacrifice herself to save The Doctor.
  • Midnight A character whose name they do not even remember, the stewardess on a tourist journey, sacrificed herself to take the possessed person outside the ship.
  • The Waters of Mars The Doctor, in a moment of hubris, decides to rewrite history and save some people who were supposed to have died on Mars thanks to some kind of unexplained Ice Warrior thingymajig. One of those people, recognizing the folly of what he'd done, killed herself.

Those are a few examples of The Doctor facing consequences of his actions, among which is the death of a Companion. And they aren't the only examples of deaths of Companions in Doctor Who. There was Adric in Earthshock, and Katarina in The Dalek's Master Plan, both Companions dying during the course of an episode.

By contrast, in many of Moffatt's stories we see the characters get into a deadly danger only to have a magic solution. Okay, it's Doctor Who and we have a time machine and other magic stuff and usually The Doctor is clever about getting out of crazy situations. But. Every so often the Doctor needs to really face the consequences of his actions. The viewers need to understand the gravity of the situations portrayed in Doctor Who.

And .... both Danny Pink and Bill Potts were betrayed by Stephen Moffatt's story lines.

Both were set up to be excellent characters with a long history in Doctor Who. Both were played by Black actors. Both story lines were cut short to serve a narrative Moffatt wanted to insert into Doctor Who Canon.

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.