The Blood Cell

Roots: There are references to Call the Midwife, Jordan, TripAdvisor, Jeffrey Archer, Moll Flanders, Garfield, Candy Crush Saga, The Woman in White, The Da Vinci Code, Shall We Tell the President?, EastEnders (Dot Cotton), Alcatraz, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", Katy Perry, The Barber of Seville, The Arabian Nights' Entertainments, The Phoenix and the Carpet, The Magician's Nephew, The Simpsons, Carmen, and Jack and the Bean-Stalk.

Dialogue Triumphs: "Listen - we all do bad things. But we also do good things. And that's the fun stuff. Always think about the bacon sandwich and not the washing-up."

Continuity: The robot Custodians have solid cylindrical bodies with various sharp appendages. Most do not have voice processors.

Whilst held in the prison, the Doctor is known as Prisoner 428 and wears an orange uniform. His socks are decorated with cartoon animals. He knows how to perform artificial resuscitation. He uses Venusian Aikido here. He fashions an electron magnet in the prison workshop using, amongst other things, a spoon. A Custodian cuts his cheek. He breaks his big toe when he kicks a Custodian, one of which later shoots him in the foot.
Clara's nan has a mobility scooter.

Links: The Doctor mentions the Dalek Emperor (The Evil of the Daleks, Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways). He alludes to both Daleks and Cybermen. Clara mentions Danny Pink, first seen in Into the Dalek.

Location: The Prison, on an asteroid in deep space in the HomeWorld sector, the far future.

Future History: The Governor refers to Old New Earth having "died out". Birling is a planet in the HomeWorld system. Lopo was lethal centuries ago, but is routinely vaccinated against prior to the events here.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor and Clara were on HomeWorld when the Doctor got arrested. The Doctor visited Class 2B and made balloon animals one afternoon. He has met Archimedes. He claims to have flown on a flying carpet once.

The Bottom Line: Gripping, witty, and often horrific, The Blood Cell is easily the best of the first crop of Twelfth Doctor Adventures. Goss captures Capaldi's performance perfectly despite the first-person narrative, and the plot twists and turns in a fascinating manner as we gradually work out what is going on. The Governor - a flawed, sympathetic character - makes a great narrator.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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