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FTN looks back at the Weeping Angels’ legacy in New Doctor Who (Pt 1,2 and 3 of 3)

September 27th, 2012 by Owen Quinn Comments


As the countdown to the departure of Amy Pond and her husband Rory from Doctor Who draws closer we are going to look back at the previous Weeping Angel stories to see just why they are now acclaimed as a classic and why, with every return, they get creepier. They have even featured in two Doctor Who books, Touched by an Angel and Magic of the Angels.

Back in 2007 in order to ease David Tennant’s workload while working on Doctor Who, Russell T Davies devised an episode a season which would be Doctor lite. That particular year, when the Master was about to burn the Earth from the reaches of Utopia, Steven Moffat wanted to write the two-part Dalek story, the Daleks in Manhattan but due to work commitments, he instead came up with a little story simply entitled Blink. Who would have thought this story would not only introduce an enemy that would not only see out the Ponds five years later but breed an instant classic monster.

Everywhere you look there are stone angels of every type, shape and size. What if they were in fact an alien species that killed you kindly?

And that was how the Weeping Angels were born. They were also known as the silent assassins because you never saw them coming. The beauty of them was that there only came to life when you weren’t looking at them and even if you were, the second you blinked they could get you. The story revolves around Sally Sparrow, a girl being sent messages across time by a trapped Doctor, and then Doctor’s companion Martha Jones (trapped in the sixties because the angels have stolen the Tardis).

In an abandoned house Sally finds some stone angels and her friend, Kathy Nightingale, disappears. A man comes to the door with a letter for her from Kathy. He claims to be her grandson but on reading the letter, Sally discovers her friend found herself trapped in the past where she met a man and married and lived a brand new life. Together with Kathy’s brother, Larry, they piece together hidden messages on 17 DVDs, messages that come from a man called the Doctor. Sally realizes what she is up against as a policeman she approaches, Billy, shows her the Tardis which is a mystery to them – cut to her getting a phone call from Billy who is now an old man lying in a hospital bed in his last hours. He was attacked by the angels and suffered the same fate as Kathy, only this time he met the Doctor. Using his knowledge of the future, Billy gets into the DVD business and has planted the easter eggs on the DVDs to help Sally save the Doctor. Because once the angels send you back in time, feeding on the time energy left by the life you would have lived, you can never come home -not even with the Tardis.

The angels here are desperate for the time energy the Tardis can give them and it seems they are the last of a small cluster.

The fact that they were clever enough to trick the Doctor speaks volumes about their cunning and in this story they were always the kind killers. As long as you kept looking at them they couldn’t harm you and the sequence where Larry struggles to not blink is brilliantly played as the angels creep closer and closer with every turn of the head and blink of the eye. Their serene angel stone faces suddenly becoming feral predators, fangs and all, is cracking.

But every race has a weakness. In this case, the Angels cannot look directly upon each other or they will become quantum locked and stay in stone form forever. When Sally manages to get the Tardis key and it takes off, the angels are all facing each other thus locking them eternally in stone. The episode ends with shots of stone statues all across the planet in every city. It is a chilling image and caused many viewers to look twice. I personally know of a woman who tried to get a petition going in work to protest about how scary this episode was as it frightened her child. Well, sweetie, that’s what Doctor Who does and that’s what it has always done so catch a grip.

The fact this unnerved people means it worked. And that was it. A new enemy was born and for us that was the end of the Angels. But, as always, guess again. The thing about statues is that they can turn up anywhere in any time period in any culture. We left the episode safe in the knowledge that if you didn’t blink you were safe and could trick them into looking at each other to defeat them. Sounded easy but things were about to change dramatically for the audience when the Angels returned to face the eleventh Doctor and this time things were about to get a whole lot worse.

So what can we expect this week: Preview of Angels Take Manhattan
This is it. This Saturday Rory and Amy Pond/Williams will depart the big blue box forever. The whole season has been leading up to this and it will be one of the highlights of television this year, question is will it be the tragic end that has been hinted at or are we in for a disappointment?

Karen Gillan has said that it will be a permanent departure though not necessarily death induced but she has said have the hankies ready. Filming photos have appeared all over the net – especially the graveyard scenes – which have added fuel to the death story. Also seen was Alex Kingston as River Song and the Tardis, as well as Amy standing by a graveside reading a book that is also being read by the Doctor in Central Park in New York. And on the cover is a certain Melody Pond so how does it tie in with the story?

It’s no secret that the Weeping Angels are back and Steven Moffat has  said they have evolved. In the beginning they were the silent assassins who got you when you blinked, then in Time of the Angels they were ripping out human spines so they could taunt the Doctor. And could use your mind to manifest themselves while you weren’t blinking as Amy found out almost to her cost. But this time they seem to have a bigger agenda; an agenda that will see Manhattan become a battleground for the Doctor as they attack those closest to him. So what do we know for sure?

Well the Tardis, River, Amy are all in a graveyard but are they there for Rory’s funeral as many think? We know that one of them will fall foul to the Angels and be sent back in time to old New York and it seems that will be Rory given the cherub blowing out his match in the trailer and on-lookers reporting a scene where Rory appears in a New York street and asks how he got there? 

And as we know from previous stories once you are thrown back in time by the Angels you can never return home by jumping in the Tardis. You must live your live out as the angels have eaten your future. The new trailer also shows River with an angel tied down by chains. Can this be a way to save Rory and return him to the present? Every time they take someone’s future they create time energy which is what they feed on but when you have a Tardis – especially the last Tardis – in the city that never sleeps filled with stone statues is this a trap for the Doctor?

In the first story, Blink, it was the Tardis the angels wanted, something that has been forgotten, but after the effects of Flesh and Stone when the Angel army fell into a crack in time, is this their last chance for survival?

The Daleks said the Tardis was a weapon but it is also the last and best source of time energy from a race to whom time was a revolving door. In the trailer we see the Tardis trapped in a  blaze of energy near the Empire State Building as our heroes battle angels everywhere. Trapped in a room, the Doctor looks at Rory and says they are coming for him. Has the Doctor somehow thwarted their consumption of Rory’s energy and they want it back?

We also hear a huge stomp like the noise sounding the arrival of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. Is this the sound of the Statue of Liberty approaching? Are the rumours true and she is the biggest angel of them all? Will all this end with the Doctor breaking his promise to Brian (Rory’s dad) with Rory ending up dead to save the future? Or will he be forced to live his life in the past and the grave Amy stands beside is that of her husband’s? Will they leave voluntarily or exile the Doctor from their lives forever given he has not only cost them their daughter and any hope of future children but now the life of Rory?

The clock is ticking, it really is and for the first time I don’t want the Ponds to leave. And coming from a man who was never fussed on Amy’s character, that’s a big admission…

Read Part 2 Here
Read Part 3 Here

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Husband, dad and Ireland's hardest working author, Owen Quinn is currently knee deep in The Time Warriors, arguably the biggest sci-fi epic ever to come out of Ireland. He has an unhealthy interest in Doctor Who, classic TV and Star Wars, he also hangs around with the Emerald Garrison far toooo much. Is it any wonder he fits in at FTN so well? Find Owen at the