The Doctor enlists Rory’s help in working on the TARDIS, but with Amy unwittingly providing a distraction, a near-disaster results: the TARDIS’ outer police box shell materializes inside its own control room, spelling certain doom for its occupants unless they can find a solution. Fortunately, one by one, the Doctor’s companions – from just a few moments into their own future – pop out of the police box to offer helpful suggestions. Unfortunately, the Doctor’s companions now have to remember what their future selves have just said so they can remember to say exactly the same thing in just a few moments’ time to save their own lives.
written by Steven Moffat
directed by Richard Senior
music by Murray Gold
Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory)
Notes: This was the Doctor Who franchise’s contribution to the 2011 Comic Relief charity event; past Doctor Who and related Comic Relief appearances have included 2009’s Sarah Jane Adventures mini-episode, a 2007 Weakest Link special featuring David Tennant and other cast members, and the 1999 spoof The Curse Of Fatal Death, which was technically the first televised Doctor Who adventure for current showrunner Steven Moffat. This adventure was presented as two mini-episodes – neither of them topping four minutes – titled, respectively, Space and Time.
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: Clocking in at under ten minutes total, this two-part adventure is the Doctor Who equivalent of what the producers of the various Star Trek spinoffs once called a “bottle show” – the entire thing takes place in the TARDIS’ standing set, the only real prop is the ubiquitous police box, and the only characters who show up are the regulars, all donating their time and talent for a good cause.
But Space and Time do have a bit of a surprising precedent in the Doctor Who timeline – this is hardly the first time that the TARDIS has materialized inside itself, and it’s also not the first time that this sort of event has been predicted to have a dire outcome for those aboard.
In – of all things! – Tom Baker’s 1981 swan song Logopolis, vast portions of the four-part story are spent depicting the Doctor and Adric enterting a police box in the TARDIS control room, only to find themselves in a more dimly-lit TARDIS control room with a police box in it… which they then, of course, enter, until they’re standing in a TARDIS within a TARDIS within a TARDIS within a TARDIS ad nauseum, with the console room barely lit at all. All the while, the fourth Doctor muses about what a catastrophic event this is. Fortunately, Space and Time play it for laughs – and blessed brevity.
(It’s also worth noting that the eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory suss the whole thing out in mere minutes, a fraction of the time it takes for the Doctor’s fourth incarnation and Adric – he of the badge of mathematical excellence! – to arrive at a solution.)
It’s a tremendously entertaining little slice-of-TARDIS-life, and the cast clearly enjoyed milking it purely for laughs for once.