Even the most devoted of Doctor Who fans – those who deal with timey-wimey plot-lines on a weekly basis – were left scratching their head at the end of the series seven (part one) finale, The Angels Take Manhattan. The episode, broadcast in September last year, saw the Ponds bid farewell to the Doctor in a Weeping Angels story that, according to some, left plot holes far too big to ignore.
In the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, however, Steven Moffat has cleared up one of the biggest mysteries: just how did the Statue of Liberty make it all the way across New York to Winter Quay without being seen? He says:
“The Angels can do so many things. They can bend time, climb inside your mind, hide in pictures, steal your voice, mess with your perception, leak stone from your eye… New York in 1938 was a nest of Angels and the people barely more than farm animals. The abattoir of the lonely assassins!
"In those terrible days, in that conquered city, you saw and understood only what the Angels allowed, so Liberty could move and hunt as it wished, in the blink of an eye, unseen by the lowly creatures upon which it preyed. Also, it tiptoed.”
So, yeah, that’s that explained... kind of. But it’s not the most obvious question arising from the episode. That was put to the showrunner by fan site Blogtor Who earlier this year, who asked him why, when zapped back in time to New York by the Angels, couldn’t the Ponds just move to, say, England and let the Doctor visit them there? He answered:
“New York would still burn. The point being, he can’t interfere. Here’s the ‘fan answer’ – this is not what you’d ever put out on BBC1, because most people watch the show and just think, ‘well there’s a gravestone so obviously he can’t visit them again’. But the ‘fan answer’ is, in normal circumstances he might have gone back and said, ‘look we’ll just put a headstone up and we’ll just write the book’. But there is so much scar tissue, and the number of paradoxes that have already been inflicted on that nexus of timelines, that it will rip apart if you try to do one more thing. He has to leave it alone. Normally he could perform some surgery, this time too much surgery has already been performed. But imagine saying that on BBC1!”
If your head hurts now, wait until someone asks Moffat what happened to the whole 'an image of an Angel becoming an Angel' thing. That's a lot of dangerous New York postcards, right there...
The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine (#460) is on sale now