A futuristic utopian colony world run by robots who speak emoji became a living hell for The Doctor and Bill in episode two of Doctor Who series 10 and viewers couldn’t help but think of another sci-fi series while watching the adventure unfold.
As the Vardy robots turned on the humans who’d entrusted them with the task of establishing a glorious new colony, some wondered if Smile was, in fact, a lost episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror.
Smile wasn’t his creation, though. It was the work of Frank Cottrell-Boyce, who previously penned series 8 episode In The Forest of The Night.
Cottrell-Boyce’s inspiration for the tale extended back to a time long before Black Mirror. If you look closely you’ll notice the colony ship in the episode is called Erehwon. That’s ‘nowhere’ spelled backwards, and a direct reference to Samuel Butler’s 1872 novel about a dystopian society where people live in fear of machines rising up to overtake them.
Erewhon by Samuel Butler is the first attempt to imagine a tech Utopia #DoctorWho
Oh, and one a side note, remember that Fleischmann cold fusion engine on the ship? It was named for scientist Martin Fleischmann, who together with Stanley Pons attempted to make cold fusion a reality in the 1980s.