In Doctor Who episode two, as Peter Capaldi’s Doctor whipped out his new sonic sunglasses and declared that he was “over screwdrivers”, we all had a good chuckle.
“They spoil the line of your jacket,” he said. “These days, I’m all about wearable technology.” A funny one-off gag we thought – of course they wouldn’t dare get rid of such an iconic piece of Whovian lore for any length of time.
How wrong we were.
Much to our surprise, this week’s episode of Doctor Who sees the Doctor still preferring his sonic shades to his trusty screwdriver, whipping out the hi-tech eyewear as he and Clara (Jenna Coleman) battled ghosts at the bottom of a lake.
RadioTimes.com can also confirm that the screwdriver is absent from next week’s episode Before the Flood, which begs the question: is the sonic screwdriver gone for good?
This wouldn’t be the first time the Doctor has done without his screwdriver – after all, Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor (above) had his incinerated in the Visitation, and never replaced it, leaving the Sixth and Seventh Doctors to go hands-free as well. The 1996 TV movie revived the sonic screwdriver and it’s since been a fixture of the series, with other characters (including Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah-Jane Smith and Alex Kingston’s River Song) also carrying their own versions.
Perhaps the reminder of Davros holding on to his screwdriver was just too unpleasant a memory for the Time Lord to bear, and like his Fifth incarnation he’s laid his sonic to rest. Or maybe this is all a bluff, and the screwdriver will make a triumphant return later in the series to the relief of sci-fi tool fans everywhere.
After all, at a recent fan screening in Cardiff head writer Steven Moffat told fans not to “worry” about the screwdriver’s future, and refused to confirm if he’d completely written it out of Doctor Who. Then again, he is a tricksy so-and-so…
We’ll probably have to wait a few more episodes until we can make a definitive statement, but for now it looks like the sonic sunglasses are here to stay. Sure, they seemed like a throwaway joke at first – but lest we forget, that’s what the original sonic screwdriver started out as when Patrick Troughton’s Doctor introduced it back in the 1960s.
Fifty-odd years from now, maybe the sonic screwdriver will be an equally distant memory…
Doctor Who will return next Saturday 10th October