It’s fair to say that the recent seasons of Doctor Who have had some intriguing hidden arcs, with fans pondering the truth of the Timeless Child, the Fugitive Doctor and the Lone Cyberman over the course of various episodes.
But has there been another, secret trend we haven’t noticed? That’s what we’re wondering today after some Whovians noticed a strange phrase appearing in two very different episodes from Jodie Whittaker’s time in the TARDIS, potentially connecting both stories – assuming it wasn’t just a coincidence.
The first example comes from 2018’s acclaimed episode Demons of the Punjab, specifically when bridegroom Prem (Shane Zaza) is losing a game of cards to Graham (Bradley Walsh), Ryan (Tosin Cole) and his brother.
“You know what they say, though, Prem,” Graham quips. “Unlucky at cards, lucky in love.”
Fairly innocuous banter, moved on from quickly – or was it? Because over a year later, in a very different adventure, another character said something eerily similar.
Specifically, the idiom crops up again slightly reversed in 2020’s Spyfall Part One, where Sacha Dhawan’s Master – currently disguised as MI5 operative O – tries his luck at a casino party alongside Yaz (Mandip Gill).
“You know what they say – lucky at dice, unlucky in love,” the Master teases.
“Do they say that?” Yaz asks.
“No,” Dhawan replies.
demons of the punjab | spyfall part 1
OK WHAT???? THIS IS WEIRD pic.twitter.com/4Yz96aGH2K
— em ♡ (@manthiccgill) August 5, 2020
Now, of course it’s possible the repetition of this phrase is a mere coincidence, showrunner Chris Chibnall absent-mindedly inserting a similar gag into two different episodes, but considering Demons of the Punjab was primarily written by Vinay Patel, this isn’t an entirely convincing explanation.
So what’s the answer here? If Graham had repeated the phrase himself more than once, that’d be barely worth a mention – clearly just an expression the character is fond of. Even if one of the other companions said it, they might have picked it up from the former bus driver.
But given that the Master is unlikely to have picked up the phrase from hanging out with Graham, we have to wonder whether we’re supposed to pick up some sort of special signal here. Could these hints at luck and bad luck be leading to something? Is some new foe or future disaster being teased? Or are we reading FAR too much into a bit of idle chat?
For now, it’ll probably have to remain a mystery – we’re months away from another episode, yet alone the next series – but from here on out, we’ll definitely be trying to look out for any quips about card games, dice or other games of chance. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get lucky.
Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks comes to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.