Doctor Who series 7 monsters - where have we seen them before?
Characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Wars, South Park and Downton Abbey all remind Paul Jones of some of the Time Lord's new acquaintances
They say there's nothing new under the sun – or indeed the twin suns of Gallifrey – so perhaps it's no surprise that there are one or two similarities between some of the series seven Doctor Who monsters and existing characters from the annals of cult TV and film.
From Buffy the Vampire Slayer's The Gentlemen to Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess, here's who/what some of the Time Lord’s latest foes remind me of...
The Vigil are… The Sand People from Star Wars
Persuade the Tatooine nomads of Star Wars to stop playing in the sand for long enough to give them a metrosexual makeover and you'd have The Vigil. But while the new Doctor Who monsters might look smart enough to get past the doorman at the most exclusive Akhatenian club, I can't help feeling you'd have more of a laugh on a night out with the Sand People...
The Mummy of Akhaten is… Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo from South Park
Sure, these two are rather different personalities. The Mummy of Akhaten is either snoring his head off or a right Mr Grumpy because he's just been woken up, while Mr Hankey is the most upbeat, festive little fellow you could imagine – despite being, essentially, a talking turd. But the physical resemblance is uncanny. Clearly separated at birth, these two settle the nature v nurture debate once and for all.
Madame Vastra is… The Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey
I'm making no comment here on Maggie Smith's complexion, which is wonderful for a woman of almost 80, but referrring instead to the opulent period dress and talent for withering one-liners Downton's Dowager Countess shares with Silurian warrior-turned Victorian detective Madame Vastra.
The Whispermen are… The Gentlemen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
With their pointy teeth, richtus grins and undertaker chic, series seven finalists The Whispermen are strikingly reminiscent of the enigmatic antagonists of Buffy story Hush. They both appear to hunt in packs too, although whether the Doctor Who monsters will move in such an eerie gliding manner remains to be seen. In Hush, The Gentlemen steal the voices of the residents of Sunnydale, so if this episode of Doctor Who ends up being largely dialogue-free, well, you heard it here first...