The Doctor Dances

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Christopher Morley two-steps with the Doctor.


With Strictly Come Dancing coming to the end of another series tonight on BBC One, what better time to look back on the Doctor's own dancing day in wartime London? Notable as future showrunner Steven Moffatt's first work for televised Doctor Who alongside the story of which it is the second part - The Empty Child - The Doctor Dances took a remarkably adult view of "dancing"....



Here it takes on a deeper meaning alongside its more conventional use as the word for his attempts at shuffling around with Rose to some choice Glenn Miller...
ROSE: He saved my life. Bloke-wise, that's up there with flossing. I trust him because he's like you. Except with dating and dancing. What?
DOCTOR: You just assume I'm....
ROSE: What?
DOCTOR: You just assume that I don't dance.
ROSE: What, are you telling me you do dance?
DOCTOR: Nine hundred years old, me. I've been around a bit. I think you can assume at some point I've danced.
ROSE: You?
DOCTOR: Problem?
ROSE: Doesn't the universe implode or something if you dance?
DOCTOR: Well, I've got the moves but I wouldn't want to boast.
ROSE: You've got the moves? Show me your moves.
In retrospect "I'm trying to resonate concrete" is somewhere up there with "not tonight, dear, I have a headache!" The implication was there that he had enjoyed such relations somewhere further down his personal time-line, though.
DOCTOR: Just you? You're the only one here?
CONSTANTINE: Before this war began, I was a father and a grandfather. Now I am neither. But I'm still a doctor.
DOCTOR: Yeah. I know the feeling.
And he couldn't have picked a much better point in time to have arrived should he have wanted to polish up on his footwork! The episode is set on 20 January 1941, placing it during the Blitz, an event he'd see for himself once more two regenerations later in the company of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. A few months later on, March 8 to be exact, a London nightspot by the name of the Cafe de Paris would be bombed by the Luftwaffe. As the National Archives recalled...
"As with many bombing incidents, newspaper reports about the Café de Paris bomb were limited and rather one-sided. For instance, the report in The Times on the following Monday was upbeat in tone.

It highlighted the bravery shown by survivors and rescuers and made much of the fact that all of the cabaret dancers survived unharmed.

In an attempt to prevent the German authorities from learning about the impact of the bombing campaign in detail, the building was not named, being referred to simply as ‘a restaurant’.

It was almost a month later that a small article appeared naming the Café de Paris and hinting at the full extent of the casualties."
Here, though, it seems the worst the Germans could throw at good old Blighty was nothing next to the destructive power of a Chula ship, the very reason for the TARDIS pitching up in the first place at the beginning of The Empty Child!
ROSE: What's the emergency?
DOCTOR: It's mauve.
ROSE: Mauve?
DOCTOR: The universally recognised colour for danger.
ROSE: What happened to red?
DOCTOR: That's just humans. By everyone else's standards, red's camp. Oh, the misunderstandings. All those red alerts, all that dancing. It's got a very basic flight computer. I've hacked in, slaved the TARDIS. Where it goes, we go.
ROSE: And that's safe, is it?
DOCTOR: Totally. Okay, reasonably. Should have said reasonably there. No, no, no, no! It's jumping time tracks, getting away from us.
ROSE: What exactly is this thing?
DOCTOR: No idea.
ROSE: Then why are we chasing it?
DOCTOR: It's mauve and dangerous, and about thirty seconds from the centre of London.
Luckily it doesn't have Hitler's name on it, though the German translation of 'Bad Wolf''- 'Schlecter Wolf'' will appear thanks to the dirty great big bomb ridden by soon to be new companion Captain Jack Harkness in an echo of Dr Strangelove!



We might also consider the contribution of the aforementioned Glenn Miller. For as well as Moonlight Serenade, his In The Mood also features as the song to which the Doctor eventually remembers "I can dance! I can dance!".


Miller's popularity at the time was sky-high, as www.glennmiller.com can attest.
"Between 1939 and 1942, Glenn Miller and his orchestra enjoyed amazing popularity and commercial success. The Glenn Miller Orchestra recorded 17 Top 10 Hits in 1939, 31 in 1940, and 11 each in 1941 and 1942. These songs included classic swing sensations like "In the Mood," "A String of Pearls," "Little Brown Jug" and "Moonlight Serenade.

'With the onset of WWII, Glenn Miller willingly left behind his musical success to serve his country. In 1942, he enlisted in the US Army Air Force leaving behind civilian life but not his music. Appointed as a Captain in the Army Specialist Corps, he devoted himself to raising soldiers' morale by modernizing the army band. After completing basic training, Miller organized the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band, which has been acclaimed by some as his best musical group.
Like Miller's previous endeavours, the Army Air Force Band was a great triumph. Miller and his group kept up a hectic schedule of tours and performances. During its time, the band gave over 800 performances, more than 300 of which were personal appearances. The other 500 were broadcasts heard by millions of listeners."
Sadly he met an all too early end, in a tragic case proving that not "everybody lives!!"
"As his band prepared to embark on a tour of Europe, Miller boarded a flight to Paris on December 15, 1944 to make preparatory arrangements for the rest of his group. Sadly, the transport on which Miller was a passenger disappeared over the English Channel and was never recovered. The disappearance of Miller's aircraft may have been caused by bad weather. However, records also suggest that bombs, jettisoned by Allied bombers returning from an aborted mission, may have inadvertently struck the plane."
Proof that he just might have fond memories of a good dance arrived in The Big Bang!


"I'll move my box. You're going to need the space. I only came for the dancing."

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