Moffat had intended to write a two-parter earlier in the series but was too busy writing and executive producing Jekyll. Believing he had "messed everything up", Moffat offered to "throw [himself] onto the grenade of the unpopular episode", referring to the Doctor-lite concept. In a 2008 interview, he admitted that he had only just started realising that Blink was in fact "a really great episode". Because of its late submission, Blink was the quickest piece of writing Moffat had ever done, having gone straight from the second draft with no notes to the script and tone meetings before going into production ten days later. The scriptwriting process took such little time to produce that Moffat claimed that Blink was such a "tiniest sliver" of his writing career that he couldn't remember making it.
It has since received mass critical praise. In DWM 474, Blink was rated #2 by fans, among the very best television stories in Doctor Who's then-50-year history.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
In an abandoned house, the Weeping Angels wait. The only hope to stop them is a young woman named Sally Sparrow and her friend Larry Nightingale. The only catch: the Weeping Angels can move in the blink of an eye. To defeat the ruthless enemy — with only a half of a conversation from the Tenth Doctor as help — the one rule is this: don't turn your back, don't look away and don't blink!
Plot[edit | edit source]
Young photographer Sally Sparrow breaks into an old house (Wester Drumlins) and takes photos of fallen chandeliers and moss growing in fireplaces. Entering a room upstairs, she sees peeling wallpaper and the letters "BE" exposed underneath. She pulls back the corner and finds the message "BEWARE OF THE WEEPING ANGELS". She tears off more wallpaper, revealing a message telling her to beware of the Weeping Angels, and telling her to "duck, Sally Sparrow." It is only when she reveals the words "duck now" that she actually does so, narrowly avoiding a rock that would have hit her head. She looks out the window, from where the rock was thrown and sees the statue of an angel with its hands covering its eyes. She peels the rest of the wallpaper off to reveal the writer of the message — "Love from the Doctor, 1969."
Sally appears to return home, looking into her living room; there are numerous televisions; they show a man with glasses, although, on one screen, a young woman is butting into the scene. The man tells the viewer not to turn away, not to look away, and not to blink — "Blink and you're dead." Sally calls her best friend Kathy Nightingale, despite the late hour; she answers, groggily, but refuses to leave her home.
It's then revealed that Sally is in Kathy's home, having been given a key. Annoyed, Kathy gets ready to greet her friend; however, upon hearing the toilet, Kathy asks if Sally has met her brother, warning her that she's about to. Sally turns to the hall to see Kathy's naked brother, Larry, who desperately hoped he was wearing pants. Kathy walks in, shouting at Larry to get to bed; she then notices Sally isn't concerned by this, asking her what's wrong.
The next morning, Kathy and Sally return to the house; Kathy has a laugh that they are acting like detectives. Sally shows Kathy the message on the wall and the Weeping Angel but thinks it is now closer to the house than before. Someone rings the doorbell; Sally answers it, and Kathy waits in the room where the writing on the wall is - "in case of incidents". Sally answers the door to discover a man who is looking for her. He says that he was told to come to this place on this exact date and time and give Sally Sparrow a letter. As Kathy spies on the conversation from in the room, she fails to notice the Weeping Angel moving whenever it isn't in sight; lowering its hands from its eyes, and creeping into the room and upon Kathy from behind.
When Sally asks the man who sent him, he replies that it was his grandmother, Katherine Wainwright, who specified that he explains that before marriage, she was known as Kathy Nightingale. At that moment, the door to the room Kathy is in slams shut. Sally calls to Kathy, which the man assumes is her wondering if he said the right name; he restates her full name, Katherine Constello Nightingale. Sally presumes she has figured out the joke and calls for her friend, but Kathy does not answer. When she goes back into the room where she left her, Kathy has completely vanished, and the Angel is back in its original spot and position outside.
Elsewhere, Kathy gets up in a field and asks a local lad where she is. He replies that she is in Hull, but she refuses to believe it until he shows her the local newspaper, which not only confirms her location but also shows the year to be 1920.
Back at Wester Drumlins, the man has become upset; he promised to fulfil this task for his grandmother, Kathy Wainwright, who died in 1987. This persuades Sally to take the letter, who reads it; this man is indeed Kathy's grandson, who swore to fulfil her last request. In anger, Sally flings down the letter and heads upstairs, only to find three more Weeping Angels. One of them has a Yale key in its hand. She takes it and heads out, only to find Kathy's grandson leaving with his promise fulfilled. As Sally leaves, she fails to notice the Angels uncovering their eyes and watching her as she takes the key and leaves.
In a coffee shop, Sally reads the letter fully, learning Kathy led a full and happy life, with Ben, the first person she met in Hull with a family. She includes photographs of her and her children (with her daughter named after Sally), and grandchildren. Sally reads Kathy's joke about living to an exceptionally old age and her request to tell Larry, who works at a local DVD shop, something; her parents are gone by this time, so he's really her only close family. Sally goes to Kathy's grave to pay her respects to her dead friend (having a laugh that Kathy lied to Ben, claiming to have been younger than she was), then leaves for the DVD shop. Sally fails to notice one of the Angels from Wester Drumlins spying on her in the graveyard.
When Sally gets to the DVD shop, she goes into the back to find Larry. She, unconvincingly, explains to him that Kathy has had to go away due to work and that it's nothing to worry about. She also honours her friend's request to tell her brother that she loves him. Larry smiles at that and then wonders if that's an indication that something is wrong with her or whether it is all just a joke but Sally assures him that everything is fine. She sees the man with glasses who was giving the blinking warning on the screens in the Nightingale's flat on a TV which Larry has been studying. He explains that the man is an Easter egg found on seventeen DVDs and no one, not even the manufacturers or the publishers, knows how it got there. He simply sits there and makes random remarks; it's like listening to half a conversation. Larry and his internet friends have been constantly trying to figure out the other half. As he and Sally are talking, the DVD keeps un-pausing itself, and the man with glasses continues with his random phrases, two of which fit with Sally comments; much to her shock. In the end, Larry gives her a list of the seventeen DVDs that have the Easter egg on them. She leaves the shop, having gotten an idea from a comment said by Larry's co-worker ("Why does nobody ever just go to the police?") about what to do next.
Sally goes to the police station, and mentions the house's name. While waiting, she sees two of the Angels on the church across the street. While watching them, she blinks and they have disappeared. She doesn't see that they are now above the window she is looking out of. She then meets DI Billy Shipton. He shows her a collection of cars with something strange in common: all of them were found outside the Wester Drumlins house (some with their motors still running) and all of their owners vanished without a trace. He shows her a fake police phone box, with a lock that will not open. Billy charms Sally to give him her mobile number before she leaves. After she leaves, Billy finds the Weeping Angels have appeared in the room with him, surrounding the phone box. While examining them closely, he blinks.
Outside, Sally finds the key she took from the Angel's hand in her coat pocket. She heads back to the garage to try it out, but Billy and the police box have gone, and the outside door is broken. Someone has broken through it with great force.
Billy gets up to see the Doctor and Martha, who tell him he is in 1969, because of the "touch of an Angel"; most likely the same one as he is in the same year that they are. The Doctor advises not to go swimming for an hour as time travel without a capsule is disorientating. He remarks that the Weeping Angels are the only psychopaths that "kill you nicely"; they send their victims into the past and feed off the days they might have had. Billy does not understand any of this but Martha advises him to nod when the Doctor stops for breath. The Doctor explains to Billy how he found him by showing off his Timey-wimey detector - a modified lunch box, which detects when someone comes from a different time - "and can cook an egg from 20 paces, whether you want it to or not." Because of this, he actively avoids chickens, as it's not pretty when they blow up. The Doctor explains that normally, he would have offered Billy a ride home; however, someone's nicked his motor. After they talk, the Doctor asks Billy to give Sally Sparrow a message and apologises that it will take "a while" to get the message through.
Back in the present, Sally gets a phone call. She goes to visit an old and dying Billy at the hospital. They have a laugh that Billy managed to marry a Sally, who has already passed away. Billy goes on to explain that he often thought of contacting her before tonight, but says it would have "torn a hole fabric in the of space and time and destroyed two thirds of the universe." She asks where he got that from and he replies there was a man he met in 1969 called the Doctor who asked him to pass on a message to her - "look at the list". She is not sure what this means and he says that it's a list of seventeen DVDs. Billy reveals that he didn't stay a policeman back in the '70s; he instead got into publishing, then videos and eventually DVDs. Sally realises that he was the one who put the Easter eggs on the DVDs. She is curious as to how the Doctor knew she had the list considering she has not had it long. Billy replies that he asked the Doctor but he couldn't tell him; only saying that she would understand one day, but that he won't. She offers to come and tell him once she has figured it out but he solemnly says that the Doctor told him that this would be their last meeting before he dies. She decides to stay with him until the end. He thanks her and says he only has until the rain stops.
After the rain has stopped, Sally calls Larry. She has realised what the DVDs on "the list" all have in common: they are all owned by her; specifically, they are the only DVDs that she owns, which means that the Easter egg is meant for her; though he is more shocked by the fact she only owns seventeen DVDs. She ignores this and asks him meet her at Wester Drumlins and to bring a portable DVD player.
Larry does so and brings two copies of the DVD. One has a slightly better picture but he opts for the one with the best sound. They play it and see the full message from the Doctor. He makes the same random comments from the video store, but now they fit perfectly into what Larry and Sally are saying. Realising this, Sally thinks he can hear them, but Larry explains that he always says it and that he has got a transcript of the Easter egg with him. As the Doctor gives his message, everything Sally says seems to fit in, so Larry, now very excited, begins to add her words to the transcript.
The Doctor mentions that he has a copy of the transcript on his autocue. That is how he knows what she is saying. He warns of creatures from another world, the "Lonely Assassins", aka the Weeping Angels. They are incredibly fast, and they can send people back in time, which is how he got stuck in 1969. These aliens have a unique defence mechanism: they are "quantum locked"; they do not exist when they are being watched. If any living thing looks at the Angels, they immediately turn to stone until they are no longer looked at. This explains the "weeping"; they cannot look at each other since it has the same effect. "Their greatest asset is their greatest curse". They are looking to get into the TARDIS, which contains a world of time energy, which the Angels could feast on forever but the damage they could do could switch off the sun. And since Sally has the key, the Angels are after her now.
The Doctor is stuck in 1969, so he is relying on Sally to send the TARDIS back to him. When she asks how, he states that he has run out of transcript, but he can guess why: he surmises that the Weeping Angels are closing in, forcing her to flee and so left the transcript unfinished. Indeed, Larry has stopped writing. He says what Sally has already heard; she must keep her gaze on the Angels; she mustn't turn away, look away, or even blink – the Angels can move with incredible speed when unobserved; "Blink and you're dead." Once the message has ended, Sally screams for the Doctor not to go so Larry offers to rewind it but that would be of no use. They both realise at the same time that neither is looking at the Weeping Angel anymore. They look up. The Angel is now in the room with them, baring sharp teeth in a savage snarl and outstretching clawed fingers towards them.
As a terrified Larry keeps his eyes fixed on the Angel to stop it getting any closer, Sally searches for a way out. As she tries all the doors in the house, only to find the Angels have locked them in while they were watching the Doctor's message, Larry is growing increasingly restless and fearful that the other Angels could come up behind him. Larry turns around for a split second, and the Angel moves to right in front of him. Keeping his eyes on it, he slowly backs out of the room. Sally finds an unlocked door to the cellar, and calls out to Larry to give him the news. Larry willingly flees to rejoin with Sally.
Larry and Sally descend into the cellar to find a way out. They find the TARDIS, along with the other three Weeping Angels. They head towards the door, keeping their eyes on the Angels. As they get to the TARDIS, the fourth Angel has appeared by the stairs and is pointing at the light. The light starts to flicker, and Sally and Larry realise in horror that the Angel is draining the light so that the Angels will be able to attack in the darkness. With each flicker, the Angels move towards Sally and Larry with their claws out and their teeth showing, as they frantically try to unlock the TARDIS door. At the last second, they open it and flee inside and lock the Angels out just in time.
As the two look around at the TARDIS interior in amazement, a hologram of the Doctor activates and says that the TARDIS has detected an authorised control disc, valid for one journey only; it is the other copy of the DVD that Larry brought, which is now glowing. But the Angels outside begin shaking the TARDIS on each side, looking for a way in. Larry puts the DVD into the console and the TARDIS begins to dematerialise. But as the TARDIS begins to fade away around them, Sally realises the TARDIS is leaving, but she and Larry are not going with it. She screams at the Doctor to help them, even as the TARDIS fades, leaving them crouching in the middle of the circle of Angels. Sally yells to keep looking at them, but Larry stands up slowly and realises that the Doctor tricked the Angels - they've been left looking straight at each other, freezing them permanently.
A year later, Sally and Larry are running the DVD store together but Sally cannot let all that has happened to them go as she still doesn't know how the Doctor got all the information he possessed. Sally is shown to now have everything she recorded, including the transcript, the photos of the wall and the list of DVDs in a folder which she keeps on her at all times. When Larry goes out to get some milk, she sees the Doctor and Martha getting out of a taxi. She rushes over to talk to them, only to find that he doesn't recognise her as the events of her past are still in his future. Sally suddenly realises that she is the one who gives the Doctor the information he needs to retrieve the TARDIS and save her from the Weeping Angels. Sally then hands over the folder telling him he's going to be transported back to 1969 and he'll need to ensure he has it on him when he is. The Doctor is in a rush, still in the middle of another adventure, but asks Sally's name and tells her its nice to meet her. Larry returns right at that moment with the milk and can only stare at the Doctor and Martha in stunned amazement. The Doctor is in a hurry and cannot stay, so he and Martha eventually head off to take care of "four things and a lizard", while Sally clasps Larry's hand and goes back into the shop, Sparrow and Nightingale's antiquarian books and rare DVDs.
However, the scene shifts to montage across the public statuary, punctuated with the Doctor's recorded warnings, as though to warn us that there might be other Angels lurking among the statues...
"Blink and you're dead. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And DON'T. BLINK. Good luck."
Cast[edit | edit source]
- The Doctor - David Tennant
- Martha Jones - Freema Agyeman
- Sally Sparrow - Carey Mulligan
- Kathy Nightingale - Lucy Gaskell
- Larry Nightingale - Finlay Robertson
- Malcolm Wainwright - Richard Cant
- Billy Shipton - Michael Obiora
- Old Billy - Louis Mahoney
- Ben Wainwright - Thomas Nelstrop
- Banto - Ian Boldsworth
- Desk Sergeant - Ray Sawyer
- Weeping Angel - Agnieszka Błońska (uncredited)'
Crew[edit | edit source]
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
References[edit | edit source]
- While trapped in 1969, the Doctor builds a timey-wimey detector that "goes ding when there's stuff".
- It is assembled from items including a Blackpool postcard.
- The Weeping Angels are quantum locked, meaning that they cannot move when within anyone's sight.
- When Kathy calls her and Sally "Sparrow and Nightingale", Sally says it's "a bit ITV."
- Larry compares Wester Drumlins to "Scooby Doo's house".
- Sally's disc triggers Security Protocol 712 in the TARDIS.
- The Doctor and Martha are heading to "Red Hatching".
- Sally has a UK drivers licence, which states that she was born in England.
- Larry has a sticker on one of his files advertising "Cunard White Star to Europe".
- DVD's on display at Banto's DVD store include Dance of Days, Falling Star, Mean Teens, Civilization Zero and Banana Shots. Posters are shown for DVDs including Acid Burn, Candy Kane and City Justice.
- A Palm Beach Bar inflatable is on display in the back room of Banto's.
- Sally and Larry own a shop called Sparrow & Nightingale.
- On the same street as Sparrow & Nightingale are Shapes Hair, Josef's Hair Stylist and a Newsagent's shop which advertises Wall's and the National Lottery.
Story notes[edit | edit source]
- This episode, like series 2's Love & Monsters, is a Doctor and companion "light" episode.
- This episode won a Hugo Award in 2008.
- The plot of this episode was based upon a short story Steven Moffat wrote for the Doctor Who Annual 2006 called What I Did on My Christmas Holidays by Sally Sparrow. The story involves Sally Sparrow (who is a child in the story as opposed to a young woman in the episode) writing her school assignment about being contacted by the Ninth Doctor through photographs and a videotape (like the episode, there is a sequence in which Sally has a conversation with the Doctor through a television) in which he gives her instructions to allow her to return the TARDIS to him (the Weeping Angels aren't present in the story; the Doctor being separated from the TARDIS was due to a "hic-cough"), knowing what to do thanks to an adult Sally (who is a beautiful spy who saves the Doctor's life) giving him the story which details the experience.
- The story is ultimately an ontological paradox: the Doctor has all the information, the transcript of the conversation, the contents of the message behind the wallpaper, etc, because Sally gives him that information at the end of the story — but Sally gets that information from seeing the wall the Doctor wrote, watching the DVD the Doctor made and so on. The information never really "starts" anywhere — the Doctor knows what to say in the conversation because he's reading Larry's transcript, which Larry made thirty-eight years later by watching the conversation. The information is in an endless loop.
- Despite only appearing in cameos, David Tennant and Freema Agyeman are still credited as the main stars rather than Carey Mulligan in the episode's main role of Sally Sparrow.
- Banto's DVDs were fake titles created for the episode, complete with DVD covers and poster designs.
- This is the first episode to be directed by a woman after a twenty-two-year interval. The previous one was The Mark of the Rani.
- When Larry brings Sally the list of DVDs, a vintage White Star Line sticker can be seen stuck to the back of the folder; Titanic, the most famous White Star vessel, would later inspire the setting for Voyage of the Damned.
- For reasons unknown, while the original BBC One broadcast and subsequent Region 2 DVD release of the episode includes a "One year later" on-screen graphic prior to the epilogue scene, broadcasts of the episode in North America, as well as Region 1 DVD release, omit this.
- In 2009, Doctor Who Magazine conducted a reader poll to rank the first 200 Doctor Who stories in order of preference. Blink ranked 2nd, surpassed only by the 1984 story The Caves of Androzani. A similar poll was run in 2014, with Blink again coming second overall, this time beaten by The Day of the Doctor.
- Billy can be seen in the police station with a patch on his jacket depicting a sparrow, a possible joke on the main character's last name.
- A sequel to this story, A Ghost Story for Christmas, was released as a webisode on Day 24 of the 2009 Adventure Calendar on the official Doctor Who website. It was narrated by John Barrowman as Jack Harkness in the style of a ghost story and depicted the abduction of another woman by the Weeping Angels.
- The concept of the Doctor's first encounter with someone also being that person's final encounter with him would later be significantly expanded upon with the character of River Song.
- The story was originally titled Sally Sparrow and the Weeping Angels, but Russell T Davies didn't like the title. Steven Moffat suggested Blink as an alternative, which Davies loved, but wanted the word "Blink" in the script "like a cheesy 50s trailer".
- Rather than being inanimate props, the Angels were portrayed by real actresses covered in make up and prosthetics. But standing completely still is a great challenge even for the most accomplished of actors. It was revealed on the DVD commentary that a special digital effect was used to freeze them in place so that if they did involuntarily move, it wouldn't be noticed.
- Steven Moffat originally had a different, and much darker, ending in mind for this episode. It would have seen Sally give the Doctor the folder and then step back inside the store to find an Angel inside. Larry then steps in and notices that Sally is not there. He then looks more closely at the painting on the wall and realises the person smiling and waving in it is Sally, having been sent into the past by the Angel. After reflecting on the episode for its 10th Anniversary, Moffat stated that "It makes me wonder why an Angel never sent her back in time. All these years later, I wonder why I didn't end it like that."
Ratings[edit | edit source]
- 6.1 million - Overnight
- 0.75 million viewers - BBC Three Sunday repeat
- 6.62 million viewers - Final Rating
Filming locations[edit | edit source]
- The coffee shop and the DVD shop opposite are in Charles Street, Newport, South Wales.
- The "Police Station" with church opposite is in Mount Stuart Square, Butetown/Cardiff Bay, South Wales.
- The abandoned house is on Fields Park Road in Newport, South Wales. It is currently being renovated.
Production errors[edit | edit source]
- Just as Sally ducks, the rock comes into view a split second before the glass is heard smashing.
- In the scene where Sally finds and takes the TARDIS key, the free hand of the Angel holding the key changes position and back slightly between shots.
- In the scene where Larry is trying to hold off an Angel, the left hand of the Angel changes position multiple times between shots.
- Larry quickly checks behind him and then looks back to see the Angel's face is just inches from his. But in the next shot, it is slightly further away.
- In scenes outside Sally and Larry's shop, bystanders can be seen watching the filming from the windows above the Newsagent's shop.
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- A holographic Doctor appears. (TV: The Parting of the Ways, Doomsday)
- Martha once again obtains period employment in the course of her adventures with the Doctor, having previously been hired as a maid. ( TV: Human Nature)
- The Doctor's timey-wimey detector is later destroyed. (PROSE: Ghosts of India) The Eleventh Doctor later uses one to track Mark Whitaker when he is time-displaced by a Weeping Angel. (PROSE: Touched by an Angel)
- In the pack Sally gives to the Doctor, photos she took of the Angels covering their faces are present. It is later revealed that whatever holds the image of an Angel is an Angel. (TV: The Time of Angels)
- The Doctor's previous incarnation once encountered a remarkably similar situation, even encountering another girl named Sally Sparrow who helped him get back to his TARDIS. (PROSE: What I Did on My Christmas Holidays by Sally Sparrow)
- The Doctor previously encountered the Weeping Angels in his fifth (AUDIO: Fallen Angels) and eighth (AUDIO: The Side of the Angels) incarnations.
- The Doctor says he's rubbish at weddings, especially his own. (AUDIO: Hexagora)
Home video releases[edit | edit source]
DVD releases[edit | edit source]
- This has been released along with Human Nature and The Family of Blood on the Series 3 Volume 3 DVD.
- It is also part of the series 3 box set. In the disc which has the episode in it (disc 4) there is an Easter egg on page 2 of scene selection of "Blink". It has the Doctor's Easter egg from the episode, unedited. To access it, you have to highlight "Blink" on the page and select it. Unlike other bonus scenes and deleted footage, the Easter egg remains "filmised" rather than being rendered on video, in keeping with it supposedly having been filmed in 1969.
- It was released as issue 19 of Doctor Who DVD Files, alongside The Family of Blood.
Blu-ray releases[edit | edit source]
- This story was released in the Series 1 Blu-Ray set in November 2013 along with the rest of the series. Despite not being filmed in HD, the Blu-Ray features an upscaled picture and fewer compression artefacts.
- This release was initially bundled with the first seven series of the revived Doctor Who.
Digital releases[edit | edit source]
- This story is available for streaming via Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. It can also be purchased on iTunes.
- In 2015, it was released by BBC Worldwide on BitTorrent and iTunes, in A Decade of the Doctor bundle to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the new series. It included introductions by Peter Capaldi, Earth Conquest: The World Tour and an episode guide.
[edit | edit source]
Footnotes[edit | edit source]