Orson bore a striking resemblance to Danny Pink, a soldier and mathematics teacher from the early 21st century. When Orson took off his helmet, Clara Oswald thought it was Danny. According to "silly stories" told about one of Orson's great-grandparents, time travel ran in the family. (TV: Listen) According to the Twelfth Doctor, even though they had the same surname, Orson "[did]n't look anything like" Danny. Clara claimed that he looked "very like him". (TV: The Caretaker) The Twelfth Doctor assumed that Orson had "something to do" with Clara Oswald's timeline. (TV: Listen)
Orson rode the first of the great time shots. He was supposed to have been fired into "the middle of next week", but the experiment failed and he ended up at the end of the universe, where he remained for approximately six months. Despite being alone, he continued to keep the doors of his habitation locked. Orson suspected there were creatures in the darkness, so he wrote a warning "DON'T OPEN THE DOOR" on the airlock of his shuttle to remind him never to open his craft to the featureless universe outside.
In 2167, shortly after the 22nd century Dalek invasion of Earth, Susan Foreman addressed the House of Commons in her bid for leadership, promising to invest in Orson Pink's time travel experiments. (AUDIO: After the Daleks)
Behind the scenes
- Samuel Anderson, who plays both Danny and Orson Pink in the television story Listen, was only credited for the former role. However, it is made clear in the episode that Orson is the spitting image of Danny and The 2015 Yearbook features a photo captioned: "Samuel Anderson (as Orson Pink) on the spaceship set in Listen".
- Due to recycling props, the spacesuit Orson wears is identical to those from the 42nd century Sanctuary Base 6 (TV: The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit), one of which was kept by the Doctor and worn on several later occasions. (TV: 42, The Waters of Mars, Hide, Kill the Moon) Unusually, the "SB6" patch on the suit is clearly seen despite the same prop used in previous episodes being without it.
- In DWM 481, following Danny's death in Death in Heaven, Steven Moffat stated that one possible explanation is that Orson was a lateral descendant of Danny's. According to this theory, Clara contacted Danny's relatives after his death and told them of his sacrifice. In 2020, as part of the Doctor Who: Lockdown! Tweetalong of the TV story, he elaborated on this idea, stating, in answer to a fan's remark that "we are not going to mention the paradox of Orson Pink. We are just going to ignore it":
There is no paradox. Danny’s father had an estranged brother who also had a family.
- AUDIO: R&J implies the noise Orson heard was simply Jack Harkness and River Song playing a prank. Song's note about there also being a woman playing chess on the planet lines up with Ashildr's actions at the end of time, implying the world Orson was on to be Gallifrey.