Latest Doctor Who Adventure Inspired By Classic Episode

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

The most recent Doctor Who episode, “Boom” felt like a blast from the past in more ways than one because it was written by Steven Moffatt, the franchise writer turned showrunner turned writer again.

This ambitious bottle episode has the Doctor with his foot on a landmine the entire time, and each scene ratchets the tension up more than the one before. As for Moffatt, the episode was something of an homage because it was heavily inspired by a scene in “Genesis of the Daleks” in which Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor must escape a landmine.

Genesis of the Daleks

In the fine tradition of this time-traveling franchise, Baker’s Doctor quickly and safely escapes the landmine, which is good…after all, this tenacious Time Lord had an important mission to stop the Daleks from becoming one of the predominant threats to the galaxy.

As for Moffatt, he was a huge fan of this classic Doctor Who episode and was inspired by this particular moment when writing “Boom.”

As he recently revealed, his thought process for the script began with the question, “What if you did it for a whole episode?”

A Single Location

It’s certainly a provocative idea, and one that likely made the BBC happy because it necessitated creating a bottle episode.

This is one of the few Doctor Who episodes (especially in the modern era) that takes place almost entirely in a single location, but that’s not what makes “Boom” so brilliant. Instead, as Moffatt wisely notes, the episode is effective because it instantly restricts the Doctor from saving the day with his usual tricks.

Literally Can’t Move

doctor who boom

According to Moffatt, he knew that putting the Doctor on a landmine “would take so much away from him–he can’t run about, he can’t bamboozle people and he literally can’t move.”

We never really thought about it in these terms, but Moffatt has a point here. After all, how many Doctor Who dilemmas are resolved by bluffing people (either through psychic paper or just a reminder that “the Doctor lies” ) or moving frantically?

As Donna Noble once noted, “There’s an outrageous amount of running involved” in these adventures.

Don’t Get Blown Up

When the former Doctor Who showrunner was writing “Boom,” he had one more reason for giving us an extended version of the landmine sequence from “The Genesis of the Daleks.”

In that earlier story, the Doctor is quick and clever enough to escape getting blown up (with the help of a Companion), and that’s what audiences expect: for this character to find his way out of any and all such jams. 

The Rest Of The Companions

doctor who boom

When he pondered having the iconic character stuck on the landmine for almost the entire episode, Moffatt thought to himself, “That’s something that I haven’t done,” allowing him to show us a more vulnerable side of a character almost–but not quite–out of tricks to save the day.

A fun side effect of this unique story is that it helped highlight how important Ruby Sunday and the rest of the Companions truly are.

Boom Is A Comfort To Fans

doctor who boom

The former Doctor Who showrunner’s tale of basing “Boom” on a classic episode is a reminder of just how interconnected every franchise ep really is.

Sure, you can enjoy any given episode on its own merits, but you can also enjoy how this tale featuring Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor builds upon an earlier tale nearly half a century old featuring Tom Baker’s Doctor.

All of this serves as a comforting reminder to fans, new and old, that this show, like the Doctor himself, is never going to truly die.