Pearl Mackie in Doctor Who episode 'Oxygen'

7 things we loved in this week’s ‘Doctor Who’ episode, ‘Oxygen’

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If you thought the future of capitalism was bleak, this week’s episode of Doctor Who agrees!

Oxygen sees a disconcertingly essential resource become monetised, with disastrous consequences. I sure hope any developing space companies are taking notes about why this is a bad idea. But here are some other interesting things about this week’s jaunty little romp in space:


  1. Like all good people with taste, the Doctor’s a Trekkie. Indeed, the Tenth Doctor flashes the Vulcan gang sign in ‘Fear Her’.
  2. I could list all the times characters in Doctor Who have floated about in space suits. However, for the sake of brevity, I’m just going to mention two of my favourites: the Doctor and friends bouncing around the moon in ‘The Moonbase’, and Jamie and Zoe’s little adventure in ‘The Wheel In Space’.
  3. The Doctor likens a distress call to his theme tune! The actual Doctor Who theme tune was first realised by Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, an example of a musique concrète type of composition, where the different notes and sounds are created by the splicing analogue tape recordings of some oscillators, white noise, and a single plucked string, and changing their pitch and speed to create a lovely, haunting tune.
  4. The TARDIS’ fluid links have been known to cause trouble before. There was that time they exploded, filling the ship with yucky mercury vapour (‘The Wheel In Space’, again), or the time the fluid link was confiscated in the Doctor’s first encounter with the Daleks, or indeed the time that they became misaligned, depowering the whole TARDIS in ‘The Web Planet’.
  5. The Fourth Doctor’s companion Leela was temporary blinded in ‘Horror of Fang Rock’. Her eyesight soon restored itself, but left her eye colour permanently changed. This was so actress Louise Jameson could play the character with her own eye colour, instead of the brown contacts she had worn in her first few appearances.
  6. The Doctor should know by now that space stations are bad places to visit. Has a visit to a space station ever gone well for him, or have people just died horribly in bizarre circumstances? Older viewers may remember all the trouble the Ninth Doctor got into on Satellite Five, and even older viewers may remember the eponymous wheel in space, which seems to be coming up a lot this week for some reason. Then there was Nerva, and Terminus, and so on… and none of these went particularly well.
  7. While it’s likely to be a significant adjustment for the Doctor that he is still blind, thanks to the BBC’s commitment to accessible entertainment, Doctor Who is available via iPlayer with described audio for the visually impaired.


Are you now feeling especially salty about capitalist exploitation of workers? What type of economic system would you like to see go to space? Did you get misty-eyed when our trio of heroes had a big cuddle, or was that just me?

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Pre-order the new season on Blu-ray on Amazon here.

What was your favourite bit in ‘Oxygen’? Let us know below…

Read more by Sami Kelsh on her website here.