Doctor Who’s 770 Reference

By Kirby Bartlett-Sloan: I was watching the recent Doctor Who episode “Arachnids in the UK” for the second time when I noticed the room number the Trump-y character is standing in front of when he meets Team TARDIS, he having just escaped from a room containing a giant spider.

It was Room 770.

Coincidence, or is there an old-time fan on the production team making an obscure reference?

That is either a built set, meaning the room number was chosen when creating it, or it was location shooting – and I can’t imagine they would take the trouble to go to the 7th floor for the scene so again the room number was chosen by the production team.

I’m attaching screenshots and enhancements.

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59 thoughts on “Doctor Who’s 770 Reference

  1. I don’t know what the explanation is either, but it’s a great spot!

    (I assume that if he’d gone into 770 instead of the spider room he’d have met a giant kitteh, which would have been a very different episode)

  2. All of the above. Even if it’s the same thing most of the times, it ought to be different once in a while. “Don’t open that—! Oh, hey, it’s Neil Gaiman. Hi, Neil!”

  3. Sheila Strickland on November 7, 2018 at 9:19 am said:

    Neil Gaiman on a mountain of books holding a kitten.

    You got an advance look at the Clue remake script, didn’t you?

  4. Mark on November 7, 2018 at 2:34 am said:

    I don’t know what the explanation is either, but it’s a great spot!

    (I assume that if he’d gone into 770 instead of the spider room he’d have met a giant kitteh, which would have been a very different episode)

    Presumably one with Bill Oddie and Tim Brook-Tailor guest starring.

  5. The corridor in the long shot looks like a fair amount of set to build for a piece of a TV episode, but I don’t know whether going on location would have been cheaper than building that much set.

  6. @Kip

    We used to film in a wooden box in a quarry. We got woken up every morning by Blake’s 7 wanting to shoot some teleport scenes.

  7. I don’t know where you get that stone from anyway – that’s not local stone – I can tell. You get it from where? The Preseli Mountains? In Wales? I know it’s in Wales – I’ve been abroad.

    – Michael Flanders

  8. @Kip, Lis: You try telling that to the youngsters these days, they won’t believe you.

    Opening a door labeled 770 in a time-travel TV show, I think would lead to finding a shoggoth. And a bunch of half-eaten pulp magazines.

  9. Flippant. Flippant. I just like saying it.

    “I call her flippant, flippant,
    Always politely,
    Commenting nightly
    At -seventy.”

    (singing is fun too)

    Lurkertype (or anybody else who’d like to see it), here’s the original sketch, from “At Last, the 1948 Show!”

    My favorite Python sketch, because they included it in their stage show and I heard it on the radio once. Those were the days.

    (Favorite line: “RIGHT.”)

  10. And 60 years (Not really, Not The 1948 show is from the 60s, but…) later the sketch was still being performed.

    (Also, Doctor Who production is based in Cardiff. London didn’t want to risk catching “It’ll never catch on”-itis when it wwas revived)

  11. Counterpoint: We here at the Spider Appreciation Society of Greater Grand Rapids refer to spiders as “octokittens”, so there’s yer SJW credential.

  12. * I should have footnoted this for those who escaped being a kid at the same time I was: Theme From “Flipper” (or perhaps that’s “flipper”), TV series about an aquatic mammal who solves everybody’s problems for them by performing some combination of three or four standard Sea World dolphin tricks, or simply swimming in one direction with apparent purpose. I wrote additional verses for it back around 1980, emphasizing his divine qualities:

    “Everyone fears the God of the Sea
    Ever so strong and powerful, he,
    Boons he may beg, he’ll grant any wish
    He’ll dance on his tail for a fish.”

    This refers to the dual nature of his godhead: Infinitely powerful, yet ever the trickster/clown.

    I went to the well another time (don’t remember when) with something like:

    “Everyone loves the god of DC
    Ever so warm and twinkly is he
    (yada yada two lines)…
    They call him Gipper, Gipper…”

    I suspect I didn’t finish it. Anyway, Apa Polly Loggies for the obscurity. I watched the show some, but my brain tells me I heard the theme song way more often than that.

  13. @Kip —

    Since I recognized the theme song instantly without your spoiler, does that mean I’m really, really old?

  14. Not necessarily. You could be an aficionado of rerun cable networks, for instance. Best not to take chances. If nostalgia lasts over three hours, call your doctor.

  15. I’m making a note to myself. “Chances a reference I make will be picked up on by Contrarius: now estimated over 78%!”

    I don’t recall where (likely GoComics), but I made a reference to the “I am an acne pimple” TV ad recently when somebody said that the worst earworm ever was some other thing. Then again, there are different sort of “worst.”

  16. Uh-uh! NO WAY! My older sisters went to see that (or sequel) at the summer movies, and they told me an old man got killed in it, so no way was I going to that, for it would surely give me nightmares forever. I couldn’t even begin to understand why people would make such terrible, hurtful things!

    I also knew that “Perry Mason” was an evil show, where they talked about evil things like murder and divorce and they smoked cigarettes, and the theme song itself was, clearly, evil as well. I play it on the piano now.

    So instead I went to a drugstore and pored, goggle-eyed, over the paperback reprints of EC horror comics, because they were comics, so I read them. Kids gonna desensitize.

  17. @Kip —

    Completely pointless trivia: I was living in Miami at the time Flipper was being produced, and it was filmed mostly in Miami. 😉

    Also completely pointless complaint: I’ve had the Flipper theme song infesting my head ever since your post. Sigh.

  18. Gah. Sympathy. I can push almost any earworm aside with a better earworm, these days. It wasn’t always thus. I remember when I discovered that I could loop a phrase from a song in my head, if it led back into itself. It took a lot longer than that to stop doing it.

  19. Kip Williams: Liked the filk version of the “Flipper” theme — and ever since you threw in Gipper I’ve been imagining how this tune could fit into Knute Rockne: The Musical….

  20. I’ve seen bits of the inspiration for that,* but have probably spent more of my life viewing the “Wossamotta U Football Team” sequence of Bullwinkle, which includes a team coach named Rocky Canute. (It’s a great story arc, all the more so since it so closely mirrored the activities at at least two other schools I was witness to, right down to “firing a few English teachers” to have enough money to pamper a winning athlete.

    * For the most part, watching Ronald Reagan movies for amusement doesn’t seem to work for me, though parts of BONZO GOES TO COLLEGE were at least quotable.

  21. a team coach named Rocky Canute

    Which reminds me that at one time we had a couple of newts; one was named Rockne.

  22. John A Arkansawyer: Greatest TV theme song? Could be. Makes for an interesting discussion.

    Yesterday I saw someone flag the theme from Hennesey as the greatest. (Unfortunately I can’t locate a good track of the music as it sounded in the opening credits, versus this longer pop recording.)

    Personally, I find the theme from The Virginian irresistible.

    One of the issues in picking the best is that — beyond being a good piece of music — the theme has to keep working after being heard many times, in fact, needs to condition the listener to a level of anticipation, or fond memory for the associated tv show.

  23. I’ve long said that the greatest “show biz” song I’m aware of is “This Is It!” from the old Bugs Bunny Show.

    Maybe part of the reason it positively vibrates with promise is the fact that they used to deliver on that promise every single week. Especially before half the show was given over to Road Runner cartoons, many of them of a weak and repetitive nature.

    There’s at least one worthy successor:

    And those are just in the “show-biz song” category. (The sheet music for the Muppet Show puts in some namby-pamby crapola about an album, but through the miracle of Photoshop, I’ve restored the real lyrics in my copy.)

    So many good ones.
    Addams Family, Green Acres… two solid ones from Vic Mizzy
    Here are some of my favorites to play:
    Jackie Gleason Show (“Melancholy Serenade”)
    Star Trek (“Beee-yond the rim of the starlight…” EVERYBODY SING!)
    Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”)
    Batman (nananana nananana nananana nananana BAT MANNNN)
    NBC Mystery Movie (ooo-OOOO)
    Mickey Mouse Club
    “Remembering You” (ending theme from All in the Family)
    Twilight Zone (“Etranger #5 / Mileu #2”)
    Mission: Impossible (in 5/4 time)
    Route 66
    Rocky & Bullwinkle (theme by Frank Comstock)
    The Munsters (best thing about the show)
    WKRP in Cincinnati
    “March of the Cue Balls” (is this a TV theme?)
    The Beverly Hillbillies (“The Ballad of Jed Clampett”)
    incidentally, the Perry Mason theme is called “Park Avenue Beat”

  24. Some of my favorite non-SF TV themes include:

    Mission: Impossible (I dig the 5/4 too, Kip!)
    Peter Gunn
    Magnum P. I. (biased choice since I am a fan)

  25. Mike Glyer on November 8, 2018 at 5:23 pm said:

    John A Arkansawyer: Greatest TV theme song? Could be. Makes for an interesting discussion.

    Yes, it does.

  26. @Jeff Jones —

    Contrarius: My sister went to junior high with one of the actors.

    Six Degrees of SeaWorld?

    As for my entry into the “greatest theme song” competition: how about Greatest American Hero — “Believe It Or Not” — composed by Mike Post with lyrics by Stephen Geyer?

    eta — ha, I see JJ beat me to this suggestion during that earlier thread! GMTA!

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