Mar 23 2013 1:15pm

Watch the Prequel to Doctor Who’s “The Bells of Saint John”

Ahead of Doctor Who’s return to our screens next week, the BBC has released this official prequel to the next new episode; “The Bells of Saint John.” It starts with the Doctor sitting on a swing, looking a little despondent and being hilarious. Watch it here!

[Please note: you may encounter potential spoilers for this episode in the comment section below...]

yo sil
1. catperson
Guess that wandering around time and space hoping to randomly bump in to Clara is working! Keep it up Doctor!
Nicholas Winter
2. Nicholas Winter
Cute but somewhat obvious that the child was Oswin.

And how any mothers address their child by their full name?
Nicholas Winter
3. Puff the Magic Commenter
No, not obvious at all, Nicholas. I didn't see it coming until the punchline. Good thing I watched it elsewhere, though, since if I'd clicked through to watch it here, I might have seen your comment first, and then needn't have bothered at all.

I'm not a spoiler-cop as a matter of habit, but is there really no other way you could have made note of your apparent storytelling superiority than to come right out and give it away straight up? I may be an inattentive dummy, but you're definitely {don't go ad hominem, Puff. Stay strong.}.

Also, every mother since Olduvai Gorge has used her child's full name at least a few times when scolding them on Very Serious Matters.
Mary Buchner
4. HeyMaryHey
I'm super excited for this unique storyline where the Doctor meets his new companion in kid-form before she actually becomes his companion.


This is obviously still super adorable.
Kristen Templet
5. SF_Fangirl
Yes, the "reveal" was pretty obvious. I was a great teaser, though. I know what the Doctor's been up to since the Christmas special. Looking forward to the Oswin mystery, albeit, with reservations. I might have preferred that she just be an awesome companion instead of one that's a strange mystery. These strange mysteries of the new Doctor Who tend to turn out anticlimatic.
Christopher Hatton
6. Xopher
Yeah, spoilering that is pretty obnoxious, catperson and especially Nicholas. I'd encourage you to edit your comments and rot13 those bits. Puff is right, about that and about mothers calling their kids by full name when scolding.

I liked it. No surprises there for me, but cute.
Nicholas Winter
7. Nicholas Winter
Puff, you read the comments *before* looking at the video?!?

SF fan girl is right: the reveal is obvious.
Christopher Hatton
8. Xopher
Nicholas, people very well might. Why don't you just edit your comment and take out the spoiler?

Seriously, what would it hurt? Do you have to spoil someone else's enjoyment to enjoy things yourself?
Nicholas Winter
9. Nicholas Winter
Are you asking everyone here to remove their spoilers? Or just me?
Christopher Hatton
10. Xopher
Oh, everyone. But you're the only one defending them.

And btw, I don't think saying "the reveal was obvious" is a spoiler. I think only the first two comments in this thread really qualify.
Christopher Hatton
11. Xopher
Also, yours was the most bluntly spoilerific. You know about ROT13? Easy fix.
Christopher Hatton
12. Xopher
I guess I didn't really expect you to.
Alan Brown
13. AlanBrown

I didn't see it coming.  Thought it was a nice little teaser.  Can't wait for next week...
Bridget McGovern
14. BMcGovern
Hi, all--for what it's worth, I've whited out the spoilerish bits in the earlier comments, if only to err on the side of caution where there seems to be something of a grey area. Looks like there will be plenty to talk about next week, once the episode has aired :)
Nicholas Winter
15. Nicholas Winter
Alan, I can't wait either as I'm really interested to see how he meets her this time.

On the matter of spoilers, I've chided that if I don't want them, I avoid any place that'll have them. For example, Criminal Elements, a sister site of here, does a great Justified recap. I simply don't read it until I've watched the episode they're recapping.

Spoilers are everywhere now, so just avoid those sites, those discussions, where you're likely to find them if you're bothered by them.
Nicholas Winter
16. Nicholas Winter
BMcGovern, so when is it safe to do a given spoiler?

I want to note that Criminal Elements website allows the posters of such features as the Justified episode recap to do a full summary before the iTunes subscribers see the episode. Are y'all going to wait until Monday to do the Doctor Who episode recap here?

If not, you not practicing what you're preaching.
Bridget McGovern
17. BMcGovern
@Nicholas Winter: I don't think there's necessarily a hard and fast rule when it comes to spoilers, in many cases. We try to let people know one way or another when a post includes spoilers, or when we think there might be an issue. We want our discussions to be inclusive, obviously--we also don't want to spoil any unsuspecting readers. When we publish our recap of the new episode, it will be clearly labeled as containing spoilers. Otherwise, it's probably best to proceed with caution if you think you might be treading into spoilerish territory with your comments.
Nicholas Winter
18. Nicholas Winters
So perhaps these threads should contain a nice little header that says Here Might Be Spoilers? It's certainly done on the book discussion threads here.
Bridget McGovern
19. BMcGovern
Again, if we had foreseen that there was going to be a problem, we would have tried to address it at the beginning. Sometimes posts go up on the fly, over the weekend, as in this case, and we have to decide the spoiler policy on the run, as we go (even moderators have weekends off, theoretically). In this case, the decision has been made. Let's move on.
Nicholas Winter
20. bryan rasmussen
It was sort of obvious that it would be her, but not completely given that there is some mystery as to who or what she is what with showing up and dying twice and being the same age both times, here she's a young girl that was the unexpected part.
As far as how many mothers use the full name it is a cliche that mothers do so when somewhat angry with their children, or rebuking them in some way. So it seemed quite natural here.
Nicholas Winter
21. Puff the Magic Commenter

Not talking about an episode recap here. Of course that would mean spoilers. Like I said, I'm not a spoiler cop. Episode's been out a couple days? Spoil away. It's all on me.

But this is a teaser for an episode with no expectation it would include a "plot twist." None of the Rory and Amy webisodes last year did, I don't recall. Yet ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF ITS VERY AVAILABILITY, you commented, essentially, "This ends with a twist and the twist is x, which I saw coming because I am aware of all narrative traditions!" That was my beef. C'mon, man. Don't be a Song of Ice and Fire fan*.
"Puff, you read the comments *before* looking at the video?!?"
Yes, I occasionally scan comments before watching videos. I should know better. I am an advocate of NEVER reading comments anywhere, in fact, but I am weak. My blog reading is non-linear. Sometimes I even click links right in the middle of blocks of text and go far off to other cyberrealms before finishing what I started! Up is down and inside, out, sometimes.

* By which I mean the most sadistic and spoiler-crazy of pop culture fandoms. I'm never going to read those books, so I learned some time ago not to read ANYTHING about Game of Thrones online ever. Doesn't matter what it's about — Headline: Jane Characteractor Cast to Play GoT Bit Part. First comment: "Oh, I love when that minor character turns up to (something horrendous to three major characters) in Book 5! Squee!" Aaargh! Those people are nuts.
Mary Buchner
22. HeyMaryHey
@BMcGovern I understand the issues here, but I'm pretty sure comment sections are present on these articles to discuss what the post was about. I think whiting out people's comments just because a couple people read comments before watching posting videos is a bit much. Expecting people to go some other vague, undefined location before talking about it is ridiculous. I understand when it's a read-through or a re-read post and people are encouraged and directed to go to another forum to discuss spoilers, but here it seems out of place.

@EVERYONE ELSE: Now, this has turned into a discussion of spoiler policy as opposed to what it should be: a friendly discussion between Doctor Who fans who are SUPER PUMPED that the show is returning.

Are we allowed to talk about it now? I want to know what people think about the fact that this storyline is starting out remarkably similarly to the origin story of the last companion. I think it's weird, but I'm sure it's still going to turn out okay as the episode and the rest of this season plays out.
Nicholas Winter
23. Renard
It occurs to me that if the offending video was put before the jump, then the problem of seeing the comments before watching said video be solved. If this was done, then we could all comment at will.
Mary Buchner
24. HeyMaryHey
It occurs to me that Renard is correct.
Nicholas Winter
25. Petar Belic
@Nicholas Winter

Our children are often addressed by their full names when they are in trouble! I helps focus their attention. I note other families I'm in contact with do this as well - perhaps it's just not common in your part of the world.
yo sil
26. catperson
As one of the original 'spoiler'ers on this page, I just want to say that when I commented, it did not occur to me that people would read the comments before watching the video, and I deeply apologize if I spoiled the video for anyone (but hope you enjoyed it anyway, because it's adorable). Also apologize for helping to inadvertly set off the above spoiler policy discussion!
Can we talk about the video now?
@HeyMaryHey -
I am also super excited for the show's return! I don't think that there are any deliberate parallels between Clara and Amy. The point of the prequel was to show that the Doctor keeps on randomly (or not...) meeting different versions of one person in different points of time and space, sometimes without even realizing that it is the same person. Yes, he met them both as children, but with Amy the fact that he met her as a child was a major plot point for her character. I don't think Clara (the 2013 version of her, anyway) will remember this one guy she met in the park once as a kid, and if she does, she'll probably just think he looks a little familiar for some reason.
Nicholas Winter
27. broundy
I'm just glad someone posted the reveal, because all I heard was "mumble mumble, what have I told you about talking to strange men?"
Ashley Fox
28. A Fox
This post will talk about content from the vid. I think folk who are reading this far down are prepared by now!

Well it certainly worked has a good teaser for us! I didnt see the reveal coming...alhough my son (5) commented 'oh he's found her' almost straight away. Gah.

So she's lost her gran (! ....Amy? :P) and her mojo? Wasnt mojo mentioned before...bells are ringing (asylum?)

Dr also mentions swings, to Amy's puzzlement, in 'The power of 3' when an older version, missing the Ponds, comes back....from which point in the timeline?

Clara's quiet room: Could this have something to do with her regen like rebirthing?

Amy/Clara paralels. Yeah I got that impression too. The Timelord Who Waited this time around. One of the things that grabbed his atention with Amelia were all the lost/missing things in her life. From the cracks.

mmm, what with this, the Rose 2:0 post, it does seem as if these similarities are being scattered on purpose. Well I hope so...could just be terrible writing recycling old companions :)
Thomas Thatcher
29. StrongDreams
It's not clear to me that the Doctor knows who the little girl was. If he knew, he was only pretending to be sad? If he overheard the mother, wouldn't he have shown more reaction? Or did he walk away not knowing?
Nicholas Winter
30. Renard
I don'tthink he knew it was Oswin, nor do I think he overheard the mother saying her name. (Yes, I used her name. No one this deep in a conversation should be surprised by a spoiler.)

Question for the folks here: Did he physically see Oswin when she was a Dalek? I haven't had the time to rematch the episode and I can't remember if he did.
Ashley Fox
31. A Fox
No, in the GI xmas ep he commented that he had only heard her voice before (hence not recognising her sooner, despite the name change).
Nicholas Winter
32. Renard
@A Fox: that's what I thought. So we have no idea if she was even intact inside the Dalek shell. Nor do we know where she's actually from as we now have three versions: a child in the late 20th or early 21st century, a far future version, and a Victorian Era version.
Christopher Hatton
33. Xopher
Thanks BMcGovern.

Renard, while it's probably true that it's harmless to use the name this deep in the conversation, your pointing it out is just to show how effin' superior you are. "Nobody tells ME what to do!" Grow up.
Bridget McGovern
34. BMcGovern
@Renard and HeyMaryHey: Once again, I feel the need to point out that normally when we post something that might be spoiler-sensitive, we post some sort of warning. This was published on the fly, over the weekend--"posting without a net," as it were, by one of the staff without any supervision, so it turned into an issue in the comments before the rest of us were able to catch up. So that's the situation--I'm sorry that you feel that it's "ridiculous" that we were trying to help out the people complaining about being spoiled, but again, I think it best to err on the side of caution, when in doubt.

At any rate, glad to see the conversation has moved on from complaints and second-guessing to a discussion of the actual video. I've added in a belated warning into the post, since the cat seems to be out of the bag, at this point, so we can now officially drop the topic of spoilers and resume paying full attention to The Doctor. It's much more fun that way, I promise :)
Nicholas Winter
35. SueQ
There's nothing odd about a mother using her child's full name: especially when she is repremanding her/him. I always knew I was in trouble when my mother 3-named me (first, middle, and last names) and God help me if she called me Lady Jane! (She was going to name me Jane but I looked more like a Sue when I was born.)
Nicholas Winter
36. Gweilo
This is NOT a "prequel. A "prequel" occurs before events we've already seen. This introduces an upcoming episodes. It isn't a flashback.
This is a prelude. A precursor. A preamble. A prologue. A preface. Why the hell do people want to call it a "prequel?
Nicholas Winter
37. Jaydog
Well, Gweilo there could be a thousand reasons people are referring to this clip as a prequel; however, I suspect the most likely reason has to do with the giant text at the beginning of the clip:
The Bells of Saint John
A Prequel
By Steven Moffat
As the writer of the clip, full naming rights go to Mr. Moffat...had he gone with "The Johns of Bell Saints, A Cilantro-Stuffed Mushroom by Steven Moffat" everybody might be referring to the clip as icky fungus or something. So the REAL question is why the hell aren't YOU calling it a prequel?
Nicholas Winter
38. Roger Lord Zeck
Grretings! I too am supersmart and know absolutely everything. Sometimes. And I'm pretty sure a kid who (also) knows everything like this little girl does would have a much better retort for her mum. Also, why would she be so surprised that the Doctor's sitting on a swing when he's sad? That's what people do when they're trying to cheer themselves up. Why's she sitting on a swing for that matter, given how uppity and superior she clearly is? I'm reminded of the conversation between Mark Addy and Neil Morrissey in the rain in The Flint Street Nativity.
I think I'm trying to say..hey! It's Dr Who, not The Matrix...
Nicholas Winter
39. Gweilo
Yes, I was entirely aware that Mofatt calls it a "prequel". I was including him in "people". He should know better. It's not a "name", it's a description, and not a prequel by definition. Ever since Lucas popularised the word with the Star Wars prequels everyone is applying it willy nilly, forgetting all the boring and correct terms.
Calling something a prequel, or a mushroom, when it isn't, does not make it so.

Why won't I call it a prequel? Because I know what the word means.
In my passive-aggressive way I downloaded the Youtube clip and titled it "Swings". So there.
Nicholas Winter
40. Doctah
It's all very good and well. But rea question is: Who's the girl's MILF? =P
Nicholas Winter
41. cplmarr
The mother and daughter are from the north of England (where I grew up). It is not uncommon for kids to get called their full name when being told off by parents or teachers - maybe it is done to reinforce the point being made. I wish I could find out where the prequel was filmed anyone know the location used?

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