This weekend, I started catching up on Doctor Who audio dramas — and I found Dead Air, the last BBC audio production featuring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, released in March 2010. And while I was listening to it, I choked on my cocoa quite a few times.
Oi! Spoilers ahead! Don’t hit the jump unless you’re sure. This audiobook starts out with an introduction by the BBC, saying they found this tape on the bottom of the sea, and after a bit of restauration, we could now listen to it. First words:
Hello, I’m the Doctor; and if you can hear this, then one of us is going to die.
The Doctor has parked the TARDIS in 1966, on one of the last Pirate Radio stations, outside Friston. He’s hunting The Hush, which is hinted at to be a weapon devised by the Time Lords during the Time War, designed to home in on and devour the Daleks who are circumscribed as enemies “shrieking robotic commands at each other.” The Hush finds noise and then eats it, along with whatever it was that was making the noise. Usually quite accurate, this Hush had missed its target, and on the search for sound it had found the transmitter of a Pirate Radio station, thus getting onto the ship. It needs the transmitter — sorry, correction: it needs the Doctor to take Leila, a girl it had taken possession of, off with him in the TARDIS: in order to spread around the world, devouring all the noise it can find anywhere. And devouring noise and anything that makes noise means… silence. And not even that, because this silence doesn’t only mean the absence of noise, it would mean absolute nothingness, absence of anything that could produce sound as well. Geddit? Silence will fall?, I hear you ask. Oh, yes.
I’ll treat you to the end, then, eh? The Doctor traps The Hush on an old record and puts a warning on it, saying that if we were listening to this somewhere else than on the boat, it would now be too late. The Hush would’ve escaped already. The recording works a bit like Blink, really. We hear the Doctor saying his warning, and then he tells us the whole story, and at the end of it, we hear him actually beginning to record the tale in the action proper, while he’s still on the boat. Wibbly-wobbly timey-whimey… stuff. Anyway, he’s trapped the nasty thing on the tape, meaning it cannot escape — unless the recording is found and played until after the credits, where a seriously scary part of, well, silence signifies The Hush’s entrapment. Don’t listen to this when you’re sitting on the porch at 3 o’clock in the morning, alone, nothing but the dark, starry sky above you and weird noises coming up from the garden, then suddenly stopping. Really, don’t.
I wonder if this was planned. I wonder if James Goss had knowledge of what Steven Moffat was planning for series 5 and 6. I wonder whether the two stories, in the end, will be connected. The Hush would certainly work as the thing saying “Silence will fall”, because
- it can use any voice it wants as long as it’s got a voice imprint of it
- it can speak through anything with a speaker grill as long as it’s got a transmitter somewhere (a bit like the Atraxi did in The Eleventh Hour)
- well, it wants silence. Everywhere. Annihilation of the universe would do the trick very nicely.
The thing is, of course: Would The Hush come up with all of this on its own? Or was it trapped by someone else and used for their purposes? The one race it’s got the annihilation thing in common with is the Daleks’, and it could fit with my friend M.’s question whether the voice in the TARDIS, saying “Silence will fall”, could belong to Dalek Caan, or Davros. I know what you’re thinking; wait a minute, The Hush in an alliance with the Daleks? Really? Well, The Hush could be working on its own, only using a voice imprint of one of them as a cover. But, as I said, they could’ve trapped it and forced it to do all of this stuff–one, they can’t just send it homing across the universe, the Doctor would catch wind of this immediately; two, the Daleks really could be one of the Big Bads behind all this (tricking the rest of the Alliance we saw in The Pandorica Opens in the process, of course), because they have a history of being stupid enough to believe that blowing up the TARDIS wouldn’t just rip time and space apart without the help of their silly little Reality Bomb (The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End). Of course, they can’t ever set it free because it would gulp them all down in one slurp as well. But then again: the Daleks usually make one of those tiny mistakes that send them flying over the edge of doom in the end, so why not now. What doesn’t really fit, though: the strange burn marks River found on the grass in front of Amy’s house, which must have been left by another kind of ship than what the Daleks have. Well, unless they’ve built something new. Well.
Anyway. I know it’s a VERY long shot, but: Involving the Hush would probably bring us closer to revealing anything about the workings of the Time War as we’ve ever gotten; and, also, I simply refuse to believe that this was coincidence. Making an audiobook that wasn’t even expected to be released one month before the new story arc Silence will fall, Doctor is going to be introduced? Involving a thing that devours noise and leaves nothing, not even simple silence, but the silence of NOTHING? To say it with the Eleventh Doctor:
Never ignore coincidence–unless you’re busy, in which case: always ignore coincidence.
Well, I’m not particularly busy at the moment. I’ll keep an eye ear out.
Listen to Dead Air on youtube HERE.