The BBC have a policy of only revealing information when it becomes relevant. In the case of Doctor Who, this means when an episode’s being filmed and a guest star will be seen in public.
Earlier today, it was confirmed Michelle Gomez will feature in Series 8, as the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere, alongside Cybermen. Or I suppose I should really say “Cyberiad”. Not that such information tells us anything, but it’s so soon after the Deep Breath infodump it’s easy to impress me.
“Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere” certainly sounds exciting. Maybe she’ll fulfil a position similar to that of Heimdallr, keeper of the Bifrost. Or maybe the controller of a device that can access other dimensions? The void, maybe?
As it’s the finale, it’s likely to have something to do with Gallifrey. What with rumours of the Master being cast and all, it would make sense. The Nethersphere could simply be the Statis Cubes that were used to seal the planet in a pocket dimension? But then they’d just call it a what it is, wouldn’t they? Unless it’s a modified version. Or maybe it’s something similar that the Time Lords hijack.
A lot of people have been suggesting the Rani should make a return. A lot of people have also been saying the Rani will be coming back. Steven Moffat, who – let’s be honest – lies constantly, has said that nobody knows who the Rani is and therefore shouldn’t be brought back. But then, nobody knew who the Zygons were. Or the Silurians. Or the Great Intelligence. Or the Ice Warriors. Nobody remembering something shouldn’t be the reason it doesn’t come back.
When it comes to the Rani, I haven’t yet seen The Mark Of The Rani or Time And The Rani, I’m told they’re quite awful, and scored very lowly on Doctor Who Magazine’s First 50 Years poll, but I’m having a marathon in August to celebrate Series 8, so I could throw them in there I suppose. Even then, just because Pip & Jane Baker wrote those apparent atrocities, Steven Moffat didn’t. Admittedly, he did handle the return of the Great Intelligence not particularly well, and it did seem that he only did so just because The Web Of Fear had been recovered. And while I’m sceptical of a Classic villain making a return in the current state of the show, or indeed this particular villain anyway, the evidence is there for me to use as I wish. Gallifrey’s back, and the finale has a female villain. Just like every other finale.
One thing I hope is that whoever this Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere turns out to be, she isn’t just another Moffat Villainess. I’m not assuming she’s a villain, since filming with Capaldi shows she and the Doctor seem to be on good terms. It’s just that female characters other than the companions seem to be lacking distinguishing features. But this next model (as it seems to be) could potentially have more meaning, since she’s included in the finale. But then again, so was Kovarian and we barely know anything about her other than what was said by Tasha Lem, who’s almost an exact copy of River Song
Doctor Who is maybe the only thing I give infinite chances to, and looking at this news, I’m still optimistic that what we’ve got is an interesting character that will become important to the ongoing story. I just don’t know whether the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere will be able to deliver on that.