Funny: Inspector Spacetime
Inspector Spacetime has mixed laughter with sci-fi thrills in English-language broadcasting for fully half a century.
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- The first appearance of the Blorgons. For something that became so scary, their first appearance was pretty bad.
- The Inspector holding his trademark "eh" sentence-ender for a full minute and a half before being knocked out by the Monster of the Week in "The Time Gallery".
- At the end of "The Marathon Pursuit", when Bart and Irma are about to part company with the Inspector.
The First Inspector: You two have been with me through some terrible times indeed. When the Blorgons kidnapped me in the 27th century, you were by my side. When the Spanish Inquisition interrogated me in their torture chambers, you were there. When the Radarmen almost marooned me off the Scutum-Crux galactic arm, you were there, too. When somebody left the time booth door open during takeoff, there you two were still. [Beat] Do you know what?
Bart and Irma: [Together] What, Inspector?
The First Inspector: I think you're bad luck!
- BTV's production department's attempt at depicting an Ejector Seat in action during "The Retirement Home of the Circuit-Chaps" led to one of the show's more hilarious/infamous Special Effect Failures.
- From "The De-Faced Doppelgängers":
- The serial "The Saviour of Earth" wrung many comic gags from Christopher Lee doubling the roles of the Inspector and his Criminal Doppelgänger Basile Lisque. At one point, the Inspector hides from Lisque in his headquarters by pretending to be part of a huge poster advertising Lisque as "The Saviour of Earth", and later, they even re-enact the famous Mirror Routine from the Marx Brothers' film Duck Soup.
- The Inspector at the end of "The Cube in Time" (and his second season), when Aiden urges him to "celebrate" their hard-fought victory. Nowhere else in the universe will you see Christopher Lee playing an ocarina and doing, just for a moment, a little soft-shoe dance in Wellingtons.
- The bit with the pot of blasting powder and the torch in "The Revolution". Classic enough that Lee recreated the moment decades later when playing Saruman in The Lord of the Rings.
- From "The Spores of Doom":
Aiden: Do you think you can beat the Sulphur Squadron Leader in a duel?
The Second Inspector: I can best him blindfolded.
Aiden: What if he's not blindfolded?
The Second Inspector: Then it might be a bit more difficult.
- From "The Phobia Parasite" (the second appearance of the Sergeant):
The Third Inspector: Can you describe the person you saw last night?
Witness: He was male Caucasian with a moustache. About six-foot-four.
The Third Inspector: It couldn't have been the Sergeant—his moustache isn't that big.
- "The Kittens" very possibly had the most unintentionally funny "villains" of the entire series, but the Inspector's various gags with that bit of string are genuinely hilarious. Marvel at Bernard Fox making something out of almost literally nothing.
- The Inspector to the Sergeant as he finally arrests him in "The Space Creature":
The handcuffs are tight because they're new. They'll stretch out after you wear them a while.
- The Third Inspector and his long-time Associate Yosif had a Running Gag about his mental abilities:
The Third Inspector: Not to worry, I have a photographic memory. My mind is like a camera.
- In "The Talons of Asox":
Yosif: Always going out of focus?
The Third Inspector: Not to worry, I have a photographic memory. My mind is like a camera.
- In "The Ocean Demons":
Yosif: It needs developing?
The Third Inspector: Not to worry, Yosif, I'll never forget you. I have a photographic memory. My mind is like a camera.
- In "The Blue Ruination", during their Tear Jerker parting scene:
Yosif: [Trying Not to Cry] Can you still find film for it?
- The clashes between Fourth Inspector and the Superintendent were always good for a laugh during the programme's Exo-Pol years.
Before the Blorgons come back with their next criminal enterprise, would you kindly set your watch five minutes fast so you could arrive slightly ahead of the nick of time?
- The Inspector to the Superintendent after the Final Battle of "Exodus of the Blorgons":
The Superintendent: On what grounds are you going to arrest that machine?
- When the Inspector is trying to take into custody a computer terminal that he suspects has been suborned by the Digifleet in "Reappearance of the Circuit-Chaps":
The Inspector: Probably cause.
The Superintendent: Probably cause? What's that? Don't you mean probable cause?
The Inspector: No, I do mean probably cause—probably cause it's winding me up!
The Superintendent: I won't stand for any more antics like yours last summer in Westminster. Is that clear?
- The opening to the "Horror of the Asterozoids" serial apparently refers to an incident in between Seasons 12 and 13:
The Fourth Inspector: When I see the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt appear in the middle of Regent's Park in full view of 1,200 people, I must investigate the chronal anomaly. Am I clear?
The Superintendent: That was the Open Air Theatre's production of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra!
- The Fourth Inspector's Witty Banter with Mary Sue Brown was one reason she always tops the lists of fan-favourite Associates:
Andrew Royd a.k.a. Android Z1: Brain Trust, Ltd. has ensured that all the people in our Human Resources Department operate strictly within the law. That's the truth, pure and simple.
- From "Android":
The Fourth Inspector: Ahem. I'm not simple, and she's not pure.
Mary Sue: Besides, Inspector, the truth is rarely pure and never simple.
DI Gary Mulligan: [As robot versions of the Inspector and Mary Sue emerge from the aliens' fabber] You make a lovely couple.
- From: "The Robot Revolution":
The Inspector and Mary Sue: [Together] A lovely couple of what?
The Fourth Inspector: This proves that the midget who escaped from Wormwood Scrubs yesterday is really a clairvoyant alien! Do you realize what that means?
- From "The Moribund Mind":
Mary Sue: There's small medium at large?
- Lots of glorious black humor in Terror at Tooth Point, starting with that title; while the action does in fact take place on Tooth Point, it turns out the villain of the piece is a Classical Movie Vampire.
- One specific example: when Reena joins Morbius's collection of hypnotized thralls, instead of wearing a long flowing gown like the rest, she switches to a fluffy white version of her usual Jungle Princess bikini.
- Veneziana, Nymeria and Thorough's reactions when the newly metamorphosed Inspector cheerfully emerges wearing her... rather striking... new outfit, topped with that hat, particularly Veneziana's terrified little squeak. The Inspector then applies some lipstick with suspicious confidence and expertise...
Inspector: There! How do I look?
- From "Genesis":
Interplanetary Rescue Patrol: Come in, unidentified spacecraft. What is your position? Repeat, what is your position?The Inspector: My position? Well, I'm a Detective Inspector of the Infinity Knights from the planet Kayaclasch in the Boötes Galaxy."
- This exchange, in reference to one of "The Stinging Nettles":
Thorough: That thing looks incredibly dangerous.
Nymeria: ...What are we going to do?
Inspector: Poke it with a stick!
- The Inspector-Muppet in "Mindscrew". In addition to being adorable.
- The Fifth Inspector's blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in "The Only Inspector":
Door gets yanked open"Oh! Hello there!""No, no! Too soon! Too soon!"Door gets slammed shut
- Pretty much the entirety of "Spectre Night". Sure, a lot of fans think it's an overly simplistic Neo-Creationist parable, stretched over far too many episodes, but the writers more than make up for the thin plot with the sheer volume of jokes for the Inspector, e.g.:
As my old playwright friend Bernard Shaw once asked, if the world were only one of God's jokes, would you work any less to make it a good joke instead of a bad one?Evidence is for people who find reality more interesting than anything they could make up themselves.Biology is the only science in which multiplication means the same thing as division.Under these rigorously controlled conditions of temperature, pressure, humidity, etc., etc., the organisms, I predict, will do exactly as they please.[To the Intelligent Designer aliens] You probably also think that homology is the study of real estate, serology is the study of knights, bacteria is the rear of the cafeteria, and the hippocampus is where hippos go to university.If Darwin was right after all, you should probably figure it out in a few million years.
- The sudden disappearance of his I Am Very British Fake Brit accent within the first fifteen minutes, only for it to suddenly pop back up again toward the end.
"I say, you certainly don't look like a zombie, poppet!"
- His response to having exactly three hours before dying in "The Day of the Inspector":
"Three hours? That's all? I'm too busy! I was planning to write an autobiography, attend the opera! I've still not solved my Rubik's cube... Quick- spare me a chisel to carve a wooden duck!(Beat)"Ohhhh... who am I kidding? There's nothing interesting left for me to do! Let's get this over with already."
- The Eleventh Inspector calling him "Michael Jackson" due to his fedora.
- His response to his nickname being used by the Inspector General:
Inspector General: "They sent Michael Jackson to stop me? What, are you going to do a fancy moonwalk and tell me the kid really is my son?"Unknown: "It won't be if you keep that up."Inspector General: "Oh, really? Care to elaborate?"Unknown: "If you call that me again, I will travel through time, take my Optic Pocketknife, and NEUTER EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR INCARNATIONS!!!"(The Inspector General's jaw drops)
Nine: This is exactly why I regret being him. I don't recall any one of my incarnations ever being that ruthless. Not even number four.Eleven: I hope number twelve isn't this bad.Ten: Technically, wouldn't that be you?(Eleven gives Ten a ugly look)Eight: (awkwardly) Well, judging from what you said, you already metamorphosised a clone... wouldn't... he be number twelve...?(All the Inspectors look at Ten expectantly)Ten: (begrudgingly) ...Yes. As a matter of fact, you're right. My clone's worse than all of us combined. Even our numberless self.Eleven: Can't you go one day without messing things up for the rest of us? First, you created the Indictor, then you got two of our past selves killed!Ten: ...I'm fairly certain number six got himself killed.Eleven: That is entirely beside the point! You indirectly helped it happen!Nine: (sotto) I wanted 222 years all to myself- but I didn't mean like this.
- The snarking between Eight, Nine, Ten, and Eleven that occurs after this exchange as they watch Unknown confront the Inspector General:
- This gem in the US Thanksgiving special:
American Inspector: How come you don't celebrate Thanksgiving like us Americans?Unknown Inspector: Because if I ate turkey on Thanksgiving, it'd make me sluggish. I might fall asleep and wake up too late to stop you crazy Yankees from destroying the planet on Black Friday if you didn't get the biggest plasma screen on the discount rack.
- From "The Creation of Earth":
The Inspector: Orbitting that star over there is the Dodo Planet. There's a strange and terrible story about how it got its name.
Lily: What is it?
The Inspector: Nobody knows. We know only that there's a strange and terrible story.
- The Ninth Inspector is much more Sarcasm-Blind than either the Fifth or Eighth Inspectors, e.g. this exchange in "The Humans of Westminster":
The Inspector: Detective Inspector, Chronospatial Inquiry Division. I must get inside.
Buckingham Palace Guard: Of course you are, and I'm the Queen's uncle.
The Inspector: Your Grace, I must get inside!
- The wonderful scene in "A Spacetime Musical" where the Inspector replaced James Haggard's nuclear missiles with a grove of watermelons. The lyrics and choreography to that number were a hoot, as well.
- The Inspector goes off the rails momentarily in the middle of his Patrick Stewart Speech in "The Xmas Rebellion":
The Inspector: I ask you, is that fair? Of course it isn't—fair is a place where you jump around in the bouncy castle, get sick on candy floss, and step in monkey poo. Or was I asking rhetorically just then? Or right now?
- The Inspector has a little trouble adjusting to early 21st-century London police in "The Nicodemus Examination" after his stint with Exo-Pol in the 1970s:
The Tenth Inspector: Did Doctor Nicodemus leave a ransom note about Joanna?
DCI Drake: Yes, I sent the note to our crime lab. It's demanding one million Euros.
The Tenth Inspector: Why would your crime lab demand a million Euros?
- In "Stare", where the Inspector describes the Snarling Lions as "wibble wobble time things". A real classic, and the Trope Namer for Wibble Wobble Time Thing.
- The reaction when it's finally revealed that Henry Anglo is really the Sergeant: "You shaved off your moustache!?"
- Pretty much every minute that guest-stars Hugh Laurie or Stephen Fry are on-screen in "Fry And Laurie", but especially when they finally meet at the end of the episode.
Inspector: Why are you stopping us?Security Droid: All patrons at Solar Meadows Sanatorium must discard footwear before entering Solar Meadows Sanitation Ward. Risk of tracking foreign particles indoors must be contained. Do not worry- we have installed top-quality artificial lawn carpeting so that your lack of footwear is made accommodating.(Joanna grins cheerfully and begins unlacing her tennis shoes)Inspector: Oh, that's right. You had a field day after that one Intra-Majorian tracked in radiation from the trenches of Marzipan. But it would look rather undignified to go shoe-free. So I brought regulation-meeting booties for myself. Got a buy-1-get-1-free deal, so there's enough to spare.(puts on one set of booties and extends his hand to Joanna with the other set)Joanna Martin: What, you gonna put those on your hands or something?Inspector: Of course not! They're for you!Joanna: I'll pass, thanks very much!Inspector: May I ask why?Joanna: Grew up in the Gloucestershire countryside, full of lush green grass. I explored the fields almost everyday from spring 'til early winter, rain or shine. My dad said I'd get grass stains on my shoes, so I always went barefoot. Loved how the grass caressed against my toes. I felt so carefree, like I could wander the whole world. Since then, shoes just annoy me, because they feel so uninviting for wandering. Heck, I hate shoes. They're so stuffy and sweaty. And the fact we're by the Sun of all things... they're like frying pans for my feet. They're comin' off and the toes are goin' in for a landing on that faux-grass! When I see Astroturf carpets waiting for me... I can't resist.Inspector: You really sure you don't want the booties?Joanna: Nope! They say intelligent people are practically allergic to shoes. I think I look brainier in my bare feet.(kicks off her shoes and they crash to the floor with loud thumps)Joanna: And now for these stinkers- Adios!(Flicks her socks away)(Wriggles her toes in the Astroturf)Joanna: Ahhh! So much cozier! My dogs are in paradise!(Patters down the halls barefooted)Joanna: Yeaaaah! Shoeless by the Sun!
Inspector: So this is the Booth.Joanna: Not much to look at inside, is it?Inspector: Oh, you haven't seen the hidden rooms, yet.Joanna: What, there's more?Inspector: Yep! I have to disguise the Booth's interior so nobody learns what's really inside if they stumble into it by accident. Once I pull this lever, a whole six dozen or so rooms will open up.Joanna: And what kind of rooms are they?Inspector: Whatever you want them to be. They assume their appearances based on how you picture them.Joanna: (beams) By any chance, could I make a giant room full of grass appear?Inspector: Go for it! (pulls lever)Joanna: Really? Ehehe! Forget these! Never gonna need 'em! (strips off her shoes and socks again)(stubs her toe on the corner of the Booth's interior)Joanna: Yeow! (clutches foot) Hey! What gives! I should be barefoot in a wonderland of grass right now!Inspector: About that... The Booth only has one room.Joanna: ...Seriously? You lied?Inspector: Have you not been paying attention? I said the Booth has rooms based on how you picture them... as in your imagination.Joanna: (sarcastically) So in other words, you got snubbed on the luxury suite?Inspector: In other words, Miss Joanna Martin, travelling through space and time is dangerous. You can't just go gallivanting off unshod! Remember how you almost branded your soles on the scalding hot gantry of the Sanatorium when it floated too close to the Sun? As long as you're in my company, you better follow my dress code. And that means shoes required, on my ship, and all other walks of the universe.Joanna: Fine, fine! (unethusiastically replaces footwear) But if I have to wear those stupid coke bottle specs, I'm painting this whole thing purple just to spite 'ya. I adore the colour purple. The eye-searing red is paining my irises worse than the blinding Sun did!Inspector: They are not stupid specs!
- Later a Brick Joke:
- Mona Virtue's short, but witty response to the Inspector's ordeal in "Noon" in the closing moments of the episode:
Inspector: Mona, it was awful! Just awful! For half the day, I was stuck on a bus full of mimes! Mimes!Mona: "..."Inspector: Not you, too! (runs away in panic)Mona:...Inspector...? Inspector! It was just a joke!
- "I wear a bowler hat now. Bowler hats are neat."
- "The Earth said 'om nom nom'. Must be Saturday."
- "Oh, look at that. A shovel-y thing. I love a great big shovel-y thing."
- "Quiet Man? How come you can't shut up!"
- "I demand custard creams! And coffee!"
- "That doesn't even make sense!"
- This conversation with Cabin, the X7's in-flight hologram waitress:
Cabin: Be afraid of me. I dispatched thousands of Infinity Knights.
The Inspector:: Be afraid of me. I dispatched most of them.
Cabin: Funny. You die now.
- Eleventh explaining the mating ritual of "The Satan Theorem"'s Alien of the Week includes lager, Vegemite Vindaloo, the complete collection of UB40, and cattle prods for the extra bit of romance.
- A blink-and-you'll-miss-it bit of Slapstick from "Let's Kill Hitler":
- The Eleventh Inspector advises to Reggie on retreating in the opposite direction from the scary thing that is scary.
Inspector Spacetime: When in doubt, run!
Constable Wigglesworth: I hope there's a Plan B.
Inspector Spacetime: [Grins] Run faster!!
- Eleventh addressing babies in "Grand Opening".
- Eleventh's gleeful reaction in "Cavemen on a UFO" to winning the Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate with Angie and Geneva over whether Ancient Astronauts abducted Neanderthals to crew their spaceships when they locate one exploring Bode's Galaxy in the 35th millennium BCE:
The Inspector: Cavemen! On! A U-F-O!!! *Squee*
- For added hilarity, his voice cracks.