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Shout Out / Doctor Who

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    Classic Series 

    Expanded Universe 
  • The title of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel The Taking of Chelsea 426 is a triple reference: first (and most obviously) to the movie The Taking of Pelham 123, and second to the planet LV-426. Thirdly, the Saturnian city is the new location of the Chelsea Flower Show.
  • The 2003 webcast "Shada", based on a script by Douglas Adams, included a Nutrimat drinks machine and a Ford Prefect car (neither appearing in the original script), both references to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The 2012 novelisation contains several more references, such as a reiteration of the famous digital watches joke, Chronotis switching out the book for "an Earth classic about space and thumbing lifts..." and a scene where the Doctor attempts to communicate with a man in ragged clothes and long hair whose first word is, for no apparent reason, "It's..."

New Series

    In General 
  • The Running Gag of the Doctor replacing enemies' guns with bananas is a reference to the Buster Keaton film The High Sign, where Keaton does the same thing to a policeman.
  • River's relationship with the Doctor, a woman who falls in love with a time traveller and meets him in the wrong order throughout her life is a pretty obvious shout out to The Time Traveler's Wife.
    • There's also a suspicion that Van Morrison is getting a namecheck here: reference his ballad Crazy Love (and what sort of love could be crazier?)
      Yet I'm running to her, like a river's song
      She gives me love, love, love, love - crazy love!

    Series 1 
  • "The End of the World": Before becoming a major part of the show's mythology, the Face of Boe was just a throwaway reference to an obscure narrative poem by Rudyard Kipling, The Ballad of Boh Da Thone. It's about a bandit/warlord who consistently avoids the British Army's attempts to capture and/or kill him only to be crushed to death when a fat ox driver he's trying to rob falls down off his cart on top of him. Said ox driver then decapitates Boh's corpse and sends his head by parcel post as a gift to an acquaintance who was one of the aforementioned soldiers who'd tried to catch him.
  • "Dalek": The Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill... sequence where the Doctor goes through the uncatalogued alien weapons and dismisses one as being a hairdryer references Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
  • "Father's Day": The Lamb and Flag pub from Bottom is mentioned.
  • "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances":
    • There seems to be a reference to The Importance of Being Earnest with Jack shagging Algy since Jack and Algy (short for Algernon) are main characters in that play.
    • Not to mention Rose asking the Doctor "I think you should scan for alien tech. Give me some Spock. For once, would it kill you?" Then, later on, she tells Jack that the Doctor is named "Mr. Spock", which Jack falls for since he's from the future and unfamiliar with 20th-century science fiction.
    • Rose is dressed similarly to Jenny Sparks of The Authority.

    Series 2 

    Series 3 

    Series 4 

    Series 5 

    Series 6 

    Series 7 
  • "Asylum of the Daleks" has a possible reference to Coupling when Rory asks, "What colour?" because all the good questions were gone. Similarly, in "The Man with Two Legs", Patrick asks Jeff — who has fallen in love with a girl's leg — "Left or right?" When Steve stares at him, he protests "It's a leg! What else is there to ask?" The others look shocked at him when he queries about the colour. It's also possibly a reference to the backlash against the brightly coloured Paradigm Daleks in "Victory of the Daleks".
  • "The Bells of Saint John": When the Doctor and Clara find themselves on a crashing plane, the conversation about how neither of them knows how to fly it, ending with the Doctor saying "Fine, we'll do it together" is a reference to a conversation in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where Zaphod establishes that neither he, Ford nor Trillian know how to pilot the Heart of Gold manually.
  • "The Rings of Akhaten": Neil Cross was apparently having a lot of fun with references.
    • The episode contains an array of new species. One of these seems to be a reference to CHIKARA, as not only are they called the Ultramanti (meaning the singular is Ultramantis), but there is a resemblance between them and one UltraMantis Black.
    • There's also the Doctor's mention of a species named the Hooloovoo. An eponymous species in a certain book series is referred to as "an intelligent shade of blue".
    • Clara, being a newbie on the TARDIS team, refers to the Doctor's signature gadget at one point as a "spanner". He politely corrects her with "screwdriver".
    • There are homages to works like the Indiana Jones film series (the Doctor's Indy Hat Roll moment with the screwdriver, Malevolent Architecture and traps in an ancient temple, Ravenwood being the maiden name of Clara's mum, even the poster for the episode) and Blade Runner (the shot of Clara's eyes reflecting a stylised scenery, the Doctor's and Clara's speech in the finale having similarities to Roy Batty's famous final monologue). Interestingly enough, an interview with Jenna Coleman at the time had her mentioning that Matt Smith recommended she watch Raiders of the Lost Ark before filming Series 7.
  • "Hide": Another episode written by Cross, with references such as:
    • The setup of the episode, with a group of ghost hunters in the 1970s using period technology to detect paranormal activities, is a nod to British horror films like The Stone Tape.
    • Clara asks where they're going with the TARDIS and the Doctor insinuates that the question isn't where, but when.
    • The Doctor quotes some lines from a Cole Porter song in the epilogue.
    • The cold spot and the music room being "the heart of the house" are direct references to The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (it was the nursery in the book).
  • "Nightmare in Silver":

    50ᵗʰ Anniversary Specials 

    Series 8 

    Series 9 
  • "The Magician's Apprentice": The Tenth Doctor got his trademark trenchcoat from Janis Joplin, and while it's not officially canon, Peter Capaldi's suggested that Twelve's guitar may be a gift from Jimi Hendrix (his personal headcanon is that the Doctor at least helped Jimi figure out some problems with feedback, and Jimi, in turn, helped the Doctor work out some licks he was having trouble with).
  • "Sleep No More" is an homage to the "found footage" genre of horror film popularized by The Blair Witch Project.
  • "Hell Bent": Clara and Ashildr's TARDIS, like how the Doctor's is stuck as a Police Box, is permanently stuck as a Route 66 diner. As they're both immortal, they decide to go to Gallifrey by going "the long way around", i.e. travel around the Universe until enough time has passed that they arrive physically on Gallifrey at the moment they left. Since Gallifrey is now situated near the end of the Universe, this means that their TARDIS will eventually be a diner at the end of the Universe.

    Series 10 

    Series 11 

    Series 12 
  • "Spyfall":
    • This spy-themed story has a title that fittingly nods to the James Bond movie Skyfall. The Doctor later introduces herself as "Doctor, the Doctor", and a Bond-style version of her leitmotif from "Resolution" plays during the car chase.
    • Upon being given the cover name "Logan", Ryan worries that he doesn't look like Hugh Jackman.
    • The Master describes his TARDIS, disguised as a house, flying alongside the plane as "a bit Wicked Witch of the West".
    • The Master now carries his miniaturized victim around with him, much like his parody Doctor Klench in Nebulous.
    • The "use the whole human race as computer hardware" plan was apparently the original plan for what the Machines would be using humanity for in The Matrix, but which was dropped due to Executive Meddling that thought it would be too complicated an idea for a mainstream audience.
    • The Master sums up his plan as "Maximum Carnage", before acknowledging that of course the Doctor wasn't going to get it.
  • "Orphan 55":
    • Hyph3n, the Cat Folk greeter at Tranquillity Spa, strongly resembles Barf from Spaceballs.
    • Ryan swatting away imaginary bats nods to a scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
    • The twin reveals that the Dregs breathe CO₂ and exhale oxygen, and that Orphan 55 is a post-nuclear war Earth with Tranquillity Spa as an engineered haven from the toxic outer world, echo Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, in which the heroine learns that the creatures inhabiting the polluted outer world have adapted not only to survive and thrive in it, but are actually cleaning up the mess humans made. Sadly, the conflict here does not come to such a hopeful point.
    • The setup is also quite reminiscent of The Time Machine, in which the upper class barricade themselves away from radiation sweeping the planet while the lower class are left to mutate into the monstrous Morlocks, who then take their revenge by luring the humans outside and eating them.
  • "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror":
    • Initially mostly unfamiliar with Nikola Tesla, Ryan mentions the electric car company named after him.
    • Graham calls Tesla and Thomas Edison "AC/DC" when telling them to stop arguing given the current situation. (Pun not intended.)
  • "Fugitive of the Judoon": In order to impress a tourist outside Gloucester Cathedral, Ruth mentions that the Harry Potter movies were filmed there.
  • "Praxeus": Victims developing crusts on their skin and exploding into dust is similar to the time-delayed death of an apparent survivor of an alien attack in the final Quatermass series.