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Shout Out / Rivers of London

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Shout-Outs in the Rivers of London series. Apart from the short stories, this page is in In-Universe chronological order.


  • There are several references to Doctor Who throughout the series. Given Aaronovitch's writing history,note  this probably counts as an In-Joke.
    • In Rivers of London, while watching the CCTV footage, Peter cites the show as how he knows what an Edwardian smoking jacket looks like.
    • In Moon Over Soho, Peter thinks that CERN smashes atoms because they hope the Doctor will turn up and stop them.
    • In Whispers Under Ground, Peter compares stoneware saltcellars lined up on a shelf in an old warehouse to an army of miniature Daleks.
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    • Broken Homes:
      • Lesley compares herself wearing her mask to one of the "police robots" from Doctor Who, and Peter refrains from telling her what they're actually called (Autons).
      • Peter thinks that the circles engraved on the steel door securing the special vault under the Folly look disturbingly like modern Gallifreyan.
    • Foxglove Summer:
      • Peter says "Allons-y" when leading Dominic and Beverley during the unicorn hunting walk.
      • When Beverly is explaining to Peter about how they basically conceived a new river god for the Lugg, but there shouldn't be any DNA involved in the process, she says that if they come back in ten years and he's watching Doctor Who, than Peter can call her a liar.
    • The Hanging Tree:
      • Peter on rich people and their large urban basements:
        "Those without access to trans-dimensional engineering, a key Time Lord discovery, have had to resort to extending their homes into the ground."
      • Peter compares the thing that happened at Kew Gardens to the Krynoid from "The Seeds of Doom", saying that using said comparison in his report probably didn't help the trouble he got into.
      • Peter has a mental monologue about the various forms of police communication through the ages, and when he gets to police boxes, he says, "Here a police officer in need of assistance could find a telephone link to Scotland Yard, a dry space to do 'paperwork' and, in certain extreme cases, a life of adventure through space and time."
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    • Detective Stories: At the barbecue at the end, Abigail is wearing a T-shirt with the Great Seal of Rassilon on it.
    • Lies Sleeping: The armed response team that works with the Folly wear sprigs of mistletoe on their Metvests, because garlic would look stupid. We're told that Seawoll, of all people, suggested celery, but Peter was the only one who got the joke.
    • Amongst Our Weapons: Seawoll again; it turns out he spent his childhood playing at Doctor Who, because Brook refers to "all those Daleks and Drashigs and other monsters".
  • Multiple references to Harry Potter, which Peter uses as a sort of baseline most people know about, for explaining how actual magic is entirely different.


Action at a Distance

Rivers of London

  • When Beverley says that her mother just found her floating in the river, Peter quips that she was "created by the midichlorians", to the confusion of both Beverley and Lesley.
  • During the riot, when Peter witnesses a large man possessed by Pyke and/or Punch repeatedly trying to put on tiny ballet slippers, crying like a baby every time he busts the fabric, he quips that "there are some things man was not meant to know."
  • When Peter confronts the villain and he realizes that the villain's personality has decayed after death until his ghost is only a puppet for someone else, he interrogates him about his family, to see how much he actually remembers. When the villain actually claims his parents' first names were "mother" and "father", Peter asks him "And tell me all the good things that come into your mind about your mother?"

Moon Over Soho

  • When Peter asks what the collective noun for wizards is, Nightingale says it's a coven and Dr. Walid jokes that it's actually "an argument". When the other two react in confusion, he tells them to read more.
  • Simone, Peggy and Cherie had previously attended a school called Cosgrove Hall.
  • Peter mentions his Dr Marten's shoes "retain some of that horrorshow goodness for kicking".
  • Peter describes the inside of a library decorated in silver and red as "like a particularly creepy level of System Shock 2".
  • Far, far too many jazz references to cite them all.

Whispers Under Ground

  • All the chapters are named after tube stations. Finishing with Mornington Crescent.
  • The graffiti artist is interrupted in the middle of writing "Be Excellent To Each Other".
  • Stephanopoulos references "Common People" by Pulp — the victim "certainly had a thirst for knowledge. He was a student at St. Martin's College."
  • There is one to the song "The Internet Is for Porn" from Avenue Q:
    Guleed: That (finding info about a suspect)'s what the internet is for.
    Peter: That's not how the song goes.
  • Peter is temporarily partnered with a red-headed female FBI agent.
    • She points it out herself in The Hanging Tree; she used to dye her hair brown to avoid looking conspicuous, but when she realizes she's gotten involved with the real-life X-Files, she goes back to her natural colour.
  • It's probably no coincidence that the fae call their migratory shopping district a Goblin Market.
  • The beer at the Nazareth is called "Mac's" and from a microbrewery in the States. In Chicago, perhaps? And Peter, after having some, thinks it ought to be served at room temperature.
  • Peter asks a senior police officer, "What do you want?", which makes the man smile and reply, "I want to stop running through life like a man late for an appointment."
  • Peter sees a gang of labourers with shovels and rakes and other implements of destruction.
  • As they approach the Quiet People's settlement, Peter says he can hear drums, and can't resist adding "Drums in the deep".
  • Peter refers to a suspect who's Dishing Out Dirt as an Earthbender.
  • While traversing the titular underground, Peter gets strong Space Hulk-vibes from the claustrophobic tunnels.
  • After reaching the Quiet People's settlement, Peter makes reference to Tracy Island and the titular machines from Thunderbirds.
  • Semi-magical pottery provides clues that bring Peter into the case and lead him on from there. The pottery's chief claim to fame is that it's unbreakable, just like the unbreakable tile sought by one ceramics-obsessed culprit on The Avengers (1960s).
  • In explaining the different methods by which someone can get caught up on colleagues' progress in an investigation, Peter's example of the most concise - meeting them at the pub, where they'll tell you as fast as possible so they can quit thinking about work and resume drinking - summarizes the search for video of the murder victim's arrival as follows:
    "We've gone over every bit of CCTV footage in the area, and it's as if the fucker beamed down from the Starship Enterprise."

Broken Homes

  • The in-universe infamous 20th century Brutalist architect and Jewish refugee Erik Stromberg is named after the Bond villain from The Spy Who Loved Me. This is a reference to the Real Life infamous 20th century Brutalist architect and Jewish refugee Ernö Goldfinger, after whom Ian Fleming named his Bond villain Auric Goldfinger.
  • Sergeant William Daverc "really d'Averc" = Huillam d'Averc from The History of the Runestaff.
  • Peter makes a statement that sounds like a Tamarian sentence upon seeing Beverley Brook again:
    Peter Grant at the South Bank. His eyes wide, his testicles on fire.
  • The Skygarden estate must've been designed under similar principles to Dana's apartment building from Ghostbusters (1984).
  • Peter compares the layout of the Skygarden estate, with the central tower and the ring-like park, to Isengard.

Foxglove Summer

  • Peter mentions the old Celtic horned gods, ending with "Herne the Hunted", rather than "Hunter". He also refers to the phrase "Pull up a chair and call the cat a bastard". note 
  • Peter's usual ringtone is the theme from The Empire Strikes Back (probably the Imperial March), but he changed it to the sound of an old-fashioned telephone because that's not the kind of thing you want to have going off when you're working as a Family Liaison Officer on a missing child case.
  • The closest the Folly has previously come to having to do formal Falcon assessments are telling senior officers that having occult graffiti, particularly if cribbed from Aleister Crowley, Adventure Time or The Lord of the Rings, at a crime scene does not necessarily make it a Falcon case. And there was one case with graffitied kanji from Sakura Wars.
  • Peter muses about actions:
    "The police never saw a noun they didn't want to turn into a verb, so it quickly became "to action", as in you action me to undertake a Falcon assessment, I action a Falcon assessment, a Falcon assessment has been actioned and we all action in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine."
  • One of the things Peter took with him the first time he ran away from home as a child was a copy of 2000 AD.
  • A rather spoilery one: the kids call the unicorn Princess Luna.
  • After Peter explains the plan to lure out the unicorn to Dominic, he responds "Your name is Baldrick and I claim my ten pounds." It's a double Shout-Out as the full phrase refers to a competition run by various British newspapers since the 20s.
  • When Beverley encourages Peter to let off a little steam and release his pent-up anger, she says she's not telling him "to turn green and go on a rampage".
  • At the party, Peter toasts Beverley while saying the first thing he thinks of, "Sic transit gloria mundi". He thinks that it could have been worse, he could've said "Valar Morghulis" instead.
  • Following the river Lugg scene, Peter comments "My milkshake brings all the gods to the yard", to which Beverley responds with the next lines of the Kelis's song "Milkshake". And then Peter thinks of another song line: "Flat bottomed barges you make the river world go round!"
  • Peter is at one point given a lift by someone whose car stereo only has Queen's Greatest Hits in it.
  • Peter calls Hugh's staff "a more practical weapon from a less civilized age".
  • The owner of a computer shop where Peter buys most of his equipment is named Albert but Peter can call him Al.
  • Multiple references to Aliens, including:
    “Nightingale was against it from the start, said we should send in the RAF and bomb the camp from altitude. He said it was the only way to be sure.” He gave me a puzzled look. “Did I say something funny?” “No, sir,” I said.
    "Outstanding. Now all we need is a deck of cards."

Night Witch

  • Beverley wears a T-shirt in the style of "Keep Calm and Carry On" that says "All Shall Love Me and Despair".
  • A flashback to Varvara getting stoned in the 1970s has an Art Shift to the style of Robert Crumb.
  • Peter paraphrases "Roxanne" a few times in his narration.
  • Bonus strip "These Are Not the Gods You Are Looking For" depicts Nicky misbehaving with mind control at the premiere of The Force Awakens (which, incidentally, as of Lies Sleeping puts this strip as the last chronological entry in the series so far).
  • A retailer-exclusive variant cover for the first issue is a homage to the film poster for Beverly Hills Cop, with Peter as the cop and the title changed to "Beverley Brook's Cop".

Black Mould

  • The cover of the collected edition shows Peter and Guleed in Hazmat suits with backpack spray guns and a symbol of a mushroom in a "no way" sign behind them, giving the not entirely inaccurate effect of anti-fungal Ghostbusters. (This was also the cover of one of the individual issues.)
  • A variant cover for one issue shows Peter, Nightingale, Guleed, and Debden in the style of Scooby-Doo.
  • The senior-living facility where Lola lives is the W Hope Hodgson Care Home. The threat in this comic is strongly reminiscent of Hodgson's ghost stories.
  • A chunk of the mould wrapped in a Noddy suit hood crawls out from under the tech-cave sofa, and Peter torches it with an appropriate "gotta be fucking kidding" quote from The Thing (1982).

The Furthest Station

The Hanging Tree

  • Peter is a fan of the Shard's architecture despite the nagging feeling he gets that Nazgûl should be roosting at the top.
  • Peter thinks that the floor plan of One Hyde Park looks like the result of two Star Destroyers backing into each other during maneuvers.
  • Peter compares the furniture at the flat in One Hyde Park to interior design in The Sims.
  • Noting that the Harrods staff all seem to be ridiculously attractive, well-dressed, and happy, Peter thinks that either the management are paying them really well or the HR department has been outsourced to Stepford, Connecticut.
  • Peter and Guleed hustle their prisoner, "Awa Shambir", back to Belgravia to see if a Sith Lord comes to bail her out.
  • Belgravia nick has a pool on when and how Peter will exit the police force - "options being death, medical discharge (physical), medical discharge (psychological), indefinite disciplinary suspension, sacked for misconduct, secondment to Interpol, and, with just one vote, ascension to a higher plane of existence."
  • Peter claims that Beverley likes to see him go into the water with his clothes on and blames it on Colin Firth.
  • Before his absolutely unofficial conversation with lady Ty and Olivia, Peter muses "This was off the books — I was not here, this never happened — the spice must flow."
  • Regarding the rich trend for large basement extensions, Peter thinks that all that stands between the average rich person and a career in Bond villainy is an extinct volcano.
  • Peter sarcastically speculates whether the Americans plan to enlist International Rescue to drill them out of an underground basement using The Mole.
  • Peter claims that the Faceless Man is no Moriarty and he is bound to make a mistake.
  • There's a digression referencing random items one might sell on eBay, e.g. a used pink bathrobe or rare mint snow globe.
  • Peter gives "a quick prayer to Sir Samuel, the patron saint of policemen" while in a sticky situation. (Vimes once wondered if there's "a god who would look kindly on hard-pressed and fairly innocent law-enforcement officers who were quite definitely about to die", so might approve.)
  • Peter's thoughts as he is hiding, prone, from a dangerous pursuer:

Detective Stories

  • Peter's narration refers to a couple of young uniform coppers as "Teenage Mutant Ninja Probationers. Heroes in a stab-vest."
  • Peter cites Vetinari as the source for a maxim about policing.
  • In the last case file, while searching for a flasher, Peter interviews a man described as a Farscape fan.
  • One of cover variants shows Grant in the characteristic pose of Horatio Caine from CSI: Miami.
  • The story told by the ghost of a murdered private detective is illustrated in a style similar to Sin City, in black and white, with just splashes of color, like a yellow scarf or a red dress.

Cry Fox

Lies Sleeping

  • Peter muses to himself that working out with the punching bag in the Folly's gym makes him feel like Captain America's younger, smarter half-brother.
    • Later, he muses that Postmartin, who's just spoken to Peter on the phone from Oxford's famous Eagle and Child pub, may be imagining that he, Postmartin, is C. S. Lewis's younger, atheist brother.
  • Peter jokes about Seawoll being from Glossop which, among other things, serves as a mirror to Royston Vasey.
  • The former Little Crocodile Patrick Gale works for a company called Bock, Loupe and Stag. In German, a Bock is a he-goat. Loupe sounds like loup, the French word for wolf. And a stag is the adult form of a hart, a male deer. And it's a law firm.
  • Apparently a mummy disappeared from the British Museum in 1933. Maybe it was stolen or, as Nightingale suggests, it was bored.
  • More Discworld: Peter compares the demimonde pub the Goat and Crocodile to Biers and, giving an inspiring speech about life and liberty, manages to sit down before he adds "and a hardboiled egg".
  • Peter wonders what the Faceless Man's ultimate goal is, and speculates that he intends to take over the world, the city, or the Tri-State Area.
  • The chapter title "A l'ombre des jeunes rivieres en crue" is a play on À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs by Marcel Proust.
  • Peter gets captured, drugged, and blindfolded by Lesley. He's addled enough he doubts that he couldn't figure out where he was being taken even with the help of a preternaturally sensitive blind man and a flock of geese.
  • When suggesting that the Faceless Man's plan will actually usher in a new Dark Age, rather than a new Golden Age, he quotes the line from Blackadder the Third about "dung for dinner".
  • He spends much of his imprisonment reading The Silmarillion, and giving a critique in his narration.
  • Since you cannot move yourself or anything connected to yourself with an impello spell, wizards have tried to overcome this limitation by creating various contraptions, which according to Peter "looked like something Dastardly and Muttley would pilot".
  • During a confrontation on a Clock Tower, with a thunderstorm in the distance, he says that all that's missing is a DeLorean.
  • When discussing where the Faceless Man might think Camelot would be, Peter suggests that if he's really detached from reality, it could be the location from The Weirdstone of Brisingamen.
  • During the confrontation at the end Peter muses that he, Chorley, and Lesley are recreating the stand-off scene from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Fey and the Furious

The October Man

False Value

  • Several to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    • The tech company central to the plot is named the Serious Cybernetics Corporation.
    • "DON'T PANIC" is printed onto the window of the SCC's entrance and on Terrence Skinner's t-shirt.
    • The SCC's security department is known internally as the Vogon Enforcement Arm, and its staff are referred to as Vogons several times.
    • Likewise, the SCC's human resources department is named the Magrathean Ape-Descended Life Form Utilisation Service.
    • The programmers call themselves mice.
    • The department doing secret research is called Bambleweeny, which is the brand name of the "electronic brain" that runs the Improbability Drive.
    • Deep Thought and Marvin the Paranoid Android are both namedropped.
      • "Deep Thought" is even the name of Skinner's artificial general intelligence program.
      Skinner: "I had to call it something."
      • Apparently it wanted to be called Slartibartfast.
  • Peter points out the aurors when a suspect doesn't believe that there are wizard cops.
  • Many of the chapter titles are quotes or misquotes from fictional AIs, including "All You Lose Is The Emotion Of Pride", "I'm Afraid I Can't Do That", "There Is Now", "I'm Not In The Business", "I Am The Business", "Perfect Organism", "A Strange Game", "Nice Job Breaking It, Hero", "I Don't Belong To Anyone Anymore", and "Don't Get Distracted By The Subtext". Just for a change, "An Extension Of That Quality" is a quote from real-life AI researcher Yann LeCun.
  • Skinner says that before he decided to stick to the branding and call his AI "Deep Thought", he considered "Florence", which Peter can tell is a reference but doesn't know what it's a reference to. (The other party to the conversation suggests The Magic Roundabout, but that Florence isn't an AI.) One possibility is that Skinner's making a Celebrity Paradox reference to one of Ben Aaronovitch's own science fiction novels, Transit, which likewise revolves around artificial intelligences and includes an AI named FLORANCE.
  • When Mrs. Chin of the Ordo Machinis Spectandis asks Peter if he understands what that means, he pretends to get it confused with the Adeptus Mechanicus from Warhammer 40,000.
  • When Mrs. Chin and Stephen ask what Peter hopes to get out of the raid on the secret floor, he's tempted to claim he's after a safe deposit box containing $640 million in bearer bonds, but resists the temptation in case they catch the reference and realize he's lying.
  • When Peter is briefed on Anthony Lane, he mishears the name as "Andy Lane" and is corrected by Agent Reynolds. Andy Lane was one of Ben Aaronovitch's co-authors in the Doctor Who New Adventures series and went on to write the Young Sherlock Holmes books.
  • A shell company created by Skinner to keep his secret activities separate from SCC is called "ThisIsNotABanana", which instead of being a Hitchhiker's in-joke is a reference to a scene from Red Dwarf (for bonus reference depth, the scene in question is about deception).
  • Peter mentions that he and Guleed have several different interrogation techniques, though Stephanopoulos has forbidden them from using the one where they pretend to speak Wakandan.

What Abigail Did That Summer

  • Abigail describes the door knocker on the front door of a rich person's house as looking like it should have a dead banker's face on it, referring to the first manifestation of Marley's ghost in A Christmas Carol.
  • When Indigo the talking fox is pretending to be Simon's dog, the name Simon chooses for the fictional dog is "Gaspode", after the talking dog in the Discworld series.
  • The job offer Abigail gets at the end includes a tounge-in-cheek promise of "excitement and adventure and really wild things", a quote from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Amongst Our Weapons

  • The title is a reference to "No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition!" from Monty Python's Flying Circus. The theme is continued in the section titles.
  • Peter compares the door to the Silver Vaults to the door to the secure lab in TRON.
  • The Lord of the Rings gets mentioned almost every time magical rings appear.
  • Peter calls the child goddess of the Glossop Brook Dennis the Glossop at one point.
  • While sending away the ghosts of pilots from the moors, Peter gets a strong Casablanca vibe.
  • Beverley watches Crazy Ex-Girlfriend at one point.
  • It turns out the Sons of Wayland currently have a leader. Her surname happens to be Yutani. She's Wayland-Yutani.
  • At one point Postmartin arrives at the Folly and comments "My, my, my. What a mess", to which Peter immediately responds "It's a circus", both quotes from The Fugitive. Postmartin then says loves the classics, but somehow missed the original TV series.

Monday, Monday

Short Stories

  • "The Home Crowd Advantage":
    • The pair of uniformed police officers Peter interviews are modeled on Penn & Teller.
    • At one point, Peter uses the phrase "Just like that", the catchphrase of the magician Tommy Cooper.
  • In "The Cockpit", Peter and Lesley investigate an apparent poltergeist in a bookshop, and trade lines from the library haunting scene in Ghostbusters.
  • "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Granny":
  • In "A Rare Book of Cunning Device", the decor in the basement of the British Library makes Peter feel like he's in a level of Mirror's Edge. Also, upon realizing they're dealing with a "book robot", Peter muses that it sounds a bit Despicable Me for his tastes.
  • In "Favourite Uncle", Abigail finds a reference in the Folly library hinting that A Christmas Carol may have been inspired by a real fae encounter — and the being she meets later in the story has some of the mannerisms of the Ghost of Christmas Present.
  • In the third "moment", "Tobias Winter – Mecklenheim 2012", it's mentioned that Winter tried to get out of being assigned to the division of the German federal police that investigates the supernatural by, among other things, saying that Cobra 11 wouldn't take him (the strategy failed).
  • In "Dedicated Follower of Fashion", the unnamed narrator says The Kinks' song of the same name was based on him. He also described his devastatingly attractive androgynous girlfriend to both Ray Davies and "that beardy writer who ran that sci-fi mag", but says they got her completely wrong, implying that Lilith was the inspiration for both Lola and Cornelius Brunner.