I had a very strange experience watching Doctor Who this week. “The Witchfinders” sees the Doctor and her companions travel to Pendle Hill. My association with Pendle Hill is that it is the name of the school handbook at my alma mater. The school was founded by Quakers, and the book is named after the site where George Fox had a vision to establish the denomination. Needless to say, we were never told about the incident that made the location infamous.
When I first heard that Doctor Who would be visiting Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama, during 1955, I was a bit nervous. The show has a tendency to go wild with the sci-fi elements when meeting historical figures (such as HG Wells meeting lizards known as Morlox or Shakespeare fighting alien witches). At times, this can be fun; although, it could easily disrespect her contribution to the Civil Rights Movement.
“The Ghost Monument” gave us our first look at Doctor Who’s new opening credits and theme song (which were both absent from last week’s episode). Keeping with the throwback to the classic Who aesthetic that Chris Chibnall has been cultivating, both feel very reminiscent of their counterparts in the early years of the show. There was a massive regime change behind the scenes this season, and I was most worried about previous composer Murray Gold’s departure from the show; however, his replacement Segun Akinola is off to a fantastic start. Gold’s music brought a full orchestral sound to the show, but Akinola’s theme shifts to the more alien and ethereal qualities present in the beginning of the show’s long run.
Before I begin my review, I feel the need to lay out some ground rules as the use of pronouns in Doctor Who have become much more complex. For the sake of simplicity, I plan on using the current Doctor’s gender when referring to the character in general, but when discussing a specific iteration of the Doctor, I will use that regeneration’s gender.