Whovian mistletoe, again

DrWhoNardole2It’s August! Time to spot the six scarce, under-recorded in the UK, mistletoe insects! Which I discussed at a Biodiversity Workshop in Glastonbury a couple of weeks ago.

But no, not yet. It’s August, the silly season for news. So here’s some silly news instead.

Last night I watched the finale of the current Doctor Who series… and there was mistletoe in it! Understated, unremarked-on, but definitely there and used almost-certainly-deliberately (in my view) in background shots.

Why deliberate? Well it’s a distinctive plant, always gives that extra something to a landscape view. I’m attaching some screen-shots (full size below the text) which I hope show this.

And it could even have been, dare I say it, a very subtle reference to mistletoe traditions and previous Doctor Who.


This Who episode showed it on a ‘Solar Farm’ making up one entire floor (of many hundreds) of a 400 mile long, 100 mile wide spaceship. Growing on apple trees in a rural landscape that looked just like the Welsh countryside in Monmouthshire (I wonder why that is…?). And with a traditional, no high-tech, agricultural system, so traditions would seem relevant.

Mistletoe is, according to tradition, a plant of protection, used against evil beings and to gain access to forbidden areas (like the Underworld, in which Aeneas had to carry mistletoe for entry and exit).

The main shots towards the end showed a mistletoe-laden tree next to one of the lift doors, that connected the floors of the ship, through which there was a constant threat of cybermen. And, down below somewhere, was the Doctor, on a floorful of dead cybermen, not unlike the underworld really. So, if one credits the production team with a bit of mistletoe knowledge, that lift door might have been positioned there for protection? Or maybe just for photogenicity?

The Who team have used mistletoe for protection before, way back in 2006 with David Tennant, when a room coated with varnish made from mistletoe protected Queen Victoria (don’t ask) from a Werewolf.

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