Doctor Who and The Black Archive

DalekSaturday night was, of course, The Day of the Doctor – the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

We’ve seen a library of real importance in Doctor Who’s past – Spoilers! – in Silence in the Library but Saturday’s wonderful episode featured an archive. And as we are specialist recruiters in the field of archives, I thought I’d write about it.

It features The Black Archive, a secret, Tardis-proofed vault in the Tower of London (as well as an underground collection of alien art at the National Gallery). I’ve seen many job descriptions for archivists over the years but none has so far alluded to WMDs in the archives in case of emergency or the rather extreme measure of erasing the memory of each member of staff at the end of every day. Still, this is no ordinary collection. And yet the door is locked with no more complicated a device than a key.

It’ll take at least another viewing with a few freeze-frames to get to the heart of The Black Archive, but I think it’s worth it.

An episode of such warmth (and darkness) for fans and occasional viewers alike, it’s one of those moments of such quality that you realise the licence fee is richly-deserved. If only there could be more of this, and less of the drivel (see Robin Ince’s excellent blog post on exactly that). Don’t dumb down, BBC. Keep up the complicated plots, the emotional discussions on what is right and wrong, stretching the boundaries of our imagination and pushing us to watch more than just a collection of soundbites dressed up in sparkly costumes, singing karaoke songs while speaking only in superlatives. Let our television be the envy of the world.

Off my soapbox and back to Doctor Who, finishing this little post with a quote from the Doctor about his purpose:

“Never cruel or cowardly.  Never give up, never give in.” 

As far as mission statements go, it’s a good one and a code by which we should live our lives.  

– Suzanne 



(Photo credit – Suzanne Wheatley



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