Doctor Who's Original 'Blink' Ending Didn't Quite Put the Fear of Angels Into Us

Carey Mulligan as Sally in the Doctor Who episode “Blink.”
Carey Mulligan as Sally in the Doctor Who episode “Blink.”
Image: BBC

There’s a reason the Weeping Angels are some of the most-terrifying villains on Doctor Who. Their small screen debut ended with a stern warning from the Doctor, solidifying the angels as a permanent and ever-present threat. But it wasn’t always that way.

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Former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat recently released the original script for Doctor Who’s “Blink,” widely considered one of the show’s greatest hours of television. The episode saw the debut of the Weeping Angels, which have risen to become one of the most-feared creatures in the history of the series—they even won a recent RadioTimes poll for scariest monster, beating out the Daleks and even the Cybermen. That’s partially because of how the episode ended, with a stylized montage of Great Britain’s many statues alongside David Tennant’s Doctor telling the audience that these creatures are here, and they will destroy you.

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Moffat shared how the episode’s original script (which you can read here), which was called “Sally Sparrow and The Weeping Angel,” didn’t have the whole “don’t blink!” thing at first—something that’s widely considered one of the core tenets in a solid Moffat Doctor Who episode. In a statement (according to RadioTimes), he said it was then-showrunner Russell T. Davies who suggested the episode’s final supercut, after Moffat had changed the episode title. The rest was, as a Weeping Angel would say, history.

“The proper title hadn’t arrived yet, so no one says ‘don’t blink!’ Weird, really, looking back. When I changed the title, it was Russell who suggested I hit the word “blink” over and over again, like a cheesy old trailer. As you know, I ran with the note for all I was worth—and what a brilliant note it was,” he said.

Moffat noted some other changes from the original script, including how it ended on a more ambiguous note for Sally (Carey Mulligan) and Larry. It’s not the first time Moffat has mused on Sally’s fate in the episode. In a 2017 interview, he remarked how he wished he’d changed the ending so that Sally had ended up getting whisked away to another time by a surprise Weeping Angel in her store. It would’ve been an appropriately dark Doctor Who ending, but I’m glad they kept her fate a bit happier. It put more of the focus on the montage about Weeping Angels being everywhere, which was much scarier in the long run.

Doctor Who is set to return in the upcoming holiday special, featuring Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

chancejohnt
ChanceJohnT

...it was then-showrunner Russell T. Davies who suggested the episode’s final supercut, after Moffat had changed the episode title. The rest was, as a Weeping Angel would say, history.

Not to dump on Moffat, but this feels like exactly the kind of environment that he thrives in. Between his time as showrunner on Doctor Who and Sherlock, it always feels like he’s that one note away from delivering something amazing.

It’s like he’s always 90% there, but the remaining 10% is hot garbage. Having somebody like Davies nudge him in the right direction seems prevent him from indulging in his worst habits.