I saw someone post the "Broken Plate Analogy" on Facebook yesterday:

Grab a plate and throw it on the ground.
-Ok, Done.
Did it break?
Now say sorry to it.
Did it go back to the way it was before?
Do you understand?

I immediately thought "oh that's from Doctor Who!" I went to post as such, but then could not remember the scene exactly, and preferred to be sure before making myself look stupid. However, I could not find the scene after spending some time searching Google.

My memory is of the 12th Doctor doing it to Clara, perhaps in "Dark Water". Is this a real thing that happened in an episode of New Who?

  • 5
    You’re thinking of the famous Platestrap Paradox from Before the Flood: “Find a broken plate. Now go back in time to the point just before the plate was broken. Whoops, your time machine bumped into the plate and broke it. So! Who came up with the idea to break the plate??” “Er... you did, Doctor?” “Shush Clara. Quiet time now.” Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 18:51

1 Answer 1



At least I don't think so.

I searched the Chakoteya transcripts for all mentions of "plate", and the only results which came up in New Who were The Empty Child (Series 1 Episode 9), The Rebel Flesh (Series 6 Episode 5), The Angels Take Manhattan (Series 7 Episode 5), and Robot of Sherwood (Series 8 Episode 3). As you can see by searching for "plate" on the above-linked pages, the only mentions even there are in 'stage directions' and not in actual lines of dialogue.

  • Didn't know that existed, interesting. I couldn't find anything either. I can't shake the scene from my head though. Maybe it wasn't a plate in the episode, but I tried different phrases and couldn't find anything. bah Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 16:07
  • The analogy certainly seems Whovian to me. But it's a bit harsh for 10 or 11, and 12 might well not be patient enough to actually bother explaining it. That leaves 9, who still doesn't quite feel like the right Doctor for it.
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 17:43
  • As a tip: If I were you, I would search for "sorry."
    – Adamant
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 17:44
  • The Doctor might have used the analogy for something other than a plate.
    – Adamant
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 17:56
  • 5
    Searching for ' sorry' will turn up dozens of times an episode in the Tennant scripts. Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 2:39

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