In one of the best scenes of the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who, there's one thing which has never quite made sense to me. It may be nothing, or it may be a hint towards some big reveal in a future episode. At about 2:30 in this video, we see a hand come round a corner and grab hold of what looks like a picture frame, followed by Clara moving into the shot:


Whose hand is this? It doesn't seem like it can be Clara's, unless she's performing some strange contortion with her arm, and anyway the hand looks older than Jenna Coleman. But it's also not any of the Doctors, since they're too busy "showing off", and the six human/Zygon negotiators are all still standing by the table.

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    Camera is to Clara's left behind and beside chalkboard frame. Clara is facing forward. Clara's right arm crosses her chest and grasps frame. The reason the image looks weird: a long lens with short focus. This creates a myopic tunneling effect, which plays with the mind. This "mess with the mind" trick seems congruent with the rest of the scene.
    – bishop
    Apr 16, 2017 at 14:01
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    The DOF really makes this look weird
    – MCMastery
    Apr 16, 2017 at 15:13
  • An old fan theory says that's Missy's han, and that's how she scaped the Time War.
    – tilley31
    Apr 17, 2017 at 1:56
  • @tilley31 Yup, Gallifreyan's answer (and a deleted one from KutuluMike) give a nod to that theory.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 17, 2017 at 11:41

3 Answers 3


It might yet be Clara.

My first guess was Missy, because it's simply what Moffat would do to screw with us. There are even (plausible?) fan theories (1, 2) that try to explain this.

But Googling for doctor who clara right hand, I found what appears to be a promotional image with Clara and Matt Smith's Doctor. Notice that rings are the same, and they're on the same hand (but not on same fingers):

Re-watching that video, I think I understand how she did this: she's coming from the right, grasps the frame, and pulls herself forward. Notice how hair swings forward, just a bit, as if from inertia:

Artist's impression:

  • If her head was facing the camera, the shot and your drawing would make much more sense. But she's moving to the left, while her right arm (which you'd expect to be behind her) is somehow stretched out from behind her and all the way round to grasp the frame, all without any of it above the wrist being visible. The distance between her head and the hand also looks much greater than could be accounted for by mere perspective.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 16, 2017 at 13:06
  • @Randal'Thor There are people who can draw, and then there's me. I'll try to improve it, but I mainly wanted to point out a possible explanation. I agree that the perspective looks awkward in the picture you provided, but it makes more sense in the video. Apr 16, 2017 at 13:30

In-universe, it's obviously Clara's arm

  • The rings alone give it away; rings are a staple of Clara's costume, more so than probably any other character, and she's almost never seen without one or two of them on her right hand (and that's clearly a right hand)
  • It's clearly coming from the "Gallifrey Falls"/"No More" painting, but the sleeve doesn't match any of the Gallifreyan wardrobes; the only other character wearing a black coat is Kate, but the composition of the larger scene means it can't possibly be her arm
  • I don't see the hand as appearing significantly older than I'd expect Clara's to be; there may be some slight wrinkling around the knuckles, but then she is hauling herself out of a painting, i.e. putting pressure on her hand. Skin is squishy, and deforms slightly when you apply pressure to it

Out-of-universe, it's...almost certainly Jenna Coleman's arm

I've got no idea why you think she would need to contort her body in any unusual way to get into that position; it's clearly her right hand, and we can see the position of her right shoulder. It looks as though she has her shoulders square with the camera, her right arm reaching up to grasp the edge of the painting (presumably as leverage to haul herself out of it), and her head turned into the room.

This isn't a difficult position to get into (citation: I just tried it, using a door frame and an office chair), and certainly doesn't require contortionist training. In fact, here I am, miming the position in place (anonymized); it's slightly difficult without something to brace my hand against, but I don't need to turn my head at all:

enter image description here

If my shoulders aren't square in that picture, it's because I had to reach my left arm around to hit the "take picture" button on my laptop.

It's not impossible that they used a hand model to get a surreal-looking shot of Clara pulling herself out of the painting, but I don't see any obvious reason to suspect it's anything other than exactly what it looks like. If the shot looks odd for any reason, it's just perspective trickery.

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    Sidenote: I'm utterly baffled by the fact that I seem to be the only person who things this is patently obvious. Is this a chat joke I'm just not privy to? Apr 16, 2017 at 12:46
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    It's the perspective and the distance from her arm to her head that is confusing. You say it's not a hard position; I say she'd had to bend her neck pretty awkwardly to position her head and shoulders and arm like that. Apr 16, 2017 at 12:50
  • @Gallifreyan ....no, she really doesn't. I'm sitting in my office chair miming the position; it's really not difficult. I don't even need to turn my head at all, and I assure you I'm not abnormally flexible Apr 16, 2017 at 12:52
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    Did you watch the video as well as just looking at the still photo? The way the arm and Clara's head move in that scene just seems completely out of kilter to me, either in-universe (bearing in mind that she's scrambling out of a painting) or out of universe.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 16, 2017 at 12:56
  • @Randal'Thor Yes, I've watched the video. She's obviously not actually pulling her full weight out of a picture, which could perhaps mess with what we'd expect a body to do in that situation, but I see no reason to suspect it's anything other than Jenna Coleman Apr 16, 2017 at 12:58

It is Clara's hand. The finger rings and the cuff of the leather jacket match as shown from this still from around 5 mins and 40 seconds into the episode.

enter image description here

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    This raises a much bigger question: whose lightsaber is that?? Apr 16, 2017 at 18:18
  • 3
    @Paul D. Waite judging by the robotic legs, I'd say General Grevious
    – Mikasa
    Apr 17, 2017 at 0:29

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