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In the recent Doctor Who episode The Rings of Akhaten, as they were wandering the marketplace, Clara asked if he had been there before.

The Doctor responded that he had:

CLARA: You've been here before?

DOCTOR: Yes, yes, yes. I came here a long time ago with my granddaughter.

(He dashes off through the crowd.)

  • Is he referring to Susan Foreman?
  • Did the market or Akhaten feature in any previous Doctor Who story?
  • I wondered about that as well. Is this not also the first time one of the modern era Doctors has mentioned a specific family member? He's always been vague in recent times regarding his family, aside from mentioning a couple times that he had one, but they were all gone now. – BBlake Apr 9 '13 at 13:06
  • @BBlake I think it might be, but I couldn't say with 100% certainty that it is. – Anthony Grist Apr 9 '13 at 14:38
  • @BBlake All I can recall is that he mentioned before that he had children. – Beofett Apr 9 '13 at 14:39
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    I'm watching Dr. Who starting from the first episode from 1963 and so far no Akhaten, just a bunch of Daleks and awkward bottle episodes. I'll keep an eye out for it. – Mark Rogers Apr 10 '13 at 0:29
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    @NiceOrc - Well a bottle episode, i believe, was originally any cheap episode of star trek where not much special effects or locations were used. This is because the budgets are often slim in the middle of a series because money is saved for the premieres and season cliffhangers, thus leaving less budget for the middle of the season episodes. Generally it refers to a cheap episode of a series that is kind of boring. – Mark Rogers Apr 25 '13 at 22:18
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As far as I know this is the first time the name "Akhaten" has been mentioned on Doctor Who on-air. There were not that many episodes with Susan in them, though I can't say for sure that I remember them all (I don't own any of those on DVD). (For whatever it's worth, the TARDIS wikia seems to back up my recollection; it also doesn't show any extended-Whoniverse works that use the name. As always with Wikia, apply your own level of judgement about its accuracy.)

However, the early episodes of Doctor Who were far more about exploring and going interesting places, and much much less about saving the universe from monsters. We didn't really get the action-hero-save-the-world Doctor until Three came along. Travelling to a huge alien market and just going shopping is very much the kind of thing One would have done with his granddaughter.

Also, note that we never saw a television episode with Susan but not Barbara or Ian, while Eleven only mentions being on Ahketan with his granddaughter. While not exactly conclusive, the implication is that he had been to that bazaar before the first episode, and thus we would have never seen it on air.

  • Susan gets dropped off in the first serial of the second series, "The Dalek Invasion of Earth," where the "one day, I shall come back" speech comes from. She makes two further televised appearances I know of, in "The Five Doctors" and that mostly terrible "Dimensions in Time" thing. – Thom Brannan Apr 9 '13 at 22:03
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Susan often makes reference to unseen adventures that only she and the Doctor went on. So, it's plausible to say that they went to Akhaten when it was just the two of them in the TARDIS.

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