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And yet here we are with The Beast Below: it’s spiky and political and engaged, and miles from the sex comedies and timey wimey puzzle boxes that Moffat is accused of “only ever writing.” Actually, this last bit isn’t quite true.

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A story seemingly destined to always seem a bit out of place, The Beast Below was not quite what anybody expected and, perhaps more to the point, is not quite like anything that has come since.

The knowledge that the production got away from the new team and that this story was thus made under very trying circumstances makes it easy to write the strangeness off as an artifact of a production team that was still learning what they were doing, much as Aliens of London/World War Three is often read in part as the result of the Davies/Gardner team finding themselves overwhelmed by the scope of what they were doing. What’s bizarre about The Beast Below is that it’s unlike almost everything else Moffat has ever written for Doctor Who.

What looks like exploring a world is in fact exploring a set of revelations and reversals that have been carefully sequenced.

As with most of Moffat’s supposed mysteries there is no possible way to solve it in advance.

Instead of being built as a world, Starship UK essentially exists as an interplay of several iconographies.

On the most basic level is the iconography of the UK. Scouting for Girls are at number one with “This Ain’t a Love Song,” with Plan B, Delirious, Tinie Tempah, and Inna also charting, as well as most of the crowd from last week. In news, the miners in Shanxi were rescued, and the next day a cole mine in West Virginia explodes, killing twenty-five.Wikileaks releases the “Collateral Murder” video, showing the killing of civilians by the US military in Iraq, which was leaked to them by Chelsea Manning.(And notably, all of those stories feel at least a little strange in their respective seasons, much as this one does.) But The Beast Below is really the only instance in the Moffat era where we just get to see what Moffat is inclined to write when left to his own devices.Indeed, it’s one of the only times at all - Moffat’s Davies-era scripts may not have been rewritten, but they were generally prepared to specific briefs.This is, of course, merely a superficial return: Starship UK is not a particularly coherent world.

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