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Prelude to Doctor Who’s “The Bells of St. John”


As has become fairly common, there is now a “prequel” to the upcoming mid-series premiere of Doctor Who, entitled “The Bells of St. John.” It’s a very nice little two minute scene wherein the Doctor talks to a little girl. I think it works quite well, though I wonder if we haven’t seen something like this before.

I’d also like to lodge my complaint with the use of the word “prequel” for things like this. Just because something takes place before something else does not make it a prequel. For something to actually be a prequel, it has to come out AFTER the thing it takes place before. That’s what the suffix “quel” implies. The original word, of course, was “sequel,” and the word “prequel” was then concocted by Hollywood and is now so prevalent that it doesn’t even get a squiggly line under it anymore. Thor was not a prequel to The Avengers; it was just a movie that led to something we knew was coming.

So, I’ve decided to coin a new term for little things like this which come out before an episode: Beforehander. It takes place and comes out before the episode and isn’t a full adventure in and of itself. Beforehander. Make it a thing.

Anyway, enough of my hair-splitting. Doctor Who “The Bells of St. John” premieres on BBC America on Saturday, March 30th at 8/7c, followed by Orphan Black and The Nerdist. You know this already.


  1. Sabrina says:

    Or Prologue. That might work better than Prequel, as well.

  2. fendjinn says:

    Preludes are just *so* 20th century (this century’s beforehander).

    Very nice I thought, sure we may have seen it coming but that didn’t lessen its charm.

  3. thatgrrl says:

    What ever happened to prelude? Is that just not a sufficiently exciting word anymore?

  4. John G. says:

    This was just delightful.

  5. Alex says:

    Beforehander. n. A thing that comes before another thing (ie, a thing).

    There you go Mr. Anderson. Beforehander is now a thing.

  6. Kez Smith says:

    *squeal* its beautiful. Both you and matt are beautiful. I can not wait xD they’ve come out with so many promos I think fans already know what is going to happen. some of them already wrote fanfictions about it. :)

  7. Cameron C. says:

    I think I love the term “Beforehander,” and I think I’m going to run with it! In many colorful ways! Such as:

    This girl gave me a wicked good beforehander in the back of her 1978 Pinto!


    My backhand is pretty strong, but my beforehand…that stuff cures blindness!


    When god beforehands there’s a garden of Eden, when he afterhands there’s Salt Lake city Utah


  8. Rob says:

    Well it’s cute I suppose, but other than that I don’t really see the point unless we need some serious…foreshadowing. Is there anyone here who didn’t know what the “punchline” would be after about 10 seconds, so that obviously wasn’t the purpose. I know previous “co-incidental” meetings have been hand-waved as the TARDIS guiding the Doctor, but this seems to go beyond that.

    But only 8 episodes. Sigh.

  9. Ben says:

    Aw, crap. I did the same thing Abel did.

  10. Ben says:

    Prelude, perhaps? But yes, prequel is not the correct term for this.

  11. And obviously I skipped past the headline. Hahaha!

  12. Properly, it should be called a prelude.