At the end of Episode 2 of Season 11 of Doctor Who, the TARDIS rewards the Doctor with a cookie or rather a BISCUIT. Yes, this is somewhat condescending of the TARDIS but all things considered there are few beings who have more right to be condescending to the Doctor.
Viewing on my phone on a bumpy commuter train, I couldn’t quite make out what she ate but on a proper telly it was clearly a custard cream. For non-British viewers this may require a little elaboration. Firstly I didn’t want to write this without first aces retaining whether Custard Creams are a thing in Australia. Australia is sort of a parallel universe of English things due to patterns of colonialism and immigration and not everything carries across (e.g. you can’t get Shredded Wheat here and Weetabix is Weet-Bix).
So firstly here is an Australian Custard Cream:
Now, I haven’t eaten one in awhile but I think the canonical British version are more oblong. However, the other features are correct, including the swirly embossed pattern and a rhombus (again I think less square in the UK).
In construction (but not flavour) not unlike an Oreo. The biscuit has three parts, two quite firm biscuits which form a sandwich with a sweet icing in the centre. For a custard cream that centre is yellow and vanilla flavoured.
Here you can see the Custard Cream in-situ:
(Arnotts are the big biscuit company in Australia – almost monopolistic. They do a lot of classic ‘British’ biscuits but I can’t recommend their Ginger Nuts which are way too brittle rather than crunchy. Luckily you can get McVities chocolate digestives in Australia. )
As a food item they fit a pattern with occasional other Doctor Who food stuffs, specifically:
- Jelly Babies (Tom Baker)
- Fish Fingers and Custard (Matt Smith)
The common feature is mass produced, child friendly, nostalgic post-war foods that are sort of a treat but also a bit mundane. The fish fingers for the Matt Smith era also playing on the association of Doctor Who with ‘tea-time’ in the sense of an early-evening meal and al,so the original Saturday evening time slot for Doctor Who. The show was (and to some extent still is) intended to be a transitional program between parts of the BBC’s programming
So several things going on:
- A call back to Matt Smith and custard,
- British junk food nostalgia,
- Tea-time reference,
- The Doctor has a secret biscuit stash,
- The TARDIS is the Doctor’s adopted mum.
Also, now I have a secret stash of Custard Creams at work!