Bow Ties Are Cool – A Doctor Who Poster Analysis

Five years ago today, the Eleventh Doctor debuted in the Series 5 opener The Eleventh Hour. This episode was my first encounter with the Doctor (although I watched it in November 2011).

To celebrate the anniversary, I give you a deep analysis of one of my favorites, the Doctor Who Series 5 poster. Click on the picture to see it in full size and continue reading!


First, study the picture from the viewpoints of people with different knowledge about the topic.

The absolute stranger can see a poster that suggests a kind of peaceful mood because of the overwhelming blues and the warm sun in the corner. The sleeping girl strengthens this theory. The upper side of the picture seems to be the dream what she is dreaming, a dream of the Earth and space. Not a cold, dark and dangerous space, though. The only item that does not fit to the concept is the main character: this man, probably this Doctor from the title (Doctor Who for strangers). He seems to be worrying and makes eye-contact with the viewer, opening the fourth wall. This lets some kind of disturbance: everything is peaceful, the girl is sleeping, still, there is something that needs worrying.

A pondering starts: what is the story behind this picture?

Now, change the view to somebody who is familiar with this series of Doctor Who. In his/her mind, the picture is also peaceful but contains a lot of things to worry about. First of all, the Doctor’s figure and Amy in her bed immediately remembers them to the Doctor’s sad and beautiful monologue at Amy’s bed when he has to think he will disappear from the universe to the void of nothing. (We see the two figures together: we only see a similar shot in the season finale but this is how a collage can compress time into a single picture.)


We see Amy’s wall with van Gogh’s paintings – she and also he are fond of the painter’s works (so am I – this is just a side note).

The universe is pouring into Amy’s dreams through the crack on her wall.

A painted TARDIS can also be seen over the bed, connecting Amy with the Doctor.


On the top, we see the crack, shining through time and space, annihilating everything that falls into its light. Behind it, we see the Earth encircled by a beautiful wave of breeze that originates from van Gogh’s vision of a starry night on the fields with Amy and the Doctor.

The wave is a symbol of the Doctor: that strange man from the stars who looks after the Earth and its people; the wise man, the healer.

The wave is in strong contrast with the crack: just consider their forms and brightness. Still, there is some level of similarity between them – this also has a meaning if we know the future events of the show.

Finally, we have a quarter of a bright sun, similarly how a child draws the sun in the top corner of a paper and exploding stars. So, a familiar viewer will see a lot of disturbing-frightening things on the poster but the warming blue colors promise a happy ending.

And a few words about the main color of the picture: it is blue. Some spiritual thinkers (e.g. Baader and the Hungarian philosopher Hamvas) say that when light was created at the beginning of time, the first color, after white that contains everything, was blue. Blue is the first break in the glowing white light (of course not physically but in a spiritual sense). Blue is equivalent to eternity and endlessness. Blue contains the ocean and the sky. I use blue if I want to deliver such feelings. Another nice and obvious fit is that the Doctor’s time and space travelling machine, the TARDIS is also blue.

Bow ties are cool. Yes, it is me on the right.

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