Doctor Who has a long history of using code names to throw off press or anyone else who may inadvertently stumble upon series secrets. “Men on Waves,” AKA “Woman Seven,” was the code word selected for those auditioning for the Companion in the seventh series.
As most Whovians know, “Torchwood” was initially used as the code word for the series itself (it’s an anagram of Doctor Who) before taking off as a series unto itself. Karen Gillan’s code word during her audition process was “Panic Moon,” AKA “Companion.”
All the cloak and dagger code words were just fine as far as the new Companion, Jenna-Louise Coleman, was concerned. She told The Radio Times, “…I worked out that Men on Waves is an anagram of Woman Seven, because this is the seventh series. Weirdly, seven is my lucky number and this is my seventh job…I wasn’t allowed to say that it was Doctor Who at any point. Not talking to my agent, not when I arrived at the audition, and I certainly couldn’t tell anyone at all what I was up to next.”
What many new fans don’t realize, is that the use of code words goes right back to the very beginning of Doctor Who. According to The Radio Times:
In the days before every conceivable scintilla of information about Doctor Who could be examined online, the place most fans got any details from was Radio Times magazine. Cast lists and credits would be studied and the producers knew this.
So in 1988’s ‘Remembrance of the Daleks,’ the production team knew full well that listing a character as being played by Terry Molloy would tip off fans that Davros, creator of the Daleks, was back. In the cast list it provided to Radio Times for that week, it billed the actor as Roy Tromelly.
All-in-all the use of the code words has been highly successful. Relatively few secrets have leaked that were script-based.
Do you have any anagrams that you would use to hide the return of a former cast member? Perhaps Advent Ant Din or even Banjo Warm Horn?