Why Do Some Fans Want An Explanation For Mrs Flood Breaking The Fourth Wall?

One of the most confusing and annoying trends I have seen on social media lately is the insistence that Russell T Davies must explain how Mrs Flood can break the fourth wall.

This reared its head again after RTD recently confirmed in an interview that the fourth wall breaks are merely a bit of fun and won’t be explained. There are tons on Twitter particularly complaining about this and stating that it needs explaining.

I don’t get it. No other franchise has fans demanding fourth wall breaks to be explained. The Doctor has also broken the fourth wall a few times in the show and we have never needed an explanation. Maestro broke the fourth wall most recently too. Why is Mrs Flood any different?


I think it’s just fans trying to piece together a theory, as they always do.

I’ve seen people speculate that it’s to do with the Land of Fiction, maybe there is a God of stories and that’s Mrs Flood.

All a bit of harmless fun, I think. Most of the speculation is on Twitter which I tend to avoid!


I don’t mind the fourth wall breaks being a bit of fun, as long as the fact that she knows what a TARDIS is and such gets explained.

OTOH, I would very much like to see the land of fiction come back…


My perception differs: I do think fourth wall breaks are always something people want to have explained. Even if the explanation is something flimsy (like “Deadpool because he is Deadpool, because he is insane, because …”).

Maestro, I guess most just assume “because they are a god.”

I think Mrs. Flood seems to be an important figure, so people want to know. Is she a god? Or are there other reasons for the forth wall break?

(And I assume, without actually having read in what tone fans “demand” things, that some of the fans overdo it as usual.)


Fans (of a certain type) expect the people making the show to fall short in giving them the explanations that they want.

Thing is, fourth wall breaking has been a thing for a very long time in drama. Shakespeare did it for goodness sake.

Are these same fans wanting an explanation for why the Doctor does it in The Invasion of Time or why Morgus does is in The Caves of Androzani? No. And that’s because they don’t feel the need to hold Robert Holmes or whoever ‘David Agnew’ to account.

But. RTD must make his creative decisions ‘correct’ as decreed by fandom or his showrunning/writing will be deemed a failure.

It’s similar to how some fans are frustrated that we don’t know what the woman says in 73 Yards and therefore missing the entire point of that aspect creatively.


There is a sort of weirdness to RTD going out of his way to say that there is an in-universe explanation for the fourth wall breaks that he’s maybe not going to tell us. Like I don’t really care about there being an explanation but why tell us that you have one if you aren’t gonna tell us what it is?


That’s because RTD enjoys baiting a certain type of fan. I’m all for that :wink:


There is a trope for Breaking the Fourth Wall, let us know if we missed any!


This is the point I was going to bring up.

If it’s happening, fine. It’s not something I want in DW, but whatever. I can chalk it up to another thing I don’t like about RTDs current writing trend.

But if there isn’t going to be explained or expanded on, why put it in the show? IMO it’s a waste of screen time. The time spent writing and filming could be spent on making a better show.

RTD throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what fans are drawn to, then doing his typical shtick of blaming fans for caring about things HE DID.

(This is a ‘half-asleep’ rant. The ‘carny’ nature of RTD is starting to get on my nerves.)


Maybe Greatest Show in the Galaxy, with how the title is clearly referring to Doctor Who, and there’s a bunch of metacommentary in there about the audience and fans and such…


I suppose it’s also partly because Season 1 features a lot more fourth-wall breaking than usual, which, when combined with the whimsical tone, dancing, and singing, leads some fans to believe that there is something more significant lurking beneath it all.

Additionally, we should approach everything RTD says cautiously. He is the showrunner; he promotes the show, but he doesn’t want to reveal too much too soon. Perhaps he says the fourth-wall breaks won’t be explained to avoid fans getting their hopes up too much (like that would help…)


Not picking but this is a bit of an odd comment. It’s not like RTD and the production team are putting hours of time into having Mrs Flood say her lines to camera and therefore neglecting the rest of the series - maybe that last scene at the end of Empire but then that’s an appetite whetter for the next series.

There are plenty of examples in Doctor Who - and drama generally - where things are not explained and don’t need to be. It doesn’t make the drama lesser or poorly written. It’s a creative choice and there are plenty of examples in drama where writer’s have reasons for things but don’t ever actually put them on the page and let the audience make their own minds up.

What RTD is doing here is keeping people talking about the show. It’s what he does. We may or may not like the final decision he makes as to why Mrs Flood is talking to the camera but, frankly, it wouldn’t matter what explanation he gave, some people would be happy with it and others wouldn’t - look at what happened with the reveal of Ruby’s mum. He cannot please everyone narratively so he may as well do what he wants to do and finds fun or exciting to write. A writer has very little control over how people will react to it.


I think when it’s harmless fun, it’s fine. However, I’ve seen a lot of fans demanding an explanation, which I find bizarre, because it’s clearly just an artistic choice. She-Hulk broke the fourth wall all the time recently, for instance, and nobody took issue with that.

This is pretty much how I see it. To me, the mystery isn’t that she can break the fourth wall, but that she knows what a TARDIS is. I’m far more interested in an explanation for that than how she’s self-aware.


For people who bring up Deadpool and She-Hulk. There has been an explanation in the comics for years why they break the fourth wall.

They are aware that they are comic book characters. That’s the explanation. It’s baked into their characters.


But is that explanation given in the TV series? I haven’t read a She-Hulk comic ever but I hugely enjoyed the TV series and, because I’m drama-literate (as it were) just took that as ‘something which this show does’ with its main character.

Fleabag is another good example. Are her asides to camera ever explained? Not really - there are hints but it’s just how the show is constructed.


oh 100% this!!! I hate how people who react to modern media seem to want every single aspect of everything ‘explained’ to them, when really ‘explaining’ everything in a story is a great way to make it really boring. I for one like to have things to think about in TV, and I think subtext and creative licence is something people don’t like to give allowances for when they want to be angry on the internet


Neither of us know this for sure.

I knew that info going in, so it didn’t bother me. Lots of other things about the show bothered me, but not this.

That is baked into the style of the show. A very different thing from the Flood/DW thing.


You and I watched very different corners of the internet then … I didn’t mind that at all, except when they took that not to 11 in the finale but to 74.153! There they really decided not to resolve their series but rather use the shattered fourth wall to play a ridiculous joke.

If the Fourth Wall breaks in season 1 is just a stylistic choice then it’s fine by me, but the way it has been used especially by Mrs. Flood the show is heavily implying that there is a narrative reason - if it turns out that it is only included to annoy a certain part of fandom? Then I do think a certain level of ire is justified (as long as the comments from fans remain civil) :slightly_smiling_face:


No, but knowledge of how production and writing works leads me to infer that those scenes are not taking up huge amounts of time so much so that other parts of the series are suffering. What exactly do you think could have been improved by excising those very few and far between scenes - and they are very few and far between. One in Church on Ruby Road and the one at the end of Empire. The rest has just been her being mysterious behind the fourth wall.

But I didn’t know about that going in but embraced it as part of the show as well - likewise when I watched the Deadpool films without having ever read a Deadpool comic (and only having the experience of the character from Wolverine…)

You’re right it is different but fourth wall breaking in Doctor Who isn’t unprecedented and fourth wall breaking in genre TV is even less unprecedented. Lots of ‘general’ viewers won’t be clamouring for an explanation because they’ll just accept it as part of the drama just like they did in Fleabag or She-Hulk or whatever. Some will like it, some will hate it but that’s down to personal taste not poor or ill-judged storytelling choices.


I have absolutely no issue with the fourth wall breaks or with there not being an explanation (in fact kinda lean towards being against an in-universe explanation for a meta-level thing like that, but don’t think I feel super strongly either way), I just think it’s kinda weird to tell us that there is an in-universe explanation but that we might never learn it