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The Haunting Of Bly Manor Has Some Sneaky Doctor Who References

Contains spoilers for The Haunting of Bly Manor

Mike Flanagan, creator of The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor is a Doctor Who fan. We've known about Flanagan's love for the classic BBC series for a very long time now. He confirmed in an interview with HeyUGuys way back n June of 2014 that the reason he hired Karen Gillan to star in his movie Oculus is because he loves Doctor Who.

"I'm a major Whovian, actually," said Flanagan. "So Karen was my first choice when we were writing the part. I was such a fan of the strength in confidence that she brought to Amy Pond that I thought, if we're going to have a heroine in a horror movie, we'd never think of them as a victim."

Oculus is almost a kind of early blueprint for the way Flanagan would engage with time in his later Netflix series. Oculus is a story told through two different time periods simultaneously: one where our protagonists are children and one where they are adults. The story involves the house they grew up in, the mental illness of their mother (Katee Sackhoff), and ghosts. All these elements are a part of both The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manner.

Much like Karen Gillan's involvement with Oculus, both seasons of Flanagan's Netflix series are not only impacted by his love of Doctor Who, but even include references to the sci-fi series.

Owen has a bowtie and it's very cool

The Haunting of Hill House has at least one nod to Doctor Who which is so clear that one of its showrunners even responded to it. The Crain family matriarch, Olivia (Carla Gugino) explains death to one of her children by saying "When we die, we turn into stories. And every time someone tells one of those stories, it's like we're still here for them. We're all stories in the end."

On the Doctor Who episode "The Big Bang," The Doctor (Matt Smith) whispers to a sleeping Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), that "I'll be a story in your head, but that's okay. We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?"

Digital Spy reached out to the writer of "The Big Bang," Steven Moffat, over the similarity and he responded, "If that line is a deliberate tribute, I am extremely touched."

In The Haunting of Bly Manor there is another fun (and confirmed) homage to the Eleventh Doctor era of Doctor Who. Matt Smith's incarnation of the Doctor is known for a great many things, but his costume is especially noteworthy. One part of the Doctor's wardrobe is so noteworthy, in fact, that the Doctor talks about it nearly every episode. "Bowties are cool," says Matt Smith's Doctor, and so they are.

Rahul Kohli who plays Owen on The Haunting of By Manor confirmed that the costume Owen wears to his mother's funeral is a reference to Matt Smith's Doctor. "True story, @flanaganfilm is a HUGE Whovian," tweeted Kohli. "When deciding on the costume for this scene, I asked for a bow tie and tweed jacket as an homage to The Doctor for Mike."

There's a crack in Mrs. Grose's wall

On The Haunting of Hill House, the ghost of Nell Crain (Victoria Pedretti) says that "moments fall around us like rain" rather than being "laid out like dominoes ... just days tipping one into the next." This is extremely similar to the Doctor (David Tennant) referring to time as "a great big ball," rather than "a strict progression of cause to effect" on the Doctor Who episode "Blink."

In the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who we are introduced to a quotidian image laden with meaning: a crack in a wall. In Doctor Who terms, a crack in someone's wall is never just a crack — it's a split in the skin of the world, two parts of space and time that should never touch pressed together, and a place for secrets which must never be spoken to escape. Over the course of Matt Smith's time as the Doctor, the same crack appears everywhere. When the Doctor is about to die in "Time of the Doctor," the crack appears to hear the truth spoken, to hear the Doctor's name.

On The Haunting of Bly Manor Mrs. Grose (T'Nia Miller) also sees cracks in walls throughout Bly. The more she sees the cracks, the more time is undone around her. Her moments fall around her like rain, her time is wound up into a great big ball, and, eventually, she must acknowledge the truth that is hidden in plain sight. The crack Mrs. Grose keeps seeing in walls everywhere is the crack at the bottom of the well she fell down ages ago. Mrs. Grose looked into the well on the grounds of Bly Manor, tipped in, and fell. And as Mrs. Grose lay dying she looked up and saw a crack — because Mrs. Grose is a ghost, and her story is a great big nod to Doctor Who.