Doctor Who is back on our screens and has wasted no time in bringing some key historical figures on board.

Since the beginning, Doctor Who has always featured encounters with hugely influential characters from across human history.

Whether it’s Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens or even William Shakespeare, the Doctor has crossed paths with anyone and everyone who has had an effect on society.

Series 12 looks to be no different as Spyfall, Part 2 shows the Doctor meeting not one but two historical figures that many may not know about. 

They are Noor Inayat Khan and Ada Lovelace but it is the latter we shall be focusing on here. 

The Doctor meets Ada Lovelace

The end of Spyfall, Part 1 leaves the Doctor trapped in a mysterious alternate dimension, seemingly with no escape. 

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That is until the second episode in the two-parter, however, as she stumbles upon a victorian woman who seems very out of place in the dark and mysterious dimension. 

This woman is introduced to us as Ada (Sylvie Briggs) and she helps the Doctor escape this strange dimension with the pair ending up in 1834 at a steampunk-themed science fair.

It’s not clear at first but it is quickly revealed that this woman is, in fact, Ada Lovelace and the Doctor’s reaction to finding this out shows just how important a historical figure she was.   

Who was Ada Lovelace?

Ada Lovelace, born Ada Byron, was a 19th-century mathematician and computer scientist. 

Alongside Charles Babbage, who we also meet in the episode, she became one of the first-ever computer programmers.

Babbage is shown to be the inventor of the Difference Engine, effectively one of the first mechanical calculators and a pre-cursor to the computers we have now.

Ada Lovelace was the person to see the potential of the early computing machines of being something more than simple calculators and came up with the very first computer algorithm.

In doing so, Ada became one of the key people in the technology-based society we live in today.

Did her inclusion work?

While Ada’s introduction is a fascinating look at a historical figure many may not have known about, her inclusion is a little… odd.

While the Doctor waxes lyrical about her achievements and being a technological pioneer, the very same episode is used to tell the audience that technology such as phones and computers are evil and are trying to spy on us. 

The conflicting messages certainly detract from the good intentions behind Ada’s inclusion.

However, there are some nice parallels between Spyfall’s first and second parts. While episode one sees technology used for spying, episode two shows us the people who were influential in creating that technology as well as one of Britain’s most inspirational heroines during the Second World War, Noor Inayat Khan, a spy who was sent to France during the German occupation.  

Doctor Who series 12 continues on BBC One on Sunday, January 12th. 

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