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Title: Handlebars
Creator: Seah & Margie aka flummery
Date: 2008
Format: digital vid
Length: 3:27
Music: Handlebars by Flobots
Genre: character study
Fandom: Doctor Who
Footage: Doctor Who
URL: vid announcement post on LiveJournal (archived}
streaming at http://flummery.org/
reupload at YouTube
The lyrics at this point in the vid: "I can end the planet in a holocaust."

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Handlebars is a Doctor Who fanvid by Flummery.

The vid was included in the 24/7 2010: The State of the Art in DIY Video show as a significant vid from 2007 - 2009, and was probably the most successful vid of 2008.

"I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handlebars
No handlebars..." ~ lyrics

This character study is especially notable for accurately predicting the Tenth Doctor's dark character development, months before the TV series episode "The Waters Of Mars" aired. The vid spread beyond its community and intended audience almost immediately, eventually reaching -- and being praised by -- the show's creative team.

In 2012, the vid was selected by the OTW to part of its Test Suite of Fair Use Vids, a website listing a series of vids which was submitted before the Library of Congress.[1]


The lyrics underscore the Doctor's descent into darker and increasingly destructive actions: the singer progresses from riding his bike without "handlebars" to guiding "a missile by satellite" to ending "the planet in a holocaust," before returning, seemingly oblivious to the death and destruction, to riding his bike without handlebars. After all, in the singer's mind "My cause is noble, My power is pure" illustrating that in the Doctor's case the survivor of a tragedy is not necessarily the hero.

Handlebars premiered at VividCon 2008. It was one of two vids in the Premiere Vid Show that used the song. The vid played in the first half was Iron Man- Handlebars by trvscls07, featuring MCU Tony Stark, before flummery's Doctor Who vid played in the second half.


This meticulously-crafted character study of the Tenth Doctor spread beyond its community and intended audience almost immediately. The vide eventually reached the show's creative team and was praised by Doctor Who screenwriter Paul Cornell:

Final thing for the Who fans, courtesy of Tara O’Shea, this extraordinary fan video, which both shows off the editing skills and tech now in place in the field, and actually offers narrative and commentary on the current show, in a brilliant and shocking way (one of many in an increasingly intelligent artform, so I’m told, it was all jog and shuttle back in my day):[2]

As one fan noted, "Flummery completely called Ten's character development, and well over a year ago at that. The Doc has, indeed, gone completely handlebars on us."[3]

Par avion described it as "like a Perfect Storm of ... something! A fantastic vid that shows us a truth that both fans and critics of show/character can agree with, the higher visibility of vids and vidding, and a show that both presages and follows through on earlier character development in a time-frame that lets a (really perceptive) vidder beat them to the punch." She also notes that "familiarity with and discussion of the vid has been embedded in post-Water Of Mars fan discussion." [4]

Flummery did not upload to their own YouTube account until Feb 15, 2019. Two reposts, Doctor Who:handlebars (I'm the Doctor. Look me up.) in May 2009 and Doctor Who (rides his bike with no) Handlebars in December 2008 have gained over 70,000 and 30,000 views, respectively.

Comments & Reviews

Oh, yes. This is absolutely the vid of the con for me, because it just hit how potentially terrifying the Doctor can be. This made me think of the Doctor telling Donna in "The Runaway Bride" that he doesn't need anyone (and we know that he's in that mindset again, post-"Journey's End") and this vid shows, in a very different way from "Midnight", exactly why the Doctor needs companions. "Midnight" illustrated that the Doctor needs companions for his own sake, to save him. This vid was about how the Doctor needs companions to protect the universe from him. It's a theme that gets touched on in the series, but it was amazing to see it all laid out. It was amazingly creepy and well-done.[5]

...this is all you need to know about the Doctor. And all you need to never EVER forget about him. It takes you on a ride that starts out cheeky and adorable and then oh fucking God, don't ever forget that he destroys worlds and can bring disaster with a snap of his far-too-powerful fingers.[6]

I don't know how much I need to say about how amazing this vid is. I chose it ... because I can recall the specific, mind-blowing moment where I rather enjoying the upbeat beginning of the song and all of a sudden I realized how the vid was shifting into (what I saw as) the much darker, destructive, megalomaniac quality of the Doctor's character (somewhere around the 2.10 mark). And my mind went BOOM. The last part of the vid, where there are a few lighthearted shots of the Doctor and his cheeky smile, became totally opened up for me in a different light. I recall sitting with my mouth open for several minutes after it was over, and then immediately watched it again.[7]

This is - well. This is the Doctor. End of story. This is the Doctor in every respect and every detail. The first time I watched this, I was basically clapping in glee from the very first line, and then it got better. And better. And better. And eventually it achieved such amazing levels of betterness that I still haven't entirely recovered. This vid rendered me incoherent. Permanently. I don't want to tell you how it gets better - if you've somehow missed this vid and this song, just go watch it. You will not be the sorrier. In fact, even if you have no idea who this Doctor person is (He travels through time. With friends. It's complicated.), still go watch it, because after you see this, you will most definitely know.[8]

This vid is astonishing. I know the file's kind of huge, but go watch it immediately. It starts out like the show does, mostly fun, but then starts showing the places Ten has gone. Then it gets scary. I adore every little clip of it. Quite possibly the best Doctor Who vid I've ever seen." [9]

TV Tropes brought me here. Wow. This. You don't normally think of The Doctor as quite this unhinged, but he kinda is. Yes, he's got standards. Yes, he usually tricks his enemies into hanging themselves. Yes, violence is not normally the tactic he uses. But when he does go ad or resort to violence, the results are often genocidal and/or planet-busting. Donna had a point; his companions are often there to hold him back. But Davaros also had a point; he shapes those companions to be his weapons.[10]

To be honest I've always been so impressed that this video was made before Waters of Mars happened and basically made all this canon.[11]

You know, when I first saw this video, I was all set to bitch and moan about how you didn't include anything from the Waters of Mars. Then I saw that this was made and posted before that episode aired, and my mind was blown. [12]

This is the vid that single-handedly changed the conversation about the 10th Doctor. You see, back in 2008 when this video was first made, the 10th Doctor was mostly seen as a lighthearted incarnation, in strong contrast to the angstiness of the 9th Doctor. Except that occasionally he'd do things that weren't so nice and light-hearted. Things that were arrogant, or creepy, or high-handed, or violent. But those were seen as aberrations. And then he'd go back to being this light-hearted guy, right? Seah and Margie turned that on its head. No, they said with this vid, the 10th Doctor is scary and arrogant and high-handed and violent, with a thin (sometimes very thin) veneer of good cheer and innocent fun over the top. And they found the perfect song for this. Handlebars starts out lighthearted and fun, and descends into megalomania, before returning to the lighthearted fun of the beginning. And they matched clips perfectly to the lyrics.[13]

I cannot make someone understand the atomic explosion of this vid. You have to understand, this came WELL before we knew the conclusion of Ten's arc, and it called all of it....

I could literally go shot by shot on the brilliance of this video and it's terrifying dark apotheosis of Ten. The split second nervous sideeye of Madame du Pompadour. Rose silently calling out to Ten outside his vision. The fucking long drop zoom shot of "my cause is noble, my power is pure," the repeated application of ramped up Messianic imagery, the moment when Ten just fuckign slams the camera and it goes black for a half-beat, and the way is comes back with "it feels so good to be alive and on top" and Ten's fucking face.

And the terrifying recontextualization of Ten snapping his finger to open the TARDIS, from happy ending to harbinger of doom.

Absolute. Fucking. Masterpiece.[14]


  1. ^ Organization for Transformative Works. "Test Suite of Fair Use Vids". Archived from the original on 2022-06-17. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  2. ^ Paul Cornell (August 23, 2008). "Worldcon". Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  3. ^ Comment by DameRuth at syfy forums, 16 Nov 2009. (Accessed 3 Feb 2012)
  4. ^ comment by Par Avion in the "DIY II: Electric Bugaloo. Recs Needed!" post at the LiveJournal community vidding, 14 Dec 2009. (Accessed 3 Feb 2012)
  5. ^ Butterfly: Premiere Show Part Two, dated August 18, 2008; WebCite for Part Two.
  6. ^ chasarumba: VIVIDCON STENDHAL SYNDROME IN PROGRESS dated August 17, 2008; [1].
  7. ^ nushanakt: 20 Days of Vids (Catch Up Session post, 25 Jul 2010; WebCite.
  8. ^ thefourthvine: The One That Will Have You Looking Suspiciously at Cherry Stems Forever from 190: I'm Going to Vidding Land recs post, 5 Mar 2009. (Accessed 3 Feb 2012)
  9. ^ a lightkeeper's log, posted December 17, 2008, accessed April 1, 2012
  10. ^ comment by Allronix - Doctor Who:handlebars (I'm the Doctor. Look me up.)
  11. ^ comment by Eveylyn -Doctor Who (rides his bike with no) Handlebars
  12. ^ comment by Hendy853 -Doctor Who (rides his bike with no) Handlebars
  13. ^ Fancake rec for Handlebars by beatrice_otter, "Doctor Who: Handlebars, by Seah and Margie (Flummery)". Posted in Fancake on June 2, 2022. Accessed June 11, 2022.
  14. ^ "Old Vid Recs (2002-2012)". Archived from the original on 2022-11-28.
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