Doctor Who: Tin Dog Podcast
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TDP 63: Doctor Who 4.11  Turn Left

While visiting a market on the planet of Shan Shen with the Doctor, Donna Noble is offered a free fortune reading. The fortune-teller presses Donna to reveal her past and focuses on a point in her past on modern-day Earth where she was driving to her temporary job at H. C. Clements, despite her mother's desire that she take a permanent job nearby. As a large beetle-like creature climbs onto Donna's back, the teller convinces Donna to change her mind in the past, taking a right at the road junction per her mother's wishes instead of a left.

The narrative turns to the alternate history created by Donna's choice, far bleaker than the course of events established in previous episodes. The Doctor dies permanently during the Racnoss' attack on London ("The Runaway Bride"), killed by the water pressure before he could regenerate, because Donna was not there to convince him to leave. Royal Hope Hospital is taken to the moon and returned ("Smith and Jones"), but only one person, Martha's fellow medical student Oliver Morgenstern, survives. Martha Jones and Sarah Jane Smith are among the dead (the latter apparently having foiled Florence Finnegan's plan). The Titanic crashes into the centre of London, wiping out the city and irradiating most of southern England ("Voyage of the Damned"). In the United States, 60 million people are turned into creatures made of fat ("Partners in Crime"). The Sontarans attempt to turn Earth into a breeding world ("The Poison Sky"), which is stopped by Jack Harkness and his remaining Torchwood team of Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones. However, Gwen and Ianto are killed and Jack is transported to Sontar.

Throughout all these events, Rose Tyler keeps appearing before Donna. Aware of the events to come, she steers Donna away from mortal danger but refuses to give her name. After the latest tragedy, Rose urges Donna to come with her, even though she will die. Donna initially refuses, but three weeks later, as she and her grandfather talk about recent events, the stars begin disappearing throughout the sky. Donna tells Rose that she is ready.

Rose escorts Donna to a UNIT base where the dying TARDIS is being used to help power a makeshift time machine. Rose uses the system to show Donna the beetle that crawled onto her back during the fortune-telling. It is in temporal flux and cannot be removed, but Rose explains that Donna herself is also a point of flux. In order to set things right, they prepare to send her back in time to stop herself from going right. Donna agrees to go, but when she asks if she will get to live this time, Rose remains silent. Donna is sent back in time, but ends up half a mile away and with only four minutes to spare. Finding herself short of the mark on the road leading from the right of the critical intersection, Donna remembers what Rose said about her death and throws herself in front of a removal van. Traffic backs up to the intersection and the past Donna turns left, unwilling to wait for it to clear. As the future Donna lies on the ground, Rose leans over and whispers two words to pass on to the Doctor.

Back on Shan Shen, the beetle falls off of Donna's back and the fortune teller flees, frightened by this unexpected development. The Doctor finds Donna and the beetle. He explains that it normally affects only the person it attaches to (the universe merely "compensates"), but in Donna's case created a parallel world. The Doctor is curious about the other alternate realities that seem to form around Donna ("Forest of the Dead"). He ponders the coincidences surrounding Donna and himself, as if something is binding them together. When Donna insists that she is nothing special, the Doctor tells her that she is brilliant, which triggers her fading memories of Rose. She tells him about Rose's warning that "the darkness is coming" and that it is affecting all worlds. At his insistence, Donna tells him the words Rose said; "Bad Wolf". Horrified, the Doctor runs outside to find that the words "Bad Wolf" are everywhere, even on the TARDIS. Inside the Cloister Bell is ringing and the TARDIS interior is glowing red. When Donna asks about the meaning of "Bad Wolf", the Doctor replies, "It's the end of the universe."

This episode revisits the events of most of the present-day stories since Donna first met the Doctor, including "The Runaway Bride", "Smith and Jones", "Voyage of the Damned", "Partners in Crime", and "The Sontaran Stratagem" / "The Poison Sky". The Doctor's absence during these events leads to the deaths of Martha Jones, Sarah Jane Smith, Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones. Jack Harkness, who cannot be killed, is transported to Sontar.

Torchwood characters Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones are referred to by name for the first time in Doctor Who, while a short segment of music from the soundtrack of Torchwood plays in the background. Sarah Jane Smith is mentioned for the first time since "The Girl in the Fireplace", along with the first mentions of The Sarah Jane Adventures characters Luke Smith, Clyde Langer, and Maria Jackson.

The recurring "Bad Wolf" motif, primarily from series 1, returns at the conclusion of this episode to warn the Doctor of the events that are causing Rose to return. The TARDIS's Cloister Bell, last used in "Time Crash", can also be heard at the end of the episode. Sylvia Noble mentions that the bees are disappearing, which has been mentioned by Donna in "Partners in Crime", "Planet of the Ood", and "The Unicorn and the Wasp".

Donna's father Geoff, who appeared in "The Runaway Bride", is mentioned for the first time since "The Fires of Pompeii". It is implied that he was ill during the timescale of "Smith and Jones", and had died by the time of "Voyage of the Damned". His character was intended to be used during series 4, but was retired after actor Howard Attfield died before his scenes were finished. He was replaced by Bernard Cribbins, whose previous role as an anonymous newspaper seller was merged with that of Donna's grandfather.

The "Time Beetle"[2] on Donna's back is described by the Doctor as part of "the Trickster's brigade". The Trickster was a time-altering villain in The Sarah Jane Adventures story Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?. The beetle on her back was also referenced by Lucius Dextrus in "The Fires of Pompeii" with the line, "Daughter of London, there is something on your back!".

Sarah Jane Smith is said to write for the fictional Metropolitan magazine as previously mentioned in Planet of the Spiders.

Rose mentions the "causal nexus", which was discussed by the Doctor and the Master in "Logopolis."


The episode, filmed at the same time as "Midnight", saw the Doctor with very little screen-time, while "Midnight" saw Donna with little screen-time.[3] Tennant shot all his scenes, at the episode's beginning and end, in one day, while a double stood in for the shot of the dead Doctor's arm.[2]

The appearance of the Giant Spider of Metebelis 3 that clung to Sarah Jane Smith's back in Planet of the Spiders influenced the design and concept of the "Time Beetle" that clings to Donna's back in this episode.[2]

[edit] Cast notes

Billie Piper makes her first substantial appearance on the show since "Doomsday". Interviewed for Doctor Who Confidential, Piper said her return had been planned at the time of her original departure but that around three weeks before filming she decided to rewatch some of her old episodes to refamiliarise herself with the role and ease her doubts that she could play Rose again.[2]

Clive Standen reprises the role of Private Harris (credited in this episode as "UNIT Soldier") from "The Sontaran Strategem" / "The Poison Sky". Here he is shown to have been in attendance during the Webstar crisis. Ben Righton reprises the role of Oliver Morgenstern from "Smith and Jones", in this episode the only survivor when the hospital is returned to Earth, Martha Jones having given him the last oxygen pack. Lachele Carl returns as American newsreader Trinity Wells, who previously appeared in the Doctor Who episodes "Aliens of London"/"World War Three", "The Christmas Invasion", "The Sound of Drums" and "The Poison Sky", in addition to The Sarah Jane Adventures story Revenge of the Slitheen. Chipo Chung, who plays the fortune-teller, previously appeared as Chantho in the episode "Utopia".


Based on BARB overnight returns, "Turn Left" was watched by 7 million viewers, giving it a 35% share of the total television audience.[4] The episode received an Appreciation Index score of 88 (considered "Excellent").[5]

Keith Watson for the Metro newspaper called it a "daring" episode and praised Catherine Tate's performance, which was "perfectly suited to a complex story... Doctor Who could get away with being a lot less clever. But they actually care about what they do."[6] However, Sam Wollaston of The Guardian felt Tate was overshadowed by the return of Billie Piper. "Catherine Tate really puts everything into this episode (too much, maybe). But as soon as Rose shows, Donna's a goner."[7]

201 – "Turn Left"
Doctor Who episode

In the makeshift TARDIS-powered UNIT time machine, Rose shows Donna what is on her back
Doctor David Tennant (Tenth Doctor)
Companion Catherine Tate (Donna Noble)
Also starring Billie Piper (Rose Tyler)
Guest stars
Writer Russell T. Davies
Director Graeme Harper
Script editor Brian Minchin
Producer Susie Liggat
Executive producer(s) Russell T. Davies
Julie Gardner
Phil Collinson
Production code 4.11
Series Series 4
Length 50 mins
Originally broadcast 21 June 2008
← Preceded by Followed by →
"Midnight" "The Stolen Earth"
Direct download: Turn_Left.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:36pm UTC

Bad Wolf

The words Bad Wolf as aerosol graffiti on the TARDIS in "Aliens of London"
The words Bad Wolf as aerosol graffiti on the TARDIS in "Aliens of London"

The first arc word of the new series, "Bad Wolf", began to crop up in various ways starting from the second episode, "The End of the World", and then grew in prominence, leading to much fan speculation over the course of the series as to what the phrase referred to and what its ultimate significance would be. In this respect, the phrase was also a form of viral marketing.

There was little clue to the meaning of the phrase until "The Parting of the Ways", where it was revealed to be a message spread by Rose Tyler throughout time after infusing herself with the power of the heart of the TARDIS. Having infused herself with the power of the time vortex, Rose gained seemingly infinite reality warping abilities with which she obliterated a Dalek fleet, before this fatal energy was removed from her by the Doctor. Describing herself as "see[ing] the whole of time and space", the extent of Rose's actions remains unclear. She revived Jack Harkness, an event which made him immortal, perhaps purposefully, and also acted as the catalyst for the Ninth Doctor's regeneration into the Tenth.

I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself. I take the words. I scatter them ... in time, and space. A message to lead myself here.

—Rose Tyler in "The Parting of the Ways".

Bad Wolf arc

The phrase first appeared in the second episode of the 2005 series, and then in every story of that series thereafter. It also occasionally appeared in the 2006 and 2007 series.

Within the 2005 series of Doctor Who, the arc comprised the following episodes:

  • "The Long Game": One of the several thousand television channels being broadcast from Satellite Five is BAD WOLFTV.
  • "Father's Day": A poster advertising a rave in 1987 has the words "BAD WOLF" defacing it.
  • "Boom Town": A nuclear power plant is dubbed the Blaidd Drwg project, which is Welsh for "Bad Wolf". The Doctor also mentions for the first time that the phrase had been following them around.
  • "Bad Wolf"/"The Parting of the Ways": The corporation that runs the Game Station (formerly Satellite Five) is called the Badwolf Corporation. It is from this corporation's logo that Rose "takes the words" to scatter throughout Time and Space, resulting in the other appearances of the phrase. It is also in scattered graffiti around Rose's council estate, including on a poster tacked to the wall behind Rose's head in the café scene and in giant letters on a paved recreation ground. The latter is faded, but still visible, in "New Earth".

Since the initial arc, the phrase Bad Wolf has reappeared in the background of many other scenes. 2007 series episode "Gridlock" features the Japanese word Akurō, Japanese for "evil wolf", labelled on poster in a car. Torchwood episode "Captain Jack Harkness" featured the phrase as graffiti in a Welsh dance hall, and in Torchwood book Another Life by Peter Anghelides, a large part of the plot revolves around the Blaidd Drwg nuclear power station. In a re-creation of classic Second Doctor serial The Invasion , the animators slipped a Bad Wolf on the wall where Zoe scribbled the phone number. Other allusions since "The Parting of the Ways" include the 2006 series episode "Tooth and Claw", in which the Host mentions that Rose has "seen [the wolf] too", and that there is "something of the wolf about [her]".

The phrase reappeared in the 2008 series episode "Turn Left": At the end of this episode all text turns into "Bad Wolf", including the backlit signs and the board on the front of the TARDIS. This is described by the Doctor to be the end of the universe. There was an earlier visual reference in the 2008 series: one of the drawings by the little girl (in episode "Forest of the Dead") featured a blonde girl and a wolf.

The phrase was similarly used as a precursor explanation of possible inconsistencies, such as in "Love & Monsters",[4] effectively attributing them to the actions of Rose as the Bad Wolf during "The Parting of the Ways". As the phrase is a reminder of the connection between the Doctor and Rose, it appears explicitly in their final farewell; in "Doomsday", the Doctor projects an image to say goodbye to Rose on a beach in the Norway of the parallel Earth called "Dårlig ulv stranden", which she translates as "Bad Wolf Bay". (In actuality, it can be translated to "Bad Wolf Beach").

Also on the Doctor Who website, the Captain Jack monster file for Judoon, there is a advert for good wolf insurance.

Other media

The tie-in websites set up by the BBC to accompany the series also featured appearances of the phrase. The "Who is Doctor Who?" site featured a clip from "World War Three" with an American newsreader. This clip differed from the one shown in the broadcast version in only one respect: the newsreader was identified as "Mal Loup", French for "bad wolf". At one point, the Doctor is described as being off "making another decision for us, all 'I'm the big bad wolf and it's way past your bedtime.'"

The UNIT website also used "badwolf" as a password to enter the "secure" areas of the website. The Geocomtex website's support page has BADWOLF transcribed in Morse Code, and its products page make mention of Lupus and Nocens variants for their "node stabilisers" (lupus nocens is Latin for "wolf who harms"). They also offered "Argentum Ordnance", argentum being Latin for "silver" — silver bullets being traditionally used for killing werewolves.

In the background image of the BBC Doctor Who website's TARDISODE page, the words "BAD WOLF" can be seen scrawled behind Mickey Smith.[5] The graffiti can also be seen in the background of Rose Tyler's character page.[6]

In one of the areas in the Ghostwatch game, "BAD WOLF" is written as graffiti on a wall.

The phrase occurs in some of the New Series Adventures, the BBC Books range of spin-off novels based on the new series. The Ninth Doctor Adventures run concurrently with the 2005 series.

  • In The Deviant Strain, also by Richards, a psychic character tells Rose that he fears "The bad wolf... The man with the wolf on his arm." Later, this character is indirectly killed by another character who has a tattoo of a wolf on his arm.

The phrase also appears in later Tenth Doctor novels, such as Peacemaker a character says the Doctor is 'the man who defeated the Bad Wolf'.

There were two "Bad Wolf" references in the Doctor Who Magazine Ninth Doctor comic strips. In Part Two of The Love Invasion (DWM #356, May 2005), there is a poster on the wall of a pub reading "Bad Wolf". In Part One of A Groatsworth of Wit (DWM #363, December 2005), a tavern sign in Elizabethan London features a picture of a wolf's head and the initials "B.W."

A motorcycle gang in the Torchwood Magazine comic Jetsam is named Blaid Drwg.

Category:Information -- posted at: 9:22am UTC

 No       Title            Original airdate

1          An Unearthly Child            23 November–14 December 1963

            aka 100,000 BC    

            aka The Tribe of Gum    

2          The Daleks  21 December 1963–1 February 1964

            aka The Mutants    

            aka The Dead Planet  

3          The Edge of Destruction            8–15 February 1964

            aka Inside the Spaceship        

            aka Beyond the Sun           

4          Marco Polo     22 February–4 April 1964

            aka A Journey Through Cathay

5          The Keys of Marinus            11 April–16 May 1964

            aka The Sea of Death  

6          The Aztecs  23 May–13 June 1964

7          The Sensorites            20 June–1 August 1964

8          The Reign of Terror            8 August–12 September 1964

            aka The French Revolution       


Season 2 (1964-65)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

9          Planet of Giants            31 October–14 November 1964

10        The Dalek Invasion of Earth            21 November–26 December 1964

            aka World's End    

11        The Rescue 2–9 January 1965

12        The Romans            16 January–6 February 1965

13        The Web Planet            13 February –20 March 1965

            aka The Zarbi        

14        The Crusade            27 March–17 April 1965

            aka The Lionheart  

            aka The Crusaders 

15        The Space Museum            24 April–15 May 1965

16        The Chase   22 May–26 June 1965

17        The Time Meddler            3–24 July 1965


Season 3 (1965-66)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

18        Galaxy 4          11 September–2 October 1965


19            "Mission to the Unknown"            09-Oct-65

            aka "Dalek Cutaway"        

20        The Myth Makers            16 October–6 November 1965


21        The Daleks' Master Plan      13 November 1965–29 January 1966


22        The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve      5 February–26 February 1966

            aka The Massacre  

23        The Ark      5 March–26 March 1966

24        The Celestial Toymaker            2 April–23 April 1966


25        The Gunfighters            30 April–21 May 1966

26        The Savages[b]            28 May–18 June 1966


27        The War Machines            25 June–16 July 1966


Season 4 (1966-67)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

28        The Smugglers            10 September–1 October 1966


29        The Tenth Planet            8–29 October 1966



Second Doctor            


Season 4 (1966-67) — continued                     


No       Title            Original airdate

30        The Power of the Daleks  5 November–10 December 1966


31        The Highlanders            17 December 1966–7 January 1967


32        The Underwater Menace            14 January–4 February 1967


33        The Moonbase            11 February–3 March 1967


34        The Macra Terror            11 March–1 April 1967


35        The Faceless Ones            8 April–13 May 1967


36        The Evil of the Daleks  20 May–1 July 1967


Season 5 (1967-68)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

37        The Tomb of the Cybermen            2–23 September 1967

38        The Abominable Snowmen            30 September–4 November 1967


39        The Ice Warriors            11 November–16 December 1967


40        The Enemy of the World  23 December 1967–27 January 1968


41        The Web of Fear            3 February–9 March 1968


42        Fury from the Deep            16 March–20 April 1968


43        The Wheel in Space            27 April–1 June 1968


Season 6 (1968-69)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

44        The Dominators            10 August–7 September 1968

45        The Mind Robber            14 September–12 October 1968

46        The Invasion            2 November–21 December 1968


47        The Krotons            28 December 1968–18 January 1969

48        The Seeds of Death            25 January–1 March 1969

49        The Space Pirates            8 March–12 April 1969


50        The War Games            19 April–21 June 1969


Third Doctor               


Season 7 (1970)             


No       Title            Original airdate

51            Spearhead from Space            3–24 January 1970

52        Doctor Who and the Silurians            31 January–14 March 1970

            aka The Silurians    

53        The Ambassadors of Death            21 March–2 May 1970


54        Inferno            9 May–20 June 1970


Season 8 (1971)             


No       Title            Original airdate

55        Terror of the Autons            2–23 January 1971

56        The Mind of Evil            30 January–6 March 1971


57        The Claws of Axos            13 March–3 April 1971

58        Colony in Space            10 April–15 May 1971

59        The Dæmons            22 May–19 June 1971


Season 9 (1972)             


No       Title            Original airdate

60        Day of the Daleks            1–22 January 1972

61        The Curse of Peladon            29 January–19 February 1972

62        The Sea Devils            26 February–1 April 1972

63        The Mutants            8 April–13 May 1972

64        The Time Monster            20 May–24 June 1972


Season 10 (1972-73)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

65        The Three Doctors[c]            30 December 1972–20 January 1973

66            Carnival of Monsters            27 January–17 February 1973

67        Frontier in Space            24 February–31 March 1973

68        Planet of the Daleks            7 April–12 May 1973


69        The Green Death            19 May–23 June 1973


Season 11 (1973-74)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

70        The Time Warrior            15 December 1973-5 January 1974

71            Invasion of the Dinosaurs [d]            12 January–16 February 1974


72        Death to the Daleks            23 February–16 March 1974

73        The Monster of Peladon            23 March–27 April 1974

74        Planet of the Spiders            4 May–8 June 1974


Fourth Doctor             


Season 12 (1974-75)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

75        Robot            28 December 1974–18 January 1975

76        The Ark in Space            25 January–15 February 1975

77        The Sontaran Experiment            22 February–1 March 1975

78        Genesis of the Daleks            8 March–12 April 1975

79            Revenge of the Cybermen            19 April–10 May 1975


Season 13 (1975-76)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

80        Terror of the Zygons            30 August–20 September 1975

81        Planet of Evil   27 September–18 October 1975

82            Pyramids of Mars            25 October–15 November 1975

83        The Android Invasion            22 November–13 December 1975

84        The Brain of Morbius            3–24 January 1976

85        The Seeds of Doom            31 January–6 March 1976


Season 14 (1976-77)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

86        The Masque of Mandragora            4–25 September 1976

87        The Hand of Fear            2–23 October 1976

88        The Deadly Assassin            30 October–20 November 1976

89        The Face of Evil            1–22 January 1977

90        The Robots of Death   29 January – 19 February 1977

91        The Talons of Weng-Chiang            26 February – 2 April 1977


Season 15 (1977-78)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

92        Horror of Fang Rock            3–24 September 1977

93        The Invisible Enemy            1–22 October 1977

94        Image of the Fendahl            29 October–19 November 1977

95        The Sun Makers            26 November–17 December 1977

96            Underworld   7–28 January 1978

97        The Invasion of Time     4 February – 11 March 1978


Season 16 (1978-79)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

98        The Ribos Operation            2–23 September 1978

99        The Pirate Planet            30 September–21 October 1978

100      The Stones of Blood   28 October–18 November 1978

101      The Androids of Tara     25 November–16 December 1978

102      The Power of Kroll            23 December 1978–13 January 1979

103      The Armageddon Factor  20 January – 24 February 1979


Season 17 (1979-80)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

104      Destiny of the Daleks            1–22 September 1979

105      City of Death   29 September–20 October 1979

106      The Creature from the Pit   27 October–17 November 1979

107            Nightmare of Eden            24 November–15 December 1979

108      The Horns of Nimon  22 December 1979–12 January 1980

109            Shada[e]         Unaired


Season 18 (1980-81)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

110      The Leisure Hive            30 August–20 September 1980

111      Meglos            27 September–18 October 1980

112      Full Circle   25 October–15 November 1980

113      State of Decay  22 November–13 December 1980

114            Warriors' Gate  3–24 January 1981

115      The Keeper of Traken 31 January–21 February 1981

116            Logopolis         28 February–21 March 1981


Fifth Doctor                 


Season 19 (1982)             


No       Title            Original airdate

117            Castrovalva      4–12 January 1982

118      Four to Doomsday            18–26 January 1982

119      Kinda            1–9 February 1982

120      The Visitation            15–23 February 1982

121      Black Orchid  1–2 March 1982

122            Earthshock      8–16 March 1982

123      Time-Flight    22–30 March 1982


Season 20 (1983)             


No       Title            Original airdate

124      Arc of Infinity  3-12 January 1983

125            Snakedance     18-26 January 1983

126            Mawdryn Undead            1-9 February 1983

127            Terminus         15-23 February 1983

128            Enlightenment   1-9 March 1983

129      The King's Demons            15-16 March 1983

130      The Five Doctors[f]            23-Nov-83


Season 21 (1984)             


No       Title            Original airdate

131            Warriors of the Deep            5–13 January 1984

132      The Awakening            19–20 January 1984

133            Frontios           26 January–3 February 1984

134            Resurrection of the Daleks  8–15 February 1984


135      Planet of Fire  23 February–2 March 1984

136      The Caves of Androzani            8–16 March 1984


Sixth Doctor                


Season 21 (1984) — continued                     


No       Title            Original airdate

137      The Twin Dilemma            22–30 March 1984


Season 22 (1985)             


No       Title            Original airdate

138      Attack of the Cybermen            5–12 January 1985

139            Vengeance on Varos            19–26 January 1985

140      The Mark of the Rani     2–9 February 1985

141      The Two Doctors            16 February–2 March 1985

142            Timelash          9–16 March 1985

143            Revelation of the Daleks  23–30 March 1985


Season 23 (1986)             


Main article: The Trial of a Time Lord                   


No       Title            Original airdate

144      The Mysterious Planet   6–27 September 1986

145            Mindwarp       4–25 October 1986

146      Terror of the Vervoids            1–22 November 1986

            aka The Vervoids   

147      The Ultimate Foe            29 November–6 December 1986

            aka Time Incorporated   


Seventh Doctor                       


Season 24 (1987)             


No       Title            Original airdate

148      Time and the Rani            7–28 September 1987

149            Paradise Towers            5–26 October 1987

150      Delta and the Bannermen            2–16 November 1987

151            Dragonfire       23 November–7 December 1987


Season 25 (1988-89)                   


No       Title            Original airdate

152            Remembrance of the Daleks  5–26 October 1988

153      The Happiness Patrol   2–16 November 1988

154      Silver Nemesis            23 November–7 December 1988

155      The Greatest Show in the Galaxy            14 December 1988–4 January 1989


Season 26 (1989)             


No       Title            Original airdate

156            Battlefield        6–27 September 1989

157      Ghost Light     4–18 October 1989

158      The Curse of Fenric            25 October–15 November 1989

159      Survival            22 November–6 December 1989


Eighth Doctor              


Category:Information -- posted at: 10:18am UTC

TDP 62: Doctor Who 4.10 Midnight

"Midnight" is the tenth episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was first broadcast on BBC One on 14 June 2008.


The Doctor and Donna take a holiday on the crystalline planet Midnight, which orbits close enough to its sun that the Xtonic radiation exposure would vaporise any living thing walking unprotected on its surface. Donna opts to relax at a spa while the Doctor takes a four-hour shuttle bus ride to the Sapphire Waterfall. Other passengers include the Cane family — Val (Coulson), Biff (Ryan), and their teenage son Jethro (Morgan) — Professor Hobbes (Troughton) and his assistant Dee Dee Blasco (Antoine), and businesswoman Sky Silvestry (Sharp). The staff are the driver Joe (Bluto), trainee mechanic Claude (Henry), and a steward who is only referred to as 'the Hostess' (Ayola).

The trip initially goes smoothly despite the shuttle being rerouted to a new course, but suddenly the shuttle stops. The Doctor checks with the shuttle's driver and mechanic, confirming that there's nothing wrong with the vehicle. He convinces them to open the shutter to look outside, and the mechanic believes he sees a shadow moving towards the bus. The crew calls for a rescue vehicle while the Doctor returns to the main cabin.

A few moments later, something begins knocking on the shuttle's hull, copying the passengers when they knock back. The knocking moves around the shuttle, making its way towards Sky Silvestry, apparently the most frightened of the lot, and dents the door she is standing by. The lights then temporarily fail and the shuttle is violently rocked. When the lights are restored, the seats near Sky have been ripped off the floor and she is cowering in the corner. An attempt to speak to the cabin crew reveals that their cabin has also been ripped away, exposing Joe and Claude to the deadly sunlight.

Sky initially remains motionless, but is coaxed into turning around by the Doctor. Attempts to get her to speak only cause her to repeat what she is told, making it clear that Sky is no longer in control. The delay between Sky's repetitions becomes shorter, until eventually she begins speaking in exact unison with the passengers. Cabin fever sets in, and the passengers contemplate throwing her outside. The Doctor's attempts to calm the situation fail when the passengers become suspicious of him, especially when he is unwilling to reveal his name. This is only amplified when Sky focuses solely on repeating the Doctor's words.

As the Doctor tries to reason with Sky, she begins speaking his words first, and the Doctor quickly becomes the one doing the repeating. Most of the passengers reason that whatever was in Sky has now passed into the Doctor, while the hostess and Dee Dee reason that this is just the next step: stealing the voice of another. The other passengers refuse to listen and begin to drag the Doctor towards the nearest door after being goaded by Sky. However, the hostess realises that Sky is not talking in her own voice when she uses two phrases the Doctor had used earlier. Before the other passengers can throw the Doctor out, she sacrifices herself by dragging Sky out of another door. The Doctor slowly recovers, and as the passengers wait for the rescue shuttle, he realises that no one knew the hostess' name. At the spa, a mournful Doctor reunites with Donna.


Rose Tyler appears on one of the shuttle's television screens shortly after the lifeform attacks the transport, echoing a similar appearance in "The Poison Sky". In both instances, she silently shouts for the Doctor, who is not there to see the image in the first instance and is looking the opposite way in this episode. Rose is also mentioned by the Doctor by name along with Martha and Donna.

This is the first story since Genesis of the Daleks where the TARDIS does not appear.

This is the second full story featuring the Doctor without a companion in the main narrative, the first being The Deadly Assassin (Mission to the Unknown in 1965 featured neither the Doctor nor his companions). It is also the only time where the adversary is neither seen nor given a name.[2]

When the Doctor is asked for his real name, he lies and replies with the name "John Smith", a common alias of his, which is not believed. The mystery behind the Doctor's name and the use of a simple alias is a recurring theme in the series' revival.

Two of the Tenth Doctor's common phrases are used to identify his voice: "allons-y" and "molto bene", first used in "Army of Ghosts" and "The Runaway Bride" respectively.[2]


This episode is the fiftieth episode filmed for the revived series, and was filmed at the same time as "Turn Left". Donna has a minor role in the episode (appearing in only the pre-credits sequence and the final scene), while the Doctor has a minor role in "Turn Left".[1][3][4]

Cast notes

David Troughton, cast here as Professor Hobbes, was a late replacement for Sam Kelly, who broke his leg and had to withdraw from the production. Troughton joined the rest of the cast in Cardiff with just two days notice. An actor now known for his stage work with the RSC as well as television, he is the son of Patrick Troughton, who portrayed the Second Doctor. He had a long association with the early series in the 1960s and early 1970s, appearing as an uncredited extra in the first, fifth, and sixth episodes of the Second Doctor serial The Enemy of the World as Private Moor in the sixth episode of the Second Doctor serial The War Games[, and as King Peladon in all four episodes of the Third Doctor serial The Curse of Peladon. [8][9] More recently he has appeared as the Tinghus in the Doctor Who audio adventure Cuddlesome.


Based on BARB overnight returns, "Midnight" was watched by 7.3 million viewers, giving it a 38% share of the total television audience. [] against ITV's live coverage of a UEFA Euro 2008 international football match. The episode received an Appreciation Index score of 86 (considered "Excellent").

The Guardian's TV reviewer Sam Wollaston described the episode as "great... it's tense and claustrophobic, and gnaws away at you." He praised the fact that all the action happened in one confined space with an unseen enemy, saying "this is psychological drama rather than full-blown horror; creepy-unknown scary, not special-effect-monster scary." The Times's reviewer Andrew Billen was more critical, writing that Tennant's Doctor was becoming "increasingly irritating". He called the episode "sheet upon sheet of dialogue" that "felt too much of a writing exercise to be really scary" and a case-in-point of how the 2008 series "fails as often as it succeeds". Billen did, however, praise the episode for its claustrophobic atmosphere and for showing the series was "not afraid of variety [and]... dead scared of repetition".

200 – "Midnight"
Doctor Who episode

Sky Silvestry synchronises with the Doctor
Doctor David Tennant (Tenth Doctor)
Companion Catherine Tate (Donna Noble)
Guest stars
Writer Russell T. Davies
Director Alice Troughton
Script editor Helen Raynor
Producer Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T. Davies
Julie Gardner
Production code 4.10
Series Series 4
Length 45 mins
Originally broadcast 14 June 2008
← Preceded by Followed by →
"Forest of the Dead" "Turn Left"
Direct download: Midnight.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:15pm UTC

To get a replacement disc you need to send your current one to:

DVD Support
33 Foley Street


The just released K9 Tales DVD set has a problem at the end of Episode 3 of The Invisible Enemy that causes scenes to play out of order.

the fault kicks in at around 21' 10, when Tom says "Get out of my head!" - there is a leap to the final lab scene where the "shrimp" appears. this continues to 22' 07 and the beginning of the "sting" when we return to the scene in Tom's head, until 22'27, when the credits kick in suddenly. this is all too noticeable and makes the end of the episode total nonsense.



Category:general -- posted at: 2:39pm UTC

TDP 61: Doctor Who 4.08 & 4.09 Silence in the Library - Forest of the Dead

"Silence in the Library" is the eighth episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who, first broadcast on 31 May 2008.[1] It is the first of a two-part story by Steven Moffat, followed by "Forest of the Dead



The Doctor and Donna arrive in the 51st century at a planet-sized book repository simply called "The Library", summoned by an anonymous request for help on the Doctor's psychic paper. However, they find it completely devoid of humanoid life, and the Library's computers even claim as such, though when the Doctor widens the search for non-humanoid life, the Library's computers claim over "a million million lifeforms" exist. A Node, an information drone which presents a donated human face to the user to facilitate communication, warns them to count the shadows, which appear despite the lack of objects to cast them. As they try to search for answers, they meet a team of explorers, led by archaeologist Professor River Song, who have come to ascertain the meaning of the Library's final communication, which states "4022 saved, no survivors". River Song seems to know the Doctor, has a diary with a cover matching the Doctor's TARDIS, and even possesses a sonic screwdriver. She also later displays knowledge of the TARDIS' "emergency program one". She only admits that she will know the Doctor in his relative future, refusing to disclose more for fear of "spoilers". Professor Song also recognises Donna's name, but avoids explaining why Donna was not present when she knew the Doctor.

The Doctor organizes the team to make sure the area is well lit as he explains that they are surrounded by Vashta Nerada, microscopic carnivorous creatures that disguise themselves as shadows to hunt and latch onto their prey. He notes that they are usually nowhere near as aggressive or numerous as the ones here seem to be. Before he can fully explain, however, one of the explorers wanders off and is stripped to the bone in moments. The Doctor and Donna learn that the exploration team wears communication devices which link to their nervous systems for thought-based communication. As a side-effect, these devices tend to pick up an imprint of the user at the moment of death, creating a short-lived "Data Ghost" of that person's consciousness.

Curiously, the Library's operations seem to be tied to the imagination of a young girl; she sees the Doctor and Donna through the eyes of a security camera when they first break into central room, the exploration team appears on her television when the Doctor attempts to hack the Library computers, and books fly from the shelves when she fiddles with the television's remote control. The girl is under the observation of Dr Moon, a child psychologist, at the request of her dad, but Dr Moon insists to the girl that what she imagines in her nightmares is in fact real, while the "real" world is a lie. He also states that there are people in her library who need to be saved.

The team's investigation is interrupted when a shadow of Vashta Nerada latches onto the pilot, Dave. Although the Doctor attempts to save him by sealing him inside his suit, the creatures manage to get inside, eat him alive, and then animate his suit in order to chase the other explorers. The Doctor attempts to teleport Donna back to the TARDIS while he leads the rest of the team to safety, but something goes wrong with the teleport and Donna fails to materialize properly. As the team races away from the possessed suit, the Doctor is horrified to find a Node with Donna's face on it, which claims that Donna has left the Library and has been "saved". The show ends in a cliffhanger as the Doctor is forced to leave the Node behind, but is trapped by the approaching suit on one side and the Vashta Nerada shadows on the other.


As shown on the BBC Doctor Who website, there are a number of books in the library either written by former Doctor Who writers or featured in previous episodes. Among those seen are the operating manual for the TARDIS, Origins of the Universe (Destiny of the Daleks), The French Revolution (An Unearthly Child), the Journal of Impossible Things ("Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood"), The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (written by Douglas Adams, former Doctor Who writer and script editor), Everest in Easy Stages (The Creature from the Pit) and Black Orchid (a book first seen in the Fifth Doctor serial of the same name).

The Doctor mentions that "emergency program one" will send Donna home should she be left alone in the TARDIS for five hours. In "The Parting of the Ways", this program was activated by the Ninth Doctor to send Rose Tyler home.

According to Steven Moffat, the squareness gun used by Professor River Song to help the party escape from the impending Vashta Nerada is intended to be the same sonic blaster that was used by Jack Harkness in the episode "The Doctor Dances". Moffat suggests that it was left in the TARDIS after "The Parting of the Ways", and taken by River Song in the Doctor's future. The name "squareness gun" was coined by Rose in the earlier episode.

The psychic paper has previously summoned the Doctor to a location in "New Earth", where the Face of Boe called the Doctor to his supposed deathbed.

The Doctor also mentions that he loves "a little shop", a sentiment previously expressed in the episodes "New Earth" and "Smith and Jones".

Broadcast and reception

"Silence in the Library" was scheduled against the final of ITV's talent contest Britain's Got Talent and suffered in the ratings as a result. Overnight viewing figures suggested that the episode was watched by 5.4 million viewers, although this increased to 6.27 million when adjusted for time shifting. Britain's Got Talent was viewed by 11.52 million in comparison. This was the first time since the series' revival in 2005 that Doctor Who did not have the largest audience share in its timeslot.

However, the episode did receive an Appreciation Index score of 89 (considered "Excellent")[, the joint highest figure the new series has received alongside "The Parting of the Ways", "Doomsday" and the following episode "Forest of the Dead". BBC Three's repeat of the episode was watched by 1.35 million viewers, almost double the figures for the equivalent repeat of the previous episode, "The Unicorn and the Wasp".


Certain scenes were filmed at the Old Swansea Central Library and the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea, Wales.

"Forest of the Dead" is the ninth episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was first broadcast by BBC One on 7 June 2008. It is the second of a two-part story, following "Silence in the Library".



Immediately following the events of the previous episode, "Silence in the Library", the Doctor and the exploration team manage to escape the Vashta Nerada and take refuge in a well-lit room. As they work out a plan, the Doctor is concerned about how he can trust River Song, so she whispers a single word in his ear which convinces him: his real name. Donna Noble finds herself at a care home named "CAL", apparently two years later, with Dr Moon treating her. He introduces her to another man, Lee, and is later seen visiting the married Donna and her family. However, Donna keeps noticing that something is wrong; she seems to skip from one place to another at a whim, only to be reminded of the journey by Dr Moon, who does this frequently by ending his sentences with "...and then you remembered/forgot"). Meanwhile, the little girl watches both the Doctor and Donna by switching channels on her television.

In the library, the Doctor discovers that the moon is sending out electromagnetic signals that are interfering with his sonic screwdriver. Strackman Lux explains that the moon is a virus scanner for the planet-side computer core. The Doctor briefly interrupts this signal, and suddenly appears in Dr Moon's place next to Donna; Dr Moon is quite literally the "doctor moon". The Doctor then understands that the message "4022 saved" did not mean they were rescued, but that their teleport patterns were saved to the library's hard drive. They are found once more by the Vashta Nerada suit and forced to flee, but the Doctor stays behind to reason with it. Through the communicator on the suit, the Vashta Nerada explain that the library is their "forest"; the paper of the countless books in the library was made from trees filled with Vashta Nerada spores, from which they hatched after being shipped to the library. They manage to kill Other Dave and resume the chase. River still laments the non-appearance of the Doctor she knew, recalling him making whole armies run away and opening the TARDIS with a snap of his fingers. Anita notices she has two shadows, and the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to tint her visor to attempt to trick the Vashta Nerada into thinking they are already in there.

In the computer core, the truth of the situation is revealed to Donna by none other than Miss Evangelista. She reveals that her Data Ghost was captured by the library's wireless internet, but was corrupted and caused her face to become severely disfigured while increasing her intelligence, leaving her "brilliant but unloved" and able to see the false reality for what it really is. She points out that all the children are merely identical copies, and gets Donna to remember the library. However, the young girl, watching from her television, does not want Donna to know and uses her television remote control to injure one of Donna's children as a diversion. Donna leaves Miss Evangelista behind, but her acceptance of the simulated reality is nevertheless shaken, and her invented children disappear when confronted with the fact that they do not exist. The little girl, increasingly frustrated by events, "switches off" her father and throws the remote control to the floor, activating the computer's self-destruct mechanism. Dr Moon attempts to protect the girl as he is programmed to do, but he is also switched off.

Professor River Song gives her life in place of the Doctor.
Professor River Song gives her life in place of the Doctor.

To stop the self-destruct, the Doctor, River Song, and Lux make their way to the computer core. Here, Lux reveals the meaning of CAL: it is an acronym for the name Charlotte Abigail Lux, his grandfather's daughter, who was wired into the computer as a child because she was dying. In this manner, Charlotte could live forever with the sum total of human knowledge to pass the time. However, storing the patterns of 4022 unique people has filled her computer core, and is preventing normal operations. The only way to set things right is to reintegrate them in the library. As CAL cannot do this alone, the Doctor prepares to wire his own mind into the system as extra memory, though it will surely kill him. As he works, he uses his screwdriver to un-tint Anita's visor to reveal a skeleton inside - she had been dead for some time now. He insists that in exchange for getting to keep their forest, he will get to save the people in the computer core. They initially refuse, but when the Doctor tells them to search for his name in the library's archives, they immediately reconsider and give him a day to clear the planet. River, unwilling to let the Doctor die, which would rewrite history and erase their time together, knocks him out and takes his place, rescuing those trapped in the computer at the cost of her life instead of his.

As the rescued humans are teleported home, Donna meets up with the Doctor. Having been unable to find her husband from the virtual world, the pair walks to the TARDIS, unaware that he is in the next group being teleported out. As the Doctor mournfully leaves River's diary and her sonic screwdriver in the library, he realises the reason why his future self gave her the sonic screwdriver in the first place: it holds a communication device with a Data Ghost. He uses it to bring River back to life inside the computer. After returning to the TARDIS, he decides to test what River Song said about his future: he opens and closes the TARDIS doors by snapping his fingers, then continues his adventures. Meanwhile, River Song appears in the virtual world, where she is greeted by Charlotte and Dr Moon. Anita, the two Daves and Miss Evangelista (her face restored) also appear, their Data Ghosts having been saved by Charlotte and brought into the computer for eternity. Josh and Ella, the homogeneous children from CAL's world, are seen to live with Charlotte and River.


Multiple items from previous episodes are reused here. The wedding dress Catherine Tate wears in this episode is the same dress she wore in "The Runaway Bride". According to Steven Moffat, the squareness gun used by Professor River Song to help the party escape from the impending Vashta Nerada at the beginning of the episode is intended to be the same sonic blaster that was used by Jack Harkness in the episode "The Doctor Dances". Moffat suggests that it was left in the TARDIS after "The Parting of the Ways", and taken by River Song in the Doctor's future. The name "squareness gun" was coined by Rose Tyler in the earlier episode. The Bad Wolf motif (seen throughout series one and in other places) is alluded to once more: a picture of blonde girl and a wolf is visible in Charlotte's house.

There are some similarities between River Song and Bernice Summerfield, a character created by Paul Cornell as a companion of the Seventh and late Eighth Doctors in Virgin New Adventures series of novels in the 1990s.[4] Both characters are archaeologists from the future who came to be the Doctor's most trusted companion.

Professor River Song uses the Doctor's name (not heard by the viewer) in order to gain his trust. The secret behind the Doctor's true name was also explored in "The Girl in the Fireplace" (also by Steven Moffat), "The Shakespeare Code" and "The Fires of Pompeii", and later referred to in "Midnight".


"Forest of the Dead" was initially announced under the title "River's Run", before its name was changed relatively late in production.[

Several scenes from this episode and "Silence in the Library" were filmed at Swansea's Brangwyn Hall. These include the library reception area where the TARDIS arrives, and the staircase where the Doctor and Donna look out over the empty library. The climactic scenes of the episode (in the library core) were filmed in an electrical substation of a disused Alcoa factory in Waunarlwydd, Swansea.

Josh and Ella, Donna's two children in the computer-generated world, were named after Steven Moffat's son and his son's friend.[8]


Based on overnight returns, it is estimated that Forest of the Dead was watched by 7.1 million viewers, giving it a 40.0% audience share; the highest in Series Four and the highest in its timeslot.[9] The episode received an Appreciation Index score of 89 (considered "Excellent"), the joint highest score the programme has achieved alongside "The Parting of the Ways", "Doomsday" and the preceding episode "Silence in the Library".

199a – "Silence in the Library"
Doctor Who episode

The Doctor, Donna and the explorers find the skeleton of one of their companions.
Doctor David Tennant (Tenth Doctor)
Companion Catherine Tate (Donna Noble)
Guest stars
Writer Steven Moffat
Director Euros Lyn
Script editor Helen Raynor
Producer Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T. Davies
Julie Gardner
Production code 4.8
Series Series 4
Length 45 mins
Originally broadcast 31 May 2008
← Preceded by Followed by →
"The Unicorn and the Wasp" "Forest of the Dead"
199b – "Forest of the Dead"
Doctor Who episode

Donna discovers that Miss Evangelista was corrupted when she was uploaded to the data core.
Doctor David Tennant (Tenth Doctor)
Companion Catherine Tate (Donna Noble)
Guest stars
  • Alex Kingston – Professor River Song
  • Colin Salmon – Dr Moon
  • Harry Peacock – Proper Dave
  • Steve Pemberton – Strackman Lux
  • Jessika Williams – Anita
  • O-T Fagbenle – Other Dave
  • Eve Newton – The Girl
  • Mark Dexter – Dad
  • Jason Pitt – Lee
  • Eloise Rakic-Platt – Ella
  • Alex Midwood – Joshua
  • Talulah Riley – Miss Evangelista
  • Jonathan Reuben - Man
Writer Steven Moffat
Director Euros Lyn
Script editor Helen Raynor
Producer Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T. Davies
Julie Gardner
Production code 4.9
Series Series 4
Length 45 mins
Originally broadcast 7 June 2008
← Preceded by Followed by →
"Silence in the Library" "Midnight"

Direct download: library_wip.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:30am UTC

TDP 60: Doctor Who and Torchwood DVD Round Up DVD round up for the summer of 2008!
Direct download: TDP_60_DVD_Roundup.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:35pm UTC

TDP 59: Doctor Who 4.07 The Unicorn and the Wasp

"The Unicorn and the Wasp" is the seventh episode in the fourth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was aired by BBC One on 17 May 2008 at 7:00pm.[2][3] Perhaps due to its later broadcast, it received an overnight audience rating of 7.7 million, making it the most successful episode this series since "The Fires of Pompeii".[4] The episode is a pseudohistorical story set in 1926, in a manor owned by a character named Lady Eddison in which crime fiction novelist Agatha Christie is visiting, and is a comedic episode with a murder storyline.[5]



The episode sees the Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) arrive at a dinner party hosted by Lady Eddison (Felicity Kendal) and her husband, Colonel Hugh (Christopher Benjamin). One of the guests is none other than Agatha Christie (Fenella Woolgar). Looking at a newspaper, the Doctor finds that it is the day of Agatha Christie's famous unexplained disappearance (December 8, 1926). Just as this revelation is made, another guest, Professor Peach (Ian Barritt), is found by Eddison's friend and companion Miss Chandrakala (Leena Dhingra) in the library, murdered with a lead pipe; Donna alludes to the similarity to the boardgame Cluedo. The Doctor finds morphic residue on the floor while examining the scene, meaning that one of the guests isn't human.

Aided by Agatha, the Doctor interviews the guests while Donna goes looking for clues. She investigates a locked room, which the butler explains Lady Eddison had sequestered herself in while recovering from a bout of malaria contracted in India forty years earlier and they had left locked after her recovery. Donna is attacked by a giant wasp after tracing a buzzing sound to a window. She scares it off with a magnifying glass. It escapes and apparently retakes human form before they can catch up, killing Miss Chandrakala along the way. Her last words are "The poor little child." At this point it becomes clear that the murder is being played out like one of Agatha's novels.

While the three mull over the evidence they've gathered thus far, the Doctor is poisoned with cyanide; however, it is not as fatal for him as it is for humans, and an odd combination of ingredients with a shock (in the form of a kiss) from Donna allows him to detoxify himself. In return, the Doctor "poisons" the guests' dinner with pepper; naturally this is not harmful to humans, but it acts as an insecticide to wasps. A buzzing sound can be heard moments later, to which Lady Eddison exclaims, "It can't be!" The lights are blown out by a sudden wind and they again fail to ascertain the identity of the alien. Roger Curbishley (Adam Rayner), Lady Eddison's son, is murdered in the confusion, and Lady Eddison's necklace, 'The Firestone,' is stolen.

In the sitting room, the Doctor and Agatha reveal several secrets about the guests and hosts. Robina Redmond (Felicity Jones) is a thief called 'The Unicorn' who coveted the Firestone and stole it in the confusion. Colonel Hugh is not actually wheelchair bound as he appears to be; he faked the condition to make sure Lady Eddison did not leave him. The truth of Lady Eddison's bout of malaria is also revealed; she was actually made pregnant by an alien known as a Vespiform, who gave her the Firestone necklace. The necklace is psychically linked to her son, whom she had given up for adoption and never saw again. Her son is actually the Reverend Golightly (Tom Goodman-Hill), who had come to associate Agatha Christie's novels with the way the world must work because Lady Eddison had been reading one when his alien biology was awakened in a moment of anger, and had killed those who were working against him in the manner of one of her novels.

Golightly, now enraged once more at being discovered, transforms into his wasp form. Agatha snatches the Firestone, and Golightly pursues her since she is now linked to it. The Doctor and Donna follow after her. Agatha leads the creature to the lake, where Donna throws the necklace into the water. Golightly follows it in and thus drowns. Still linked to the necklace, Agatha nearly dies as well, but Golightly chooses to release her as his last act. The trauma causes amnesia, and the Doctor deposits her at the Harrogate Hotel ten days later, explaining her disappearance.

In the TARDIS, the Doctor produces one of Agatha's novels, Death in the Clouds, and points to the copyright page in the front. The publication date is listed as the year five billion; Agatha Christie is quite literally the most popular novelist of all time. The cover features a giant wasp, suggesting that the amnesia was not total (although the wasp in the novel is in fact of the normal variety).


When the Doctor meets Agatha Christie for the first time, he mentions that he was just talking about her the other day, saying "I bet she's brilliant". This comes from the end of "Last of the Time Lords", when he was suggesting places where he and Martha could go after the Master's defeat.

Several previous episodes are referenced by both the Doctor and Donna. The Doctor produces items from a chest of items beginning with C, including a Cyberman chest-plate from "The Age of Steel" and the crystal ball in which the Carrionites are trapped from "The Shakespeare Code".

Donna mentions that meeting Agatha Christie during a murder mystery would be as preposterous as meeting "Charles Dickens surrounded by ghosts at Christmas", unknowingly referencing the events of "The Unquiet Dead". When Donna attempts to use 1920s lingo, the Doctor tells her to stop, just as he did with Rose Tyler (in "Tooth and Claw") and Martha Jones (in "The Shakespeare Code" and The Infinite Quest) when they tried to mimic local speech; the first slang phrase Donna uses ("Topping day, what!") is also used by the Third Doctor when interacting with 1920s characters in the 1973 serial Carnival of Monsters. When poisoned, the Doctor runs into the kitchen and asks for ginger beer. The Fourth Doctor was seen drinking ginger pop throughout The Android Invasion and the dislike of it by companion Sarah Jane Smith becomes a major plot point.

Donna refers to her own failed marriage in "The Runaway Bride", comparing it to Christie's husband's infidelity. She notes that her husband was colluding not with another woman but with a giant spider. She also mentions the disappearing bees, following on from previous mentions in "Partners in Crime" and "Planet of the Ood".

The Doctor has a flashback scene when unravelling motives with Agatha Christie. In it he's carving through Belgium with a bow and quiver of arrows on his back. His voiceover explains he looking for Charlemagne who was "kidnapped by an insane computer." Christie interrupts before he can paint a full picture; however the events are fully explored on Doctor Who's BBC website in the short story "The Lonely Computer."[1]

The first episode of this series was called "Partners in Crime" - the title of one of Agatha Christie's books.

Outside references

There are numerous references to either Agatha Christie's novels or to Christie herself. In a similar manner to the running gag between the Doctor and William Shakespeare in "The Shakespeare Code", both Donna and the Doctor refer to novels which Agatha has yet to write, ideas which she naturally finds to be intriguing — particularly Murder On The Orient Express, which Donna mentions. Other novels referenced are Why Didn't They Ask Evans, The Murder at the Vicarage, Cards on the Table, Appointment with Death, N or M?, The Body in the Library, The Moving Finger, Sparkling Cyanide, Crooked House, They Do It With Mirrors, Cat Among the Pigeons, Endless Night, The Secret Adversary, Nemesis, Taken at the Flood, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, And Then There Were None, Death Comes as the End, Dead Man's Folly and Death in the Clouds. When the body of Professor Peach is found, the Doctor remarks that the time of death was quarter past four. This is a reference to Agatha Christie's novel, "The Clocks" where there are clocks frozen at 4:13. Donna also mentions Miss Marple (whom Christie had not yet created), and the novelist remarks that she would make for an interesting character. The episode also claims that Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time (literally), which is true today as her novels have sold an estimated four billion copies. (The works of Shakespeare and the Bible have sold more copies overall, but are not novels.)[6] The Doctor also makes a slight faux pas when he addresses Christie as "Dame Agatha", a title which she had yet to receive at the time the episode is set in.

The script also makes multiple references to the murder mystery board game Cluedo. The first murder took place in the library, one of the rooms on the Cluedo board, with a lead pipe, one of the suspected weapons in the game. The victim's name is Professor Peach, a reference to Cluedo's Professor Plum. The episode also features a colonel (Colonel Mustard), a woman wearing blue (Mrs Peacock), a reverend (Reverend Green) and a woman in red (Miss Scarlett).


The episode is written by Gareth Roberts, who previously wrote the pseudohistorical episode "The Shakespeare Code". Roberts was given a fourth series episode to write after executive producer Russell T Davies reviewed Roberts' script for "The Shakespeare Code". Several months later, he received an email from the production team which said "Agatha Christie".[7]

Roberts, a self-confessed fan of Christie's works, made the episode into a comedy, the first Doctor Who story to do so since Donald Cotton's serials The Myth Makers and The Gunfighters, in 1965 and 1966, respectively.[5] Roberts based the episode on his favourite Christie works: Crooked House, which focuses on secrets within an aristocratic society, and the 1982 film adaptation of Evil Under the Sun. Speaking of both works, Roberts noted that it was "quite strange writing a modern Doctor Who with posh people in it. We don't really see posh people on television anymore, except at Christmas", and "there's something funny about the veneer of upper class respectability and the truth of any family underneath". He also stated that "there's really nothing nicer than watching a lot of English actors hamming it up in a vaguely exotic location... and then somebody's murdered!" The episode's title was deliberately chosen to sound "vaguely Christie-ish", but Roberts admitted that "[Christie] never used 'the blank and the blank' construction".[7]

In writing the episode, Roberts aimed to make the episode a "big, fun, all-star murder mystery romp". He was influenced by advice given by Davies, who wanted Roberts to "go funnier" with every draft, and former Doctor Who script editor Douglas Adams' advice that "a danger one runs is that the moment you have anything in the script that's clearly meant to be funny in some way, everybody thinks 'oh well we can do silly voices and silly walks and so on', and I think that's exactly the wrong way to do it". Using this advice, he used the adage that in comedy, the characters do not realise the humour, and cited Basil Fawlty's mishaps in Fawlty Towers as an example.[7]

In an interview with Doctor Who Magazine, Roberts stated that "to a certain extent [there was less pressure]" in writing the episode. He was pleased with the success of "The Shakespeare Code" and the The Sarah Jane Adventures story "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?", but likened himself to Corporal Bell, a member of the administrative staff at the fictional Doctor Who organisation UNIT, in saying that he did not wish to be "in the middle of things" or writing episodes "where big, pivotal things have happened to [the Doctor]".[7]

Cast notes

Actor Christopher Benjamin, who plays Colonel Hugh, previously starred in two serials of the original Doctor Who series, playing Sir Keith Gold in Inferno (1970) and Henry Gordon Jago in The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977). David Tennant's father Alexander McDonald played a footman in one of the early scenes, after being asked to act when visiting David on set.[8] He had no lines.

The casting of Fenella Woolgar as Agatha Christie was made at the suggestion of David Tennant, who had previously worked with her on Bright Young Things.[8]


Although the opening notes of the gramophone record playing at the garden party have an apparent similarity to the Doctor Who theme, it is in fact the opening of Twentieth Century Blues, originally from Noël Coward's 1931 play Cavalcade. The recording used here, edited together with other "period music," is a 1931 recording of Ray Noble and the New Mayfair Orchestra, featuring vocalist Al Bowlly.


The Harrogate Hotel where the Doctor leaves Agatha is fictitious. In actuality, the hotel where she was found was the Swan Hydro (now the Old Swan Hotel), a somewhat less imposing building than the one depicted in the episode.

Doctor Who episode

Having followed her to the lake, the titular "Wasp" is controlled by Agatha Christie (Fenella Woolgar) using the Firestone - the object sought after by the titular "Unicorn" - as the Doctor runs forward with Donna to plead with it to spare Christie's life.
Doctor David Tennant (Tenth Doctor)
Companion Catherine Tate (Donna Noble)
Guest stars
Writer Gareth Roberts
Director Graeme Harper
Script editor Lindsey Alford
Producer Susie Liggat
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Phil Collinson
Production code 4.7
Series Series 4
Length 45 mins
Originally broadcast 17 May 2008
← Preceded by Followed by →
"The Doctor's Daughter" "Silence in the Library"
Direct download: agathas_wasp.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:12am UTC