Tooth and Claw (Doctor Who)

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169 – "Tooth and Claw"
Doctor Who episode
Tooth and Claw.jpg
The "werewolf" attacks Queen Victoria.
Cast
Others
Production
Writer Russell T Davies
Director Euros Lyn
Script editor Simon Winstone
Producer Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Incidental music composer Murray Gold
Production code 2.2
Series Series 2
Length 45 minutes
Originally broadcast 22 April 2006
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
"New Earth" "School Reunion"

"Tooth and Claw" is the second episode in the second series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who and was first broadcast on 22 April 2006. In 1879 Scotland, the Doctor and Rose meet Queen Victoria. However, a group of warrior monks have sinister plans for the monarch, and the full moon is about to summon a creature out of legend.

Plot[edit]

The Doctor attempts to take Rose to Sheffield in 1979 to see Ian Dury in concert, but ends up in the Scottish moors in 1879. They encounter a carriage carrying Queen Victoria, who has been forced to travel by roads to Balmoral Castle as a fallen tree has blocked the train line to Aberdeen, feared to be a potential assassination attempt. The Doctor poses as Dr. James McCrimmon using his psychic paper, and the Queen invites him and Rose to join her as she travels to the Torchwood Estate, a favourite of her late consort Prince Albert, to spend the night. The royal party is unaware that the Torchwood Estate has been captured by a group of monks from a monastery in St. Catherine's Glen led by Father Angelo, forcing its owner, Sir Robert MacLeish, to play into their ruse as they take the place of the house's servants and guards. The monks, having arranged for the fallen tree to force the Queen to the estate, have brought a man infected with a form of lycanthropy, hoping to pass its nature to the Queen and create a new "Empire of the Wolf".

The Doctor soon realizes the trap they have fallen into, and helps to save Rose, the Queen, and Sir Robert from Father Angelo's men and the werewolf by taking shelter in the estate's library, its wood coated with oil of mistletoe wood to stave off the beast. They study the library and discover evidence collected by Sir Robert's father, a polymath, and Prince Albert which indicates the werewolf is really the current form of an alien species that fell to earth in 1540 near the monastery, surviving by passing its lycanthropic form from human to human. The Doctor also realizes that the estate was designed as a trap for the werewolf, as by use of its strange telescope along with the Queen's Koh-i-Noor diamond, its cut fashioned by Prince Albert, they can force the werewolf to revert to human form and destroy the alien lifeform.

Sir Robert sacrifices himself to allow the Doctor, Rose, and the Queen to prepare the telescope in the Observatory. They are able to trap the werewolf in the concentrated light of the full moon collected by the diamond. The transformed human being begs for the Doctor to kill him by increasing the power of the light concentration, which he obliges. As they recover, the Queen finds a small cut she insists came from a wood splinter, but the Doctor remarks to Rose that all her children will carry a form of haemophilia, and that perhaps this was simply a Victorian euphemism for lycanthropy. The next day, the Queen dubs the Doctor and Rose with royal titles before banishing them from the British Empire, apparently "horrified" by their connection to and comfort in a world she does not understand. In honour of Sir Robert's sacrifice and his father's ingenuity, she orders the creation of the Torchwood Institute to help defend Britain from further alien attacks declaring that if the Doctor returns, Torchwood will be ready to deal with him.

Continuity[edit]

In the Third Doctor story The Curse of Peladon (1972), the Doctor mentioned having been in attendance at Queen Victoria's coronation. The Fifth Doctor meets Victoria (and is appointed her Scientific Advisor) in 1863 in the Past Doctor Adventures novel Empire of Death and she is also involved in the events of the novel Imperial Moon, taking place in 1878, where the Doctor's companion Kamelion poses as Prince Albert to convince her to keep the events of the novel secret. The canonicity of the novels, like all non-televised stories, is unclear.

A werewolf also appeared in the Seventh Doctor serial The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (1988), while silver bullets were mentioned in Battlefield (1989). Werewolves feature in the Past Doctor Adventures novel Wolfsbane, the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Kursaal and the Big Finish Productions audio play Loups-Garoux. A race of werewolves, the Wereloks, turn the Fourth Doctor into a werewolf in the Doctor Who Weekly comic strip story Doctor Who and the Dogs of Doom (DWW #27-#34), although he manages to devise a cure for his condition in the TARDIS.

Rose is wearing a T-shirt with a crown on it, a reference by the costume designer to Queen Victoria's presence in the episode, but also in keeping with Rose's expected visit to a 1979 Ian Dury concert. In the episode "Attack of the Graske", he took Rose to an ABBA concert in 1979 Wembley, and quoted the Status Quo song "Down Down" at one point in the same episode. The Doctor introduces himself as "James McCrimmon". Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines) was a young Scottish piper from the 18th Century, and a companion of the Second Doctor.[1] When Rose first encounters the wolf in its human form it says it can see "something of the wolf" in her and that she has "burnt like the Sun", a reference to the 2005 series episode "The Parting of the Ways".

The Tenth Doctor mentions the 'First Anti-Grav Olympics', which the Eleventh Doctor then references in 'The Bells of Saint John'.

Production[edit]

In the scene where the Doctor and Rose meet the Queen's guards, the Doctor slips into a Scottish accent, which is actually actor David Tennant's native accent. Michelle Duncan and Jamie Sives were unable to attend the readthrough for this story, and their parts were read by Tennant's parents, who happened to be visiting the Doctor Who set. Tennant told reporters at the series' press launch, "Because it's set in Scotland they were delighted to be asked to read in. My mum played Lady Isobel and my dad played Captain Reynolds and they were in seventh heaven. And they were genuinely cheesed off when they didn't get asked to play the parts for real! I was like, 'Chill-out, Mum and Dad, back in your box!'"[2]

Treowen House in Dingestow, Wales, was one of the sites for filming this episode, representing Torchwood House in the Scottish Highlands.[3] Exterior shots were filmed at Craig-y-Nos Castle, Swansea Valley.[4] The monk fight scene was filmed at a courtyard in Dyffryn Gardens, St Nicholas.[5]

At one point during filming, Billie Piper's hair caught fire.[6] Interviewed in Doctor Who Confidential, director Euros Lyn said that various martial arts films were viewed in researching the opening fight sequence, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.[7]

The werewolf in this story is computer-generated. Pauline Collins stated in a BBC press release that there were two performance artists who demonstrated the movements that the werewolf would do and talked about the problems of overacting in a situation where one was simply reacting to a green screen.[8] A deleted scene was included on the boxset DVD, where the Doctor and Rose, after being knighted, run off towards the TARDIS.

Cast notes[edit]

Pauline Collins appeared previously in the series as Samantha Briggs in the Second Doctor serial The Faceless Ones (1967).[1] This makes her the third actor from the classic series to appear in the new series, following William Thomas (Remembrance of the Daleks and "Boom Town") and Nisha Nayar (Paradise Towers and "Bad Wolf"/"The Parting of the Ways"). Collins had been offered a role as a companion in 1967, but had turned this down.[1][9] According to the accompanying episode commentary, actor Tom Smith, who played the Host, attended drama school with David Tennant.

When Sir Robert offers to precede the Queen out of the window, she calls him "my Sir Walter Raleigh". Actor Derek Riddell had played Raleigh in the BBC drama The Virgin Queen, screened earlier in the year. The script originally had Victoria refer to Sir Francis Drake, until Riddell pointed out that this would have been incorrect for the reference the Queen was making.

Cultural References[edit]

The title is an allusion to a merciless "Nature, red in tooth and claw" from Lord Tennyson's 1850 poem In Memoriam A.H.H. The poem was a favourite of Queen Victoria's, who found it a comfort after Prince Albert's death in 1861. The Doctor alludes to the Scottish ballad Walter Lesly ("I've been chasin' this- this wee naked child over hill and over dale,") and Robert Burns's poem To a Mouse ("Isn't that right, ye tim'rous beastie?") while trying to explain his and Rose's sudden appearance and their "unusual dress" to the soldiers at the beginning of the episode.

The Doctor notes that the Queen, by 1879, has had six attempts on her life. Of the known assassination attempts, one took place in 1840, three in 1842, one in 1849 and one in 1850. Subsequent to 1879, two more attempts were made in 1882 and 1887. In the Seventh Doctor serial Ghost Light, the Doctor thwarts an attempt in 1883 by an alien force to kill the Queen and thereby take over the British Empire.

The Doctor claims he is from the township of Balamory. Balamory was a popular live-action children's television programme broadcast between 2002 and 2005 and set on the Isle of Mull. The Doctor also claims to have trained at the University of Edinburgh under "Dr Bell", a reference to Joseph Bell, the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. In The Moonbase (1967), the Second Doctor claimed to have studied under another Scottish doctor, Joseph Lister, in 1888.

One of the traditional uses of mistletoe is indeed as a ward against werewolves, although the plant is "almost unknown" in Scotland.[10] In the commentary for the episode, script editor Simon Winstone notes that mistletoe was also used as an anticonvulsant, which tracks with the fits the Host suffers as he transforms. Also noted in the commentary was Prince Albert's overseeing of the cutting of the Koh-i-Noor and his dissatisfaction with the results, although Winstone suggests it was more due to the fact that the stone was cut down so much. Although Queen Victoria mentions that the Koh-i-Noor brings death to those who own it, the curse is supposed to only affect men; the stone is reputed to bring good luck to female owners. The Koh-i-Noor is currently set into the crown of Elizabeth, the late Queen Mother.

Rose, in a running gag tries time and again to trick the Queen to utter the famous phrase "We are not amused", and makes a triumphant gesture when she finally succeeds. The phrase is popularly attributed to Queen Victoria but no historical evidence confirms this.

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Overnight ratings for the episode peaked at 10.03 million (during one five minute segment). The audience Appreciation Index was 83.[11] The episode received an average of 9.24 million viewers, taking the timeshift into account.[12] The Defending the Earth! site update for this episode features another "live" message from Mickey Smith to the viewer. Mickey mentions how he was tracking satellites on the Torchwood website but was kicked out. He then re-directs the viewer to the Torchwood House site, telling them to access the telescope feed by using the password "Victoria" and help him search for the satellites.

This episode was released on 5 June 2006 as a basic DVD with no special features, together with "School Reunion" and "The Girl in the Fireplace", and as part of a second series boxset on 20 November 2006. This release included an audio commentary by writer Russell T Davies, visual effects supervisor David Houghton and supervising art director Stephen Nicholas.

Ian Berriman of SFX was highly positive of the episode, calling it "frigging ace" and praising Collins' portrayal of Queen Victoria. He particularly praised Davies' writing and the tone of the episode.[13] IGN's Ahsan Haque gave the episode a 7.8 out of 10 rating, highlighting the cinematography and special effects used on the werewolf. However, he thought that the story was "entertaining" and had a "few exciting moments", but it was unsatisfying with elements such as the werewolf chase feeling out of place for Doctor Who.[14] For the website in 2010, Matt Wales named "Tooth and Claw" the seventh best Tenth Doctor episode.[15] However, Dek Hogan of Digital Spy was less positive about the episode, finding it a let-down after the series opener, though he thought the wolf "looked great".[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Ruediger, Ross (6 October 2006). "Doctor Who, Season Two, Ep. 2: "Tooth and Claw"". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "David Tennant and Billie Piper Q&A". BBC. 3 April 2006. Retrieved 3 April 2006. 
  3. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (14 August 2011). "Tooth and Claw". A Brief History of Time (Travel). Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Walesarts, Craig-y-Nos Castle, Swansea Valley". BBC. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Walesarts, Dyffryn Gardens, St Nicholas". BBC. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Ross, Peter (9 April 2006). "Inside the Tardis: Doctor Who unplugged". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 23 January 2007. [1]
  7. ^ "Fear Factor". Doctor Who Confidential. Series 2. Episode 2. 22 April 2006. BBC. BBC Three.
  8. ^ BBC Press Office (7 April 2006), Programme Information: Network TV Week 17, 22–28 April 2006. Press release, PDF, pp. 4–5: "By Royal appointment".
  9. ^ "Pauline Collins interview". Radio Times. April 2006. Archived from the original on 9 January 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Mistletoe — Herb Profile and Information". botanical.com. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  11. ^ Tooth and Claw Overnight Ratings (April 23)
  12. ^ UK Ratings and AI Report (May 3)
  13. ^ Berriman, Ian (28 April 2006). "Doctor Who 2.2 Tooth and Claw". SFX. Archived from the original on 4 May 2006. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  14. ^ Haque, Ahsan (9 October 2006). "Doctor Who: "Tooth and Claw" Review". IGN. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  15. ^ Wales, Matt (5 January 2010). "Top 10 Tennant Doctor Who Stories". IGN. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  16. ^ Hogan, Dek (24 April 2006). "Hungry like the wolf". Digital Spy. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 

Footnotes[edit]

External links[edit]

Reviews[edit]