|166a – "Bad Wolf"|
|Doctor Who episode|
The Anne Droid "disintegrates" a contestant.
|Writer||Russell T Davies|
|Script editor||Helen Raynor|
|Executive producer(s)||Russell T Davies
|Incidental music composer||Murray Gold|
|Length||1st of 2-part story, 45 minutes|
|Originally broadcast||11 June 2005|
"Bad Wolf" is the twelfth episode of the revived first series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast on 11 June 2005. The TARDIS crew find themselves trapped in the Gamestation, also known as Satellite 5, where they must battle to survive the cruel games. However, when Rose is taken away, the Doctor realises his deadliest enemies have returned en masse.
It is the first of a two-part story. The concluding episode, "The Parting of the Ways", was first broadcast on 18 June 2005.
The Doctor, Rose, and Jack Harkness find themselves separated, waking up with temporary amnesia in various television game shows. The Doctor finds himself in a Big Brother house hosted by the Davinadroid, Rose ends up on the set of The Weakest Link hosted by the Anne Droid, and Jack wakes up facing two female androids who offer to give him a makeover on a show similar to What Not to Wear. All three find out that the shows are more fatal than their twenty-first century counterparts. On The Weakest Link and Big Brother, losing contestants are disintegrated. On What Not to Wear, participants undergo brutal cosmetic surgery. The Doctor escapes from his show, bringing along a contestant called Lynda. They discover that they are on Satellite Five, which the Doctor previously visited in "The Long Game". It has been renamed the Game Station and is now under the control of the Badwolf Corporation. Lynda explains that 100 years ago, Satellite Five stopped broadcasting and humanity became confused and lost.
The Doctor, Jack, and Lynda search for Rose. They find her just as she loses the final round of The Weakest Link and is promptly disintegrated. They are arrested, but escape their capture and travel to the control room on Floor 500. There they meet the Controller, a cybernetic human. The Controller uses the cover of a solar flare to speak directly to the Doctor, telling him that her masters cannot hear her during the flare. The Controller used a transmat to hide the Doctor and his companions in the games as her masters do not watch them. The solar flare ends before she can tell the Doctor who is controlling her. Jack finds the TARDIS, which he uses to figure out that contest losers are not actually disintegrated but transmatted off of the station. The Controller begins giving the Doctor the coordinates that the transmat leads to, knowing that her masters will hear. The Controller disappears in a transmat beam and wakes up on a spaceship, where she is killed by her masters. Rose wakes up on the floor of a spaceship and is horrified to see a Dalek approaching her. The Doctor and Jack discover a signal coming from the station that is hiding something at the edge of the solar system. They cancel the signal and reveal a fleet of Dalek spaceships. The Daleks open a communication channel to the Doctor, threatening to kill Rose if he interferes. The Doctor refuses to back down and vows to rescue Rose and wipe out the Daleks.
The episode ends with the Daleks about to invade Satellite Five.
In one of "The Weakest Link" sequences, one of the correct answers is revealed to be Torchwood, the first appearance of the name in Doctor Who; it would become the story arc for the second series. When the Doctor first tries to escape from the Big Brother house, Lynda reveals that a "deadlock seal" prevents contestants from escaping. Deadlock seals are mentioned again in "School Reunion" (2006), "Evolution of the Daleks" (2007) and "42" and are the only kind of seals that a single Sonic Screwdriver is incapable of penetrating alone. Exo-glass, first mentioned in "The End of the World", is said here to require a nuclear bomb to penetrate. The word "transmat" was first used as shorthand for matter transmission in The Ark in Space (1975) and has been the standard term used in the programme ever since.
While playing The Weakest Link, Rose successfully answers a question about the Face of Boe, who first appears in "The End of the World", 5 billion years after "Bad Wolf". The Face of Boe is also mentioned in "The Long Game", and appears in a larger role in "New Earth" and "Gridlock". Rose's question about the Face of Boe also states that he is the oldest inhabitant of the "Isop Galaxy", which is also home to the planet Vortis seen in The Web Planet. Jack and the Doctor are sentenced to the Lunar Penal Colony, which the Third Doctor was sent to in Frontier in Space.
The term "Bad Wolf" and the two-part stories which only have one explicit reference between the two episodes. It is also seen in further series of Doctor Who and in the Torchwood episode "Captain Jack Harkness" as graffiti inside the dance hall.
The Davinadroid voice tells the Doctor that he is on Channel 44000 and asks him not to swear, echoing Davina McCall's requests during live broadcasts to the house in the actual Big Brother programme. The Big Brother UK TV Theme is played during this and several other segments of the episode. The Doctor's final line of the episode is "I'm coming to get you." This is Davina McCall's traditional announcement to contestants about to be evicted from the Big Brother house in the UK.
Apart from the fictional Bear with Me, all the other shows Lynda mentions as coming from the Game Station are based on popular British game and makeover shows: Call My Bluff, Countdown, Ground Force, Wipeout and Stars in Their Eyes.
A working title for this episode was "Gameshow World". This was the last of the 2005 Doctor Who episode titles to be revealed. Prior to this, the episode was referred to in promotional literature as "The Parting of the Ways (Part 1)", with "Part 2" eventually becoming simply "The Parting of the Ways".
The concept of the Anne Droid and a futuristic version of The Weakest Link was pitched by Russell T Davies in his second meeting with the BBC about bringing back Doctor Who in 2000 or 2001. The idea had come from his trip to New York City for the launch of the American version of Queer as Folk, where he had seen "a vast screen in Times Square with a gigantic Anne Robinson blasting us tiny mortals with her voice".
The production team originally intended to show Jack's naked buttocks on screen. The scene was shot, but the BBC's editorial policy department stepped in and vetoed it, the only time they over-ruled the production team during the 2005 series. According to the DVD commentary for this episode, the music that is heard as the Dalek fleet is revealed includes a chorus singing "What is happening?" (transliterated: Mah Kor'ei) in Hebrew.
Russell T Davies mentioned that the "arc word" for the subsequent series was mentioned in this series, as well as being an anagram. One of the answers during The Weakest Link scenes was that the Great Cobalt Pyramid was built on the ruins of the famous Old Earth Torchwood Institute, "Torchwood" being an anagram of "Doctor Who". In 2006, a spin-off series titled Torchwood began, set in modern-day Cardiff and involving a team investigating paranormal and alien incidents, and featuring John Barrowman reprising his role of Captain Jack Harkness.
During the actual recording the director instructed the sound engineer Neil Harris to mix up the played back questions so that their confusion would appear genuine.
Nisha Nayar, the actress cast as the Female Programmer in this episode, previously appeared as one of the uncredited 'Red Kang' extras in the 1987 classic series story Paradise Towers. This made her the second actor to appear in both the classic and new series of Doctor Who, following William Thomas's appearance in the previous episode, "Boom Town". Martha Cope later played Captain Oswin in the audio play The Nowhere Place and Talia in Bedtime Story. Paterson Joseph later played Victor Espinoza in the audio play Earth Aid. Sebastian Armesto later played Anders in the audio play Grand Theft Cosmos.
According to Doctor Who Confidential, although Anne Robinson was invited to voice the Anne Droid, the expectation was that she would decline. A celebrity voice impersonator had already been hired to record the lines when Robinson accepted.
Broadcast and reception
The episode received final rating of 6.81 million viewers, the lowest figure of the series.
Digital Spy's Dek Hogan had a positive reaction to "Bad Wolf", praising Eccleston, the parodies, and the Susanna and Trinny robots. Alasdair Wilkins of io9 praised the "mad energy" to the finale and Eccleston's emotion over losing Rose. However, he was critical of the popular culture references, feeling that it would not age well and he could not find a "coherent satirical point in their inclusion". SFX gave "Bad Wolf" a score of nine out of ten, calling the two-parter Davies' "finest work this season", praising the humorous parodies and the reveal of the Daleks. The episode's cliffhanger has been singled out by critics. It was listed by Charlie Jane Anders of io9 among the greatest cliffhangers of the programme, while Den of Geek's Mark Harrison listed it as the Ninth Doctor's best cliffhanger. It was also chosen by Morgan Jeffery and Chris Allen of Digital Spy among the five best Doctor Who cliffhangers; Jeffery wrote that it "isn't the strongest episode of his tenure – let's not forget the Trinny and Susannah robots – but you'd be hard-pressed to fault the climax".
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ninth Doctor|
- Bad Wolf (TV story) on TARDIS Data Core, an external wiki
- "Bad Wolf" at the BBC Doctor Who homepage
- "Bad Wolf" / "The Parting of the Ways" at Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- "Bad Wolf" / "The Parting of the Ways" at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- "Bad Wolf". Outpost Gallifrey.[dead link]
- "Bad Wolf" at TV.com
- Doctor Who Confidential – Episode 12: The World of Who
- "Rose, you leave this life with nothing." – Episode trailer for "Bad Wolf"
- Bad Wolf site
- "Bad Wolf" at the Internet Movie Database