|164 - Aliens of London/World War Three|
|Directed by||Keith Boak|
|Written by||Russell T. Davies|
|Script editor||Elwen Rowlands|
|Produced by||Phil Collinson|
|Executive producer(s)||Russell T. Davies
|Production code||Series 1, Episodes 4 and 5|
|Series||Series 1 (2005)|
|Length||2 episodes, 45 mins each|
|Originally broadcast||April 16, 2005 - April 23 2005|
Aliens of London/World War Three are two episodes in the British science fiction televisionseries Doctor Who. The first episode was broadcast on 16 April 2005; the second a week later on 23 April 2005.
The Ninth Doctor takes Rose back to 21st century London, just in time to witness a spaceship crashing into the River Thames, triggering a worldwide state of alert and the closing off of the city. As the Doctor investigates the survivor of the crash, Rose finds problems closer to home.
The TARDIS materialises on a street in Rose's council estate. The Doctor has taken Rose back home, some twelve hours after she left at the end of Rose, by his estimate. However, when Rose goes to see her mother, Jackie stares at her in shock, as they have in fact been gone for twelve months. In the interim, Rose was declared missing, her mother organised a search campaign with posters and her boyfriend Mickey was suspected of murder. Jackie does not understand why Rose cannot seem to tell her where she has been all this time; she blames the Doctor, accusing him of taking her daughter for immoral purposes and slaps him.
Rose and the Doctor talk on the roof of her tower block, where she expresses her frustration at not being able to tell her mother because she would not understand. Suddenly, a massive cruiser-like spaceship roars overhead, trailing black smoke. The craft zooms through Central London, its wing cutting into the side of the Clock Tower that holds Big Ben, before it finally splashes down into the River Thames. The river is cordoned off by soldiers from the Parachute Regiment, and the Doctor and Rose have to watch the events unfold on the television in Jackie's flat. The world is being put on red alert, divers have apparently recovered an alien body from the wreckage of the craft, but there is still no word from the Prime Minister. The body is placed under military supervision under the command of General Asquith and brought to the nearby Albion Hospital. The general examines the body and finds out from Dr Sato that it was a real alien; no one could have made it up.
MP Joseph Green, a large, flatulent man and a minor member of government, is escorted to 10 Downing Street, and is met by Indra Ganesh, a Junior Secretary with the Ministry of Defence. Ganesh tells Green that he is now Acting Prime Minister. Ganesh hands Green a red box containing Emergency Protocols, and Green is met by Margaret Blaine of MI5 and Oliver Charles, Transport Liaison, both as rotund as Green is. The three government officials leave Ganesh and enter the Cabinet Rooms. Once inside, they look at each other and start laughing.
The evening settles on Rose's estate, and people are holding alien-welcoming parties. The Doctor leaves Rose's flat, saying that he is not good with people. Rose thinks he is going to investigate the crash, but the Doctor tells her that he is not going to interfere, and he gives her a TARDIS key. However, once downstairs, he enters the TARDIS and starts it up. Mickey spots the Doctor from his own flat and rushes down, too late as the TARDIS dematerialises.
The Doctor lands the TARDIS in a storage cupboard in Albion Hospital, and opens the door only to run into a group of soldiers, who level their rifles at him. At that moment, they hear a scream, and the Doctor immediately takes charge, barking out orders to lock down the perimeter. The Doctor finds Dr Sato cowering in the corner of an operating room. The supposedly dead alien had come back to life. The Doctor spots the alien, which looks like a pig in a spacesuit, and the creature flees in terror, only to be shot by a soldier. The Doctor angrily berates the soldier for killing the creature. The Doctor tells Dr. Sato that it is a real pig, its brain augmented by alien technology. As Dr Sato asks a question, the Doctor is gone, to the echo of a dematerialising TARDIS.
Harriet Jones, a backbench MP, approaches Green, Charles and Blaine, wanting a report to be placed on the next Cabinet agenda, but is brushed off. She enters the empty Cabinet Rooms and opens the Emergency Protocols box to place her report there, but is intrigued enough to start reading. Later, she hears General Asquith complaining to Green, Blaine and Charles about their inaction, and hides in a side room. In the Cabinet Rooms, the three government officials seem to find Asquith's complaints amusing, and they all start to break wind, laughing. When Asquith threatens to relieve Green of his role as Acting Prime Minister and place the country under martial law, the three unzip the tops of their heads, a bright blue light shining through. As Harriet watches terrified through a crack in the door, General Asquith screams.
Meanwhile, Mickey confronts Rose about where she has been with the Doctor, and smugly tells her about the TARDIS disappearing. When Mickey, Jackie and Rose go to where the TARDIS was formerly parked, Rose's key starts to glow, followed by the TARDIS materialising before their eyes. Rose proceeds inside with Mickey, but Jackie is too overwhelmed by what she has seen, and exits the ship to run back to her flat. The Doctor confesses that he suspected the crash — it was too perfect. Mickey notes that it is an odd way to invade a planet by putting it on red alert. Mickey (whom the Doctor insists on calling "Ricky") and the Doctor exchange barbs, but the Doctor has more important things to do. While Mickey and Rose catch up, the Doctor modifies the TARDIS scanner to track the spacecraft back twelve hours before the crash and discovers that it was launched from Earth.
Jackie calls the Emergency Alien Hotline to report that she has seen an alien — the Doctor, in a blue box he calls the TARDIS. This combination of key words triggers a alert, and Ganesh rushes to tell General Asquith. Inside the Cabinet Office, the alien that was Oliver Charles puts on the general's skin. Ganesh tells Asquith about that the Doctor has been spotted, and when Blaine asks who this "doctor" is, Ganesh explains that the Doctor is the expert on aliens. In the meantime, other alien experts from around the world, including the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, are being summoned to Downing Street.
When the Doctor, Rose and Mickey exit the TARDIS, they are immediately surrounded by armed soldiers, vehicles and a helicopter. Mickey runs away and hides, but the Doctor and Rose are put into a limousine and escorted to 10 Downing Street. The police escort Jackie up to her flat and a full-figured, gassy police inspector asks Jackie how she made contact with the Doctor.
At Downing Street, Ganesh meets the Doctor and Rose. Ganesh tells them that their ID cards must be worn at all times, and ushers the Doctor into a room with the other experts. Rose, however, is not cleared and thus not allowed in. Harriet Jones comes along at this point and offers to take care of Rose. She takes Rose to the Rooms and shows her Oliver Charles's empty skin. When they search the room for alien technology, they find the body of the Prime Minister stuffed in a cupboard. Ganesh enters at this point, and is aghast when he sees the Prime Minister's body.
At the briefing headed by Asquith and Green, the Doctor reads the reports and notices that a satellite picked up a blip of radiation under the North Sea. However, before anyone could investigate, the crash happened. The Doctor realises, however, that the reason someone would fake an alien invasion is so they can gather those who have experience and knowledge in fighting off aliens together in one place.
In the Cabinet Rooms, Blaine enters, closing the door behind her. Blaine begins to unzip her head before a horrified Ganesh, Rose and Harriet. In Jackie's flat, the police inspector does the same, and in the briefing room so does General Asquith. The enormous, greenish aliens wriggle out of their skins, the one inhabiting Blaine attacking Ganesh and the one that used to be the inspector cornering Jackie in her kitchen. In the briefing room, the unmasked Asquith identifies himself and his cohorts as the Slitheen. With that introduction, Green activates a hand-held device that sends a deadly dose of electricity jolting through the experts' ID cards, including the Doctor's…
The deadly electricity courses through all of the alien experts in the room, killing them, but the Doctor, not being human, is not as affected as the rest. The Doctor grabs his own electrified identity badge and attaches it to the collar of the Slitheen that was masquerading as Asquith. Somehow, as the electricity courses through Asquith, it affects Green, Blaine and the police inspector threatening Jackie as well. The Doctor makes good his escape, running down and attracting the attention of the Metropolitan Police squad below. Mickey comes into Jackie's flat and sees the police inspector alien paralysed by electricity. He knocks it aside with a chair and grabs Jackie's hand, pulling her out of there — but not before taking a photograph of the alien with his mobile phone. Harriet and Rose rush past the writhing Margaret Blaine alien, running down the corridors of 10 Downing Street.
Green struggles and manages to remove the badge from Asquith's neck, and they hurriedly scramble into their skins just as the Doctor returns with the police squad. The Doctor tells the squad that the Acting Prime Minister is an alien, but is met with obvious disbelief. Green accuses the Doctor of having killed all the experts, and Asquith orders the police, under authority of the Emergency Protocols, to execute the Doctor. The Doctor, however, has his back to the lift, and ducks into it before they can do so. He rides it up to the top floor.
Blaine continues to chase Harriet and Rose through No. 10, and the two seek refuge in one of the offices on the upper floor. In the meantime, Asquith tells the police to isolate the upper floors, and rides upstairs in the lift together with Green, removing their skins. They join Blaine, who is enjoying the hunt, and they sniff out Harriet and Rose's hiding places. They are about to strike when the Doctor comes in, spraying the Slitheen with a fire extinguisher, causing enough of a distraction for Harriet and Rose to duck around the aliens. They run towards the Cabinet Rooms to get the Emergency Protocols to see what procedures they have for fighting aliens.
The Slitheen are just about to follow them in, when the Doctor grabs a bottle of port from a side table, threatening to use his sonic screwdriver to "triplicate the flammability" of the alcohol. He asks them who they are and why they are invading. The Slitheen, held at bay for the moment, say that they are not invading, and the Slitheen is not the name of their species, but their family. They are here for business reasons, but before the Doctor can get them to tell what that is, the Slitheen realise that the Doctor's threat is a bluff. They prepare to end the hunt, but the Doctor observes that the Cabinet Rooms have a special feature — three-inch thick steel walls that can seal off the room, making it the safest place in Great Britain. He does just that, shutting the Slitheen out... but also cutting off any avenue of escape.
The Slitheen summon the rest of their family, all disguised as various government and military officials, who start arriving at Downing Street. Meanwhile, Mickey and Jackie have managed to make their way back to his flat, but the Slitheen police inspector is still in pursuit, using his sense of smell to track Jackie. In the Cabinet Rooms, the Doctor puts the Prime Minister and Ganesh's body in the cupboard, and then checks for possible escape routes. Rose wonders how the Slitheen can fit inside smaller human skins. The Doctor explains that it is a function of the collar they wear — its compression field shrinks them down, leading to the gas exchange that causes their flatulence. The Prime Minister's skin was too small, even for them, which is why they did not use him as a disguise. The Doctor wonders why he finds Harriet Jones's name so familiar.
Harriet says she is not famous, just a lifelong backbencher. The Emergency Protocols list all the people who could help, but they are all dead downstairs. Rose wonders if the Protocols have defence codes that they can use to launch nuclear weapons at the Slitheen. Harriet explains that due to the United Kingdom's past record, the release codes for a nuclear strike are in the hands of the United Nations, and a resolution has to be passed before the authorisations can be released. As they wonder what the Slitheen could be after, Rose's mobile phone beeps. It is Mickey, and he has sent a picture of the Slitheen in Jackie's kitchen.
Despite his dislike of Mickey, the Doctor admits that he needs him. He asks Mickey to go to the computer and log on to the UNIT website, using the password "buffalo" to gain access. As he does so, Jackie takes over the phone, pointedly telling the Doctor how dangerous his life is, and asking him if he can promise her that Rose will be safe. The Doctor does not answer. Once in, Mickey finds the signal that the Slitheen ship in the North Sea is pulsing out into space. The Doctor puts Mickey on the speakerphone and tries to decipher the signal. The doorbell to Mickey's flat rings and Jackie goes to answers it. It is the Slitheen inspector, who unmasks and starts to break through the door.
Desperately, the Doctor and the others try to gather the information they know about the Slitheen so he can identify their race and hopefully their weakness. The various characteristics they have exhibited, including the fact that their gas smells like halitosis — calcium decay — helps the Doctor narrow it down to one planet — Raxacoricofallapatorius — and identify them as creatures of living calcium, which will be weakened by the compression. As the Slitheen crashes into the flat, the Doctor tells them through the phone to get into the kitchen and find anything with vinegar in it. Jackie dumps as many pickled foods into a measuring cup as she can and hurls the mixture at the Slitheen as it comes through. The acetic acid reacts with the creature, and it explodes.
In Downing Street, Green and Asquith sense the death of their brother. Green steps out onto the street and speaks to the media as Acting Prime Minister. He informs them of the death of the experts at the hands of aliens and that there are "massive weapons of destruction" capable of being deployed within 45 seconds above their heads. He urges the UN to pass a resolution and release the access codes that will allow the UK to launch a pre-emptive strike against the alien mothership. The Doctor, listening to the broadcast over Rose's phone, knows that Green is lying. He realises that is why the Slitheen made such a spectacle out of the crash; not just to attract the experts but to panic the world and make it more likely for the United Nations to acquiesce to Green's request.
He unseals the room long enough to confront the Slitheen outside. They will launch the missiles not into space but against other nations, triggering World War III. The Slitheen will then sell off the radioactive remains of Earth to the rest of the Galaxy as a fuel source. The signal from their ship is an advertisement that the planet is for sale. The Doctor tells the Slitheen he will stop them. Blaine sneers, expressing disbelief that he could do anything whilst sealed inside the room. The Doctor says grimly, "Yes. Me." He seals the room again, as uncertainty flickers across Blaine's face, her confidence shaken by the Doctor's demeanour.
As morning breaks over London, the streets are deserted. The Slitheen gather, unmasked, in the Prime Minister's office to await the call from the UN Security Council. Jackie calls the Doctor, and says there must be something he can do. The Doctor reluctantly admits there is an option, but he cannot guarantee Rose's safety. He could save the world, but he could lose Rose. Jackie protests, but without even hearing what the option is, Rose bravely tells the Doctor to just go ahead and do it. Harriet steps in at this point and, as the only elected representative in the room, orders the Doctor to take action.
The Doctor tells Mickey to use the "buffalo" password to access the Royal Navy's systems. Mickey locates the HMS Taurean, a Trafalgar class submarine off the coast of Plymouth, and under the Doctor's instructions, remotely selects and launches a Harpoon missile. The missile streaks inland, on a direct course for 10 Downing Street, as the UN concludes their debate. Persuaded by the "proof" that the UK has provided, they agree to release the nuclear missile codes.
The missile is picked up on radar, but Mickey stops the counter measures taking effect. The Doctor, Harriet and Rose take refuge in the cupboard, hoping to ride out the explosion. The police squad sergeant orders the evacuation of 10 Downing Street, and goes upstairs to warn Green. When he sees the Slitheen in their true forms, he makes a hasty retreat. The surrounding streets are cleared as the missile starts its final descent, and as the Slitheen still scramble around trying to get into their skins, 10 Downing Street is reduced to rubble. Thanks to the steel walls, however, the Cabinet Rooms survive, as do Harriet, Rose and the Doctor. The Slitheen are not so lucky.
Harriet wonders how they will rebuild from this, and the Doctor suggests that she become Prime Minister. She goes off to speak to the press and emergency services, announcing proudly that the crisis has passed; mankind stands tall, proud and undefeated. As he and Rose leave quietly, the Doctor remembers now why Harriet's name was familiar. Harriet Jones will be a future Prime Minister, elected for three successive terms and the architect of Britain's Golden Age.
Rose goes back to Jackie's flat and watches the aftermath on television. Jackie grudgingly admits that she can't get rid of the Doctor now since Rose is so infatuated with him, something which Rose denies. Jackie offers to cook for the three of them and get to know the Doctor better. The Doctor calls Rose on her mobile phone from the TARDIS, where he is cancelling the Slitheen "advertisement". When Rose tells him of her mother's offer, he refuses — Rose can stay there if she likes, but he has a universe to see. Jackie sees Rose packing and asks her not to go, but Rose just hugs her.
Mickey speaks to the Doctor by the TARDIS. He cannot believe that the papers are already saying the whole incident was a hoax. The Doctor gives Mickey a compact disc containing a computer virus that will wipe all trace of the Doctor's presence on the Internet and asks him to use it. He also offers Mickey a place in the TARDIS, but Mickey says that the Doctor's world is not for him. He asks the Doctor not to tell Rose he said this, however. Rose arrives with a backpack full of her belongings, tossing it to the Doctor and playfully telling him that he is now stuck with her. Rose says goodbye to Mickey and Jackie, assuring her mother that the TARDIS is a time machine — she can travel all over the universe and be back within ten seconds. Rose asks Mickey to come along with them but the Doctor, following Mickey's wishes, pretends that Mickey is not welcome.
Rose and the Doctor enter the TARDIS and it dematerialises. Jackie waits ten seconds, but it does not return, and she walks back towards her flat. Mickey stays in the street, and continues to wait.
- Doctor Who — Christopher Eccleston
- Rose Tyler — Billie Piper
- Jackie Tyler — Camille Coduri
- Spray Painter — Corey Doabe
- Policeman — Ceris Jones
- Reporter — Jack Tarlton
- Reporter — Lachele Carl
- Ru — Fiesta Mei Ling
- Bau — Basil Chung
- Matt Baker — As himself
- Andrew Marr — As himself
- General Asquith — Rupert Vansittart
- Joseph Green — David Verrey
- Indra Ganesh — Navin Chowdhry
- Harriet Jones — Penelope Wilton
- Margaret Blaine — Annette Badland
- Doctor Sato — Naoko Mori
- Oliver Charles — Eric Potts
- Mickey Smith — Noel Clarke
- Alien — Jimmy Vee
- Strickland — Steve Spiers
- Slitheen — Elizabeth Fost, Paul Kasey, Alan Ruscoe
- Sergeant Price — Morgan Hopkins
- Features guest appearances by Navin Chowdhry and Andrew Marr. See also Celebrity appearances in Doctor Who.
- A poster announcing Rose's disappearance states that she has not been seen since March 6, 2005. However, the BBC-produced "official" UNIT website indicates that the climactic events of Rose happened on March 26. The same site also dates this episode at either May 26 or June 28, 2006. If June 28 is accepted, Boom Town (and also The Parting of the Ways) would have to take place in late December 2006 — the same week as The Christmas Invasion (dated to 2006 by the Guinevere One website). This means that both the UNIT website and Mickey's website are one year in the future. On the other hand, if only on-screen evidence is accepted, Aliens of London would take place in March 2006, Boom Town in September, and The Parting of the Ways later in the autumn or early winter.
- The official police poster is the first reference to the Powell Estate on the television series. Rose is described as, "19 years old, 5 feet 4 inches in height, slim build with shoulder-length blonde hair." The photograph used is one of Billie Piper herself, rather than one of Piper playing Rose. Several other, home-made posters are seen on Jackie's table, including one with a banner headline saying "WHERE IS ROSE?".
- The Doctor tells Rose he is "900 years" old, which contradicts the last on-screen mention age of the Doctor, at 953 in Time and the Rani. See The Doctor's age.
- UNIT, the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, is mentioned amongst the experts on aliens, its first appearance on television since the 1989 serial Battlefield. The Doctor mentions having worked with them in the past, but that they wouldn't recognize him now, alluding to regeneration.
- Mickey notes that he found out on the Internet that the Doctor had worked before for UNIT, among other things. A notation at http://www.whoisdoctorwho.co.uk/ implies that Mickey is the one who has been updating Clive's website since the latter's death in Rose.
- Although not clearly seen on screen, one of the UNIT officers killed by the Slitheen at the end is wearing the name tag "Frost" (the tag is seen more clearly in publicity stills). This may have been a reference to the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip character Muriel Frost.
- The scene where the pig-like "alien" is breaking thought the metal door with Dr Sato watching in shock is reminsicent of an almost identical moment in the 1996 Doctor Who television movie, in which the newly-regenerated Eighth Doctor breaks through the metal door of the morgue, terrifying a hospital worker.
- The TARDIS key began as an ordinary-looking Yale key, then changed during the Third Doctor's last season into a more alien looking one, which was also used for the first two seasons of the Fourth Doctor's tenure. It then reverted back to the Yale key for the rest of the run of the original series. The alien key made one last appearance in the Doctor Who television movie. It has now returned to looking like an ordinary key, except that it starts to glow when the TARDIS is arriving.
- A boy spray paints the words "BAD WOLF" on the side of the TARDIS while it is parked on the council estate, echoing the mentions of the "big bad wolf" in previous episodes. The fake alien, an augmented pig, may also be an allusion to the "bad wolf", as in the "Three Little Pigs". The three Slitheen, who are large in their human disguises, are also suggestive of the pigs of the folk tale. The American newsreader announcing the UN's decision is named "Mal Loup", French for "Bad Wolf". The name appears not in the televised clip, but the version on Mickey's website. See Bad Wolf references in Doctor Who.
- The TARDIS was previously defaced with chalk scribblings in The Time Warrior (1973) and The Leisure Hive (1980), graffiti in Paradise Towers (1987) and was painted pink in The Happiness Patrol (1988).
- The Cardiff Royal Infirmary provided the setting for the fictional London Albion Hospital. The interior scenes at "10 Downing Street" were shot at Hensol Castle in Wales. The Doctor revisits the hospital in 1941 during the episodes The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances.
- The episode ends on a cliffhanger, the first since episode two of Survival in 1989. The story continues in World War Three. This is also the first occasion since Invasion of the Dinosaurs in 1974 in which the first episode of a serial does not share its title with the second.
- Dr Toshiko Sato, the "government pathologist", returns in the Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood.
- The Slitheen bear a resemblance to the Foamasi from the Fourth Doctor serial The Leisure Hive. The Foamasi were also bulky alien monsters who disguised themselves as humans as part of a plan to gain control of a planet. (The reduction of the planet in question to a radioactive wasteland through nuclear warfare was also integral to their plan, although in a different way.) The resemblance is underscored by the emphasis Aliens of London/World War Three places on the question of how the Slitheen fit into their human costumes, a point that The Leisure Hive notoriously failed to address. The Slitheen scheme is also what the Dominators were intending to do to the planet Dulkis in the Second Doctor serial, The Dominators (1968).
- The fact that the UN is the caretaker for the codes to launch a nuclear strike harkens back to the very first Fourth Doctor serial, Robot (1974), where the UK was the guardian of the "destructor codes" that could launch the world's nuclear arsenals.
- Although the Doctor asked Mickey to erase his presence from the Internet, Mickey's website, http://www.whoisdoctorwho.co.uk, indicates that he may not have done so. In the 2006 episode Love & Monsters, reference is made to a "Bad Wolf" virus that deleted all mention of Rose Tyler; whether this is somehow related to the Doctor's virus is unclear.
- 10 Downing Street is also destroyed in the Doctor Who-related Big Finish Productions audio play UNIT: The Longest Night.
- The "World War Three" of the second episode's title is averted by the Doctor's plan. However, a World War Three may be presumed to occur at some point in the Doctor Who universe, since the Doctor has referred to World War Five (in The Unquiet Dead) and the almost-starting of World War Six (in The Talons of Weng-Chiang).
- As well as a reappearance in the episode Boom Town, the Slitheen return in the BBC book The Monsters Inside along with another family of the same race, called the Blathereen.
- Harriet Jones reappears in The Christmas Invasion, by which time she has become Prime Minister.
- Although statistically unlikely, two members of the Metropolitan Police unit in No. 10 that are heard talking have Welsh accents.
- According to Russell T. Davies (among others), episode one was called Aliens of London Part One, and episode two was called Aliens of London Part Two until the last minute, when the name was changed to World War 3, soon amended to World War Three. The Telos Publishing Ltd. book Back to the Vortex cites 10 Downing Street as another working title for the second episode.
- When the ship crashes into the clock tower, both the numbers on the clock face and the text beneath are backwards. According to the DVD commentary, director Keith Boak altered his shots of the crash sequence but this was not related to the visual effects team, who had prepared according to the storyboarded version. As a result, the sequence was electronically flipped to make it conform to the spaceship's final descent pattern.
- The clock also appears to keep working after the incident: the time reads roughly 10:55 when the spaceship strikes it, but reads roughly 6:10 when the clock is later seen on a news broadcast.
- The entrance to the Prime Minister's residence was a redress of a similar-looking door in Central London.
- The production team had intended to suggest that the murdered Prime Minister in episode one was current real-life incumbent Tony Blair. On the DVD commentary for the second episode, producer Phil Collinson explained that they had hired an actor to play the dead body on the understanding that the man was a Tony Blair lookalike. When the resemblance proved disappointing, they decided to avoid showing the body clearly. The suggestion that the body is Blair's remains in Harriet's line "I'm hardly one of the babes", a reference to the large number of female Labour Party MPs who entered the House of Commons in Labour's 1997 general election victory, who were dubbed "Blair's Babes" by the British media. That Tony Blair was elected in Doctor Who continuity was confirmed in Rise of the Cybermen.
- When the Doctor complains of being slapped by Rose's mother, Rose remarks with a laugh, "You're so gay!" This remark caused some controversy in fan circles, some seeing it as an anti-homosexual slur. Davies, who is gay, wrote in an e-mail response that it was the way people talked, and claimed that he was trying to provoke discussion by using the phrase.
- A running joke involving the Slitheen suffering from flatulence while in their human disguises was also somewhat controversial in fan circles, with some critics disapproving of the style of humour. It did, however, give rise to one of the most quoted lines uttered by the Doctor during the season: "Would you mind not farting while I'm trying to save the world?"
- Elements of the story parody the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the actions of the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. This includes a pre-emptive strike based on incorrect information, namely the presence of "massive weapons of destruction" which could be deployed in 45 seconds (as opposed to Blair's "weapons of mass destruction" that could be deployed in "45 minutes").
- The use of vinegar on calcium "just like Hannibal" references the story of how Hannibal's engineers, while crossing the Alps, heated boulders that blocked their way with wood fires, then poured vinegar over them. The rocks, weakened by the heat, were broken up by the vinegar into smaller pieces, which were then easily moved to clear a path.
- The Doctor mentions that the Slitheen scheme to make a profit will cost "5 billion lives". The human population of the Earth in reality, as of January 2005, is estimated at approximately 6.4 billion.
- The submarine HMS Taurean is completely fictional. Also, aside from the unlikelihood of being able to launch a missile over the Internet, the Harpoon missile is primarily an anti-ship missile and not launched against targets inland (a variant, the AGM-84E, is meant for coastal targets and ships in port). The Trafalgar-class submarines do carry Tomahawk missiles, which would have been a more appropriate weapon.
- When a Slitheen disguised as a policeman appears outside Mickey's flat, the word "Salford" appears as graffiti on the wall near the elevator. Salford is Christopher Eccleston's hometown.
Broadcast and DVD releases
- The second episode's initial Canadian broadcast on CBC had a programming error. The action before the title sequence which was supposed to resolve the previous episode's cliffhanger — by showing the Doctor turning the tables with the electrified ID badge — was omitted. This led to understandable confusion from Canadian viewers. The error was corrected on the repeat broadcast, although the sequence appeared after the opening titles.
- The two episodes, together with Dalek were the first released on the UMD format for the PlayStation Portable.
- Aliens of London / World War Three at Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Aliens of London / World War Three at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- Aliens of London/World War Three reviews at The Doctor Who Ratings Guide
- Aliens of London/World War Three reviews at Outpost Gallifrey
Aliens of London
- Aliens of London episode guide on the BBC website
- "Aliens of London". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-01-01.
- "Aliens of London" at TV.com
- Doctor Who Confidential — Episode 4: I Get a Side-Kick Out of You
- "Bong!" — Episode trailer for Aliens of London
- Mock report from BBC News 24
- Aliens of London reviews at Outpost Gallifrey
- Aliens of London reviews at The Doctor Who Ratings Guide
World War Three
- World War Three episode guide on the BBC website
- "World War Three". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-01-01.
- "World War Three" at TV.com
- Doctor Who Confidential — Episode 5: Why on Earth?
- "Planet Earth is at war." — Episode trailer for World War Three
- World War Three reviews at Outpost Gallifrey
- World War Three reviews at The Doctor Who Ratings Guide