It featured the reappearance of Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen (disguised as Margaret Blaine), a Slitheen, who previously had appeared in Aliens of London / World War Three. It also included significant development of the relationship between Rose and Mickey.
Off screen, the future version of Jack was keeping his staff of Torchwood Three from interfering with these events, to avoid distorting his timeline and the Doctor's.
The episode was the first to be set in modern Cardiff, and established that the Cardiff Space-Time Rift, implied in The Unquiet Dead, was still present in the 21st century and releasing enough energy to fuel the TARDIS. It thus laid critical narrative groundwork for Torchwood's central theme. It also introduced the extrapolator and established the energy present at the heart of the TARDIS — both crucial elements of the series 1 finale. Finally, it contained the main characters' first major recognition of the Bad Wolf meme.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Plot
- 3 Cast
- 4 Crew
- 5 References
- 6 Story notes
- 7 Continuity
- 8 Home video releases
- 9 External links
- 10 Footnotes
The Ninth Doctor, and his companions, Rose Tyler and Jack Harkness travel to modern-day Cardiff and meet up with Rose's boyfriend, Mickey. There, they discover that their "enemy", Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen, is very much alive if without an easy escape route from Earth, and is willing to rip apart the planet to ensure her freedom.
In an office in Cardiff, a scientist brings his concerns to Mayor Margaret Blaine over a new nuclear power plant to be built there. It is dangerous, almost as if it had been intentionally built to explode. Blaine asks him if he has told anyone else about his findings. He replies that he did not, and instead went directly to her. She commends him for making the right choice — as she apparently and audibly experiences some gas. As the scientist expresses his relief that Blaine will shut down the project, she reveals herself to be a Slitheen and kills the scientist.
The Ninth Doctor has landed the TARDIS over the Cardiff rift located in the Roald Dahl Plass, using slow radiation leakage to recharge the TARDIS. As the process will take a whole day, he, Rose, and Jack are joined by Mickey Smith and take the opportunity to explore the area. While they enjoy a meal at a restaurant, the Doctor notices to his dismay the front page of the Western Mail, with the headline "New Mayor, New Cardiff" and a picture of Blaine, whom they known as the human form of Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen whom they previously had encountered. Since their meeting, Blon has become the Lord Mayor of Cardiff and initiated the construction of a nuclear power plant. However, several people had found significant flaws in the design that could lead to a nuclear meltdown and had approached her about these issues, but they have since disappeared, Blon having killed them herself. During a press conference, a young reporter named Cathy Salt approaches Blon about these deaths and the information they had left behind. Blon thinks she should have a word in private; a loud rumble in her belly gives her an excuse to go to the toilet and she takes Cathy with her. Disgusted as she hears Blon on the toilet, Cathy notes they got there just in time. Blon gets out of her skin suit and plans to kill her, but has a change of heart as Cathy talks about her family and unborn child, realising that she herself no longer has one.
Realising that they must stop Blon, the Doctor's group converges on City Hall and eventually capture Blon after chasing her through repeated uses of a teleporter. She tells the group that the teleporter is how she escaped the destruction of the rest of her family, and that she hopes that, as planned, the meltdown of the plant would open the Rift and destroy the planet, with her using a hidden tribophysical waveform macro-kinetic extrapolator — a pan-dimensional surfboard — to escape the explosion. The Doctor notices that the name of the plant, Blaidd Drwg, is Welsh for "Bad Wolf", a phrase that he has observed before in his adventures with Rose but he shrugs it off as a coincidence. The Doctor tells Blon he will take her back to her home planet of Raxacoricofallapatorius, but Blon notes that the Slitheen family are convicted criminals there and she will be executed upon her return, which the Doctor insists is not his problem.
Jack recognises that the extrapolator can be used to halve the time to refuel the TARDIS, and stays there to install it. Rose and Mickey go out for a drink to discuss their relationship; Mickey, while inviting Rose to a hotel room, claims to be seeing someone else since Rose is not there for him. Rose counters that she knows the woman, that Mickey doesn't even like her and that "that's never gonna happen, so who do you think you're kidding?" She argues that this conversation has nothing to do with Trisha. Mickey says that he can't even go out with a girl from "the shop" because Rose picks up the phone to say she's coming back to present-day Earth and Mickey comes running for her. When Mickey claims he'd wait for Rose for the rest of his life, Rose apologises.
At the request of Blon, the Doctor joins her for one last meal at her favourite restaurant, equipped with bracelets that will electrocute Blon if she gets more than ten feet away from the Doctor. Blon attempts to kill the Doctor through various means, but the Doctor is able to casually block the attempts. Blon then attempts to gain the Doctor's sympathy, bringing up her childhood and her last-minute change of heart over killing Cathy. Though the Doctor dismisses her act of kindness as a way of living with herself, he does sympathise. Before he can agree to take her elsewhere, however, a large earthquake shakes the area.
The group reassembles in the TARDIS, where a bright column of light is shooting up overhead. Jack tells the Doctor that it is the power from the Rift, drawn by the extrapolator. Blon reveals that this was her plan all along — the extrapolator would have been found by someone of sufficiently advanced technology to recognise the Slitheen, and would have activated it, causing it to lock onto the nearest alien power source (the TARDIS in this case), to tear open the Rift and eventually the Earth, while she would have still ridden the device to escape the destruction. Blon takes Rose hostage, choking her, and demands the extrapolator, or Rose will die. The Doctor warns her that this isn't just any ship her device has latched upon - this is the TARDIS. Before she can use the extrapolator, the heart of the TARDIS opens and shines in her face; Blon dreamily looks into the light with a smile, and then beams at the Doctor, emphatically telling him, "Thank you." The light overtakes her, and shortly her skin suit falls empty to the console floor. The Doctor manages to close the TARDIS console and reseal the Rift once more. When they investigate the suit, they find a Slitheen egg; the Doctor surmises as the TARDIS is telepathic, it may have sensed that Blon wanted a second chance and gave that to her. As the Doctor, Rose, and Jack prepare to travel to Raxacoricofallapatorius to deliver the egg, Rose realises that Mickey has left; the Doctor offers to wait for him, but Rose lets him go, allowing him to also have a second chance.
- Doctor Who - Christopher Eccleston
- Rose Tyler - Billie Piper
- Mr Cleaver - William Thomas
- Margaret - Annette Badland
- Captain Jack - John Barrowman
- Mickey - Noel Clarke
- Cathy - Mali Harries
- Idris Hopper - Aled Pedrick
- Slitheen - Alan Ruscoe
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Mal Young|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- Jack mentions someone named Brakovitch.
- Mickey spots an old lady watching them.
- Blon launches a poison dart at the Doctor.
- Baby Raxacoricofallapatorians are hatched from eggs that have tendrils which can move.
The Doctor's TARDIS
- Underneath the TARDIS console lies the Heart of the TARDIS, which contains the energies of the Time Vortex.
- Rose mentions her visit to Justicia, Woman Wept and the Glass Pyramid of San Kaloon.
- The Doctor and Margaret have dinner at Bistro 10.
Food and beverages
- Margaret raises a toast of champagne to the future.
- Margaret was having a cup of tea when the Doctor was asking for her.
- Welsh is used or mentioned numerous times throughout the episode.
- Mickey refers to Captain Jack as "Jumpin' Jack Flash".
- Mickey rhetorically asks Jack if he's the captain of the Innuendo Squad.
- The architect of the project and the members of the Cardiff Heritage Committee are killed by Margaret.
- The episode had a working title of Dining With Monsters. Russell T Davies joked that a much better name for this episode would be What should we do with Margaret?
- This episode was originally offered to Paul Abbott, who submitted a storyline, revealing that Rose had been bred by the Doctor as an experiment in creating a perfect companion. The episode was titled The Void. However, Abbot had to abandon the project due to other commitments.
- Russell T Davies brought back Annette Badland as Margaret Blaine due to her performance in Aliens of London and World War Three being "brilliant", though she had few lines.
- Russell T Davies intended the episode to be a character piece exploring whether the Doctor had the authority to take someone to their death sentence, as well as showing the consequences of the Doctor's actions the last time he met Margaret. The storyline was fitting for Christopher Eccleston's war-torn Doctor. The consequences of the Doctor's lifestyle is also explored through Rose's boyfriend Mickey, who has been forced to move on because she is not around.
- The resolution is a deliberate deus ex machina, regressing Margaret so she can start anew, although Russell T Davies remarked that the resolution did not come completely out of nowhere as the TARDIS' psychic link had been already established.
- The night shoot of Rose and Mickey in front of the water tower at Roald Dahl Plass had to be extended to two nights because it was below the temperature at which the fountain automatically shuts off.
- Russell T Davies stated that he wanted to incorporate Welsh culture because the series is made in Wales and contains a lot of Welsh crew members. He also wanted to show off how beautiful the area could be.
- The dinner scene between the Doctor and Margaret was filmed in January 2005 at the Cardiff restaurant Bistro 10 before the rest of the episode was filmed. Christopher Eccleston filmed the scene while Billie Piper and John Barrowman were filming scenes for The Empty Child. This was due to scheduling conflicts with Annette Badland. Some of the schedule was also rearranged because of the death of Piper's uncle, resulting in her and Eccleston being replaced by doubles during some scenes near the end of the episode.
- The egg Margaret turns into was a reused prop from The End of the World.
- A source who worked on the production posted on Reddit that Christopher Eccleston and Russell T Davies came to blows during filming and Noel Clarke and John Barrowman had to pull them apart.
- The French title is "L'Explosion de Cardiff" (The Cardiff Explosion). The Japanese title is "The Sorrowful Slitheen".
- This is the first episode of the revived series to include a "PREVIOUSLY" caption at the beginning of the episode. Even though this episode wasn't a two-parter, it did have the same Slitheen from the first two-parter, Aliens of London and World War Three. This would be the only episode in the Russell T Davies era that they would be a PREVIOUSLY... in an episode. The next episode to feature this would be Flesh and Stone.
- 7.68 million viewers. (UK final)
- An early Radio Times synopsis of this episode read "The Doctor comes across someone he thought was long dead...". Many viewers thought this to be in reference to a classic series villain, usually the Master. This was ultimately proven untrue, as the reference was to Blon Fel-Fotch Passimeer-Day-Slitheen.
- Cardiff, Wales
- Just as Jack is about to jump over the cafeteria trolly when chasing Blon, a springboard to assist John Barrowman in jumping can be seen behind the wheels.
- Six months have passed since the events of the Slitheen's attempted destruction of Earth. (TV: Aliens of London / World War Three)
- Rose mentions how a woman called Gwyneth saved the world in 1869. Rose and the Doctor also encountered the temporal rift at that time. (TV: The Unquiet Dead) Jack will have many dealings with the rift during his later association with Torchwood. (TV: Everything Changes, et. al.)
- The Doctor once again calls Mickey "Ricky". (TV: Aliens of London)
- Rose mentions previous trips to Platform One (TV: The End of the World) and Justicia (PROSE: The Monsters Inside).
- The Doctor explains the TARDIS' shape while discussing the chameleon circuit to his companions, mentioning that he landed it in the 1960s and it got a stuck as a police box. (TV: An Unearthly Child)
- The First Doctor suggested that there was some sort of "power" beneath the TARDIS console. (TV: The Edge of Destruction)
- The Heart of the TARDIS previously appeared in TV: Terminus, where it was merely an electronic engine for the vehicle that could be manually removed from the console. This more powerful iteration of the TARDIS's heart would later serve as a crucial plot point in TV: The Parting of the Ways and TV: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.
- "Tribophysics" was first mentioned offhandedly by Sarah Jane Smith. (TV: Pyramids of Mars)
- Torchwood Three had been in existence since at least 1899 in Cardiff, with Jack involved in the organisation since 1899 and in charge from the end of 1999. (TV: Fragments) This means that the Doctor's arrival near the rift, his party's reunion with Mickey, and the subsequent Slitheen adventure — all involving Captain Jack — take place very close to the older Captain Jack and his Torchwood team. Jack would later reference having to wait until a version of the Doctor that coincided with him arrived; encountering the Doctor and his younger self at this point would have been unacceptable. (TV: Utopia) In addition, a third, older Jack, cryogenically frozen, is also nearby, unknown to both younger Jacks. (TV: Exit Wounds) In PROSE: The Twilight Streets, it is established that Jack locked himself and his team inside the Hub for the day to prevent them from meeting his younger self.
- A newspaper clipping regarding Blaine's election was pinned up in the Torchwood Three "information office" entrance. (TV: Reset)
- Similarly, another enemy of the Doctor, Pangol, was also regressed in time (this time to a baby). (TV: The Leisure Hive)
- In his fifth incarnation, the Doctor was similarly told by an alien that returning them home would result in their death, but that time he offered to take the criminal to another planet to avoid his death sentence. (TV: The Visitation)
- The previous Lord Mayor of Cardiff was killed by an Auton in London on 5 March 2005. (TV: Rose; AUDIO: One Rule)
- Blon briefly plays with the silver ball the Doctor had previously fiddled with. (TV: The End of the World, Father's Day)
Home video releases
- This story was released with Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways on a "vanilla" DVD with no extras.
- It was also part of the series 1 DVD box set.
- This story was also released with Issue 6 of the Doctor Who DVD Files.
- Official BBC Website - Episode Guide for Boom Town
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Boom Town at The Whoniverse
- Boom Town at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)