This time you have consequences
The Doctor, Rose and Jack travel to modern-day Cardiff and meet up with Rose's boyfriend, Mickey. There, they discover that a recent enemy is very much alive, and is willing to rip apart the planet to ensure her freedom.
The Doctor has landed the TARDIS over the Cardiff rift located in the Roald Dahl Plass, left open after the Gelth were defeated in 1869, so as to use slow radiation leakage to recharge the TARDIS. As the process will take a whole day, he, Rose, and Jack are joined by Mickey in Cardiff 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 Margaret Blaine, a Slitheen in its human form whom they previously encountered. Since their meeting, Blaine has become the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, and initiated the construction of a nuclear power plant. However, several people had found significant flaws with the design that could lead to a nuclear meltdown, and had approached her about these issues, but they have since disappeared, Blaine having killed them herself. During a recent press conference, a young reporter approached Blaine about these deaths and the information they had left behind. Blaine thinks she should have a word in private a loud rumble in her belly gives her a excuse to go to the toilet and she takes the reporter with her. Disgusted as she hears Margaret Excremate she notes they got there just in time. Blane plans to kill her, but had a change of heart as the reporter talks about her family and unborn child, realizing that she herself no longer has one.
Realizing that they must stop Blaine, the Doctor's group converges on City Hall and eventually capture Blaine 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, herself 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. The Doctor tells Blaine he will take her back to her home planet of Raxacoricofallapatorius, but Blaine notes that the Slitheen family are convicted criminals there and she will be executed, which the Doctor insists is not his problem.
Jack recognizes 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 admits to seeing someone else since Rose is not there for him, which angers Rose. At the request of Blaine, the Doctor joins her for one last meal at her favourite restaurant, equipped with bracelets that will electrocute Blaine if she gets more than ten feet away from the Doctor. Blaine attempts to kill the Doctor through various means, but the Doctor is able to casually block the attempts. Blaine then attempts to gain the Doctor's sympathy, explaining how she will be executed and if he could take her to a different planet instead. However, before the Doctor can agree, 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, brought upon by the extrapolator. The Doctor realizes that this was Blaine's plan all along - the extrapolator would have been found by someone of advanced technology to recognize the Slitheen, and would have activated it, causing it to lock onto the nearest alien power source (the TARDIS in this case), as to tear open the Rift and eventually the Earth, while she would have still ridden the device to escape the destruction. Blaine takes Rose hostage, choking her, and demands the extrapolator, or Rose will die. She betrays them, continuing to choke Rose, but before she can use the extrapolator, the heart of TARDIS opens and shines in her face; the light overtakes her, and shortly her skin suit falls empty to the console floor. The Doctor and Jack manage 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 Blaine 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 realizes that Mickey has left; the Doctor offers to wait for him, but Rose lets him go, allowing him to also have a second chance.
- The Doctor - Christopher Eccleston
- Rose Tyler - Billie Piper
- Captain Jack Harkness - John Barrowman
- Mickey Smith - Noel Clarke
- Mr Cleaver - William Thomas
- Margaret Blaine - Annette Badland
- Cathy Salt - Mali Harries
- Idris Hopper - Aled Pedrick
- Tribophysics was first mentioned off-handedly by Sarah Jane Smith to describe Osirian technology.
- When explaining the TARDIS's police box shape and the chameleon circuit to Mickey, Rose uses the term "cloaking device," a Star Trek reference previously used by the Doctor when explaining it to Grace Holloway.
- This is the first indication we have that Rose and the Doctor have noticed the Bad Wolf references which have been appearing on their travels. Margaret's admission that the power station's name, Blaidd Drwg, Welsh for "Bad Wolf," "just came to her".
- Rose mentions her visit to Justicia and Woman Wept.
- The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to reverse Margret's teleport.
- The phrase "phenomenal cosmic disaster" (used by Jack) resembles the repeated phrase "phenomenal cosmic power" used in Disney's Aladdin TV and film series.
- The Doctor uses the Cardiff rift to 'recharge' the TARDIS.
- Margaret plans to use the tribophysical waveform macrokinetic extrapolator as a pan-dimensional surfboard to escape Earth.
- Boom Town had a working title of Dining With Monsters.
- The means by which Margaret plans to use the tribophysical waveform macrokinetic extrapolator as a pan-dimensional surfboard to escape Earth is highly reminiscent of the board used by the Silver Surfer, a character appearing in publications by Marvel Comics, whose UK division publishes Doctor Who Monthly.
- 7.7 million viewers.
- When the Doctor and his associates march into Cardiff City Hall to capture Margaret, the Doctor is the only one not wearing a scarf. This could be a subtle in-joke reference to the Fourth Doctor, who is considered the definitive Doctor by many fans.
to be added
Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors
- After the Doctor reads the Welsh banner Blaidd Drwg, Rose asks what it means even though the TARDIS should have translated it in her head. Considering that written Latin was translated for Donna in The Fires of Pompeii, this is an anomaly. Not necessarily; since Rose herself caused the name to be used, she presumably prevented her younger self from being able to prematurely put the pieces together, as she would have remembered that the Doctor (in this episode) was the first to begin making the connection. Also maybe the words have to be written with the intent of being read as something. Margaret said that it just sounded good and she didn't mean for it to mean "Bad Wolf".
- Where is Torchwood 3 during all of this? Given the goings-on in Cardiff, their presence should have been noted; also, wouldn't the Doctor, Jack, and Rose encounter older Jack and the other Torchwood members? Jack was in charge of Torchwood 3 by this time (TW: Fragments) and used his influence to prevent the team from leaving the Hub during this situation because he knew him and his team meeting a former version of himself would cause a paradox. (TWN: The Twilight Streets)
- The Doctor says the process will take a whole day, then how come in Utopia the process only takes about 20 seconds? The Rift was recently opened in TW: End of Days, therefore the TARDIS does not need to take as long, which he mentions.
- Wouldn't Margret Blaine's skin have rotted by now. There could have been a device in the neck brace ( seen in Aliens of London and World War Three) that keeps the skin from rotting too drastically.
- Shouldn't the fact that there are three Jacks on earth at the same time cause a paradox? (Jack leading the Torchwood Three, Jack buried underground and Jack with the ninth Doctor) The Jack's do not meet so therefore no paradox etc. would be made. one Jack is not buried underground anyway, he is frozen in the Hub.
- It surely can't be legal to demolish Cardiff Castle to build a nuclear power plant in the middle of a major population centre. Besides, the site's almost certainly not big enough to house a nuclear power station. (Margaret has manipulated the situation politically to suit her needs.)
- the timescale of Margaret's rise to power doesn't seem to work. In six months, she's gone from landing in a skip on the Isle of Dogs to having been Mayor of Cardiff long enough to rush through the plan for the nuclear power station. However, her spell as mayor is recent enough to warrant a recent newspaper headline [unless the man in the café is reading a very old newspaper.] And the man in the café doesn't seem to mind the Doctor ripping the newspaper out of his hands. Also, it's surprising that nobody notices that the new Mayor of Cardiff was one of the Slitheen - you'd have thought MI5 would have noticed, as she used to be employed by them. Also, in the real world, the Mayor of Cardiff is a ceremonial role, rather than one with any power. (The Slitheen have been on Earth quite long enough to have laid the groundwork for this as a contingency plan. The man in the cafe does seem confused at the Doctor ripping the newspaper out of his hands. Different people react to situations differently.)
- margaret's secretary's excuse that the Lord Mayor is "having a cup of tea" is the most pathetic and unlikely excuse that I've ever heard. Surely you'd expect him to say something like "she's in a meeting". (Where's the discontinuity or plot hole? That sounds more like simply your personal opinion...)
- why don't the Welsh speakers in Cardiff make any comment on the name of the project - 'Bad Wolf' isn't exactly the most reassuring name for a nuclear power station. It can't be due to Cardiff being less Welsh than the rest of Wales, as Welsh is taught in all the schools and knowledge of the language is on the up. Also, why wasn't it translated in the English part of the banner? Come to think of it, why doesn't the TARDIS translate "Bad Wolf" for Rose's benefit? (There are many projects with bad names, it's doubtful that there would've been much outcry over that. The TARDIS translation is not an absolute science. Some things are translated, some are not. Since all Bad Wolf references apparently have their origin with the Bad Wolf Entity, it's unknown to what extent she would have wanted the TARDIS to translate it for her past self.)
- furthermore, the whole planning and design process for the Bad Wolf project is a bit strange. Usually, obtaining planning permission for a big project takes several months of local government bureaucracy. For something that requires the tearing down of a historic monument (which is surely a listed building) and replacing it with a nuclear power station, obtaining the appropriate planning permission to launch it to the public would take a lot longer than 6 months, even if it were possible. And designing something as complicated (and subject to intense scrutiny) as a nuclear power plant would take something nearer to 6 years than to 6 months. (As an alien with superior technology, and masquerading as someone with MI5 contacts, it's reasonable that she was able to convince people to push things through more quickly.)
- when running back to the TARDIS, the Doctor removes Margaret's wrist-band, presumably in case they get separated by more than 10 feet, and then they run the rest of the way holding hands - so why bother taking the band off? (In case they do get separated by more than 10 feet. Holding hands is hardly a guarantee when there is massive seismic activity occurring.)
- the Mayor's office is surprisingly similar to one of the rooms seen in Downing Street in / .
- when Margaret ended up on the Isle of Dogs, why didn't she just teleport to her ship, which was parked in the Thames, rather than go to all that trouble to get offworld? [Maybe it takes too long to reprogram the co-ordinates, or she didn't want to have to deal with any military that may still be stationed there.]
- mickey was researching the Doctor for at at least the year between and , so how come he is surprised that Police Boxes were real? (There's a lot to research on the Doctor, and the history of police boxes wasn't necessarily something he came across or thought to look up.)
- the cracks that occur in the pavement are surprisingly clean, almost as if they'd been added on digitally during post-production...
- The temporal rift first appeared in DW: The Unquiet Dead, a brief synopsis of which is related by Rose to Mickey.
- DW: The Edge of Destruction was the first story to suggest that there was some sort of 'power' beneath the console.
- "Tribophysics" was first mentioned offhandedly by Sarah Jane Smith in DW: Pyramids of Mars. What Sarah meant, or what she actually said, is a matter of minor debate in fandom (some have suggested "tribiophysics" or "tribal physics"). Tribophysics may or may not have anything to do with the real science of tribology (also sometimes known as tribophysics), which deals with friction.
- During his dinner with Margaret Blaine, the Doctor eats steak — evidently, he has given up his vegetarianism, which the Sixth Doctor began to practice at the end of DW: The Two Doctors.
- The temporal rift becomes a major plot and story focus for much of Torchwood.
- It would later be established in TW: Fragments that Torchwood 3 had been in existence since at least 1899 in Cardiff, with Jack involved in the organization since 1899 and in charge from the end of 1999. 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 -- takes place very close to the older Captain Jack and his Torchwood team. A possible reference to this occurs in Utopia when Jack mentions 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. In addition, a third, older Jack, cryogenically frozen, is also nearby, unknown to both younger Jacks. (TW: Exit Wounds) The later episode Utopia would reveal that the Doctor somehow became aware of (or perhaps always knew) of Jack gaining immortality and this is why he left him behind following the defeat of the Daleks in The Parting of the Ways. Given the Doctor's close proximity to other versions of Jack in this episode, it's possible to speculate that he might have learned about Jack's future around this time. Several episodes of Torchwood also establish that the area above the hub is covered by video surveillance; it's very possible that the Doctor's team were being observed.
- A newspaper clipping regarding Blaine's election was pinned up in the Torchwood 3 "information office" entrance and was still there during the events of TW: Reset several years later.
DVD and Other Releases
- This 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 boxset.
- This 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)