The Victorian era was a time period in the United Kingdom during Queen Victoria's reign from 1837 on the 19th century to 1901 on the 20th.[source needed] With the exception of the 20th and early 21st centuries, the Victorian age was arguably the most invaded era of the Earth. With its heaving slums, the teeming metropolis of Victoria London was a good place to lose yourself if you were in a hurry to escape the authorities. It was often cited that one in every hundred citizens of the city during the Victorian age was a masquerading alien or fugitive from another era. (PROSE: The Whoniverse)
It was seen by many as a golden age in the history of planet Earth, a forward-looking time when anything seemed possible, if only the technology could keep up with the ambition of the people. Scientific breakthrough followed philosophical reassessment, inventiveness powered industry, and art and literature flourished, with notable painters of the era including Vincent van Gogh (PROSE: The Whoniverse) and authors including Charles Dickens (TV: The Unquiet Dead) and Arthur Conan Doyle. (PROSE: Evolution, TV: The Snowmen) The era was a revolution of enlightenment and progress. (PROSE: The Whoniverse)
The Industrial Revolution had led to people migrating from the country to the towns and cities. Some members of the landed gentry created model villages to provide housing for the workers on there estates, with notable examples including Bournville, Port Sunlight and Sweetville. (PROSE: A History of Humankind)
By the late Victoria era, the British Empire was expanding and the prevailing feeling was that an expansion of British control around the world was good for everyone. (PROSE: A History of Humankind) However, a worm lurked at the very heart of the bud: corruption, poverty, oppression and prejudice walked hand in hand with luxury and excess; the divide between different social strata had never been greater. (PROSE: The Whoniverse)
The Doctor had a number of friends in the Victorian period, including Henry Gordon Jago and George Litefoot, (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang, et al) as well as the Paternoster Gang, which included Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax. (TV: The Snowmen) The era was also home to the Doctor's companions, Victoria Waterfield (TV: The Evil of the Daleks) and Clara Oswin Oswald. (TV: The Snowmen)
Early Victorian era
In 1851, a group of Cybermen crash-landed in Victorian London. They co-opted Mercy Hartigan - matron of the St Joseph's Workhouse - into a temporary alliance, establishing an underground workshop and forge.Hartigan acquired a workforce of kidnapped and orphaned children, whom the put to work forging the CyberKing. The Tenth Doctor stopped the CyberKing as it began laying waste to London, (TV: The Next Doctor) eradicating it using a Dalek Dimension Vault (PROSE: The Whoniverse) before it could fall and crush the city. (TV: The Next Doctor)
Mid Victorian era
As the British Empire grew, it left itself open to outside influence and attacks. (PROSE: The Whoniverse) In order to protect the Empire from extraterrestrial threats, Queen Victoria founded the Torchwood Institute, (TV: Tooth and Claw) which would protect the interests of both Britain and planet Earth into the 21st century. (TV: Everything Changes)
The Fifth Doctor spent a year in Victorian London from November 1866 to November 1867 while waiting for the TARDIS. He lived in a house at 107 Baker Street, went by the alias "Doctor Walters" and had an assistant, scientist Robert McIntosh. (AUDIO: The Haunting of Thomas Brewster)
In 1869, a space-time rift in Cardiff provided an escape route for the Gelth from the Great Time War. The Gelth made contact with Gwyneth, a servant girl, and pleaded for her to let them through and allow them to make use of corpses in order to sustain their species. Upon opening the rift, their true plan became apparent: they intended to murder the human race, inhabiting their bodies and turning the Earth into a desolate world populated only by zombies. Charles Dickens used natural gas to draw the Gelth out of their bodies. Gwyneth then ignited the gas, killing the Gelth and sealing the rift. (TV: The Unquiet Dead)
One of the greatest mysteries of the age occurred in 1872, when the Mary Celeste was found adrift in the Atlantic Ocean (PROSE: The Whoniverse) on 4 December. (PROSE: The Secret Lives of Monsters) Although she was still seaworthy, there was no sign of the crew. The ship was well provisioned, and the captain and crew's belongings were still there. (PROSE: A History of Humankind) Various theories were put forward regarding what had happened. (PROSE: The Whoniverse) By one account they jumped overboard to escape the Daleks, which they believed were the Barbary Terror. (TV: The Chase) Another account claimed that the crew were abducted by the Arcturians, (PROSE: The Mystery of the Marie Celeste) and there was one story that an Enzomodon ambassador digested the whole crew in an attempt to communicate. (TV: The Eaters of Light)
Also in 1879, after her train was waylaid by a fallen tree on the line, Queen Victoria and her party were forced to take to the roads to complete their journey to Balmoral. When night set in, she decided to take shelter at Torchwood House. A group of monks, known as the Brethren, seized control of Torchwood House and released a werewolf, through the bite of which they planned to bring about a new era: the Empire of the Wolf. The Tenth Doctor used a telescope at the house, along with the Koh-i-Noor, to drown the wolf in burning light. Alarmed by what she had witnessed, Queen Victoria established the Torchwood Institute. (TV: Tooth and Claw)
Late Victorian era
During the late Victoria era, the British Empire was expanding and the prevailing feeling was that an expansion of British control around the world was good for everyone. (PROSE: A History of Humankind) However, a worm lurked at the very heart of the bud: corruption, poverty, oppression and prejudice walked hand in hand with luxury and excess; the divide between different social strata had never been greater, and this was nowhere more noticeable than in London itself. (PROSE: The Whoniverse) The Fourth Doctor referred to child labour as being one of the worst aspects of the Victorian era. (AUDIO: The Ghosts of Gralstead) He considered the aroma of Victorian England to be "bracing". However, Romana I described it as being "rancid". (AUDIO: The Justice of Jalxar)
The late Victorian era was dominated by two prime ministers: William Ewart Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli. (PROSE: A History of Humankind) Balmoral Castle had become recognised as an official residence of the Royal Family following the death of Prince Albert. (PROSE: The Whoniverse)
Between 1880 and 1881, (TV: A Good Man Goes to War, PROSE: Madame Vastra) during excavations for the building of the London Underground, an incident with dormant Silurians occurred. In that occasion, the Doctor found and saved Vastra, who started to live among humans as a detective, along with Jenny. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)
In 1881, a group of British Army soldiers discovered an interplanetary vessel in the South African veldt. Aboard the ship, they found Friday - an Ice Warrior. Friday promised the soliders Martian treasures in return for helping him repair his ship, enabling them to reach Mars. The ship crashed upon landing and both supplies and morale soon faded away. While mining for gemstones, the troops accidentally awoke an Ice Warrior Hive, among which slept the Empress Iraxxa. (TV: Empress of Mars)
Jack the Ripper was a serial killer who brutally murdered prostitutes in London's East End (COMIC: Ripper's Curse) between August and November 1888. (PROSE: A History of Humankind) That year, Vastra found and slew the murderer before eating him. Shortly after, she was summoned to Demons Run by the Eleventh Doctor, from there she brought back the Sontaran Strax, who became her servant in London. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War, WC: The Battle of Demons Run: Two Days Later) Vastra, Jenny and Strax became known as the Paternoster Gang, after the name of the street they lived in. (TV: The Snowmen)
Magnus Greel and Mr Sin fled to the Victorian era in an experimental time cabinet. Greel was forced to pose as an ancient Chinese god - Weng-Chiang. In 1892, Greel was using the cover of a stage show at the Palace Theatre in London to kidnap young women and drain their life essence. The Fourth Doctor and Leela, joining forces with Professor George Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago, were able to stop Greel by disintigrating him in his own catalytic extraction chamber. (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang) Jago and Litefoot later had several adventures on their own in this era. (PROSE: The Bodysnatchers, AUDIO: The Mahogany Murderers, Jago & Litefoot)
Also in 1892, a number of snowmen came to life as an unseasonable snow gripped parts of London. The Great Intelligence intended to use the DNA of a frozen governess as a blueprint to create an artificial ice creature - a stable form of ice which would never melt and which it would be able to control. The Eleventh Doctor, after the loss of former companions Amelia Pond and Rory Williams, had retired in Victorian age London for a period. He disrupted the Intelligence's plans and the entity dispersed. (TV: The Snowmen)
In 1893, Winifred Gillyflower constructed her town of Sweetville in Yorkshire. When the Paternoster Gang infiltrated Sweetville as part of their investigations into a red-stained corpse, they discovered that the Eleventh Doctor and Clara Oswald had already infiltrated the town. They freed the pair, and stopped Mrs Gillyflower from launching a rocket containing red leech venom from the factory chimney. (TV: The Crimson Horror)
In a 1894, there were numerous cases of spontaneous combustion, along with with reports of a dinosaur - a Tyrannosaurus rex - loose in London. The spontaneous combustion was the result of an exercise in organ harvesting. The SS Marie Antoinette had crashed in the past, stranding its crew of clockwork robots for millions of years. The robots were continuing their cycle of repairing themselves using organs harvested from the Victorian populace. The Twelfth Doctor, working with Clara Oswald and the Paternoster Gang, was able to infiltrate the base of the robots at Mancini's Family Restaurant. After Half-Face Man - the leader of the robots - escaped aboard a hot-air balloon made of human skin, he was found impaled on the spire of Big Ben. (TV: Deep Breath)
After seeing seven chair legs in the attic of 10 Downing Street in July 1900, Vicki Pallister wondered if there were wooden androids in Victorian London. However, she did not ask the Doctor if this was the case as she thought that it was probably something that she was supposed to already know. (AUDIO: Upstairs)
Behind the scenes
Victorian London appears as a location in LEGO Dimensions, both as part of the Doctor Who World and as part of The Dalek Extermination of Earth.
Doctor Who World
Victorian London makes up a portion of the Doctor Who World in the game. Characters in Victorian London include Vastra and Strax, while Jenny Flint, Inspector Abberline and Sweeney Todd are mentioned. Antagonists located in this area include Zygons and Clockwork Droids - as seen in The Girl in the Fireplace.
The Dalek Extermination of Earth
Victorian London is also part of The Dalek Extermination of Earth. Characters and enemies found in this location include Mercy Hartigan as the CyberKing and the Snowmen. The Gelth, and Weng-Chiang are mentioned, as are the events of Deep Breath. Li H'sen Chang appears on posters in various locations.
The Doctor gives the following quotes:
- "Here we are, Victorian London - the Gelth, Weng-Chiang, a giant dinosaur in the Thames... I've got a tale or two to tell from my time here".
- "It must be winter... strange how quiet it is, and there's a sinister look to this snow.