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The Discontinuity Guide
The New Series

Bad Wolf

12th June 2005

Writer: Russell T Davies

Director: Joe Ahearne

Roots: Big Brother, The Weakest Link, Trinny and Sussanah, and violent and "reality" TV shows in general. Vengeance on Varos, The Time of Your Life, Prime Time. Jack mentions Top Shop. The Doctor's comment that "I moisturise" is probably a nod to The End of the World. Programmes that get reformatted for Gamestation include Call my Bluff, Countdown, Groundforce, Wipe-out, and Stars in their Eyes. The controller's appearance is very reminiscent of The Matrix, Minority Report, and the Dalek Emperor from The Evil of the Daleks. SynthespiansTM - the giant transmitter, humanity being harvested, society controlled by 20th century TV.

Goofs: If there are 10,000 channels, and 60 Big Brothers, why does Lynda assume that the Doctor must have been watching the Big Brother in which she is taking part. Come to think of it, the channel numbering system is a bit odd if there are only 10,000 channels, and Big Brother is broadcast on Channel 44,000. There must be a lot of channel numbers that aren't used. [Perhaps there are some non-public channels, and the channel numbers might not be allocated in order.]

When Brokk makes a run for it from the Anne Droid, he runs past an "on air" sign, yet the program has broken for a commercial break - it isn't on air.

At the end of one scene, Trin-E and Zu-Zana have activated the tools on their arms to attack Captain Jack, and then the next scene they're in shows them back to normal, only to activate them again.

Lynda comments that she and the Doctor are the first two contestants to get outside - so she's forgotten what she said earlier in the episode about the ones who walked out of Big Brother 504. [Perhaps they only got as far a as the disintegrator/transmat chamber. And in case you think that Big Brother 504 was in the pre-Gamestation era, Lynda seems to think that the Doctor should remember it before she discovers he's older than he looks.]

If the point of "disintegrating" the contestants is to deliver them to the Daleks, then what is the point of the programmes where contestants get killed by other means. [The remains are still transmatted to the Daleks, even the composted victims of Groundforce.]

For someone who was blind and had been hooked up to those cables since she was 5, the Controller was awfully steady on her feet when she was transmatted to the Dalek ship.

How did Jack know about the games when he was on a fashion show rather than a gameshow? [Perhaps he did some research when he was cracking into the station's computer system.]

It's a bit strange that Trin-E and Zu-Zana can identify Jack's clothes as "so 20th Century" as far in the future as 200,100 and that the Big Brother contestants can talk about the original version as "centuries ago" rather than "millennia ago". However, the massive similarity of the programs to contemporary ones might suggest that the 20th and 21st Centuries are a big obsession of the time. [Perhaps they picked up some signal reflection from 20th Century programmes. As these wouldn't be of broadcast quality, they'd have to remake them. Alternatively, this is a result of memories from Adam's mind left in the computer system after the events of The Long Game.]

Toward the end of the episode, the Doctor mentions the Jagrafess being installed 100 years ago when he'd been there for 91 years by that point.

Why is the station masking the Dalek fleet from sonar? Sonar can't be used in space, as sound doesn't travel through it.

How do the Daleks know that Rose is the Doctor's associate? It was the Controller who snatched her from the TARDIS. [Perhaps they have records of the events of The Long Game, and recognised her from that.]

The BBC continuity announcer introduced the episode as "Doctor Woo" rather than Doctor Who. In fact, she made the same mistake three times - twice before the show and once during the closing credits.

Dialogue Triumphs: Jack: 'I was just saying hello.'
The Doctor: 'For you, that's flirting.'

The Doctor: 'Don't be so thick. Like I was ever going to shoot.'

Captain Jack: 'Do I look like an out of bounds sort of guy?'

The Doctor: 'This is what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna rescue her. I'm going to save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet, and then I'm gonna save the Earth, and then, just to finish off, I'm gonna wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky.'
Dalek: 'But you have no weapons, no defences, no plan.'
The Doctor: 'Yeah, and doesn't that scare you to death.'

Memorable Moments: The Doctor invades the control room, and then chucks his gun to one of the staff he's holding hostage, who's so nervous of holding the gun that he asks the Doctor permission to put it down.

Continuity: The controller has the ability to transmat the Doctor and his companions out of the TARDIS and to bring the TARDIS inside the Gamestation. The beam required to do that is 15 million times more powerful than a normal transmat would be. She was installed as a child, and can only see the numbers of the programmes. Although her masters (the Daleks) monitor transmissions, they don't watch the games, or monitor her thoughts closely enough to stop her snatching the Doctor and hiding him in the games. It is implied that the Daleks were responsible for installing the Jagrafess in The Long Game.

In the pan traffic calendar the month pandok comes after hoop. Default is the payment given to Martian Drones in social security. The Great Cobalt Pyramid is built on the remains of the Torchwood Institute, a famous Old Earth Institute. Jupiter Rising is a Holovid series in which the Gretznik is married. The Grand Central Ravine is named after "the ancient British city" of Sheffield. The Face of Boe is the oldest inhabitant of the Isop Galaxy. Hoshbin Frane was the president of the Red Velvets. Gappavek was a foodstuff that originated on the planet Lucifer [probably a different Lucifer from the one seen in Lucifer Rising]. The Emperor Jate defined the Carb as the distance from his nose to his fingers. Stella Pot Bake is famous for hats. Polar Ventura is the Icelandic city which hosted Murder Spree 20.

Captain Jack has a compact laser deluxe pistol hidden somewhere on his person - you don't want to know where, but he still has it on his person when his clothes have been disintegrated, and his TARDIS key appears to have been stored in the same place. He is able to build a powerful [one-shot - see next week] gun from parts of the Trin-E and Zu-Zana robots, the defabricator, and his pistol. This gun can apparently detect the Doctor by his two hearts. He recognises the Dalek saucer ships and believes that they were destroyed.

The sonic screwdriver can take readings about the station. It is the only thing the Doctor appears to have in his pockets. He will carry a gun, but blatantly won't even think about shooting it.

Links: The clips we see of the phrase "bad wolf" turning up are from The Unquiet Dead, Dalek, Boom Town, Aliens of London, and The Long Game. The trip to Raxicoracofallapatorius follows on from the end of Boom Town. The term transmat was first used in The Ark in Space, and has been used in numerous stories since then. The Lunar Penal Colony (Frontier in Space) is still in existence by 200,100. The transmat leaving dust on the floor recalls The Twin Dilemma, where it is said that some transmat devices leave a small dust-like deposit on the floor called Zanium. The Isop galaxy is a reference to The Web Planet and Twilight of the Gods, being the galaxy where Vortis is located. The Face of Boe previously appeared in The End of thw World and The Long Game

Extras: For the first time in the series, there isn't an update on Mickey's website following the episode. There is, however, a site containing lots of speculation about what the phrase Bad Wolf means.

Location: Satellite 5/Gamestation in the year 200,100 - exactly 100 years after The Long Game

Future History: Gamestation broadcast 10,000 channels, and channel 44,000 is one of those broadcasting one of 60 Big Brothers all running at once. In Big Brother 504, all the constestants walked out, after that they installed deadlock seals on the doors. Contestants are picked at random from Earth's population, and the winner's reward is to stay alive. There are 100 games - 10 floors of Big Brother, Call my Bluff - with real guns, Countdown - with 30 seconds to stop the bomb going off, Groundforce - where you get turned into compost, Wipe-out - which speaks for itself, and Stars in their Eyes - if you don't sing, you get blinded. The money scale on The Weakest Link goes up to 1,000, and there are only 6 contestants per game. It is common knowledge that it happens on floor 407. You get executed for not paying your TV license. Solar flares can interfere with transmissions, during which Gamestation shuts down, and planet Earth gets repeats. "Disintegrated" contestants actually get transmatted across to the Dalek fleet.

The Bad Wolf Corporation "your lords and masters" control Gamestation. Although this is still supposed to be the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire, it is no longer so. 100 years ago things went wrong after The Long Game. The news channels shut down overnight, with no information everything just froze, the government and economy collapsed, throwing Earth into "a hundred years of hell". The Great Atlantic Smogstorm has been going 20 years - there are newsflashes telling people when they can breathe. Nobody has a garden anymore.

Unrecorded Adventures: Between Boom Town and this story, the TARDIS crew travel to Raxicoracofallapatorius, and to Kyoto, Japan, 1336 - where they only just escape. They are only just leaving Kyoto when they are transmatted off the TARDIS.

Q.v: The Fate of Gallifrey, The End of the World; Bad Wolf, The Parting of the Ways.

The Bottom Line: 'I said no.' After a couple of more disappointing episodes, Russell's writing is back on form. The game shows are very convincing future versions of current TV, Lynda is presented as very good new companion material. The Doctor is in very good form, and after last episode's bit role, Captain Jack has the chance to live up to his potential, and the revelation that the Daleks are behind everything is easily the best conclusion to an episode so far in the series. By the end, you're left almost unable to wait for the next episode.


Thanks go to all the folk who commented on Bad Wolf in the Bloopers thread on Outpost Gallifrey's forum. Without them, the goofs section would have been a lot smaller.

You visited the Whoniverse at 4:35 pm BST on Tuesday 18th April 2006