Doctor Who - The New Series

1.11: "BOOM TOWN"

TX: 4 June 2005

Written by: Russel T. Davies

Directed by: Joe Ahearne

Running time: 42' 31"

Location: Cardiff, Wales

Date: September, 2006 AD

Monsters and villains: Margaret (A Slitheen who escaped from the Doctor in London; a killer alien wearing the skin of an MP)

Plot Synopsis: The last surviving Slitheen on Earth has hatched a plan to destroy the planet by placing a dangerously explosive nuclear power plant on top of a rift in time and space (which just happens to be based in the middle of Cardiff). Can the Doctor stop her? And if he does, can he face the consequences of his actions afterward?

Bad Wolf Reference: The name of the nuclear reactor that is to be built in Cardiff is "Blaidd Drwg", which is Welsh for "Bad Wolf".

Trivia:(1) The original title of this episode was "Dining with Aliens".

(2) The man killed at the start of the episode was played by William Thomas who also appeared as Martin in the original series story Remembrance of the Daleks. He was the first person to act in both the new and old series, although he was not the last...

(3) Rose tells Mickey that she travelled to the planet of Justicia; this occurs in the spin-off novel The Monsters Inside.

(4) Since the events of the first episode, Mickey has replaced his old yellow Volkswagen Beetle with a green Mini.

(5) Margaret's cosmic surfboard operates using tribophysics, first mentioned in the fourth Doctor serial Pyramids of Mars and elaborated upon in Damaged Goods, a spin-off novel written by Russel T Davies. It has nothing to do with tribology.

(6) The newspaper with Margaret's photograph on the front - The Western Mail - is a real newspaper available in Wales. The Cardiff Gazette, however, was invented for the show.

(7) Venom grubs are mentioned - they first appeared in the old series serial "The Web Planet".

(8) Originally the story in this slot was to have been written by Paul Abbott, whose credits include the critically acclaimed TV drama State of Play. Abbott's pitch was that the Doctor would have been revealed to have manipulated Rose's life in order to turn her into the perfect companion. Depending on who you listen to, either Abbott was unable to complete the script due to prior commitments, or Davies liked the idea but was forced to dismiss it because it ruined the characters of both Rose and the Doctor.

(9) In the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, it is revealed that the area on which the TARDIS lands to refuel is affected by the ship's Chameleon Circuit, causing anyone standing on it to become undetectable. The Torchwood team subsequently replaced the slab with a lift that allows access to their underground base.

Spoiler Synopsis: The episode opens in the office of Margaret Blaine, newly elected mayor of Cardiff and secretly one of the Slitheen that attacked London. A scientist is trying to persuade her to give up plans to build a nuclear power station in the middle of the city, warning her that the plans show that it is not safe and could kill everyone nearby. She asks him whether he has told anyone else and when he says that he hasn't, she removes her skin suit and murders him.

Meanwhile, Mickey arrives at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, where the TARDIS is parked; it turns out that Rose asked Mickey to bring her passport to Wales. She is happy to see him and explains that they've landed the TARDIS on the site of The Rift that Gwyneth closed (in 1.03, The Unquiet Dead) in order to refuel it.

Elsewhere in the city, Margaret is holding a press conference to officially announce the construction of the power plant. A reporter corners her after the conference, asking about the numerous deaths which have been linked to the project. Margaret dismisses them as accidents but the reporter tells her that the last victim, Cleaver, had published findings on the internet which suggest that the plant is dangerous. Margaret tells the reporter to follow her to the ladies' toilets. She strips off her human suit in a cubicle in preparation for the kill, but when the reporter mentions that she is pregnant, Margaret remembers the deaths of her own family (in 1.05, World War III) and allows her to leave, despite the reporter's promise that she is going to print Cleaver's findings.

The Doctor, Rose, Jack and Mickey are all happily talking when the Doctor notices Margaet's face on the front page of a newspaper. They go to City Hall to catch her, each covering a different exit.

Upon hearing that the Doctor is in the house, Margaret climbs out of her office window, using the scaffolding outside to get down to the ground. The Doctor chases her, and whilst Rose and Jack manage to cut off two routes of escape, Mickey is too late to stop her fleeing. Margaret uses a teleporter to escape, but the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to bring her back. Realising that she is defeated, Margaret gives in.

Inside Margaret's office, the Doctor correctly guesses that she used the teleporter to escape the explosion that killed her family in Downing Street. He also notes that the plant was placed on the Rift so that when it eventually went into meltdown, the resulting explosion would destroy the planet. Underneath a model of the power plant, he finds what amounts to a cosmic surfboard; Margaret's plan was to ride the explosion's shockwave out into the galaxy, where she could get hold of better transportation. The Doctor then realises that the power plant is called Blaidd Drwg, which is Welsh for "Bad Wolf". Rose notes that they've seen that word repeated over and over again. Margaret says that she chose the word at random. Ignoring the coincidence, the Doctor announces that he plans to take Margaret back to the Slitheen homeworld once the TARDIS is fully charged. Margaret says that if she returns to her home planet she will be executed, but the Doctor doesn't care.

Back in the TARDIS, Jack hooks up the surfboard to the console, speeding up the refuelling process; it will now take just twelve hours to be fully refuelled. Margaret accuses them all of being her executioners, and none of the team can bear to make eye contact with her.

Mickey and Rose leave the TARDIS to discuss their relationship, and Rose tells him that the passport was just an excuse for her to speak to him. He agrees to go for a drink with her. Meanwhile, Margaret asks the Doctor for a last meal at a local restaurant. He agrees, fitting her with cuffs that will electrocute her if she strays too far or misbehaves. Jack stays behind to work maintenance.

At the restaurant, Margaret makes several attempts on the Doctor's life, all of which are casually foiled. She then tells him that her execution will be slow and unbearably painful and that being among humans has changed her, but the Doctor is umoved by both of these claims and refuses to let her go. Meanwhile, out in the night air, Mickey tells Rose that he's started dating another girl whilst she's been gone. Rose is shocked, and Mickey says that at least his new girlfriend is there for him when he needs her. He starts to cry as he talks about how Rose ran away from him without looking back, and he's been running to her ever since. But their conversation is disrupted by a rumble in the distance.

At the same time, Margaret is telling the Doctor about how she spared the reporter's life. The Doctor, unimpressed, tells her that one life does not outweigh the dozens Margaret has killed or the millions she would have killed, and that she only lets one or two go here and there to make herself feel better about all the others she has murdered. Margaret says that the Doctor must be a murderer himself to know that. The rumbling is heard again, and the earth begins to shake. The Doctor rushes for the TARDIS with Margaret in tow. Rose sets off to join them, leaving Mickey angry that her adventuring life keeps getting in the way of their relationship.

Dark clouds swirl above the TARDIS as the Rift opens through it; a beam of light shoots into the night sky and cracks form across the centre of Cardiff as the city once again begins to shake. Inside, the Doctor explains that the surfboard has somehow triggered and maintained the Rift, even though Jack has disconnected it from the control panel. Margaret allows one of her vicious claws to rip through her skin suit and she grabs Rose, threatening to kill her if Jack doesn't give her the surfboard. The Doctor nods, and Jack passes it over. Margaret explains that this was her backup plan - the only ones who could discover her presence would have powerful technology, and would want to use the surfboard to their own ends. In such a case, the board was programmed to use alien technology to open the Rift so that the planet would be destroyed and she could escape into space.

Suddenly, the TARDIS' console opens up to reveal a beautiful glowing light within. Margaret, hypnotised by the light, lets Rose go. The Doctor tells Margaret to keep staring into the heart of the TARDIS as a golden glow envelops her. The glow fades, leaving just the hollow skin suit behind, and the console closes. The Doctor shuts down the TARDIS, nullifying the Rift.

The Doctor looks inside the skin suit and pulls out a strange egg; Margaret has been regressed into childhood by the TARDIS. The Doctor says that he will take the egg to the Slitheen homeworld, where Margaret will be able to have a second chance. Rose leaves to find Mickey, but he hides from her, not wanting to be a part of her life any more.

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Sources: - The Internet Movie Database - Outpost Gallifrey - A Brief History of (Time) Travel

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