Doctor Who - The New Series

1.05: "WORLD WAR THREE" (2/2)

TX: 23 April 2005

Written by: Russel T. Davies

Directed by: Keith Boak

Running time: 42' 16"

Location: London, England

Date: March 1-2, 2006 AD

Monsters and villains: The Slitheen (a family of killer aliens who wear the skins of murdered humans).

Plot Synopsis: The Slitheen plan to use Britain's nuclear arsenal to start a third world war. With Rose and the Doctor trapped in 10 Downing Street's panic room, it falls to Rose's boyfriend and mum to save the world.

Bad Wolf Reference: The "BAD WOLF" graffiti is still there.

Trivia: (1) The Slitheen's plan to reduce the Earth to radioactive slag and sell it is a none-too-subtle satire on the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq. Their claim that the 'aliens' have "massive weapons of destruction" that could destroy the Earth in 45 seconds is a reference to doctored reports released by Tony Blair's British government. These claimed that the invasion of Iraq was justified since Saddam Hussain had weapons of mass destruction capable of being deployed in 45 minutes. He did not.

(2) Working titles for this episode included "Aliens of London, Part Two" and "10 Downing Street".

(3) The boxed set of the first season had a mastering error on it which meant that part of World War Three was missing. The section, which lasts approximately three minutes, began with the Doctor saying sorry to a dead body and ended with Mickey saying "No no no no!". The commentary also skipped. The only way to view the missing scene was to use the "Play All" option rather than select the episode individually.

Spoiler Synopsis: The Doctor, able to survive more electricity than any human (must be the two hearts), tears off his badge and pins it to Green, who is electrocuted himself. At the same time, the other Slitheen - Asquith, also supervising the meeting; Blaine, menacing Harriet and Rose, and Strickland, about to devour Jackie - all suffer the same electrical shocks. This gives Jackie enough time to escape as Mickey busts down the door to rescue her. At the same time, Rose and Harriet flee.

The Doctor, hoping to expose the aliens, brings several soldiers into the meeting room, but by this time Green has stopped the electrical feedback and Asquith is back in his flesh suit. They tell the soldiers that the Doctor has killed the other alien experts (who are obviously too dead to argue). The Doctor flees, diving into a lift to escape the soldiers. Upstairs, he meets Rose and Harriet, but the three are chased by the Slitheen into the Cabinet room. Thankfully, the room is designed to protect the Cabinet in case of emergencies, and as the Doctor activates the emergency codes, the windows and doors are replaced with impenetrable metal barriers. The walls, too, are reinforced metal. Nothing can get in - but they cannot get out!

From within the room, the Doctor questions the Slitheen about their motives, and they reveal that they are actually a family of alien entrepaneurs. They faked the alien invasion so that they could get access to Britain's nuclear missiles, which are usually locked off by the UN. Once they have the codes, they can launch an attack on another country, which will precipitate nuclear war, reducing the Earth to radioactive rubble whilst they sit safe and sound in their ship in the Thames. Once it's over and done with, they will fly the ship - which is not really broken - away from what remains of Earth and sell it to the highest bidder, since radioactive rock is used by many alien species as fuel for spaceships.

With the Doctor, Rose and Harriet locked in the room, the Slitheen invite the rest of their family - who have been posing as various members of the civil service - back to 10 Downing Street.

The only Slitheen that remains is Strickland, still hunting Mickey and Jackie, who are hiding in Mickey's flat. As Stickland starts to break down the door, they call Rose's mobile, which has boosted reception thanks to the Doctor's tinkering. The Doctor figures out that the Slitheen have high calcium deposits in their bodies, and tells Jackie to throw vinegar on the creature. She does so and it explodes messily.

Green, who is still acting Prime Minister, calls a press conference and says that he has evidence of an alien plot to destroy the Earth. He explains that they have "massive weapons of destruction" which could be launched in 45 seconds, and requests the nuclear launch codes from the UN. As they wait for the codes to arrive, the Slitheen gather in the Prime Minister's office, and strip off their human skins. The Doctor, realising that time is running out, uses his knowledge of U.N.I.T. to get Mickey to hack into their computers. Mickey does, and is able to launch a missile at Downing Street. The soldiers evacuate as it heads toward them. One attempts to tell the Ministers what's happening, but seeing them in their alien form, flees. They ignore him and are still standing at the computer waiting for the codes when the missile strikes Downing Street.

The Doctor, Rose and Harriet, hidden in the reinforced Cabinet Room, escape the explosion unscathed. As Harriet goes off to warn the press, the Doctor recognises her - she is to become Prime Minister of Britain and the architect of the country's Golden Age.

The Doctor, impressed by Mickey, offers him a place in the TARDIS, but the young man refuses. Rose says farewell to her mother and boyfriend once again and sets off for more adventures in time.

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

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