Doctor Who - The New Series

1.04: "ALIENS OF LONDON" (1/2)

TX: 16 April 2005

Written by: Russel T. Davies

Directed by: Keith Boak

Running time: 44' 20"

Location: London, England

Date: March 1, 2006 AD

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

Plot Synopsis: Rose arrives back in London, but her homecoming is overshadowed when an alien spaceship crash-lands in the Thames river, destroying Big Ben at the same time. And where is the Prime Minister during this momentus occasion?

Bad Wolf Reference: A young boy spray paints "BAD WOLF" onto the side of the TARDIS.

Trivia: (1) On its original screening, this episode featured a trailer of the following week's episode which completely ruined the cliffhanger. So many complaints were recorded that for the next two-parter (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances), the trailer was moved to the end of the credits.

(2) This episode and the episode which follows feature BBC Political Correspondent Andrew Marr as himself.

(3) Annette Badland so impressed writer Russel T. Davies with her protrayal of a Slitheen that he invited her back for episode 1.11, "Boom Town".

(4) Penelope Wilton appears in this episode as backbench MP Harriet Jones. She was once offered the part of Lady Pienforte in the original Doctor Who series. That story was "Silver Nemesis", and the part was eventually taken by Fiona Walker.

(5) U.N.I.T. stands for United Nations Intelligence Taskforce; they were a recurring feature of the original Doctor Who series, under the command of Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. Sadly, the Brigadier has not appeared in the new series so far.

(6) Prior to this episode airing, the BBC set up a website for UNIT at It continued to be updated as the series progressed.

(7) The title may be a reference to the song Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon.

Spoiler Synopsis: Time travel is not a precise art, especially when the TARDIS is involved; the Doctor takes Rose home, but arrives a year late. Her mother, Jackie, blames the Doctor for not telling her where he was taking her daughter, but Rose refuses to say where she has been. Their argument is overshadowed, however, when a damaged alien spaceship sweeps low over London, crashing through the side of the Houses of Parliament and landing in the Thames. With half of London cut off, the Doctor is forced to watch events unfold on TV.

Meanwhile, inside 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister has vanished and junior MP Joseph Green has been made acting Prime Minister. He ignores the request for a meeting with small-time MP Harriet Jones and marches off for a discussion with Margaret Blaine, head of MI5, and Oliver Charles, transport liason officer.

The Doctor decides that sitting around isn't doing any good, so he darts out to the TARDIS, leaving Rose behind with her family. He materialises inside Albion Hospital, where the body of the creature from the crashed space ship is being held. Meanwhile Mickey, Rose's boyfriend, confronts her for running away with the Doctor, telling her that people thought he had murdered Rose.

The Doctor materialises in Albion's morgue, where the alien has awoken and run amok. The Doctor tries to capture it, but it escapes down a corridor into the path of a startled soldier, who shoots it dead. The Doctor examines the corpse and discovers that it is just an ordinary Earth pig, modified with bizarre technology.

Back at Downing Street, MP Harriet Jones sneaks into the meeting room where Blaine, Green and Charles had been discussing matters. She hides when she hears them entering the room and watches as they kill a man named General Asquith. It emerges that they are not humans at all, but aliens hidden inside human skins. The alien in the Charles skin flays Asquith and wears him, disposing of Charles' hide in the closet that Harriet is hiding in. Thankfully, he does not see her.

The Doctor returns to Rose's housing estate, and Mickey and Jackie sneak a look inside the TARDIS. Jackie panics and dials an emergency number given out on the television, whilst Mickey joins the Doctor and Rose. The Government's telephone monitoring software detects the words "Doctor" and "TARDIS" in Jackie's phone call and a warning flags up on the computer of the Prime Minister's advisor.

The Doctor figures out that the spaceship's trajectory means it cannot have come from space - it must have been launched from Earth. He, Rose and Mickey leave the TARDIS only to find themselves surrounded by the army. Mickey manages to slip away in the confusion while the Doctor and Rose are taken away to Downing Street. There, the Doctor is invited to join a special meeting of all the world's alien experts, including members of U.N.I.T., the special ops team he used to work with years ago. Rose, unable to get one of the special passcards, is left outside with Harriet, who explains what happened to General Asquith and shows her Charles' skin. Minutes later, they find the Prime Minister's body shoved in a cupboard.

Back at Rose's flat, Jackie hears a knock at the door and opens it to find a portly policeman. She invites him in. However he soon turns out to be an alien, stripping off his human skin and cornering Jackie in her kitchen. At the same time, Maragret Blaine enters the room with Rose and Harriet and sheds her human flesh, and the Doctor's meeting turns out to be a colossal trap, as the name tags given to them emit deadly electricity, frying everyone in the room.


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