Doctor Who

Human Nature (1)

Season 3, Ep 8, Aired 5/26/07
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  • Episode Description
  • England, 1913. A schoolteacher called John Smith dreams of adventures in time and space.The Doctor, along with Martha, heads to a boarding school, to hide out from an alien race, but realize that they are needed to save the world once more when unusual events including creepy scarecrows threaten their cover.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Paul Cornell

  • Jessica Hynes

    Nurse Joan Redfern

  • Harry Lloyd

    Jeremy Baines

  • Thomas Brodie-Sangster

    Tim Latimer

  • Pip Torrens


  • Fan Reviews (25)
  • great acting

    By gpph, Dec 14, 2013

  • Human Nature

    By TrueTvWatcher, Nov 07, 2012

  • Before I begin and upset everyone, I want to make it clear: I am a BIG Doctor Who fan and have been since the 70’s. David Tennant is fast becoming my favourite Doctor of all time.

    By rickyn2, Jun 03, 2007

  • The Doctor is Human...

    By Malora, Jun 15, 2007

  • It was entirely not what I expected.

    By QuakertownBob, Aug 25, 2007

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (25)

    • (Jenny, Baines and Mr. Clarke break into Mr. Smith's room) Baines: Mr. Smith? (no reply) No one home... Jenny: The maid was definitely hiding something. A secret around this Mr. Smith. Baines: We both scented him though, he was plain and simple human. Jenny: Maybe he knows something though. Where is he? (Jenny and Bains look through books on the bookshelf. Mr. Clarke holds up a poster about the dance) Mr. Clarke: I think this might help. Jenny: Well. That makes it easy son of mine. Because daughter of mine's already there. Baines: We've been invited to the dance.

    • (Jenny enters room) Martha: There you are! Come look what I've got. Mr. Paul didn't want his afternoon tea so cook said I could have it, and there's enough for two. (Jenny stands and stares) What're you standing there for? (Jenny takes a hard sniff) You alright? Jenny: (monotone, bland throughout) I must have a cold coming on. Martha: Problem is I keep thinking about them but I don't know what to do. Jenny: Thinking about who? Martha: Mr. Smith and Matron. 'Cause it's never gonna last, he's gonna leave in a few weeks. Jenny: Why? Martha: It's like his contract comes to an end, and she's going to be heartbroken. Jenny: Leave for where? Martha: All sorts of places. Oh I wish I could tell you Jenny, but it's complicated. Jenny: In what way? Martha: I just, can't. Jenny: It sounds so intersting, tell me, tell me now. (Martha grows suspicious - Jenny is still monotone, bland) Martha: Would you like some tea? Jenny: Yes thanks. Martha: I could put a nice bit of gravy in the pot, and some mutton, or sardines and jam, how about that? Jenny: I like the sound of that. Martha: Right. Hold on a tick... (Martha leaves building quietly and runs. Jenny realises too late, shoots out the window but misses)

    • Jenny: (crying) I don't understand. It's Mr. Clarke, isn't it? What have I done wrong? Mr. Clarke: Nothing at all. In fact, you're just what we need, girl. Baines: She works at the school. And whatever's happening seems to be centred around that establishment. The faintest of traces but they all lead back there. Jenny: It's Bains isn't it? This isn't very funny Sir (weeping). Baines: SHUT UP STOP TALKING CEASE AND DESIST THERE'S A GOOD GIRL!!! Mother of mine is dying to meet you. And here she is... (shows Jenny a glowing green sphere) Jenny: (still weeping) Stop mocking me Sir! Baines: NO! Mother of mine just needs a shape. We go through shapes so very fast. Yours is perfectly adequate, if a little grim. Mother of mine, embrace her! (a green cloud exits the sphere and enters Jenny).

    • John Smith: Then almost every night, hmm, this is going to sound silly... Joan: Tell me. John Smith: I dream quite often that, that I have two hearts. Joan: Well then I can be the judge of that. Let's find out. (Joan takes a stethoscope and listens to both sides of Mr. Smith's chest) Joan: I can confirm the diagnosis: just one heart.

    • Bains: We asked for SILENCE!!! Now then, we have a few questions for Mr. Smith. Lucy Cartwright: No. Better than that. The teacher, he's the Doctor. I heard them talking. Baines: You took human form! John Smith: Of course I’m human, I was born human as were you Bains, and Jenny and Mr. Clarke. What is going on; this is madness! Bains: Ooo, and a human brain too, simple, thick and dull. Jenny: But he's no good like this. Mr. Clarke: We need a Timelord. Bains: Easily done. (raises gun at Mr. Smith) Change back. John Smith: I don't know what you're talking about... Bains: CHANGE BACK!!! John Smith: I literally do not know... (Jenny grabs Martha and points gun to her head) Martha: GET OFF ME!!! Jenny: She's your friend, isn't she? Doesn't this scare you enough to change back!?! John Smith: I don't know what you mean! Jenny: Wait a minute. The maid told me about Smith and the Matron. That woman there! (Mr. Clarke grabs Joan and points a gun at her head) Mr. Clarke: Let's have you! Baines: Have you enjoyed it, Doctor? Being human. Has it taught you wonderful things? Are you better, richer, wiser? Then let’s see you answer this. Which one of them do you want us to kill? Maid or Matron? Your friend or your lover? Your choice!

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    Notes (7)

    • International Airdates:
      Turkey: December 19, 2010 on CNBC-e

    • Overnight viewing figures for this episode were 7.1 million, with a final viewing figure of 7.74 million.

    • This is not producer Susie Liggat's first production job within the Doctor Who story-line: in 2006, she produced the first episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures, Invasion of the Bane. Therefore, only she and John Nathan-Turner have produced episodes from two different programmes set in the Doctor Who universe.

    • Human Nature is the first episode on which Suzie Liggat is credited as producer. She is one of only two women to have produced the show, not counting Executive Producer Julie Gardner.

    • A visual clue that John Smith is really a different person to The Doctor is that for the first time David Tennant is not wearing his trade mark plimsoll shoes.

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    Trivia (15)

    • The newspaper Martha gives Mr. Smith at the beginning of the episode prints the date as "November 10th 1913," in the American style of putting the month first, as opposed to putting the day before the month.

    • The complicated sequence of events involving the cricket ball and the falling piano is referred to as a "Rube Goldberg", after the post-WWII American cartoonist Ruben Goldberg, known for creating overly complex diagrams, describing very convoluted inventions designed to perform very mundane, simple tasks, such as "let out the cat", or "put the teapot on the stove". The Ruben Award, the highest award of the American Cartoonist society, is named in his honor.

    • This storyline is based on one of the most popular Doctor Who novels also called 'Human Nature' written for the 7th Doctor.

    • So far in the new series we have had many nods to Douglas Adams, a script editor of the original series and author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Having had references to Arthur Dent, and even an episode called 42, we now have another in the form of an invisible spaceship. In the original series, a story called Shada was written by Douglas Adams, and he decided to have an invisible spaceship, since it would help spare the original show's sparse budget. Sadly, the invisible spaceship was never seen in the original series as the story got abandoned part way through production due to industrial action, though an edited version was made available on video.

    • John Smith states that his dreams occur in 'the year of our Lord 2007', which on first glance seems at odds with the show's timing: Rose, is played out on March 6th 2005, Aliens of London happened twelve months later, The Christmas Invasion occurred over the 2006 Christmas period with The Runaway Bride, the Christmas after that, which would mean that his time with Martha would have to be in 2008 at the earliest. Martha, however, is not a part of his documentation of his dreams (and need only be a part of one of his dreams, the latest one shown at the start of the episode), so the statement may reflect the timing of his dreams in the book.

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    Allusions (5)

    • Gallifrey is alluded to in this episode. When John is speaking to Joan about where John learnt to draw, he states that it was Gallifrey. This is the third time so far in the revived series that the Doctor's home planet has been referenced. The other two times were in The Runaway Bride and Gridlock.

    • Aitchison-Price's definitive account of Mafeking This is the title of the book Latimer is picking up from John Smith. The famous Siege of Mafeking lasted for 217 days from October 1899 to May 1900, and turned Robert Baden-Powell into a national hero. In September 1904, Lord Roberts unveiled an obelisk at Mafeking bearing the names of those who fell in defence of the town. In all, 212 people were killed during the siege, with over 600 wounded.

    • Doorman: Spare a penny for the veterans of the Crimea, sir? The Crimean War took place between 1854-1856 between Imperial Russia and an alliance of the French, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia. Well-known battles in the war include the Siege of Sevastopol (1854) and the Battle of Balaclava (also 1854). It was also during this conflict that Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole nursed the sick and the wounded.

    • Joan: His name was Oliver. He died at the Battle of Spion Kop. The Battle of Spion Kop was a military offensive that took place in January 1900 as part of the Second Boer War, where Boer soldiers defeated the British resulting in the death of 383 British soldiers and the wounding and capturing of hundreds more.

    • At the beginning, a boys’ choir can be heard singing 'To Be A Pilgrim’. The only hymn known to have been written by John Bunyan (1628-1688), it first appeared in 1684 in the second part of Pilgrim’s Progress. The lyrics were changed slightly by Percy Deamer for its inclusion in the 1906 English Hymnal, probably due to the original’s inclusion of phrases such as ‘hobgoblin’ and ‘foul fiend’. The British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) set the lyrics to the traditional Sussex melody ‘Monk’s Gate’.

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