Doctor Who

Season 1 Episode 4

Aliens of London (1)

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Apr 16, 2005 on BBC America
out of 10
User Rating
642 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


The Doctor and Rose return to modern-day Earth, only to find it has been a year since Rose first set off, and everyone thought she was missing, presumed dead. Whilst there, a spaceship crashes into Big Ben and lands in the Thames. Soon, all is not as it seems with the residents of 10 Downing Street.


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  • I wish they had gone with the Pigs from Space!

    I'm just going to say it: this episode did something very, very smart. Now before you all write me off as delusional and/or unintelligent, please observe that I am actually not speaking of the aliens this time. Many reviewers have complained about the fact that with NuWho too many episodes take place on Planet Earth saying that Classic Who would never commit such an atrocity and that this aspect of the reboot has completely ruined the series. I respectfully beg to differ. While I may not have grown up with Classic Who, I have watched as many of the old series' as I could find so I am up on 'the old ways'. And yes NuWho is very different in some aspects to what came before. But that's just the point: times have changed, audiences have changed, the world has changed. Heck, The Doctor himself changes pretty regularly as does the TARDIS interior and the companion so I don't really get all of the complaints. Well, I do but I don't (if you'll remember, I wasn't favorably impressed by the burping garbage can in Rose but I loved the bits with 'internet nutter' . If you're not a fan of the way the series has changed, just don't torture yourself by watching it.

    This episode had great potential and as I was watching the first few minutes, it looked as though all of my expectations would be fulfilled. Perhaps this is why I take such umbrage with its descent into crass and un-funny humour and the mish-mash storytelling. Christopher Eccleston was amazing as always and, with the exception of the Slitheen and Mickey, the rest of the cast were wonderful as well. It's hard to truly pass final judgement on this episode just yet, as it is a two-parter, so I will reservedly give it a 7/10 simply for the opening 11 minutes.moreless
  • Aliens of London

    Aliens of London was a perfect episode of Doctor Who and I really enjoyed watching. The episode was very entertaining and had lots of character and plot development. It was awesome to see Rose and The Doctor return to Earth a year later than when they left and find Aliens taking over 10 Downing St. There were also the ramifications of dealing with Roses loved ones. It was interesting how Roses Mother took every thing as well as Mickey who knew the truth. I liked how it all played out and look forward to watching what happens next as the Aliens enact the next stage of their plans!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • The Doctor is in trouble! Facing Jackie's wrath for getting Rose home a year late, the Doctor soon must confront the threat of the bulbus Slitheen, whom have devious intentions for the planet Earth. Could a few members of Government be inleague with them?moreless

    It would seem that 9 has inherited 5th's poor Tardis piloting skills. Arriving at Rose's home, the Powel Estate, the Doctor and she face the facts that they have arrived a whole year late! The matter is soon smoothed out with the police, whom the Doctor and Rose simply tell them that she was employed as his traveling companion. With Jackie furious and mistrusting of him, the Doctor decides to take his mind off the matter by investigating the mystery spaceship that crahsed through Big Ben and into the Thames. A forth noting note for this episode is the Doctor meets Torchwood 3's Toshiko Sato, posing as a doctor since her colleage, Owen Harper, had a serious hangover and couldn't do the 'Space Pig' optopsy.

    Since the Doctor has had previous meetings with unit in his 2nd,3rd,and 4th incarnations, he knows their battle protocals, since if anyone else was confused as to why he knew what formation to tell the soilders to take up when Tosh screamed after the pig got out of its optopsy holding cell.

    Its hard to beleive the Slitheen know human terms and what the person they skin for thier skin was like; i mean it would be pretty hard to assimulate into someones lif unless you were watching them for some time in order to take it over, like a stalker.moreless
  • The Slitheen possible the worst enemy ever, pull down an episode that potentially had lots going for it.

    There was lots of potential to this episode. Taking a real look at those left behind after the Doctor whisks away another companion. Unfortunately they used one of the worst alien enemies, the Slitheen. I understand this show is a family show and children are a primary part of the audience but fart jokes should not be the only bit of comic relief throughout. What is an interesting idea on paper, an alien ship crash lands with the Doctor trying to unravel the spectacle of the whole thing, coupled with an interesting comment on the fact that what the Doctor does by attracting companions can have negative affects on those around, becomes childish because we have a juvenile enemy who hardly acts like a worthy adversary. Why they felt that this story needed two parts is beyond me. Although they try to leave you on a cliff-hanger the fact that they immediately follow it up with a trailer that eliminates any previous notion of peril. What the Doctor is about to die, wait he is running around next episode; wait Rose's moms is in trouble, no she is also alive; so much for that build up.moreless
  • The Slitheeeeeeeeeeen!

    The Slitheen have always been my favourite kind of villian in the first season. I'm not sure why because they are not really in it apart from being 'inside' human shells but this episode and it's twin (the one after) are really well done!

    The whole coming back a year late was an interesting take on the whole time travel thing and sometimes you do it get it wrong. I think in the last two episodes you kind of forget that Rose has a life back on Earth, even though she does call her Mother from the End of The World space station thing, you don't really realise what she left behind, then in this you see that in fact the world did continue without her and it really missed her!

    This leaves of at a very interesting cliff hanger!moreless
Fiesta Mei Ling

Fiesta Mei Ling


Guest Star

Jimmy Vee

Jimmy Vee


Guest Star

Andrew Marr

Andrew Marr


Guest Star

Paul Kasey

Paul Kasey


Recurring Role

Camille Coduri

Camille Coduri

Jackie Tyler

Recurring Role

Alan Ruscoe

Alan Ruscoe


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (15)

    • Albion Hospital, where the alien pig is taken, is the same hospital from "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances".

    • When the Doctor and Dr. Sato are looking at the pig alien in the morgue, the "dead" pig's chest is rising and falling.

    • The Slitheen share some similarities with the Foamasi, an alien race featured in the Fourth Doctor serial The Leisure Hive; The Foamasi were also bulky green aliens who used skin suits to impersonate people.

    • This episode features the first appearance of Harriet Jones, here as MP for Flydale North. She eventually becomes Prime Minister, featuring and being mentioned in many later episodes.

    • When the Doctor is watching TV, we see the children's programme Blue Peter in which the host has made a U.F.O cake, that he has decorated with jelly babies. Although jelly babies are very popular in the UK, it's a nice nod to the classic series, since the 4th Doctor played by Tom Baker always had jelly babies in his pockets.

    • When seen from inside Albion Hospital, the TARDIS does not have the words "Bad Wolf" painted on the side as in the previous scenes.

    • The Doctor recognises several of the "Alien Experts" on the television as members of U.N.I.T. (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce), an organisation he was affiliated with in the past. This suggests that U.N.I.T. could still be in operation in this era.

    • A child spray-paints "Bad Wolf" -- a phrase which will reappear throughout this season -- onto the side of the TARDIS.

    • According to Jackie's flyers, Rose went missing on 6th March 2005 and lives on the Powell Estate.

    • This seems to be the second time the TARDIS didn't arrive where or when it is supposed to. In The Unquiet Dead, the TARDIS was out by about 9 years and in a completely different country. In this episode, it was out by 12 months instead of 12 hours.

    • The Doctor states his age as 900 years. However, this contradicts the last on-screen reference of the Doctor's age in the original series in "Time and the Rani" where he says he's 953. It also suggests that the Doctor is living very fast; he's gone through 2 whole regenerations in less than 50 years whereas "Tomb of the Cybermen" establishes that he's made it to the age of 450 on only one regeneration.

    • Mickey mentions that he's being doing research into 'The Doctor'. At, Clive's website, it's revealed that he's been updating it after Clive's death in the first episode.

    • The Doctor keeps calling 'Mickey' 'Ricky'. The Doctor (William Hartnell) also used to call 'Chesterton' 'Chesterfield'.

    • When Rose's mother informs the authorities about the Doctor, she mentions that the Doctor called his ship the TARDIS. But the Doctor never mentioned the name when Rose's mother first encountered it.

    • When the spaceship crashes into Big Ben, the clock face is backwards, at the top where XII is, it says IIX and if you go anti- clockwise, it goes I, II, III, etc. Later, Big Ben is seen and is inexplicably working, since it was 10:55 when the spaceship crashed into it, but it later reads 6:10 during a news broadcast.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • The Doctor: (Looking up at helicopter) Take me to your leader!

    • (Dr. Sato and The Doctor are examining the pig-alien)
      Dr. Sato: I just assumed that's what aliens looked like. But you're saying it's an ordinary pig. From Earth.
      The Doctor: More like a mermaid. Victorian showman used to draw the crowds by taking the skull of a cat, gluing it to a fish and calling it a mermaid. Now, someone's taken a pig, opened up its brain, stuck bits on and they've strapped it in that ship, made it dive-bomb. It must have been terrified. They've taken this animal and turned it into a joke.
      Dr. Sato: So, it's a fake. A pretend, like the mermaid. But the technology augmenting its brain… it's like nothing on Earth. It's alien. Aliens are faking aliens. Why would they do that? Doctor?
      (Dr. Sato turns round and the Doctor has disappeared)

    • Rose: When you say nine hundred years…
      The Doctor: That's my age.
      Rose: You're nine hundred years old?
      The Doctor: Yep.
      Rose: My mum was right. That is one hell of an age gap. (jumps down off the wall) Every conversation with you just goes mental. And there's no-one else I can talk to. I've seen all that stuff up there, the size of it, and I can't say a word. Aliens and spaceships and things… and I'm the only person on planet Earth that knows they exist.
      (At that moment, a large spaceship flies overhead, crashing into Big Ben and landing in the Thames)

    • Rose: And where do you think you're going?
      The Doctor: Nowhere. It's, uh, just a bit human in there for me. History just happened; they're talking about where you can buy dodgy top-up cards for half price. I'm off on a wander, that's all.
      Rose: Right. There's a spaceship on the Thames and you're just wandering.
      The Doctor: Nothing to do with me. It's not an invasion. That was a genuine crash landing. Angle of descent, colour of the smoke, everything. It was perfect.
      Rose: So?
      The Doctor: So maybe this is it. First contact. The day Mankind officially comes into contact with an alien race. I'm not interfering 'cause you got to handle this on your own. That's when the human race finally grows up. Just this morning you were all tiny and small and made of clay. Now you can expand.

    • Rose: I can't tell her, I can't even begin. She's never gonna forgive me. And I missed a year. Was it good?
      The Doctor: Middling.
      Rose: You're so useless.

    • (Mickey's been researching the Doctor for the last 12 months)
      Mickey: You look deep enough on the Internet, or in the history books, and there's his name... followed by with a list of the dead.
      The Doctor: That's nice. Good boy, Ricky.

    • (The Doctor flips through TV channels on the TARDIS viewscreen)
      Mickey: How many channels you get?
      The Doctor: All the basic packages.
      Mickey: You get sports channel?!
      The Doctor: (rolling his eyes) Yes, I get the football.

    • (After the crashing space ship flies overhead)
      Rose: Oh, that's just not fair!
      (The Doctor laughs)

    • Rose: She slapped you!
      The Doctor: Nine hundred years of time and space, and I've never been slapped by someone's mother.
      Rose: Your face!
      The Doctor: It hurt!
      Rose: You're so gay.

    • (After spaceship crashes)
      The Doctor: It's blocked off.
      Rose: We're miles from the centre. The city must be gridlocked. The whole of London must be closing down.
      The Doctor: I know. I can't believe I'm here to see this! This is fantastic!
      Rose: Did you know this was gonna happen?
      The Doctor: Nope.
      Rose: Do you recognize the ship?
      The Doctor: Nope.
      Rose: Do you know why it crashed?
      The Doctor: Nope.
      Rose: Oh, I'm so glad I've got you.
      The Doctor: I bet you are. This is what I travel for, Rose, to see history happening right in front of us.
      Rose: Well, let's go and see it. Never mind the traffic, we've got the TARDIS.
      The Doctor: Um, better not. They've already got one spaceship in the middle of London. I don't wanna shove another one on top.
      Rose: Yeah, but yours looks like a big blue box. No one's gonna notice.
      The Doctor: Oh, you'd be surprised. Emergency like this, there'll be all kinds of people watching. Trust me, the TARDIS stays where it is.
      Rose: So, history is happening and we're stuck here?
      The Doctor: Yes, we are.
      Rose: We could always do what everybody else does.
      (The Doctor looks at her, confused)
      Rose: We could watch it on TV.

    • Slitheen: Thanks for wearing your name tags, they'll help identify the bodies. (Presses a switch that electrocutes everyone in the room)

    • Rose: My mum's here.
      The Doctor: Oh, that's just what I need. Don't you dare make this place domestic.
      Mickey: You ruined my life, Doctor. They thought she was dead. I was a murder suspect because of you.
      The Doctor: You see what I mean? Domestic!
      Mickey: I bet you don't even remember my name!
      The Doctor: Ricky.
      Mickey: It's Mickey.
      The Doctor: No, it's Ricky.
      Mickey: I think I know my own name.
      The Doctor: You think you know your own name? How stupid are you?

    • Mickey: So, what are you doing down there?
      The Doctor: Ricky.
      Mickey: Mickey.
      The Doctor: Ricky, if I was to tell you what I was doing to the controls of my, frankly, magnificent time ship, would you even begin to understand?
      Mickey: Well, I suppose not.
      The Doctor: Well shut it, then.

    • Jackie: Why won't you tell me where you've been?
      The Doctor: Actually, it's my fault. I sort of, uh, employed Rose as my companion.
      Policeman: When you say companion, is this a sexual relationship?
      Rose: No!
      The Doctor: No!
      Jackie: Then what is it? Because you, you waltz in here all charm and smiles and the next thing I know she vanishes off the face of the earth. How old are you then? 40, 45? What, did you find her on the Internet? Did you go online and pretend you're a doctor?
      The Doctor: I am a doctor.
      Jackie: Prove it - stitch this, mate!
      (slaps The Doctor across the face)

    • The Doctor: Excuse me, do you mind not farting while I'm saving the world?

  • NOTES (12)

    • International Air Dates:
      Turkey: September 20, 2009 on CNBC-e

    • Due to the production block shooting schedule the first scene filmed for the new Doctor Who series was from this episode. It took place on 18th July 2004 at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary.

    • Naoko Mori (Dr Sato) will later appear in the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood as Toshiko Sato. It has been acknowledged that they are the same character.

    • During the night scene set on the balcony outside the Tyler flat, Starman by David Bowie is heard playing in the background.

    • The final viewing figure for the BBC One airing of this episode was 7.63 million.

    • This episode features a scene filmed on Christopher Eccleston's first day of shooting on Doctor Who.

    • The TARDIS key appears for the first time since the TV movie. It has reverted to the Yale model it looked like during most of the original series. However, the last time it was seen (in the TV Movie), it had the ankh-like shape previously seen in the first two seasons of the Fourth Doctor's era.

    • In the original shooting script, Russell T. Davies named the female UNIT advisor General Muriel Frost. The character was based on a character, Captain Muriel Frost, who had appeared in several Doctor Who Magazine comic strips. The Doctor's references to the character by name were deleted in the final shooting script, but one female officer among the alien experts still has a name badge reading "FROST."

    • The Cardiff Royal Infirmary was used as the shooting location for the fictional London Albion Hospital. Hensol Castle in Wales was used as the shooting location for the interior shots at 10 Downing Street.

    • Simon Davies Hospital Cameraman (uncredited)
      Dean Mitchell (Armed Soldier) (uncredited)

    • BBC3 series Paparazzi followed showbiz photographers following Billie Piper during the filming of the London scenes. This was due to her public split from Chris Evans.

    • It was described in the Radio Times Doctor Who special (26.03.05 - 01.04.05) as "London's in peril from a new alien invasion. Penelope Wilson and Annette Badland guest star - but as goodies or baddies?"


    • Rose: (After the Doctor asks who is the expert on aliens) Patrick Moore?

      Sir Patrick Moore, whom Rose suggests as an alien expert, is a famous British astronomer renowned for writing dozens of books on the subject which have made amateur astronomy accessible to everyone. Sir Patrick was born on 4 March 1923 in what was then the little Middlesex village of Pinner. At the age of six months he and his parents moved to Sussex where he has lived ever since - not counting the war years when he was a navigator in the RAF and a brief time in Northern Ireland in the 1960s. Between the ages of six and sixteen Patrick was ill, on and off, and this prevented him from attending school and so was mostly educated at home.