Doctor Who

Season 1 Episode 10

The Doctor Dances (2)

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM May 28, 2005 on BBC America
out of 10
User Rating
720 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Location: London, England
Date: 1941
Enemy: The Empty Child/Gas mask Zombies/Nanogenes
After narrowly escaping the gas mask monsters, The Doctor, Rose, and Captain Jack try to stop the mutated people from infecting other victims. But it soon becomes apparent that one of the group may be indirectly responsible for the virus. The answer lies at the bombsite, but time is running out...moreless

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  • "Red bicycle when you were I'm still waiting to hear the story behind that one.

    May I just say thank-you now to whoever made the decision to post the "Next Time" trailer after the credits of The Empty Child? All too often a two-parter is ruined by having the cliff-hanger's resolution given away by that dratted trailer. But not so here! When watching this for the first time, I genuinely had no idea how The Doctor would get them out of this one. But out of all the theories my over-active mind might have conjured up, I never once guessed that the solution would be something as simple and darkly comical as The Doctor ordering the child to its room. And, of course, the look of relief on his face when it works mirrors the one the audience is doubtlessly sporting. I had figured that this little cliff-hanger would result in the loss of either Rose or Jack (I was personally rooting for Rose) and I actually laughed a bit at the strange but efficient way it turned out. And The Doctor is right, of course, those would have been terrible last words!

    Between the writing, directing, music, and acting The Doctor Dances is definitely the high point of Series 1. Worth numerous watches where you notice something new each time, I would say that this episode (and story as a whole) ranks a 5/5. I don't know how the writing could get much better than this!

  • The Doctor Dances

    The Doctor Dances was a perfect conclusion to the story and a very entertaining episode of Doctor Who. I liked how the rest of the story played out and it was intriguing to learn what was truly happening and why. It was awesome watching Jack Harkness and his spaceship. I really liked his flirtations with Rose and his little farewell speech at the end in his ship! I was glad to see Rose and The Doctor save him before his ship exploded and the dancing was fun. I look forward to watching the next adventure!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • 10 episodes in and I have a serious problem. I'm running out of superlatives to describe just how good this show is.

    As a continuation of the previous episode Empty Child, this was all about maintaining the excellence that was displayed then. I had rarely enjoyed any single episode of Doctor Who as much as Empty Child – and I was expecting the same kind of atmosphere, the same kind of excellent period detail, the same kind of imaginative SFX, and the same kind of wonderful character interplay. Especially between the 3 leading wonderful characters – the 9th Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack.

    Thankfully and brilliantly The Doctor Dances was as good as The Empty Child, and in quite a few ways better. Everything about Empty Child that I liked – Characters, WW2 atmosphere, dark Blitz streets, creepy Hospitals – were all here again.

    3 things distinguish it though:-

    Captain Jack and the Doctor interaction.

    Stories magnificent resolution.

    The Doctors joyous final scenes.

    The Doctor was always going to be suspicious of Captain Jack. The obvious attraction from Rose towards Jack would have stirred things up plenty, but with Jack also being a fellow Time Traveller – well, that's going to impact on the Doctor too. Thankfully there's no excessive childish jealousy exhibited by the Doctor – and Rose is sensitive enough to deal with both the men in her life in this story. Captain Jack is a very good character, charmingly played by John Barrowman. There's plenty to like about him, whatever age or sexuality you are.

    The story is brilliant from Steven Moffatt. If ever there was a story this season that you wanted to spend more time with, that deserved to be fleshed out, it was this. The episodes were magnificent, with sparkling dialogue throughout. But it is that scene with the Doctor, the child and Nancy at the end that epitomized the excellence present here. Christopher Eccleston has never been as good as he was right there. The sheer joy of his solving of the puzzle. The sheer happiness when it all turned out wonderfully. It was hearwarming, and I felt like punching the air in delight.

    It wasn't only this scene that brought the episode into the upper realms though. The one that followed it, with the Doctor, Rose and Jack in the TARDIS almost equalled it in boldness and love of life. Has there ever been a Doctor/Companion team so suited to one another as the 9th Doctor and Rose? They will have a wonderful season together soon, and it has been a tremendous friendship. Yes, it would have been nice for it to continue, but what we have is great.

    I'm beginning to feel rather sad that things are coming to close. We now have only 3 shows left. There are all by Russell T Davies, and the next 2 episodes don't sound nowhere near as exciting as this Blitz story. It will be wonderful to look back on the season as a whole, and I am looking forward to resolutions of certain story arcs. But personally I virtually always prefer these kind of isolated stories. It's wonderful that Steven Moffatt has already been confirmed for the 2nd Series.

    The sheer excellence of this 2 parter, and the previous Historical of the Season Unquiet Dead, proves beyond doubt that Doctor Who works better in the past, with futuristic elements. I love the diversity of the season, with its past present and future storylines – but it is the Past that I adore on DW. More please next season.

    It occurred to me the other day that we are missing something with new DW – books. DW was always just as much about enjoying the books, as enjoying the TV. The same stories in both, and I enjoyed them both too. There's no sign of books for the new TV series, apart from original novels. That's pretty good, for the first time original books featuring the characters currently on TV. And in this day of DVDs, well past Videos even, novelizations of TV episodes probably aren't as relevant. Personally though I would love to see them – especially this 2 parter – how brilliant it would be to go into great detail about the Doctors adventure in the Blitz.

    I really didn't think the 1st episode (Empty Child) could be topped – but the season has done it yet again. Better, bolder, more inventive – brilliant Doctor Who. 10/10moreless
  • "Just this once, Rose. Everybody lives!" - The Doctor, ending the Nanogene mutations due by thier misreading Jamie as their base form due to him being dead with a gasmask when they revived him, which they mistook for a face.moreless

    The Doctor has shown great concern about what he says as his final words.

    "Go to your room. go to your room. I mean it. i am very angry with you. i am very very cross. Go! To! Your! Room! Good thing that worked those would have been terrible last words."

    With the ending, (usurped name) Jack Harkness joins the tardis crew, since he finds botht the Doctor and Rose attractive, but his actor's name was never added to the credits for some strange reason.

    This doesn;t happen until the future episodes utopia/the sound of drums/last of the time lords, when the Master returns.moreless
  • Are you my mummy?

    A fantastic two-parter that introduces us to the incomparable Jack Harkness, the omnisexual captain of a now-destroyed ship and future star of "Torchwood". In the span of two episodes, he manages to start off as a slightly smarmy playboy, reveal himself as nothing more than a con man, and end up a member of the team.

    We also have one of the creepiest set of (sort-of) villains to date. I mean let's face it, children are always creepy. And a child with a gas mask strapped to its face, leading an army of grown men and women similarly dressed, calling out in childlike voices for their mummy? Creepy to the nth!!

    But, for once, "Everybody lives!" A genuine happy ending in the midst of wartime, complete with glowy orbs and a child that's actually quite adorable beneath that gas mask.

    Add that to Jack and the Doctor trying not-so-subtly to one-up each other in order to impress Rose and the adorable dance sequence at the end and you have all the makings of a phenomenal set of episodes.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • The words on the bomb say, "Schlechter Wolf." That translates as "Worse at wolfling," not "Bad Wolf."

    • After Captain Jack Harkness says goodbye to Rose from on top of the German bomb, we see the Doctor is standing beside Nancy looking at his hands and walking forward. When Harkness returns to compliment Rose's shirt, the Doctor isn't there in the shot of Rose. When Harkness leaves in his ship, we see that the Doctor is now standing beside Rose behind Nancy. Then in the next shot, the Doctor is walking forward again, looking at his hands.

    • Several of Jamie's abilities were left unexplained in the finale of the episode, including his ability to make a door close by pointing at it.

    • The nanogenes allow a life form to communicate through anything with a speaker. Why were they able to cause the typewriter to work?

    • Magnetic tape players weren't present outside of Germany during World War II. Recording gramophone would have been the most likely means of recording an interview, but wire records might also have been used.

  • QUOTES (33)

    • Rose: (about Jack) Okay, so he's vanished into thin air. Why is it always the great-looking ones that do that?
      The Doctor: I'm making an effort not to be insulted.
      Rose: Sorry. I meant... men.
      The Doctor: Okay, that really helped.

    • The Doctor: You forgot to set your alarm clock, it's volcano day!

    • Rose: Actually, Doctor, I thought Jack might like this dance.
      The Doctor: I'm sure he would, Rose. I'm absolutely certain. But who with?

    • The Doctor: There isn't a little boy born who wouldn't tear the world apart to save his mummy. And this little boy can.

    • The Doctor: What do you expect in a Chula medical transporter? Bandages, cough drops? Rose?
      Rose: I don't know.
      The Doctor: Yes, you do. (shows her his hand)
      Rose: Nanogenes!
      The Doctor: It wasn't empty, Captain. There were enough nanogenes in there to rebuild a species.
      Captain Jack: Oh, God.
      The Doctor: Getting it now, are we? When the ship crashes, the nanogenes escape. Billions upon billions of them, ready to fix all the cuts and bruises in the whole world. But what they find first is a dead child, probably killed earlier that night, and wearing a gas-mask.
      Rose: And they brought him back to life? They can do that?
      The Doctor: What's life? Life's easy. A quirk of matter. Nature's way of keeping meat fresh. Nothing to a nanogene. One problem, though. These nanogenes, they're not like the ones on your ship. This lot have never seen a human being before, don't know what a human being's supposed to look like. All they've got to go on is one little body and there's not a lot left. But they carry right on; they do what they're programmed to do. They patch it up. Can't tell what's gas-mask and what's skull but they do their best then off they fly, off they go, work to be done. But, you see, now they think they know what people should look like and it's time to fix all the rest. And they won't ever stop. They won't ever, ever stop. The entire human race is going to be torn down and rebuilt in the form of one terrified child looking for its mother and nothing in the world can stop it!

    • Nancy: Who are you? Who are any of you?
      Rose: You'd never believe me if I told you.
      Nancy: You just told me that was an ambulance from another world. There are people running round with gas-mask heads calling for their mummies and the sky's full of Germans dropping bombs on me. Tell me, do you think there's anything left I couldn't believe?
      Rose: We're time travellers from the future.
      Nancy: Mad, you are.
      Rose: We have a time travel machine, seriously.
      Nancy: It's not that. Alright, you got a time travel machine. I'll believe you. Believe anything, me. What future? (looks up at the Blitz, raging above them)
      Rose: Nancy, this isn't the end. I know how it looks. It's not the end of the world or anything.
      Nancy: How can you say that? Look at it!
      Rose: Listen to me. I was born in this city. I'm from here in, like, fifty years time.
      Nancy: From here?
      Rose: I'm a Londoner. From your future.
      Nancy: But you're not…
      Rose: What?
      Nancy: German.
      Rose: Nancy, the Germans don't come here. They don't win. Don't tell anyone I told you so, but you know what? You win.

    • The Doctor: (about Captain Jack) Relax, he's a fifty-first century guy. He's just a bit more flexible when it comes to dancing.

    • (The Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack make it to the bombsite)
      Captain Jack: There it is. (sees the on-duty guard) Hey, they've got Algy on duty. Must be important.
      The Doctor: We've got to get past.
      Rose: Are the words 'distract the guard' heading in my general direction?
      Captain Jack: I don't think that'd be such a good idea.
      Rose: Don't worry. I can handle it.
      Captain Jack: I've gotten to know Algy quite well since I've been in town. Trust me, you're not his type. I'll distract him. (Heads off) Don't wait up.

    • Rose: You used to be a Time Agent and now you're trying to con them?
      Captain Jack: If it makes me sound any better, it's not for the money.
      Rose: For what?
      Captain Jack: I woke up one morning when I was still working for them, found they'd stolen two years of my memories. I'd like them back.
      Rose: They stole your memories?
      Captain Jack: Two years of my life. No idea what I did. Your friend over there doesn't trust me. And for all I know, he's right not to.

    • Rose: (to the Doctor, as they start to dance) You'll find your feet at the end of your legs. You may care to move them.

    • The Doctor: You just assume I don't dance.
      Rose: What? Are you telling me you do dance?
      The Doctor: Nine hundred years old, me. I've been around a bit. I think you can assume at some point I've danced.
      Rose: You?
      The Doctor: Problems?
      Rose: Doesn't the universe implode or something if you dance?
      The Doctor: Well, I've got the moves but I wouldn't want to boast.

    • (Nancy explains to the other children why she's going to the railway bombsite)
      Nancy: The Child. That's where he was killed. That's where it all started. And I'm gonna find out how.
      Ernie: He'll get you. Then he'll come for us. He always comes for us.
      Nancy: No, Ernie. He doesn't. He always comes after me. There are things I haven't told you. Things I can't tell you. As long as you're with me, you're in danger.

    • (Nancy is caught by the owner of the house she was taking food from)
      Mr. Lloyd: The police are on their way. I pay for the food on this table. The sweat on my brow, that food is. The sweat on my brow. Anything else you'd like? I've got a whole house here. Anything else you'd like to help yourself to?
      Nancy: Yeah. I'd like some wire-cutters, please. Something that will cut through barbed wire. Oh, and a torch. Don't look like that, Mr. Lloyd. I know you've got plenty of tools in here. I've been watching this house for ages. And I'd like another look round your kitchen cupboards. I was in a hurry the first time. I wanna see if there's anything I missed.
      Mr. Lloyd: The food on this table…
      Nancy: Is an awful lot of food, isn't it, Mr. Lloyd? A lot more than on anyone else's table. Half this street thinks your missus must be messing about with Mr. Haverstock, the butcher. But she's not, is she? You are. Wire-cutters. Torch. Food. And I'd like to use your bathroom before I leave, please. (looks at him) Oh, look. There's the sweat on your brow.

    • The Doctor: How was your con supposed to work?
      Captain Jack: Simple enough, really. Find some harmless piece of space junk, let the nearest Time Agent track it back to Earth, convince him it's valuable, name a price. And he's put fifty percent up front… oops, German bomb falls on it, destroys it forever. He never gets to see what he's paid for. Never knows he's been had. I buy him a drink with his own money and we discuss dumb luck. The perfect self-cleaning con.

    • Captain Jack: We could stick it in an escape pod.
      Computer: There is no escape pod on board.
      Captain Jack: Okay, see the flaw in that. I'll get in the escape pod.
      Computer: There is no escape pod on board.
      Captain Jack: Did you look everywhere?
      Computer: Affirmative.
      Captain Jack: Under the sink?
      Computer: Affirmative.

    • The Doctor: Funny little human brains. How do you get around in those things?
      Rose: When he's stressed, he likes to insult species.

    • The Doctor: (to Rose) I've travelled with a lot of people, but you're setting new records for jeopardy-friendly.

    • Captain Jack: The last time I was sentenced to death, I ordered four hyper-vodkas for my breakfast. All a bit of a blur after that... I woke up in bed with both of my executioners. Lovely couple, they stayed in touch! Can't say that about most executioners.

    • The Doctor: I like bananas. Bananas are good!

    • Rose: Look at you. Smiling like you're Father Christmas.
      The Doctor: Who says I'm not? Red bicycle when you were twelve.
      Rose: What?!
      The Doctor: And everybody lives, Rose! Everybody lives! I need more days like this.

    • (Though he doesn't quite trust him, The Doctor has saved Captain Jack's life by taking him aboard the TARDIS)
      Captain Jack: (entering the TARDIS for the first time) Much bigger on the inside.
      The Doctor: You better be.

    • The Doctor: History says there was an explosion here. Who am I to argue?
      Rose: Usually you're the first in line.

    • The Doctor: Everybody lives, Rose. Just this once! EVERYBODY LIVES!

    • Rose: (to the Doctor) You got the moves? Show me your moves!

    • Captain Jack: Well, I've got a banana and in a pinch you could put up some shelves.

    • The Doctor: Rose, I'm trying to resonate concrete...

    • The Doctor: Rose, I just remembered!
      Rose: What?
      The Doctor: I can dance!

    • Computer Voice: Termination of Captain Jack Harkness in under 2 minutes. 100% probability.

    • The Doctor: Go - now! Don't drop the banana!
      Captain Jack: Why not?
      The Doctor: Good source of potassium!

    • The Doctor: (to the patients) Go to your room. Go to your room! I mean it. I'm very, very angry with you. I'm very, very cross. Go to your room! (patients return to their beds. To Rose:) I'm really glad that worked. Those would have been terrible last words.

    • Mrs. Harcourt: My leg's grown back! When I come to the hospital, I had one leg!
      Doctor Constantine: Well, there is a war on, is it possible you miscounted?

    • Captain Jack: Okay, this can function as a sonic blaster, a sonic cannon, and a triple and full sonic disruptor. Doc, what you got?
      The Doctor: I've got a sonic, er, never mind.
      Captain Jack: What?
      The Doctor: It's sonic, okay, let's leave it at that.
      Captain Jack: Disruptor? Cannon? What?
      The Doctor: It's sonic, totally sonic, I am soniced up!
      Captain Jack: A sonic what?
      The Doctor: Screwdriver!
      Captain Jack: Who has a sonic screwdriver?
      The Doctor: I do!
      Captain Jack: Who looks at a screwdriver and thinks "that could be a little more sonic"?
      The Doctor: What? You never been bored? Never had a long night? Never had a lot of cabinets to put up?

    • Rose: Come on. The world doesn't end because the Doctor dances.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Turkey: November 1, 2009 on CNBC-e

    • The final viewing figure for the BBC One airing of this episode was 6.86 million.

    • The moment when Captain Jack tried shooting the Child with a banana was voted the top TV moment of 2005 by viewers on the BBC. Billie Piper, Phil Collinson and Stephen Moffat attended the ceremony to accept the awards.

    • The two songs that the Doctor and Rose dance to at the end of the episode are "Moonlight Serenade" (also heard in "Empty Child") and "In the Mood". Both pieces were composed by Glenn Miller.

    • Written on the side of the German bomb Jack is sitting on are the words "Schlechter Wolf" translated in English as Bad Wolf.


    • Rose: Look at you, beaming away like you're Father Christmas!

      Father Christmas is a legendary holiday character, who delivers presents to children, if they have been good, on Christmas Day.
      The Doctor's response of "Who says I'm not, red-bicycle-when-you-were-twelve?" and Rose's reaction implies that this is something she did not tell the Doctor. Whether or not the Doctor was being prescient, making a lucky guess, spied on the Tylers that Christmas morning, or whether he really did (or will) leave Rose a red bicycle for Christmas when she was twelve has not yet been explained.

    • Rose: (to Captain Jack, about the Doctor) The first day I met him, he blew my job up. That's practically how he communicates.

      An allusion to the series opener 'Rose', where the Doctor blows up Henriks Department Store where Rose works, in order to destroy the Autons.

    • The way Captain Jack is riding the bomb is very reminiscent of Slim Pickens doing the same thing in a Cold War movie called "Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb."

    • Jack: The London Blitz is perfect for self-cleaners. Pompeii is nice if you want to make a vacation of it though. But you got to set your alarm for Volcano Day. (Laughs)
      Ancient Pompeii was a Roman town on the eastern side of the Italian peninsula. "Volcano Day" is a reference to August 24, 79 CE when town was destroyed by volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.