Doctor Who

Season 1 Episode 5

World War Three (2)

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Apr 23, 2005 on BBC America
out of 10
User Rating
630 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Location: London, Earth Date: March 2006 Enemy: The Slitheen
With the Doctor, Rose, and MP Harriet Jones trapped inside Downing Street, the Slitheen make their move: Nuclear Warfare. If the human race is obliterated, the Earth can be sold on the Galactic Black Market for a very reasonable price. It's up to the Doctor to defeat the Slitheen before the entire population of the Earth is wiped out. But will he have to make the ultimate sacrifice: Rose Tyler...?moreless

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  • enjoy

  • "Harriet Jones, MP for Flightdale "Yes. We know who you are" That. Joke. Never. Gets. Old

    All right, let's just get this arduous review over and done with. When last we left our heroes; The Doctor was being electrocuted, Rose and two government officials were cornered and in danger of death, and Jackie was being menaced by a pudgy, baby-faced alien. Yup, you heard me right these aliens that Murray Gold's bombastic music tried so hard to make us terrified of during last week's cliffhanger have a striking resemblance to a green cabbage patch doll. I'm sorry, maybe my imagination is beginning to get a bit rusty, but I have a hard time being afraid of something that not only looks like a green poster-child baby (the sort you see on the Pampers ads) but blunders around with impractical, dangling claws that couldn't grip the broad end of a funnel. When your body looks like an overweight Gollum and your face like then you've got problems with your design. The glowing zipper forehead was a bit creepy, I grant you, but it is so overused within this episode that it loses all potency. Also um why exactly did The Doctor's sticking his hot name-tag on the 'naked' Slitheen instantly fry the others too? Are those hideous compression-field-collar things they wear somehow connected? Are the loincloths fitted with an intercom? Seriously! These are all examples of the bad writing that runs rampant throughout this two-parter.

    As a whole, I give The Aliens of London/World War Three a 5/10. It's not the worst episode ever written, just by virtue of the presence of Harriet Jones and Jackie Tyler, but it's definitely not one I will ever watch again.

  • World War Three

    World War Three was a perfect episode of Doctor Who. I really enjoyed watching how the story played out as The Slitheen plotted to take over the world. The special effects were pretty great and there was a lot of action scenes with the aliens. It was interesting to see how every thing played out. I really liked Harriet Jones and the situations she found herself in. The ending was great as Rose was confronted by her loved ones. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Lots of potential, ruined by a pathetic alien making me wonder why 2 parts were truly necessary to tell this medial story.

    There was so much potential to this story. Some of the dialogue between Rose, the Doctor and Jackie are well done pointing to an important issue about companions and their families. This juxtaposition of safety vs adventure where the Doctor despite wanting to be responsible for those he travels with cannot promise any assurances. Unfortunately most of this is passed over as we have to deal with a pathetic enemy.

    The Slitheen are possible the worst Doctor Who enemy out there. Sure they are tall rubber suits, but they really don't look all that intimidating. In CG they looked more menacing as their was a fluidity to their movement with a sense of true hunter about them, but the disconnect to the costumes where it looked like a bunch of clumsy folks stumbling around in rubber suits. Are we seriously supposed to fear an alien race that would explode if they reached their hands into a jar of pickles?

    There was potential here for a deep meaningful story and you could of had your fun, but let us find some aliens that could have made us think our heroes are in some kind of actual danger.moreless
  • Trapped in Downing Street with Harriot Jones and Rose by his side, can the Doctor stop the Slitheen from tricking Earth into Nuking itself into a pile of radioactive fuel for the ruthless criminal family to sell off as starship fuel?moreless

    'Harriot Jones MP for Flydale North' should be considered the Doctor's companion in this episode because of the current situation thier all in. But enough about that, the actress who plays Harriot also did a great job in the horror/Comedy 'Shaun of the Dead' playing Shaun's mother Barbara.

    Back to the story, its odd the Doctor toke so long to identify thier species and funny on how mickey commented on the thier planet Rexicoricophilavitorious.

    With this episode's ending, the Doctor is sure he doesn't want any information opn himself left on earth, since there IS always a list of the dead next to it, due ot the guilt of the Time War's after-effects he's still resolving.moreless
Andrew Marr

Andrew Marr


Guest Star

David Verrey

David Verrey

Joseph Green

Guest Star

Penelope Wilton

Penelope Wilton

Harriet Jones

Guest Star

Camille Coduri

Camille Coduri

Jackie Tyler

Recurring Role

Paul Kasey

Paul Kasey


Recurring Role

Alan Ruscoe

Alan Ruscoe


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (15)

    • When Harriet Jones is trying to think of what the Slitheen's flatulence smells like, Rose assists her by saying "bad breath." However, Rose was never in a room with a Slitheen during a "gas exchange."

    • When a Slitheen visits Mickey's flat, the word "Salford" can be seen graffitied on the wall near the elevator. Christopher Eccleston's hometown is Salford.

    • The Slitheen's plan to turn the Earth into a radioactive fuel source for sale is reminiscent of the second Doctor episode The Dominators where the inhabited planet Dulkus was to be turned into radioactive fuel to power the war fleet of the Dominators.

    • This was another of the episodes that underran, which is why the 'domestic' scenes at the end where Rose goes to her Mum and the Doctor calls her from the TARDIS were included.

    • Only three Slitheen suits were actually made. The group scene in this episode is courtesy of the Mill who increased the numbers by digitally duplicating them.

    • In a brief shot of the London skyline 25 minutes into the episode, Big Ben can be seen undamaged.

    • The password for the U.N.I.T website is Buffalo.

    • The submarine HMS Taurean is completely fictional. Also, aside from the unlikelihood of being able to launch a missile over the Internet, the Harpoon missile is primarily an anti-ship missile and not launched against targets inland. The Trafalgar-class submarines do carry Tomahawk missiles, which would have been a more appropriate weapon.

    • The American newscast about the UN decision contains another "Bad Wolf" reference, but only the version that appears on Mickey's website: The newsreader says the UN's decision is named "Mal Loup," which is French for "Bad Wolf."

    • If the Slitheen had a large amount of calcium in their physiology, any acid would help in killing them. Not only acetic acid from pickling, but citrus juices and carbonated beverages would help to kill them in the same manner. Even rainwater would make them ill, since carbonic acid is created as a result of the pure water mixing with air pollution in the atmosphere.

    • "Bad Wolf" appears -- or rather disappears -- in this episode when The Doctor makes the child who vandalized the TARDIS clean it off.

    • This episode features U.N.I.T.. Mickey claims that he researched about the Doctor when Rose disappeared. The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) used to work for U.N.I.T. as Mickey explains he discovered.

    • The UK doesn't really need "secret launch codes" from the UN. No sovereign nation currently submits itself to that kind of U.N. oversight. It's a plot device. Doctor Who is more Science Fantasy than SF (It has many of the trappings of Science, but does not attempt to maintain a hard connection to them, as SF typically does). It does not try to take itself too seriously, so, while it may reflect reality in some things, it takes liberties with both facts and science which SF would not. However, in the Doctor Who universe, the UK has held the codes for nuclear weapons since the Fourth Doctor serial Robot.

    • If the Slitheen are advanced enough to have space flight, and be able to compress their bodies and look like a human being, one would expect them to already have nuclear capabilities. A possible answer would be that The Slitheen are not an entire race -- they are a large family trying to find a way to make some quick money with the resources they do have. The technique of getting humans to blow themselves up is probably cheaper, and also is less likely to attract attention from any sort of intergalactic police (It would look like we did it to ourselves). In general, however, this should be presumed more of a plot device. Any spacefaring race would have means to trigger a nuclear war without such a complex plan. A few dozen radar-invisible masses striking strategic places at planetary velocities would be adequate.

    • After the Slitheen realise that the Doctor's threat with the alcohol is a ruse, the metal shielding around the windows and doors close quite quickly. Later, while talking with the Slitheen again, the shielding closes much slower. It would appear that their motors run at speeds determined by the dramatic tone of particular scenes.

  • QUOTES (20)

    • The Doctor: You're right I'm dangerous I don't want anyone following me.
      Mikey: How can you say that and then take her with you?
      The Doctor: You could look after her. Come with us.
      Mikey: I can't. This life of yours. It's just too much, I couldn't do it.

    • Rose: Oh, that's me.
      Harriet Jones: But we're sealed off, how did you get a signal?
      Rose: He zapped it, super-phone.

    • Rose: My mother's cooking.
      The Doctor: Good. Put her on a slow heat and let her simmer.

    • The Doctor: There's a way out.
      Rose: What?
      The Doctor: There's always been a way out.
      Rose: Why don't we use it?
      The Doctor: (into the teleconference set) Because I can't guarantee your daughter will be safe.
      Jackie: (on phone) Don't you dare! Whatever it is, don't you dare!
      The Doctor: That's the thing. If I don't dare, everyone dies.
      Rose: Do it.
      The Doctor: You don't even know what it is. You'd just let me?
      Rose: Yeah.
      Jackie: (on phone) Please, Doctor. Please. She's my daughter. She's just a kid.
      The Doctor: Do you think I don't know that? Cos this is my life, Jackie. It's not fun, it's not smart. It's just standing up and making a decision because nobody else will.
      Rose: Then what are you waiting for?
      The Doctor: I could save the world but lose you.
      (pause; the Doctor and Rose look at each other; Harriet steps forward)
      Harriet Jones: Except it's not your decision, Doctor. It's mine.
      Jackie: (on phone) And who the hell are you?
      Harriet Jones: Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North. The only elected representative in this room, chosen by the people, for the people, and on behalf of the people, I command you. Do it.

    • (The Doctor opens the door to speak to the Slitheen)
      The Doctor: You get the codes, release the missiles… but not into space, there's nothing there. You attack every other country on earth. (Margaret Blaine in human form steps forward) They retaliate. Fight back. World War Three. Whole planet gets nuked.
      Margaret Blaine: And we can sit through it safe in our spaceship waiting in the Thames. Not crashed, just parked. Barely two minutes away.
      Harriet Jones: But you'll destroy the planet. This beautiful place. What for?
      The Doctor: Profit. That's what the signal is beaming into space. An advert.
      Margaret Blaine: Sale of the century. We reduce the Earth to molten slag then sell it. Piece by piece. Radioactive chunks, capable of powering every cut-price star-liner and budget cargo ship. There's a recession up there, Doctor. People are buying cheap. This rock becomes raw fuel.
      The Doctor: At the cost of five billion lives.
      Margaret Blaine: Bargain.

    • Joseph Green: Ladies and gentlemen, nations of the world, humankind, the greatest experts in extra-terrestrial events came here tonight. They gathered in the common cause, but the news I bring you now is grave indeed. (cut to Mickey watching the TV broadcast) The experts are dead. Murdered right in front of me by alien hands. Peoples of the earth, heed my words. These visitors do not come in peace.
      Mickey: Listen to this. (holds his phone to the speakers)
      Joseph Green: Our inspectors have searched the sky above our heads and they have found massive weapons of destruction, capable of being deployed within forty-five seconds.
      (cut to the Doctor, Harriet and Rose listening to the broadcast)
      The Doctor: What?
      (cut back to Downing Street)
      Joseph Green: Our technicians can baffle the alien probes, but not for long. We are facing extinction. Unless we strike first. The United Kingdom stands directly beneath the belly of the mothership. I beg of the United Nations, pass an emergency resolution. Give us the access codes. A nuclear strike at the heart of the beast is our only chance of survival. Because, from this moment on… it is my solemn duty to inform you… Planet Earth is at war.

    • Jackie: Well, I've got a question, if you don't mind. Cos since that man walked into our lives, I have been attacked in the streets. I have had creatures from the pits of Hell in my own living room and my daughter disappear off the face of the earth.
      Rose: I told you what happened.
      Jackie: I'm talking to him! Cos I've seen this life of yours, Doctor, and maybe you get off on it and maybe you think it's all clever and smart, but you tell me... just answer me this... is my daughter safe?
      Rose: I'm fine.
      Jackie: Is she safe? Will she always be safe? Can you promise me that?

    • Harriet Jones: Well, the British Isles can't gain access to atomic weapons without a special resolution from the UN.
      Rose: Like that's ever stopped 'em.
      Harriet Jones: Exactly, given our past record. And I voted against that, thank you very much. The codes have been taken out of the government's hands and given to the UN. Is it important?
      The Doctor: Everything's important.
      Harriet Jones: If we only knew what the Slitheen wanted. Listen to me, I'm saying 'Slitheen' like it's normal.

    • Rose: Can we just launch a nuclear bomb at them?
      Harriet Jones: You're a very violent young woman.

    • Mickey: You're safe in my flat, Jacks. No-one's gonna look for you here, especially since you hate me so much.
      Jackie: You saved my life. (pause) God, that's embarrassing.

    • (The Doctor threatens the Slitheen with a decanter of port, saying the sonic screwdriver will triplicate the flammability of the alcohol)
      Joseph/Slitheen: Excuse me. Your device will do what? Triplicate the flammability?
      The Doctor: That's what I said.
      Joseph/Slitheen: You're making it up.
      The Doctor: Oh, well, nice try. (offers the decanter to Harriet) Harriet, have a drink. I think you're gonna need it.
      Harriet Jones: You pass it to the left first.
      The Doctor: Sorry. (passes the decanter to Rose)

    • The Doctor: Right, if we're gonna find their weakness, we need to find out where they're from, which planet. So judging by their basic shape, that narrows it down to five thousand planets within travelling distance. What else do we know about them? Information!
      Rose: They're green.
      The Doctor: Yep, narrows it down.
      Rose: Good sense of smell.
      The Doctor: Narrows it down.
      Rose: They can smell adrenaline.
      The Doctor: Narrows it down.
      Harriet: The pig technology.
      The Doctor: Narrows it down.
      Rose: The spaceship in the Thames. You said slipstream engine.
      The Doctor: Narrows it down.
      (Slitheen is breaking through Mickey's apartment door)
      Mickey (on the phone): It's getting in!
      Rose: They hunt like it's a ritual.
      The Doctor: Narrows it down.
      Harriet: Wait a minute. Did you notice? When they fart, if you'll pardon the word, it doesn't just smell like a fart, if you'll pardon the word, it's something else. What is it? It's more like um...
      Rose: Bad breath.
      Harriet: That's it!
      The Doctor: Calcium decay. Now that narrows it down!
      Rose: We're getting there, Mum.
      Mickey: Too late!
      (Slitheen has almost gotten through the door)
      The Doctor: Calcium phosphate, organic calcium, living calcium, creatures made out of living calcium. What else, what else? Hyphenated surname, yes! That narrows it down to one planet! Raxacoricofallapatorious!
      Mickey: Oh, yeah, great, we can write 'em a letter!

    • Rose: What I don't get is when they killed the Prime Minister, why didn't they use him as a disguise?
      The Doctor: He's too slim. They're big old beasts. They need to fit inside big humans.
      Rose: But the Slitheen are about eight feet. How do they squeeze inside?
      The Doctor: That's the device around their necks, compression field. Literally shrinks them down a bit. That's why there's all that gas. It's a big exchange.
      Rose: Wish I had a compression field; I could fit a size smaller.
      Harriet: Excuse me, people are dead. This is not a time for making jokes.
      Rose: Sorry. You get used to this stuff when you're friends with him.
      Harriet: Well that's a strange friendship.

    • Jackie: Got anything stronger?
      Mickey: No chance. I've seen you when you've had a few. This ain't time for a conga.
      Jackie: We've gotta tell someone.
      Mickey: Who do we trust? For all we know, they've all got big bog monsters inside of 'em. I mean this is what he does, Jacks, that Doctor bloke. Everywhere he goes, death and destruction, and he's got Rose in the middle of it.
      Jackie: Has he got a great big green thing inside of him then?
      Mickey: I wouldn't put it past him. But like it or not, he's the only person who knows how to fight these things.

    • The Doctor: I think you'll find the Prime Minister is an alien in disguise, and…... (looks at military police leader) That's never gonna work, is it?
      Military Police Leader: No.
      The Doctor: Fair enough... (runs out of the room.)

    • Jackie: So what's that website then?
      Mickey: All the secret information known to mankind, you see they've know about aliens for years, they just kept us in the dark.
      The Doctor: Mickey, you were born in the dark!

    • The Doctor: Mickey the Idiot... the fate of the world is in your hands.

    • General Asquith: Under the jurisdiction of the Emergency Protocols I authorize you to execute this man!
      The Doctor: Uh well, now, yes, you see, ah, the thing is, if I was you, if I was going to, ah, execute someone by backing them against the wall, between you and me, little word of advice... don't stand them against the lift!
      (The lift door opens, and the Doctor quickly ducks into the lift and closes it with his sonic screwdriver.)

    • The Doctor: Graffiti that again and I'll 'ave yer.

    • The Doctor: Right then, question time. Who exactly are the Slitheen?
      Harriet: They're aliens.
      The Doctor: Yes, I got that, thanks.
      Joseph/Slitheen: Who are you, if not human?
      Harriet: Who's not human?
      Rose: He's not human.
      Harriet: He's not human?
      The Doctor: Can I have a bit of hush?
      Harriet: Sorry.
      The Doctor: So, what's the plan?
      Harriet: But he's got a northern accent?
      Rose: Lots of planets have a north.
      The Doctor: I said, "hush".

  • NOTES (6)


    • The Doctor: Fascinating history, Downing Street. 1730, it was occupied by a Mr. Chicken. He was a nice man.

      Mr Chicken was in fact the last private resident of Downing's terrace. Little is known about him except that he moved out in the early 1730s. The remainder of the property that would one day be incorporated into 10 Downing Street was owned by Count Bothmar, who died in 1732. The two properties were then joined and renovated into the building as it exists today.

    • The Doctor: …something of value… Harriet Jones: Gold? Oil? Water??
      The Doctor: Now you're thinking.

      The concept of extraterrestrials wanting to steal water from the Earth was used in the American mini-series V(1983). In V, the aliens came openly, under the guise of peace, only to turn on the humans upon seizing total power.

    • Concept: "Massive weapons of destruction"
      The idea of "massive weapons of destruction" that can be launched in 45 seconds is a jab at the infamous "September dossier" that "proved" to the British Government that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could be launched in 45 minutes.

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