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From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

"You are the weakest link..."
―Anne Droid
Bad Wolf
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Series Number: Series 1
Story Number: 166a
Doctor: Ninth Doctor
Writer: Russell T Davies
Director: Joe Ahearne
Producer: Phil Collinson
Broadcast: 11th June 2005
Format: 1st (of 2) 45-minute episodes
Prod. Code: 172
Previous Story: Boom Town
Following Story: The Parting of the Ways



The TARDIS crew are trapped separately in a series of deadly versions of reality television programmes when they return to Satellite 5. But who is behind the mysterious Bad Wolf Corporation, and what do they want with the Doctor and his companions?


The Doctor wakes up, curled into a fetal position on the floor of a cupboard. He stumbles out in a daze, and is informed by a young woman, Lynda Moss, that his disorientation is due to the effects of the transmat. Lynda states that he has been chosen as the newest housemate. The Doctor looks around, noticing the cameras, and then a computerised voice requests that he report to the Diary Room. To his disbelief, he is in the Big Brother House, live on Channel 44,000. The voice reminds him not to swear.

Rose awakens on the floor of a darkened studio, also disorientated by the transmat that brought her there. A man, Rodrick, tells her to remember to do exactly what the android says. Rose asks what android, but a floor manager calls for people to take their positions behind very familiar looking podiums, one of which has her name on it. As the round-headed android is activated, Rose realises that it is the "Anne Droid"; she is playing The Weakest Link.

Jack wakes up and finds himself faced with two gynoids, Trine-e and Zu-Zana, who offer to give him a brand new image, à la What Not to Wear. The two gynoids criticise Jack's clothing and comment that his style is very 20th century. A "defabricator" strips him naked in preparation for a fashion makeover, but Jack seems to rather enjoy the idea of being nude in front of millions of viewers and comments that the viewing figures just went up as a result of him being naked on the show.

Meanwhile, the Doctor tries, unsuccessfully, to find a way out of the House using the sonic screwdriver. Lynda asks, nervously, if people on the outside watching like her and the Doctor lies, reassuring her that people think she is sweet, which seems to please her. The amnesia caused by the transmat starts to clear, and the Doctor remembers. The TARDIS had left Raxacoricofallapatorius and then visited Kyoto, Japan in 1336. They had just escaped from that, and were laughing in the console room when a bright light (the transmat beam) came through the walls and enveloped them. The Doctor tells Lynda that no ordinary transmat beam could have penetrated the TARDIS, which means this is not just a game; there is something else going on. He tells the camera that he is going to get out, find his friends, then find whoever is responsible.

Two programmers, a man and a woman, who are watching the games from a control room elsewhere, are puzzled at the appearance of the three new contestants, as if the games were running themselves.

When eviction time comes around in Big Brother, housemate Crosbie is voted out, and she exits the House into a white corridor. At first, the Doctor is puzzled at everyone's emotional reaction, but is horrified when he sees Crosbie disintegrated. The Doctor asks the others if getting on television is worth the risk of dying, but Lynda and Strood tell him they have no choice. The contestants in this era are chosen at random from the Earth's population and transmatted up to any of 60 Big Brother Houses playing simultaneously: winning simply means they get to live. The Doctor realises that Rose was also caught in the transmat and is probably a contestant. To get out he uses his sonic screwdriver to deliberately destroy the House camera, and sure enough the programmed response selects him for eviction.

In the makeover room, a naked Jack is quite enjoying his experience of having a makeover, but is now faced with the two androids who decide that, quite apart from the fashion makeover, that he should have a face-off — literally. With various cutting instruments, including a chainsaw, the two androids are about to perform some gruesome surgery, where they suggest that Jack would look good with a dog's head. But to the astonishment of Trine-e and Zu-Zana, Jack pulls out a Compact Laser Deluxe pistol from an intimate hiding place behind him and promptly blows their heads off.

Soon the first round of The Weakest Link has been and gone and Rose, not being a native of the 2001st century, knows none of the answers to the questions pertaining to that time. She is more amused than upset at the situation, until she discovers that being declared the weakest link at the end of each round does not just result in expulsion, but disintegration by the Anne Droid. The contestants continue to be whittled down (one contestant quits and attempts to flee but is disintegrated), with Rodrick voting out everyone except Rose so that when it comes to the final round, he will win by answering questions that Rose cannot answer, because of her lack of knowledge of the era. He will then collect his prize, in the form of credits, courtesy of the Badwolf Corporation who run the Game Station. At the mention of the name, Rose recalls how the phrase "Bad Wolf" has been following them — from Gwyneth seeing it in her mind in 1869 Cardiff; the callsign of Henry van Statten's helicopter; the Blaidd Drwg nuclear power plant; as graffiti on the side of the TARDIS in 2006; and a news channel on Satellite 5 in the 2001st century. She realises that if the Bad Wolf is in charge, then her presence has been planned.

In the House, the Doctor cheerfully walks into the white corridor and waits as the countdown towards eviction ticks towards zero. However, nothing happens — the Doctor has guessed, correctly, that whoever brought him wants him alive. He uses the sonic screwdriver to open the exit to the House, and offers to take the surviving housemates with him. Strood refuses, but Lynda, after some hesitation, follows. The House is just one room of several opening on to a larger chamber, which the Doctor recognises as that of Satellite 5, but a century later than when he was last there. The Doctor begins scanning the other doors, looking for an exit and asking where his friends could be. Lynda says they could have been transported into any of a hundred different games, all deadly. When the Doctor tells Lynda that he is a traveller, she asks if she could go with him. He smiles and agrees it would not be a bad idea, but right now, they have to concentrate on getting out and finding out who controls the satellite. When Lynda turns the lights on to reveal the logo of the Badwolf Corporation, the sight of it gives the Doctor pause.

In the control room, the two programmers decide to look at the transmat logs to see how the travellers got on board. However, the female programmer is refused entry to Archive 6, where the logs are kept. The Controller, a pale woman hooked up by dozens of cables to the station, tells her it is out of bounds. The Controller is constantly monitoring the transmissions that flow through her and muttering almost agitatedly to herself. The male programmer tells her about the new contestants wandering around outside the games and asks for security measures, but she denies them, insisting that the travellers are "no one" and telling them to return to work and alerting them to an impending solar flare.

Jack has converted the defabricator beam into a ray gun, and he goes in search of the Doctor, finding him by scanning for the Time Lord's bicardial circulatory system. On an observation deck, Lynda fills the Doctor in on what has happened to Earth since his last visit. To the Doctor's horror, instead of human development having got back on track, things have in fact become worse. When the Doctor shut down Satellite 5, all information broadcasts ceased, the whole planet froze, and society collapsed. Humans are still a race of mindless sheep, endlessly watching the programming that the Game Station transmits. Jack finds them as the Doctor frantically tries to access the computer system to find Rose. The Doctor explains that the station is transmitting more than just games, and that whatever the Bad Wolf is, it is manipulating him, creating a trap that Rose is still inside.

On Floor 407, the final round in The Weakest Link does not go well for Rose. She loses the round to Rodrick just as the Doctor, Jack and Lynda burst into the studio. When Rose runs towards the Doctor to warn him about the Anne Droid, it shoots Rose, turning her into a pile of dust. Numb with shock, the Doctor does not put up resistance when the guards arrive and take all of them away. The Doctor remains silent when the guards process and interrogate the three of them, but when they are about to be transported to a lunar penal colony, the Doctor gives the word. He and Jack spring into action, knocking out the guards, grabbing weapons and heading up to Floor 500.

In the control room, Jack and the Doctor wave the weapons at the programmers, ushering them to one side. The Doctor demands to know from the Controller who is in charge and was responsible for killing Rose, but the Controller does not answer. The male programmer is nervous because of the large gun the Doctor is carrying, but the Doctor casually tosses him the weapon, saying he was never really going to use it. The male programmer explains that as the Doctor is not one of the staff, the Controller's systems do not recognise him. The Controller was installed when she was five years old; she has been plugged in so long that her eyes have atrophied from disuse — all she sees is the programming. The male programmer also says that there is more going on at the station, with unauthorised transmats and encrypted signals that have been going on for years. Jack opens Archive 6, and finds the TARDIS inside. He goes into it and activates the console, discovering something that shocks him.

The predicted solar flare happens, and static floods the screens, blocking transmissions. The Controller unexpectedly calls for the Doctor, explaining that while the solar flare is happening, her "masters" cannot read her thoughts. They have been controlling her mind all her life, but she saw the Doctor in the transmissions and brought him here, hiding him inside the games so he could find her. However, she cannot tell the Doctor who her masters are, because she has been genetically altered to be unable to say their name. Her masters have been hiding and shaping the Earth for centuries, growing stronger in numbers, but they fear the Doctor. As the flare passes, Jack returns and tells the Doctor that the TARDIS worked out that the disintegrators were actually part of a secondary transmat system — people have not died, they have just been transported elsewhere, which means Rose is still alive.

Rose regains consciousness aboard an alien spacecraft, where a strange humming sound fills the background. She sees one of the inhabitants of the spacecraft approaching her, and she backs up against a wall in shock as she recognises it, and cannot believe her eyes — she claims to have seen the creature, who presses it's plunger like hand to the wall, die. Back on the station, the Controller gives the Doctor the co-ordinates to where Rose had been transported, despite knowing that she will be revealing her subterfuge to her masters. As she shouts out the co-ordinates, the Controller is teleported away. Materialising on the same ship that Rose has been transported to, the Controller gloatingly tells her masters that they can kill her now, as she has brought about their destruction. She is promptly killed by an energy weapon.

On the station, the transmat beam is traced to a point at the edge of the solar system. Although the screen appears to show empty space, there is another signal, transmitted by the satellite, that is shielding what is actually there from detection. These are the same people who installed the Jagrafess nearly two centuries before and have been manipulating mankind for generations, playing a long game. The Doctor cancels the shielding signal and is greeted with an impossible sight — a fleet of 200 Dalek flying saucers each containing more than 2,000 Daleks, a force almost half a million strong. Both the Doctor and Jack thought the Daleks had all been destroyed, but obviously they somehow survived.

The Dalek fleet

The Daleks open communications, with a lead Dalek ordering the Doctor not to intervene with the Dalek stratagem or they will exterminate Rose. To the Daleks' surprise, the Doctor simply says no. When the lead Dalek demands an explanation, the Doctor defiantly tells them that he is going to rescue Rose from the middle of the Dalek fleet, save the Earth and then wipe every last Dalek out of the sky. The lead Dalek retorts that the Doctor has no weapons, defences or plan. The Doctor agrees and knows that is exactly what is scaring the Daleks to death.

The Doctor tells Rose he is on his way, and cuts the transmission. The lead Dalek states the Doctor has initiated hostile actions, and the Dalek on the left orders the invasion of Earth to begin. Millions of Daleks gather for the invasion, all chanting their battle cry: "Exterminate, Exterminate, Exterminate..."






Cultural references


Story Notes

  • The scene where Jack is disrobed was originally filmed full-length, with rear nudity. According to Barrowman, this shot was vetoed by the BBC; their only complaint of the first season.
  • This is the first episode since The Chase to feature Daleks without having Dalek in the episode's title.


  • 6.8 million viewers


  • Lynda suggesting to the Ninth Doctor she come with him on his travels was to tease fans to make them think in the following story "The Parting of the Ways" Rose was going to leave and Lynda was going to be the new companion. This might have been the original intent, but by the time the episode aired, it was already well known that Eccleston had resigned from the series and that David Tennant would be joining ... that said, however, it was not completely clear at the time whether the regeneration was going to take place at the end of the series, or during the announced Christmas special.

Filming Locations

to be added

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • If there are 10,000 channels how can Big Brother be on channel 44,000? (Sky TV has 500 channels but goes up to 999. It is not clear whether the numbers start on Channel 1. However, if there are 10,000 channels designated per satellite, then Satellite 5 may broadcast on channels 40,000 to 49,999.)
  • The station is masking the Dalek fleet from sonar, which is entirely useless in space as a vacuum cannot transmit sound. (Maybe a way to transmit sonar through space has been discovered. Also, sound can travel through space- it is not a perfect vacuum. Also sonar, being an acronym, could stand for some other means of detection in this time period such as Space Omnidirectional Navigation And Ranging.)
  • The Doctor states that the Jagrafess was installed a hundred years ago, when it was actually installed 190 years ago. (The Jagrefess would have been installed before the Doctor arrived a hundred years before this episode is set.) (The events of The Long Game took place in 200,000)
  • How did the Daleks get the Jagrafess anyway? (It is possible that they cultivated it themselves.)
  • If the game shows are just a front for Daleks to kidnap humans to mutate, why do Stars in their Eyes contestants get blinded, or people on Groundforce get turned into compost? (The Daleks probably keep penalties like this so that people do not figure out the games are fronts, or it could just be part of their sadistic nature). (The Emperor Dalek does state in The Parting of the Ways that "...only one cell in a billion was fit to survive..." in reference to the people that had already become Daleks, implying that an entire person is not required to produce a Dalek only their genetic material.)
  • It's meant to be the year 200,000 – i.e. 197 millennia in the future – and yet the Trinny & Susannah robots describe Jack's clothes as "so 20th century". That far into the future, wouldn't they'd be more likely to say "so 2nd millennium"? (There were probably many different looks in the 2nd Millennium, this one being specific to the 20th Century. The TARDIS translates, remember?)
  • For someone who was blind and had been hooked up to those cables since she was 5, the Controller was remarkably steady on her feet. (As the Controller has been hooked up to the ship for so long, she knows its layout very well.)
  • If no one has a garden, why is there a Groundforce show? (Because it was a show about turning people into compost more than actual gardening or the statement no has a garden could just mean no normal people just the richer of the population.)
  • If Jack "knows the Dalek ships" and also knew of their destruction, why did he say that he thought the Time War was just a legend in the subsequent episode? (Perhaps he knew about the ships but did not believe that the Daleks and the Time Lords could go to war.)
  • What happens to Strood after the Doctor and Lynda escape from the Big Brother House?(He either stayed in the Big Brother House,recruited by Jack to defend Satellite 5,or left on Floor 0, Either way he was definitely killed in the Dalek Attack on the Station.)
  • If the Controller had been hooked up since she was 5 , why did her clothes still fit perfectly at such an older age?(It's possible that the clothes grow around her, getting bigger when needed.)
  • The doctor states that the daleks have only two emotions hate and fear, but in the past they have shown anger, revenge, smugness, lust and sadism which by my calculations is seven. The Doctor is prejudiced in his way of thinking about the Daleks and also they may have changed in the Time-War - can you reference when they have actually shown these emotions too.



DVD and Other Releases

Series 1 Volume 4 DVD Cover

See Also

External Links

  • Official BBC Website - Episode Guide for Bad Wolf
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - Bad Wolf
  • The Whoniverse - The Discontinuity Guide to: Bad Wolf
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): Bad Wolf
Series 1
Rose  • The End of the World  • The Unquiet Dead  • Aliens of London  • World War Three  • Dalek  • The Long Game  • Father's Day  • The Empty Child  • The Doctor Dances  • Boom Town  • Bad Wolf  • The Parting of the Ways
Dalek television stories
Major appearances: The Daleks  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth  • The Chase  • Mission to the Unknown  • The Daleks' Master Plan  • The Power of the Daleks  • The Evil of the Daleks  • Day of the Daleks  • Planet of the Daleks  • Death to the Daleks  • Genesis of the Daleks  • Destiny of the Daleks  • Resurrection of the Daleks  • Revelation of the Daleks  • Remembrance of the Daleks  • Dalek • Bad Wolf/ The Parting of the Ways  • Army of Ghosts/Doomsday  • Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks  • The Stolen Earth / Journey's End
Minor appearances: The Space Museum  • The Wheel in Space  • The War Games  • The Mind of Evil  • Frontier in Space  • Logopolis  • The Five Doctors  • The TV Movie  • Human Nature  • The Waters of Mars
Non-canonical: The Curse of Fatal Death
 • Complete List of Appearances •

This article uses material from the "Bad Wolf (TV story)" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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