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Bad Wolf meme: Misc


Dr Who

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

For other uses, see Bad Wolf.
Bad Wolf was a meme created by "the Bad Wolf" to inspire Rose Tyler to save the Doctor from the Game Station. (DW: The Parting of the Ways) It also prefigured the return of Rose into the Doctor's life, following his regeneration as well as the crisis they would face together (DW: Turn Left) "Bad Wolf" was thus both warning and signpost.
The enigmatic "Bad Wolf" graffitied on the ground. (DW: The Parting of the Ways)




During the Doctor's ninth incarnation

Doctor's first known direct encounter with the phrase.

The phrase was most commonly found in graffiti during the 20th and 21st centuries (DW: Aliens of London, Father's Day, The Parting of the Ways), but the first chronological occurrence was in 1869, in which Gwyneth, a parlour maid and clairvoyant, looked into Rose's mind and declared that she had seen "The Big Bad Wolf". (DW: The Unquiet Dead)

However, the first occurrence of the phrase in the Doctor's and Rose's timestream was in the year 5,000,000,000 on Platform One orbiting the soon-to-be-destroyed Earth, in which the Moxx of Balhoon told the Face of Boe that the current situation was "the classic Bad Wolf scenario". (DW: The End of the World)

The Blaidd Drwg project's logo

It was also found in other languages - it was used in relation to a Nazi bomb used in World War II, the "Schlechter Wolf"[1] (DW: The Doctor Dances), and to a nuclear power station, built in September 2006, the Blaidd Drwg power station. (DW: Boom Town)

Many companies also used the phrase "Bad Wolf", such as GeoComTex, who used it as their helicopter call signs, for example Henry van Statten's private helicopter was "Bad Wolf One". (DW: Dalek)

The phrase became more common in the years 199,909 to 200,100, in which the Dalek-controlled Bad Wolf Corporation and the television channel "Bad Wolf TV" made use of the phrase. (DW: The Long Game, Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways)

It was later shown that, to save the Doctor's life, Rose Tyler had opened the Doctor's TARDIS looked into its heart, and become the Bad Wolf entity. She had then used her seemingly unlimited reality-warping powers to destroy the Dalek Imperial Fleet and spread the Bad Wolf clues throughout space and time, so she would eventually realise she could use the TARDIS to save the Doctor (thereby creating an ontological paradox). Rose was later restored when the Doctor saved her life by taking the Time Vortex energy from the Heart out of her body and regenerating. (DW: The Parting of the Ways, Children in Need Special)

After Bad Wolf

Although the influence that had created the Bad Wolf meme had been removed from Rose by the time of the Doctor's regeneration, echoes of it remained.

The playground chalk drawing of "Bad Wolf" was still faintly visible after he and Rose returned to earth following his regeneration. (DW: The Christmas Invasion)

Just to the Doctor's left, the Japanese words for "Evil" or Bad Wolf" can be seen in a car in Gridlock.

In 1879, the Host, a Werewolf, stated that Rose had "something of the wolf about her." Because the wolf was also very hostile, it could be considered a literal interpretation of the Bad Wolf. (DW: Tooth and Claw) The Torchwood Institute's files on Rose Tyler had been corrupted by the Bad Wolf virus (DW: Love & Monsters) and, after the Doctor and Rose had been separated in different universes, the last hole through the Void linking them led into "Dålig Ulv Stranden" (Bad Wolf Bay) in Norway. (DW: Doomsday) It also appeared in the year 5,000,000,053, on the side of a Japanese car. (DW: Gridlock)

In Captain Jack's Monster Files: Judoon, an insurance company is advertised called Good Wolf, a play on Bad Wolf. In Trickster's Brigade, there is a man playing some kind of board game. One of the spaces has "BAD WOLF" written on it.

While Donna Noble was traveling with the Doctor, it appeared on a wall in Pompeii. (DW: The Fires of Pompeii) A red wolf was spray-painted onto the wall of an alley in England during the the Sontaran/Atmos crisis. It was further seen in a poster advertising the play "Bad Wolf" in an abandoned opera house that the humans were using on the planet Messaline. (DW: The Doctor's Daughter) It could even be said to have been seen in the virtual reality of Charlotte Lux house, wherein her living room had two portraits: one of a wolf and another of a blonde girl. (DW: Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead)

Rose's Return

Even the Doctor's TARDIS was covered with the bad wolf message

Perhaps the clearest usage of the meme in the Tenth Doctor's era came when Donna was forced to alter her own past, thereby creating a parallel world around herself. (DW: Turn Left)

Shan Shen was ablaze with warning

Rose Tyler was able to enter this reality, but she was very cautious about revealing her identity or her level of knowledge about events. "One word in the wrong place," she warned, "can change an entire causal nexus". Thus, special significance may be attached to the fact that she whispered the words, "bad wolf" in Donna's ear only at the point that the Donna of Donna's World was about to die. Thereafter, the "real" Donna vaguely remembered the words whispered to her other self, which she imparted to the Tenth Doctor as a warning. Immediately thereafter, the whole of Shan Shen was covered with the words "bad wolf". Even the Doctor's TARDIS was altered to include the phrase in all of its exterior signs. Donna asked what this meant, and the Doctor told her it meant the end of the universe, as the various parallel universes were beginning to collide, as he had predicted at the time he and Rose were first separated. By the time the Doctor and Donna returned to Earth, however, the Bad Wolf words had disappeared from the TARDIS. (DW: The Stolen Earth)

Other appearances

  • The words "Bad Wolf" appear in graffiti on the landing of the dance hall stairway, shortly before Jack Harkness and Toshiko Sato are sent backwards in time to 1941. (TW: Captain Jack Harkness)
  • At around the same time, Cardiff had a motorcycle gang Blaid Drwg. (TWM: Jetsam)

Behind the Scenes


Numerous reference appeared on in-universe websites created by the BBC, as well as the official BBC Doctor Who site.

Animation reconstruction

In an animated reconstruction of a scene from DW: The Invasion from that story's DVD release, "Bad Wolf" appears as graffiti on Isobel Watkins's wall. (The character likes to write reminder notes for herself on the wall.)

Other TV Programmes

  • In the second episode of the second series of Primeval, Connor Temple mentions something about Bad Wolf.[2]

Notes and Footnotes

  1. Technically, the closer German translation for the term is "Böser Wolf", the name of the character in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, "Little Red Riding Hood". "Schlechter Wolf" implies a wolf of inferior quality.
  2. Primeval Wiki - Episode 2.2

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


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