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"The fat just walks away."
Matron Cofelia
Partners in Crime
Series: Doctor Who
TV stories
Series Number: Series 4
Story Number: 189
Doctor: Tenth Doctor
Companions: Donna Noble (re-introduced; joins)
Enemy: Matron Cofelia
Matron Cofelia's guards
Setting: London; 2009
Writer: Russell T Davies
Director: James Strong
Producer: Phil Collinson
Broadcast: 5th April 2008
Format: 1x50-minute episode
Prod. Code: 193
Previous Story: Voyage of the Damned
Following Story: The Fires of Pompeii



Donna Noble is determined to find the Doctor again – even if it means braving the villainous Miss Foster. But when the alien threat escalates out of control, can Donna find her Time Lord before the march of the Adipose begins at last?


Donna Noble is walking down a street on the way to Adipose Industries, as she is investigating them on their weight-loss drug. The Doctor is doing the same but they fail to see each other as they do different things at the same time. They are in a conference room posing as Health and Safety when a reporter starts asking Miss Foster what this drug does; she fails to tell her and the meeting ends. The Doctor and Donna ask different employees for customer addresses.

The Sinister Miss Foster

Donna goes to a woman named Stacey Campbell's house while the Doctor goes and interviews a man called Roger Davey about his use of the drug. Roger tells the Doctor that his burglar alarm keeps going off at 1:10 AM. While Donna is talking to Stacey, Stacey tells Donna that she has lost a lot of weight and can't wait to dump her boyfriend. Stacey goes to the bathroom and it is at this point where Donna begins to examine the capsule-like pendant. This results in a singular tubby piece of fat coming out of Stacey's body. Donna, oblivious to what is occurring then begins to investigate what is happening up stairs. Miss Foster is alerted that there has been an "unscheduled parthenogenesis" and sends out a squad team to retrieve the new Adipose child. The Doctor is also alerted of the 'birth' via a Y-shaped hand-held device. Miss Foster then incurs "full parthenogenesis" upon Stacey as the Adipose child had been witnessed by her, resulting in her entire body being converted into numerous Adipose, killing her instantly. Donna, who is now up stairs due to the unnerving shrieks emitted by Stacey in her last moments, breaks into her bathroom and as an Adipose waves to her it jumps out the window. Miss Foster senses it via her computer and she scans the CCTV with her henchmen only to find a reporter from earlier called Penny Carter. The Doctor senses what has happened to Stacey and runs up to her house only to find nothing there. He then runs off to the TARDIS. Donna cancels Stacey's cab and goes home only to find her mother nagging at her so she goes off to see her grandfather Wilfred Mott who is gazing at the stars at the allotments. He tells Donna to find the right man as she talks to him about missing the trip with the Doctor. The Doctor is in the TARDIS and talks to himself about the Adipose (He is thinking he has got Martha with him only he realises that he does not).

The next day Donna takes the car to Adipose industries only to be criticized by her mother because she needs the car for going out. Donna hides in the toilets until the end of the business day and the Doctor hides in a closet, to investigate. All day Miss Foster is looking for Penny Carter who is hiding in the same toilets as Donna. Donna thinks that she has been caught but it turns out to be Penny, who is then tied up. Donna follows only to find that the Doctor is also watching Miss Foster. He spots Donna watching through the door and mouths to her and she mouths back. They are both unaware that they are being watched by Miss Foster and everybody in her office. Miss Foster asks her two henchmen to get them and they chase after Donna, but she runs up to the roof. Handily for the Doctor he was on a window cleaner's pulley; he pulls himself up to rescue Donna. As they get in, he locks the roping device with the sonic screwdriver so that he can get down. But to his surprise Miss Foster has a sonic pen with which she sends them down flying as she cuts the rope with it. Donna almost falls but the Doctor climbs up a rope and squeezes into a window. He then goes down a floor to Miss Foster's office, only to find that Penny is locked in there. He opens her window with his screw driver and saves Donna.

Miss Foster then uses a device (possibly another sonic pen) which opens a sliding door to reveal an Inducer, which along with her capsule helps her to begin the birthing process of one million Adipose from her customers' bodies. Meanwhile the Doctor breaks into a secondary Inducer, hidden inside a cupboard, with his Sonic screwdriver. There he manages to temporarily disable the process by unscrewing his capsule and attaching it to a wire connected to the Inducer. While he is doing this Donna tells the Doctor that he looks older. She also asks if he's still on his own; he replies that he had this friend called Martha but he ruined her life but she's fine, he also says that Rose is still missing. Miss Foster notices he has tried to hack into the system and increases the power to double strength on her Inducer. The Doctor realises he can't save them without a second capsule and is really upset, until Donna pulls out the capsule she took from Stacey Campbell's house from her jacket pocket. The Doctor uses this to save the people's lives. Miss Foster's plans have failed but she says that one million Adipose will have to do and calls upon the Nursery Ship to take them home. The Doctor listens to an incoming signal from the Adiposian First Family that identifies Matron Cofelia (Miss Foster's real name) as a criminal for breeding on a Level 5 planet. The Doctor and Donna run onto the rooftop to try and save Matron Cofelia. Donna suggests blowing up the Adipose, but the Doctor replies that they're just children and can't help where they came from. Donna says that Martha must have done him good and he says, with arrogance, that she fancied him. He offers Matron a hand but she refuses just as the tractor beam switches off and she falls to her death; the Adipose leave the planet and zoom off into space.

The Doctor bins the sonic pen and Donna drags him off to the TARDIS. Once there she unpacks her belongings from her car (which is just a few feet from the TARDIS). The Doctor warns that it is a hard life but accepts her, saying that he just wants a mate; she misunderstands this to mean that he wants "to mate", and says that he is just an alien streak of nothing. The misunderstanding mostly resolved, Donna then takes her car keys and puts them in a bin on Brook street, 30 yards from the corner. She then tells a girl with blonde hair to tell her mother: 'that bin there'; it turns out the girl is Rose Tyler. Donna then returns to the TARDIS, while Rose walks off down the street and disappears. Donna tells the Doctor to materialise two and a half miles "that way" to say goodbye to her Grandad; he cheers her on when they appear just above the hill from which he stargazes.


Production crew

  • 1st Assistant Director - James Blackwell
  • 2nd Assistant Director - Jennie Fava
  • 3rd Assistant Director - Sarah Davies
  • Location Manager - Gareth Skelding
  • Unit Manager - Rhys Griffiths
  • Production Co-ordinator - Jess van Niekerk
  • Production Secretary - Kevin Myers
  • Production Runner - Nicola Brown
  • Floor Runners - Andy Newbery, Heddi Joy Taylor
  • Drivers - Wayne Humphreys, Darren Lean
  • Contracts Assistant - Kath Blackman
  • Continuity - Sheila Johnston
  • Script Editor - Lindsey Alford
  • Camera Operators - Rory Taylor, Julian Barber
  • Focus Puller - Steve Rees
  • Camera Assistants - Tom Hartley, Jon Vidgen
  • Grip - John Robinson
  • Boom Operators - Jeff Welch, Bryn Thomas
  • Gaffer - Mark Hutchings
  • Best Boy - Peter Chester
  • Electricians - Steve Slocombe, Clive Johnson, Ben Griffiths
  • Stunt Co-ordinator - Tom Lucy
  • Stunt Performers - Gorden Seed, Jo McLaren
  • Wireman - Bob Schofield
  • Chief Supervising Art Director - Stephen Nicholas
  • Art Department Production Manager - Jonathan Marquand Allison
  • Supervising Art Director - Arwel Wyn Jones
  • Associate Designer - James North
  • Art Department Coordinator - Amy Pope
  • Set Decorator - Malin Lindholm
  • Props Buyer - Catherine Samuel
  • Standby Art Director - Ciaran Thompson
  • Design Assistants - Al Roberts, Peter McKinstry, Sarah Payne
  • Storyboard Artist - Richard Shaun Williams
  • Standby Props - Phill Shellard, Nick Murray
  • Standby Carpenter - Will Pope
  • Standby Painter - Ellen Woods
  • Standby Rigger - Keith Freeman
  • Property Masters - Paul Aitken, Phil Lyons
  • Dressing Chargehand - Matthew Wild
  • Forward Dresser - Stuart MacKay
  • Senior Props Maker - Barry Jones
  • Props Maker - Nick Robatto, Penny Howarth, Jon Grundon
  • Practical Electrician - Albert James
  • Construction Manager - Matthew Hywel-Davies
  • Scenic Artists - John Pinkerton, John Whalley
  • Construction Chargehands - Scott Fisher, Allen Jones
  • Construction Workshop Manager - Mark Hill
  • Graphics - BBC Wales Graphics
  • Costume Supervisor - Lindsay Bonaccorsi
  • Assistant Costume Designer - Rose Goodhart
  • Costume Assistants - Barbara Harrington, Louise Martin
  • Make-Up Artists - Pam Mullins, Steve Smith, John Munro
  • Casting Associates - Andy Brierley, Amy Rogers
  • VFX Editor - Ceres Doyle
  • Assistant Editor - Carmen Roberts
  • Post Production Supervisors - Chris Blatchford, Samantha Hall
  • Post Production Co-ordinator - Marie Brown
  • SFX Co-ordinator - Ben Ashmore
  • SFX Supervisor - Danny Hargreaves
  • Prosthetics Designer - Neill Gorton
  • Prosthetics Supervisor - Rob Mayor
  • On Line Editors - Matthew Clarke, Mark Bright
  • Colourist - Mick Vincent
  • 3D Artists - Stephen Regelous, Dave Levy, Serena Cacciato, Matt McKinney
  • 2D Artists - Bryan Bartlett, Simon C Holden, Greg Spencer, Sara Bennett, Tim Barter, James Moxon, Murray Barber, Loraine Cooper
  • VFX Co-ordinators - Jenna Powell, Rebecca Johnson
  • VFX Production Assistant - Marianne Paton
  • On Set VFX Supervisor - Tim Barter
  • Dubbing Mixer - Tim Ricketts
  • Supervising Sound Editor - Paul McFadden
  • Sound FX Editor - Paul Jefferies
  • Foley Editor - Kelly-Marie Angell
  • Finance Manager - Chris Rogers
  • Original Theme Music - Ron Grainer
  • Casting Director - Andy Pryor
  • Production Executive - Julie Scott
  • Production Accountant - Oliver Ager
  • Sound Recordist - Julian Howarth
  • Costume Designer - Louise Page
  • Make Up Designer - Barbara Southcott
  • Music - Murray Gold
  • Visual Effects - The Mill
  • Visual Fx Producers - Will Cohen, Marie Jones
  • Visual Fx Supervisor - Dave Houghton
  • Special Effects - Any Effects
  • Prosthetics - Millennium Fx
  • Editor - Mike Jones
  • Production Designer - Edward Thomas
  • Director Of Photography - Ernie Vincze Bsc
  • Production Manager - Tracie Simpson
  • Executive Producers - Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner


Story notes

  • This episode is dedicated to Howard Attfield, who passed away shortly after filming scenes for this episode reprising the role of Donna's father, Geoff Noble. As Geoff was to have been a recurring character in the season, the producers chose to remove Attfield's scenes and bring back Bernard Cribbins to play Wilfred Mott, the character he played in Voyage of the Damned; the character was retconned to become Donna's grandfather. Attfield's scenes were preserved and included on the subsequent Series 4 DVD release.
  • According to his memoir The Writer's Tale, Russell T Davies originally planned to introduce a new companion named Penny Carter in this episode, who he describes as 30-something, recently jilted by a boyfriend, and strong-willed in the vein of Donna Noble. When it was decided to bring Donna back, this idea was dropped, although a minor character in the episode (the journalist) was given the name Penny Carter.
  • This episode is broadcast much earlier at a 6.20 timeslot. It is also fifty minutes long rather than forty five, as the TV listings state it is from 6.20 to 7.10.
  • A certain shot shows an army of Adipose in the streets of London, this was extremely complex and took the CGI team (The Mill) more time than most shots used for the series to complete. They used the software called Massive, which was created and used by Weta Digital, who created all CGI for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
  • A scene was shown the day before airing on GMTV, showing The Doctor and Donna Noble on a suspended window washing platform breaking in while Miss Foster cuts the cable with her sonic pen.
  • Pointing the functioning ends of a sonic screwdriver and a sonic pen at one another (or, as the Doctor put it, "two identical sonic devices") creates a sonic feedback in the surrounding area.
  • The Doctor says he's met 'cat people' before, he may be referring to the cat people he met in New Earth and Gridlock, or during Survival.
  • In The Fires of Pompeii the planet Pyrovillia also has gone missing similiar to the Adipose Breeding Planet.Important in The Stolen Earth
  • The scene with Rose was actually shot along with her scenes in Turn Left. It was removed from the episode when it was shown to the media. According to an interview in Doctor Who Magazine #396, the positive reaction to Piper's surprise cameo (which was successfully telecast without any pre-broadcast revelation in the media thanks to the earlier slight-of-hand) led Davies to add a third surprise appearance by Rose to The Poison Sky, in addition to one already planned and filmed for Midnight (the Midnight footage was reused). Rose's return wasn't a complete surprise; besides media coverage of her return, a clip of Rose from Turn Left had also been included in the official Series 4 theatrical trailer several weeks earlier.
  • Miss Foster mentions The Doctor warning the Shadow Proclamation, suggesting that they are an orginization rather than just a treaty (confirmed in The Stolen Earth)
  • The window cleaner cradle scene was intended for use in Smith and Jones but was cut and used here instead.


  • 9.1 million viewers

Myths and rumours

  • It was rumoured that Miss Foster was The Rani. (This turned out to be false)
  • Some reports stated this episode was called Partners in Time.

Filming Locations

to be added

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • What is the episode's title have to do with the plot? It's taken from miss Foster's line referring to The Doctor and Donna. Pay attention next time.
  • If the Adipose is made out of living fat how can they have teeth/a tooth? As Miss Foster states, the Adipose can convert bone, hair and organs.
  • The Doctor knocks out the two guards via the Inducer but then when the Doctor and Donna run away from the cupboard after they have stopped the Inducer the guard's bodies have clearly gone.
  • When Miss Foster cuts the first cable, she is clearly cutting the one on the Doctor's side of the cradle. However, it is the cable on Donna's side that snaps.
  • The building Miss Foster stands in front of when she is giving the speech is the same building Jack Harkness got pushed off by John Hart in the Torchwood episode Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. (Partners in Crime occurs in London, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang in Cardiff. They just happen to be a similar shape) It is likely they are the same building, as Cardiff pretends to be London when filming for Doctor Who, and locations are re-used several times.  
  • The character Stacey Campbell is credited as Stacey Harris. According to Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale, Stacey Campbell was originally named Stacey Harris on script
  • When Miss Foster pulls out the Adipose from her desk it cannot be seen in the shots afterwards. The spot where it is placed can be clearly seen by the Doctor and Donna yet we can't see it.
  • If this episode is set in 2009, how come Sylvia Noble says 'no ones unemployed these days'? (The Whoniverse is different to our universe, there may be some similarities but its not the same, that sort of Discontinuity opens the floodgates for others such as Why haven't the alien invasions started.) It is also likely that Sylvia only said that to remark on Donna's lifestyle, instead of using actual facts.
  • How do we know this episode is set in 2009, as of series 2 we got no indication of the date. In Christmas 2006 (The Christmas Invasion) the Sycorax arrive above Earth, a year later (2007) it is the Racnoss (The Runaway Bride), a further year later (2008) the Titanic almost crashes (Voyage of the Damned), therefore, since this episode takes place the year after VotD, it is in 2009.
  • Miss Fosters guards shoot down the door, however when the Doctor returns to save Donna the door is still on. The door we see him push open is the door from the staircase. He runs straight through from the corridor to the room.
  • Why would the Doctor dispose of the Sonic Pen? He should know by now that having an extra sonic device around would be handy.
  • The fat comes out of people's bodies in unlikely ways; the skin is stretched then seems to just turn into fat which would not work.
  • When Donna takes the car from outside the house it's numberplate is YD56VHG but when she goes to collect her bags from it later on it has the numberplate LN54VKR.
  • If Miss Foster needed a high obesity scale then why didn't she go to America or one of the other countries with a bigger weight issue than Britain. (There may have been other factors leading to her choice of location. Regardless, there is no indication that the obesity rates of countries in the Whoniverse are the same as in reality.)
  • Surely someone would have been suspicious that Donna just walked into Adipose Industries and went into the toilet and never came out all day. Everyone else is busy hard at work to pay attention, especially when Miss Foster has demanded an increase in sales.
  • Either Penny or Donna could have heard the other move in the cubicle and unite against Miss Foster. (Neither did however, so they didn't know each other was there.)
  • Shouldn't Miss Foster checked all the cubicles after Penny was found, just to be on the safe side? (She had no reason to do so.)


  • Donna declined the Doctor's offer to travel with him in DW: The Runaway Bride, but accepted this time to travel with him.
  • Wilfred Mott, Donna's grandfather, appeared in DW: Voyage of the Damned as the newspaper dealer.
  • This is the first episode since DW: Doomsday in which Rose Tyler appeared as a present character.
  • The effect of pointing the sonic pen and sonic screwdriver (or, as the Doctor put it, "two identical sonic devices") at one another is remarkably similar to an effect of a sonic device in TW: Fragments.
  • This is the first reference to disappearing bees (which is explained in DW: The Stolen Earth). Although intended as a storyline reference, this is actually a real-life concern.
  • On one of the taxis there is an ATMOS sticker on the windscreen. This will crop up again in DW: The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky.
  • In DW: Turn Left, sixty million Americans are converted into fat. Adipose Industries had targeted the United States rather than London since it no longer existed, having been destroyed when the Titanic crashed, and the entire South of England was flooded by radiation.
  • Humanoid Catkind are mentioned.
  • A catflap is examined as a method of either ingress or egress for a sneaky alien threat, just as it had been in DWRose.

DVD and other releases

Series 4 Volume 1 DVD Cover

External links

  • Original script, posted online by Russell T Davies in conjunction with the release of his book REF: Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale.
Series 4
Mini-episode: Time Crash  • Christmas Special: Voyage of the Damned

Partners in Crime  • The Fires of Pompeii  • Planet of the Ood  • The Sontaran Stratagem  • The Poison Sky  • The Doctor's Daughter  • The Unicorn and the Wasp  • Silence in the Library  • Forest of the Dead  • Midnight  • Turn Left  • The Stolen Earth  • Journey's End

Christmas Special: The Next Doctor  • Mini-episode: Music of the Spheres

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


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