Getting to know Who: Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways

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Tags: Ninth Doctor, Rose Tyler, Mickey Smith, Captain Jack, Daleks, Getting To Know Who, Featured

Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor in Doctor Who: The Parting of the Ways

Scattered through space and time, the words “Bad Wolf” have drawn the Doctor and Rose into a trap. Christopher Eccleston bows out of the series, as the first season of new Doctor Who reaches its explosive climax

Doctor:

Ninth, in his dramatic two-part finale.

Companions:

Rose Tyler, supported by the eternally resourceful Mickey Smith and the soon-to-be immortal Captain Jack Harkness.

Plot:

Separated from the TARDIS and each other, the Doctor, Rose and Jack are spirited aboard the Game Station. But as familiar games turn gruesome, the Doctor realises something else is lurking beneath the broadcasts...

The story so far…

  • The Doctor and Rose have had many adventures together, since saving her from the Auton invasion. Captain Jack joined more recently, after turning away from his past life as a con-artist.
  • The Game Station is discovered to be Satellite Five, last seen in The Long Game, where it was broadcasting hundreds of TV news channels. The Doctor’s destruction of the Jagrafess set events in motion, leading to the Bad Wolf Corporation’s takeover of the satellite.
  • “Bad Wolf” references have occurred in most episodes of the series:
    • The Moxx of Balhoon refers to “the Bad Wolf scenario” while networking in The End of the World.
    • Telepath Gwyneth in The Unquiet Dead, senses that Rose has seen “the big bad wolf”.
    • It appears as graffiti several times: on the side of the TARDIS (The Aliens of London), a club-night poster (Fathers Day) and around the Powell Estate (The Parting of the Ways).
    • Van Statten’s helicopter call sign is “Bad Wolf One” (Dalek), and it’s the name of TV channel in The Long Game.
    • And it appears in translation twice: “Schlecter Wolf” is stenciled on the side of the German bomb in The Doctor Dances, and Margaret Slitheen names her power plant “Blaidd Drwg” in Boom Town.

Best bit:

Key quote:

The Doctor: I'm going to save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet. And then I'm going to save the Earth, and then, just to finish off, I'm going to wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky!
Dalek: But you have no weapons, no defences, no plan.
The Doctor: Yeah. And doesn't that scare you to death?

Why it’s worth a watch

Almost a decade after transmission, the sheer confidence of Bad/Parting is breathtaking. To return Doctor Who to British television is one thing. To end its first series with a two-parter crammed full of Daleks, impressive CGI, cultural references (and voice cameos!), moments of high emotion, great jokes, a satisfying resolution to the series’ story arc, and a regeneration, is mindboggling. Billie Piper’s performance as Rose is captivating, especially when tricked into returning to Earth, and John Barrowman’s Jack is every inch the hero. Eccleston’s Doctor makes his last stand, and is utterly defiant throughout – shifting from misbehaving schoolboy when escaping from Big Brother, to the man who faces down a Dalek army alone. The Doctor’s answer to the Emperor’s question – “What are you? Coward or killer?” – makes us all jump for joy. Which makes the final moments of the episode almost unbearable to watch, as the Ninth Doctor grins his way into the first regeneration of the new series. Barcelona!

More:

Read more about Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways at the BBC Doctor Who website, or get to know more Doctor Who adventures.