The Doctor has encountered some seriously strange companies whilst travelling the universe, all of which seem to totally ignore the most important rule of business – don’t kill your customers! Here are 10 of the very worst.
Bad Wolf Corporation
Bad Wolf (2005)
On a satellite called the GameStation in the far future, the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack found themselves taking part in twisted versions of retro TV shows. The Doctor ended up in the Big Brother house, where “evicted” housemates were actually being killed! Or so it seemed, anyway. In fact, they were being beamed across the solar system to the Daleks, who were harvesting the losing contestants from all the different shows to turn their leftovers into more Daleks. Who knows, they might still be doing it now – you should definitely keep an eye on that guy who hosts The Chase, he looks a bit suspicious!
Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel (2006)
On a parallel version of Earth, the Doctor and Rose Tyler discovered that one outfit seemed to have a cyber-finger in almost very pie. Cybus made everything from airships to dodgy health tonics, but the main focus was a telecoms business, CybusNet. Everyone seemed to be wearing their EarPods, which was bad news when owner John Lumic got cracking with his real enterprise – turning all humans into Cybermen! He didn’t even have to capture them for conversion – all he had to do was hijack the EarPods to have them march themselves to their fate. Brrr!
The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People (2011)
By the 22nd century, humans had decided to opt out of doing dangerous jobs, so used Gangers instead. These clones could look just like the real people who operated them, but were actually made from the Flesh, an artificial substance. The Doctor, Amy and Rory found Morpeth Jetsan using Gangers to do their dirty work in an acid-pumping plant, but the Flesh decided they’d had enough of being disposable and demanded equal rights. What nobody realised was that Amy herself was a Ganger, having been kidnapped and swapped some time before! Rory got quite a shock when his fake missus dissolved into a pile of goo.
The Idiot’s Lantern (2006)
Britain was gripped by coronation fever in 1953, and everyone wanted watch Queen Elizabeth’s big day on the telly. Only problem was, there weren’t many sets around. This should have been good news for Mr Magpie, since he owned a TV shop, but he’d fallen foul of the Wire, an energy being who wanted to use the broadcast to leech out the minds of humans tuning in. She forced Magpie to sell his sets off cheap to advance her plan, and he quickly went bust. The Doctor and Rose managed to cancel the Wire’s programme, but not before she killed off poor Magpie. The name of his company lived on, though – the Doctor has spotted Magpie Electricals technology all through time.
Spearhead from Space (1970)
A plastics factory was just what the Nestene Consciousness needed for its plan to conquer earth using Autons – robot servants who took the form of everyday things like shop dummies and dolls. Well, with a name like Auto Plastics it was probably quite likely they were going to start knocking out Autons at some point, wasn’t it? The Doctor teamed up with UNIT to shut down operations, but rumour has it that some of the dummies at a famous wax museum are still Auton replicas rather than real waxworks, so watch out for them should you ever visit.
The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky (2007)
The Doctor was suspicious when obnoxious superbrain Luke Rattigan claimed to have invented a special filter that completely neutralised the CO2 emissions of cars. His ATMOS system was fitted in half the vehicles on Earth, with disastrous consequences. He hadn’t invented by himself at all – he’d been helped by the Sontarans, a race of vertically-challenged warriors who secretly planned to release poison from all the kit, clear out the Earth and turn it into a clone breeding world to churn out more of their soldiers. Luke finally saw the error of his ways, and sacrificed himself to save humanity.
The Invasion (1968)
Sneaky Tobias Vaughn had a five-year plan for his electronics business, intending to become the world’s leading company in the field. He had some very unusual backers – the Cybermen. They had promised to put Vaughn in charge of Earth after they invaded, in return for him sneaking their micromonolithic circuits into every piece of tech he sold, to aid their takeover bid. Despite changing his mind and teaming up with the Doctor to foil his own plan, Vaughn was fired by his business partners (literally – he was shot by a Cyberman!).
Planet of the Ood (2008)
The Second Great and Bountiful Human Empire wasn’t quite as bountiful if you were an Ood. These placid creatures were bred by humans in vast factories, to be used as servants. When the Doctor and Rose first met the Ood, they’d gone red-eyed with rage and started killing everyone, but it wasn’t until much later that the Doctor learned why. Each Ood originally had two brains, one in their head and one held in their hands. The humans had been chopping off the second brain, which dealt with emotions, and replacing it with a translator sphere. Nasty! The Doctor freed all the Ood, who watched over him telepathically for the rest of that life. They even sang him a nice song when it was time to regenerate. Be nice to your Ood and they will be nice to you.
Revelation of the Daleks (1985)
On the face of it, Tranquil Repose was a respectable business, carrying out fancy funerals for anyone in the galaxy who was rich enough to afford them. Their services had a unique twist, though – the person whose funeral it was would be placed in suspended animation, until a cure was invented for whatever had killed them in the first place. The Doctor turned up there to pay his respects to an old friend, only to discover that the bodies weren’t being stored at all – Davros and the Daleks were using them to grow new Daleks. Well, they do have form for that kind of thing.
A surprise fez delivery with a note pleading for help led the Doctor, Graham, Yaz and Ryan to the moon of Kandoka, home to a vast Kerb!am warehouse beaming out packages to every corner of the galaxy. This all sounded fine until Team TARDIS discovered that the bubble wrap in each package was filled with explosives that would vaporise anyone who was unable to resist the urge to pop it. And who could resist the temptation to pop some bubble wrap? Exactly!
Of course, there are so many bad business out there in the cosmos that this could never be exhaustive, but here are just a few more you should look out for:
Some might say that anyone who books a space cruise on a giant flying replica of the Titanic is possibly looking for trouble, but Max Capricorn Cruiseliners probably had a lovely brochure and a very tempting all-inclusive offer. And then you die.
Does a quick jaunt across the surface of the planet Midnight to the exquisite Sapphire Waterfall, courtesy of Crusader Tours, sound tempting? The views are indeed magnificent, right until an malevolent and invisible entity starts banging on the roof and everyone goes a bit crackers. And then you die.
Scratch that, then, and book up with Nostalgia Tours! Ignore everything you've heard about their reputation. They'll pick you up at their intergalactic toll port and take you anywhere you want to go – as long as it's a holiday camp in Wales, 1959. And then you die.
Fancy somewhere a bit closer to home? We hear Sheffield is very nice at this time of year, and the brand-new Robertson Luxury Hotel's underground zoo is apparently offering special arachnid meet and greet packages to all customers. The only catch is that they're compulsory. And then you die.
Feeling a bit out of shape after all those holidays? Don't be taken in by Adipose Industries – they might tell you they can make your fat just walk away, but they do that by actually bringing it to life so it can totter off on legs made from your own excess blubber. And – you've guessed it – then you die.
Missed Kerblam! or would like to watch it again? You can catch up with the current series On Demand at BBC iPlayer (UK) or BBC America (US). For other regions, visit the Watch page to find out where to catch up in your territory.