"Lupus magnus est, lupus fortis est, lupus deus est..." ("The wolf is great, the wolf is strong, the wolf is a god...")noteWritten by Russell T Davies.
— Father Angelo
The Doctor and Rose were planning to visit Sheffield, 1979, but they end up in 1879. In Scotland. And in the presence of Queen Victoria. Rose is in trouble for wearing a mini-dress, but David Tennant saves the day by speaking in a perfect Scottish accent and introducing himself as one Doctor James McCrimmon. The Queen commands them to attend her as she goes to spend a relaxing evening in Torchwood House, a Scottish manor beset by werewolves and kung fu monks.The Doctor and Rose make a bet as to whether she can get the Queen to say "we are not amused". Someone should get a handicap, though, because there isn't much at Torchwood House to amuse anyone. The Laird of the Manor drops unsubtle hints that they should go away. All the servants are terrified. The lonely blood-curdling cry of a wolf echoes across the moors. Rose is chained up in the cellar with the household staff, where a cage contains a boy possessed by an alien werewolf: that is, an alien wolf . . . thing . . . which possesses human hosts. Its current plan is to possess Queen Victoria, thereby gaining the throne of Great Britain, and therefore THE WORLD!!! (This plan seems familiar, somehow . . .)The remaining humans take refuge in the library, which the previous Laird had fortified against werewolves by soaking the wood in mistletoe oil. Now that's Crazy-Prepared. Speaking of which, the Queen has thought to bring along the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which as it turns out was always meant to slot neatly into a telescope that is not a telescope but a werewolf-melter (did we mention Crazy-Prepared?). Also, the Queen suddenly has a cut on her hand after facing the wolf and refuses to show it to the Doctor. The Doctor realises with glee that the royal family's unexplained and mysterious "haemophilia" may just suddenly be a whole lot less unexplained and mysterious.Queen Victoria knights both "Sir Doctor of TARDIS" and "Dame Rose of the Powell Estate", and then immediately banishes them for their knowledge of the stars (then being considered heresy) and tells them to "leave [her] world". After they leave, she announces the foundation of the Torchwood Institute. The Doctor will rue this day.
- Admiring the Abomination: The Queen tells the Doctor off for doing this to the werewolf.
- All Monks Know Kung-Fu: Inverted; British monks generally aren't known for their martial arts skill, and the household staff are completely taken aback when Father Angelo and his monks turn on the kung fu.Father Angelo: We will take the house.
Steward: By what power? The hand of God?
Father Angelo: No. The fist of man.
- Artistic License:
- The Koh-I-Noor diamond really exists, it really has a reputed curse on it and it really was re-cut by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria. In real life it's not a fist-sized brilliant, though — it's roughly the size and shape of a flattened plum. (For reference, the diamond in Snatch. is 80% as big and shaped similarly.)
- Queen Victoria in reality had very little power, so the Empire of the Wolf plan was rather futile. That said, it is unlikely that the wolf knew this, having arrived on Earth in the reign of Henry VIII, an era when the monarchy was still near all-powerful - and arguably still heading towards the zenith of its power with the Age of Absolutism. Also, Victoria had a lot of unofficial, informal power.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Played with at the end. Queen Victoria is injured by what she claims to be a splinter, but the Doctor is concerned it might be a bite from the werewolf. On the way back to the TARDIS, the Doctor and Rose joke about the modern-day Royal Family being werewolves — given the Doctor's flippancy to what he earlier claimed would be a catastrophe, obviously he doesn't really believe it to be true (and if you watch the werewolf's demise, it doesn't actually get near enough to the Queen to scratch her before getting killed). Also, Victoria has already had all her children by this point, so she couldn't pass on this trait. The reference book Doctor Who: Creatures and Demons makes the suggestion that "Pete's World" split off from the regular universe when Queen Victoria was killed (not scratched) by the werewolf. (This makes some sense, considering the spread of Republican ideas around this era and the fact that Victoria's son Edward was not considered a particularly competent figure at this point.)
- Better to Die than Be Killed: Victoria expresses this sentiment. It's justified because the wolf intends to possess her, instead of killing her. And instead of allowing itself to be imprisoned, the wolf (or most likely, its host - though it's not clarified, that's what's implied) asks that the Doctor increase the moonlight so it's fully vaporized.
- Berserk Button: Queen Victoria does not appreciate being condescended to, as Father Angelo finds out the hard way.
- Black Eyes of Evil: The werewolf's human form. This is why Rose knows that he's not really human.
- Catch Phrase: Throughout the whole episode Rose tries to get Queen Victoria to say "We are not amused". She succeeds.
- Changed My Jumper: Alluded to, as Rose (in a T-shirt and mini-skirt) is said to be "naked". She'd actually dressed quite appropriately — if not stylishly — for the intended destination. The TARDIS just had other plans that day...
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The fact that Prince Albert had the Koh-I-Noor diamond cut down repeatedly, along with the diamond itself.
- The telescope in the observatory, which as the Doctor notes isn't capable of actual stargazing.
- Continuity Nod:
- The Doctor gives his name as "Dr. James McCrimmon", the full name of Jamie, companion to the Second Doctor.
- The wolf, pre-change, comments on how Rose has "something of the wolf" about her, and that she "burned like the sun"; both referencing the end of the previous series where she became Bad Wolf.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Queen Victoria banishes the Doctor and Rose not only from England, but planet Earth itself, for having too much fun while saving her life. Admittedly her values and theirs are a bit different due to the times (and a more technical knowledge of astronomy still considered heresy), but creating Torchwood to fight both alien monsters "and" the Doctor himself puts her squarely in the Ungrateful Bitch category.
- Evil Plan: The alien wolf parasite thing wants to create "the empire of the wolf" on Earth, and the monks want to help him/it accomplish it because they worship it instead of God.
- "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: When Sir Robert is staring down the werewolf armed with nothing but an ornamental sword, he says this line.Sir Robert: I committed treason for you. Now my wife will remember me with HONOUR!
- Fingertip Drug Analysis: The Doctor confirms that the library's walls have been soaked in mistletoe by licking them.
- Fully-Clothed Nudity: Rose, by the standards of the 19th century (polite society, anyway), is said to be naked because she's not wearing a full dress. The contemporary characters keep commenting on this. Truth in Television, given that it wasn't uncommon in this era for people to even take baths with clothes on.
- Happily Married: If Sir Robert was not this trope then he would not have been so quick to commit treason to keep his wife safe (while it's doubtful that he would have sacrificed her if the marriage was going badly, since he seemed like a decent bloke, he was very quick, if very reluctant, to comply). They kiss several times in this episode, she braves the Wolf to save him and the others, explicitly stating that she's going to help him if there's the slightest chance that he's still alive, and his last thoughts are of her.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Both Captain Reynolds and Sir Robert attempt to hold off the Wolf, knowing full well that they don't stand a chance, but doing it anyway to buy the Queen time to escape.
- Honour Before Reason: Sir Robert is determined to redeem himself for being blackmailed by the monks by fighting the werewolf. It quickly kills him — though he knows this going in, and does it not just to redeem himself, but to buy the Queen time to escape/the Doctor time to save her.
- How's Your British Accent?:
Rose Tyler: Uh, uh... [adopts an extremely terrible Scottish accent] och aye, I've been oot and aboot!
- When the Doctor and Rose exit the TARDIS only to find themselves face to face with Queen Victoria's guards who are holding guns on them, the Doctor switches from his Estuary accent into a Scottish accent (which, contrary to popular belief, isn't actually David Tennant's natural accent) in an attempt to pose as a Scot.
- Rose attempts this, and is so bad at it the Doctor's expression is literally pained.
The Doctor: [quietly to Rose] No, don't do that.
Rose Tyler: Hoots, mon!
The Doctor: No, really don't. Really.
- I Have Your Wife: Why Sir Robert goes along with the monks' Evil Plan.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Victoria might seem a tad ungrateful to respond to the Doctor and Rose saving her life by banishing them, but she does have a point about their attitude in the face of the wolf — to attempt to get her to say her Catch Phrase all while people are dying horribly around them and treat it all as a game, to say nothing of the Doctor's Nightmare Fetishist tendencies, is beyond inappropriate. She also has a point when she wonders how long they'll survive their madcap lifestyle. (And her criticism does have an impact; although the Doctor and Rose continue to laugh in the face of danger in subsequent adventures, they never again act as blasé as they do here, nor does the Doctor with his subsequent companions Martha and Donna.)
- Life Will Kill You: When Victoria mentions the legend that whoever possesses the Koh-i-Noor must surely die, the Doctor points out that the same is true of anything if you wait long enough.
- Literary Allusion Title: To Tennyson's poem "In Memoriam A.H.H."
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Lots of people are eaten by the werewolf, and all of them are male. It passes over the lady of the house and her servants because they had the good fortune to wind up in the mistletoe filled kitchen. The lower-ranking monks aren't seen to be killed, but it's not all that likely they'd have survived for long in Victorian Britain, which was only too happy to punish traitors by death.
- Mercy Kill: The human inside the wolf asks to be killed once it's pinned in the focused ray of moonlight. The Doctor obliges.
- Mistaken for Gay:Sir Robert: I'm sorry, Ma'am. It's all my fault. I should've sent you away. I tried to suggest something was wrong, I... thought you might notice. Did you think there was nothing strange about my household staff?
The Doctor: Well, they were bald, athletic, your wife's away . . . I just thought you were happy.
- Never Mess with Granny: Queen Victoria, having already had several attempts on her life, carries a gun.
- Nightmare Fetishist: See Admiring the Abomination. While the Doctor and Rose save her from the werewolf, their gleeful attitude to the whole thing doesn't sit well with Queen Victoria.
- Noodle Incident: The Doctor apparently nearly lost his thumb while helping Skylab fall to Earth.
- Oh, Crap!: After a long period of pondering, the Doctor realises the wolf isn't sniffing or scrabbling at the door. Then dust starts falling from the ceiling . . .
- Ominous Latin Chanting: In-universe. Lupus deus est . . .
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: An in-universe example; once the werewolf is unleashed, the resulting confusion causes the Doctor to forget that he's supposed to be using a Scottish accent, on which Victoria pulls him up. Considering that the Doctor had earlier introduced himself specifically as "Dr. James McCrimmon from Balamory", he's obviously not who he claimed to be.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: They're aliens, in fact.
- Posthumous Character: Prince Albert, who as it turned out knew a lot more about werewolves than history records. It's his plan that saves his wife from the monks' plan.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Angelo doesn't think Victoria has it in her to kill him, and derisively calls her "woman".Queen Victoria: The correct form of address is "Your Majesty"! (Bang!)
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When all is said and done (and knighted), Queen Victoria banishes the Doctor and Rose for life from Great Britain, chewing them out for thinking that playing with forces that terrify and kill regular people is "fun". There's also "blasphemy".
- Redemption Equals Death: The master of the house, Sir Robert, pulls a You Shall Not Pass to make up for aiding the trouble currently brewing.
- Requisite Royal Regalia: The Koh-i-Noor diamond is a real Crown Jewel of Britain, though without any werewolf-melting properties (that we know about).
- Shaky P.O.V. Cam: This is used for the werewolf chases to give its POV and for the thrills.
- Shout-Out: A couple of references to Robert Burns' poem To a Mouse.
- At the beginning of the episode, the Doctor tells Victoria's guard that he studied medicine with a Dr. Bell at the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Bell was one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's teachers, and is likely the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.
- He calls Rose a wee timorous beastie: "Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie, O, what a panic's in thy breastie!"
- The Doctor claims to be "from the township of Balamory".
- Skewed Priorities: When people are getting torn apart by the werewolf, Rose's main concern seems to still be trying to get Victoria to say she is not amused, which Victoria calls her out on.
- Silk Hiding Steel:
- Sir Robert's wife Lady Isabel is a Proper Lady in fashion and gentle demeanour. She also boils up a batch of anti-werewolf brew and personally splashes it on the thing, thereby doing more damage than the men with their guns.
- Queen Victoria is also a Proper Lady, though a little closer to The High Queen, and with a flavour of Lady of War, as she proves when she faces down Father Angelo with only a slight tremor in her hands and coolly explains that after six assassination attempts, she has started coming prepared - and promptly draws a revolver from her purse. When Father Angelo snorts in disbelief, calling her 'woman' and saying that she won't do it... she promptly snaps, "The proper form of address is 'your majesty'!" and shoots him dead.
- Socially-Awkward Hero: Captain Reynolds was a very successful soldier in the field, but when he is dining with Queen Victoria, he embarrassed himself when laughing at her comment towards Rose and he is quickly scorned for it.
- This Is No Time for Knitting: The Doctor asks Rose to help him with a giant telescope as they're being chased by a werewolf. Rose comments that it's hardly the time for stargazing. The Doctor replies "Yes it is!" and uses the telescope to defeat the werewolf.
- Truth in Television: To an extent; Victoria being a carrier of hemophilia — despite it not being in her family previously — is a bona fide historical mystery.
- Underdressed for the Occasion: The Doctor and Rose land in 1879 at a house Queen Victoria will be staying at. Rose is wearing a denim miniskirt and a tight-fitting, low-cut shirt. Throughout the episode, she is described by the others as being naked.
- Vertical Kidnapping: "And I'm telling you, I'll sleep well tonight with that thing's hide upon my wall." (walks over, looks around) "Must have crawled away to diAAAARRRRGGGGHHH!!!"
- Victorian Britain: With Victoria herself.
- Warrior Monk: A cult of them take over Sir Robert's house with moves out of a wuxia film.
- Was Once a Man: The wolf's host was a boy who lived near the monastery. The monks abducted him as a child, and the wolf "ate his soul and sat in his heart". And yet, there's still a bit of the human left.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Directly addressed; when Rose wonders how a creature made up of moonlight can be destroyed by... too much moonlight, the Doctor quickly reminds her that she's made up mostly of water, but can still drown.
- Who You Gonna Call?: Queen Victoria establishes the Torchwood Institute at the end of this episode because she learned that her empire has enemies beyond other earthly countries.
- You Shall Not Pass: Twice.
- Captain Reynold uses a gun to keep the wolf occupied long enough for the queen to take shelter.
- Sir Robert brings out a sword to buy time for the Doctor to set up the light chamber (werewolf-melting fake telescope).