“Bad Wolf” is an episode so heavily steeped in references to British TV and classic Doctor Who it would take a list twice as long as this one to get everything in, and even then there would still be tiny moments that could bear further exploration, depending where you’re from and how much you can infer from context.
I enjoyed the pop culture references and the episode over all.
Suffice to say that this is the story in which British TV stars Anne Robinson, Davina McCall, Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine become robots and try to kill our three heroes, while the Doctor is once again faced with the consequences of his own actions.
Here are a few things that you should keep an eye out for, the next time you watch.
The original title for the episode was “Gameshow World” (or possibly “Gameshow World!”, the first Doctor Who episode to contain an exclamation point), which was changed when Russell T Davies decided to complete the Bad Wolf story arc he had been so carefully seeding throughout the whole of the series.
He had wanted to make a spoof of reality TV as far back as 2000, when he first began pitching a new series of Doctor Who to the BBC. The idea for the Anne Robinson robot Anne Droid came to him when he was promoting his series Queer as Folk in New York and spotted the real Anne Robinson’s face glaring down from a huge screen in Times Square. As no one in the production team was sure she’d agree to send herself up, a celebrity impressionist was booked to play the part, but thankfully Robinson accepted.
Meanwhile, the Big Brother house (complete with theme tune by Paul Oakenfold) is run by the Davinadroid, voiced by the real Davina McCall, presenter of the British show. Her catchphrases, well known to viewers, are replicated here, including the warning “You are live on channel forty four thousand [normally Channel 4], please do not swear” and “I’m coming to get you,” when a housemate is evicted.
As the Doctor, Jack and Lynda are caught by security, they are told, “You will be taken from this place to the Lunar Penal Colony, there to be held without trial.” Had they been sent there, it would have been a return trip for the Doctor, as his Third incarnation was sent there during the 1973 adventure “Frontier in Space,” as a Draconian spy