"Tooth and Claw
" is an episode
in the British science fiction television
series Doctor Who
that was first broadcast on 22 April
Landing in 1879 Scotland
, the Tenth Doctor
meet Queen Victoria
, travelling with her to spend the night at the Torchwood Estate
. However, a group of warrior monks have sinister plans for the monarch, and the full moon is about to summon a creature out of legend.
attempts to take Rose
in 1979 to see Ian Dury
in concert, but ends up in the Scottish
moors in 1879. They encounter a carriage carrying Queen Victoria
, who has been forced to travel by roads to Balmoral Castle
as a fallen tree has blocked the train line to Aberdeen
. The Doctor poses as Dr. James McCrimmon
using his psychic paper
, and the Queen invites him and Rose to join her as they travel to the Torchwood Estate to spend the night. Sir Robert MacLeish, owner of the Torchwood Estate, greets the guests though encourages them to continue, but Queen Victoria insists on staying, as the estate was a favourite of her late consort, Prince Albert
. Sir Robert gives the Queen, the Doctor, and Rose a tour of the estate, including the Observatory built by his father, a polymath
skilled in both science and folklore and who was fascinated by local stories of a werewolf
. The guests are invited to dinner by the Steward of the house, and the Doctor tells Rose that she should change into more appropriate garb for the meal, and has her led to a wardrobe.
While looking for an outfit, Rose discovers a servant girl, Flora, hiding in a wardrobe who explains that earlier in the day, a group of monks led by a Father Angelo threatened Sir Robert, and had locked up the rest of the estate staff in the cellars. The monks have taken the places of the servants, with Father Angelo acting as the Steward. Rose and Flora leave the room to get help from The Doctor, only to find that the guards in the house have been drugged and have fallen unconscious. Both women are caught by the monks and chained up with the rest of the staff in the cellar. Rose sees a caged being, previously brought in by the monks, and recognises it as a human possessed by an alien intelligence. She learns from it that the body the being inhabits is that of a local boy, and that it is planning on creating the "Empire of the Wolf" by possessing Queen Victoria.
At dinner, Sir Robert relates his father's studies on the local werewolf stories, though notes that his efforts were resisted by the Brethren of the monastery in St. Catherine's Glen, who may have turned from God to start worshiping the wolf. As a full moon streams in through the windows, Father Angelo starts chanting in Latin — "lupus magnus est, lupus fortis est, lupus deus est" — "The wolf is great, the wolf is strong, the wolf is God", and the Doctor realises that there is immediate danger to all in the estate. Sir Robert apologises to the Queen for his betrayal, saying that the monks were holding his wife, Lady Isobel, and forced him to play the role. The Doctor realises that the fallen tree on the train tracks was a ploy to lure The Queen to the estate in a quest to wrest control of the throne of England, and as the Doctor and Sir Robert race to the cellar, she confronts Father Angelo and kills him. As the Doctor and Sir Robert arrive at the cellar, they find that the monks have opened the cellar doors, allowing the moonlight in and causing the transformation of the possessed being into a werewolf. Rose and the other servants, who have broken free of their chains, flee the cellar as the Doctor locks the door with his sonic screwdriver. The house Steward and the other men attempt to hold the werewolf at bay with rifles, but are unable to contain it and are killed. The women take shelter in the kitchen, allowing Lady Isobel to recognise that the monks all wear mistletoe garlands, likely to ward off the werewolf, and organises the other women into creating a mistletoe broth to be used as a weapon.
The Doctor, Rose, and Sir Robert meet up with the Queen, who is carrying a mysterious box that she had brought with her on the trip, and are chased into the Library by the werewolf. The Doctor recognises that the door and walls of the Library are engraved with mistletoe and covered in viscum album — oil of mistletoe — all likely designed to keep the werewolf from entering the room. The four use the Library to discover that an object fell to Earth in 1540 near the monastery, and though a single cell of the alien being may have survived, it would have become stronger with each generation, passing from host to host, and now at the point of wanting to create its own empire. The Queen, realising she may not escape alive from the situation, asks Sir Robert to find a safe location for her box, containing the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which she was taking to have it cut down at the royal jewellers at Hazlehead. The Queen relates that Prince Albert was always attempting to achieve a better cut for the diamond, and The Doctor, recognising that the Prince had frequently visited Sir Robert's father, surmises that the two were aware of the alien presence and had created the Torchwood Estate and the Observatory as a trap for the creature. The group flees to the Observatory and are chased by the werewolf, but are given a brief respite as Lady Isobel appears and splashes the mistletoe broth on the werewolf. Sir Robert thanks his wife and tells her that he loves her, and instructs her to take safety in the cellar.
The group barricades themselves in the Observatory, but unlike the Library, it is not protected with mistletoe. The Doctor surmises that while the being changes into a werewolf by moonlight, it would be harmed by intense amounts of the light. As the Doctor and Rose attempt to maneuver the telescope into place, Sir Robert sacrifices himself to the werewolf to give the Doctor more time, stating that this should make up for the deception he was forced to commit earlier. As the werewolf breaks into the room and threatens the Queen, the Doctor throws the diamond into the concentrated moonlight generated by the telescope, causing the werewolf to be suspended in mid air. The werewolf reverts temporarily back to its human form and asks the Doctor to end its life by increasing the concentration of moonlight, to which the Doctor obliges. The Doctor notices that the Queen has been cut, but she insists it was just from a splinter. The next day, the Queen dubs the Doctor and Rose as "Sir Doctor of TARDIS" and "Dame Rose of the Powell Estate", but then immediately banishes them from the Empire, as they represent a world of terror and blasphemy and yet they consider it fun. The two return to the TARDIS, with the Doctor reflecting that Queen Victoria's children were found to have haemophilia, and perhaps that was just a Victorian euphemism for lycanthropy. The Queen tells Lady Isobel that her husband's sacrifice and the ingenuity of his father will live on, as she will create the Torchwood Institute to protect the Empire from enemies beyond the imagination.
- The Doctor mentions to Rose at the end of this episode that Queen Victoria suffered from a condition called Haemophilia. This was also mentioned in the New Series Novel The Clockwise Man though in the novel it was suggested that Queen Victoria's cousins, the Tsars of Russia, suffered the same condition. If this is canon, which is up to debate as are all spin-off media of the television show, this would mean that Rose would have known about Queen Victoria's condition from her adventure with the Ninth Doctor in the novel.
- This episode started a running joke of the Tenth Doctor saying "No, no, don't do that" whenever a companion attempts (usually badly) to put on an accent appropriate to their time/location. He would say it again to Martha Jones in "The Shakespeare Code" and "The Infinite Quest" and to Donna Noble in "The Unicorn and the Wasp" and "Midnight".
- In the Third Doctor story The Curse of Peladon (1972), the Doctor mentioned having been in attendance at Queen Victoria's coronation. The Fifth Doctor meets Victoria (and is appointed her Scientific Advisor) in 1863 in the Past Doctor Adventures novel Empire of Death and she is also involved in the events of the novel Imperial Moon, taking place in 1878. The canonicity of the novels, like all non-televised stories, is unclear.
- This episode bears some similarities to the Fourth Doctor serial Horror of Fang Rock (1977). In the earlier story, the Doctor also uses a diamond to refract light, creating an "amplified carbon beam oscillator" that brings down the Rutan mothership. Both stories are also set in remote, enclosed locations, in or around the Victorian era, involve shape-changing aliens and a feral girl.
- A werewolf also appeared in the Seventh Doctor serial The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (1988). Werewolves feature in the Past Doctor Adventures novel Wolfsbane and the Big Finish Productions audio play Loups-Garoux. A race of werewolves, the Wereloks, turn the Fourth Doctor into a werewolf in the Doctor Who Weekly comic strip story Doctor Who and the Dogs of Doom (DWW #27-#34).
- Rose is wearing a T-shirt with a crown on, a reference by the costume designer to Queen Victoria's presence in the episode, but also in keeping with Rose's expected visit to a 1979 Ian Dury concert. In the episode "Attack of the Graske", he took Rose to an ABBA concert in 1979 Wembley, and quoted the Status Quo song "Down Down" at one point in the same episode.
- The Doctor mentions assisting the early re-entry of Skylab in 1979, although the circumstances are not elaborated on. He does, however, state that it nearly cost him a thumb.
- The Doctor introduces himself as "James McCrimmon". Jamie McCrimmon was a young Scottish piper from the 18th Century and a companion of the Second Doctor. The Doctor's use of Jamie's name as an alias has a certain symmetry, as Jamie was the one who gave the Doctor his most often-used alias, "John Smith", in The Wheel in Space.
- Curiously, the Doctor seemed unaware that his psychic paper indicated that he would be serving as Queen Victoria's guard. Where the thought came from is left unexplained.
- When Rose first encounters the wolf in its human form it says it can see "something of the wolf" in her and that she has "burnt like the Sun", a reference to the 2005 series episode "The Parting of the Ways".
- The Doctor gives an explanation of lycanthropy in this episode. He says, "Well, you'd call it a werewolf, but it's actually a lupine wavelength haemovariform."
- Although Victoria shoots at him, we do not see Father Angelo's body, nor do we see what happened to the monks after the werewolf was dispelled.
- The use of the title Sir Doctor of TARDIS rather than Sir James McCrimmon implies that the Doctor and the Queen had an off-screen conversation about his name and designation. In addition, it has never been established whether the Doctor holds any Earth citizenship — when asked in the 1966 serial The Daleks' Master Plan if he is a British citizen, the Doctor retorts that he is a citizen of the universe, but in the Doctor Who television movie, when Grace Holloway suggests he is British, he responds, "I suppose I am."
- At the very end of this episode, Queen Victoria founded the Torchwood Institute, taking the name from the estate, with a remit to investigate paranormal events such as the werewolf in this episode.
- Although the Queen promised that Torchwood would be waiting if the Doctor returned, there was no sign of the organisation during the Third Doctor's time with UNIT or the other times the Doctor had previously returned to Britain (though it is possible that they were only on the lookout for his 10th incarnation). What Torchwood may have been doing during these occasions has yet to be explained.
- "Tooth and Claw" was also the name of an unrelated Eighth Doctor comic strip story involving vampires on an island in the Indian Ocean. It was published in Doctor Who Magazine #257-#260, written by Alan Barnes and drawn by Martin Geraghty and Robin Smith.
- Queen Victoria says that "Whoever owns it (The Koh-i-Noor) must surely die" but the legends say that only men who possess the stone will suffer ill fortune where as women who possess it are said to receive good luck, this could be a fact checking error, a reference to the fact that she saw it as belonging to Prince Albert or a nod to the fact that it was about to save her life
- This is the second time the Doctor has been knighted, but the first time he was officially knighted. The Fifth Doctor was knighted by someone pretending to be King John I in The King's Demons.
- David Tennant is actually from Scotland. Thus, the accent the Doctor puts on at points in this episode is actually Tennant's real Scottish accent, and it slips to his in-character accent.
- Michelle Duncan and Jamie Sives were unable to attend the readthrough for this story, and their parts were read by David Tennant's parents, who happened to be visiting the Doctor Who set. Tennant told reporters at the series' press launch, "Because it's set in Scotland they were delighted to be asked to read in. My Mum played Lady Isobel and my Dad played Captain Reynolds and they were in seventh heaven. And they were genuinely cheesed off when they didn't get asked to play the parts for real! I was like 'chill-out Mum and Dad, back in your box!'
- At one point during filming, Billie Piper's hair caught fire.
- Interviewed in Doctor Who Confidential, director Euros Lyn said that various martial arts films were viewed in researching the opening fight sequence, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
- Treowen House in Dingestow, Wales was one of the sites for filming this episode, representing Torchwood House in the Scottish Highlands.
- The werewolf in this story is computer-generated. Pauline Collins stated in a BBC press release that there were two performance artists who demonstrated the movements that the werewolf would do and talked about the problems of overacting in a situation where one was simply reacting to a green screen.
- A deleted scene was included on the boxset DVD, where the Doctor and Rose, after being knighted, run off towards the TARDIS.
- The title is an allusion to a merciless "Nature, red in tooth and claw" from Lord Tennyson's 1850 poem In Memoriam A.H.H. The poem was a favourite of Queen Victoria's, who found it a comfort after Prince Albert's death in 1861.
- The Doctor alludes to the Scottish ballad Walter Lesly ("I've been chasin' this- this wee naked child over hill and over dale,") and Robert Burns's poem To a Mouse ("Isn't that right, ye tim'rous beastie?") while trying to explain his and Rose's sudden appearance and their unusual dress to the soldiers at the beginning of the episode.
- The Doctor notes that the Queen, by 1879, has had six attempts on her life. Of the known assassination attempts, one took place in 1840, three in 1842, one in 1849 and one in 1850. Subsequent to 1879, two more attempts were made in 1882 and 1887. In the Seventh Doctor serial Ghost Light, the Doctor thwarts an attempt in 1883 by an alien force to kill the Queen and thereby take over the British Empire.
- The Doctor claims he is from the township of Balamory. Balamory was a popular live-action children's television programme broadcast between 2002 and 2005 and set on the fictitious Scottish island community of Balamory.
- The Doctor also claims to have trained at the University of Edinburgh under "Dr Bell", a reference to Joseph Bell, the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. In The Moonbase (1967), the Second Doctor claimed to have studied under another Scottish doctor, Joseph Lister, in 1888.
- This is not the first time that members of the British Royal Family have been suggested to be werewolves. In one episode of the Road Rovers animated series ("A Hair of the Dog That Bit You"), Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, among others, are turned into werewolves.
- One of the traditional uses of mistletoe is indeed as a ward against werewolves, although the plant is "almost unknown" in Scotland. In the commentary for the episode, script editor Simon Winstone notes that mistletoe was also used as an anticonvulsant, which tracks with the fits the Host suffers as he transforms.
- Also noted in the commentary was Prince Albert's overseeing of the cutting of the Koh-i-Noor and his dissatisfaction with the results, although Winstone suggests it was more due to the fact that the stone was cut down so much. Although Queen Victoria mentions that the Koh-i-Noor brings death to those who own it, the curse is supposed to only affect men; the stone is reputed to bring good luck to female owners. The Koh-i-Noor is currently set into the crown of Elizabeth, the late Queen Mother.
- The TARDISODE to this episode features a Wilhelm Scream, a long-running in-joke of film and TV sound editors.
Broadcast and releases
- Overnight ratings for the episode peaked at 10.03 million (during one five minute segment). The audience Appreciation Index was 83. The episode received an average of 9.24 million viewers, taking the timeshift into account.
- The Defending the Earth! site update for this episode features another "live" message from Mickey Smith to the viewer. Mickey mentions how he was tracking satellites on the Torchwood website but was kicked out. He then re-directs the viewer to the Torchwood House site, telling them to access the telescope feed by using the password "Victoria" and help him search for the satellites.
- This episode was released on 5 June 2006 as a basic DVD with no special features, together with "School Reunion" and "The Girl in the Fireplace", and as part of a second series boxset on 20 November 2006. This release included an audio commentary by writer Russell T Davies, visual effects supervisor David Houghton and supervising art director Stephen Nicholas.