In Doctor Who Magazine #367, James Goss, producer of bbc.co.uk's cult television websites, announced that Series 2 would feature "dozens" of inter-related sites featuring interactive games, to create "the most ambitious online fictional world ever". In the same article he revealed that the content for the websites would be written by Joseph Lidster, produced by Rob Francis and created by games company, Sequence
A number of fans have also set up similar sites tying into the series, including several concerning the political campaigns of the fictional Mr Saxon.
At the time the episode was transmitted, the search term used by Rose, "doctor blue box", if typed into Google in the real world, produced http://www.whoisdoctorwho.co.uk as the first search result. It is not known if this is the result of collusion between the BBC and Google or simply a clever use of search engine optimization.
The website "Who is Doctor Who?" turned out to be run by a conspiracy theorist named Clive, who had been tracking the appearances of the Ninth Doctor through history, and was under the impression that the Doctor was an immortal alien. Clive was killed by an Auton during the course of the episode, but when Rose disappeared to travel with the Doctor, the website continued to be updated, with video clips from the Auton invasion and an invitation to readers to send their own stories of encounters with the Doctor. Later updates of the site tied in to new episodes as they were broadcast.
The "guest book" section of the site featured several entries apparently signed by former companions or supporting characters, including Sarah Jane Smith, Peri Brown and Mike Yates. It is not clear which of these were written by the BBC website team and which messages were by fans writing in, since all messages are screened by the website team before they are posted. It also features comments from the fictional characters Arthur Dent and Marty McFly.
After "Aliens of London" was first broadcast on April 16 2005, it became apparent from a note on the website that the person who had taken over Clive's website was Mickey Smith, Rose's boyfriend. Interestingly, as "Aliens of London" took place in 2006 and the updates were contemporaneous with the series as it progresses, it meant that the website was at least one year in the relative future of the reader.
After the episode Dalek an interview took place with a younger Henry van Statten (the villain in Dalek). There was a "competition" to win a bundle of Geocomtex Hardware (Van Statten's Company). The winner was Adam Mitchell who also appeared in "Dalek".
Following the events of "Boom Town", the site featured a bitter message from Mickey ("World saved. Who cares?"), who has realised that Rose no longer loves him. After this episode, the website remained static for many months before it was updated with references to the Guinevere One probe in time for the 2005 Christmas special.
In the second part of the story, "World War Three", the website was shown on screen, and the Doctor used the password "buffalo" to access it. Using that password on the "live" website activates a simple Flash animation simulating the missile control website featured in the episode. The UNIT site was updated with reports detailing the aftermath of the story, putting it in the same position as Mickey's website of being a year in the future. The website also named the unnamed-on-screen UNIT officer that died in the episode as a "Major Frost", who may have been the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip character Muriel Frost. Other reports reference the episodes "Rose" and "Dalek".
In his regular column in Doctor Who Magazine #360 (August 2005), new series executive producer Russell T. Davies explained that the United Nations were no longer happy to be associated with the organisation, and its full name could not now be used. However, the "UNIT" and "UN" abbreviations can be used, as long as it is not explained what the letters stand for.
Following "The Christmas Invasion", a press release confirming the existence of alien life was added to the site, and the "secure portion" of the website was updated with reports on Guinevere One and "Project Rooftop", referring to the events of that episode.
The Geocometex website, like the others, has numerous in-jokes and references to the old series. Products that GeoComtex manufactures include "IE core chip transistors" (International Electromatics in The Invasion), "bubble memory" (Logopolis), "Ether beam sensing technology" (Genesis of the Daleks) and "bonded polycarbon" (Remembrance of the Daleks). The support page has a question that asks whether a "MX-TBL plug-in" is needed for the "WTFLD Generator" — a reference to the characters of Maxtible and Waterfield in The Evil of the Daleks — and refers to a "finklegruber", a Gallifreyan tool mentioned in The Invasion of Time and the Virgin Missing Adventures novel The Well-Mannered War by Gareth Roberts. Another support entry answers the question, "My Tubbs just doesn't work like it used to. How do I reset it?" with "Enter code 12-T", a reference to The League of Gentlemen (an earlier project of Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss). The support page also contains the word BADWOLF written in Morse code (although for the first few days, the Morse actually read "twats"), and on an unrelated note, the words "VOTE LIB DEM" scrambled and backwards. This references a joke started on the Outpost Gallifrey forum after transmission of "World War Three" claiming that a flashing light at the end of this episode signals this sentence in Morse Code. Other absurd jokes in the support page from question 4 including a reference to Jabberwocky. One of the questions refers to a user's difficulty in using RealPlayer, a reference to the controversial choice by the BBC website to use only RealAudio and RealVideo formats. The support number for GeoComTex is 555-236-801.
The site was redesigned late in the 2006 series.
The BBC registered the domain name http://www.badwolf.org.uk in November 2004, and the website went live in the week before the episode "Boom Town". The Bad Wolf site consisted of a listing of every explicit Bad Wolf reference in the 2005 series, along with speculation and theories, some culled from fan discussions on forums such as Outpost Gallifrey, as to what the phrase might mean. The site differed from the other websites, however, as it discussed the television series from a non-fictional perspective. The website had a distorted reading of The Sick Rose by William Blake at the end of an included audio clip.
The website's disclaimer noted that its contents were merely to speculate on what "Bad Wolf" meant, but did not propose to provide a definitive answer. It also stated that the Internet was "used by kind permission of GeoComtex" (In "Dalek", Henry van Statten claimed to own the Internet) and referred to "an enormous experiment in neuro-linguistic programming". There was also a hidden message that was visible only when the text beneath the disclaimer was highlighted.
In the series finalé, "The Parting of the Ways", it was revealed that Rose (or the TARDIS, through her, after she had looked into its "heart") had distributed the words "Bad Wolf" throughout time as a reminder, so that she would know she could go back to the future and save the Doctor. The website has since been updated to include the conclusion.
Other elements of the site include a history of the British Rocket Group, a Mars FAQ, a "live tracker" for the probe, a game to pilot Guinevere One through a narrow "launch window", and the opportunity to add a message of peace to the probe.
Previous British manned missions to Mars (The Ambassadors of Death, 1970) are not referred to on the site. The British Rocket Group was previously mentioned in the series in Remembrance of the Daleks (1988).
Following "The Christmas Invasion", the website's front page has been changed to memorialise project manager Daniel Llewellyn, who was killed during the events of that episode. The original site is very briefly seen on a mobile phone browser in "The Runaway Bride".
The name of the site may be a reference to the Doctor's declaration to the Sycorax in "The Christmas Invasion" that when they talk of the Earth, to "make sure you tell them this. It is defended!" Mickey repeats this declaration as the Sycorax ship leaves the Earth's atmosphere. In Army of Ghosts Mickey states that he is "Defending the Earth!"
In the text version of the "Tooth and Claw" update, Mickey mentioned that someone has repeatedly e-mailed him with the message "They're coming". This message is also visible on the Millingdale Organic Ice Cream site.
The update for "The Girl in the Fireplace" was the first time a mission had been on Mickey's own site. The game involves taking control of a clockwork robot to collect seven crystals from different rooms in Versailles in various time periods.
During "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel", the design of the site was changed to reflect the parallel Earth on which the story took place, with initially the parallel Mickey (Ricky) giving the video message then Mickey himself the following week.
After the events of "The Idiot's Lantern", the website design was reverted back to its original layout, but instead of using video messages, the new site owner, who refers to himself as "A Friend", now corresponds by text version only. It is possible that this is "David Roberts", The Voice of Deffry Vale's Youth.
The Take the test game was added after "Love & Monsters". The game asks questions, which have optional answers (apart from in the final round). In order to complete the test, the player must use information from previous Doctor Who tie-in websites.
The Art Attack game was added after "Fear Her". The game involves three levels of guiding the Tenth Doctor through a maze to join dots in numerical order. The game has the appearance of a child's drawing, and when each level is complete, the player saves what is trapped in the picture: a cat, a boy, and finally the TARDIS. As of 2008 and the conclusion of the fourth series, the website has remained the same since "Fear Her" was broadcast.
When the radio is set to channel 657, a voice repeats "What's the secret of Henrik's surprise?" over the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", which was played in "Rise of the Cybermen" to disguise the screams of those being transformed into Cybermen.
By moving a cursor up and down, the player is able to select clips and hear a brief audio segment from that broadcast. Some clips contain a word or words that end up showing a message created by the Wire; others are just audio and some delete the words the player has already found, forcing them to start over.
Notable clips in the game include catchphrases from personalities such as Dick and Dom and Larry Grayson; classic scenes from comedies such as Fawlty Towers, Red Dwarf and Hancock; quotes from cult programmes including two from Blake's 7; Marvin the Paranoid Android from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and children's television clips from shows such as The Flowerpot Men and Muffin the Mule (the last of which was shown in "The Idiot's Lantern"). There are also excerpts from pop songs, including "Through the Wire" by Kanye West as well as "Never Too Late" by Kylie Minogue, which the Doctor also quotes in the episode. Upon completion of the game, players view the traditional ending of The Two Ronnies sketch show.
This website tells the tale of the Leamington Spa Lifeboat Society, which saved hundreds of lives all over the Leamington Spa area, including Carlisle, Manchesterford and Cardiff (if the map on the website is to be believed). It tells of a family who were killed by a "mad wolf", and various small hints are dropped throughout the history pages. Although the disclaimer admits freely that this website is fictional, it does recommend the viewer to visit the website of the real Royal National Lifeboat Institution website and to donate if possible.
There is an interactive game where the player, on Mickey's behalf, controls a robot through the museum in search of a Sycorax sword, trying to avoid security robots and finding other alien artefacts (most related to past stories) in the process. One of these, a large alien firearm recovered in 1938 from the Brooklyn Bridge, may be a reference to the Big Finish Productions audio play Invaders from Mars. A Cyberman helmet's label claims that the artefact was found in Deffry Vale Underground Station.
Which 2006 series episode the site specifically relates to, if any, is not known, but the mention of Queen Victoria opening the museum and the picture of a werewolf in the history pages point to the episode "Tooth and Claw".
This website claims that Millingdale's is a family company established in 1860, although they only went public in 1980. Since 1981, they have had parlours the length and breadth of the UK, and are internationally renowned for their unique taste and the enigma of their "secret formula" (compare to Coca-Cola). They state that their first parlour opened on June 23 1981 (in the British calendar, 23/6/81).
Since "Rise of the Cybermen", the ingredients also contain another secret formula which is part of one of the mini games.
After "Army of Ghosts", a "Restricted Section" can be accessed, containing video files of the Torchwood computer system displays used during Army of Ghosts. The section can be accessed through the Flavours page by clicking the flavour "Ghost Glace".
An advertisement for Millingdale Ice Cream appears on the newspaper being read by the Abzorbaloff, in the episode "Love & Monsters". The pattern at the bottom of the advertisement also appears on the remains of a poster affixed to the wall of a lift in the same episode.
There is a hidden recipe that cannot be viewed unless the page's code is viewed. Using the html source, a few lines of text can be seen. The text says, Christmas Surprise – a popular choice! Turkey ice cream with a generous helping of satsuma segments.
The Observatory page also contains a reference to the Butler Institute, an organisation featured in several of the Virgin New Adventures novels.
When clicking on the Weddings Link, a picture of Bernard Cribbins, who played Donna's Grandfather in series 4, can be seen, presumably on his wedding day.
The website is based on the colour green, and all the logos are in tones of green, rather than the red and blue seen in the episode. However, there is a link to the welcome poster seen at the main entrance, and the archive shows the "proper" logo as well. The eat more chips poster seen in the episode is available for download. The "Grounds" section of the site shows a plan of the school with alien-looking notations, taken from the lockdown scene in "School Reunion". The "Archive" link displays a screenshot of the school's "original website" with red and blue colours.
The website also includes images of both a bus stop and a playground which include the numbers 23, 6 and 801, and a short video of a rotating green cube, used within the episode, is hidden at http://www.cheapserve.co.uk/members/236801/, a further reference to the numbers. From London Transport iconography on the website it can be assumed that Deffry Vale is a London borough or nearby, although Deffry is a Welsh word meaning "Awaken". There is a section of the site devoted to Queen Victoria
The site includes several subpages Parsons Family Project, run by Mr Parsons, a history teacher in School Reunion, and The Voice of Deffry Vale's Youth, run by a mysterious "David R.", which claims to have been merged with Defending the Earth! The photographs of "weird orange lights in the sky" were taken by a David Roberts.
After "Love & Monsters", a Sycoraxic translator was added to the site, to tie in with a quiz on Defending the Earth!.This translator also gives hidden messages when asked to translate "Bad Wolf", "Rose", or "Torchwood".
The site includes very little content, but has a small interactive Flash system, which responds only to the codes IE2306801, available from the MediaPlay site, and also IE555055/3, which is mentioned on the corporate history page of the site as a product that must be recalled, and 44044/01, mentioned on the homepage as a trial product. (Although neither code listed on the site has the IE prefix, the former only works if it is added, and the latter only works without it.)
The site also has a password-protected intranet, which, when entered with the password "Gemini12", completes the minigame relating the episode "Rise of the Cybermen", and triggers a message from Ricky along with the code "Binary9". If typed into the chatbot, Ricky will comment that this code will be needed again next week. Once logged in, clicking on the "© Cybus Industries" link in the bottom right of the screen links to a hidden page which includes many of the posters and videos seen in "Rise of the Cybermen".
Following "The Age of Steel", two extra pages were added to the site. One is an interview with John Lumic by Tom MacRae (who wrote the television story) and the other a game based on the end of the episode, where the user must use a zeppelin to save Paris from the Cybermen. Initially, a code, mentioned on the show as 6879760, was needed to unlock it. However, the game can now be accessed freely through the "Airship" tab on the home page.
The tie-in game contains several references to other episodes in the accompanying text messages, and the instrumental version of "Song for Ten" (as heard in "School Reunion"). The game involves directing the on-screen investigator to various locations and controlling remote cameras to collect data on the "ghosts".
Following the episode "Ghost Machine" a file on "Ghosts" was added, including a link to the Ghostwatch site. Similarly, after "Cyberwoman", information on The Fall of Torchwood One was added, explaining what might otherwise be construed as continuity errors. Additional files have been added with each new episode. After the last episode was broadcasted, an mp3 file of the TARDIS' engines was added to the Jack Harkness page (with a note by Toshiko Sato that it defies analysis), along with an image of a missing poster of Jack.
Possibly due to the run-up to the second series of Torchwood, the website is unavailable at its usual address, but can be accessed at this one - though the non-Flash version cannot be viewed at all. The non-flash website is however viewable via Internet Archive.
The "History" section of the website claims that UNIT was formed in 1968 following the "London Underground" incident, a reference to the events of The Web of Fear. This seems to establish the events of the serial as happening in that year, although the dating of the UNIT serials is a long-standing controversy in Doctor Who fandom. See UNIT dating controversy for more details.
In addition, despite the implication that at the end of "Father's Day" the attack of the Reapers did not happen due to changes in history, "Who is Doctor Who" featured photographs that showed the attack. The UNIT website also referred to a report about the incident, although the Doctor claimed no one would remember it.
The Torchwood website features audio and video participation of the actors from the series, usually onset. In one instance, PC Andy refers to his surname as "Davidson", which had been noted in the novels (of debatable canonicity) but unmentioned by the TV series. This development lent some credibility to the surname.
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