A Doctor A Day – “Tooth and Claw”
Kung-Fu Monks, a werewolf, and Queen Victoria. Rest assured that when someone threatens his friends, The Doctor will fight them…
TOOTH AND CLAW
by Russell T Davies
Directed by Euros Lyn
“Am I being rude again?”
Aiming for 1979 and an Ian Dury concert, The Doctor lands in 1879, and in Scotland. The TARDIS lands in the course of Queen Victoria, who is on the way to have the Koh-I-Noor, the prize diamond of the crown jewels, recut. Quickly presenting his psychic paper, he and Rose join the party as it stops off at Torchwood House, home of Sir Robert MacLeish and his family. What the royal coterie don’t know is that the house has been taken over by a band of monks who are in possession of a honest to Harry werewolf. They plan to have the beast bite the Queen, infect her, and through her, take over the nation, and the Empire. Sir Robert is forced to cooperate as the monks have taken his wife and most of the female house staff hostage, and if he disobeys they will be slaughtered,
It’s revealed that Prince Albert and Sir Robert’s father were friends for years, and shared an affinity for both science and folktales. Sir Robert’s father had designed what appears to be a massive telescope, but The Doctor quickly notices it’s oddly designed – too many mirrors and prisms. As the evening proceeds, Sir Robert desperately tries to clue the party to the danger, and over dinner, as he tells the tale of the werewolf that’s been haunting the moors for almost 300 years does the Doctor make the connection. As the full moon rises overhead, the werewolf begins his transformation, and the monks, posing as the staff, overpower the soldiers.
It turns out that the house has been prepared for this assault. The library has been warded with the oil of the mistletoe plant, which the werewolf cannot bear to touch. And the telescope is just the opposite – it’s a light cannon, powered by moonlight, and the Koh-I-Noor is the focusing device. So with the help of the planning of Prince Albert and Sir Robert’s father, the monster is defeated. Queen Victoria is happy to have been saved, but is horrified at The Doctor and the life he leads. She banishes The Doctor from England, and founds the Torchwood Institute to study the stars and defend the Empire from its threats… including The Doctor.
As opposed to last season where the arc plot was barely mentioned, just nearly subliminal mentions of the “Bad Wolf” phrase, this season the concept is in plain sight. Torchwood was mentioned as a plot point in The Christmas Invasion, and now we see its inception. Not a bad start for a word that was nothing more than an anagram to disguise the tapes going back to the BBC.
Of COURSE when The Doctor has to pick a Scottish name, he’s going to pick Jamie McCrimmon. Jamie was a Companion during the Troughton years, and came back for both the twentieth anniversary adventure, and the Colin Baker adventure The Two Doctors. The other half of the joke is not as obvious to American viewers – “Balamory” is a BBC children’s show set in the titular town, on an island off the coast of Scotland. And of course, David Tennant is Scots, so we actually hear his proper accent in this episode when The Doctor is “affecting” one.
This is the second time that a diamond was used as the focus of a light weapon, as opposed to a more scientifically accurate ruby. The Horror of Fang Rock featured a cruse laser cannon made from a lighthouse and a diamond by the fourth Doctor.
That mad crazy Crouching Tiger stunt near the beginning of the episode took a full day to film. Quite an extravagance for a TV show, but well worth it for the moment.
- A Doctor A Day – “The Christmas Invasion” (comicmix.com)