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New Series Episodes 9 & 10:
The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances

Plot

The Doctor and Rose pursue a mysterious object in the time vortex to 1941 London, in the middle of the Blitz. The Doctor discovers that the city is being haunted by an eerie child, his face covered by a gas mask. Rose, meanwhile, is saved from certain death during an air raid by Captain Jack Harkness -- who, like the TARDIS crew, is a man from another time and place.

Production

Of the three two-part stories earmarked for the new Doctor Who series' first season, only one was not scripted by executive producer Russell T Davies. This appeared in his autumn 2003 pitch document under the titles “World War II” and “Captain Jax”, and was designed to introduce the season's third and final companion. Davies originally envisaged Jax (masquerading under the alias “Jack Harkness”) as an interstellar alien soldier who befriends the Doctor but intimidates Rose. He was to be tracking an escaped child-creature, the story's antagonist.

To write the two-parter, Davies secured the services of Steven Moffat, who had contacted Davies in September 2003, immediately upon the announcement of Doctor Who's return to television. Although “World War II” and “Captain Jax ” formed what was in essence a spooky historical, the award-winning Moffat was largely known for comedy, writing such series as Coupling, Joking Apart and Press Gang. As well, he scripted the 1999 Doctor Who Comedy Relief spoof The Curse Of Fatal Death starring Rowan Atkinson, and contributed to Virgin Publishing's Decalog 3: Consequences anthology in 1996.

Moffat's episodes gained the titles The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. He abandoned the new companion's “Jax” identity (partly because of a recent proliferation of similarly-named recurring characters in various Doctor Who spin-off media, including Trix in the Eighth Doctor novels from BBC Books and Hex in Big Finish Productions' series of audio plays) and made Jack a human conman from the future. In the process, Moffat altered Jack's relationship with Rose, as well as the nature of Davies' original “child-creature”. The eponymous Empty Child would now be the result of Chula technology -- the name coming from an Indian restaurant where Moffat and fellow new series scribes Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss and Robert Shearman had celebrated their Doctor Who contracts in February 2004. Early drafts of the adventure included the character of Jamie's father, who would silently and anonymously appear to aid Nancy and the war orphans. The climactic discovery of his true identity would be accompanied by the revelation that he is German, providing an alternative motivation to Nancy's shame. The nanogenes were originally called “nanites” but this was changed because of concerns about the same term's usage in the Star Trek franchise.

Casting for Captain Jack Harkness began around June, with executive producer Julie Gardner asking that the production team consider John Barrowman. Barrowman, who was born in Scotland but raised in Illinois, had starred in a number of West End musicals. In 1998, he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in the category of Best Actor in a Musical for The Fix. On television, Barrowman had starred in two short-lived nighttime soap operas in the United States: Central Park West and Titans.

Originally, the season's fourth recording block was to include only The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. For logistical reasons this plan changed slightly, with the two episodes now forming “Block 4B” alongside “Block 4A”, which consisted solely of The Long Game. Blocks 4A and 4B were helmed by different directors all the same, however, with James Hawes tapped to handle the two-part story. Hawes had directed episodes of several television series, including The Bill, Holby City and Sea Of Souls.

Only two days of production occurred during 2004, with special effects shots completed at Unit Q2 in Newport on December 17th and 18th. Work resumed in 2005 with four days at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary, starting on January 4th. The location had been used as Albion Hospital earlier in the season (for Aliens Of London) and so it was made explicit in the script that this was an earlier incarnation of the same facility. Alley scenes were filmed off Womanby Street in Cardiff on the 9th and 10th; the latter day also took Doctor Who back to Headlands School in Penarth (used for The Unquiet Dead) which was now dressed as the speakeasy. More work at the Infirmary followed, from January 11th to 14th.

In order to achieve the necessary height, Rose dangling from the barrage balloon was filmed in a hangar at RAF St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan, on January 17th. Taping then shifted to the studio at Unit Q2 from the 18th to the 20th, where material aboard Jack's ship and in the TARDIS was completed. The next major location was the Chula vessel's crash site, on the premises of Vale of Glamorgan Railway Ltd. Recording there began on January 21st and continued from the 23rd to the 27th. A house on Bargoed Street in Grangetown then posed as the exterior of the Lloyds' premises. Sequences set in the dwelling's interior were performed on January 31st and February 7th at Unit Q2, along with more TARDIS footage.

Glamorgan House in Cardiff was the location for the officers' club on February 8th. The 8th and 9th were also the dates for recording model sequences, at the BBC Model Unit Stage in London. The final scenes in the Lloyds' home were then recorded in Newport on the 9th and 11th. By this point, it was found that The Doctor Dances was running short, and so Moffat quickly wrote the scene in which Nancy returns to warn the orphans, during which the Empty Child possesses the typewriter. This was taped at Unit Q2 on February 25th, bringing production to a close.

Sources

Original Transmission
1: The Empty Child
Date 21st May 2005
Time 6.29pm
Duration 41'46"
Viewers (more) 7.1m (21st)
· BBC1 7.1m
Appreciation 84%
2: The Doctor Dances
Date 28th May 2005
Time 7.00pm
Duration 42'50"
Viewers (more) 6.9m (18th)
· BBC1 6.9m
Appreciation 85%


Cast
Doctor Who
Christopher Eccleston
Rose Tyler
Billie Piper
Nightclub Singer
Kate Harvey
(more)
The Child
Albert Valentine
Nancy
Florence Hoath
Mrs Lloyd
Cheryl Fergison
Mr Lloyd
Damian Samuels
Jack Harkness
John Barrowman
Algy
Robert Hands
Jim
Joseph Tremain
Ernie
Jordan Murphy
Alf
Brandon Miller
Dr Constantine
Richard Wilson
Voice of The Empty Child
Noah Johnson
Computer Voice
Dian Perry
Timothy Lloyd
Luke Perry
Jenkins
Martin Hodgson
Mrs Harcourt
Vilma Hollingbery


Crew
Written by
Steven Moffat
Directed by
James Hawes
Produced by
Phil Collinson
(more)

1st Assistant Director
Jon Older
2nd Assistant Director
Steffan Morris
3rd Assistant Director
Dan Mumford
Location Manager
Llyr Morus
Unit Manager
Justin Gyphion
Production Co-ordinator
Jess van Niekerk
A/Production Accountants
Debi Griffiths
Kath Blackman
Continuity
Non Eleri Hughes
Script Editor
Helen Raynor
Camera Operator
Martin Stephens
Focus Puller
Mark Isaac
Grip
John Robinson
Boom Operator
Damian Richardson
Gaffer
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Peter Chester
Stunt Co-ordinator
Lee Sheward
Stunt Performer
Kim McGarrity
Art Dept Co-ordinator
Gwenllian Llwyd
Concept Artist
Bryan Hitch
Production Buyer
Catherine Samuel
Set Decorator
Liz Griffiths
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Standby Art Director
Arwel Jones
Property Master
Adrian Anscombe
Construction Manager
Andrew Smith
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Trystan Howell
Graphic Artist
Jenny Bowers
Wardrobe Supervisor
Yolanda Peart-Smith
Make-Up Supervisor
Linda Davie
Make-Up Artists
Claire Pritchard
Steve Williams
Casting Associate
Kirsty Robertson
Assistant Editors
Ceres Doyle
Jamie Adams
Post Production Supervisor
Marie Brown
2D VFX Artists
David Bowman
Alberto Montanes
Astrid Busser-Casas
Jennifer Herbert
Simon C Holden
Sara Bennett
Michael Harrison
Bronwyn Edwards
3D VFX Artists
Andy Howell
Matt McKinney
Jean-Claude Deguara
Paul Burton
Chris Petts
Nicolas Hernandez
Nick Webber
Mark Wallman
Digital Matte Painter
Alexander Fort
On Line Editors
Matthew Clarke
Zoe Cassey
Colourist
Jamie Wilkinson
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
Dialogue Editor
Paul McFadden
Sound FX Editor
Paul Jefferies
Picture Publicist
Francine Holdgate
Finance Manager
Richard Pugsley
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Accountant
Endaf Emyr Williams
Sound Recordist
Ian Richardson
Costume Designer
Lucinda Wright
Make-Up Designer
Davy Jones
Music
Murray Gold
Special Effects
Any Effects
Visual Effects
The Mill
Prosthetics
Millennium Effects
Visual FX Producer
Will Cohen
Visual FX Supervisor
Dave Houghton
Editor
Liana del Giudice
Production Designer
Edward Thomas
Director of Photography
Ernie Vincze BSC
Production Manager
Tracie Simpson
Associate Producer
Helen Vallis
Executive Producers
Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Mal Young


Working Titles
Episode 1
World War II
Episode 2
Captain Jax


Media
DVD Releases
Doctor Who: Series 1 Volume 3 (2005; single disc)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Doctor Who: The Complete First Series (2005; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Doctor Who: Series 1-4 Box Set (2009; boxed set)
Buy: UK

Updated 17th October 2009