Doctor Who: Tin Dog Podcast
The Top Rated Doctor Who Podcast. One fan, One mic and an opinion. What more does anyone need? Daleks, TARDIS, Cybermen, Sontarans, Ood, Classic Series, Torchwood, Sarah Jane Smith and New Who. Home of Whostrology and the Big Finish Retrospective.

Bad Wolf

The words Bad Wolf as aerosol graffiti on the TARDIS in "Aliens of London"
The words Bad Wolf as aerosol graffiti on the TARDIS in "Aliens of London"

The first arc word of the new series, "Bad Wolf", began to crop up in various ways starting from the second episode, "The End of the World", and then grew in prominence, leading to much fan speculation over the course of the series as to what the phrase referred to and what its ultimate significance would be. In this respect, the phrase was also a form of viral marketing.

There was little clue to the meaning of the phrase until "The Parting of the Ways", where it was revealed to be a message spread by Rose Tyler throughout time after infusing herself with the power of the heart of the TARDIS. Having infused herself with the power of the time vortex, Rose gained seemingly infinite reality warping abilities with which she obliterated a Dalek fleet, before this fatal energy was removed from her by the Doctor. Describing herself as "see[ing] the whole of time and space", the extent of Rose's actions remains unclear. She revived Jack Harkness, an event which made him immortal, perhaps purposefully, and also acted as the catalyst for the Ninth Doctor's regeneration into the Tenth.

I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself. I take the words. I scatter them ... in time, and space. A message to lead myself here.

—Rose Tyler in "The Parting of the Ways".

Bad Wolf arc

The phrase first appeared in the second episode of the 2005 series, and then in every story of that series thereafter. It also occasionally appeared in the 2006 and 2007 series.

Within the 2005 series of Doctor Who, the arc comprised the following episodes:

  • "The Long Game": One of the several thousand television channels being broadcast from Satellite Five is BAD WOLFTV.
  • "Father's Day": A poster advertising a rave in 1987 has the words "BAD WOLF" defacing it.
  • "Boom Town": A nuclear power plant is dubbed the Blaidd Drwg project, which is Welsh for "Bad Wolf". The Doctor also mentions for the first time that the phrase had been following them around.
  • "Bad Wolf"/"The Parting of the Ways": The corporation that runs the Game Station (formerly Satellite Five) is called the Badwolf Corporation. It is from this corporation's logo that Rose "takes the words" to scatter throughout Time and Space, resulting in the other appearances of the phrase. It is also in scattered graffiti around Rose's council estate, including on a poster tacked to the wall behind Rose's head in the café scene and in giant letters on a paved recreation ground. The latter is faded, but still visible, in "New Earth".

Since the initial arc, the phrase Bad Wolf has reappeared in the background of many other scenes. 2007 series episode "Gridlock" features the Japanese word Akurō, Japanese for "evil wolf", labelled on poster in a car. Torchwood episode "Captain Jack Harkness" featured the phrase as graffiti in a Welsh dance hall, and in Torchwood book Another Life by Peter Anghelides, a large part of the plot revolves around the Blaidd Drwg nuclear power station. In a re-creation of classic Second Doctor serial The Invasion , the animators slipped a Bad Wolf on the wall where Zoe scribbled the phone number. Other allusions since "The Parting of the Ways" include the 2006 series episode "Tooth and Claw", in which the Host mentions that Rose has "seen [the wolf] too", and that there is "something of the wolf about [her]".

The phrase reappeared in the 2008 series episode "Turn Left": At the end of this episode all text turns into "Bad Wolf", including the backlit signs and the board on the front of the TARDIS. This is described by the Doctor to be the end of the universe. There was an earlier visual reference in the 2008 series: one of the drawings by the little girl (in episode "Forest of the Dead") featured a blonde girl and a wolf.

The phrase was similarly used as a precursor explanation of possible inconsistencies, such as in "Love & Monsters",[4] effectively attributing them to the actions of Rose as the Bad Wolf during "The Parting of the Ways". As the phrase is a reminder of the connection between the Doctor and Rose, it appears explicitly in their final farewell; in "Doomsday", the Doctor projects an image to say goodbye to Rose on a beach in the Norway of the parallel Earth called "Dårlig ulv stranden", which she translates as "Bad Wolf Bay". (In actuality, it can be translated to "Bad Wolf Beach").

Also on the Doctor Who website, the Captain Jack monster file for Judoon, there is a advert for good wolf insurance.

Other media

The tie-in websites set up by the BBC to accompany the series also featured appearances of the phrase. The "Who is Doctor Who?" site featured a clip from "World War Three" with an American newsreader. This clip differed from the one shown in the broadcast version in only one respect: the newsreader was identified as "Mal Loup", French for "bad wolf". At one point, the Doctor is described as being off "making another decision for us, all 'I'm the big bad wolf and it's way past your bedtime.'"

The UNIT website also used "badwolf" as a password to enter the "secure" areas of the website. The Geocomtex website's support page has BADWOLF transcribed in Morse Code, and its products page make mention of Lupus and Nocens variants for their "node stabilisers" (lupus nocens is Latin for "wolf who harms"). They also offered "Argentum Ordnance", argentum being Latin for "silver" — silver bullets being traditionally used for killing werewolves.

In the background image of the BBC Doctor Who website's TARDISODE page, the words "BAD WOLF" can be seen scrawled behind Mickey Smith.[5] The graffiti can also be seen in the background of Rose Tyler's character page.[6]

In one of the areas in the Ghostwatch game, "BAD WOLF" is written as graffiti on a wall.

The phrase occurs in some of the New Series Adventures, the BBC Books range of spin-off novels based on the new series. The Ninth Doctor Adventures run concurrently with the 2005 series.

  • In The Deviant Strain, also by Richards, a psychic character tells Rose that he fears "The bad wolf... The man with the wolf on his arm." Later, this character is indirectly killed by another character who has a tattoo of a wolf on his arm.

The phrase also appears in later Tenth Doctor novels, such as Peacemaker a character says the Doctor is 'the man who defeated the Bad Wolf'.

There were two "Bad Wolf" references in the Doctor Who Magazine Ninth Doctor comic strips. In Part Two of The Love Invasion (DWM #356, May 2005), there is a poster on the wall of a pub reading "Bad Wolf". In Part One of A Groatsworth of Wit (DWM #363, December 2005), a tavern sign in Elizabethan London features a picture of a wolf's head and the initials "B.W."

A motorcycle gang in the Torchwood Magazine comic Jetsam is named Blaid Drwg.

Category:Information -- posted at: 9:22 AM