Doctor Who: Boom Town   Rewatch 
September 3, 2014 3:00 PM - Season 1, Episode 11 - Subscribe

The Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack arrive in Cardiff in the year 2005. Mickey Smith arrives by train. The Tardis is there to refuel at the Cardiff Rift formed in 1869 but whilst enjoying lunch they spot the face of the escaped Margaret Blaine (containing the Slitheen Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day.)

  • Hooray, due to extremely popular demand the Slitheen are back, just like we all wanted. *sigh*
  • Blaigg drwg, the name of the project is welsh for Bad wolf, this episode is the first where it is explicitly referenced
  • Rose mentions that she and the Doctor have been to Justicia, which is the star system that they visit in the New Series Adventures novel The Monsters Inside by Stephen Cole
  • Blon says that as a child she was threatened with being fed to venom grubs; these creatures appeared in the First Doctor serial The Web Planet (1965)
  • The actor playing Mr Cleaver, William Thomas, had previously appeared as Martin the undertaker in Remembrance of the Daleks (1988)
  • The egg Margaret turns into was a reused prop from the second episode, "The End of the World".
  • This is not the only story to be resolved with the de-ageing of an antagonist. Pangol was also regressed in time (this time to a baby) in The Leisure Hive. (1980)

posted by Just this guy, y'know (7 comments total)
I may be a sucker, but I thought the loo scene was quite poignant and unexpected.
posted by idb at 12:51 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nine years on and I'm still sad this is the only non-crisis episode with Nine/Rose/Jack(/Mickey) as a fully cohesive Team TARDIS. It's a testament to the skill and chemistry of the actors that the "parting of the ways" only a couple of episodes later is so poignant.
posted by bettafish at 2:15 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is one of my favorite episodes because it is a complete mess, yet accomplishes so much! What there is of the story doesn’t make much sense - a Slitheen masquerading as a human becomes mayor of Cardiff and has her plans to build a nuclear power station in the center of town approved only six months after Aliens of London/World War III.

Despite that premise, Davies manages to make the Slitheen sympathetic, cuts to the heart of the Doctor’s guilt over the Time War, establishes the modern time rift in Cardiff (setting the stage for Torchwood), makes the Doctor and Rose aware of Bad Wolf, has those great alternating scenes of the parrying Blon Fel-Fotch and Doctor in the restaurant and Rose/Mickey getting re-acquainted on the wharf, and foreshadows the power of looking into the heart of the TARDIS.

Fun fact: The original author for this episode couldn’t contribute a script so RTD started writing what would eventually become “The Fires of Pompeii” as a replacement. But, he was so impressed with Annette Badland as the Blon Fel-Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen in AoL/WWIII that he set aside his Pompeii script and wrote this story to bring her back.
posted by plastic_animals at 6:33 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

There's really a lot to like about "Boom Town" but my favorite thing is how it feels very much like "the cheap episode" from the first new season (not quite a bottle episode but not pretty close) when they didn't know if the show yet if the show really had a future but they still managed to pull out something neat -- which is Classic Who -- but then it also has some of the best kind of character work that is more a hallmark of the 21st century show.

I understand why the Slitheen will never be redeemable as an acceptable villain for some folks, but Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day in Margaret Blaine's skin comes as close as you could imagine.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:58 PM on September 4, 2014

I watched this right after "The Doctor Dances" and that might have been a mistake. This episode was such a let-down by comparison. I did like that they brought back the "adventure" music motif from the first episode for the chase scene.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:47 AM on September 13, 2014

The neat thing about this episode is how the heart of it is just a bunch of genuine conversations. NuWho never gets to breathe quite like this, and using it to have the villain (who is every bit a maniacal villain here) make the case for her reprieve from execution, while fleshing out Rose and Mickey, was a nice thing.

Nowhere near my favorite episode but on rewatch this weekend I gained a lot more appreciation for it.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:35 PM on June 3, 2018

Returning to this page after Songdog faved my comment (thanks!)...

It's a shame the BBC doesn't quietly update the UNIT website (the last link in the post) every once in a while. Not a major undertaking, like a site redesign, but they should have added an obituary for the Brigadier and announced Kate Stewart's appointment along with more subtle items, like updating this publication "UTE-13b – "Corporal Cooper, is that really you?" – Recognising impersonation in the field," by adding "Updated and revised with an introduction by P. Osgood." Just one or two changes a year at most to give a little nod to the show's fans.
posted by plastic_animals at 7:56 AM on September 2, 2019

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