Bad Wolf was a meme created by "the Bad Wolf" to inspire Rose Tyler to save the Ninth Doctor from the Game Station. (TV: The Parting of the Ways) It also prefigured the return of Rose into the Tenth Doctor's life, following his regeneration, as well as the crisis they would face together. (TV: Turn Left) "Bad Wolf" was thus both warning for the end of the universe and signpost.
During the Doctor's ninth incarnation
TARDIS graffiti was the Doctor's first known direct encounter with the phrase. The phrase was most commonly found in graffiti during the 20th and 21st centuries (TV: Aliens of London, Father's Day, The Parting of the Ways, Captain Jack Harkness), but the first chronological occurrence was in 1592, where a tavern sign shown a picture of a wolf's head and the initials "B.W.". (COMIC: A Groatsworth of Wit) It later occurred in 1869, when Gwyneth, a parlour maid and clairvoyant, looked into Rose's mind and declared she had seen "the Big Bad Wolf". (TV: The Unquiet Dead)
The first occurrence of the phrase in the Doctor's and Rose's timestream was in the year 5,000,000,000 on Platform One orbiting the soon-to-be-destroyed Earth. The Moxx of Balhoon told the Face of Boe that the current situation was "the classic Bad Wolf scenario". (TV: The End of the World) Bad Wolf was on one of the posters for ENERGIZE. (TV: Father's Day)
It appeared in other languages as well. It was used on a Nazi bomb in World War II, the "Schlechter Wolf" (TV: The Doctor Dances) and a nuclear power station built in September 2006, the Blaidd Drwg power station. (TV: Boom Town)
The phrase became more common in the years 199,909 to 200,100, when the Dalek-controlled Bad Wolf Corporation and the television channel "Bad WolfTV" made use of it (TV: The Long Game, Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways)
It turned out that to save the Doctor's life, Rose Tyler had opened the Doctor's TARDIS, looked into its heart and become the Bad Wolf entity. She then used her seemingly unlimited reality-warping powers to destroy the Dalek Imperial Fleet and spread the Bad Wolf meme throughout space and time, so she would realise she could use the TARDIS to save the Doctor (thereby creating an ontological paradox). Rose was later restored when the Doctor saved her life by taking the Time Vortex energy from the Heart out of her body and regenerating. (TV: The Parting of the Ways, Children in Need Special)
After Bad Wolf
Although the influence that had created the Bad Wolf meme had been removed from Rose by the time of the Doctor's regeneration, echoes remained. The playground chalk drawing of "Bad Wolf" was still faintly visible after Rose and he returned to Earth after his regeneration. (TV: The Christmas Invasion)
In 1879, the Host, a human boy under control of a werewolf's bite, stated that Rose had "something of the wolf about her." Because the wolf was also very hostile, it could be considered a literal interpretation of the Bad Wolf. (TV: Tooth and Claw) The Torchwood Institute's files on Rose Tyler were corrupted by the Bad Wolf virus (TV: Love & Monsters) and, after the Doctor and Rose had been separated in different universes, the last hole through the Void linking them led into "Dårlig Ulv Stranden" (Bad Wolf Bay) in Norway. (TV: Doomsday) It also appeared in the year 5,000,000,053, inside a New New York car. (TV: Gridlock)
While Donna Noble was travelling with the Doctor, it appeared on a wall in Pompeii. (TV: The Fires of Pompeii) A red wolf was spray-painted onto the wall of an alley in England during the Sontaran/Atmos crisis. It was seen in a poster advertising the play "Bad Wolf" in an abandoned opera house that the humans were using on the planet Messaline. (TV: The Doctor's Daughter) It could even be said to have been seen in the virtual reality of Charlotte Lux' house, wherein her living room had two pictures: one of a wolf and another of a blonde girl. (TV: Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead)
Although is unclear whether there was any overt connection to the meme, an insurance company named Good Wolf is known to have existed, and a board game (title unknown) was known to have "BAD WOLF" as one of the spaces. (Captain Jack's Monster Files: Judoon and Trickster's Brigade)
When Donna was forced to alter her own past, creating a parallel world around herself, Rose Tyler entered this reality, but she was very cautious about revealing her identity or her knowledge of events. "One word in the wrong place," she warned, "can change an entire causal nexus". Thus, special significance may be attached to the fact that she whispered the words, "bad wolf" in Donna's ear only when the Donna of Donna's World was about to die. The "real" Donna vaguely remembered the words whispered to her other self, which she told to the Tenth Doctor. Immediately, the whole of Shan Shen was covered with the words "bad wolf". Even the Doctor's TARDIS was altered to include the phrase on all of its exterior signs. Donna asked what this meant, and the Doctor told her it meant the end of the universe. (TV: Turn Left)
The words "Bad Wolf" appeared in graffiti on the landing of the Ritz stairway, shortly before Jack Harkness and Toshiko Sato were sent backwards in time to 1941. (TV: Captain Jack Harkness) At around the same time, Cardiff had a motorcycle gang Blaidd Drwg. (COMIC: Jetsam)
A secure area of the UNIT website used Bad Wolf as a password. (WEB: unit.org.uk) A clip on Mickey Smith's website identified Trinity Wells as Mal Loup (word-to-word French for Bad Wolf). (WEB: whoisdoctorwho.co.uk)
Behind the scenes
- The UNIT website (unit.org.uk) had "badwolf" as the password to one of its secure areas.
- A clip on Mickey Smith's website identified the newsreader who reported the spaceship crash into Big Ben tower as "Mal Loup", (approximative) French for "Bad Wolf". Mickey also described the Ninth Doctor on the same site as "making another decision for us, all 'I'm the big bad wolf and it's way past your bedtime.'" (WEB: whoisdoctorwho.co.uk)
- In the FAQ of the Geocomtex website, the correct sequence of the pins in the first question is Morse Code for badwolf.
- In Captain Jack's Monster Files for the Trickster's Brigade on the official website (here), one of the many squares on the board game, seen around 2:52 into the video, shows Bad Wolf.
In an animated reconstruction of a scene from TV: The Invasion from that story's DVD release, "Bad Wolf" appears as graffiti on Isobel Watkins's wall. (The character liked to write reminder notes for herself on the wall.)