a real world point of view
|Adapted from:||Human Nature|
|Featuring:||John Smith, Joan, Tim|
|Main enemy:||Family of Blood, Animated scarecrows|
|Main setting:||Farringham, 1913|
|Premiere broadcast:||26 May 2007|
|Premiere network:||BBC One|
|Format:||1x45 minute episode|
|42||The Family of Blood|
|Blink||The Family of Blood|
Human Nature was the eighth episode of the third series of Doctor Who. It introduced the Chameleon arch and its ability to change Time Lord DNA, making the Doctor human. The episode was based on a novel of the same name.
England 1913, school teacher John Smith experiences amazing dreams of living an incredible life as a mysterious adventurer called "the Doctor", fighting monsters and seeing far away worlds. Is this man JUST a look-a-like of the real Doctor with a psychic link, or could there be another answer for all this?
The Tenth Doctor and Martha barely make it into the TARDIS as some sort of energy weapon discharges behind them. After ascertaining that their pursuers had not seen their faces, the Doctor explains that they are being pursued by aliens who have stolen a Time Agent's vortex manipulator and can follow the TARDIS anywhere.
The Doctor sees only one way out: since their pursuers have the lifespan of three months, he and Martha can hide from them until they die naturally. Only problem is they can track him by scent, and being the ONLY Time Lord makes his scent very unique. The Doctor explains that's why he has to stop being one; he hands her a pocket watch, explaining that it's him. Martha is immediately confused, so he explains that he is going to put his Time Lord consciousness in the watch while he uses the TARDIS' Chameleon Arch to transform himself into a human. The TARDIS will invent a life story for him and randomly pick an era to land in; he should have just enough residual awareness to let her in, but she'll have to improvise her own story as the same thing can't be done for her.
A few months later, in November 1913, schoolteacher John Smith is settling into his new job at the Farringham School for Boys, ably assisted by his maid, Martha. A quiet, introspective, and somewhat absent-minded man, John finds a creative outlet in a journal he keeps of his strange and vivid dreams. Fascinated by his extraordinary dreams of adventures in space and time, he begins to confide in Matron Joan Redfern, the school's nurse. She finds the journal amusing, even noting a character named "Rose" appears in it, but vanishes later. Martha overhears this and can only feel sad for the Doctor.
Meanwhile, a group of John's students are studying in their dormitory room. One of them, Timothy Latimer, is bullied by a fellow student, Hutchinson, as much for his obvious intelligence as for his uncanny and unsettling ability to know things he shouldn't or couldn't possibly know. Another student, Jeremy Baines, tires of teasing Latimer and announces to Hutchinson and the others that he knows the location of a secret stash of beer in the woods, and will bring some back for the boys to enjoy in secret. He sneaks out by climbing down a ladder outside his window.
At the same time, Martha is freezing outside the local pub, complaining to her fellow maid, Jenny, that it's not fair that they have to freeze outside just to have a beer. Her modern attitude amuses Jenny, who wonders where she gets such ideas. Martha then notices a green lights shooting through the sky; John Smith arrives and greets them, explaining shooting stars to them. Martha doubts this, being exceptionally careful to protect the Doctor. She runs off to investigate with Jenny following her.Baines has just found the cache of beer, in the woods near the school, when he sees a strange green light land on the field just beyond the woods. Curious, he investigates the light source, and stumbles across an entrance to an invisible spaceship. Martha and Jenny arrive just moments after the ship briefly became visible, but missed seeing it as the cloaking device turned back on.
Inside the ships, Baines talks with the owners, who he can't see, who call themselves the Family. He wonders why he cannot see them, making the Family ask why he would what to see them. Baines answers that it's because he wants to know what they look like. A raspy female voice explains that it can be easily done as soon, they will look very familiar. Baines screams in terror.
Hutchinson and the other boys are getting impatient when Baines returns, without the secret stash of beer. He is also behaving unusually, sniffing the air as though he has a cold. His eyes are also open completely, but none of the other boys seem to notice, saying theres another stash somewhere else.
Martha rides out on a bike to an old hut, which houses the TARDIS on emergency power to keep it hidden from the Family. She enters and greets the time machine, something's that makes her think she is cracking up now. She turns on a recording the Doctor made prior to enacting his plan. She reviews the entire thing, but finds nothing pertaining to the strange sighting. She now worries that she may have to bring the Doctor back if they have found them, as it was the last resort the message said to use in that scenario.
Joan asks John to sketch her in his journal, being surprised at how beautiful she is in his eyes. They kiss as Martha walks in on them by accident. She excuses herself, mumbling that it wasn't on the Doctor's list. She finds refuge in the TARDIS, and reviews instructions. But the instructions are notably lacking: the Doctor did not foresee that his human self might fall in love, obviously something he NEVER thinks of. However, she is more concerned about the strange green "shooting star", something the Doctor didn't mention either. On the subject about "John Smith" falling in love, Martha is annoyed and depressed that it wasn't her he fell in love with.
Meanwhile, Tim Latimer is summoned to John Smith's office to retrieve a book. While Smith looks for it, Latimer is drawn to the pocket watch that contains the Tenth Doctor's Time Lord memories and abilities. The boy opens it, briefly seeing the Doctor's world, but closes it quickly as he hears Smith approaching. Latimer slips the watch into his pocket and scurries away, unnerved. This simple action has made turning the Doctor back to normal a very hard task now.
Latimer inspects his prize, unaware that each time he opens the watch, a diffuse trace is detected by the pursuers, who now number three, as the Family have possessed two other villagers: Mr. Clark from nearby Oakham Farm becomes the Family's Father, and schoolgirl Lucy Cartwright becomes the Daughter.
On a walk together, Joan informs John that he wrote about a war starting the next year, but he dismisses the idea, hoping peace will reign. As he continues talking, he notices a woman and her carriage getting dangerously close to a piano on a rope. Instinctively seeking to save her, John grabs a nearby boy's cricket ball and tosses it to start a chain of events that stop the woman just as the piano comes crashing down just feet away from her. Joan is impressed, but Smith says it was luck. He then asks her to the dance that night. Walking back to the school Joan tells John that she thinks that "the Doctor" is the kinda of man he wants to be and his dreams are his subconscious' way of trying to get to be so. They notice a scarecrow askew and John fixes it. Joan asks him where he learned and he reflexively says Gallifrey. However, when questioned about its location, John isn't sure.Meanwhile, the Family uses scarecrows as their mindless soldiers to capture Jenny, Martha's fellow maid, and Mother of Mine possesses her. Jenny then returns to the school and engages Martha in conversation. Martha quickly realises Jenny has been taken over. She runs to Smith, who is with Redfern preparing to go to the village dance that evening. She finds that the watch is gone, and tries in vain to restore him to his Time Lord configuration without it. However, Smith assumes Martha is delusional and thinks his fictional stories are real. Annoyed, Martha slaps Smith, telling him to wake up. Smith, shocked at Martha's behaviour, promptly fires her and leaves for the village dance with Nurse Redfern.
The Family break into Smith's office and search it, as the scent is traced back to him. They find the flier for the dance and decide to follow. At the same time, Martha has arrived with the sonic screwdriver, prompting Joan to admit she feels something off about John. Smith, having enough of Martha's "games" is left speechless when she shows him the device he's seen in his dreams. Latimer is still watching Smith from a distance, curious about him. The Family crashes the dance, demanding Smith tell them what he knows. However, Daughter had been there as well and overheard Martha's attempts to get the Doctor's memory back, telling her Family the Time Lord is within their grasp.
However, Smith easily points out that he is human without any memories of the person he was before. Son of Mine is amused, seeing the Doctor went as far as erasing his memory along with changing his biology. As the Doctor is useless to them like this, they try forcing him to change back by threatening him. A rather poorly-thought-of plan as he cannot do something he does not know how to do. Remembering Martha said Joan was important to him, the Family takes both hostage. They wonder which will the Doctor choose as his sacrifice to make him change back.
- The Doctor/John Smith - David Tennant
- Martha Jones - Freema Agyeman
- Joan Redfern - Jessica Hynes
- Jenny - Rebekah Staton
- Tim Latimer - Thomas Sangster
- Jeremy Baines - Harry Lloyd
- Hutchinson - Tom Palmer
- Farmer Clark - Gerald Horan
- Lucy Cartwright - Lauren Wilson
- Mr Rocastle - Pip Torrens
- Mr Phillips - Matthew White
- Doorman - Derek Smith
- Mr Chambers - Peter Bourke
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
The Doctor Edit
- In Smith's sketchbook there are sketches of: a Dalek, Moxx of Balhoon, Rose Tyler, Clockwork Droids, Cybus Cyberman (head), Captain Jack Harkness, a Raxacoricofallapatorian, and gas masks from the gas mask virus. There are also clear sketches of the First, Seventh and Eighth Doctors, and partial appearances of sketches of the Fifth and Sixth Doctors.
- The watch at one point is heard to say the first and the last of the Time Lords, this could be a reference to the Cartmell masterplan which culminated in the seventh Doctor novel Lungbarrow
Foods and beverages Edit
- John Smith teaches a lesson on Napoléon Bonaparte's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815.
- Smith lends Timothy the book The Definitive Account of Mafeking by Aitchinson Price, a history of the Siege of Mafeking.
- In the visual flashes, a Dalek, Cybermen, Ood, Sycorax, werewolf, Racnoss and Richard Lazarus appear briefly, as well as the Doctor using his sonic screwdriver.
- The Doctor says the watch has a perception filter on it.
- The weapons used by the Family are sonic.
Story notes Edit
- When the Doctor is speaking to Joan he names his parents as Sydney and Verity. This is clearly a reference to Sydney Newman, the original creator of Doctor Who, and Verity Lambert, the first producer.
- This is the first occurrence of an explicitly racist comment within the new series directed at a companion.
- Radio Times credits David Tennant as 'John Smith', and not the Doctor. On-screen credits read 'The Doctor/Smith'.
- During the video instructions that the Doctor has recorded for Martha, a deleted scene for the episode reveals that instruction number five stated that the Doctor hated pears (before a number of improvised statements by Tennant that were intended to be "fast forwarded" when shown). The declaration of the Doctor's distaste for pears was removed, and the fast forward implemented just before this instruction was said, as the BBC felt that it may encourage children to stop eating pears.
- The BBC logo does not appear on screen at any point during the episode, whereas it usually appears at the beginning of the cold opening or during the opening titles.
- In the beginning of the episode, when John Smith is walking through the school, the old Bunyan hymn To be a Pilgrim is heard. The lyrics may be taken to reference the return of the Master, and even his ship the Valiant.
- As is routine for post-2005 Doctor Who, a "NEXT TIME" trailer for the next episode is shown at the end of the episode.
- 7.1 million (overnight)
- 7.74 million (final ratings)
- 0.87 million (BBC3 repeat ratings)
Filming locations Edit
- Llandaff Cathedral, Llandaff, Cardiff
- St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff
- Tredegar House, Newport
- Treberfydd House, Llangasty, Brecon
- BBC Broadcasting House, Llandaff, Cardiff
- Cwm Ifor Farm, Caerphilly
Production errors Edit
- Joan puts her stethoscope in her ears backwards when listening to John Smith's single heart.
- When John Smith throws the cricket ball to stop the baby carriage from reaching where the piano is going to fall, the rope is revealed snapping just seconds after the ball has left his hand. In the wide shot showing the aftermath, the carriage is a good fifteen feet from the crashed piano.
- The Dalek in the flashback has an inversed symbol whereas in the actual scene the symbol's written position is different.
- The visual flashes come from: TV: Dalek, Rise of the Cybermen, The Impossible Planet, The Christmas Invasion, Tooth and Claw, Army of Ghosts, The Runaway Bride and The Lazarus Experiment.
- Perception filters were first mentioned by Captain Jack Harkness in TV: Everything Changes. They later play a large role in TV: Utopia, The Sound of Drums, and The Lodger.
- The music signature for Lucy Cartwright is extremely similar to that of the young girl who is used as the Renegade Daleks' Battle computer in TV: Remembrance of the Daleks.
- When Joan asks where he learned to draw, John Smith automatically replies Gallifrey. Joan asks if it is in Ireland. This is similar to the dialogue between the Fourth Doctor and his examiner in TV: The Hand of Fear.
- At one point when the watch is opened, the Doctor is heard saying, "You Are Not Alone". This was said by the Face of Boe in TV: Gridlock and plays an important part in TV: Utopia. Also when the watch is opened, the Doctor is heard saying, "I've always wanted to do that", a phrase he has used during his tenth incarnation.
- Martha's Myspace blog states that she and the Doctor were attending the 2007 Eurovision concert when the Family found them. [source needed]
- This story introduced the Chameleon Arch, which would play a major role in TV: Utopia.
- The Tenth Doctor is seen eating a pear. In the novel on which this episode is based, PROSE: Human Nature, the Seventh Doctor hated pears. (A deleted scene included with the DVD release of the episode would have established the Tenth Doctor had the same dislike).
- The sketches in Smith's sketchbook marked the first visual acknowledgement in the revived series of any incarnations predating that of the Ninth Doctor, although TV: School Reunion previously re-established the fact that there were incarnations prior to the Ninth.
- This sketchbook was also seen in TV: Rose, when Rose is questioning Clive Finch about the Doctor. He shows her the book and references the role of "The Doctor" being passed down from father to son, a misinterpretation of the multiple regenerations of the Doctor.
- While talking about John's "Journal Of Impossible Things", Joan mentions that there is "a girl in every fireplace." (TV: The Girl in the Fireplace)
- The Tenth Doctor throws a cricket ball at a pile of scaffolding poles, which sets off a chain of events that knocks over a milk churn in front of a woman with a baby carriage before a piano falls down on them both, demonstrating his remarkable pitching aim. The Tenth Doctor previously hurtled a satsuma at a button on board the ship of the Sycorax, which opened a panel underneath the Sycorax leader as he charged the Doctor from behind with a sword, and made him plummet to his death. (TV: The Christmas Invasion)
Home video releases Edit
- This episode has been released with The Family of Blood and Blink on the Series 3 Volume 3 DVD.
- It is also part of the series 3 DVD box set.
See also Edit
- Official BBC Website - Episode Guide: Human Nature
- Detailed synopsis of Human Nature at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- Human Nature at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Human Nature at The Locations Guide