a real world point of view
|Partners in Crime|
|Script release:||online here|
|Main enemy:||Matron Cofelia|
|Main setting:||London, 2009|
|Writer:||Russell T Davies|
|Premiere broadcast:||5 April 2008|
|Premiere network:||BBC One|
|Confidential:||A Noble Return|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|Voyage of the Damned||The Fires of Pompeii|
|The Fires of Pompeii||The Sontaran Stratagem|
Partners in Crime was the second episode of the fourth series of Doctor Who. It marked the reappearance of Catherine Tate as new regular companion Donna Noble. It also saw Sylvia Noble and Wilfred Mott return as Donna's family and Rose Tyler make a cameo appearance.
Donna Noble is determined to find the Doctor again – even if it means braving the villainous Miss Foster. But when the alien threat escalates out of control, can Donna find her Time Lord before the march of the Adipose begins at last?
Donna Noble is seen walking down a street on the way to Adipose Industries, as she is investigating them on their new weight-loss drug. What she doesn't know is that the Tenth Doctor is doing the same thing, but they fail to see each other as they ask for the same things at the same time but to different people. They are in a conference room posing as Health and Safety representatives when Penny Carter, a science reporter, starts asking Adipose Industries company manager Miss Foster what this drug does; she fails to tell her and the meeting ends. The Doctor and Donna ask different employees for customer addresses; Donna also takes a pill-shaped golden pendant - a free gift that comes with the pills.
Donna goes to the house of a woman named Stacey Campbell, while the Doctor goes and interviews a man called Roger Davey about his use of the drug. When Roger tells the Doctor that he knows he's lost a kilo of weight at around 1:10 AM because his burglar alarm keeps going off at that time (since he's gotten up, he weighs himself), the Doctor realises that it must be because of his cat-flap. Not only does it let things in, it lets them out too...
Meanwhile Donna is talking to Stacey, who is preparing to go out on a date to dump her boyfriend now her weight is going down so nicely. Stacey goes to the bathroom and it is at this point where Donna begins fiddling with her pendant; the result is a human-shaped tubby piece of fat coming out of Stacey's body. Donna, oblivious to what is occurring, then begins to investigate what is happening upstairs. Miss Foster is alerted that there has been an "unscheduled parthenogenesis" and sends out a squad team to retrieve the new Adipose child. The Doctor is also alerted of the "birth" via a Y-shaped hand-held device and runs off down the street to track it. Miss Foster then incurs "full parthenogenesis" upon Stacey (as she had witnessed the Adipose child), resulting in her entire body being converted into numerous Adipose, killing her instantly. Donna, who is now upstairs due to Stacey's screams, breaks into her bathroom just in time to see an Adipose waving to her as it jumps out the window. The Adipose Industries retrieval team scoops up the new Adipose and zooms off, just missed by both the Doctor and Donna - who give up and head off in different directions, unaware they are only a few feet away from each other. Miss Foster goes through her CCTV records with her henchmen to find out just who 'borrowed' a pendant.
Donna cancels Stacey's cab and goes home only to find her mother nagging at her, so she goes to see her grandfather Wilfred Mott who is up at the allotments stargazing. He says she looks like he's drifting, but she replies she's waiting for the right man - though, as she explains, not someone to marry. She hearkens back to TV: The Runaway Bride, saying, "I met him just once...and then I let him fly away." When Wilf urges her to look for him, Donna explains she has - but that he (the Doctor) is nowhere - after which he tells Donna to not give up on finding him, while she asks him to keep an eye out for a certain blue box and shout if he finds it. Back in the TARDIS the Doctor is also examining his readings, talking to himself for a moment before remembering that Martha has gone.
The next day Donna takes the car to Adipose Industries (despite her mum protesting because she needs the car for that evening), parking in an alleyway nearby - shortly before the TARDIS parks there. Both the Doctor and Donna hide in the building until after closing - the Doctor in a broom closet, and Donna in the toilets. Miss Foster suddenly stalks into the toilets searching for someone - and finds Penny Carter, who is hiding in the same toilets as Donna. As Penny is dragged to Miss Foster's office by her guards, Donna follows, peeking through the office door - while the Doctor zips to the roof, fiddles with a window-cleaning crane and drops down to the office window. Unable to quite see what's going on, both pop their heads up - only to spot each other! Both mouth frantic questions to each other - including the Doctor asking what Donna is doing there until Donna explains (through miming) that she was looking for trouble in hope of finding him - all the while unaware that they are being watched by Miss Foster and everybody in her office until she finally asks, "Are we interrupting you?"
Donna runs, while the Doctor locks the door with his sonic screwdriver and raises his window-cleaning cradle to the roof before racing to the stairs. The pair finally meet, but have to keep running and head back to the window-cleaning cradle to lower themselves down for a quick getaway. Before that, though, Donna explains how she went about searching for the Doctor.
'Cause I thought, "How do you find the Doctor?" And then I just thought, "Look for trouble, and then he'll turn up." So I looked everywhere - you name it. UFO sightings, crop circles, sea monsters - I looked, I found them all. That song about the bees disappearing, I thought, "I bet he's connected."
'Cause the thing is, Doctor, I believe it all now. You opened my eyes to all those amazing things out there. I believe them all...
Unfortunately, even though the Doctor locks the roping device with his sonic screwdriver, Miss Foster has a sonic pen with which she sends them down flying as she cuts one of the two cradle ropes with it. Donna almost falls but the Doctor firstly uses his screwdriver on Miss Foster's pen (shocking it out of her hand, then catching it), uses the pen to get into Miss Foster's office, pulls in Donna, and then keeps running - all while Penny is watching on in complete bewilderment. He frees her, but she starts searching the office for evidence and is caught (again) by Miss Foster and her guards.
Miss Foster, with her guards, catches up with the Doctor and Donna in the main office, revealing she is Matron Cofelia of the Five-Straighten Classabindi Nursery Fleet, Intergalactic Class, who has been hired by the Adipose First Family to breed the next generation of the species from humans following the loss of their breeding planet. She ignores both Donna's protests about Stacey Campbell's death and the Doctor's that seeding a Level 5 planet is against galactic law, but she and her guards are stunned when the Doctor holds both her sonic pen and his sonic screwdriver against each other, creating a violent sonic feedback which he and Donna use to run. Miss Foster makes a call to her people to notify the Adiposians that their cover has been broken - they're going into premature labour!
Down in the basement the Doctor and Donna head into the cupboard where he hid all day, which has a secondary inducer hidden in the back, and he quickly uses the fact that Miss Foster had wired the building to stun her guards. Donna then admits she was a fool to turn down the Doctor's original offer to travel with him and asks if she can still come. Back in her office Miss Foster activates the main inducer, which sends a signal to the free pendants that will trigger the Adipose birthing process in the company's one million customers - and kill the hosts in the process.
In a London wine bar, Sylvia Noble is having a girls' night out; one of them, Suzette (along with another customer), is an Adipose customer. Adipose start popping out of her, as well as of Roger back at his home. The Doctor manages to temporarily disable the process by unscrewing his capsule and attaching it to his inducer, but Miss Foster doubles the power. The Doctor begins to panic as he finds himself unable to stop the imminent deaths of a million people, but when Donna hears that he needs a second capsule to block the increased signal she hands over her own. The second capsule overloads the system and the Adipose clients return to normal; but ten thousand Adipose have now been "born" and are now making their way to Adipose Industries, causing traffic chaos throughout London.
A gigantic Nursery Ship arrives over London to collect the "babies"; while Sylvia gawps at it, Wilf has his back turned and his headphones on and misses the whole thing. As it arrives so does a signal from the Adipose First Family, which the Doctor listens to via the secondary inducer; he realises Miss Foster is in serious trouble. The Doctor and Donna run onto the rooftop to watch several levitation beams carry the Adiposian babies up to the ship; when Donna wonders if he'll blow them up, the Doctor refuses because they're just children who can't help where they came from. This makes Donna realise that Martha must have done him good (he says that she fancied him) before they see Miss Foster in another levitation beam on her way up to the Nursery Ship. The Doctor pleads with her to get over to the roof (which she refuses to do) and points out that the Adipose First Family is aware that their actions are illegal. They need to get rid of their accomplice, and since the parents now have the kids they don't need a nanny any more... At that point the levitation beam is switched off and Miss Foster falls to her death, while the Nursery Ship leaves Earth.
Back on the street the Doctor bins the sonic pen as Penny - tied again to her chair - flees the building, unable to cope with what's been happening; as Donna points out, "Some people just can't take it." Donna promptly drags the Doctor off to the TARDIS - and is delighted to realise he parked just a few feet from her car; it must be destiny. She promptly starts hauling a ridiculous amount of luggage out of the car boot (including a hat box, to the Doctor's surprise and confusion; "Planet of the Hats, I'm ready!" is her response) and shoving it into the Doctor's arms, saying she's been ready to go for ages. The Doctor warns that it is a hard life but accepts her, saying that he just wants a mate; she misunderstands this to mean that he wants "to mate", saying he's just an "long streak of nothing" and exclaiming, "You're not mating with me, sunshine!" The misunderstanding (mostly) resolved, Donna then calls her mum to say she's put the car keys in a certain bin for her to collect before asking a blonde girl to tell her mother, "that bin there"; the girl is Rose Tyler. As Donna returns to the TARDIS, Rose walks off down the street and disappears into thin air.
For her first trip, Donna tells the Doctor she wants to go "two and a half miles, that way." Back on the hillside, Wilf is still puttering about when he spots a certain blue box flying overhead; after first yelling for Donna he takes a closer look through his telescope and realises she's in the blue box, waving to him from the doorway - and so is the Doctor. He starts whooping and dancing around in delight as the TARDIS spins away into space, happy she found what she was after: "Go on, girl! Go on, get out there!"
- The Doctor - David Tennant
- Donna Noble - Catherine Tate
- Rose Tyler - Billie Piper
- Miss Foster - Sarah Lancashire
- Sylvia Noble - Jacqueline King
- Wilfred Mott - Bernard Cribbins
- Penny Carter - Verona Joseph
- Stacey Campbell - Jessica Gunning
- Roger Davey - Martin Ball
- Craig Staniland - Rachid Sabitri
- Clare Pope - Chandra Ruegg
- Suzette Chambers - Sue Kelvin
- Taxi Driver - Jonathan Stratt
- Miss Foster's Guard - Claudio Laurini
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner|
|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.|
Barney Curnow is actually credited as "VFX Supervisor" on this episode. However, this credit means "On-set VFX Supervisor". It would be confusing to list him as "VFX Supervisor", as this would indicate he had the same job as the actual VFX supervisor, Dave Houghton.
- The Doctor mentions Martha Jones and Donna makes remarks about her. Rose Tyler is also described by the Doctor as "still lost."
- This is the first time that Donna and the Doctor were mistaken to be married. This also happened during the next two TV episodes. (The Fires of Pompeii and Planet of the Ood)
- Donna told the Doctor about bees disappearing; this seems inspired by colony collapse disorder. The explanation (for some of them, at least) comes in The Stolen Earth.
- The Doctor references the Sisters of Plenitude he met on New Earth when the Adipose Industries customer he visits mentions he is not a "cat person." (TV: New Earth)
- The Shadow Proclamation is mentioned. They were previously mentioned in Rose, The Christmas Invasion and Fear Her, and made its first on-screen appearance in The Stolen Earth.
- An ATMOS sticker appears on the taxi. ATMOS are devices that appear in The Sontaran Stratagem.
- The Doctor uses a stethoscope to listen at the window of Adipose Industries. The last time the Doctor used a stethoscope was in The Runaway Bride.
- Donna refers to the Starship Titanic (from TV: Voyage of the Damned), saying it must have been a hoax.
- Donna and the Doctor refer to many instances the last time they encountered each other, including the scene where the Doctor drowned the Racnoss children. (TV: The Runaway Bride)
- According to Wilf, Venus is the only planet in the solar system named after a woman.
- Donna says she's ready for Planet of the Hats after giving The Doctor a hat box to put in the TARDIS.
Story notes Edit
- Some reports stated this episode was called Partners in Time.
- This episode is dedicated to Howard Attfield, who passed away shortly after filming scenes for this episode reprising the role of Donna's father, Geoff Noble. As Geoff was to have been a recurring character in the season, the producers chose to remove Attfield's scenes and bring back Bernard Cribbins to play Wilfred Mott, the character he played in Voyage of the Damned; the character was retconned to become Donna's grandfather. Attfield's scenes were preserved and included on the subsequent Series 4 DVD release.
- According to his memoir The Writer's Tale, Russell T Davies originally planned to introduce a new companion named Penny Carter in this episode, who he describes as 30-something, recently jilted by a boyfriend, and strong-willed in the vein of Donna Noble. When Catherine Tate became interested in reprising her role as Donna this idea was dropped, although a minor character in the episode (the journalist) was given the name Penny Carter.
- This episode is broadcast much earlier at a 6.20 timeslot. It is also fifty minutes long rather than forty five, as the TV listings state it is from 6.20 to 7.10.
- A certain shot shows an army of Adipose in the streets of London. This was extremely complex and took the series' CGI team (The Mill) more time than most shots used for the series to complete. They used the software called Massive, which was created and used by Weta Digital, who created all CGI for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
- A scene was shown the day before airing on GMTV showing the Doctor and Donna Noble on a suspended window washing platform breaking in while Miss Foster cuts the cable with her sonic pen.
- Pointing the functioning ends of a sonic screwdriver and a sonic pen at one another (or, as the Doctor put it, "two identical sonic devices") creates a sonic feedback in the surrounding area.
- The Doctor says he's met 'cat people' before; he may be referring to the cat people he met in New Earth and Gridlock, or during Survival.
- In The Fires of Pompeii the planet Pyrovillia, like Adipose 3, has also gone missing. In both cases, the mystery was solved in The Stolen Earth.
- The scene with Rose was actually shot along with her scenes in Turn Left. It was removed from the episode when it was shown to the media. According to an interview in Doctor Who Magazine #396, the positive reaction to Piper's surprise cameo (which was successfully telecast without any pre-broadcast revelation in the media thanks to this sleight-of-hand) led Davies to add a third surprise appearance by Rose to The Poison Sky, in addition to one already planned and filmed for Midnight (the Midnight footage was reused). Rose's return wasn't a complete surprise, however; besides media coverage of her return, a clip of Rose from Turn Left had also been included in the official Series 4 theatrical trailer several weeks earlier.
- Miss Foster mentions the Doctor warning the Shadow Proclamation about her illegal activities, suggesting that they are an organisation rather than just a treaty; this was confirmed in The Stolen Earth.
- The window cleaner cradle scene was intended for use in Smith and Jones but was cut and used here instead. In the first draft, the initial confrontation between the Doctor, Donna and Miss Foster was to have happened in the cradle, but budgetary and logistics problems meant the scene was moved to the sales cubicles area (and the Doctor's "sonic screwdriver plus sonic pen equals massive sonic feedback" diversion added).
- The Adipose developed from Russell T Davies' idea that alien genetics were hidden in doses of a Botox-like drug, resulting in the people injected being overwhelmed by the genetic code and transforming into aliens; in his Writer's Tale he describes it as "Ladies Who Lunch/Lurch" (one of his cartoons included in the book shows his take on the idea). A similar plot was later used in The Vampires of Venice.
- As is routine for post-2005 Doctor Who, a "NEXT TIME" trailer for the next episode is shown at the end of the episode.
- 9.1 million viewers
Myths and rumours Edit
- It was rumoured that Miss Foster was actually the Rani. This turned out to be false
- It was rumoured that Rose would appear. This was true
Filming locations Edit
- Upper Boat Studios, Treforrest
- Waterloo Gardens, Cardiff
- Glan Rhymni, Tremorfa
- Grange Well Park, Cardiff Bay
- Odeon Cinema, Cardiff Bay
- British Gas Building, Cardiff
- Dominions Arcade, Cardiff
- Picture Finance, Newport
- Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
- Crockherbtown Lane, Cardiff
- Bar Icon, Cardiff
- Nant Fawr Road, Cardiff
- Kings Way, Cardiff
- Fat Cats Restaurant, Cardiff
- Tiger Tiger, Cardiff
- Scott Road, Cardiff
- Grangemoor Park, Cardiff
- Franklen Road, Cardiff
Production errors Edit
- In every scene Miss Foster's guards change position.
- When the Doctor and Donna are in the cradle, Miss Foster is seen cutting the cable on the right (the Doctor's side). However, the cable on the left (Donna's side) is the one that snaps. This mistake is confirmed a few moments later; when Miss Foster says, "Now for the other one", she moves over to the cable on the left, which has clearly already snapped. This is realised in the episode commentary.
- When the Doctor is erecting a sonic cage around the cradle controls, he puts the sonic screwdriver in his mouth, with the emitter facing to his left. When he turns to look at Donna briefly and takes it out of his mouth, the emitter is facing to his right.
- At 17.21 the numberplate of the Noble family's car is YD55YHG. However, when Donna collects her bags from the car at 43.01 it has the numberplate LN54VKR.
- In the scene with the Doctor and Donna outside the TARDIS, the rain in the alleyway stops and starts every time the angle changes. It should be pointed out, however, that the production team had some difficulty filming this sequence due to both the weather (filming had to be rescheduled due to rain) and then a very noisy nightclub nearby, as related by Russell T Davies in The Writer's Tale.
- Donna declined the Doctor's offer to travel with him in TV: The Runaway Bride, but accepted this time.
- The Doctor and Donna missing each other by a fraction resembles the First Doctor and Vicki Pallister constantly missing Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton while in Rome. (TV: The Romans)
- Wilfred Mott, Donna's grandfather, appeared in TV: Voyage of the Damned as the newspaper dealer. In that episode he was called Stan (in the script, not onscreen), but was renamed when Bernard Cribbins was hastily cast to replace Howard Attfield's Geoff Noble.
- This is the first episode since TV: Doomsday in which Rose Tyler appeared as a present character.
- The effect of pointing the sonic pen and sonic screwdriver (or, as the Doctor put it, "two identical sonic devices") at one another is remarkably similar to an effect of a sonic device in TV: Fragments.
- This is the first reference to disappearing bees (which is explained in TV: The Stolen Earth). Although intended as a storyline reference, this is actually a real-life concern.
- One of the taxis has an ATMOS sticker on the windscreen. This will crop up again in TV: The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky.
- In the parallel timeline shown in TV: Turn Left, sixty million Americans are converted into fat. Adipose Industries had targeted the United States rather than London, as the city had been destroyed and the entire South of England flooded by radiation when the Titanic crashed.
- Roger Davey says he is not a cat person. The Doctor says he's nothing like cat people, referring to his meeting with the Sisters of Plenitude and Thomas Kincade Brannigan. (TV: New Earth, Gridlock)
- A catflap is examined as a method of either entry or exit for a sneaky alien threat, just as it had been in TV: Rose; in this case, it's exit (of the newborn Adipose).
Home video releases Edit
- This story was released in the Series 4 DVD box set in November 2008 along with the rest of the series.
- It was also released as Series 4 Volume 1 in a vanilla edition with The Fires of Pompeii and Planet of the Ood.
- Original script, posted online by Russell T Davies in conjunction with the release of his book REF: Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale.