190 The Best of Nine: The Empty Child & The Doctor Dances

This is the one where zombies take over London, we meet Captain Jack, Rose finally decides to break up with Micky, The Doctor Dances, and EVERYBODY LIVES.

Live from Master Closet Studios, you’re listening to the only rewatch podcast on the internet rewatching a rewatch: It’s the Noobs and the Whovian! 

My name is Austin and I’m the Whovian and these are my sons Corbin and Tripp and we’re the noobs! 

This is the podcast that introduces a whole new generation to Doctor Who by watching an episode each week and discussing it from the perspective of a dad who has seen it before, and two sons who have. 

Welcome to Episode 190, covering series 1, episodes 9-10: The Empty Child & The Doctor Dances

Super-short Recap

This is the one where zombies take over London, we meet Captain Jack, Rose finally decides to break up with Micky, The Doctor Dances, and EVERYBODY LIVES.

Production notes

  • Story #164 
  • Originally aired May 21 & 28, 2005 to 7.11 & 6.86 million British viewers
  • Written by: Steven Moffat
    • This was Moffat’s first episode
    • This story also earned Moffat a Hugo Award
  • Directed by: James Hawes
    • The Christmas Invasion, New Earth, School Reunion
    • He also did the first few episodes of Merlin, successfully getting it off the ground

Misc Trivia

  • Apparently at one point, there was a sound effect of Dr. Constantine’s skull cracking during his transformation. It was considered to be a bit too much, so they cut it.
  • “Chula” was the name of the restaurant where all the writers met up to celebrate and make plans after first being hired for the new series.


  • Nightclub singer – Kate Harvey
    • An actual singer
  • Doctor Constantine – Richard Wilson
    • Gaius. (Which we definitely mentioned last time.)

Wibbly Wobbly memories

  • Tripp
    • The Doctor dancing with Rose
    • The masks are actually their faces
    • Everybody lives
  • Corbin
    • There’s a child with a mask face spreading a zombie face
    • Nanobot that were supposed to heal aliens but they didn’t know how to do humans
    • Partway through, the twist about Nancy
  • Austin
    • Nanobots 
    • Everybody lives
    • Captain Jack 
    • Are you my mummy?


  • Name of the episode spoken in dialogue?
    • The universe doesn’t end because the Doctor dances
    • First episode since 1970’s Doctor Who and the Silurians to have “Doctor” in the title
  • Creature of the week
    • Empty Child
      • I hate everything about this kid, but in the best possible way
    • Nanogenes
      • They can bring people back to life? What’s life, that’s easy? Nature’s way of keeping meat fresh.
      • https://youtu.be/ibpdNqrtar0
    • The phone rang!
    • Greener than I remembered
  • Sonic 
    • This was before the sonic became a magic wand! It took him like 15 seconds to pick that lock!
    • Who looks at a screwdriver and thinks, this could be a little more sonic?!
      • You’ve never been bored? You never had a lot of cabinets to put up?
      • Remember A Christmas Carol? Go kiss the girl, or go to your room and invent a new kind of screwdriver
    • Setting 2428-D re-attaches barbed wire
  • Psychic paper
    • Quick reminder of how this works
    • Wait, how does it work?!
      • Rose says it shows people whatever YOU want it to show you

Other stuff we noticed

  • Mauve alert MAUVE ALERT!
  • Ya know how many days you can knock around space without bumping into earth? Five days? Or is that 
  • Does the boy on the phone remind you of the child on the phone in The Impossible Astronaut?
  • Constantine (who played Gaius) worked at Albion Hospital
  • Wait, HE’S ACTUALLY EMPTY!?!?!
  • The bomb was called Schletter Wolf. 
    • Which apparently is a not-great translation because Schletter means bad like inadequate, not bad like evil.

Who’s Who?

  • Who is Jack?
    • He was originally Captain Jax and was an alien
    • The first line we ever hear him say is “Excellent bottom.”
    • Hey, wanna keep that ship camouflage while ALL EYES ARE ON THE SKIES!?!
    • He has a universal remote that operates Big Ben and invisible radios?
    • He’s a conman. But he’s got a heart of gold.
    • They have ambulances in war
    • He has a squareness gun. It’s digital.
    • The Time Agency stole two years of his memories
    • How many times was he sentenced to death?!
  • Who is Rose? 
    • She is all about Jack
    • She “sort of” has a boyfriend named Mickey
    • I should consult with my… companion.
    • She delegates a lot to the Doctor
    • Who’s strolling? I went by barrage balloon. It’s the only way to see an air raid.
  • Who is the Ninth Doctor?
    • He completely didn’t notice she was gone
    • He looks at his watch “I make it 1941…”
    • Wait, he’s good with kids?!
    • Never good being the only child left out in the cold. You’d know? I do, yeah.
    • His nose has special powers. Is that why it’s so…? Do your ears have special powers too?
    • He has a great rant of the week about the British standing up to Hitler.
    • Something vaporized the Weapon Factories of Villengard. Like I said, once.
      • The banana bit comes up again in The Girl in the Fireplace where he references inventing the banana daiquiri 
      • He’s actually been there three times. In Twice Upon a Time, Twelve and One go to Villengard. Nine doesn’t remember it because One was out of sync at the time.
    • When he’s stressed, he likes to insult species
    • Who am I to argue with history? Usually the first in line
    • Look at you like you’re Father Christmas? Who says I’m not, red bicycle when you were 12?
      • Ok, so apparently there was a whole story idea where the next episode after this one would feature Jack discovering that the Doctor had been manipulating Rose’s timeline to shape her into the perfect companion.

Classic Who Connections

Overall impressions

  • How did you like it this time compared to last time?
    • Jared – 
    • Austin – Loved it then, love it now
    • Corbin – still love it
    • Tripp – loved it better 

The Game Plan 

Next week, we’re finally going back to our Master Plan to watch The Keeper of Traken. We realized I messed up the schedule…