Boom (TV story)

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Boom is the third episode of Season 1 of Doctor Who. It was notably written by former showrunner Steven Moffat[1], who had not written for the television series since he left the role in 2017, as well as the first episode of Russell T Davies's second tenure as showrunner to not be written by Davies himself.

While both Chris Chibnall and Moffat had written episodes under their predecessor's tenure (predecessors plural in Chibnall's case), this was the first time a previous showrunner had come back to work under one of their successors.

Synopsis[[edit] | [edit source]]

On Kastarion 3, Anglican Marines fight an unseen foe. Meanwhile, the Doctor steps onto the battlefield, and onto a landmine. His complex biology will cause it to destroy nearly half the planet if it detonates.

Ruby Sunday incapacitated, a rogue ambulance looming, and a child looking for her daddy beside him, can the Doctor save himself, and the world?

Plot[[edit] | [edit source]]

In the middle of a battlefield in the depths of space, a pair of Anglican Soldiers patrol, the fog obscuring their vision as they whisper rumours of their unseen foe, the Kastarions. They continue north, but come across an Ambulance in their path, causing them to hesitate. Ultimately they decide to continue, no other option but to press onwards. In doing so, one of them, Carson, stumbles down into a crater, stepping onto a camouflaged landmine which vaporises him. This alerts the nearby Ambulance of combat, causing it to activate. It rolls over to the surviving soldier, John Francis Vater, and analyses how healthy he is. He has a pre-existing injury, his eyes will take four weeks to recover to combat effectiveness. This is unacceptable, he fails the combat medical.

Across the battlefield, the Doctor hears a scream and runs out of the TARDIS, telling Ruby to stay behind. He dashes across the battlefield in the direction of the scream, stopping only when he steps on a landmine as well - freezing with one foot in the air for fear of setting it off.

"Impact activates the sensors. Now it's confirming if there's a live target on it. One wrong move and, boom!".

Ruby exits the TARDIS, hearing the Doctor singing The Skye Boat Song to calm himself down. He calls her over carefully and asks her to tell him what he's standing on - the sensors are too sensitive for him to look down himself. From the information she gives him he identifies it as being from the Villengard Corporation. He asks her to look around the surrounding area, to survey for others and to bring anything heavy to serve as a counterbalance as he shifts his weight and places his other leg down. Ruby finds something that she brings over, thinking it an urn; the Doctor sees it and realises it is the remains of a person, smelted down into a rod. Singing The Skye Boat Song once again to calm down and to sync up their movement, Ruby passes him the remains and he steps down.

The timer of the landmine begins to tick up. His adrenaline is spiking, so he recites a poem to ground himself. As the timer stops advancing, the Doctor relaxes, finally glancing at the remains in his hand and uttering a word of thanks to the man who unintentionally has saved his life - John Francis Vater. Upon speaking the man's name, a holographic AI reconstruction of the man appears and asks that his remains be returned to his next of kin. The Doctor and Ruby inquire what happened to the man, and find out that he was terminated upon discovery of the fatal condition, blindness. A mercy killing. This Humane Action was conducted by a Villengard Automated Ambulance UnitTM. His continued survival would have only harmed the budget and wellbeing of the mission, and so the Villengard algorithm dictated that he be terminated. The Doctor thanks John for the information and the hologram disperses.

As the hologram fades out, a voice rings out from above the crater "Daddy"? A girl has shown up on the battlefield, she received a message from her father earlier and tracked it back to the source. She heard his voice just now, she knows she did. The Doctor and Ruby look around nervously and introduce themselves to her, and she does the same, Splice Alison Vater. Upon her name being spoken the hologram whirs back to life, Vater's AI talking to her and apologising for the loss. She doesn't understand, she just sees her father and runs towards him, towards the Doctor and towards the landmine. Ruby tackles her to the ground, showing her the landmine, adrenaline rushing through the Doctor's veins as the timer ticks up.

An Anglican Marine shines a light into the crater from above, stating that if necessary she can kill the Doctor here and now. With her gun still trained on him, the Marine, Mundy Flynn, insists that the Doctor release the casket that he's holding, the remains of an ordained Anglican. She says there's no reason for him not to, he's dead already - even if the landmine doesn't detect a viable target it will explode after a certain time as a failsafe. She begins to shoot his arm, determined to make him drop the casket. In between shots, he asks Mundy how the mine actually works, since it doesn't have an explosive component; it triggers a quantum level chain reaction in the subject's DNA. The Doctor explains that he's a Time Lord, a "higher dimension life form; a complex space time event." What Mundy has described would generate an explosion orders of magnitude larger than she expects. She scans him and determines that he's telling the truth - he could wipe out half the planet, but the shots she fired have already activated the nearby Ambulance.

"Combat! Can't you hear the lovely combat? Combat right this way".

The Ambulance rolls into the crater, beginning to do analysis on the Doctor. Or, well, attempting to do analysis on the Doctor. His distinct anatomy and lack of records are presenting it with a bit of a challenge, but it's trying nevertheless. Determined to pull the Ambulance away from the Doctor, Ruby takes Mundy's rifle and fires it haphazardly into the air as she walks away, trying to draw its attention to combat elsewhere. Mundy tells her that this won't work. As it's already focused on an injured patient it needs another injured patient to compare him with. She asks Ruby to shoot her on the lowest setting. As Ruby raises the rifle to lightly singe Mundy, another marine - Canterbury James Olliphant - comes up behind her and shoots Ruby, mistakenly believing Ruby is attacking Mundy.

Ruby falls down into the crater, badly wounded, and the Ambulance switches focus from the Doctor to her. It identifies her, her age, but cannot locate her next of kin, stumbling again and again as it tries, snow beginning to fall. The snow stops, freezing in mid-air. The Ambulance determines that Ruby has approximately 432 seconds to live, but as she's not ordained, withholds treatment. Mundy and the new Marine try to save Ruby, to keep her alive, but the Ambulance is programmed to not heal unbelievers. The Doctor suggests that they just surrender and this will turn off the landmine as it is theirs. When they came here six months ago, advertising their presence and setting up their defensive perimeters, they launched the Ambulances' acceptable casualty algorithm. They set in motion a cycle of attrition and war against their own hardware, grinding themselves down just enough to keep themselves engaged, keep the combat ongoing, and keep the money flowing to Villengard.

Mundy is sceptical and demands proof, and so the Doctor calls for Vater's AI, insisting that he goes into the Ambulance and through it to the Villengard Battle Computer, and, in violation of many corporate procedures, find proof that the planet is uninhabited and the deaths are entirely self-inflicted. Vater insists that this goes against his protocols, but the Doctor emphasises over and over that AI or not, he's still a father, and fathers never let down their child, no matter what - "Dad to Dad". Vater relents and disappears into the Ambulance.

"The whole Villengard mainframe has been taken down by parent power. Boom! Basically, Villengard, basically... just wait till Daddy gets home.".

A short time later the Ambulance's defences are triggered, killing Canterbury. Other Ambulances from the area begin to surround the crater, the Algorithm having sent them to prevent a data breach. The mine beneath the Doctor's feet begins the failsafe detonation process, but is halted just in time by Vater's AI turning off both the mine and the fleet of Ambulances, and then proceeding to heal Ruby using one of those Ambulances. The group turns to look at the gorgeous alien sky before the Doctor insists on dragging Ruby away, saying that there's so much universe to see, and her lifespan sucks. As they leave, he tells Splice that she'll have Mundy, and he'll be checking in from time to time. Taking one last look from the TARDIS doors, the Doctor remembers what a sad old man once told him: "What survives of us is love".

Cast[[edit] | [edit source]]

Crew[[edit] | [edit source]]

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound



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.


Worldbuilding[[edit] | [edit source]]

  • The TARDIS control room has its pure white colour scheme.
  • The Doctor mentions an unseen underwater adventure at a lesbian gymkhana. It also concerned a landmine and a bet he lost.

The Doctor[[edit] | [edit source]]

  • A "sad old man" once told the Doctor that "what survives of us is love".

Notes[[edit] | [edit source]]

  • Steven Moffat's return was formally announced on 19 March 2024, after being heavily rumoured.[2] Before the announcement, Moffat claimed he was not coming back and the show was "fine without [him]",[3] while sneaking the episode's title into the interview: "If I say anything negative about Doctor Who it goes everywhere, like boom, everywhere."[4]
  • The title of the episode was revealed on the official Doctor Who Twitter account on 31 March 2024.[1]
  • Ncuti Gatwa told GamesRadar+ that it became his favourite episode of the season, although he "hardly understood what was going on" during filming.[5]
  • This is the first episode since The Haunting of Villa Diodati [+]Loading...["The Haunting of Villa Diodati (TV story)"] in 2020 to not be written or co-written by the current showrunner, a run of 18 episodes. It is however written by a former showrunner, namely Steven Moffat.
  • Moffat stated that the plot was inspired by a sequence from the Fourth Doctor serial Genesis of the Daleks [+]Loading...["Genesis of the Daleks (TV story)"].[6], namely the scene in which the Fourth Doctor steps on a landmine.
  • Varada Sethu was omitted from the cast list released prior to the episode's premiere.[7]
  • Unlike most stories, the single set nature of the story allowed scenes to be largely shot in chronological order. Russell T Davies compared watching each day's rushes to "watching a stage play unfold".
  • This is the first Fifteenth Doctor story to not depict an alternate timeline in any capacity.
  • The "sad old man" the Doctor refers to with the quote "What survives of us is love" may be referring to the poet Philip Larkin, whose poem An Arundel Tomb ends with this line.

Myths[[edit] | [edit source]]

to be added

Filming locations[[edit] | [edit source]]

to be added

Ratings[[edit] | [edit source]]

3.31 million viewers[8]

Production errors[[edit] | [edit source]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

to be added

Continuity[[edit] | [edit source]]

Home media releases[[edit] | [edit source]]

to be added

Gallery[[edit] | [edit source]]

Main article: Boom (TV story)/Gallery

External links[[edit] | [edit source]]

Footnotes[[edit] | [edit source]]

Notes[[edit] | [edit source]]

References[[edit] | [edit source]]

  1. 1.0 1.1 @bbcdoctorwho (2024-03-31). BOOM
    Writer: Steven Moffat
    Director: Julie Anne Robinson
    #DoctorWho
    . Archived from the original on 2024-05-28.
  2. Louise Griffin (2024-03-19). Doctor Who confirms Steven Moffat's return for season 14. RadioTimes.com. Archived from the original on 2024-05-03.
  3. Katelyn Mensah; Louise Griffin (2024-01-31). Doctor Who's Steven Moffat on potential return: "It's fine without me!". RadioTimes.com. Archived from the original on 2024-04-17.
  4. Morgan Cormack (2024-05-14). Steven Moffat confirms he wrote Doctor Who Christmas 2024 special: 'Is that my final moment?'. RadioTimes.com. Archived from the original on 2024-05-14.
  5. Emily Murray (2024-05-09). Ncuti Gatwa's favorite new Doctor Who episode is Steven Moffat's return, despite admitting he "hardly understood what was going on" at first. GamesRadar+. Archived from the original on 2024-05-09.
  6. Katelyn Mensah (2024-05-17). Steven Moffat's new Doctor Who story was inspired by classic episode. RadioTimes.com. Archived from the original on 2024-05-18.
  7. Doctor Who, Season 1, Boom. BBC website. BBC (8 May 2024). Archived from the original on 2024-05-08. Retrieved on 8 May 2024.
  8. Doctor Who Ratings. Retrieved on 08/06/2024.