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Harriet Jones was an unassuming career backbencher serving the constituency of Flydale North. She was at 10 Downing Street when an alien spacecraft crashed in the River Thames in 2006. She was there to discuss plans for the Flydale Infirmary, where her mother was staying, in her “tiny little” constituency. She soon discovered that the Cabinet of the United Kingdom had been infiltrated; the Acting Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Joseph Green, was actually one of the Slitheen family in disguise.
When the Ninth Doctor arrived at Downing Street to consult on the crash, she tried to warn his companion, Rose Tyler, of what was happening, but the two were pursued by the unmasked aliens. (Aliens of London)
Eventually, she was trapped together with the Doctor and Rose in the Cabinet Room and aided the Doctor in determining the Slitheen’s s weaknesses. As the only elected representative present, Jones gave the Doctor the order to launch a Harpoon missile at Downing Street, killing the Slitheen before they could trigger off a nuclear war.
Jones, the Doctor and Rose survived thanks to hiding inside a sturdy cupboard within the Cabinet Room. The Doctor told Rose that Jones was destined to be a Prime Minister, elected for three successive terms, and the architect of Britain’s Golden Age. (World War Three)
After the incident, Harriet Jones was chosen to form a new government. (Aliens of London) Her government won the election with a landslide majority. During Jones’s tenure, she presided over the launch of the Guinevere One space probe. Her economic plan allowed people to be £18 a week better off, according to Jackie Tyler. It was the space programme that led to her facing an alien invasion by the Sycorax. Although the invasion was averted by the Tenth Doctor, Jones ordered the covert Torchwood Institute to shoot down the retreating Sycorax ship.
Furious with Jones, the Doctor told her he could bring her down with just six words. When she stood by her actions, he whispered those six words to her aide: “Don’t you think she looks tired?” Soon she was fending off rumours of ill-health and facing a vote of no confidence. (The Christmas Invasion) Sarah Jane Smith once asked Harriet whether the Doctor “deposed” her, to which Harriet responded, “He did.” She wondered for “a long time” if she was wrong about her actions, but years afterwards, she continued to stand by what she did. (The Stolen Earth)
After leaving office Jones continued to work behind the scenes, devising ways to protect the earth from alien intrusion should the Doctor be unavailable. With the help of the Mr Copper Foundation, she developed the subwave network, an intuitive system to seek out via computer anyone who had had extensive dealings with the Doctor.
Jones used the subwave network to contact Sarah Jane Smith, Martha Jones and the Torchwood Institute in an attempt to contact the Doctor. In doing so, she allowed the Daleks to trace her signal and a squad of Daleks were dispatched to exterminate her. She remained defiant in her last moments, holding up her ID card and saying, “Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister.” The Daleks said they knew who she was, but Jones said they knew nothing of her, telling them they would face their downfall in underestimating the human race. The Daleks exterminated her. (The Stolen Earth)
The Doctor later felt incredible remorse when he realised that, despite rejecting her, she gave her life to get him where he was supposed to be. (Journey’s End)
Harriet Jones was a modest and intelligent middle-aged woman who had served her community faithfully for years without any real ambition beyond that. However, she was able to adapt quickly to the reality of the Slitheen threat. She took to the role of leadership easily, proceeding to reassure the public when the crisis was over.
(World War Three)
In a crisis, Harriet was driven and willing to take charge. She also remained cool when under pressure, even remaining calm when the Sycorax killed Daniel Llewellyn and Major Richard Blake right in front of her for next-to-no reason. However, she didn’t take kindly to others making jokes at inappropriate times, and was less than impressed when Captain Jack Harkness started flirting with Sarah Jane Smith over the Sub-Wave Network.
(World War Three, The Christmas Invasion,The Stolen Earth)
After her encounter with the Slitheen, Harriet became Prime Minister and proved to be a capable leader devoted to the safety of not only her country but the entire world. However, she displayed a darker side by ordering Torchwood to destroy the Sycorax even though they were retreating from Earth. (The Christmas Invasion) After that decision she wondered if she had made the right choice but eventually concluded it had been necessary to defend Earth. (The Stolen Earth) Harriet was brave and selfless. She tried to get the Slitheen to kill her, not Rose Tyler. (World War Three) At the end of her life, Harriet said her life didn’t matter if her sacrifice would save the Earth, and fearlessly faced the Daleks when they arrived to exterminate her, telling them that ultimately they’ll fail as they don’t what humans are truly capable of. Her sacrifice allowed the Doctor and his companions to save the whole of reality. (The Stolen Earth)
Jones always introduced herself by flashing her identity card and saying, “Harriet Jones, MP, Flydale North,” because her constituency was a “tiny little place” and people would not know about it. (Aliens of London) Later, as Prime Minister, she continued to flash her card and say, “Harriet Jones, Prime Minister”. (The Christmas Invasion) She later modified her introduction to say, “Harriet Jones, Former Prime Minister”, flashing her passport. (The Stolen Earth)
Harriet was very knowledgeable, though often displayed knowledge on areas she arguably shouldn’t know about; she knew about Torchwood despite saying herself she knew she wasn’t supposed to, and had at least some understanding of the Osterhagen Key, a device even Jack Harkness knew nothing about, as she ordered Martha Jones not to use or talk about it the moment she mentioned it. (The Christmas Invasion, (The Stolen Earth)
BEHIND THE SCENES
Harriet refers to herself as not being “one of the babes”, a reference to the recent-past term “Blair’s babes”. This may mean she was a Labour Party MP.
Harriet is the namesake of a track on the Doctor Who – Series 1 and 2, “Harriet Jones, Prime Minister”.
Harriet has spawned a running gag; whenever she introduces herself , everyone (including the Daleks and the Sycorax) would respond, “Yes, we know who you are”. (The Christmas Invasion, (The Stolen Earth)
Harriet was dubbed in German by voice actor Marion Hartmann.