The Empty Child


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The Empty Child

Series 1

Episode 9

First Transmitted

21 May 2005

Final Ratings







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Regular Cast

Christopher Eccleston (The Doctor), Billie Piper (Rose)

Guest Cast

Kate Harvey (Nightclub Singer), Albert Valentine (The Child), Florence Hoath (Nancy), Cheryl Fergison (Mrs Lloyd) Damian Samuels (Mr Lloyd), John Barrowman (Jack Harkness), Robert Hands (Algy), Joseph Tremain (Jim), Jordan Murphy (Ernie), Brandon Miller (Alf), Richard Wilson (Dr Constantine) Noah Johnson (Voice of the Empty Child), Dian Perry (Computer Voice).


Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by James Hawes
Produced by Julie Garner and Phil Colinson


Chasing a metallic object through the Time Vortex, the Ninth Doctor and his companion, Rose Tyler, arrive in London during the Blitz.

While Rose meets “Captain Jack Harkness“, the dashing Time Agent responsible for bringing the object, The Doctor finds a group of homeless children terrorised by Jamie, an “empty” child wearing a gas mask.


  • When Nancy approaches the crashed ship and cuts the barbed-wire fence, the score features the brisk string motif that would become the featured motif in the Torchwood series theme.
  • This is the second time that the cliffhangerfrom the previous episode was resolved before the main title sequence. The first was in World War Three. This practise would fall out of favour amongst the BBC Wales production staff, however. Since 2005, most part twopre-titles sequences have been comprised entirely of a part onerecap, or of a recap plus a seemingly unrelated teaser.
  • This is sometimes assumed to be the first episode to use a verb in the title, but that honour actually belongs to All Roads Lead to Rome, part two of The Romans. In any event, it is unusual for a Doctor Who title to have a verb in it, but it is more common in the BBC Wales version of the programme.Steven Moffat seems to enjoy titles with verbs, having also contributed The Pandorica Opens, A Good Man Goes To War and Let’s Kill Hitler. Arguably, Blink should also be included, butblinkis both a nounanda verb.
  • The Tenth Doctor quips “Are you my mummy?” when given a gas mask to wear (The Poison Sky), as does the Twelfth Doctor when he sees the mummy-like Foretold. (Mummy on the Orient Express)
  • It was the first single-Doctor episode since Doctor Who and the Silurians, part seven, to directly name the programme’s main character in its title. However, it’s not quite so unusual as might be thought. It had happened a couple of time in The Death of Doctor Who and A Holiday for The Doctor. Also, the title of season 23 simply refers to The Doctor by another name, since he is the Time Lordinicated byThe Trial of a Time Lord. And it has happened since The Doctor Dances, with The Doctor’s Daughter, The Next Doctor, Vincent and the Doctor, and The Doctor’s Wife. If one adds to that the number of times The Doctor has been referenced in the titles by another name &mdash,Partners in Crime, Smith and Jones, Last of the Time Lords, The Lodger and A Good Man Goes To War&mdash,it can be said that it’s hardly rare for a story title to refer to The Doctor in some way. Never the less, The Doctor Dances was the first time it had happened in the BBC Walesseries.
  • As is routine for post-2005 Doctor Who, a NEXT TIME trailer for the next episode is shown at the end of the episode
  • trailer

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