Doctor Who: An Army of Ghosts. Let’s Make It Bigger!

Like in “The Impossible Planet” in “An Army of Ghosts” we see human beings going to great and dangerous lengths just to procure an independent energy source. In this case, Britain’s alien intelligence agency, Torchwood, opened up a spatial disturbance in an attempt to harness a massive energy source. After they opened up the disturbance a mysterious sphere comes through the disturbance and ghost-like figures appear all over the earth.


Doctor: “So you find the breach, probe it, the sphere comes through, 600 feet above London. Bam! It leaves a hole in the fabric of reality, and that hole, you think ‘Oh. Shall we leave it alone? Shall we back off? Shall we play it safe?’ Nah you think ‘Let’s make it bigger!’”

Yvonne Hartman (Head of Torchwood, London): “It’s a massive source of energy. If we can harness that power, we need never depend on the Middle East again. Britain will become truly independent.”

 The sphere contains an army of Daleks and the ghost-like figures are actually Cybermen trying to cross over from an alternate universe. AND it just so happens that the Daleks and the Cybermen are two of the Doctor’s most notorious enemies, who then begin a battle over the earth.

Obviously the Doctor saves the day as he always does but the point of the narrative is the same, a small group of people risk not only their lives but the lives of the entire planet in an attempt at developing a cheap and independent energy resource that they know nothing about. The energy crisis needs a solution but that solution is not worth risking the lives of the people that want to use the energy in the first place.

Energy narrative characteristics found in this episode: life= energy, environmental degradation, political oppression.


Doctor Who: The Impossible Planet. We could revolutionize modern science. We could use it to fuel the Empire. Or start a war…

The Doctor and Rose travel into humanity’s future and discover a space station that is sitting on top of an “impossible planet”. The planet is orbiting a black hole without falling in. The team of scientists in the space station discovered that a power source deep inside the planet is causing the planet to counteract the black hole’s gravity, in addition to creating a gravity funnel, which allows for a spaceship to safely travel to and land on the planet’s surface without being pulled into the black hole. The scientists are drilling down into the planet to learn about the energy source so that they could potentially harvest the source and use it to power the Human Empire.

Chief Science Officer: “We could revolutionize modern science.”

Chief Security Officer: “We could use it to fuel the Empire.”

Doctor: “Or start a war…”


The humans in this narrative intentionally put themselves in a dangerous situation in order to research and potentially harvest a power source, because this power source is potentially worth their lives. Here again, is an example of the life and energy equivalency in energy narratives. In addition to putting themselves in danger, the scientists are using a race called the Ood to do the drilling. According to the scientists, the Ood presented themselves to the humans and asked to serve them saying that that is their desired purpose in life. While, we never see the crew members abuse the Ood, they tend to treat them like cattle as a result of their convenient racism.

Of course, the power source is something much more dangerous that it appears. The humans discover that it can never be harvested and only some of them make it off the planet with their lives, which is more than can be said for the Ood.

Energy narrative characteristics found in this episode: life= energy, religious element, political oppression, convenient racism.

The Sale of the Century: Doctor Who: World War Three


Doctor Who Introduction

Doctor Who is a British television series that was first created in 1963 and was revitalized in 2005. The series follows a humanoid alien called the Doctor, who travels through time and space in this ship called the TARDIS (time and relative dimension in space). The Doctor can travel anywhere in space and time and therefore he meets several technologically advanced aliens including future humans. These aliens all require various types of energy to fuel their space travels as well as their everyday planetary needs.

 The Sale of the Century: Doctor Who: World War Three

 In this episode, the Doctor discovers that a group of aliens, called the Slitheen, have been occupying Downing Street, disguised as members of Parliament. The Slitheen reveal that they wish to start a nuclear war on earth so that the planet becomes so radioactive that they can destroy it and sell chunks of the planet as fuel for space travelers:

Doctor: “You get the codes, you release the missiles, but not into space because there’s nothing there. You attack every other country on earth; they retaliate; fight back. World War Three—whole planet gets nuked.”

Slitheen Leader: “And we can sit through it safe in our spaceship, waiting in the Thames; not crashed, just parked, barely two minutes away.”

Harriet Jones: “You’ll destroy the planet, this beautiful place, what for?”

Doctor: “Profit, that’s what the signal is, beaming into space, an advert.”

Slitheen Leader: “’Sale of the Century.’ We reduce the earth to molten slag, then sell it, piece by piece. Radioactive chunks capable of powering every cut-price star liner and budget cargo ship. There’s a recession out there, Doctor, people are buying cheap. This rock becomes raw fuel.”

Doctor: “At the cost of five billion lives.”

Slitheen Leader: “Hmmm. Bargain.”

Human life is a bargain. This episode of Doctor Who also contains the life and energy equivalency similar to many of the narratives I have written about of late. The Slitheen happen to be the stronger force in this narrative since they have the technological advantage. The Slitheen view the lives of the weaker force as expendable, and the weaker force, led by the Doctor, revolts against the stronger force and overthrows it. Revolution is also one of the common characteristics of energy narratives.