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Doctor Who: Human Nature (1)

To evade alien mercenaries seeking his regenerative ability, the Doctor transforms himself into a human being with no memory of being a Time Lord, then hides as a schoolteacher in the early 20th century while Martha stays nearby as a maid to monitor him. But the mercenaries arrive, while a schoolboy gets hold of the watch containing the Doctor's "essence."

Episode Info

Episode number: 3x8
Airdate: Saturday May 26th, 2007
Special Airtime: 07:10 pm

Alternate Airdates:

US (BBC America) Aug 24, 2007
NL (Sci-Fi) Apr 29, 2009

  • Currently 8.6/10
8.6/10 (14 Votes cast)


Guest Stars
Jessica Hynes
As Nurse Joan Redfern
Harry Lloyd
As Jeremy Baines/Son of Mine
Thomas Sangster
As Tim Latimer
Tom Palmer (4)
As Hutchinson
Pip Torrens
As Rocastle
Rebekah Staton
As Jenny
Gerard Horan
As Mr. Clark
Lauren Wilson
As Lucy Cartwright
Matthew White
As Phillips
Derek Smith
As Doorman
Peter Bourke
As Mr. Chambers
Main Cast
David Tennant
As The Tenth Doctor
Freema Agyeman
As Martha Jones


The Doctor and Martha run into the TARDIS as someone opens fire on them. The Doctor quickly determines that their pursuers didn’t’ see either one of them, then dematerializes the ship. However, he warns that their pursuers have time travel technology and won’t stop until they catch them. He gives a watch to Martha and… wakes up from a dream. He’s Dr. John Smith, a teacher of history at boy’s school in 1913 in England. Martha is his maid, who reassures him that he isn’t from the future and isn’t an alien adventurer...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
Harry Lloyd (Jeremy Baines) is the great-great-great-grandson of Victorian novelist Charles Dickens. His ancestor was previously featured as a character, played by Simon Callow, in the 2005 episode "The Unquiet Dead".

This is based on the New Adventures Novel "Human Nature", by Paul Cornell. It was first published in May 1995 and featured the then-current Seventh Doctor. Although this two-parter does not follow exactly the same storyline, it reuses many plot elements as well as several character names including Redfern, Baines and Latimer.

"John Smith" tells Nurse Redfern that his parents were named Sydney and Verity. This is a reference to Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert, the co-creator and original producer of Doctor Who (1963) respectively.

John Smith's journal - entitled A Journal of Impossible Things - contains illustrations of the sonic screwdriver, Autons, Daleks, Cybermen, K9, clockwork droids, Slitheen, the Moxx of Balhoon, the plague carriers from "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" and Rose Tyler. Also featured are illustrations of the First, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors. This is the first episode of the series in which previous incarnations of the Doctors have been explicitly acknowledged on screen.

Date: Monday November 10-Tuesday November 11, 1913
Location: England, UK

Episode Quotes
John Smith: (to Martha) I dream I'm this adventurer. This daredevil, a madman. The Doctor, I'm called. And last night, I dreamt that you were there. As my companion.

Joan: It's all becoming clear. The Doctor is the man you'd like to be, doing impossible things with cricket balls.
John Smith: Well, I discovered a talent, that's certainly true.
Joan: And the Doctor has an eye for the ladies...
John Smith: The devil.
Joan: A girl in every fireplace.
John Smith: Aha now, there I have to protest Joan, that's hardly me.
Joan: Says the man dancing with me tonight!

Headmaster: You need to be better than the best. Those targets are tribesmen from the dark continent.
Latimer: That's exactly the problem, sir. They only have spears.
Headmaster: Oh dear me. Latimer takes it upon himself to make us realise how wrong we all are. I hope, Latimer, that one day you may have a just and proper war in which to prove yourself.

Hutchinson: Permission to give Latimer a beating, sir?
Headmaster: It's your class, Mr. Smith.
John Smith: Permission granted.

John Smith: Mankind doesn't need warfare and bloodshed to prove itself. Everyday life can provide honour and valour. Let's hope that from now on this country can find its heroes in smaller places. In the most ordinary of deeds.

Joan: Where did you learn to draw?
John Smith: Gallifrey.
Joan: Is that in Ireland?
John Smith: Yes, it must be.
Joan: You're not Irish?
John Smith: Not at all, no. My father Sydney was a watchmaker from Nottingham, and my mother Verity was -- well, she was a nurse, actually.

Jeremy Baines/Son of Mine: (to Jenny; very quickly) Just shut up, stop talking, cease and desist, there's a good girl!

(Martha and Joan are being held at gunpoint by the Family of Blood)
Jeremy Baines/Son of Mine: Have you enjoyed it, Doctor, being human? Has it taught you wonderful things? Has it made you better, richer, wiser? Then let's see you answer this: which one of them do you want us to kill? Maid or matron? Your friend or your lover? Your choice!

Cultural References
Joan: His name was Oliver. He was killed in the Battle of Spion Kop.

The Battle of Spion Kop was a major British defeat of the Second Boer War (1899-1902). It took place in Spionkop in Natal, South Africa from January 23-24, 1900. Of the 441 casualties suffered during the battle, 383 of those who died were British.

Warning: Doctor Who season 3 episode 8 guide may contain spoilers
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