Doctor Who: The Newbies Guide
Other Guides to this Story
This is the final episode of Series Two. It is the second half of a two-parter, following on from Army of Ghosts. This guide does not tell you about characters introduced in the first episode.
Where does this fit?
This follows on immediately from the cliffhanger ending to Army of Ghosts.
The characters listed below are the series regulars, important recurring characters, and real life historical characters. If a character's appearance is a major spoiler, then their details will be hidden in spoiler tags. In general, recurring characters are not listed here on their first appearance unless they become a series regular during the story, or they are a real life historical character.
Rose Tyler is a 19-year old girl from London 2005. Before meeting the Doctor, Rose lived with her mother, Jackie Tyler, on a council estate and had a boyfriend called Mickey Smith. Her father, Pete Tyler, died when she was a baby. In Rose (New Series Series 1), she worked in Henrik's department store when the ninth Doctor was investigating Auton activity in the store, and she saw him blow it up. Rose then helped the Doctor defeat the Nestene Consciousness's attempt to take over the world, and he offered her a chance to travel in the TARDIS. In The End of the World (New Series Series 1), the Doctor took her to the far future to see the day the Earth is destroyed. During this trip, he upgraded her mobile phone, tying it into the TARDIS, so that she can call home no matter where or when she is. Rose took some time to get over the Doctor's regeneration from his ninth to his tenth incarnation in The Parting of the Ways (New Series Series 1), the 2005 Children in Need Special, and The Christmas Invasion. More recently, in Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel (New Series Series 2), she left her (ex?) boyfriend Mickey in an alternative universe.
Recurring and Historical Characters
Jackie Tyler is Rose Tyler's mother, and is very protective of her daughter. She briefly met the Doctor in Rose, before Rose decided to leave with the Doctor. In Aliens of London/World War Three (New Series Series 1), Jackie had spent the last year trying to find Rose after her disappearance with the Doctor. She also discovered what the Doctor's lifestyle is like, and that the TARDIS is a time machine. She is not a big fan of the Doctor.
Mickey Smith is, or was, Rose Tyler's boyfriend. In Rose (New Series Series 1), he was captured by the Nestene, and witnessed the Doctor and Rose defeating the Nestene, saw the inside of the TARDIS, and was there when Rose departed with the Doctor. Because he had trouble adapting to what had happened, the Doctor took a dislike to him. During the year since Rose went missing, Mickey did a lot of research into the Doctor and his impact on human history. He met the Doctor and Rose again in Aliens of London/World War Three (New Series Series 1). In that story, he helped the Doctor and Rose defeat some aliens called the Slitheen. He gained the Doctor's respect and was willing to wait for Rose's return. In Boom Town (New Series Series 1), he and Rose effectively split up. Although Mickey was still hopelessly in love with Rose, he knew that the Doctor would always come first for her. Unfortunately for him, Rose didn't really take in what he was saying about how he wanted her to come back for him. In School Reunion (New Series Series 2), Mickey asked the Doctor if he could join him in the TARDIS. In Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Sreel (New Series, Series 2) he chose to stay behind in a parallel universe which had just experienced the creation of its own race of Cybermen. He hung out with Jake Simmonds.
Pete Tyler is Rose Tyler's father, who died in a car crash when she was still a baby. In Father's Day (New Series Series 1), Rose went back to meet him on the day he died. She discovered that he was a "Del Boy" character, always coming up with hopeless schemes to get rich quick, and that his marriage to her mother Jackie was not as happy as she had been led to believe. In Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel, she met a version of him from a parallel world where she was never born, and he still lived. This version of Pete was very successful, although the parallel universe version of Jackie (his wife) died in that story.
Torchwood is a secret government organisation created by Queen Victoria following the events of Tooth and Claw. Its goals are to prevent the Doctor from interfering with British history, and to ensure that alien technology is used in the service of the British Empire.
In Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel, the Doctor encountered and defeated an alternate universe version of his old enemies the Cybermen. These Cybermen were the creations of mad genius John Lumic, and sought to "upgrade" the human population into Cybermen by removing their brains and placing them in new cybernetic bodies. They also had a new catchphrase, "delete". In the previous episode, they attempted to cross into our universe in vast numbers and plan to upgrade the entire population of Earth.
The Daleks are a genocidal race of aliens created by mad scientist Davros. They have a fanatical hatred of all other lifeforms. The Doctor first encountered them in The Daleks (Classic Series Season 1), when he visited their home planet of Skaro. He has fought them on numerous occasions since then. In The Chase (Classic Series Season 2), we saw that the Daleks had discovered time travel technology. In The Evil of the Daleks (Classic Series Season 4), the Doctor engineered a Dalek civil war. In Genesis of the Daleks (Classic Series Season 12) the Time Lords sent the Doctor back in time to influence the creation of the Daleks; they were concerned that the Daleks would become the supreme beings in the universe. By the time of Remembrance of the Daleks (Classic Series Season 25), the Doctor was prepared to arrange for Skaro to be destroyed, although War of the Daleks (BBC Eighth Doctor Adventure) establishes that the wrong planet was destroyed. At some point after this, the Daleks were involved in a Time War, fighting against the Time Lords. The Doctor was responsible for destroying their entire race - he watched them burn, and the Time Lords burnt with them. He thought them dead, but has twice encountered survivors of the war (in Dalek and Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways - both New Series Series One).
The following stories and other resources are not necessary in order to follow the plot (we've summed up the essential bits for you). But being familiar with them will probably enhance your enjoyment of this story.
It is very highly recommended that you watch the previous episode Army of Ghosts. The pre-credits sequence gives you most of the key plot points, but you'll follow things much better if you watch the whole episode.