Doctor Who Logo 'The Runaway Bride'
(Story Code 3.X)

by Russell T. Davies
The Doctor and Donna

“The bride approaches! She is my key!” - The Empress of Racnoss

On Christmas Eve, the wedding of Donna Nobel and Lance Bennett is rudely interrupted when, halfway down the church aisle, the bride disappears into thin air… Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor’s sorrow at losing Rose is brought to an abrupt halt when a woman wearing a wedding dress suddenly materialises in the middle of his console room. While an utterly confused Doctor struggles to come to terms with the impossibility of the bride’s arrival in his time / space vessel, the woman in question is furious at finding herself the subject of an apparent prank. However, when she opens the doors of the ship and is confronted with a vista of space, she realises that the Doctor’s claim of being an alien just may be true. When Donna demands that he return her to her wedding in Chiswick, the Doctor complies, but the TARDIS is somehow suffering from indigestion, and fails to arrive where it is supposed to. Having discovered that the huge space ship she was standing in is encased within a police box, Donna storms off to find a taxi, but her unorthodox outfit and lack of money brings little success. Using his sonic screwdriver on a public telephone box, the Doctor enables Donna to leave a garbled answerphone message for her mother while he gets money from a nearby cash machine. Looking up, he sees three familiar looking Santas bearing down on him – the Pilot Fish robots that he encountered during the Sycorax incursion have returned. Spying a fourth robot Santa driving the black cab that Donna is now climbing into, the Doctor blindsides the approaching killer Father Christmases by sending a torrent of cash flying up into the air. Racing back to the TARDIS, he then sets off in pursuit of the cab, using a series of strings connected to the ship’s console so that he can operate the vessel from the doorway while he yells instructions to Donna. Having unlocked the taxi’s door using the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor manages to persuade the reluctant Donna to jump across into the TARDIS, and together they fly off to safety. A short while later, after the Doctor has extinguished the fires about the TARDIS, the Doctor and Donna set down atop one of London’s tall buildings. Donna is upset at having missed her wedding, while the Doctor’s recent escapades have reminded him of his former companion, Rose. To Donna’s surprise, the Doctor gives her a ring – but not one for a wedding, this is a bio-dampening device that renders her invisible from her pursuers. Although the Doctor cannot find anything of apparent interest about Donna, he is intrigued to learn that she works as a secretary at H.C. Clements, a London-based security firm where she met her fiancé, Lance, six months ago. The Doctor and Donna head for the location of the wedding reception, where Donna is furious to find everyone enjoying a good old knees up, having decided to have the celebrations without her. Donna plays the sympathy card by feigning tears, and it isn’t long before she too is enjoying herself. Meanwhile, finding himself once more reminded of his happy times spent with Rose, the Doctor uses a fellow guest’s mobile phone to learn that the Torchwood Institute is the sole proprietor of H.C. Clements; he then watches Donna’s vanishing act on the video shot by the wedding photographer, and determines from the effect surrounding the bride’s dematerialisation that her disappearance was due to huon particles. Realising that these particles will make the bio-dampener ineffective, the Doctor rushes to the window and sees the robot Santas approaching. As one of the killers holds up a remote control, the Doctor warns everyone away from the huge Christmas tree in the middle of the room, and as everyone looks on, the tree-baubles rise up into the air and hurl themselves across the room, exploding violently on impact. Donna and Lance seek cover in the chaos, while the Doctor connects his sonic screwdriver to the DJ’s sound system to create a sound blast that destroys the oncoming homicidal robots. Detecting a second remote control signal emanating from space, the Doctor ascertains that someone else is controlling the robot scavengers. Elsewhere, aboard a huge, star-shaped spaceship approaching Earth, a gigantic, spider-like creature studies the Doctor and Donna’s actions on a series of display screens… Having persuaded Lance to give him and Donna a lift, the Doctor arrives at the offices of H.C. Clements; here he explains to Donna that she has been saturated with deadly huon particles, an energy form that hasn’t existed since the Dark Times of the universe; these particles are also present inside his TARDIS, which is what caused the two of them to be drawn together. On discovering that the building’s lift has a button to the Lower Basement, an area that does not show up on any schematics, the Doctor, Donna and Lance investigate; in the depths below they find a secret Torchwood base that leads to the Thames Flood Barrier via a restricted hatchway. Donna is now clearly enjoying herself, whereas Lance is obviously terrified. The trio soon arrive in a secret laboratory, where the Doctor identifies equipment used to manufacture huon particles from water in the river above; also in the room is a mysterious pit, drilled to the very centre of the Earth… A terrifying voice rings out around them, announcing its awakening from hibernation at the edge of the universe, and as Lance legs it, the Doctor and Donna are confronted by more unmasked roboforms, each carrying a deadly weapon. When the Doctor goads the owner of the voice into revealing themselves, a giant, scarlet spider materialises before him – the Empress of Racnoss has arrived. The Doctor tells Donna the Empress’ kind were a race of evil omnivores who lived during the Dark Times, but were supposedly wiped out by his own people millennia ago. Having spotted the remains of H.C. Clement himself encased in a web up on the ceiling – the Empress’ Christmas dinner – the Doctor and Donna try to distract the evil arachnid in order to give Lance the opportunity to attack her with an axe; however, to Donna’s disgust Lance is only play-acting, as he is actually in collusion with the Empress. As Donna listens, she learns that Lance deliberately poisoned her with huon particles by contaminating the coffee he regularly made her, to create a ‘key’ for his real employer; furthermore, he only agreed to Donna’s relentless proposals of marriage in order to keep an eye on his obnoxious and irritating ‘girlfriend’. The Empress orders her roboforms to kill the Doctor, but the Time Lord uses a handy phial of liquid huons to reverse the huon particles inside his unwitting companion, causing the TARDIS to materialise around the two of them just as the robots open fire. With her ‘key’ now lost, the Empress creates a replacement by ordering her roboforms to seize Lance and pour liquid huon particles over him. Meanwhile, the Doctor decides to learn what is at the bottom of the pit by heading back in time to the creation of the Earth, 4.6 billion years in the past. As the two time-travellers look on, the particles of dust and gas that will eventually coalesce to form the planet they just left drift aimlessly before a new-born sun – until the Racnoss’ spaceship appears; its mass draws everything towards it, thereby starting the creation of the Earth. The TARDIS is also caught in the gravity pull of the Racnoss’ vessel, but the Doctor uses the Slitheen Extrapolator to return his ship to the Empress’ stronghold, landing it in a corridor nearby. But as the Doctor attempts to open a restricted door, Donna is captured by a roboforms, and it isn’t long before the ill-fated bride finds herself webbed up next to Lance on the ceiling above the pit. The Empress activates the huon particles inside Donna and Lance, sending the energy into the pit below to reawaken her dormant children, who lie waiting aboard the ancient spaceship miles below the surface; the Empress then throws Lance into the pit, as sustenance for her offspring. Meanwhile, the Empress’ star-shaped spaceship descends into the skies above London and sends down beams of energy to harvest the fleeing populace for food. The Doctor arrives in the Empress’ chamber disguised as a roboform, but the spider-woman easily sees through his deception. The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to release Donna from the web, allowing her to swing to safety – almost; he then offers to take the Empress and her children to an unpopulated planet on which to live, but the evil spider-woman refuses to accept his proposal, and instead orders her minions to shoot her enemy. However, the Doctor now holds the aliens’ remote control, and he promptly deactivates the robots; with his face set in grim determination, the Doctor then activates more of the tree-bauble bombs, blasting holes in the base’s walls and letting in torrents of water as the entire river Thames flows down from above. To the Empress’ horror, the pit immediately fills with tons of water, instantly drowning her newly awakened children. As the grieving Empress teleports back to her ship, the Doctor and Donna escape to the surface of the Flood Barrier; they emerge into the night air just in time to watch the military’s tanks open fire with missiles on the alien vessel above, blasting it to pieces. Some time later, the Doctor takes a huon-free Donna back to her parents’ house; when Donna remarks that she hates Christmas, the Doctor fires a bolt of energy from the TARDIS into the atmosphere, causing it to start snowing. Breaking into a smile, Donna turns down the Doctor’s offer to travel with him, countering it with an offer of Christmas lunch; but the Doctor in turn declines, and, satisfied that his short-term companion will now take time to make the most of her life, he departs in the TARDIS for adventures anew…

David Tennant (The Doctor), Catherine Tate (Donna Nobel [The Bride]), Sarah Parish (The Empress of Racnoss), Don Gilet (Lance Bennett), Howard Atfield (Geoff Nobel), Jacqueline King (Sylvia Nobel), Trevor Georges (Vicar), Rhodri Meiler (Rhodri), Krystal Archer (Nerys), Glen Wilson Taxi (Driver), Zafirah Boateng (Little Girl), Paul Kasey, George Cottle (Robot Santas)

Directed by Euros Lyn
Produced by Phil Collinson
Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner
A BBC Wales production

25th December 2006 @ 7.00 pm

*Featuring the Tenth Doctor, and introducing Donna Nobel

*This special is sixty minutes in duration

*The order to destroy the Empress' ship is given by a "Mr Saxon"; for more on the mysterious Saxon, see 'The Sound of Drums'

*Music tracks heard in this episode include 'Merry Xmas Everybody' by Slade, 'Jingle Bells', and 'Love Don't Roam' by Murray Gold and Neil Hannon