Homeless children in wartime London are terrorised by an unearthly child. Plus we meet a certain Captain Jack…
“The Empty Child” is the ninth episode of the first series of the British science fiction television program Doctor Who, which was first broadcast on 21 May 2005. It was the first episode written by Steven Moffat, who later became the show runner and main writer of the series in 2010 following Russell T Davies’ departure, and was directed by James Hawes. “The Empty Child” is the first of a two-part story, which concluded with “The Doctor Dances”, on 28 May.
In the episode, alien time traveler the Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and his companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) arrive in 1941 during the London Blitz, where they find that the city has been terrorized by a strange child in a gas mask repeatedly asking for his mother.
The episode marks the first appearance of John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness, who would become a recurring character and star in the Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood. “The Empty Child” was watched by 7.11 million viewers in the UK. The two-part story has been cited by critics amongst the best of the show, and it won the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.