New this month Factual error: When the Immortality Gate is activated, there's a wide shot of Earth as the wave from the device goes around the planet. In another instance of a mistake made by a few previous Christmas specials, despite this taking place on Christmas Day, the North Pole is looking very, very sunny for what's supposed to be the dead of winter.
Factual error: Magnetic tape recorders weren't available outside of Germany during World War II. True the tape recorder could have been captured from the Germans, but, as it was "cutting edge" technology for 1941, it would hardly be likely to have ended up in a hospital office.
Factual error: One of the programs on the new television set is Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?. In 1953, this quiz show was broadcast on Thursdays. But, it's the eve of the coronation, which makes it Monday the 1st of June. Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? wasn't on that evening.
Factual error: In the opening shot of this episode, we see the Earth from space. The camera then zooms into Western Europe, the UK, London, then into Rose Tyler's flat, where a jump cut to an alarm clock shows it's 7:30am. But look again at the start of that sequence: it shows that it's daylight over the UK - and over the USA. This is of course impossible. When it is 7:30am in London, it is 2:30am in New York, as Eastern Time is 5 hours behind UK time. In New York at 2:30am it is not daylight, because it is the middle of the night. In addition, later episodes make it clear this episode is set in March. The North Pole is fully sunlit, which it never is in March, due to the equinox that happens that month.
00:00:50 - 00:02:00
Factual error: Ida, the science officer, says that the planet is in geostationary orbit around the black hole. However, the word "geostationary" applies very specifically to objects orbiting the planet Earth. Since a black hole is a type of star, this planet's orbit could be described as astrostationary, or even just stationary, but definitely not as geostationary. A science expert on an interstellar mission wouldn't make this mistake, and she wasn't dumbing things down, either, since "geostationary orbit" is already a pretty obscure topic for people unfamiliar with space technology.
Factual error: When the Doctor spots Rory taking a photo of Prisoner Zero, we're shown a brief close-up of Rory's hospital identity badge. The date of issue is given as "30/11/1990". The main body of the episode is set in 2008, two years before Rory and Amy's wedding in 2010. It's further established in the episode that Rory and Amy played together as children after her first meeting with the Doctor in 1996, with Rory observing that Amy made him dress up as the Raggedy Doctor. Rory could not possibly have worked for the hospital for eighteen years at the time of the episode.
Factual error: When Rose is locked in the room and the bodies come toward her, you can see a modern-day electric light-switch to the side of the door she's trying to get through. When the Doctor hears her screaming for help and runs for her, you can see a central heating radiator. In fact, the undertaker's house has at least two radiators in different hallways. Both are wildly anachronistic for the time period.
Factual error: Emergency Service vehicles in Cardiff (indeed, throughout Wales) have their signs in bilingual English/Welsh. So the police cars and ambulances seen in this episode should have 'Heddlu'/'Police' and 'Ambwlance'/'Ambulance' bilingual logos. However, the police car seen after the earthquake has its label in Welsh only.
Factual error: When Rose gets the message there are two things wrong with what you see on the phones screen: firstly on the top right of the screen you can see the icon for mute even though you heard the beep, and secondly that screen is for when you type in the number you want to call (text), not the screen for receiving a text.
Factual error: The army shoot at Martha's car and you can see sparks where the bullets bounce off her windscreen. But, at that close range, one of those things can go through a brick! I know you're supposed to allow a bit of disbelief, but this is taking it too far.
Factual error: When introducing himself to the Toclafane, President Winters refers to himself as "President-elect of the United States of America." President-elect is the title given to the victor of an American presidential election who has not yet been sworn in, between early November and January 20. This was a mistake on Russell T Davies' part, as he was under the impression it was a longer, formal title for the American president.
Factual error: When the Doctor regrows his hand during the swordfight, he says that he can do this because he's still within the first 15 hours of his regeneration cycle, and there's still residual energy in his body. However: In both this scene, and the episode's opening scene, when the TARDIS arrives in London, it is full daylight. The episode takes place on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 3-4 days after the Winter Solstice. London, at 51°N latitude, has a night longer than 15 hours at that time of year, meaning the Doctor should have been out of luck.
Factual error: Look closely at some of the freight wagons at 'Limehouse Green' railway station: several of them appear to have 'British Rail Freightliner' livery. This episode is set in 1941, but British Rail did not exist until 1948, and the Freightliner Division did not exist until the 1980s.
Factual error: A reflection of a full Moon is shown near the end. When Earth is viewed from the Moon earlier, over half of it is illuminated by the Sun. For it to be full Moon, the entire Earth would have to be dark. In addition, the place where the hospital was transported to was dark, and not sunlit.
Factual error: The Doctor (and the staff on the station) refer to the idea of a planet being in orbit around a black hole as 'impossible'. It is not. Gravity (and physics in general) works perfectly well outside of the event horizon. For all practical purposes - regarding orbiting around it - the black hole might as well be any other object, as long as it has an equal mass.
00:07:15 - 00:08:30
Factual error: The Viking village has tubs of electric eels in the boathouse, which prove instrumental to the plot as the power source of the makeshift electromagnet used to relieve several of the attacking aliens of their helmets. The problem is that the Vikings live somewhere in northern Europe, and this episode takes place in the 800s. Electric eels are native to the Amazon and Orinoco rivers of South America, which at this point in history no one in Europe knew existed.
Factual error: Near the end of the episode, the full Moon is shown in the daytime sky, well above the horizon. This is impossible, as any celestial body lit by the Sun has its full phase only when it is directly opposite the Sun; thus, a full Moon rises at sunset and sits high in the sky only during the night. For the Moon to be in the sky during the day as shown, it would have to be visibly of a phase other than full.
Factual error: The rank insignia of the Soviet officers is completely inaccurate. The captain wears the epaulets of a captain first rank (captain) and the sleeve insignia of a captain second rank (commander). Lieutenant Stephashin wears the epaulets of a senior lieutenant and the sleeve insignia of a captain third rank (lieutenant-commander). The third officer wears the epaulets of a captain second rank and the sleeve insignia of a captain third rank.
Factual error: Clara determines the location of the enemy's base of operations: floor 65 of The Shard. However, there are multiple issues with this conclusion. Firstly, floor 65 is a residential property, not an office location; offices in The Shard occupy floors 2 through 28. Secondly, the view of 30 St Mary Axe from Miss Kizlet's window puts the office below 180m, the height of the latter building. This would mean the office must be below floor 50. Finally, when the Doctor rides his motorcycle up the side of the building, 30 St Mary Axe is again seen, this time significantly below his location, and on the wrong side of The Shard. Not only then does the office's height change, but also which side of The Shard it is on.
00:34:00 - 00:37:20sonicdrewdriver
Factual error: During the rooftop scene, Donna checks her watch and says that it's half past three, or 3:30 PM. In London on December 24, that's roughly 45 minutes before sunset. However, not only is the angle of sunlight during this scene much higher than it should be for the date and time, the Sun proceeds to remain up for some time longer, including during the wedding reception and when the Doctor discovers the tunnel underneath H.C. Clements leads to below the Thames Barrier, even though it really ought to have set by then.
Factual error: During the chase on the motorway, many deciduous trees sporting lush green leaves can be seen in the background, in sharp defiance of the fact that it's supposed to be Christmas Eve and their branches should be bare. In addition, despite having chosen to wear a sleeveless wedding dress, Donna is remarkably unbothered by the fact that it should be fairly brisk outside, probably somewhere around freezing.
Factual error: The Koh-i-Noor, as depicted in this episode, looks absolutely nothing like the real diamond. The episode's gemstone is about the size of the palm of the Doctor's hand, and shaped in a stereotypical conical cut. The real Koh-i-Noor is much smaller and oval-shaped.
Factual error: The episode kicks off with a reuse of the zoom-in from orbit first seen in "Rose." As the sunny North Pole indicates, the Earth is depicted as if it is the height of Northern Hemisphere summer, even though as the title of the episode indicates, it begins on Christmas Eve, three days after the northern Winter Solstice when the Pole is in darkness.
Factual error: The Olympic torch relay is presented as if there is only one runner carrying the torch through the entire city of London to the Olympic stadium to light the cauldron. Furthermore, when the torchbearer collapses, the TV announcer reacts as if it is now impossible to get the torch to the stadium, just before the Doctor steps in and picks it up. Any broadcast of any Olympic opening ceremonies would show that that's not how the torch relay has ever worked.
Factual error: The opening shot of the episode reuses the zoom-in from orbit originally used in "Rose." The North Pole is sunlit, as it would be at the height of summer. "The Runaway Bride" takes place on Christmas Eve, four days after the Northern Hemisphere's Winter Solstice, when the Pole would be facing away from the Sun, in darkness. In fact, this was the second Christmas special in a row to make this mistake, after "The Christmas Invasion."
Factual error: By halfway through the episode, the plot is alternating between following Clara and Jac in London, the Doctor in the fictional Central Asian country of "Turmezistan", and Kate in New Mexico. Despite the three locations being scattered all around the world, only in London is it depicted to be nighttime at any point in the episode. Central Asia and the southwestern USA are both shown to be daytime, despite the two locations being over halfway around the world from each other, and the events all taking place at roughly the same time.
Factual error: The Vinvocci ship is said to be orbiting 100,000 miles above Earth, later refined to 105,000 miles. That's one-third of the distance to the Moon, and the Earth's apparent size from the windows of the ship is far too large for them to be that distance, or even 100,000 kilometres above the Earth's surface. Judging by the Earth's apparent size, the spaceship is actually orbiting 6,000-7,000 kilometres above the planet's surface.
Factual error: When the Royal Hope Hospital is transported to the Moon, the area it is in is dark, indicating they are on the side of the Moon not currently facing the Sun. However, in a wide shot of the hospital on the Moon, something that looks like the Sun is visible, something that the illumination of the landscape and the Earth shows cannot be visible.
Factual error: In this episode, it is stated that the Moon's sudden increase in mass caused a devastating global high tide. The amount of the increase in mass is given as 1.3 billion tonnes. But the Moon has a mass of over 70,000,000,000 billion tonnes, or over 50 billion times the supposed increase. Such a negligible increase in mass, less than 0.000000002%, would have almost no effect on Earth's tides, let alone be devastating.
Factual error: When the Doctor, Amy and Rory are on the roof and the Doctor says "The question for now is total event collapse means that every star in the universe never happened", the Gherkin can be seen in the background. However, the Gherkin wasn't built until 2003, whereas this episode takes place in 1996.