Claim: Russell T. Davis included the phrase “Judoon platoon upon the moon” deliberately to give David a hard time - as it is pronounced differently in David’s natural Scottish accent as opposed to the Doctor’s Estuary accent.
History: This claim didn’t originate on Tumblr - it’s been around since the episode aired and has managed to worm it’s way into many (fan-updated) wikis as though it is fact – but can anyone find an actual citation for this (Wikipedia couldn’t find one)? Is it actually fact?
Source of the myth: On March 28, 2007 David appeared on Chris Moyles’ radio show to promote series 3 of Doctor Who. They discussed Smith and Jones (featuring the quote in question). The hosts were also quite taken by David’s Scottish accent. Among the quotes on the show:
CM: Do you ever get halfway through a scene and go, "Sorry I’m gonna have to stop, that’s too Scottish?”
DT: Ehhh… no. I don’t think I do really.
[later, after David tells them the name of the episode’s baddie]
CM: I think Russell T. Davies purposefully writes alien names that sound Scottish…
DT: Yeah, to try to catch me out?
DT: I think he does, yeah. And there’s a line where I have to say, “Judoon platoon upon the moon.”
CM: Isn’t that the knife that you wear in your sock when you wear the kilt?
DT: That’s a sgian-dubh.
CM: Judoon platoon upon the moon?
CM: He’s definitely done that to wind you up!
DT: [laughs] Yeah, he probably has.
CM: [goes off on some imaginary scenario where RTD sits at home shouting to his wife(!!) to come up with Scottish-sounding names]
Source: [ youtube ]
So, I believe that’s the source of the myth - and you would think that DT himself is a very good source, right? But David really only jokingly agrees with Moyles’ suggestion, saying that’s “probably” what RTD does, so I don’t think that can be taken as fact.
Discounting the myth:
On the DVD commentary track for Series 4 episode The Poison Sky (which was recorded right before The Poison Sky aired in the UK), Susie Liggat (producer) asked RTD:
SL: Now, a thing that I’ve always wondered, with you two chaps in the room, is: Do you, Russell, set David the odd really difficult thing to say to see whether… like Raxicalla-whatever that one is?
RTD: No, to be honest. I know what you mean, it could look like that.
SL: Sometimes I think, nobody…
DT: The square root of Pi to 30 decimal places wasn’t easy, Russell… thank you. For episode 10.
RTD: [laughs loudly]
SL: It feels like there’s sort of a gamesmanship, I suppose, about it. Like, is he going to look this up in the Latin, ancient Greek…
RTD: I don’t really! Honestly. I just sit there and think of the Doctor. Absolutely honestly. And that, unfortunately for you, that is what the Doctor is like as a man. This version of the Doctor loves words. I think he talks to himself a lot of the time - he’s listening to himself. He enjoys… He does puns that nobody even gets.
DT: I love it, to be honest!
RTD: I do remember this year thinking, in Pompeii, that “Species designation according to the universal ratification of the Shadow Proclamation” [big laugh] I remember putting that in and thinking, that’s a laugh! I think that’s the only time I’ve ever thought, “that’s a bit of a laugh”, actually. Let’s have a go at that one.
Unless someone knows of a quote where RTD admits that he came up with the Judoon name/phrase to give David a challenge, I think we can’t count this myth as fact. It started as a joke from Chris Moyles, and later Russell said that he doesn’t deliberately write lines in an effort to trip up David. This evidence isn’t entirely conclusive – RTD admittedly lied to protect plotlines and such, and people sometimes forget why they did certain things over time, but I don’t believe we have conclusive evidence that this myth is true. DT and RTD did the Smith and Jones DVD commentary together, and the line/reason for the name “Judoon” didn’t come up at that time. Unless someone can provide a quote where RTD admits it to be fact, I personally count this as an untrue myth.
Sources referenced in this post:
[ part 2 of the Chris Moyles interview on YouTube ]
[DVD commentary for The Poison Sky - I don’t have a link, just the DVD]
I make no claim of being the keeper of all Doctor Who knowledge, and I’m certainly not perfect, but I can share the sources that I’m aware of and provide a place to gather evidence as to the veracity (or lack thereof) of these claims. Please let me know if you are aware of real, verifiable quotes from RTD or another knowledgeable member of the cast/crew and I’ll add it to the list of evidence.