In the Doctor Who series 8 episode Dark Water, the 3W corporation is ostensibly doing research into the afterlife. The scientist explains to them that 3W is a representation of three words that were heard in white noise. I figure that it is analogous to the real world 3M Company, which is short for Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing.

The scientist says that hearing those three words may change your life to hear them, really playing them up. But the first thing we hear is a man's voice yelling that they are cremating him, and none of those words start with the letter W.

Did I miss something? What are the three W words represented by 3W?

1 Answer 1


Yes you did. It's "don't cremate me". The selling point for preserving the bodies.

CHANG: Over time, Doctor Skarosa became convinced these were the voices of the recently departed. He believed it was a telepathic communication from the dead.
DOCTOR: Why? Was he an idiot?
CHANG: He was able to isolate some of the voices, hear what they were saying.
DOCTOR: So, an idiot then.
(Chang turns off the recording.)
CLARA: Shut up, Doctor.
CHANG: What I'm about to play you will change your life and not for the better. These are the three words which caused Doctor Skarosa to set up institutes, like this one, all over the world, to protect the dead. If you'd rather not hear these words, there's still time.
DOCTOR: Can you just hurry up, please, or I'll hit you with my shoe.
VOICE [OC]: Don't cremate me. Don't cremate me!
CHANG: There is one simple, horrible possibility that has never occurred to anyone throughout human history.
VOICE [OC]: Don't cremate me. Don't cremate me!
CLARA: Don't say it.
CHANG: The dead remain conscious. The dead are fully aware of everything that is happening to them.

The "W" in 3W is for "words". 3W = "Three Words". At no point do they imply it is 3 "W"s.

  • I did remember that, but I was expecting three words that started with the letter W, like how the real-world 3M is short for Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing. That's not the case here? Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 3:25
  • @thunder it's Three Words, not Three Ws.
    – cde
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 3:28
  • Huh, well I guess this is a case of me implying meaning based on the real world, assuming it was three words all starting with the letter W. I guess 3M isn't well known in the U.K. Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 3:30
  • 1
    @thunder inferring. You're inferring based on a single example. And 3M is a multinational with a big U.K. presence.
    – cde
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 3:33

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