The End of the World (Doctor Who)
158 – "The End of the World" Doctor Who episode
The Guests approach Platform One
CastOthers Production Writer Russell T Davies Director Euros Lyn Script editor Helen Raynor Producer Phil Collinson Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Production code 1.2 Series Series 1 Length 45 minutes Originally broadcast 2 April 2005 Chronology ← Preceded by Followed by → "Rose" "The Unquiet Dead"
"The End of the World" is the second episode of Series One of the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who. Written by show runner Russell T Davies and directed by Euros Lyn, the episode was first broadcast on 2 April 2005.
In the episode, The Doctor takes Rose Tyler on her first trip through time and space in the TARDIS to the year Five Billion where many rich alien delegates have gathered on a Space Station called Platform One to watch the Sun expand and destroy the Earth, but one of these guests are plotting to profit from the event by killing them all.
The Doctor takes Rose to five billion years into her future in the TARDIS, landing on "Platform One", a space station in orbit around Earth; the earth has long since been abandoned and kept under the National Trust, but, as money has run out, it is about to be destroyed by the expansion of the Sun, only presently held back by gravity satellites. The Doctor uses "psychic paper" to pass as their invitation to the party, and he and Rose find many elite extraterrestrial beings there to experience the end of the earth in the protection of Platform One's automated shields. The guests include Lady Cassandra O'Brien Dot Delta Seventeen, simply a face on a large piece of skin that must be continually moisturised, mounted on a frame with her brain in a jar below it, who calls herself the last human in the universe. Rose is overwhelmed by the strange beings and customs as well as how distant she is from home, and leaves to an observation room to collect her thoughts. The Doctor follows her, and tries to cheer her up by allowing her to call her mum Jackie after altering her mobile phone to be able to work over the distance in time; this however only serves to depress Rose more.
Meanwhile, the gifts brought by the Adherents of the Repeated Meme, small metallic spheres, are revealed to contain robotic spiders that immediately work at disabling functions on Platform One. The Steward of Platform One recognizes something is wrong, but is killed when the spiders cause the solar filter of his room to lower, exposing him directly to the powerful solar radiation. The Doctor goes to investigate with the help of Jabe, a humanoid plant being from the Forest of Cheem, and discover the Steward's death and the spiders. Rose attempts to learn more from Lady Cassandra but only gets more upset over Cassandra's arrogance and walks away, only to be knocked out by members of the Meme. She wakes up in an observation room, the solar shield slowly lowering, and calls for the Doctor to save her. The Doctor finds he can stop and raise the shield, but cannot unlock the observation room, and so turns to the various guests.
The Doctor uses a spider that he captured to determine that while the Meme released them, they are only empty shells, and that the real controller is Lady Cassandra. Cassandra admits to this, and was planning to use the situation as a hostage crisis to get money to pay for her repeated operations, but now plans to simply let the assembled guests die and then profit from the stock increases of their competitors when they are dead. Cassandra transmats to her ship as the spiders bring down the shielding and the gravity satellites are turned off; the direct radiation causes the solar filters to strain and crack, killing several of the guests from the intense radiation exposure and leaving Rose to scurry to find shelter in the observation room. The Doctor and Jabe travel to the bowels of Platform One where the system to restore the automated shields is located, though it requires one of them to travel through several spinning fans. Jabe recognizes the Doctor as the last Time Lord after the Time War, and sacrifices herself to hold down a switch to slow down the fan blades, allowing the Doctor to reactivate the system just before the expanding Sun hits the station and destroys Earth.
The Doctor returns to the remaining guests and Rose, free of the observation room, and uses a device to transmat Cassandra back onto the station. In the elevated temperature and without moisturising, Cassandra begins to dry out and crack, and while she begs for mercy from the Doctor, he refuses to listen, and shortly, Cassandra ruptures. Rose notes that with all the events that occurred, no one had witnessed the actual destruction of Earth. Returning to Rose's present, the Doctor explains to her that his own planet, Gallifrey, was destroyed in the wake of a great war, that he is the last Time Lord, and that people tend to forget that things do not last forever. Rose sympathises with the Doctor as they enjoy some chips on a sunny London afternoon.
The new TARDIS console has a rather thrown-together appearance and includes the use of a bicycle-pump like mechanism. The Doctor explains that the TARDIS's telepathic field is what gives Rose the ability to understand and be understood by the aliens. This concept was first introduced in the Fourth Doctor serial The Masque of Mandragora (1976), described by the Doctor as a "Time Lord gift" he shares with his companions.
The concept of a Doctor-supercharged communications device first appeared in The Three Doctors (1972–73), where the Second Doctor modifies the Brigadier's radio telephone to allow him to contact his men through interference generated by antimatter. The Doctor also gives the Brigadier a "space-time telegraph" which he uses to summon the Doctor to assist with the events of Terror of the Zygons (1975). In the "unofficial" animated webcast Scream of the Shalka (2003), the Doctor uses a mobile phone that is part of the TARDIS to communicate with the outside world even while falling into a black hole.
Jackie Tyler's side of Rose's telephone call occurs prior to the preceding episode, "Rose". From Jackie's perspective, Rose is still employed when they speak. Moreover, once Rose departs with the Doctor in "Rose", she is not heard from again for a year, as shown in "Aliens of London".
This is the fourth time in the series that Earth has been burned by the Sun, the other occasions being sometime after the 30th century in The Ark in Space (1975), two million years from the present in The Mysterious Planet (1986) and ten million years from the present in The Ark (1966).
The other guests attending Platform One, as announced by the Steward, include the brothers Hop Pyleen, inventors and copyright holders of hyposlip travel systems from the exalted clifftops of Rex Vox Jax; the cybernetic hyperstar Cal "Sparkplug" MacNannovich (plus guest); the avian Mr and Mrs Pakoo; the chosen scholars of Class Fifty-five of the University of Rago Rago Five Six Rago; and the Ambassadors from the City State of Binding Light (oxygen levels must be monitored strictly at all times in the Ambassadors' presence). The Steward informs the Doctor that teleportation is banned under "Peace Treaty 5.4/Cup/15" (presumably the name of the treaty followed by the year it was enacted). How exactly this dating system works is never explained.
In conversation with the Face of Boe, the Moxx of Balhoon mentions the "Bad Wolf scenario." On the BBC's Bad Wolf website, it was listed as "the classic bad wolf scenario". (The subtitles of the DVD release give the phrase as "bad-move scenario", but this is probably an error.) The phrase "Bad Wolf" is a recurring theme in the 2005 series. The Face of Boe is announced as being from the Silver Devastation, which is where Professor Yana reveals he is "from" in the episode "Utopia".
The Doctor tells Jabe that he was once on another "unsinkable" ship and wound up clinging to an iceberg, an apparent reference to having been on the RMS Titanic when she sank. Which incarnation of the Doctor did this is not specified, although the Seventh Doctor was on board the Titanic in the Virgin New Adventures novel The Left-Handed Hummingbird by Kate Orman (which is of uncertain canonicity). He did not, however, wind up on an iceberg in that story. In the Fourth Doctor story The Invasion of Time (1978), the Doctor claims that he "wasn't responsible" for the disaster. In "Rose", Clive, a conspiracy theorist, shows Rose a photograph of the Ninth Doctor with "the Daniels family of Southampton", on the eve of their scheduled voyage on the Titanic. For an unspecified reason, they canceled their trip and survived.
Many of the Platform One interiors were filmed at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff, Wales. Sets were also built and painted to match the Temple's marble interiors. In the documentary series Doctor Who Confidential, Russell T Davies joked that that there would never be such an expensive episode again (because of the large amount of CGI special effects). Both Cassandra and the robotic spiders — other than an inactive one — are completely CGI generated creatures. The documentary also reveals that there are 203 visual effects shots in this episode, compared to "about 100" in the film Gladiator.
The "iPod" (a Wurlitzer jukebox) that Cassandra unveils plays "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell and later "Toxic" by Britney Spears. "Toxic" was not actually released as a 7" 45 rpm vinyl single. The production team mocked up a 7" single for use in the episode.
Jabe's scan of the Doctor displays an animation by Drew Berry of translation, a process wherein a protein molecule is synthesised according to the genetic code carried by messenger RNA. A production sketch of the scanner drawn by Matthew Savage shows a scan of the Doctor indicating nine different DNA samples — one for each incarnation.
Cassandra is a CGI creation voiced by actress Zoë Wanamaker. Writer Russell T Davies revealed that Cassandra was inspired by the appearance of various female celebrities at the Oscars. He said, "It was horrific seeing those beautiful women reduced to sticks. Nicole Kidman struck me in particular." Wanamaker reprised the role of Cassandra in the 2006 series' first episode, "New Earth." See also List of guest appearances in Doctor Who.
This episode begins with a cold open, which from here on became a standard feature. This is a first for the series, which previously used pre-credits teaser sequences sparingly in special episodes such as the post-regeneration Castrovalva (1982); the 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors (1983); and the 25th anniversary story, Remembrance of the Daleks (1988). According to a March 2006 interview with Russell T Davies, he requested for this episode to be broadcast back-to-back with "Rose", but the request was given to the BBC too close to transmission. In the U.S. the Sci-Fi Channel did run the two episodes consecutively.
- ^ The Three Doctors. Writers Bob Baker, Dave Martin, Director Lennie Mayne, Producer Barry Letts. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 30 December 1972–20 January 1973.
- ^ Terror of the Zygons. Writer Robert Banks Stewart, Director Douglas Camfield, Producer Philip Hinchcliffe. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 30 August 1975–20 September 1975.
- ^ The Ark in Space. Writers Robert Holmes, from an idea by John Lucarotti (uncredited), Director Rodney Bennett, Producer Philip Hinchcliffe. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 25 January 1975–15 February 1975.
- ^ The Mysterious Planet. Writer Robert Holmes, Director Nicholas Mallett, Producer John Nathan-Turner. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 6 September 1986–27 September 1986.
- ^ The Ark. Writers Paul Erickson, Lesley Scott, Director Michael Imison, Producer John Wiles. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 5 March 1966–26 March 1966.
- ^ Davies, Russell T (2005). Doctor Who: The Shooting Scripts. BBC Books. p. 56. ISBN 0-563-48641-4.
- ^ "Bad Wolf Sightings - who is bad wolf? what is bad wolf?". BBC. http://badwolf.org.uk/clues.html. Retrieved 2006-12-01.
- ^ Orman, Kate (December 1993). The Left-Handed Hummingbird. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20404-2.
- ^ The Invasion of Time. Writers "David Agnew" (Graham Williams and Anthony Read), Director Gerald Blake, Producer Graham Williams. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 4 February 1978–11 March 1978.
- ^ "Rose". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Keith Boak, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2005-03-26.
- ^ "Walesarts, Temple of Peace, Cathays Park, Cardiff". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/arts/sites/doctor-who-wales/alllocations/cardiff-temple-of-peace. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
- ^ "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly". Gillaine Seaborne, Simon Pegg. Doctor Who Confidential. British Broadcasting Corporation. 2005-04-02.
- ^ Production sketch by Matthew Savage
- ^ "New Earth". Writer Russell T Davies, Director James Hawes, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2006-04-15.
- ^ Nazzaro, Joe (2006-03-14). "Who Timing Was Right". Sci Fi Wire. Archived from the original on 2006-06-13. http://web.archive.org/web/20060613190259/http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=34982. Retrieved 2006-12-01.
- The End of the World on TARDIS Index File, an external wiki
- BBC Doctor Who Homepage
- "The End of the World" at Doctor Who: A Brief History Of Time (Travel)
- "The End of the World" at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- "The End of the World" at TV.com
- Doctor Who Confidential — Episode 2: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- "The End of the World" at the Internet Movie Database
- "The End of the World" reviews at Outpost Gallifrey
- "The End of the World" reviews at The Doctor Who Ratings Guide
Doctor Who series 1 episodes
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