The Waters of Mars is the second of the 2009
Specials leading up to the end of the David Tennant
era. It aired on 15th November
on BBC One.
Mars. 2059. Bowie Base One.
Last recorded message: "Don't drink the water. Don't even touch it.
Not one drop."
arrives on Mars and the
Doctor steps out in his spacesuit, seemingly just to relax and
enjoy the landscape. Stumbling across a base inhabited by a team
from Earth, the Doctor is
detained by a remote-controlled robot called "GADGET" and brought
inside. The base commander, Adelaide Brooke,
is at first suspicious of the Doctor, but after a tense
interrogation, decides to trust him. The Doctor learns that the
date is 21st November
and that this is in fact Bowie Base One,
the first human outpost on Mars. History has it that on this date
the base was destroyed in a mysterious explosion and Brooke and her
crew were all killed. Unwilling to break the laws of time and
interfere with fixed points in history, the Doctor decides to
leave. However, at the very same moment a crisis is developing: two
crewmembers, Andy Stone and
Maggie Cain, have
been infected by a mysterious
life form which takes over their bodies and causes them to gush
copious amounts of water. Adelaide confiscates the Doctor's
spacesuit, reasoning that he could be responsible for the infection
in some way, and orders him to come with her and another
crewmember, Tarak Ital, to
The infection spreads, with Andy passing on the condition to
Tarak. The two men are contained in the base's "bio-sphere" section
while Maggie is secured in the medical wing. In a conversation with
colleague Yuri Kerenski, the
organism occupying Maggie's body reveals its desire to reach Earth,
a planet rich in water. The crew plan to evacuate in an escape
shuttle, and the Doctor breaks the news to Adelaide that she must
die today, on Mars, if events are to unfold as they should.
However, he also tells her that her death will inspire her
descendants to travel further into space and establish peaceful
relations with numerous extraterrestrial species. Unwillingly,
Adelaide lets him leave. As the Doctor is making his way back to
the TARDIS, Maggie breaks out of confinement, infiltrates the
shuttle and infects pilot Ed Gold, Adelaide's
deputy. Before the condition takes a hold over him, Ed manages to
trigger the shuttle's self-destruct mechanism, which traps the
infection on Mars but also leaves the surviving crew with no means
of escape. The destruction of the shuttle is witnessed by the
Doctor who, overcome by defiance against time itself, returns to
the base to save the others.
Realising that there is no way to change the course of history,
Adelaide activates Bowie Base's self-destruct sequence. The
infected personnel mount the roof of the control centre and exude
more water, which pours into the room and claims GADGET's operator,
Roman Groom, and
However, the Doctor uses GADGET to access the TARDIS, operate its
controls remotely and transport the time and space machine into the
base, rescuing Adelaide, Yuri and Mia Bennett from the
resulting nuclear explosion.
The TARDIS materialises outside Adelaide's house on Earth. Mia
and Yuri are shocked by their experiences on Mars and Doctor's
power and depart, bewildered. In a conversation with Adelaide, the
Doctor reflects on why he ultimately decided to save her and the
others. He argues that the Time Lords' rules were
only valid while their civilisation existed, and that since he is
the last of his race he has total authority over time. He proudly
declares himself the "Time Lord Victorious" and remarks that with
this power he will now be able to save influential figures such as
Adelaide as well as "little people" the likes of Yuri and Mia.
Scolding the Doctor for his new found arrogance, Adelaide returns
home and commits suicide, reverting the changes that the Doctor has
made to the timeline.
Only now understanding the full impact of his actions, the
Doctor is overcome with horror and realises that there will be a
price to pay for his interference. Ood
Sigma appears in the street, prompting the Doctor to ask him
whether he has finally gone too far — whether the time has come for
him to die. Unresponsive, Sigma vanishes, and the Doctor staggers
back into the TARDIS to the ominous sound of the Cloister Bell.
With a defiant "No!", he begins to work the machine's controls.
- Adelaide Brooke says that the last forty years on Earth have
been chaos, with massive climate change, ozone degredation, and
"the oil apocalypse"; humanity "almost reached extinction" during
this period. Andy's obituary mentions "appalling storm conditions"
in 2040, and climate change
affecting agriculture in
- Maggie believes the Doctor may be a Philippino or Spanish
astronaut, as the Philippines are rumoured to be building a Mars
rocket and Spain have a "space link" that they managed to keep
secret. Andy Stone's sister worked for the Spanish space programme.
Ed Gold believes the Doctor is from a non-state independent group,
referring to the Branson Inheritance.
- Various lunar missions have been carried out, including ten
German missions and
Project Pit Stop, establishing a refueling station on the moon.
Mars was landed on in 2041, with Adelaide Brooke
as part of the crew. Thirty years after 2059, Brooke's
granddaughter Susan will pilot the first lightspeed ship.
- At least one of the webpages -- the one showing Brooke's
granddaughter -- dates from the 2080s or later, suggesting the
Internet still exists
in some form in the late 21st century.
- "Bowie Base One" is a reference to the David Bowie song "Life
on Mars", which is also the name of a BBC TV series set in 1972
starring John Simm, who
currently plays The Master.
- The Doctor said that he hates "funny robots" but notes that
he'd be okay with a robot dog.
- Gadget was built by
Roman Groom using
parts from the drones that constructed Bowie Base One.
- This story was initially envisaged as a Christmas special,
several festive references remain, such as the crew on Mars
preparing for Christmas dinner, and it snowing when the Doctor
arrives back on Earth as he exclaims how he likes snow.
- This story was originally entitled; Red Christmas.
- As Lindsay Duncan
has been cast as a companion, she is the oldest actor to play a
companion on television since the beginning of the series, although
this title will be taken away from her in the next episode when
Cribbins becomes the Doctor's companion.
- Victoria Place, Newport
- National Botanic Gardens of Wales, Carmarthenshire
- Taff's Well quarry, Cardiff, Wales
Discontinuity, Plot Holes,
- If no Human had ever heard of
the Ice Warriors then
how can the events of NA: The Dying
Days not be known by the Humans? The novels may not be
considered canon, by the current production team, also that event
may have been in flux. It is never explicitly stated that Humans
have never heard of the Ice Warriors. When the Doctor mentions
them, Adelaide simply states, "I haven't got time for
- After the explosion of the shuttle, several fires are burning
all around the site. Taking into account the initial explosion was
fueled by the base's oxygen, and given that Mars has no appreciable
atmosphere, how can these smaller fires burn in the vacuum?
Because Mars does have an atmosphere, albeit one with a pressure
roughly equivalent to one hundredth that of Earth's
- Given that Mars's thin atmosphere consists primarily of carbon
dioxide, with a very small concentration of oxygen (which is
required for combustion), how can the smaller fires after the
explosion burn? There is a lot we don't know about Bowie Base
One. We don't know what sort of fuel they're using, we don't know
how the self-destruct mechanism on the rocket works.
- In Father's Day
The Reapers turned up due to Rose saving her father when somebody
who was dead is now alive - surely this should be the case now for
Yuri and Mia as they should have died but are now alive. The
Reapers only showed up in Fathers Day due to Rose saving her
father's life, as then, that altered the timeline meaning that in
the future Rose wouldn't have travelled to the past to save her
father, causing a paradox, the Doctor only changed the future when
he saved Adelaide's life. Had Adelaide's granddaughter travelled
back in time to save her grandmother, for instance, that would more
likely have caught the Reapers' attention. Also, as Adelaide almost
immediately kills herself, thereby maintaining the timeline, there
was no need for the Reapers to appear.
- The news article on Adelaide claims that she was born in 1999
and yet was also 10 when her parents died in 2008. (There was
clearly a typo in the article in regards to either the year or her
- The news article identifies The Stolen
Earth as occuring in 2008, instead of 2009 (as the show's
been a year ahead since Aliens of
London). The production team have deliberately stated
that Series Three occurs within a space of a few days to rectify
the year-off discrepancy that Aliens of London introduced, so the
Whoniverse timeline is in sync with ours again. (Two
explanations: either the article we were "seeing" had some sort of
typo, or the events of The Stolen Earth actually did happen
- The news article on the mission refers to "Dr Tarak Ital MD."
It would be correct to write either the "Dr" or the "MD," but both
at once is redundant and grammatically incorrect. Ital's obituary
also misspells "Havana". It is correct if the person has both an
MD and a PhD.
- The article on Susie Fontana Brooke's first "Faster then Light"
flight lists Adelaide's team at the end as hers.
- Why would the Doctor comment on Mia's age when Roman is two
years younger than her?
- When it is revealed that Maggie is one of the creatures, the
outer shot shows her hair back while in the closer shot, it is
around her face.