Doctor Who: Tin Dog Podcast
The Top Rated Doctor Who Podcast. One fan, One mic and an opinion. What more does anyone need? Daleks, TARDIS, Cybermen, Sontarans, Ood, Classic Series. Home of Whostrology and the Big Finish Retrospective.
TDP 58: Grand Moff will succeed Russell T Davies Steven Moffat to be Doctor Who Lead Writer and Executive Producer Category: Wales; TV Drama; BBC One Date: 20.05.2008 Printable version BBC Wales and BBC Drama has announced that BAFTA and Hugo Award-winning writer Steven Moffat will succeed Russell T Davies as Lead Writer and Executive Producer of the fifth series of Doctor Who, which will broadcast on BBC One in 2010. Moffat has penned some of the series' most unforgettable and acclaimed episodes, including Blink, with its terrifying weeping angels, for which he was awarded the BAFTA Writer Award 2008 on Sunday 11 May. His previous work on Doctor Who includes The Girl In The Fireplace for series two, which earned him his second Hugo Award. His first was for the series one two-parter The Empty Child, which became famous for its terrifying refrain "Are you my mummy?" For the current series, Moffat has written Silence In The Library, a two-parter starring Alex Kingston which transmits on 31 May and 7 June 2008 on BBC One. Steven's career began with the landmark ITV children's drama Press Gang in 1989, for which he won his first Bafta. Coupling, the hugely popular and award-winning sitcom he created and wrote for BBC Two, began in 2000 and ran for four seasons. Jekyll, his six-part thriller starring James Nesbitt and Michelle Ryan, transmitted on BBC One last year. Steven will continue as one of the directors on the board of Hartswood Films which produced Coupling and Jekyll, where he is also working on his new comedy Adam & Eve with wife Sue Vertue. He has just delivered the screenplay for Tintin – the first instalment of the trilogy of films featuring the iconic Belgian comic-strip hero – to Steven Spielberg who will direct it for DreamWorks. Thomas Sangster and Andy Serkis will star. Steven Moffat says: "My entire career has been a Secret Plan to get this job. I applied before but I got knocked back 'cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven. "Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light, and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best - and the toughest - job in television. I say toughest 'cos Russell's at my window right now, pointing and laughing." Lead Writer and Executive Producer Russell T Davies says: "It's been a delight and an honour working with Steven, and I can't wait to see where his extraordinary imagination takes the Doctor. Best of all, I get to be a viewer again, watching on a Saturday night!" Jane Tranter, Controller, BBC Fiction, says: "Scripts and writers are at the heart of what BBC Drama is all about, and especially at the heart of Doctor Who. The past four series have been brilliantly helmed by the spectacularly talented Russell T Davies. "As Lead Writer and Executive Producer, he has overseen the creative direction and detail of the 21st century relaunch of Doctor Who and we are delighted to have his continued presence on the specials over the next 18 months. "But the challenge and excitement of the fifth series is now being handed to Steven Moffat. The Tardis couldn't be in safer hands. Steven's talents on both Doctor Who and beyond are well known. He is a writer of glittering brilliance, comedy and depth, with an extraordinary imagination and a unique voice. "Steven has a wonderful mix of being a committed Doctor Who fan and a true artist, and his plans for the next series are totally thrilling." The announcement follows the news that Piers Wenger will take over the role of Executive Producer from Julie Gardner on series five of Doctor Who. Piers Wenger says: "The challenge of taking Doctor Who to a new future is a huge and thrilling one and BBC Wales is blessed to have someone with Steven's extraordinary talent in charge. "His imagination and creativity have already given birth to some of the series' most unforgettable monsters though in this instance no-one need fear; time, space and the future of The Doctor are safe with him." Wenger and Moffat are already working closely together on the planning of the series. Menna Richards, Controller, BBC Wales, says: "BBC Wales is very proud of Doctor Who's phenomenal success. Steven Moffat is an extraordinary talent and we are very much looking forward to him joining the Doctor Who team." Series four has achieved some of the show's highest audience figures to date and forthcoming episodes feature a stellar line-up of guests including Lesley Sharp, Lindsey Coulson, Alex Kingston, Colin Salmon and Michael Brandon. Freema Agyeman and Billie Piper – The Doctor's two former companions – have also returned to assist The Doctor in series four. Doctor Who will return in 2009 with four specials, and the full-length fifth series is currently scheduled to be broadcast on BBC One in Spring 2010. SH
Direct download: rtd_wip.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:00am UTC

TDP 57: Doctor Who 4.06 The Doctor's Daughter & The Invasion of Time DVD

















 "The Doctor's Daughter"


The Doctor, Donna, Jenny and Martha find the "Source", a terraforming device, being both the source of life, and the war between humans and the Hath on Messaline.
Cast
Doctor David Tennant (Tenth Doctor)
Companions Catherine Tate (Donna Noble)

Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones)[1]
Guest stars
Production
Writer Stephen Greenhorn
Director Alice Troughton
Script editor Lindsey Alford
Producer Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T. Davies
Julie Gardner
Production code 4.6
Series Series 4
Length 45 mins
Originally broadcast 10 May 2008
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
"The Poison Sky" "The Unicorn and the Wasp"
IMDb profile

"The Doctor's Daughter"[2] is the sixth episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was broadcast on BBC One on 10 May 2008.[3]


Synopsis

Following on from the end of "The Poison Sky", the TARDIS takes the Doctor (David Tennant) and his companions Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) and Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) to the planet Messaline in the midst of a generations-long war between humans and the Hath, fish-like humanoids. Upon leaving the TARDIS, armed men working for General Cobb (Nigel Terry) force the Doctor's hand in a progenation machine, which uses his DNA to create an adult soldier within moments — Jenny (Georgia Moffett), the episode's titular character. Martha is subsequently captured by the Hath, whereas the Doctor, Donna, and Jenny are imprisoned by the humans because of the Doctor's pacifist attitude. Each of the primary characters learns about the war from its belligerents; the Hath and humans were initially meant to live on a peaceful colony, but were divided over a dispute about "the Source", believed by each side to be the breath of their creator. When the Doctor unwittingly reveals the location of the Source, the two sides race to claim it first.

The Doctor is initially dismissive of Jenny, his biological daughter, but becomes enamoured as the episode progresses. Donna is also distracted from the war by a series of numbered plaques on their journey. When they reach the location of the Source, a colonising spaceship, Donna and the Doctor discover that the plaques represent the date building was completed, which was a mere seven days previous; the humans and Hath have bred so many generations through the progenation machines that their own history degraded into myth. The original casus belli was a power vacuum caused by the death of the mission commander.

Both the human and Hath forces converge at the Source concurrently. The Doctor declares the war to be over, and releases the terraforming agent; everyone present releases their weapons, with the exception of Cobb, who tries to shoot the Doctor but Jenny steps in the way. Dying in the Doctor' arms, he finally tells her she is his daughter and that they have only got started. He tells her that they can go anywhere, if she holds on. She dies in his arms. Enraged, the Doctor holds Cobb at gunpoint, but refuses to shoot, asking the colonists to create a pacifist society.

At the end of the episode, the Doctor takes Martha home. Martha warns Donna that life with the Doctor can be dangerous, but Donna nevertheless resolves to stay with the Doctor indefinitely. Concurrently, on Messaline, Jenny revives in front of Cline and a Hath. She escapes Messaline, resolving to follow in her father's footsteps by resolving disputes and fighting villains.

Continuity

In "Fear Her" the Doctor mentioned to Rose he "was a dad once".[4] The only other member of the Doctor's family seen in the series has been Susan Foreman, the Doctor's granddaughter, whose last appearance in the television series was in The Five Doctors.

Just prior to Jenny's reanimation she exhales a golden-green mist reminiscent of similar expirations the Doctor displayed shortly after his regeneration in the 2005 Children in Need scene and "The Christmas Invasion"; this mist also resembles the terraforming gas seen earlier in the episode.

Production

Writing

Russell T. Davies has stated that this episode "does exactly as it says on the tin",[2] although at least one reviewer has stated that Moffett's character is not a daughter in the usual sense.[5] Having Jenny come back to life at the end of the episode was Steven Moffat's idea.[6]

[edit] Casting

Jenny shortly after emerging from the Progenation Machine.
Jenny shortly after emerging from the Progenation Machine.

Georgia Moffett, who plays Jenny, is the real-life daughter of Fifth Doctor actor Peter Davison and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy star Sandra Dickinson.[2] David Tennant described the episode by saying "We get to see the Doctor's daughter, played by the Doctor's daughter."[7] Moffett had previously auditioned for the role of Rose Tyler in 2004 and a role in "The Unicorn and the Wasp" in 2007. Her role as Jenny was not chosen because of her father; it was entirely coincidental but nevertheless a "great PR coup" for the series[6]. Moffett previously appeared alongside her father in the Big Finish audio story Red Dawn and drama series Fear, Stress & Anger. In Doctor Who Confidential, Peter Davison stated that after he finished filming "Time Crash", he said to Georgia "[now] it's your turn".

Broadcast and reception

Unofficial figures show that "The Doctor's Daughter" was watched by 6.6 million viewers, giving it a 38.4% share of the total television audience. While most programmes received lower figures than the previous week, Doctor Who had increased its audience to bring it back over the 6 million mark. The top rated programme was still ITV1's Britain's Got Talent although its audience was down by a million at 7.5 million. Doctor Who was the highest rated programme on BBC1 for the day and had the biggest share of any programme on Saturday. The episode receieved an Appreciation Index score of 88 (considered "Excellent").[8]

"The Doctor's Daughter" has received mixed reviews. Martin Anderson of Den of Geek! stated that it was "rather good - though badly plot-holed". He noted that it was yet another episode of Doctor Who "undermined by Murray Gold's incessant music". He also described the episode as "quite redolent of Tom Baker-era Who, with plenty of dark and cheap corridors to run down and two under-manned warring factions for the Doctor to bring peace to".[9] For SFX's Ian Berriman, the running up and down corridors was reminiscent of Lenny Henry's 1985 Doctor Who spoof featured on The Lenny Henry Show. Berriman described the episode as "underwhelming", citing that because one "always suspect[s] she's a redshirt" it is difficult to care for Jenny. Although "reasonably diverting", Berriman argues that budgetary constraints make "the story feel so enclosed" and that the episode's plot, likened to "old-school Trek", seems too similar to that of the Sontaran two-parter immediately prior to this adventure because both involve militarism and cloning.[10] Newsround's Lizo Mzimba also notes the similarities with "The Sontaran Stratagem" and "The Poison Sky". Mzimba asserts that the episode's "biggest problem" is that it tries "to cram an enormous amount into 45 minutes" with most of the "interesting" and new ideas not getting "the attention they deserve" resulting in the audience not caring about either the human fighters or the Hath and thereby limiting a "sense of danger or menace".[11]

Mzimba observes that since her return in "The Sontaran Stratagem", Martha shares little onscreen time with the Doctor therefore reducing the emotional impact of her departure in this episode. He describes Moffett as "superb",[11] with Berriman calling her "cute as a button".[10] Berriman praises Tennant's performance,[10] but Anderson suggests that Tennant shouts too much. Anderson asserts that "Donna's role as the Doctor's conscience is beginning to take shape" describing this as "refreshing" in a companion and noting that "Tate has toned down the grating voice a tad".[9]



The Invasion of Time

 The Invasion of Time DVD


The Sontarans invade the Citadel of the Time Lords
Cast
Doctor Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Companions Louise Jameson (Leela)

John Leeson (K-9 Mk. I)
Production
Writer "David Agnew" (Graham Williams and Anthony Read)
Director Gerald Blake
Script editor Anthony Read
Producer Graham Williams
Executive producer(s) None
Production code 4Z
Series Season 15
Length 6 episodes, 25 mins each
Originally broadcast February 4March 11, 1978
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
Underworld The Ribos Operation

The Invasion of Time is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in six weekly parts from February 4 to March 11, 1978. This serial features the final appearances of Louise Jameson as the 


Synopsis

The Doctor returns to Gallifrey, having claimed the Presidency. His behaviour is unusual and has Leela thrown in jail and then expelled from the Capitol Citadel. However, the Doctor is doing this to prevent a Sontaran instigated disaster.

Plot

The Fourth Doctor returns to Gallifrey after meeting a group of aliens in space, bringing Leela and K9 with him. He is behaving very strangely and when the Chancellory Guard under their Commander, Andred, arrive at the Panopticon Chamber to interrogate him, the Doctor demands to be taken to Chancellor Borusa, who is now in charge of the Time Lords. The Doctor claims the vacant Presidency of Gallifrey having previously been a candidate and, after the demise of Chancellor Goth, is now automatically elected. Under law this request cannot be refused. The Doctor then chooses a Presidential chamber and asks it be decorated with lead lining throughout. Shortly afterward a ceremony is held to swear him in as President of Gallifrey and he is presented with the various trappings of office. However, when the circlet connecting him to the Matrix, repository of all Time Lord knowledge, is placed on his head, the Doctor collapses in pain.


The Doctor is taken to the Chancellor to rest and recover. When he regains consciousness he reminds the Time Lords that no aliens are allowed on Gallifrey and instructs that Leela be expelled from the Capitol Citadel, where she will have to fend in the wastelands. She tries to avoid banishment, but the Doctor is serious about this banishment. The Doctor now retreats to the TARDIS where he shares a secret plan with K9, but is obviously very concerned about the situation he has found himself in. He is planning to aid an invasion of Gallifrey itself and to this end sets about destroying the induction barrier that defends the planet from external threat. K9 sets about this task while the Doctor returns to the Panopticon, the great hall of the Time Lords, and laughs cruelly as three alien beings start to materialise.


The invading beings are known as Vardans. They appear as shimmering manifestations who made an alliance with the Doctor some time ago, and the Doctor advises the Time Lords, including the stubborn Borusa, to submit to their new and powerful masters. The Doctor then asks Borusa to meet him in his office, and when this happens the Doctor explains he has had the lead walls installed to prevent the Vardans entering the room on thought waves and reading his mind. He sent Leela away to protect her, he explains, and is now able to work with Borusa to defeat the Vardan threat. A new problem has emerged, however, with the ascendancy of the obsequious and compliant Castellan Kelner, who is being far too co-operative with the Vardan occupation. The toadying yet ambitious Castellan soon has Borusa placed under house arrest and starts a process of expelling trouble-making Time Lords from the safety of the Capitol.

Leela has meanwhile kept her faith in the Doctor and reasons that if he wishes her to leave the Capitol it is with good reason, so she departs for the wastelands. She is accompanied by Rodan, a Time Lady who previously maintained the transduction barrier. Theyare welcomed warily by a tribe of outsiders who have rejected Time Lord society and live in the wastelands. Their leader, Nesbin, explains some of the background to his tribe. Back in the Capitol, however, things are looking grim for the Doctor when Andred corners him and decides to execute him in the name of liberty.


K9 helps the Doctor overpower Andred, and then explains the danger and abilities of the Vardans to Andred, with his TARDIS providing a shield to his thoughts. The Doctor is hoping to persuade the Vardans to reveal their true form so that he can time loop their planet. Leela has also organised her own resistance movement in the wastelands, comprising Nesbin’s people and the exiled Time Lords, all of whom are drilled into a fighting force which soon launches an assault on the Capitol.

The aliens and Kelner have meanwhile decided the Doctor is behaving in an untrustworthy manner. The Doctor reaffirms his loyalty to them by agreeing to dismantle the final force field protecting Gallifrey from attack. He does not fully disable it, but rather places a large hole in it. The Vardans use the hole to properly invade Gallifrey and appear as humanoid warriors. Their manifestation enables K9 to track down their home planet and supply the Doctor with the correct co-ordinates. He uses this to beam the Vardans back to their home world and then traps it in a time loop. At about the same time Leela and her warriors reach the Panopticon, but celebrations are shortlived when a Sontaran warrior appears in the chamber.


Gallifrey has now been invaded by the Sontarans, led by Commander Stor, who finds Kelner ever ready to pledge support, even if the other Time Lords remain resistant. The Doctor and his party escape and the Doctor uses his freedom to try and pressure Borusa into revealing to him the location of the Great Key of Rassilon, a missing item of the Presidential regalia. They then regroup at the TARDIS where Rodan is put to work using the TARDIS’ controls to repair the hole in the forcefield. However, Kelner imperils their resistance when he manipulates the stabiliser banks of the Doctor’s TARDIS to try and destroy the resistance force within by hurling them to the heart of a Black Star.


The Doctor manages to override the threat, so their enemies change tack. The Sontarans, assisted by Castellan Kelner, gain access to the Doctor's TARDIS and try to hunt down the President and his friends, pursuing them through the labyrinthine corridors. Stor is after the Great Key too, knowing the Doctor has now persuaded Borusa to yield it to him. The Doctor uses distractions to buy time while he kills the remaining Sontaran troopers. On the Doctor’s instruction, a hypnotised Rodan and K9 construct a special forbidden Time Lord weapon: the Demat Gun. Powered by the Great Key itself, the Demat Gun erases its victims from time itself. The Doctor takes the Gun and confronts Stor in the Panopticon. Stor intends to destroy the Eye of Harmony with a bomb, but the blast is cancelled out by the Doctor with the Demat Gun which obliterates Stor, wipes the Doctor’s mind of recent events, and also destroys itself. Kelner is arrested and Borusa begins the process of rebuilding Gallifrey.

The Doctor is ready to leave, but Leela decides to stay on Gallifrey because she has fallen in love with Commander Andred, leader of the Chancellory Guards. K-9 decides to stay behind to look after Leela. The TARDIS dematerializes and the Doctor reveals he is not alone: he pulls out a box labeled K-9 Mk II and, breaking the fourth wall, looks directly at the camera and grins mischievously.

Cast

Cast notes

Gai Smith, now Gai Waterhouse, who played Presta, is now an extremely successful thoroughbred horse trainer based in Sydney, Australia.

Continuity

  • Though Leela and K9 Mark I left the Doctor in this story, their characters would return in the Virgin New Adventures novel Lungbarrow by Marc Platt, and encounter the Seventh Doctor. Louise Jameson and John Leeson also returned to play Leela and K9 in the 'Gallifrey' series of audio plays by Big Finish Productions.
  • In addition, in his next on-screen visit to his home planet, the Doctor is heard to ask after her: "Tell me, what of my former companion Leela?" He is informed that she is "well and happy". However, in the revived series, we learn that Gallifrey has been destroyed and the Doctor thereafter makes many references to all his family and friends having being killed.
  • The Vardans also appeared in the Virgin New Adventures novel No Future by Paul Cornell, in which Bernice Summerfield refers to this story by dismissing them as "the only race in history to be outwitted by the intellectual might of the Sontarans".
  • This story is one of the few to contain an extended sequence inside the TARDIS (1964's The Edge of Destruction notwithstanding). The majority of the final episode comprises a chase inside the TARDIS, which appears to have extensive brick-walled areas beyond the more familiar roundells-on-white look, plus the spa/pool area ('bathroom') and art gallery. The Doctor had been seen earlier in the season in an artist's smock, apparently 'redecorating'.
  • In one of the few times in the series that the Doctor directly kills anyone, he uses the de-mat gun to disintegrate the Sontaran warriors. This is unusual given that the Fourth Doctor has a particular and stated aversion to firearms.
  • In the Virgin New Adventures novel, Timewyrm: Genesys, it is revealed that during the events of the episode the Doctor uses the Matrix to send a message to his future self about the Timewyrm, a recurring villain from the novels.

Production

  • The script is credited to David Agnew, a pseudonym often used by the BBC for work produced "in house" by contracted production team members. On this occasion it masks the authors Anthony Read (the series' script editor) and Graham Williams (series producer).
  • This story was written as a replacement for another story, The Killers of the Dark by David Weir, which was considered too expensive and complex to shoot. The script was written in just two weeks, with four days for rewrites. Additionally, when asked about the unused script at a convention, Graham Williams, having forgotten the exact title, made up the name "Gin Sengh", as in The Killer Cats of Geng Singh (or Geng Singh — the spelling being indeterminate), resulting in the fan myth that this was the original title.[1]
  • An industrial strike, which was eventually resolved before production, forced the studio sets to be constructed within St Anne's Hospital as BBC's Christmas holiday specials were given priority in the regular studios.[1]
  • As a result of the industrial strike, Graham Williams was given the option of not producing the final six episodes of the season and have the money rollover into the next season. Williams rejected this because of the additional problem of inflation that year and didn't want the budgeted money to depreciate even further.[1]
  • Louise Jameson, who had already announced her departure from the show, reportedly wished for her character, Leela, to be killed at the end of the series, and was disappointed that Leela instead opted to stay behind on Gallifrey with Andred, even though nothing in the script suggests a romance between the two characters. The producers decided that killing off her character would be too traumatic for younger viewers.
  • The Sontaran costumes were cumbersome and limited the field of vision of the actors wearing them, so much so that they are often seen tripping through and over props. At one point, a Sontaran (ironically played by the actor Stuart Fell) nearly takes a fall after missing a short jump and landing on a pool chair. As the aliens originate on a planet of notably high gravity, however, their clumsiness is easily explained
  • It was Robert Holmes who suggested to Graham Williams that this story be split into two segments, the first four episodes being based around the Vardans and the final two episodes being based around the Sontarans who come into the story at the end of episode 4.

In print

Doctor Who book
Book cover
Doctor Who and the Invasion of Time
Series Target novelisations
Release number 35
Writer Terrance Dicks
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
ISBN 0 426 20093 4
Release date 21 February 1980
Preceded by Doctor Who and the Underworld
Followed by Doctor Who and the Stones of Blood

A novelisation of this serial, written by Terrance Dicks, was published by Target Books in February 1980.

Broadcast, VHS and DVD release

  • This story was released on a two tape VHS set in March of 2000
  • It was released onto DVD on May 5th 2008 with special features; The Rise & Fall of Gallifrey, The Elusive David Agnew, Out of Time; a making of mini documentry, Photo Gallery, Trails and Continuity, new CGI effects and a Coming Soon to DVD Trailer of The K9 boxset featuring The Invisible Enemy and K9 and Company.

It has also has been released in a boxset Bred for War (The Sontaran Collection) along with The Time Warrior, The Sontaran Experiment and The Two Doctors.

Direct download: Doc_Daughter_WIP_1.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:19pm UTC

TDP 56: Doctor Who 4.04 & 4.05 Sontaran Stratagem: The Poison Sky




















The Sontaran Stratagem

196 – "The Sontaran Stratagem"
Doctor Who episode

A Sontaran introduces himself to the Doctor as General Staal, "the undefeated".
Cast
Doctor David Tennant (Tenth Doctor)
Companions Catherine Tate (Donna Noble)

Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones)
Guest stars
Production
Writer Helen Raynor
Director Douglas Mackinnon
Producer Susie Liggat
Executive producer(s) Russell T. Davies
Julie Gardner
Phil Collinson
Production code 4.4
Series Series 4
Length 45 mins
Originally broadcast 26 April 2008
Chronology
? Preceded by Followed by →
"Planet of the Ood" "The Poison Sky"
IMDb profile

"The Sontaran Stratagem" is the fourth episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was broadcast on BBC One on 26 April 2008. The episode features the return of former companion Martha Jones, as well as the return of the alien Sontarans to the series. It is the first of a two part story, followed by "The Poison Sky". This is the Sontarans' first appearance since the 1985 Colin Baker story The Two Doctors.


Plot

Synopsis

Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) calls the Doctor (David Tennant) to ask for assistance during an investigation by UNIT. Minutes after the TARDIS materialises in contemporary Britain, Martha authorises the raid of an ATMOS (Atmospheric Omission System) factory. The Doctor introduces his companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) to Martha and UNIT; Donna instantly befriends Martha, but is concerned about UNIT's ethics and asks the Doctor why he is associated with them; the Doctor ambiguously replies he used to work for them in the late twentieth century.

ATMOS is marketing a satellite navigation system developed by child prodigy Luke Rattigan (Ryan Sampson). The system also reduces carbon dioxide emissions to zero; UNIT requested the Doctor's help because the technology is not contemporary and potentially alien. UNIT are also concerned about fifty-two deaths occurring spontaneously and contemporaneously several days before the narrative. The Doctor travels to Rattigan's private school to investigate the system, and discovers that the episode's events are being influenced by the Sontarans.

The Sontarans depicted in the episode are part of a battlegroup led by General Staal, "the undefeated" (Christopher Ryan). Instead of an instant invasion, they are tactically approaching an invasion with a combination of human clones, mind control, and ATMOS; Martha is captured by two of the controlled humans and cloned to provide a tactical advantage against UNIT.

A subplot depicts Donna returning to her home to warn her mother Sylvia (Jacqueline King) and grandfather Wilfred Mott (Bernard Cribbins) about the Doctor. Concerned about the implications of telling the truth, Donna reneges from warning her mother. At the end of the episode, the Doctor investigates the ATMOS device attached to Donna's car and discovers a secondary function: the device can emit a poisonous gas. Wilfred attempts to take the car off the road, but is trapped when Staal activates all 400 million installed in cars worldwide. The episode's cliffhanger depicts Donna shouting for help while the Doctor stares helplessly at a street full of cars emitting the gas.

[edit] Production

The episode features the return of the Sontarans, who last appeared in the 1985 serial The Two Doctors, a centric appearance by UNIT, and Martha Jones, who had last appeared in "Last of the Time Lords" and made special guest appearances in the Torchwood episodes "Reset", "Dead Man Walking", and "A Day in the Death"; the brief executive producer Russell T Davies gave to writer Helen Raynor included the terms "Sontarans", "military", and "Martha's back".[1][2]

Martha's departure allowed Davies to change the character's personality. In her reappearance, she is more mature and equal to the Doctor in comparison to falling in love in the third series.[1] Several aspects of her character were debated: in particular, her status and reaction to Donna. Raynor elected to emphasise Martha's medical career over her military career, and avoided a "handbags at dawn" scenario because she felt it would rehash Rose Tyler's (Billie Piper) initial opinion of Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) from the second series episode "School Reunion".[2]

The episode is the first centric appearance of UNIT since the show's revival. Their name has changed from United Nations Intelligence Taskforce to Unified Intelligence Taskforce at the request of the United Nations, who cited the political climate and potential "brand confusion" as reasons for disassociation. The new acronym was coined by Davies after several meetings among the scriptwriters. The UNIT privates Gray and Wilson were specifically written as "alien fodder".[2][3] The episode refers to inconsistencies in dating UNIT stories when the Doctor is unsure whether he worked for UNIT in the 70s or 80s.[4]

This episode continues the pattern of having monsters from the classic series return in the new one. Davies commented that the Sontarans were "always on his list" of villains to resurrect.[5] The time and location of the episode was deliberately chosen because every Sontaran story except for The Invasion of Time was set on Earth.[5]

When interviewed on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Catherine Tate stated that she had been filming alongside ten actors playing Sontarans for two weeks before she realised that there were actors inside the Sontaran costumes. She had assumed the Sontarans "ran on electricity". It was not until an actor removed his helmet to reveal his real face that she realised her mistake. She stated she was "freaked out" by this and said she "nearly died".[6]

Raynor initally envisioned the poisonous gas would be emitted by factories, but changed it in later drafts to cars for several reasons: the episode would provide social commentary and the idea of an "evil satnav system" was "much more engageable" and "irresistible"; Davies thought the concept was "so very Doctor Who".[5][2][1] Because the series was produced out of order, the "ATMOS" subplot was seeded in the episode "Partners in Crime".[7] In the episode, a system installed in a UNIT jeep undramatically explodes; originally, Raynor wanted it to be a large explosion, but reduced the explosion to several sparks to reduce costs and to lampoon an action movie cliché.[2] The opening scene, which depicts the system driving its occupant into a canal, was filmed at Cardiff's docks. The scene was the first time a car-cannon had been used since 2005, and was required to be completed in one shot. The car fired into the canal was removed immediately afterwards to clear the shipping route.[1]

The episode, like "Aliens of London" and "The Lazarus Experiment", properly introduces the lead companion's family. Unlike the Tyler or Jones families, both Sylvia Noble and Wilfred Mott had met the Doctor before (in "The Runaway Bride" and "Voyage of the Damned", respectively), providing Raynor with an additional subplot. Expository dialogue explains Mott's absence from "The Runaway Bride" as the character having Spanish flu. Wilfred's positive opinion of the Doctor is different to Sylvia, who "joined a long line of mothers that don't get the Doctor"; Davies had wanted a family member who trusted the Doctor since the show's revival.[1]

Despite the Sontaran's clone culture being asserted in the classic series, "The Sontaran Strategem" is the first episode to depict cloning. Originally, all of the factory workers were to be clones, but Raynor reduced it to only Martha to solve continuity problems with the second part. The template clone was portrayed by Ruari Mears, who wore a prosthetic mask which took longer to apply than any mask he had worn.[2] The scenes involving the cloning tank were filmed in a Welsh shampoo factory and reused a prop from "The Fires of Pompeii" as the tank which contained the clone. Davies and Agyeman enjoyed scenes set in the cloning room; Agyeman enjoyed playing an "evil companion", who she and Davies felt made the real Martha "warmer", and Davies thought Privates Gray and Harris discovering the tank in a darkened room was "classic Doctor Who".[1]


"The Poison Sky" is the fifth episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was broadcast on BBC One on 3 May 2008. The episode features both old companion Martha Jones and the alien Sontarans.[3] It is the second of a two part story, following "The Sontaran Stratagem".


Plot

Synopsis

Following from the previous episode, Sylvia Noble (Jacqueline King) manages to free Wilfred Mott (Bernard Cribbins) from the car by smashing the window with an axe. The Doctor (David Tennant) sends Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) back to the TARDIS while he sets off to figure out what the Sontarans are up to. After studying the gas, UNIT determines that it will need to reach 80% density to become lethal. Elsewhere, Martha Jones's clone (Freema Agyeman) helps the Sontarans to seize the TARDIS. Realising that he is trapped, the Doctor attempts to goad General Staal (Christopher Ryan) into revealing their plan: Staal is smart enough not to fall prey to this ploy, but the Doctor does trick him into moving the TARDIS out of the main war room, placing Donna in a position to help.

Against the Doctor's advice, UNIT decides to use nuclear weapons against the Sontarans; however, Martha's clone has covertly copied the launch codes, and stops every attempt they make to fire the weapons. This in itself shows a hidden agenda, since a nuclear strike would not have harmed them in the first place. This, combined with the unidentifiable elements in the gas, suggest that the Sontarans have an interest in keeping anything from disrupting the atmospheric conversion. At the same time, the Sontarans mobilize a contingent of troops to protect the factory. With the Sontarans' ability to jam most conventional firearms by expanding the copper-lined bullets, the UNIT troops are quickly slaughtered and the factory is secured.

Luke Rattigan (Ryan Sampson) leaves the Sontaran mothership to gather his students, explaining that he plans to have the Sontarans take them to another planet and begin the human race anew. The students merely laugh him off, even when he brandishes a gun. When he returns to report his failure, the Sontarans likewise ridicule his efforts, admitting that they never intended to take him or his students anywhere. Rattigan teleports back to his mansion before they can kill him, and the Sontarans lock the teleport pods behind him.

Meanwhile, the Doctor instructs Donna on how to reopen the teleport pods. As she makes her way through the ship, UNIT begins a counterattack, loading their weapons with non-copper bullets and using the aircraft carrier Valiant to clear the gas. The counterattack is a success, and the UNIT troops are able to put the Sontarans on the defensive. The distraction allows the Doctor to make his way to the cloning room where Martha is being held. Having figured out long before that the clone wasn't the genuine article, he severs its connection to Martha, leaving it to die. Martha convinces the clone to betray the Sontarans in its last moments, and the clone reveals that the poison gas is actually "food" for Sontaran clones: they are converting the planet into a giant breeding world. With Donna's help, the Doctor is able to reactivate the teleport pods, allowing him to rescue Donna, steal back the TARDIS, and teleport into Rattigan's mansion.

With the terraforming equipment Rattigan's students built, the Doctor builds his own atmospheric converter, igniting the atmosphere to clear out the poison gas as shown in the picture. However, he knows the Sontarans won't accept defeat so easily, and teleports to their ship with the converter, planning to give them the choice between retreat or death. Staal chooses the latter, content with the knowledge that the Doctor will die with them. At the last moment, Rattigan teleports himself to the Sontaran ship and brings the Doctor back to Earth, sacrificing himself to destroy the Sontarans.

With the day saved, Martha says goodbye to Donna and the Doctor in the TARDIS and prepares to head home. However, before she can leave, the TARDIS suddenly springs to life, locking the doors and piloting itself to an unknown destination as the jar containing the Doctor's severed hand bubbles.

Continuity

Production

This episode and the previous episode were filmed over five weeks, beginning in September 2007. Post-production was completed a week before the first part aired.[7]

During production, director Douglas Mackinnon intended to have the episode's climatic scene in the TARDIS show the moveable column in the center console move up and down much more rapidly than normal. However, when attempting to accomplish this, Mackinnon ended up breaking the prop, which took thirty minutes to repair.[8]

When interviewed on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Catherine Tate stated that she had been filming alongside ten actors playing Sontarans for two weeks before she realised that there were actors inside the Sontaran costumes. She had assumed the Sontarans "ran on electricity". It was not until an actor removed his helmet to reveal his real face that she realised her mistake. She stated she was "freaked out" by this and said she "nearly died".[9][10]

When the Doctor interrupts the Sontarans' transmission, animated footage from CBeebies's part live action, part animation[11] eco adventure show Tommy Zoom is brought up on screen featuring the villanous Polluto disguised as a magician and the heroic Tommy and his dog Daniel as his audience.[12]

As in many previous episodes of the revived series, supposed BBC News 24 footage is used featuring reports of unfolding events. However, as with the more recent appearances of such footage in Doctor Who, the channel is simply captioned on screen as 'News 24' devoid of the BBC logo. Since this episode was produced, the BBC News 24 channel was rebranded in real life as BBC News.[13]

"The Poison Sky" marks the first time all three of the Tenth Doctor's primary companions — Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), and Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) — have appeared in the same episode, though Rose's appearance was extremely brief. Piper received screen credit, although her appearance is less than a second in duration.

Broadcast

Unofficial figures show that "The Poison Sky" was watched by 5.9 million viewers, giving it a 32.5% share of the total television audience. Although dipping below the 6 million mark, the programme was still the second most watched of the day, being beaten by ITV1's Britain's Got Talent, which got 8.5 million viewers. It was the highest rated programme on BBC1 for the day. The programme is currently the 19th most watched of the week and received an Appreciation Index score of 88 (considered "Excellent").[14]


Direct download: SON_DOUBLE_WIP.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:03pm UTC