Last of the Time Lords: Wikis

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187c – "Last of the Time Lords"
Doctor Who episode
Cast
Guest stars
Production
Writer Russell T Davies
Director Colin Teague
Script editor Simon Winstone
Producer Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Production code 3.13
Series Series 3
Length 3rd of 3-part story, 52 minutes
Originally broadcast 30 June 2007
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
"The Sound of Drums" "Time Crash" (mini-episode)
"Voyage of the Damned" (special)
IMDb profile

"Last of the Time Lords" is an episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was broadcast on BBC One on 30 June 2007,[1] and is the thirteenth and final episode of Series 3 of the revived Doctor Who series. It is the last of three episodes that form a linked narrative, following "Utopia" and "The Sound of Drums". This episode shows the departure of Freema Agyeman and John Barrowman as Martha Jones and Jack Harkness respectively until Series Four.

Contents

Synopsis

One year after the events of "The Sound of Drums", the Master has conquered the Earth and enslaved its population. He holds the aged Doctor prisoner, and prepares warships for a new Time Lord Empire. Now it is up to Martha Jones to carry out the Doctor's plan and save the universe.

Plot

A year after the appearance of the Toclafane, the human population is on the verge of extinction. After escaping from the Valiant, Martha Jones has been traveling across the Earth for a year, staying out of the Master's detection through use of the TARDIS key acting as a perception filter. She returns to England with the help of Thomas Milligan, a former doctor, and seeks Professor Docherty to help her capture a Toclafane.

Using data gathered when a Toclafane was hit by lightning, Professor Docherty is able to recreate the conditions, and the three are able to stun one of the beings. When they open it up, they discover that the Toclafane are humans from the year 100 trillion, who, having attempted to reach Utopia and finding nothing but darkness, became insane in their search to outlive the universe and cannibalised themselves to become the child-like bio-mechanical Toclafane, brought to the present through the Doctor's TARDIS and the Paradox Machine in order to avoid a temporal paradox. Armed with this information, Martha announces that she will face the Master, armed with a special gun created by Torchwood and UNIT that can stop a Time Lord's regeneration, giving her a way of defeating the Master. After Martha and Thomas leave, Professor Docherty, desperate for any information on her recently kidnapped son, reports Martha's presence to the Master.

Martha and Thomas meet up with several other human groups hiding in shelters, and tells tales of her travels in the last year. The Master along with his men land and begin to round up the humans, seeking Martha and demanding she hand over the gun. After she does so, the Master destroys it, then attempts to kill her, but Thomas sacrifices himself to save her. The Master realises that killing Martha in front of the Doctor would be more satisfying, and brings her back to the Valiant. There, Martha learns that the Master has kept the aged Doctor as a pet and even further humiliating him by aging him further and putting him into a bird cage, while he has kept Jack in chains. The Master reveals that he is moments away from launching Toclafane fleets from Earth to conquer the rest of the universe, and forces Martha to kneel in front of him. However, the fleet fails to launch at the end of the countdown, confusing the Master.

Martha reveals that she was not travelling on Earth to locate the fictional anti-regeneration gun, but instead to tell people of the Doctor and send their thoughts to the Doctor at the fleet's launch moment; with their emotions, enabling the Doctor to use the Archangel network to collect the vast amount of psychic energy and use it to restore his body and ends the Master's control. At first the Master just laughs, but then the Doctor glows with blue psycic energy, and restores his body and looms over the Master. As the Master cowers, the Doctor says the words that the Master was most afraid to hear: "I forgive you". As Martha, Jack and the others fight to keep the Toclafane from defending the Paradox Machine, the Master teleports himself and the Doctor to Earth using Jack's vortex manipulator and threatens to detonate the fleet and destroy Earth in the process, but the Doctor calls his bluff, reminding the Master that doing so will kill him – the one thing the Master is incapable of – and is able to make the Master surrender. The two return to the Valiant just as Jack and other soldiers destroy the Paradox Machine, causing time to rewind just before the rift opened; only those on board the Valiant are still aware of the events of the last year.

As everyone recovers back on Earth, Martha's mother, Francine Jones, attempts to shoot the Master, but the Doctor is able to persuade her not to do so. However, they are caught off-guard when Lucy Saxon kills him herself. The Master, dying in the Doctor's arms, refuses to regenerate as to be a prisoner for the rest of his life. As the Doctor desperately pleads to the Master to stay alive, the Master gives his final words, "The drumming, will it stop? Will it ever stop?", and dies, sending the Doctor into an emotional turmoil. Later, the Doctor burns the Master's body on a pyre, but an unseen woman's hand later recovers his signet ring from the ashes, while the Master's maniacal laughter echoes in the background.

The Doctor drops off Jack in Cardiff to rejoin his team, deactivating his vortex manipulator to prevent Jack from jumping around time and space. As Jack departs, he reflects on his immortality and what he might look like in a million years, and notes to the Doctor and Martha that in his youth on the Boeshane Peninsula, his good looks earned him the nickname "the Face of Boe," revealing that the minor character who the Doctor saw die in Gridlock is actually Jack, millions of years old. Martha takes her leave of the Doctor, opting to look after her family and finish her medical degree, recognising that while she loves the Doctor, he cannot return that; Martha however gives him a cell phone so they can stay in touch and travel again one day. As the Doctor pilots the TARDIS away, now with his severed hand aboard, it is struck by a large force and the bow of a ship called the Titanic bursts through a wall of the control room, leaving the Doctor perplexed how that could occur.

Cast notes

  • Reggie Yates is credited as playing Leo Jones; however, the character Leo only appears in this episode as background. The audio commentary for the episode mentions that Leo was originally scheduled to appear in the sequence showing Martha's return to Britain, but Yates was double-booked.
  • Zoe Thorne also voiced the Gelth in "The Unquiet Dead".
  • Uncredited as the hand that picks up the Master's ring was production manager, Tracie Simpson.

Continuity

  • In the episode's commentary, writer Russell T Davies called the implication of Jack's nickname ("the Face of Boe") "a theory" as to the Face of Boe's origins, prompting Executive Producer Julie Gardner to urge him to "stop back-pedalling" about the two characters being the same. Davies then mentioned the addition of a line in "Gridlock" in which the Face of Boe calls the Doctor "old friend", suggesting a strong connection between him and the Doctor.
  • Davies also jokingly termed the hand seen removing the Master's ring from the ashes of his funeral pyre "the hand of the Rani".[2]
  • The Master makes reference to the Sea Devils (which the Third Doctor and the Master encountered together in the 1972 serial The Sea Devils) and the Axons (which they met in 1971's The Claws of Axos).[3]
  • Earth is referred to as Sol 3, the third planet from the star Sol, as it was in The Deadly Assassin.[3]
  • The Master's laser screwdriver is said to be isomorphically controlled, a property the Doctor attributed to the TARDIS controls in Pyramids of Mars.
  • Clips from "Smith and Jones", "Utopia" and "The Sound of Drums" are used in this episode.
  • The hand seen picking up the Master's ring was included in order to leave open the possibility of reintroducing the character at a later date.[2] In part one of The End of Time, the hand is revealed to be that of a disciple of Harold Saxon.
  • Martha mentions that both UNIT and Torchwood have been studying Time Lords for several decades. Torchwood was set up in "Tooth and Claw" for the specific purpose of tracking the Doctor, while the Doctor worked for UNIT in the mid-20th century. During the Doctor's tenure with UNIT, a full season of stories revolved around the Master, ending in his capture by UNIT in The Dæmons.
  • The 2007 Children in Need mini-episode "Time Crash" takes place within the last few minutes of this episode.
  • The Story of Martha, a new series novel, chronicles the journey and tales of Martha Jones during her year on Earth.
  • The Master says to The Doctor, "You used to have companions who could absorb the Time Vortex", referring to "Rose Tyler".

Outside references

  • The Master refers to the aged version of the Doctor as "Gandalf" from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
  • Whilst attempting to mend a television to pick up the broadcast from the Master, Professor Docherty remarks on a fondness for Countdown and states that "it's never been the same since Des took over. Both Deses", referring to Des Lynam and Des O'Connor's hosting of the show after the death of Richard Whiteley in 2005.
  • When Professor Docherty was interrupted with Martha Jones, she said she didn't care if it was the Queen of Sheba.
  • While working on a troublesome computer to access the data from the one Toclafane struck down by lightning, Professor Docherty says, "Who ever thought that we would miss Bill Gates?"

Production and publicity

  • This episode, along with "Utopia" and "The Sound of Drums", are treated in several sources as a three-part story, the first such story in the revived series of Doctor Who. However, Russell T Davies has said that he regards "Utopia" as a separate story, but notes that the determination is arbitrary.[4]
  • "Last of the Time Lords" was a subtitle proposed at one stage for a film version of Doctor Who that was in development from 1987 to 1994.[5]
  • This episode was planned to be broadcast live to the crowds attending Pride London in Trafalgar Square via a giant screen. However, a local curfew after the nearby attempted terrorist bombing the previous day prevented the screening. Freema Agyeman and John Barrowman attended the event.[6][7]
  • In order to keep the episode's details secret, access to preview copies of this episode was restricted.[8] There was a similar moratorium on copies of "Doomsday" the previous year and on the series four finale "Journey's End" the following year.[9]
  • The episode was allocated a 50-minute timeslot for its initial broadcast,[10] as with "Daleks in Manhattan" previously, and 55-minute timeslots for the BBC Three repeats.[11][12] According to Russell T Davies in Doctor Who Magazine 384, this is because it ran over-length but they did not wish to lose the material. The official run time from freemaagyeman.com for the episode is almost 52 minutes. The final episode of The Trial of a Time Lord was also extended by five minutes in 1986.
  • In the audio commentary, the producers reveal that Graeme Harper filled in to direct some scenes after director Colin Teague was injured.
  • At the start of this episode, The Master enters the bridge of the Valiant as "I Can't Decide" by the Scissor Sisters plays in the background. He refers to it as "track 3", its place on the Scissor Sisters' second album, Ta-Dah.
  • Two sets of audio commentaries were recorded for the episode: one with producers Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson, which was intended for podcast broadcast to coincide with the episode's initial UK telecast, and the other featuring actors David Tennant, Freema Agyeman and John Barrowman, which was included on the UK DVD release of the episode as part of the Series 3 box set. However, the Region 1 (North America) release of the DVD saw the actor commentary replaced by the earlier podcast version, although a production error resulted in the set's booklet not indicating this substitution (and the booklet also omits Tennant's name).[13]
  • This episode marked the last regular-episode use of the Doctor Who theme music arrangement by Murray Gold that had been introduced in 2005 and used (notwithstanding minor modifications and an extension of the closing theme in 2006) thereafter. The opening theme would be heard once more in its 2005 arrangement in the Time Crash short episode, before both opening and closing themes would be revised beginning with Voyage of the Damned and continuing into Series 4 in 2008.

Critical reception

According to official BARB ratings, "Last of the Time Lords" was watched by 8.61 million viewers. It received an Audience Appreciation Index of 88, considered "excellent" for a drama. Stephen Brook, writing on Guardian Unlimited's Organgrinder blog, said the episode was "certainly an epic conclusion... but not a satisfying one." He felt it was too epic and too rushed, and "the resurrection of the Doctor... left me cold."[14] Stephen James Walker, in his book Third Dimension: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who 2007, summed up the episode as "bleak and depressing", and listed the ill treatment of the Doctor, the use of a reset button and the underuse of Captain Jack as among the problems he had with the story.[15]

References

  1. ^ "Doctor Who UK airdate announced". News (Dreamwatch). February 27, 2007. http://www.dwscifi.com/articles/show/227.  
  2. ^ a b ""Last of the Time Lords" Podcast". 2007-07-27. http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/doctorwho/ram/313_commentary?size=au&bgc=CC0000&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1. Retrieved 2007-06-30.  
  3. ^ a b "Doctor Who - Fact File - "The Last of the Time Lords"". http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/episodes/2007/facts/fact_313.shtml. Retrieved 2007-07-01.  
  4. ^ Davies, Russell T (4 March 2009 (cover date)). "Production Notes". Doctor Who Magazine (Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Panini Comics) (406): p 4. "And I certainly feel the Series Three climax was two stories, no matter what the DWM season poll says. I'm sorry! I just do! I could rattle off the reasons, but we're into the mystical land of canon here, where the baseline of the argument simply comes down to "because I think so!"".  
  5. ^ Lofficier, Jean-Marc (1997). Doctor Who: The Nth Doctor - An in-depth Study of the films that almost were. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0426204999.  
  6. ^ "Gripping finale of Doctor Who closes Pride show in Trafalgar Square". Pride London. http://www.pridelondon.org/media/. Retrieved 2007-06-25.  
  7. ^ "Doctor Who dropped at London Pride 2007". Outpost Gallifrey. http://www.gallifreyone.com/news-archives.php?id=7-2007#newsitemEElFkAZAyyvWqDoaUZ. Retrieved 2007-07-02.  
  8. ^ "What did Lizo think of Doctor Who?". CBBC. 2007-06-18. http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_6760000/newsid_6763700/6763787.stm. Retrieved 2007-06-21.  
  9. ^ "Fear Forecast: "Army of Ghosts"". BBC Doctor Who website. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/episodes/2006/fear/f-armyofghosts.shtml. Retrieved 2007-02-25.  
  10. ^ Doctor Who - Saturday, 30 June, Radio Times
  11. ^ Doctor Who - Sunday, 1 July, Radio Times
  12. ^ Doctor Who - Friday, 6 July, Radio Times
  13. ^ BBC Worldwide press release, quoted on TV Shows on DVD, Nov. 18, 2007 (accessed Nov. 20, 2007)
  14. ^ Brook, Stephen (2007-07-02). "Doctor Who: it's season finale time!". Guardian Unlimited. http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/organgrinder/2007/07/doctor_who_its_season_finale_t.html. Retrieved 2008-08-10.  
  15. ^ Walker, Stephen James (2007). Third Dimension:The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who 2007. Telos Publishing. pp. 264. ISBN 978-1-84583-016-8.  

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