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"Utopia" is an episode of the British science
fiction television series Doctor Who. It was broadcast on BBC One on 16 June 2007 and is
the eleventh episode of series three of the revived
Doctor Who series. It is the first of three episodes that
form a linked narrative, followed by "The Sound of Drums" and "Last
of the Time Lords".
This episode is set upon the planet of Malcassairo in the year
100 trillion, where a professor is working to send the last
remnants of the human race to a place called "Utopia". It sees the
return of Captain
Jack Harkness and the Master.
As Harkness stows his way back into the Doctor's life, the
TARDIS lands at the end of the universe where an ailing Professor
works to save his people. But as the last of the human race sets
out to their dream homeland, the vicious Futurekind threaten to scuttle the rocket
and the Doctor's greatest nemesis is about to rise again.
The TARDIS lands in Cardiff to refuel from the Rift. The Doctor
states that this will only take twenty seconds (in contrast to his
previous visit), noting that the
Rift has been active recently. Captain Jack races towards the
TARDIS, grabbing onto it as it dematerialises, causing it to hurtle
out of control to the end of the Universe.
After landing in the year 100 trillion on the planet Malcassairo, Jack confronts
the Doctor about abandoning him on Satellite 5, and asks
about Rose Tyler. Jack
reveals that he returned to Earth using a vortex manipulator, but was
stranded in the 19th century; therefore, he went to wait at the
Cardiff Rift, knowing the Doctor would eventually come back.
Exploring, they find a dead city and encounter the Futurekind, cannibalistic humanoids
who are hunting a human. The human is attempting to reach a
transport to "Utopia", the last hope of
the human race.
At the transport site, the TARDIS crew meet the elderly
Professor Yana and his insectoid assistant Chantho, who are desperate
for help. The spacecraft to Utopia can't launch due to problems
with its experimental engine system. Despite the unfamiliar
technology, the Doctor solves the scientific problems, and Jack
makes final preparations in a heavily irradiated room. As Jack does
this, he and the Doctor discuss Jack's inability to die, saying
that his resurrection is why the Doctor abandoned him on Satellite
5. The rocket finally takes off for Utopia, leaving the Doctor,
Yana, Chantho, Martha, and Jack behind.
A separate plot shows that Yana has been hearing a constant drumbeat
inside his head — a condition he reports having had all his life,
with the drums getting louder of late. Words such as "regeneration" and "TARDIS" —
elements of Time Lord
lore — exacerbate the problem. When Martha expresses concern over
the Professor's uneasiness, he reveals a long-standing concern with
time, and shows Martha a broken fob watch he's had since
obtaining it as a child, identical in design to John
Smith's watch in "Human Nature" and "The Family
of Blood". Concerned about the implications, Martha rushes to
inform the Doctor.
When the Doctor hears about Yana's timepiece, a flashback
sequence inter-cut with the letters of the Professor's name makes
clear that "Yana" is an acronym of "You are
not alone", the Face
of Boe's last words to the Doctor. At the same time, Yana opens
the watch, releasing his Time Lord essence. Frantic and horrified,
the Doctor races towards Yana's laboratory but is hindered as the
Professor closes the doors and allows the Futurekind to enter the
base. Yana reveals his true identity to Chantho: he is the Master.
He electrocutes her, but Chantho manages to shoot him before
The Doctor arrives in Yana's laboratory just as the Master
enters the Doctor's TARDIS, taking the severed hand (which Jack
recovered after the events of "The Christmas Invasion" and had
carried ever since) with him. He then deadlock seals the TARDIS
doors, preventing the Doctor from opening it. Dying from Chantho's
shot, the Master regenerates, in a spasm of volcanic,
multi-coloured energy, into a younger body, whose voice Martha
recognises. After taunting and berating the Doctor, he leaves in
the TARDIS, stranding the three time travellers in the distant
future, with the Futurekind about to break through the door.
Harkness and Torchwood
- Harkness was last seen at the end of the Torchwood episode "End
of Days", looking off-screen while the familiar sound of the TARDIS is heard in the
background. The Torchwood team find him gone, and the place in a
mess. While refuelling, the Doctor notes that the Rift has been
active recently; this was due to Abaddon escaping through the Rift in the
- Harkness says that he used a Vortex Manipulator to travel
back from the year 200,100. Stolen Vortex Manipulator technology
was also used by the Family of Blood in "Human Nature" to
track the Doctor through time.
- One of the items in Harkness's backpack is the severed hand of the Doctor.
This was first seen in "The Christmas Invasion", when
the hand was cut off by the Sycorax leader, and was a recurring
background item on the Torchwood Three Hub set. This
episode confirms that the hand is indeed the Doctor's.
- Derek Jacobi plays the fifth version of the Master whom the
Doctor has encountered on screen, and John Simm is the sixth.
At least one television pundit speculated whether "Mister Saxon" was an
intentional anagram of "Master No. Six" or was perhaps "a big red herring".
However, when asked, Russell T Davies stated that it was not
- The episode marks the first time the Master has been shown
undergoing regeneration; in previous episodes ("The
Keeper of Traken", the TV movie) the Master has
been shown appropriating someone else's body, which is not the same
as regeneration. This is the second episode to show a Time Lord
other than the Doctor regenerating on screen, the first being the
regeneration of K'anpo in "Planet of the Spiders" (the
regeneration of Romana
References to other
- The Doctor, in comparing his and Jack's respective
time-traveling devices, comments about Jack having a "space hopper," (the
Vortex Manipulator), while he has a "sports car," (the TARDIS). Donna Noble, in the
later episode "Planet of the Ood", makes a similar
comment early on about a shuttle passing over head; the Doctor has
a little, blue box while the shuttle is a Ferrari.
- Martha inquires about the earthquake in Cardiff a couple of years ago, and the Doctor
claims he had a bit of trouble with the Slitheen. This refers to the events of the
2005 episode "Boom Town". He also states that
he was a different man back then; the episode took place during the
- The Doctor informs Jack he knew Rose had brought him back to
life ever since he left Satellite 5. The Doctor was shown to be
aware of this in the untitled Children in Need special.
- The Doctor speaks about Rose's actions in "The Parting of the
Ways" as "the last act of the Time War".
- This episode contains clips from "The Parting of the Ways",
"The Christmas Invasion", "Human
Nature" and "Gridlock". It also features
sounds of previous Masters when the Professor's watch is beckoning
him to open it, including Anthony Ainley's laugh and a line Roger Delgado spoke
- Yana recalls that he was found as a child "on the coast of the
Silver Devastation", a place from where the Face of Boe was said to have come in the
2005 episode "The End of the
- The truth behind the existence of 'Utopia' and the fate of the
humans seen in this episode is revealed in "Last
of the Time Lords".
- While walking through the Silo, The Doctor comments on how the
human race has survived to the end of the universe, describing them
as 'indomitable'. The Fourth Doctor gave a similar speech about
the human race in The Ark in Space, the speech ends
with the words, 'They're indomitable...indomitable.'
- This is the first episode in the revived series to credit three
principal cast members within the title sequence, with the addition of John Barrowman,
who plays Captain Jack Harkness.
- Music originally composed for Torchwood can be heard
in the background of this episode: a variation of the
Torchwood theme plays when Jack runs towards the
TARDIS and a motif plays when Jack lies dead, having
ridden on the TARDIS through the Vortex.
- This episode was announced as the first of a three-part story
in Totally Doctor Who, broadcast
the day before. Prior to this, only the following two instalments
had been linked. Later reference material, including Doctor Who
Magazine's season poll, treated the three episodes as a
single three-part story. Russell T Davies has said that he regards
"Utopia" as a separate story, but notes that the determination is
- The drumming motif is suggestive
of the fifth and subsequent bars of the Doctor Who theme tune
as composed by Ron
Grainer and realised by Delia Derbyshire.
- ^ "Utopia". Writer Russell T
Davies, Director Graeme Harper, Producer Phil Collinson.
BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2007-06-16.
"Doctor Who UK airdate
announced". News (Dreamwatch). 27 February 2007. http://www.dwscifi.com/articles/show/227.
"A New Doctor, A New
Dimension?". http://www.bigfinish.com/drwho_unbound/dwu05_deadline.shtml. Retrieved
"Jacobi confirmed for Dr Who
News (BBC). 25 January
- ^ "Future Boy".
News (BBC Doctor Who
website). 7 June 2007. http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/news/cult/news/drwho/2007/06/07/45505.shtml.
- ^ a
"Doctor Who - Fact File -
"Utopia"". http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/episodes/2007/facts/fact_311.shtml. Retrieved
- ^ "Of a Thursday". Digital Spy.
2007-04-01. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/a44695/of-a-thursday.html. Retrieved
Radio Times 30 June–6 July 2007: Doctor Who
Doctor Who Magazine issue 384: Return of the
2007-06-16. http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/s311_commentary.mp3. Retrieved
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!"".
Freema Agyeman, Trevor Laird, Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The Sound of Drums
commentary BBC's Doctor Who
microsite Podcast accessed on 2007-06-25