The End of the World
|(Doctor Who Story No. 162, starring Christopher Eccleston)
- written by Russell T. Davies
- directed by Euros Lyn
- produced by Phil Collinson
- music by Murray Gold
- 1 episode @ 45 minutes
Story: The Doctor takes Rose to a party on a space
station in the far future, where a variety of rich aliens
have gathered to bid a fond farewell to the Earth before
the sun expands and swallows it up. But when the station
is sabotaged, the Doctor must act quickly to save everyone
on board and find out who the true culprit is, and Rose
begins to learn that the Doctor has his own dark secrets
DVD Extras (box sets only) include:
- Audio commentary by
producer Phil Collinson
and visual effects producer Will Cohen.
- Doctor Who Confidential featurette: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (11 min.)
Christopher Eccleston (The Doctor),
Yasmin Bannerman (Jabe),
writer Russell T. Davies,
director Euros Lyn, and
CGI model maker Chris Petts.
- "On Set with Billie Piper" video diary entry
- "Designing Doctor Who" production design segment
Buyers' Guide Review
by Martin Izsak
(A more in-depth analysis, containing "SPOILERS" and intended
for those who have already seen the program, can be accessed
I just love the exquisite setting for this story, along with
the generous helping of eye-candy visual effects laid in to make it
real. I've long wanted to see or read or write or create a story
that dealt with the natural expansion or extinguishing of the sun,
and its consequences to the Earth and the human race. Russell T.
Davies delivered it, and that alone may push this story ahead of
the rest of the season's offerings in my list of personal favourites.
But the story still contains too many flaws to become truly great
in the annals of Doctor Who.
The TARDIS gets a bit of a bad break in this story. The Doctor's
farcical handling of the console during flight puts added emphasis
on the ugly, run-down interior design we are sadly stuck with now,
and makes the craft look more like a bad joke than anything believable.
The new series is still too fresh to be leaving out important visual
ideas like the materialization and dematerialization of the police box,
synchronized with the sound effect, but this story passes up every
opportunity it has. And the all-important juxtaposition of interior
and exterior scenes, during Rose's wide-eyed exit of the vehicle,
is painfully mis-matched from left-to-right, with the exterior shot
not even showing the police box clearly either. Very disappointing.
Many of the story's better bits are the sombre character moments
where the Doctor and Rose explore the setting literally and philosophically,
as well as digging deeper into each other's characters. Intriguingly,
the Doctor, in particular, seems to be harbouring a few more secrets than
he did during the program's initial 26 year run.
But checking out the scenery will only stretch so far. Every story
needs a plot, and this one seems to want to fall back on the whodunit
bottle story formula, which usually produces great results. The Doctor
and Rose quickly meet the rest of the cast of characters, whose extreme
and varied alienness provides a nice sequence of initiating Rose to
the kind of thing she needs to expect when traveling with the Doctor.
But the aliens are presented in a manner that's more arbitrary than
real, paraded in and being announced to those already in the room
(chiefly just the Doctor and Rose), but not to those still waiting to
make their entrance. The Doctor's psychic paper is a nice touch,
worthy of standing beside K9 and the sonic screwdriver as one of the show's
Most of the aliens also remain more caricatures than characters though.
For the whodunit plot to really kick in and become enjoyable, the story
needs to be about twice as long, allowing for the character exploration,
clues, details, and red herrings that make such tales compelling. This
time, there just isn't time. Some added depth comes through with Jabe,
the Steward, and the "plumber" in the corridor, mostly through the
performances of the actors. More of this would have done the story
Another bad point is the architecture of one of the story's key rooms.
So you've got a huge wide shaft with several large rotating fans inside
of it. Fair enough. Now what engineer in his right mind would put controls
and a door on opposite sides of that shaft, connected only by a ramp that
goes directly and dangerously under the fans, especially when there's plenty
of safe space on either side? One look, and any member of the audience
can correctly guess what will happen here, although a huge increase in
quality occurs during the last few seconds of the predictable sequence.
The story's biggest black mark is the ridiculous bombshell that
the Doctor drops for fans of the original
series - you can read me go on and on about this spoiler
in the In-depth Analysis version of this review
Despite these flaws, "The End of the World" remains highly
entertaining and enjoyable, and ends on a very emotional note.
As with the previous episode, it's just too bad it wasn't a longer story.
This story has become available on DVD:
|DVD NTSC Region 1
13-episode box set
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
|DVD PAL Region 2
13-episode box set
for the U.K.
|DVD PAL Region 2
U.K. format only
Note: The 13-episode box sets contain commentaries, behind-the-scenes
featurettes, and other extras.
The 3-episode volumes only feature the plain episodes.
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