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42 (TV story)

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RealWorld
42
Behold-opticblast
Doctor: Tenth Doctor
Companion(s): Martha
Main enemy: The Torajii Sun
Main setting: Torajii, 42nd century
Key crew
Writer: Chris Chibnall
Director: Graeme Harper
Producer: Phil Collinson
Release details
Story number: 184
Season/series: 3
Premiere broadcast: 19 May 2007
Premiere network: BBC One
Format: 1 45-minute episode
Production code: 3.7
Confidential: Space Craft
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Memorable moment
Burn with me - part one - Dr Who - BBC sci-fi03:40

Burn with me - part one - Dr Who - BBC sci-fi

Another memorable moment
Burn with me - part two - Dr Who - BBC sci-fi03:08

Burn with me - part two - Dr Who - BBC sci-fi

42 was the seventh episode of the third series of Doctor Who. It marked Martha's first trip as an official companion to the Doctor as her previous travels were part of the Doctor's thanks for helping him in Smith and Jones. It also showed that Harold Saxon was interested in the Doctor and was using Mrs Jones to try locating him through Martha.

Synopsis Edit

The Tenth Doctor and Martha follow a distress signal, only to be trapped on a spaceship hurtling towards a sun and cut off from the TARDIS. With only forty-two minutes left till impact, can they save the day? Also, something else is on the ship and it wants everyone to burn.

Plot Edit

In the TARDIS, the Tenth Doctor adjusts Martha's mobile phone, enabling it to call anywhere in time and space — an ability he refers to as Universal Roaming - as a "frequent flyer's privilege". As she is about to telephone her mother, Francine, they materialise on a very hot spaceship in answer to a distress signal. The Doctor notes that the spaceship's engines are not operating. They open the door to the next room and are pulled through by three members of the crew, who then slam the door shut. The captain, Kath McDonnell, explains that the engines have cut out and left the ship, the SS Pentallian, on a crash course with a local star. A nearby monitor announces that the projected time until impact is 42 minutes. The Doctor suggests evacuating the crew aboard the TARDIS, but the ship has begun venting excess heat through the room in which the TARDIS materialised, rendering it unreachable.

Meanwhile, the others move to the main engine room to try to fix the engines. The Doctor finds that all the engine-related machinery has been destroyed, and comments that the method suggests "someone knew what they were doing." He observes that they're in the Torajii system and that they're using energy scoops for fusion. He thought the scoops might have been outlawed by now; Kath assured him they were due for an upgrade. The Doctor organises Martha and Riley Vashtee to open a series of password-protected doors in order to access the control room where the auxiliary engines can be activated. He tells Martha to be careful.

The Ship's medical attendant, Abi Lerner calls the main engine room to say that Hal Korwin, the captain's husband, is having some sort of seizure. The Doctor tells everyone else to continue trying to save the ship, but Kath goes with him to the sickbay where they find Abi, Ashton, and Korwin. Korwin is lying near a stasis chamber with his eyes closed, screaming in agony, crying, "It's burning me!" before the Doctor sedates him. Once Korwin is unconscious, the Doctor instructs Abi to test Korwin to find out what is wrong with him; then the Doctor and McDonnell return to the rest of the crew.

While Abi is asked of Korwin's status, she states he's heavily sedated and she needs more time, but she doesn't notice his hands twitching. When she returns to report some very strange results, she breaks off and the crew hears her screams for assistance as Korwin gets up and backs Abi against the wall, saying in a deep voice, "Burn with me". As he opens his eyes, a blinding light comes out and Abi screams in terror.

While the Doctor runs to Abi's aid, Martha and Riley Vashtee are opening doors by answering pop quiz-style questions. Riley says they were set by the crew, years previously, after a night of drinking; but when the next question is to find the next in a series of what turn out to be happy prime numbers, the Doctor pops up on the comm with the answer. Riley observes that the crew has changed since they set the questions. The next question category is Classical Music, or, to Martha, 20th century Earth pop culture. The Doctor is both busy and not sure, so Martha rings her mother for help — unaware that Francine has knowingly had her call tapped by a young woman who is presumably a government agent. Meanwhile, the Doctor finds the imprint of Abi and concludes that she was instantly vaporised. He reads the medical reports and reasons that Korwin has been infected in some way, and can now vaporise people.

McDonnell is at first unwilling to believe that Korwin could be responsible for sabotaging the ship and killing Abi, but then relents and alerts the rest of the crew to avoid him. Dev Ashton, working on the engines, sends Erina Lessak a message asking for more tools. She mutes the intercom and mutters under her breath about the injustice of being sent on every errand as she goes to the control cupboard. She sarcastically ends her spiel with "Just kill me now." When Erina closes the door, she turns to find a helmeted Korwin standing there. He then backs Erina against the wall as he did with Abi, and opens his visor to vaporise her.

Kath asks for the Doctor not to lie about Korwin to spare her feelings. He tells her Korwin is too far gone, then demands to know if there is anything she is hiding. He thinks the tracks are provoked and personal. She says she knows everything about the ship and crew, and no one is hiding anything from her.

Next, Korwin then goes to find Ashton, saying, "They are getting too far" and "we must share the light". Korwin grabs him around the head, but instead of killing him, Korwin holds his gloved hands to Ashton's head, which begins to smoke. A helmeted Ashton goes to Martha and Riley — presumably the ones who were "getting too far" — and tells them to "burn with me". He reaches for his visor, and they run for an escape capsule in terror and lock themselves inside. The capsule begins to jettison, and Martha calls for the Doctor.

Ashton tries to override the system and send Martha and Riley plummeting towards the sun, but Riley is trying equally hard inside the capsule to stop this from happening. Ashton finally just destroys the system when the Doctor arrives and tries to taunt him into raising the visor. At the same time, Korwin finds his wife, telling her, "It's your fault", before he is frozen to death by Scannell, prompting the possessed Ashton to ignore the Doctor and seek to continue Korwin's work. The Doctor calls them, explaining what's happening, but can't stop the pod; Martha and Riley jettison as she murmurs, "Sorry." He calls Scannell and demands a space suit.

In the capsule, Martha implores Riley to have faith in the Doctor, wondering why he has not found anyone in his life to have faith in — his family is all but gone and he has no romantic attachments. However, she is surprised when, in answer to her question, he looks directly at her and says, "I already have." Resigned to her fate, Martha phones Francine once more and, unwilling to divulge her predicament, instead tells her mother that she loves her and tries to get her to simply converse about her life, until Francine's probing of whether the Doctor is with her causes a tearful Martha to end the call. Riley comforts her.

Scannell tries to talk him out of it, but the Doctor puts on his suit and goes outside to magnetise the ship in order to pull the escape pod back from the sun. Elsewhere in the ship, McDonnell lures Ashton into the medical bay and freezes him to death in the stasis chamber. Outside, the Doctor struggles to press the magnetic pull control buttons on the side of the ship, and he eventually manages it.

Climbing back into the ship, the Doctor looks at the sun and stares into it, realising that "it's alive", before he too is infected by the same entity as Korwin. The escape pod returns to its launching point. Martha and Riley come back to the ship grinning until they see the Doctor writhing in pain. He cries for them to stay away, and they stand back in shock as his eyes glow before he tightly closes them. McDonnell arrives and the desperate Doctor angrily explains to her that because she illegally mined the sun for fuel, without checking for life signs, she has seriously injured the sun — scooped out the heart of a living being. Kath protests that he can't know, but he shouts that the sun is alive in him. She gasps and says checking takes too long and they would have been caught using the illegal fusion scoop. With his eyes still shut, he asks the two women to place him into the cryogenic stasis machine to take him below minus 200 to kill the sun entity in him before the entity uses him to kill them.

Korwin's body begins to twitch. As Riley runs in, Scannell asks his favourite colour for the password, then shouts in protest when Riley isn't sure of the answer.

The women carry the Doctor to the med center. Martha momentarily lets go to open the instructions, and he reaches out and calls for her in panic. She reassures him by repeating his instructions as Kath argues that he can't possibly survive the temperatures. Martha tells her he's an alien then shames her away, saying she's done enough damage. The Doctor frantically tells Martha he can only take ten seconds in the chamber. He cries in pain, saying it's burning him up, he can't control it, and "if we don't get rid of it, I could kill you. I could kill you all." He confesses he's scared and tries to tell Martha about a process which may happen if he dies; Martha assures him that he won't.

Martha starts the freezing process while the Doctor screams, but it is interrupted by Korwin (a corpse possessed by what remains of Torajii in him), who turns off the power to the stasis chamber from the engineering department. The temperature had only reached negative seventy, as the somewhat frosty Doctor yells and continues to struggle with the invading entity. He then tells Martha that she must go to the front of the ship and jettison the fuel, which will return the living particles back to the sun. Martha protests, as she doesn't want to leave him, but she runs to tell the rest of the crew to jettison the fuel.

Elsewhere, a shocked McDonnell encounters Korwin. She admits to Korwin that this was all her fault and lures him to an airlock. She apologises to the rest of the crew through her radio, then opens the airlock and tells him that she loves him as the two of them are sucked out into space. Riley and Scannell work on the last door open, while Martha runs towards them. The defrosted Doctor collapses onto the floor and crawls into the corridor. He calls to Martha on the comms to say he can't fight it, "give it back or..." He opens glowing eyes as he finishes, "Burn with me." He screams. Martha reaches the remaining crew as they realise the auxiliaries aren't working, and tells them to vent the fuel.

As the fuel vents and replenishes the sun, the Doctor's eyes clear and the auxiliaries fire on reserves, freeing the ship from the gravitational pull of the living sun. The two remaining crew members hug, and Martha runs to find the Doctor and they too hug, both laughing in relief.

The Doctor and Martha head back to the vent room. Scannell and Riley marvel over the size of the unmarred TARDIS, and the Doctor advises they tell the authorities the truth, as the living sun needs care and protection. Martha kisses Riley goodbye. Inside the TARDIS, she tries to joke with a stoic Doctor, who stands there uncomfortably until she asks how he's doing, then abruptly breaks the moment with a suggestion – ice skating. Martha rolls her eyes and seems a bit hurt as she tells him she'll go where ever he'd like, then gasps as he gives Martha her very own key to the TARDIS, another "frequent flyer's privilege". The Doctor thanks Martha and smirks a little.

Martha calls her mother back, who invites her over for tea, and when asked informs her that it is Election Day. Martha accepts, saying she'll be around for tea, roughly. Francine hangs up, and the woman and two other men appear to be tapping Francine's phone again. Confiscating the phone, the woman asks Francine if she has voted. She says she has, but doesn't say who she has voted for. The woman thanks her for all she has been doing, saying, "Mr Saxon will be very grateful."

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound







Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.


References Edit

The Doctor Edit

Galactic law Edit

Individuals Edit

  • Mr Saxon is mentioned when Martha rings her mum.
  • Martha tells Riley that his kiss was "very hot".
  • Scannell has trouble believing the TARDIS is actually a ship.

Martha Edit

  • The Doctor tries to tell Martha about his ability to regenerate, but Martha interprets his comments about nearing death as a morbid mindset and ignores him and tells him to concentrate on surviving.

Planets Edit

Ships Edit

Music Edit

  • The Doctor aptly mentions "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles.
  • By this time the Beatles and Elvis Presley are considered examples of classical music. Elvis had more pre-download Number Ones than the Beatles.

Technology Edit

Story notes Edit

  • The transmission of 42 was postponed to the 19th of May (rather than the 12th) because of the BBC's broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest.
  • The episode occurs (approximately) in real time, like the American television programme 24. 42 is of course 24 reversed, possibly another tip of the hat to the show. However, technically the events do not occur in real-time in this episode; for example, the countdown timer runs out at approximately 40 minutes into the episode, leaving 2 unaccounted minutes as well as almost the entire pre-credits sequence (itself about 2 minutes).
  • 42 is the approximate length, in minutes, of a new Doctor Who episode, which is the obvious source of the name, since the episode purports to be told in more or less "real time".
  • 42 is somewhat similar to the movie Sunshine. Both of these involve a delivery ship, both of these involve possession and both of these involve a ship going out of control to the nearby Sun. Also, the DVD commentary states the ship's original name as written and filmed was the "Icarus", just as in Sunshine, until they edited the name out of the final episode to avoid confusion.
  • This episode has the shortest title of any televised instalment of Doctor Who broadcast to date and is the only one to date to consist solely of a number.
  • At one stage the Ood were going to be in this episode, where they were to be possessed again. (DWDVDF 5)
  • Coincidentally or not, the Sun only takes control of males.
  • The stasis chamber from this episode is the MRI machine (redecorated) from TV: Smith and Jones.
  • The muted horn musical tag line heard as we switch to Francine's home and see the three dark-suited individuals includes the four beat cadence later used in TV: The Sound of Drums.
  • To promote the episode, Joseph Lidster wrote a short story entitled 42 Prologue focusing on Erina Lessak and the events leading up to the episode. The story, which expands on the backstory of Erina and other characters, was published exclusively on the BBC's Doctor Who website in May 2007. [1]
  • Miss Dexter makes her first appearance in this episode, although her name is not spoken. She's only referred in the credits as the "Sinister woman".

Ratings Edit

  • 7.0 million (overnight ratings)
  • 7.41 million (final ratings)
  • 0.89 million (BBC3 repeat)

Filming locations Edit

  • St. Regis Paper Company, Sudbrook, Caldicot
  • Cwrt-y-Vil Road, Penarth
  • Nippon Electric Glass UK (now known as Trident Park/part of Trident Park), Cardiff Bay
  • BBC Studios, Upper Boat, Tonteg Road, Treforest Industrial Estate, Pontypridd

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • When Lerna is burnt alive, he touches the vaporisation on the wall, he wipes ashes off his fingers, even though there's nothing there.[statement unclear]

Continuity Edit

Home video releases Edit

Bbcdvd-s3-v2

Series 3 Volume 2 DVD Cover

External links Edit


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