Death of the Doctor was the third story in the fourth series of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It contained the first televised meeting between classic-era companions Sarah Jane and Jo Grant, and the first televised appearance of Jo since her 1973 swansong. It also contained the only appearance of the Eleventh Doctor on SJA, since he was never included in any flashbacks during the remaining serials the programme had yet to broadcast.
It was also narratively important for the changes it made to other stories. It added to The End of Time by stating that the Tenth Doctor had visited all his former companions, not just the original-to-BBC Wales companions seen in that story. It established something not strongly asserted in Sarah's first season: the Third Doctor and members of UNIT had vividly described Jo, such that Sarah was able to recognise her in this story without ever having met her before.
Behind the scenes, it was the only time that Russell T Davies wrote for the Eleventh Doctor for television, having completely turned over his production responsibilities to the programme the instant that David Tennant's side of the regeneration sequence was completed on The End of Time.
When the Doctor is declared dead, old companions Sarah Jane Smith and Jo Grant meet for the first time and join forces to discover the truth. As an interstellar conspiracy gathers around UNIT HQ, Clyde finds he holds the fate of the Time Lord in his hand – quite literally!
Part 1 Edit
Sarah and the gang are talking to Luke on a webcam when UNIT arrive on Bannerman Road outside her house. She is told by Colonel Tia Karim that her friend, the Doctor, is dead, but doesn't believe it. Colonel Karim tells the gang that alien undertakers, the Shansheeth, are organising the funeral. This makes Sarah more suspicious, so much so that she dares to ask who would believe something like that. Mr Smith tells her the Shansheeth are called the galactic undertakers. That night, Sarah tells Luke the news and that she thinks the Doctor is still alive. Luke thinks the idea is crazy. The next day Sarah goes to the funeral, accompanied by Rani and Clyde. Just as he is getting into the private car, Clyde receives what seems to be a static electric shock to his hand. The gang go to Mount Snowden, home to the UNIT base which will host the Doctor's funeral.
At Snowden, the gang bump into the Groske, a blue, tame version of the Graske. One of the Groske follows them and tells Clyde he "smells like time." Clyde looks at his hand, where he sees artron energy. The gang are taken to the parlour where a gathering of remembrance is taking place. Sarah asks to see the body, but Karim refuses, and Sarah is suspicious until told that he was hurt. She sits down with Rani and Clyde, confessing that she thinks the Doctor regenerated, and she doesn't even know what face he could be wearing. The Shansheeth play music on a harp to help the mourners remember the Doctor, but their thoughts of him are interrupted by the entry of Jo Jones (née Grant), who has dropped the flowers she brought. Jo chatters while she and her grandson Santiago pick up the flowers. When they recognise each other, Jo sits next to Sarah. Santiago sits behind Rani and Clyde. Sarah and Jo talk and make friends, as do Santiago, Clyde, and Rani.
After the remembrance, the gang is in a bedroom where Jo agrees with Sarah's belief that the Doctor is still alive. As Clyde, Rani, and Santiago leave the room, they again meet the Groske who told Clyde that he "smells like time". Clyde gives chase, but the Groske jumps into a ventilation shaft.
Meanwhile, Azure of the Claw Shansheeth is "filleting the Cradle" - using the harp from the remembrance to view the memories of the Doctor that were collected at the gathering. The Shansheeth wearing red and yellow agree Sarah and Jo have the strongest memories. They play more music through the vents, putting Sarah and Jo into a trance. Clyde, Rani, and Santiago follow the Groske into the vent, where they lose him, but overhear the Shansheeth discussing their plot to use a memory weave to steal Jo and Sarah's memories — which will kill them. The artron energy on Clyde's hand returns with a bright, blue light, alerting the Shansheeth to their presence. The youngsters shuffle their way backwards out of the vent. Sarah and Jo hear the clatter, which breaks their trance. They run into the corridors and bump into the others. Clyde tells Sarah and Jo that this is a trap and they are the prize.
Clyde freezes and starts talking in a different voice, a voice that knows Clyde, Rani, Jo, and Sarah. Clyde regains control of his voice and realises he has someone else's hand. Clyde disappears and the Doctor takes his place.
Rani demands to know who he is. The Doctor explains that he used Clyde's residual artron energy to switch places with him, which is trouble for Clyde, who is now in a red, wasteland-like planet full of debris. Although she had mentioned that she expected it, Sarah marvels that the Doctor has "done it again" (regenerated) — though, as before, he smiles and says, "Hello, Sarah Jane." Having never seen this current incarnation either, Rani and especially Jo are bewildered — Jo asks, "What Doctor? The Doctor? My Doctor?" until Sarah asks Jo if she knew the Doctor could change his face. She does, but is shocked that the Doctor is much younger than the other Doctors she has met and has a baby's face compared to theirs. The Doctor responds to Jo, "Oy, imagine it from my point of view! Last time I saw you, Jo Grant, you were what, 21, 22? It's like someone baked you." Hearing this, any doubt that Jo has that it is indeed the Doctor vanishes.
At this point, the Shansheeth arrive, and the Doctor strides forward to meet them, irritably saying, "I've been looking for you. Have you been telling people I'm dead?" They tell the gang the death certificate had been sent out early. Azure of the Claw Shansheeth says this can be rectified. He shoots the Doctor with an energy beam, saying, "Rest in peace!".
Part 2 Edit
Caught in the energy beam, the Doctor disappears and Clyde reappears. He and Clyde keep swapping places. The energy beam disengaged, the Doctor, Jo, Sarah, Rani, and Santiago run from the Shansheeth, and find safety behind a locked door. The Doctor takes Jo and Sarah by the hand. All three swap places with Clyde on the alien planet. As the Doctor works on the machine he used to swap places, they talk. The Doctor says he looked in on Jo and all his old companions before he last regenerated. He tells Jo that her forthcoming thirteenth grandchild will be dyslexic, but a great swimmer. With the help of Sarah's sonic lipstick and some natural tea carried by Jo, the Doctor adjusts the machine so they can travel to Earth without sending Clyde to the planet.
Clyde and Rani talk with Santiago. He hasn't spoken to his parents in six months. Meanwhile, Colonel Karim is working with the Shansheeth. They are plotting to use Jo and Sarah's memories of the TARDIS to create a new TARDIS key, so the Shansheeth can stop death across the universe by interfering with the timelines.
Rani, Santiago, and Clyde are rescued by a Groske and taken through the ventilation shafts. They come to a hiding place, but Karim discovers them. She locks them in and turns on the heat, making the place so hot the children may boil. The Doctor, Jo, and Sarah come to the rescue, but the two companions are kidnapped and strapped into the memory weave. Their minds are scanned and they begin remembering the TARDIS. These memories begin to generate a new TARDIS key as the Shansheeth and Colonel Karim make their intentions clear.
The Doctor, Rani, Clyde, Santiago, and the Groske come to the door of the room where Sarah and Jo are strapped into the memory weave. It is locked. The Doctor tells them to remember all of their adventures with him, in as much detail as possible. Sarah and Jo both remember past encounters with the Doctor and all the creatures and enemies they met. Clyde and Rani tell Sarah to remember their experiences fighting aliens as well. Santiago tells Jo to remember all the places she's visited. Jo remembers all the countries she has been to as Sarah remembers her battles with aliens.
The Shansheeth begin panicking as the memory weave reaches critical. The Doctor tells Sarah and Jo that it's his funeral and they realise there is an empty, lead-lined coffin waiting next to them to be used. Karim tries to get in the coffin with them, but they keep her out as the memory weave explodes, frying the Shansheeth to "fried chicken", killing Karim, and blasting the doors off. The Doctor and Sarah's companions enter the room and open the coffin, to find Sarah and Jo hugging each other out of fear. They notice the Doctor and everyone else looking down at them and laugh happily that they survived.
The Doctor takes them in the TARDIS and materialises in Sarah's attic. Mr Smith detects the time fluctuations of the incoming TARDIS and activates to state that it has landed. Clyde and Rani exit the TARDIS. Santiago is shocked that they have a sentient computer, which trumps anything he's seen. In the TARDIS, Sarah and Jo examine the new interior. Jo feels the TARDIS is the same no matter how it looks. Jo says she could stay and travel with the Doctor forever, but notes he could get in trouble with the Time Lords. Sarah and the Doctor remain quiet, but the Doctor tells her that it's about time he got going. Sarah and Jo tell the Doctor that if he ever did die, they believe they'd feel something. The Doctor agrees and whispers that the entire universe might shiver if he died. He then shouts to make his old friends jump and they exit the TARDIS. They all watch as it dematerialises.
Jo and Santiago leave for Norway and the trio are left behind. Sarah says that she googled TARDIS and learned of others whom she believes to have been companions of the Doctor. She tells them of Tegan, fighting for aboriginal rights in Australia; Ian and Barbara Chesterton, Cambridge professors who are rumoured not to have aged since the 1960s; Harry Sullivan, her old friend from UNIT, who worked on finding remedies for diseases; Ben and Polly, running an orphanage; and a Dorothy-something who has raised millions of pounds (money) through her company "A Charitable Earth".
As they watch Jo and Santiago leave, Sarah says, "With friends like us, he's not really going to die, is he?"
- Sarah Jane Smith - Elisabeth Sladen
- The Doctor - Matt Smith
- Clyde Langer - Daniel Anthony
- Rani Chandra - Anjli Mohindra
- Mr Smith - Alexander Armstrong
- Jo Jones - Katy Manning
- Santiago - Finn Jones
- Tia Karim - Laila Rouass
- Haresh Chandra - Ace Bhatti
- Shansheeth - Paul Kasey, Ruari Mears, Ben Ashley
- Voice of Shansheeth Blue - David Bradley
- Additional Shansheeth Voices - Jon Glover
- Groske - Jimmy Vee (body), Philip Hurd-Wood (voice)
- Luke Smith - Tommy Knight
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Nikki Wilson|
|General production staff|
Camera and lighting department
|Make-up and prosthetics
Special and visual effects
|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.|
Unlike most other SJA stories, Russell T Davies, being the writer of this story, did not get a "created by" credit.
Time Lords Edit
- The Doctor tells Clyde he can regenerate 507 times and change to any colour of skin.
- Jo says she should leave before the Doctor "gets in trouble with the Time Lords".
- According to the Doctor, he left Amy and Rory on their honeymoon.
- Santiago mentions his father and mother.
- Robert Mugabe is a politician from Earth.
- Haresh Chandra mentions Rani's grandfather.
- Jo Grant's thirteenth grandchild is dyslexic but a great swimmer.
- Sanjay is a friend of Luke.
- Clifford Jones is at Ascension Island.
- Tia Karim refers to Clyde, Rani and Santiago as "three ASBO kids".
- Karim refers to the kids as the Brady Bunch.
- Jo mentions Metebelis III.
- Jo and Sarah both reminisce about their trips to Peladon, specifically their encounter with Aggedor. The Harp music reminded Jo of the Royal Palace on Peladon.
- A honeymoon planet is a planet on a honeymoon.
- The Gay Dads Organisation is an organisation for gay dads.
- The 15th Funeral Fleet is the fleet of the Claw Shansheeth.
- The Wide Wing of the High Shansheeth Nest appologises for the behaviour of Azure, Aureolin and Amaranth.
- Santiago Jones visited Mount Everest, the Andes and Santiago.
- The Nambikwara are a tribe from the Mato Grosso.
- Jo Grant sailed down the Yangtze river in a tea chest, she also flew kites on Kilimanjaro.
- UNIT Base 5 is located at Mount Snowdon.
- Jo and Santiago took a hovercraft as transport to Norway.
- X-15 is a rocket in possession of UNIT.
- The Shansheeth use an Epitaph stone and the memory weave.
- The Cradle is a musical instrument and memory device similar to a harp.
- The Cradle of the Lost Chords is a song played by the Shansheeth.
Races and species Edit
- Tia Karim mentions that the Groske are just like the Graske, but blue and tame.
- Sarah and Jo mention Drashigs, Axons, Ogrons, Daleks, Aggedor's, Cybermen, Zygons and Azal.
- The Claw Shansheeth says that the Doctor died saving children from the Scarlet Monstrosity.
- While trapped with the Groske, Rani and Santiago, Clyde mentions the Judoon.
- Jo met the Aborigines.
- Jo has seen many whales during her journeys.
Story notes Edit
- A trailer was broadcast featuring the Eleventh Doctor.
- This episode marks the last on-screen adventure that Sarah has with the Doctor.
- Russell T Davies thought about using Death of the Doctor as the name for The End of Time Part 2. (REF: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter)
- The Doctor refers to Sarah and Jo as "Smith and Jones", the title of the Doctor Who Series 3 opening episode.
- As UNIT arrives at 13 Bannerman Road, UNIT musical cues are played as the incidental music.
- This is only the second time that the Doctor has appeared in one of the televised spin-offs. The first was also on The Sarah Jane Adventures, but in the Doctor's tenth incarnation, in TV: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith. His successor would make a guest appearance in the premiere of Class six years later.
- This is one of the first times since the revival of Doctor Who that the issue of how many regenerations has been mentioned, with the number given as 507. This of course is in contrast to the fact that (on-screen) it has previously been mentioned as being only twelve, giving each Time Lord a total of thirteen lives. Russell T Davies, who wrote this episode, stated in an interview, "They only said 13 once or twice."  It's worth noting that, within the context of the episode, the Doctor is simply teasing Clyde. In a serious context, he really is limited to twelve regenerations, which he confirms in TV: The Time of the Doctor.
- Additionally, though perhaps accidentally, the individual digits of 507 (namely 5, 0 and 7) do amount to 12 when put together.
- The Doctor also confirms to Clyde that skin colour can change as a result of regeneration. This is later seen in TV: Let's Kill Hitler and Hell Bent, and also happens by implication in TV: Day of the Moon, though the end result of that regeneration is not seen in the episode itself.
- The death of Tia Karim marks one of the few times in the young viewer-friendly Sarah Jane Adventures that a human adversary has been killed through the direct actions of the heroes (if unintentionally). In contrast, in TV: Secrets of the Stars, it is left ambiguous as to whether Martin Trueman is killed or not.
- This story contains the most extensive updates of past companions since TV: The Five Doctors.
- Liz Shaw is stranded on a UNIT Moonbase and cannot get back until Sunday. The fact she's alive and well contradicts the events of the novel PROSE: Eternity Weeps, set in the early 2000s, in which she died, though in that novel she was also working on the Moon for UNIT. The reference means all three of the Third Doctor's female companions are recognised in this story.
- The Brigadier is stranded in Peru, on an ongoing mission. He is also said to be in South America in TV: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith and TV: The Poison Sky.
- Sarah arrived at U.N.I.T "just after" Jo left.
- Jo has seven children and twelve grandchildren, with a thirteenth on the way. The Doctor says that the thirteenth will be dyslexic, but a great swimmer.
- As far as she is aware, Jo hasn't seen the Doctor since the events of TV: The Green Death, though she did try to call him through U.N.I.T but was told he had left (TV: Planet of the Spiders has Jo corresponding with the Doctor and U.N.I.T. via mail, however).
- Tegan Jovanka is fighting for Aboriginal rights. Sarah actually met Tegan in The Five Doctors, but School Reunion implied that she does not appear to remember this adventure. This is supported by her apparent "discovery" of Tegan via Google here — Sarah does, however, remember speaking to K9 and going to the bus-stop, as those images appear when she is remembering. This reference indicates that Tegan is still alive in 2010, despite having a life-threatening health condition in 2006 (AUDIO: The Gathering).
- Ben Jackson and Polly Wright are running an orphanage in India.
- Harry Sullivan is said to have worked with vaccines and saved thousands of lives. He is referred to in the past tense by Sarah. Harry was previously implied to be dead in the novelisation of The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith. The actor who played Harry, Ian Marter, died in 1986.
- Ian and Barbara Chesterton are professors at Cambridge and, according to rumour, haven't aged since the 1960s, suggesting something they encountered in their travels with the Doctor caused them to stop ageing. The reference is the first on-screen confirmation that the two married at some point after the events of TV: The Chase; the wedding was later depicted in COMIC: Hunters of the Burning Stone.
- A companion called Dorothy is said to have raised billions of pounds through her charity "A Charitable Earth." As the charity spells out the words "ACE," this is likely the Seventh Doctor's companion Ace. Different media have offered differing futures for Ace, so this does not necessarily contradict any particular one. In DWMSE 32, Davies indicates that had the series continued he intended to reintroduce Ace in a future storyline.
- Three of the companions mentioned by Sarah were played by actors who were deceased at the time the story was produced: besides Marter, Michael Craze (Ben) and Jacqueline Hill (Barbara) had also passed away.
- This story also marks the only appearance of the original Master, Roger Delgado, (and, indeed, of the Master at all) in The Sarah Jane Adventures, because of Jo's memories. This is also the only time that William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton appear in this show as the first two Doctors.
- The mention of a UNIT moonbase marks the first time since the revival of Doctor Who in 2005 that Earth is revealed to have an ongoing presence off the planet. In TV: The Christmas Invasion, the UK is shown sending its first probe to Mars, even though we'd already been there and beyond in the Third Doctor era. However see UNIT dating controversy.
- Flashbacks are shown of Sarah and Jo's past adventures. (TV: School Reunion, The End of Time, Death to the Daleks, The Stolen Earth, The Time Warrior, The Masque of Mandragora, The Android Invasion, Terror of the Zygons, Genesis of the Daleks, The Monster of Peladon, Pyramids of Mars, The Hand of Fear, The Seeds of Doom, Invasion of the Dinosaurs, Robot, Planet of Evil, Planet of the Daleks, The Time Monster, Carnival of Monsters, The Sea Devils, The Dæmons, Frontier in Space, The Mutants, The Curse of Peladon, The Five Doctors, Invasion of the Bane, Revenge of the Slitheen, Eye of the Gorgon, Warriors of Kudlak, Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?, The Lost Boy, The Last Sontaran, Day of the Clown, Secrets of the Stars, The Mark of the Berserker, The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith)
- The above flashbacks also include images of the First, Second, Third, Fourth and Tenth Doctors. K9 appears as well.
- Rose Tyler also appears briefly in the flashbacks (from Sarah Jane's memories).
- This story features the last appearance of the Eleventh Doctor's original tweed coat.
Filming locations Edit
- Clinton Road
- Millennium Stadium
- Upper Boat Studios
Production errors Edit
to be added
- Sarah Jane refers to when she last saw the Doctor and assumes (correctly) that he regenerated. (TV: The End of Time)
- The former Jo Grant is called Jo Jones, reflecting her marriage to Clifford Jones. (TV: The Green Death, PROSE: Doctor Who and the Planet of the Spiders)
- Sarah tells Jo that it has been about four years since she first met the Doctor again. (TV: School Reunion)
- Sarah reminisces about the Tenth Doctor, (TV: The End of Time) the Fourth Doctor (TV: Pyramids of Mars) and the Third Doctor and the Brigadier.
- Rani and Clyde remember the Doctor. (TV: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith)
- Sarah notes that she arrived at UNIT (TV: The Time Warrior) soon after Jo had left. (TV: The Green Death)
- Jo and Sarah recall their respective visits to Peladon. (TV: The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon)
- Clyde is still fascinated with UNIT. (TV: The Last Sontaran)
- Jo is aware that the Doctor can "change his face" despite never actually witnessing him regenerating, because she met the First and Second Doctors. (TV: The Three Doctors)
- The Second Doctor previously visited a Moonbase with Polly Wright, Ben Jackson, and Jamie McCrimmon in 2070. (TV: The Moonbase)
- The Doctor and Amy Pond have previously visited a Moon base. (PROSE: Apollo 23)
- Jo mentions visiting Karfel. This visit was previously mentioned but not seen in TV: Timelash.
- The Doctor says he looked back on every companion, prior to his last regeneration, not only those of his tenth incarnation. (TV: The End of Time)
- The Doctor tells Sarah and Jo, "Ventilation shaft, that takes me back, or forwards." Sarah once got stuck crawling through a duct. (TV: The Ark in Space) The Fourth Doctor also used ventilation shafts shortly before Sarah and he parted ways (TV: The Hand of Fear), and Jo previously used ventilation shafts to escape as well (TV: Planet of the Daleks)
- Sarah "googled" TARDIS. Shortly after meeting the Ninth Doctor, for the first time on 4 March 2005, Rose Tyler used a search engine with the term "Doctor blue box" to find him. (TV: Rose)
- Jo mentions the Doctor's promise to visit her. (TV: The Green Death) Until the Doctor reveals that he did indeed try to visit her during his last regeneration, she was under the impression that the Doctor had never done so.
- Incidentally, the Doctor did meet Jo again from his perspective in his seventh incarnation during the Delphin Island incident. However this happened while Jo was working for UNIT, and Jo remembered the incident as occurring with the Third Doctor. (AUDIO: The Defectors) The Eighth Doctor also met Jo, although this occurred after Jo had left UNIT. (PROSE: Genocide)
- After Rani reminds Sarah of their previous encounter with the Mona Lisa, (TV: Mona Lisa's Revenge) the Doctor asks an unanswered question of what incident they were referring to. He had his own dealings with the Mona Lisa, which did not involve Sarah. (TV: City of Death)
- The Doctor refers affectionately to Amy and Rory as Mr. and Mrs. Pond. (TV: The Big Bang)
- The Doctor refers to himself in the plural ("every Doctor"). (TV: The Five Doctors)
- Clyde refers to Maria Jackson and her father Alan Jackson. (TV: Invasion of the Bane, TV: Revenge of the Slitheen, et. al)
- This is the fourth TARDIS console room that Sarah has seen. (TV: The Time Warrior, The Masque of Mandragora, School Reunion)
- This is the first time that Jo has set foot on another planet since her visit to Spiridon with the Third Doctor in the 1970s. (TV: Planet of the Daleks)
- Several months later, in December 2010, Jo met the renegade Time Lady Iris Wildthyme, who took her back in time to the 1970s where she was reunited with the Third Doctor. (AUDIO: Find and Replace)
- The Doctor tells Sarah to, "Come along, Smith," a variation on the phrase "Come along, Pond" he usually uses with Amy and sometimes Rory. (TV: Victory of the Daleks, The Big Bang)
- The Eleventh Doctor came back to visit Sarah Jane in the future. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Horror of Coal Hill)
Home video releases Edit
- Death of the Doctor was included on the special edition DVD of The Green Death.
- Death of the Doctor at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Death of the Doctor at The Locations Guide
- ↑ SFX - INTERVIEW Russell T Davies talks about THAT Sarah Jane Adventures line accessed 18th November 2010
- ↑ Contrary to Davies' comments, the 12-regeneration limit has in fact been referenced on numerous occasions, and was a major plot point in at least three stories: TV: The Deadly Assassin, Mawdryn Undead, and Doctor Who: The TV Movie. The idea of regeneration limits had been addressed numerous times as well, such as in TV: The Five Doctors and The Twin Dilemma.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Doctor Who News Page - Death of the Doctor Tops Ratings accessed 18th November 2010