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Needs checking for violation of policy, T:BOLD being the most obvious. Also I'm pretty sure "the Doctor" > "Ten".

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Journey's End was the thirteenth and final regular episode of the fourth series of Doctor Who. It was the second episode of a two-part story, preceded by The Stolen Earth. This episode marked the last appearance of Donna Noble as a companion. It also had an open ending, which was quite different to how the previous seasons of the revived series ended; they each led into the next season's Christmas special, but this one did not. However, several issues were concluded: the Cult of Skaro had been completely wiped out in this episode with Dalek Caan's death, and the relationship between Rose Tyler and the Tenth Doctor also received closure in the form of a unique regeneration where the Doctor did not physically change, but rather, served as the genesis for a half-human clone.

The story also saw the first exploration into how the Doctor's self-sacrificial nature caused those around him to perform the same acts, something that would come back to plague him much later on. (TV: Face the Raven, The Doctor Falls)

Synopsis Edit

All hell has broken loose! Humanity is threatened with global annihilation, as Davros and the New Dalek Empire prepare to detonate a bomb that will wipe out all of existence. The Tenth Doctor is helpless, and the TARDIS faces destruction. The only hope lies with the Doctor's companions — the "Children of Time" — but Dalek Caan predicts that one will die...

Plot Edit

The Tenth Doctor's regeneration is nearly complete. Donna Noble, Captain Jack Harkness, and Rose Tyler are barely able to watch due to the light. Suddenly, the Doctor directs the rest of the regeneration energy into the container housing his severed hand. The trio - Rose, Jack, and Donna - are confused, staring blankly at where the regenerating Doctor stood even as the now-quite-alright-and-still-himself Doctor (hereafter referred to as Ten) prances about the console.

Meanwhile, Sarah Jane Smith is covering her head with her arms, waiting to be exterminated by the Daleks, but with flashes of blue light, Mickey Smith and Jackie Tyler appear, flanking the car, and blast the Daleks to pieces. Sarah gets out of the car, shocked, but immediately hugs Mickey. He jokes, "Us Smiths got to stick together.: Jackie introduces herself, but asks, "Where the hell is my daughter?"

Over at Torchwood, Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones shoot at the Dalek, raging. But they notice something strange and they cease fire. They walk forward cautiously and see their bullets hanging in the air, suspended, with motion rings around them. Gwen reaches out slowly to touch it — her finger makes a ripple in the air.

Ten explains that his keeping his face was because he used just enough energy to heal himself, then siphoned the rest off into his severed hand, a matching biological receptacle. Rose, relieved and still a bit shocked, hugs Ten tightly. He hugs her back with such enthusiasm that Donna laughs and comments to Jack, "You can hug me too if you want."

At Torchwood, Ianto figures out that the 'shield' is a time lock that their co-worker Tosh had working on. However, while everything else is locked out, they're locked in. As Ianto says, "It's up to Jack now."

A patrol of Daleks have found the TARDIS. Inside, Ten prepares to take off with his companions to figure out a strategy. However, the Daleks uses a temporal loop to cut the TARDIS' power. They then teleport it to the Crucible.

Sarah Jane, Mickey, and Jackie are still creeping around the neighborhood, when they spot the TARDIS being teleported. Sarah Jane surrenders and is taken to the Crucible, and, giving in, Mickey and Jackie throw away their guns and do the same.

Martha Jones says her goodbyes to her mum and teleports herself to Germany, where one of the five Osterhagen stations stands, though unguarded. There, she waits.

Upon arrival, the Supreme Dalek orders the TARDIS crew to depart the vessel on pain of death. Ten tells them to roll with it, confusing his companions, who remember an extrapolator force field around the TARDIS. Ten explains that the power's been cut out and that "right now, that wooden door's just... wood."

Ten, Rose, and Jack exit. However, Donna's distracted by the sound of a heartbeat, like she'd been earlier, and, when she turns back to investigate, the TARDIS door slams closed. She's been locked inside, but apparently not by the Daleks, as the Supreme Dalek asserts that whatever locked Donna in there is of Time Lord origin. This confuses Ten, who won't give up pleading for Donna's release. The Supreme Dalek, suspicious of whatever locked the TARDIS, orders it dumped into the Z-neutrino ball of energy at the heart of the Crucible. The floor opens and the TARDIS falls through, and a screen pops up in front of them, showing the TARDIS burning up. Ten continues to beg.

As its interior explodes and sparks, Donna collapses near the severed hand. She hears the heartbeat again and, as if mesmerised, touches the container, and energy flows between it and her. The glowing hand bursts out of the container, and forms into a duplicate of the Tenth Doctor (hereafter referred to as Metacrisis or Met for short), who quickly dematerialises the TARDIS. However, the trio of Ten, Jack, and Rose think it has been destroyed, which the Daleks corroborate.

Jack creates a distraction by shooting the Supreme Dalek with his revolver, but the Dalek Supreme promptly shoots him down. The Doctor and Rose are taken to the vault where Davros is held. Rose is stricken; she doesn't know she made Jack immortal as Bad Wolf . Ten doesn't tell her and allows them to be led away while Jack blinks awake.

In the TARDIS, Metacrisis has dressed himself in Ten's blue suit and has finished repairing the interior from its damages. He rambles on about how they have to be quiet — "not even drop a spanner." Donna interrupts, asking if Time Lords can multiply like this — "Lop off a bit and grow a new one.: However, Met corrects her; he's unique, and there hasn't been anything like him before. He explains that when she touched the hand full of regeneration energy, a biological meta-crisis created him (hence his name). He shoots a quick needle at Donna, saying, "I grew, from you! - Still, could be worse."

Donna tells him to 'watch it, spaceman', and fast as lightning he snaps back at her to 'watch it, earth girl'. Both of them recoil in shock as they figure it out; apparently the meta-crisis gave Met some Donna-mannerisms, including some of her speech patterns.

Met discovers he has only one heart, but rebuffs Donna when she suggests that he's human, finding the notion disgusting. As it turns out, he's not: he's part-human... and part-Time Lord. He was the single heartbeat Donna was distracted by earlier - he must've 'rippled back' in time as he's a 'complicated event in time and space'. (This caused a small circular paradox, like with Jenny in 'The Doctor's Daughter': Met's heartbeat, rippling back in time, distracted Donna and resulted in his creation.)

Met explains that only Donna could hear his heartbeat as it 'converged' on her. Why? Because she's special, somehow. She keeps getting drawn back to him. Of all the people in the universe, he met her twice without meaning to. Met tells Donna that the pattern that drew them together isn't complete yet, but he doesn't know what's next.

Martha is challenged by the caretaker of the station, who finds herself unable to shoot Martha to prevent her from opening the Osterhagen Station. She gives it up as lost and lets Martha into the console, where the Jones tries to make contact with the other Osterhagen stations.

Davros locks up Rose and Ten, who mocks him rather cheerily. Davros wants to talk to Ten, but Ten figures that Davros isn't the leader of the Daleks... he's more like 'their pet', as Ten suggests. Rose's question of why she's still alive brings up Dalek Caan, the last of the Cult of Skaro and the only one to enter the Time War unprotected and survive (albeit with the loss of his sanity). Dalek Caan rambles on and ends with an ominous statement for Ten: One of the Children of Time will die.


The Reality Bomb.

Mickey, Jackie, and Sarah have been taken with many other humans to a testing of the bomb, but they escape the test chamber. Davros calls his new toy - the Reality Bomb - "the apotheosis of my genius!" Ten and Met realise how the Reality Bomb works: the 27 stolen planets form an energy pattern of Z-neutrino (the same as the core of the Crucible) amplified into the Reality Bomb, able to break apart the electrical forces holding everything together, down to the last atom. Ten and Rose, Met and Donna, Sarah, Mickey, and Jackie all watch in horror as the Reality Bomb is activated and the humans in the test chamber are erased from existence.

But that isn't the half of it: the wavelength that the Reality Bomb produces, at full transmission, will use the 27 planets as not just an energy source, but also a gigantic transmitter. The energy wave will break through the Rift at the heart of the Medusa Cascade into every single corner of creation. Davros proclaims it as his ultimate victory: "The destruction of reality itself!" The Supreme Dalek orders his subordinates to return to the part of the Crucible where they'll be sheltered from the cataclysm; they're preparing to detonate the Bomb.

Jack rolls into Mickey, Jackie, and Sarah, two of whom he recognises. 'Captain Cheesecake' joyfully reunites with 'Mickey Mouse' and salutes Sarah Jane. Sarah brings out her warp star, which she's been saving, and Jack explains that it's basically an explosion wrapped in a carbonite shell. It's a device that can destroy the Crucible, and Jack wires it into the mainframe.

Meanwhile, Martha makes contact with two other Osterhagen bases in China (Station 5) and Liberia (Station 4). The Chinese counterpart wants to get it over and done with, but Martha, knowing the Doctor, first broadcasts a signal to the Crucible to give the Daleks a second chance. When the transmission is put through to both the Supreme Dalek and the Vault where Davros and Ten are, Martha explains what the Osterhagen key is meant to be used for.

It's a key to detonate 25 nuclear warheads in strategic locations under the Earth's crust to destroy it and disable the Reality Bomb. Ten is horrified that Earth would ever construct what is essentially a giant self-destruct button, but Martha tells him it's meant to be used in a situation so hopeless there is no other option.

Jack's trio then contact Davros and threaten to destroy the Crucible with the warp star. Ten objects again and asks where they even got a warp star. Sarah claims it as hers.

Davros interrupts her, recognising her face, and gets a bit nostalgic, recalling how Sarah was on Skaro at the very beginning of his creation. Sarah retorts that she learned to fight since then and demands that he free Ten or be destroyed by the warp star; however, seeing all his friends willing to go to such extreme measures gives Ten pause. Davros notices this and tells him that this is what he does to people: Ten himself may be a man who never carries a gun, but the Dalek creator taunts that he turns ordinary people into weapons instead. Ten's 'Children of Time' have been transformed into murderers; one's already sacrificed herself opening the subwave network. The original Ten is shocked to learn from Rose that Harriet Jones died to ensure he got to Earth. Davros mockingly asks Ten how many other people have died for him and/or in his name, reminding the Time Lord of Jabe, Lynda, Sir Robert MacLeish, Mrs. Moore (Angela Price), LINDA, River Song, Astrid Peth, Jenny and countless others who gave their lives to help the Doctor. Davros continues to mock Ten as 'the man who keeps running', laughing that this is his final victory: showing Ten himself as he is.

The Daleks lock on to their respective positions and transmat Martha and Jack's trio into the Vault with Ten and Rose, preventing them from using the Osterhagen bombs or the warp star to stop the Daleks. The Daleks start to activate the Reality Bomb to wipe out all matter in every universe through the rifts in the Medusa Cascade, but Met and Donna arrive in the TARDIS. Both try to destroy Davros - and through him the Daleks - using a Z-neutrino biological inversion catalyser Met made, but both are stunned by shots of electricity from Davros' robotic hand before they can use it; Donna is sent flying while Met is put in a forcefield prison and the Catalyser is shorted.

Despite the revelation that Donna and the TARDIS survived, Ten is glum because the Reality Bomb is still counting down. Ten and his captured companions wait for the end as the Bomb ticks down: 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...


Rose is trapped in the vault.

Nothing happens. Suddenly an alarm blares. Everyone looks over to see that Donna has used the controls to disable it. She gives a long technical explanation as to how she did it; this is astonishing because, as Ten states, "Donna, you can't even change a plug!"

Donna explains that the biological meta-crisis was a two-way thing - not only did it give Met some human characteristics, it gave Donna some Time Lord ones - the 'best bit of the Doctor': his mind. The Time Lord knowledge in Donna's brain, combined with 'the gut instinct that comes hand-in-hand with planet Earth', led her to come up with solutions Ten would never have thought up on his own: she is literally the DoctorDonna the Ood saw. Donna and Met free the others and, with Ten's help, disable the Daleks. They get to work and use the magnetron to send all the planets back to their correct times and places. The Daleks are left literally spinning round in circles, thanks to Donna.

Davros attempts to stop them only for both Jack and Mickey to hold him at gunpoint. Donna adds to Rose that the meta-crisis's effect was dormant until the extra synapses got a bit of a spark to kick them to life - "Thank you, Davros!" Turning to Dalek Caan, the Dalek creator demands to know why he didn't foresee this. From the crazy Dalek's maniacal cackling, Ten suggests that he did see it. It was Dalek Caan who manipulated Ten and Donna's timelines so that this all happened. Dalek Caan admits that this would've happened regardless, but he'd seen the Daleks for what they were, all the evil they caused across time and space, and secretly aided the Doctor in their destruction, declaring "No more!"

The Supreme Dalek descends to the vault and accuses Davros of betraying the Daleks. Though Davros insists that Dalek Caan is the traitor, the Supreme Dalek declares that they 'will all be exterminated' and fires at Ten, striking the machinery. Jack swiftly destroys the Supreme Dalek, but the shot fired has destroyed the magnetron, leaving planet Earth stranded. Getting an idea, Ten races into the TARDIS to replace the broken machine.

Realising that Dalek Caan has seen the end of the Daleks and has been manipulating time to achieve it, and that even without the Reality Bomb, the Daleks can still take the universe by force, Met uses the remaining machinery to destroy all the Daleks and their ship. All around them, Dalek ad ship alike begin to self-destruct. Ten screams in anger at Met, but lets him get into the TARDIS with the companions. When Ten offers to save Davros, he only shrieks back, "Never forget, Doctor, you did this! I name you forever! You are the Destroyer of Worlds!" — finally revealing why the Daleks have long associated this term with the Doctor.

Davros howls in fury as the flames surround him, while Dalek Caan ominously predicts again, "One will still die..." Unable to save either of them, Ten flees into the TARDIS just before the Crucible is destroyed.

Ten comes up with a plan: he'll use the energy of the Rift as a rope and the TARDIS as a "tow truck" to move the Earth back where it belongs. With the help of Torchwood's Rift Manipulator sending the energy, Mr Smith roping it around the TARDIS and K9 supplying Mr Smith with the TARDIS' base code, Ten is ready to go. However, he has a surprise for his companions.

He explains to his companions that the reason that he has so much trouble piloting is that a TARDIS - or at least the type-40 model he owns - is normally piloted by six people, and he's had to do it all on his own for centuries. He assigns Sarah Jane, Mickey, Rose, Martha, and Jack each a side of the console, reserving the last for himself. He specifically orders Jackie to the side with Donna and Met.

Ten flicks a switch and, wonder of wonders, the TARDIS begins to fly (more smoothly than it likely has since the First Doctor stole it) with Earth following behind. Down on Earth, Luke holds onto K9 and cheers as the room shakes, Ianto and Gwen holler in delight in the quaking Torchwood Hub, Sylvia and Wilf frantically try to stay on their feet, and Francine takes cover beneath her kitchen table.

Ten, Rose, Sarah Jane, Martha, Jack, and Mickey fly the TARDIS like Ten originally used to do alone, but they laugh and smile on the home stretch of their journey with each other. Even Jackie cracks a smile. The companions know that this is why they stayed with him - because no one, not even the Doctor, should ever feel as alone as he does sometimes. This is why they stay - to bring him this joy. Ten and Met sport identical toothy grins, but none of them think beyond this moment.

They fly until, with a great shuddering halt, the Earth stops and begins to spin on its own, with the Moon hovering in to resume its own orbit. As the Children of Time rejoice and hug in the TARDIS, Wilf, Sylvia and Francine revel in the sunlight and Earth celebrates its return home.

With Earth back in its proper place, the Doctor's companions leave the TARDIS. Sarah points out that the Doctor considers himself a lonely man, but he has the biggest family on Earth: his companions. With that, she thanks him and leaves to check on Luke.

The next to leave is Jack, but before he goes, Ten stops him — "I told you, no teleport" — and disables his vortex manipulator yet again. Ten also requests from Martha for the Osterhagen stations - and the bombs - to be terminated, to which she agrees. Martha and Jack salute Ten (who salutes back) and leave together, with Jack trying to get Martha on Torchwood Three. Mickey also departs. He'd stayed in the parallel world to be with his grandmother, but she's since passed on. He wants to stay in his home dimension, though he's guessed that Ten'll be taking the other Pete's Worlders back home.

With those goodbyes, Ten dashes back into the TARDIS and uses a closing rift from the Reality Bomb's destruction to jump into Pete's World, Darlig Ulv Stranden or Bad Wolf Bay, where he and Rose said goodbye once before. There, he entrusts his meta-crisis doppelganger to Rose. Met and Rose are shocked and a bit irritated, with Met protesting that it's Ten's doing that he's alive in the first place, to which Ten replies that he was 'born in battle, full of blood and anger and revenge'. Met committed genocide, destroying the entire Dalek race, an act Ten can't forgive, especially not from himself, for the third time.

But Ten - and with him, Met - remembers that he was once like that, in his ninth incarnation: quick to anger, quick to pick up a gun, quick to kill. It's still essentially him, but angrier, more volatile. Rose objects to this, but Ten tells her to make Met better the way he did with Nine, saying, "He needs you. That's very me."

Met adds, at Donna's urging, that he's only got one heart; he's part-human, meaning that he'll age and die, and not regenerate. He could spend his one life with Rose, but now that both Doctors have made their choices (Ten is going, Met is staying and would live with Rose), it's Rose's turn.

She chooses to ask them both a question: how was his last sentence meant to end? When he said goodbye and was cut off, what was he going to say?

Ten evades the question: "Does it need saying?"

Rose turns to Metacrisis and asks him the same question, to which he responds by whispering something in her ear (likely saying "I love you" from what we can see of his face and her reaction). Met pulls slightly away, and Rose pulls him into a kiss.

Ten watches sadly, stoically, but doesn't say anything and turns away to Donna and his TARDIS. The door closing startles Rose and she runs back on instinct, but stops herself as the TARDIS demateralises. Met walks up to her and holds her hand, and they exchange a look with no words.

Back on the TARDIS, Donna's excited for the next adventure while Ten watches, still glum, until she hits on the Chameleon Circuit's problem and repeats the word 'binary' like a broken record, concerning Ten. She brushes it off until 'fiction', through broken-record repetition, becomes 'Brixton', and Ten tells her this is why Met and DoctorDonna are unique: because they're impossible.

Donna brokenly protests that she wants to stay, that she'd stay forever - her whole life, travelling with him as the DoctorDonna. She realises what he means to do and begs him not to make her go back. Sadly, Ten says, "Donna Noble, I am so sorry.... but we had the best of times, the best..."

Donna breaks down and keeps refusing, but Ten insistently puts his fingers on her temples and wipes her mind of everything concerning him, even their escapade in The Runaway Bride, rendering her unconscious. Ten makes one more home run: Chiswick.

Wilf is overjoyed to hear knocking on the door, which quickly turns to horror when he sees the TARDIS instead and Ten with an unconscious Donna, asking for help.

Ten explains everything to Sylvia and Wilf (that her body can't contain his Time Lord consciousness and that he had to wipe her mind of everything they did and everything they went, of even the smallest trace of him and the TARDIS). He warns them never to talk about him, or about what they did together. The person Donna became while travelling the stars with him is dead (thereby fulfilling Dalek Caan's prediction of a Child of Time's death). Sylvia protests that the Earth's adventure in the Medusa Cascade is hot news; it's just another thing Donna missed. Just another crazy story.

Ten adds that that the universe will never forget Donna Noble, who for one shining moment was the most important woman in it to all. When Sylvia tells him that Donna still is, at least to her, Ten suggests that maybe she 'should tell her that.

Donna barges in laughing about being asleep in her clothes like a kid, but doesn't recognise Ten, who introduces himself to her as John Smith. Her phone's 'gone barmy' about planets in the sky and she laughs once more about something else she's missed. She chats on the phone as he exits, and doesn't bat an eyelash at his departure. Outside, Ten remarks that the rain is an atmospheric disturbance when the Earth was moved back to its proper time and place, but it'll pass. (Everything does.)

Wilf asks him who he's got now, and what happened to all his friends. Ten replies that all his friends now have someone else - and that's fine; he's fine (though he isn't). The old man promises to look out for him and his TARDIS every night on Donna's behalf. Ten thanks him (it's hard to tell whether what's on his face are raindrops or tears) and trudges back to the TARDIS, while Wilf salutes.


Dejected and drenched in rain, the Doctor is alone again.

In the TARDIS, Ten shrugs off his pinstriped jacket and shuffles around the console, pressing buttons and turning dials that just a while ago were touched by hands other than his. The Doctor stares thoughtfully at the time rotor, drenched and heartbroken and more alone than he's felt in a long, long time.

Cast Edit

Uncredited Edit

Crew Edit

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

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.

References Edit

Real world Edit

  • Jack called Mickey Smith "Mickey Mouse" when they re-encountered each other.
  • As her mind begins to melt down, Donna references the American comic strip character Charlie Brown. She also mentions Charlie Chaplin.


  • Donna tries to explain to the Doctor a way he can fix the TARDIS' malfunctioning chameleon circuit, but before she can finish her sentence, her mind overloads with ideas and she gets caught on the word "binary".

People Edit

  • When faced with the Dalek Empire, Rose states "here we are again" referring to the last time that she, Jack and the Doctor encountered the Daleks.
  • Davros mentions several people that the Doctor has encountered, such as Harriet Jones and River Song. They are included on a list of people who have died in the Doctor's name.

Technology Edit

Story notes Edit

  • Three major scenes were cut from the episode before broadcast:
  • An extra piece of dialogue on Bad Wolf Bay where the Doctor hands his clone a coral-like piece of the TARDIS, telling him to grow his own. When the clone Doctor protests that it takes thousands of years to grow a TARDIS, DoctorDonna provides him with a faster solution, so that Rose and the cloned Doctor can travel through space "as it should be". This was mentioned in The Doctor's Data section of the Doctor Who Adventures magazine, and in the 398th edition of Doctor Who Magazine, Russell T Davies states that it is perfectly fine in his opinion to assume that this part of the scene did actually occur. The scene is included on the Series 4 DVD Box Set.
Cybemen in the TARDIS

Cybermen in the TARDIS.

  • Originally, Donna was to hear the sound of the TARDIS dematerialising and a brief look of recognition registered on her face before being dismissed. This shot was dropped at the suggestion of Julie Gardner who reminded Davies that it had just been explicitly stated that if Donna remembered anything about the Doctor she would die. The scene was included in the Series 4 DVD set.
  • The original ending to this episode involved the Doctor, after saying goodbye to Wilf, seeing a strange signal on the scanner making him launch into his traditional, "What? What!? What." response, after which two Pete's World Cybermen suddenly rise up behind him — a cliffhanger. This was included in the Series 4 DVD set; in his commentary, Davies explains that the cliffhanger ending was dropped in response to comments by a Doctor Who Magazine writer who stated a cliffhanger was inappropriate after such a sad series of scenes. In REF: Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter, Benjamin Cook is acknowledged as being the one who convinced Davies to drop the Cybermen cliffhanger. Unlike most deleted scenes from Series 4, it is not possible to retroactively work the Cyberman cliffhanger sequences into continuity as the cliffhanger does not coincide with the opening of The Next Doctor, which shows the Doctor not in peril (this due, per The Writer's Tale, to the opening being changed due to the changing of Journey's End's ending). The cliffhanger was replaced with a teaser for The Next Doctor which first aired immediately following this episode.
  • Journey's End and The Stolen Earth together feature references to every episode of the fourth series. In addition, references dating back to the first series of the revived show (involving Rose) and Sarah's tenure as the companion of the Third and Fourth Doctor also appear.
  • Almost every companion of the Ninth and Tenth Doctors appears or is referenced in some way in this episode (including Astrid Peth), with the sole exception of Adam Mitchell.
  • Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones operates a Dalek in this episode, returning to Doctor Who after his brief appearance as a Cybus Cyberman in The Age of Steel.
  • This was the longest series finale at 65 minutes long, and was longer even than all of the Christmas specials except for Voyage of the Damned, which was 71 minutes. This raised some issues with international broadcasts; for example, the broadcast on the CBC in Canada on 12 December 2008 was edited to 44 minutes to fit a regular 60-minute timeslot, with commercials (see below for examples). While the American Sci Fi Channel broadcast aired the episode in its entirety on August 1, it has not since been rerun, instead ending its rotation with The Stolen Earth. Space , however, has aired it completely uncut on reruns. However, BBC America, which now re-airs Doctor Who, only shows episodes edited down to 45 minutes, except for The End of Time, where the two-parter is shown in a three-hour block.
  • Dalek Caan refers to the Doctor as a "threefold man". The meaning becomes clear in this episode with both the copy of the Doctor and Doctor-Donna.
  • As with the previous episode, the opening credits are augmented to include six names, with several overflow acting credits displayed after the opening sequence.
  • This episode marks the first series finale to show a preview of the upcoming Christmas Special (2008). After the credits the Cybermen are said to return in the episode. The episode is further unique for being the only series finale in the Russell T Davies era which doesn't end on a cliffhanger.

Mickey, Jackie and Sarah hide from the Daleks in a shot that demonstrates an effect nicknamed the "Harper treatment".

  • Graeme Harper's penchant for including a distorted image of a main character is present in this story. Though not included in every single story he's directed for BBC Wales, it's seen often enough to be considered something of a directorial "signature". Similar distortion is achieved through the use of magnifying glasses in Army of Ghosts, The Unicorn and the Wasp, and Utopia, and with mirrors in Turn Left. This time, it's Mickey, Jackie and Sarah that get "the Harper treatment" under a curved window.
  • This story augments the notion that Time Lords have some measure of control over the regenerative process. In truth, most regenerations have added at least a little to the general mythos about the process. From the notion that a particular physiognomy could be imposed upon the Second Doctor in The War Games, details have been added about how the process works almost every time one has been depicted. In this case, writer Russell T Davies builds upon his earlier idea that a Time Lord can re-grow whole body parts during "the first 15 hours" following a regeneration (The Christmas Invasion). Here he suggests that a Time Lord can stop the process prior to entering the final stage, provided that he has a matching genetic receptacle into which he can store the energy.
  • It is not stated in this episode if the Doctor's "partial" regeneration used up one of the regenerations in his cycle. Later, in the 2013 Christmas Special The Time of the Doctor the Eleventh Doctor tells Clara Oswald he's in his final incarnation, reminding her of his Time War incarnation (the War Doctor) then telling her of the aborted regeneration in this episode, confirming that although he didn't change his appearance it still used up what would have been his eleventh regeneration.
  • The scene where the Daleks are speaking German is possibly a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that Terry Nation based the Daleks on the Nazis. It is also possibly a reference to the fact Daleks have no fear so they let the locals know exactly what they're doing.
  • The word "Exterminieren", which the German Daleks use, is not in common use. In the German dubs of the episodes, the word used is "Vernichten" (literally, "Reduce to nothing"; colloquially, "Destroy"). This relates again to the Nazis, who expressively waged a "Vernichtungskrieg" - a war in order to destroy. A other (and mainly used) word to replace the "exterminate" in the translation is "eliminieren". The full dialogue for the German Daleks is as follows: "Exterminieren! Exterminieren! Halt! Sonst werden wir Sie exterminieren! Sie sind jetzt ein Gefangener der Daleks! Exterminieren! Exterminieren!" This translates as: "Exterminate! Exterminate! Stop! Or we will exterminate you. You are now a prisoner of the Daleks. Exterminate! Exterminate!"
  • This story marks the departure of Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) and Billie Piper (Rose Tyler). In an interview with Doctor Who Magazine, Piper was quoted as saying she doesn't see this as a permanent departure. Catherine Tate had no plans to return at that moment, but she had not ruled out a return in the future. Elizabeth Sladen, in an interview published after the episode was broadcast, said she doesn't expect to appear on Doctor Who again, although her own spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures, would subsequently continue a few months later. However, all three appeared the following year for cameos in The End of Time.
  • This is the only appearance of sonic lipstick appear outside The Sarah Jane Adventures.
  • This is the third-season finale of four to have a character in the TARDIS speaking about possible places to visit before the unexpected departure of a character. In The Parting of the Ways the Ninth Doctor speaks of places like the planet Barcelona before regenerating; in Last of the Time Lords, the Doctor suggests visiting Agatha Christie (among others) before Martha announces her departure; in this episode, Donna speaks of visiting Felspoon and meeting Charlie Chaplin before her mind overloads. The episodes that break this pattern so far are Doomsday, The Big Bang, and The Name of the Doctor.
  • This episode is also the only finale to not include the sudden arrival of a character. The Tenth Doctor appears in The Parting of the Ways; Donna Noble appears in the TARDIS at the end of Doomsday; the Titanic crashes through the TARDIS' hull in Last of the Time Lords; the Eleventh Doctor appears in The End of Time, is remembered back into reality by Amy Pond in The Big Bang, and is revealed to have faked his death in The Wedding of River Song; and an unknown incarnation of the Doctor appeared in The Name of the Doctor. Santa Claus appears in the TARDIS at the end of Death in Heaven.
  • Jack has flirted with or shown interest in all of the Doctor's companions appearing in this episode save Donna and Jackie. It is interesting to note that Jack does not pursue the two women who have exhibited the most aggressive attitudes towards the opposite sex, and who would arguably be the most likely to return his advances. Donna even jokes in the previous episode about Jack hugging her, which he laughs off.
  • The actor credits for Noel Clarke, Camille Coduri, Gareth David-Lloyd and Eve Myles are timed to appear on screen as the respective actors are shown in closeup during the first two scenes. As of February 2013, this is the last episode to display "overflow" guest cast credits over the opening scenes.
  • Journey's End has possibly one of the largest body counts, with billions of Daleks, a substantial number of humans and, to an extent, Donna.
  • Following her appearance, Elisabeth Sladen was quoted in several interviews as predicting she expected this to be her final appearance on Doctor Who. As it happened, she would make one final cameo appearance in The End of Time Part 2, and the Doctor would later make two appearances on The Sarah Jane Adventures.
  • This is the first episode in which the TARDIS is fully staffed with six pilots, and the first time it is noted definitively that it was designed to be piloted by six.
  • In the classic series, the Dalek stories after Genesis of the Daleks revolved in some manner around Davros, exploring the tenacious but ambivalent relationship between the Daleks and their creator. It would appear that the civil war between the Imperial and Renegade Daleks (Revelation of the Daleks and Remembrance of the Daleks, plus the audio stories) had been resolved, with Davros working with a united Dalek Empire against the Time Lords.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of the Tenth Doctor's severed hand, which first appeared in TV: The Christmas Invasion and throughout the first series of Torchwood. The Doctor makes reference to losing it in the sword fight against the Sycorax leader, and this is the first time Rose has seen the severed hand, since the Doctor didn't retrieve it from Jack until after her departure.
  • When the Meta-Crisis Doctor holds Rose's hand as they watch the TARDIS disappear, he does it with his right hand - the only part of the original Doctor.
  • Jack introduces Gwen as Gwen Cooper. This is the first on-screen indication that Gwen has not changed her last name to Williams following her marriage in Rhys Williams in TV: Something Borrowed.
  • Davros' apparent last words are "Never forget, Doctor, you did this! I name you, forever! You are the Destroyer of Worlds!". "Destroyer of Worlds" is a translation of "Ka Faraq Gatri", a title which had previously been used by the Daleks to refer to the Doctor. (Aliases of the Doctor)
  • This was the first regular episode of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales in which Will Cohen was not credited on any Visual Effects duties.
  • This story was chosen by BBC America to represent the David Tennant era during their 50th anniversary programming. Edited into an omnibus format with The Stolen Earth, it was aired by BBCA on 27 October 2013, after the debut of their homegrown special called The Doctors Revisited - The Tenth Doctor.
  • The outfit the Meta-Crisis Doctor wears mirrors Rose's outfit from this season by having a blue jacket over a red shirt as well as the Ninth Doctor's outfit with a similar type of shirt with a jacket over it.
  • The Series 4 finale would turn out to be Gareth David-Lloyd's only appearances as Ianto Jones on Doctor Who, as his character would get killed off in the next season of Torchwood, entitled Children of Earth. Also, this would be the only time Mr Smith appeared on the show, with The Sarah Jane Adventures coming to an end after the death of Elisabeth Sladen in 2011. However, the Tenth Doctor would instead meet him on his parent series in a crossover story, The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith.
  • The concept that a Doctor would grow from the Doctor's severed hand who would end up with Rose was planned since the The Christmas Invasion. Russell T Davies states on the commentary track for this episode that he had the idea in mind that just prior to the Tenth Doctor's regeneration, a scene would depict him growing a clone of himself from his severed hand, and send him off to live his life with Rose. The concept was ultimately brought forward, and was developed into it's own entire story arch, due to the "timing being perfect". He says that he told David Tennant about the idea he had.

Ratings Edit

Journey's End gained an overall, consolidated viewing figure of 10.57 million viewers in its first BBC1 airing. This placed it as the No. 1 program in the UK across all channels of the week, beating all the Wimbledon finals and all 5 episodes of Coronation Street, all 4 of Eastenders and all 5 of Emmerdale. This makes Journey's End the highest rated episode in the 45-year history of Doctor Who, surpassing Voyage of the Damned and The Stolen Earth, both of which ranked second in their respective weeks.[1] However, the episode is not the most-watched episode of the revived series; that distinction belongs to the 13.31 million viewers obtained by Voyage of the Damned (the most-watched episode of all time remains City of Death Part 4 with 16.1 million viewers in 1979). The episode also achieved an Appreciation Index rating of 91, tying with The Stolen Earth, a number considered unprecedented for a mainstream network drama production.[2]

Myths and rumours Edit

  • The week between the cliffhanger ending of The Stolen Earth and the broadcast of Journey's End included some of the most intense fan speculation and media attention in franchise history. The significance of the cliffhanger, which appeared to show the Doctor regenerating, along with previously reported speculation regarding Donna and other characters, led to many speculations being circulated on fan discussion boards and the media. Among some of the most notable:
  • That David Tennant was in fact leaving the series, and that leaked photos and other information regarding him being in the 2008 Christmas special (as well as media reports the preceding week that he was negotiating to return in 2010) were either a "red herring" or that the Christmas special was to include a flashback. Although Tennant had made it known to the producers that he was planning to leave the series, the intent was for him to return for a series of specials later.
  • Though the Tenth Doctor did not change his incarnation when he regenerated, the energy he expelled used up a full regeneration regardless. This put into question how many more times the Doctor can regenerate before permanent death. After years of fan debate, this was ultimately proven true in TV: The Time of the Doctor, where the Eleventh Doctor confirmed he had exhausted a regeneration with this course of action (putting it down to the Tenth Doctor having "vanity issues"), and after factoring in the War Doctor as a suppressed incarnation, had no more regenerations left. He was later given a brand new regenerative cycle or unlimited regenerations by the Time Lords as a gift for saving Gallifrey.
  • The true nature of Donna was the subject of much speculation, with some fans suggesting her to actually be the Rani or Romana living under the influence of a Chameleon Arch, or a manifestation of the Master or Davros.
  • Concerning Donna's ring, at the end of the series 4 finale, when the Doctor says good-bye to her it glimmers briefly into the camera. Some fans theorise that the ring is a possible Chameleon Arch module containing Donna's memories of her time with the Doctor. It has also been suggested that the ring resembles a ring worn by the Master in a previous episode. Others theorise that the ring is simply large, black, and very shiny.
  • The prediction that a companion would die led some to believe Donna, Martha or Rose would be the ones destined to die (since it had already been reported that John Barrowman would be returning to Torchwood and Elisabeth Sladen to The Sarah Jane Adventures, ruling out their characters' demise). Ultimately, this was a partial red herring, as it was an aspect of Donna that died, but not the character herself.
  • A number of fans began to speculate as to whether or not the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor would eventually become to be known as the enigmatic, malevolent Valeyard. The six-issue comic book mini-series COMIC: The Forgotten became the subject of related speculation when the final cliffhanger panel of issue #5 featured the unveiling of a villain resembling the clone; ultimately it was revealed that another villain was responsible (although the Doctor still, puzzlingly, refers initially to the character as the Valeyard).
  • The appearance of K9 was a surprise to many as it had been previously reported that the character would not be appearing in the episode, given that the rights to the character were held by another party for the planned K9 television series. K9 continued to appear occasionally in The Sarah Jane Adventures, too.
  • Some fans believed that Harriet Jones was wanting revenge upon the Doctor for bringing down her reign as Prime Minister, so she decided to help bring the Daleks back, and she was in fact the Supreme Dalek. A supposed "leaked script" showed that Harriet Jones was helping the Daleks. This was proved false.
  • The fact that Jack, Martha, and Mickey depart together sparked speculation that Martha and Mickey would appear in Torchwood, possibly replacing Tosh and Owen (Martha had already made several appearances in the spin-off). The subsequent announcement that Freema Agyeman had been signed by ITV, a rival network to the BBC, to take a lead role in the series Law & Order: London, reduced the chances of her appearing in Torchwood. She did subsequently take part in the BBC Radio adventure Lost Souls, but that story took place prior to the events of The Stolen Earth. In his book The Writer's Tale Russell T Davies mentions that he had promised Noel Clarke that he would appear in Torchwood Series 3. Ultimately, however, neither Clarke nor Agyeman did appear in Children of Earth, and dialogue in "Day 1" indicated that Martha was still with U.N.I.T., and on her honeymoon. The two would ultimately return in The End of Time as a married couple at some unspecified point in the future, with Martha no longer affiliated with U.N.I.T.
  • "The Dream of a Normal Death" is heard as the Doctor remembers the people who have died in his name, and again as he pilots the TARDIS at the end of the episode. This was first heard at the end of The Family of Blood when John Smith and Joan are holding the watch and seeing the future.
  • When the Doctor sees Gwen Cooper for the first time, he asks if she comes from a long line of family from Cardiff, noting the physical similarity between Gwen and Gwyneth (TV: The Unquiet Dead), both of whom are played by Eve Myles. According to Russell T Davies: "It's not familial as we understand it. There's no blood tie. Spatial genetic multiplicity means an echo and repetition of physical traits across a Time Rift."
  • With the later retroactive confirmation that the Doctor does regenerate in this episode (TV: The Time of the Doctor), Rose Tyler becomes the only individual to date known to have directly witnessed two of the Doctor's regenerations.

Filming locations Edit

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 the Doctor and Donna are saying goodbye on Bad Wolf Bay, in the shots of the Doctor and Donna you can clearly see Rose's hair blowing in the wind, yet in the shots of Rose her hair isn't blowing. It happens too often to be random gusts of wind.
  • When the Meta-Crisis Doctor arrives at the Crucible and opens the doors of the TARDIS, a bright light is used to hide the rear panel of the police box prop and create the "bigger on the inside" camera effect. However, it fails to cover a small section of this panel at the floor level of the prop.
  • When the DoctorDonna deactivates the holding cells, Davros doesn't move or react, unlike all other characters present. A model, or empty costume, is clearly in his place.
  • The Bluray release of this story uses the wrong font to credit the additional cast immediately after the opening titles. Traditionally, the font used for the Russell T Davies era is "Futura Medium", and this font is still used to credit the Producers and for the title card. An entirely different font - "Tahoma" - is used to credit Noel Clarke, Camille Coduri, Adjoa Andoh, Eve Myles and Gareth David-Lloyd in this episode. The error is also present in The Stolen Earth.

Continuity Edit

  • Davros has previously demonstrated the ability to shoot electricity. (TV: Revelation of the Daleks)
  • When the Doctor sees Gwen Cooper for the first time, he asks if she comes from a long line of family from Cardiff, noting the physical similarity between Gwen and Gwyneth (TV: The Unquiet Dead). Gwen confirms that her family has been in Cardiff since the 1800s.
  • This is the first time the Doctor's TARDIS has been piloted by six people, the number first specified in PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible. This retroactively serves to somewhat explain the Doctor's difficulty in correctly piloting the craft, and its frequent use of a hexagonal console. (TV: An Unearthly Child, et al.).
  • Davros mentions meeting Sarah Jane at the birth of his creations. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks)
  • Mickey Smith and Jackie Tyler return. (TV: Doomsday)
  • Donna proposes a way for the Doctor to fix the long-broken chameleon circuit. (TV: An Unearthly Child) The Sixth Doctor had previously attempted this, with some limited temporary success, (TV: Attack of the Cybermen) as had the Fourth Doctor. (TV: Logopolis) By his ninth incarnation, the Doctor indicated that he rather liked the police box form. (TV: Rose, Boom Town)
  • Donna reiterates that she could type 100 words per minute while working as a temp in Chiswick. (TV: The Stolen Earth)
  • The fact a single TARDIS has enough power to relocate Earth harks back to the Time Lords moving Earth to another part of the universe about two million years in its future, where it became known as Ravolox. (TV: The Mysterious Planet)
  • The Doctor tells Wilf that he's "fine" after he drops off Donna. This echoes a similar statement he made which Donna interpreted as meaning the complete opposite. (TV: Forest of the Dead)
  • Sarah Jane Smith previously mentioned the Verron soothsayer who gave her the warp star. (TV: Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?)
  • The device created by the Meta-Crisis Doctor looks similar to the device used against the Daleks by the Seventh Doctor. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks) That device was similar to one the Third Doctor built on Spiridon (TV: Planet of the Daleks)
  • Davros refers to the Doctor as the "destroyer of worlds", the Seventh Doctor referred to himself as such previously. (AUDIO: Afterlife)
  • Donna calls the Meta-Crisis Doctor mental after he dresses himself, which causes him to believe she's objecting to his blue suit. A similar exchange occurred previously with the real Tenth Doctor and Martha, where he believes her incredulous reaction to his absorbing radiation was a critique of him wearing one shoe. (TV: Smith and Jones)
  • The Doctor again states his aversion to violence, and in particular his horror of genocide. He is appalled when the Meta-Crisis Doctor destroys the Daleks, evil as they are. He recognises, however, that the destructive impulse comes from himself. The Fourth Doctor likewise had an opportunity to destroy the Daleks before they left Skaro, but was faced by a moral quandry. "Do I have the right?" he asks. When Sarah Jane Smith says, "You can't doubt it! You must complete your mission for the Time Lords", the Doctor replies, "If I do this, I become like them" (the Daleks). Circumstances at that time prevent him from having to make that decision at that time. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks) The Tenth Doctor would appear to have resolved not to wipe out the Daleks, possibly because he appears to have been the cause of the genocide of both the Time Lords and the Daleks in the Time War.
  • Davros points out the apparent hypocrisy of the Doctor's creed of non-violence. "You take ordinary people and fashion them as weapons", he says. "How many have died in your name?"
  • Blon Fel Fotch said something similar: "You keep on running because you daren't look back". (TV: Boom Town)
  • Tegan, sick of the death that seemed to follow the Doctor, left the Fifth Doctor acrimoniously. The disturbed Doctor commenting, "It seems I must mend my ways". (TV: Resurrection of the Daleks)
  • Donna, observing the Doctor's terrible power on their first meeting, told him, "You can stop now!" Later she said, "You need someone to stop you". (TV: The Runaway Bride)

Home video releases Edit


Series 4 Volume 4 DVD Cover

  • This story was released in the Series 4 DVD box set in November 2008 along with the rest of the series.
  • It was released as Series 4 Volume 4 in a vanilla edition with Turn Left and The Stolen Earth on 1st September 2008.

Non-UK broadcast editing Edit

Journey's End was broadcast on the CBC in Canada on 12th December 2008 in an extensively edited version, created in order so that the episode, which ran approximately 65 minutes without commercial interruption on the BBC, could fit into a standard 60-minute time slot with commercials, meaning the episode itself had to be whittled down to approximately 44-45 minutes. The deletion of approximately 20 minutes of scenes renders this version of Journey's End one of the most extensively edited Doctor Who episodes in the entire history of the franchise. The CBC subsequently made an unedited version of the episode available, but only on its website and for four weeks after the TV broadcast (and the broadcast occurred after Series 4 had been released to DVD in that country).

A partial list of the major edits can be found on the Doctor Who Information Network website here. Among major scenes deleted: the Meta Crisis Doctor's connecting the dots between his/the Doctor's coincidental encounters with Wilf and Donna, the Doctor's farewell to his companions in the park, Rose's final question to the Doctor and her subsequent kissing of the Meta Crisis Doctor, and the final scene of the Doctor in the TARDIS, alone.

It was subsequently announced that the CBC was discontinuing its broadcasts of Doctor Who, with the competing network Space taking over broadcasts of the series beginning with The Next Doctor and continuing into 2010.[3] BBC America also aired an extensively edited version of the episode in February 2009.

External links Edit

Footnotes Edit