a real world point of view
|Last of the Time Lords|
|Main setting:||Alternative England and Valiant, 2009|
|Writer:||Russell T Davies|
|Premiere broadcast:||30 June 2007|
|Premiere network:||BBC One|
|Format:||1x51 minute episode|
|Confidential:||The Valiant Quest|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Sound of Drums||Time Crash|
|The Sound of Drums||Voyage of the Damned|
Last of the Time Lords was the thirteenth and final episode of the third series of Doctor Who. It marked the departure of Jack Harkness and Martha Jones as companions and the apparent death of the Master.
One year later, the Master and the Toclofane are rulers of Earth, which is torn apart by a year of hell. The Doctor has been aged 900 years, and Jack and the Jones family have been reduced to slavery on the Master's ship, the Valiant. The only hope for everyone on Earth is Martha Jones, now a legend amongst humanity. As the Master prepares to turn the Earth into a giant warship that will ultimately engulf the rest of the Universe, Martha must trek through dangerous territory to destroy him, but tragedy awaits her, the Doctor and her family on the day that will pit humanity against the stars...
One year after the Master's takeover and decimation of Earth, the Earth (Sol 3) is closed from space traffic as it is entering extinction. On a beach on the coast of England, Tom Milligan directs Martha's boat in. She returns to the UK for the first time since the Toclafane invasion, having travelled the world. She tells Tom she has to talk to a Professor Allison Docherty and asks him why he is allowed to travel. He says it is because he is a doctor. Martha is happy she is travelling with a doctor. Tom tells Martha that she has become a legend around the world as the one person who can kill the Master, and asks her if this is true. She does not answer him.
The Master enters the deck of the Valiant, singing and dancing to Scissor Sister's 'I Can't Decide'. He kisses Lucy, who shows signs of physical abuse, before taunting the aged Doctor by dancing around the room with him. He says there is one day until launch.
The Doctor refuses to speak. He only responds when the Master mentions that Martha has apparently returned to England. He tells the Master to leave her alone. The Master tries to force him to talk more, but knows that the "Toclafane" broke the Doctor's hearts when he realised what they are. The Doctor says he has just one thing to say, and the Master knows what it is, but the Master walks away. Francine is forced to be a waitress for the Master. Clive and Tish are also working on the Valiant. Tish's job is to feed Jack, who is chained to the engines. Tish gives Jack a hand signal to explain her plan, and Jack winks in acknowledgment.
Martha and Tom walk up a hill and see an enormous statue of the Master at the top of it; Martha comments that the Master has even carved himself into Mount Rushmore. Looking out at the miles of countryside in front of them, they see thousands of spaceships being built. Martha explains that thousands more are being built across the world, Russia being turned into a big shipyard, and that the Master is preparing for war with the rest of the universe. Suddenly, two Toclafane arrive and demand an explanation for Tom's travelling. He presents identification that he is allowed to travel and the Toclafane taunt him and move on. Tom asks Martha how the spheres didn't notice her, and she reveals that she is still wearing her TARDIS key perception filter, and that is how she has managed to travel the world.
Tish continues to spread her hand signal of three fingers, indicating that they will rebel at 3:00pm. As the Master picks a girl to give him a massage and insults Lucy, Jack manages to break free of his chains, Clive pours water over all the technology and equipment, and Francine throws the Master's laser screwdriver to the Doctor. He points it at the Master and says once more that he only has one thing to say and the Master knows what it is. The Doctor tries to use the screwdriver against the Master, but it refuses to function for him. The Master, who was never worried, simply laughs at the Doctor. Jack is shot dead (again) by the Master's guards. The Master explains that the screwdriver has isomorphic controls and it only works for him, before taking it back and punching the Doctor to the floor. He demonstrates by torturing Francine and forcing her to apologise. She does so and the Master warns everyone that siding with the Doctor is not recommended. The Master continues to insult the Doctor and decides to take his revenge.
Martha and Tom arrive at Professor Docherty's workplace. She is trying to fix a television so they can watch a transmission from the Master. They are successful, and the Master speaks to the world. He comments that he has heard that tales of Martha have given them hope, but asks them how much hope does the Doctor have, and on camera ages the Doctor a further 900 years. On the television, the Doctor appears to be dead, and the transmission ends with a word of warning to Martha to surrender. On the Valiant, a tiny, disfigured creature emerges from the Doctor's clothes: a thousand-year aged Doctor. Martha is undisturbed, saying she knows the Doctor is still alive.
Martha tells Professor Docherty that she came to see her so that they can catch themselves a sphere: she has a CD containing the data of a Toclafane struck down by lightning in South Africa. Professor Docherty manages to produce enough electricity to simulate the conditions. Tom attracts attention by pulling out a gun and firing a few rounds into the air. A Toclafane comes flying towards them, and Professor Docherty activates the field to disable it. They prepare to find out what is inside.
Upon examining the sphere thus captured, they make a horrifying discovery: the Toclafane contain the conscious remains of the humans from the year 100 trillion. The Toclafane claims there was no Utopia, only more darkness, and with everything dying around them the humans cannibalised and regressed themselves, becoming the child-like Toclafane. The Master brought them back in time using the TARDIS, which could only travel between the years of Utopia and our present. The contradiction of the Toclafane killing their own ancestors is made possible by the paradox machine built by the Master. Martha is horrified when the Toclafane quotes young Creet, whom she met on Malcassairo, telling her that the Toclafane have shared memories of the last of humanity. When questioned as to why it wishes to kill its own ancestors, the Toclafane responds, "Because it's fun", and laughs maniacally. Tom is sickened and horrified by this and shoots it dead.
When Docherty asks if the rumours about Martha are true, Martha reveals a gun developed by Torchwood and UNIT, purportedly able to kill a Time Lord and prevent the ensuing regeneration. Martha has retrieved three of the four chemicals needed for the gun from their hiding places around the world, and has returned to London to find the fourth. After Martha and Thomas depart for a shelter in Bexley to hide, Docherty (who is desperate for information regarding her missing son) reveals their whereabouts to the Master.
The Master comes to Earth's surface to capture Martha, killing Milligan, destroying the special gun and taking her back to the Valiant. He intends to execute her before the Doctor and her family, at the moment his fleet is launched.
But as the clock counts down, Martha starts to laugh out loud, prompting the Master to angrily demand to know what she finds so funny. Martha now reveals the real reason she travelled the globe: It wasn't for a fictional anti-regeneration gun, as the Doctor himself points out that he would have never asked Martha to kill, nor was it to fight back; but merely to talk. She told everyone about the Doctor; specifically, she told everyone to think of the Doctor at the same time the Master plans to launch his fleet. Docherty's betrayal was planned; engineered by Martha so that she would be brought on board the Valiant to rejoin the Doctor. Combined with the Master's Archangel Satellite network, which the Doctor has had an entire year to tune to the frequency of, this has the effect of charging the Doctor with the combined psychic energy of the people of Earth. This enables the Doctor to restore his youthful physiognomy and end the Master's control. The combined psychic energy gives the Doctor great power and he is not only able to restore himself with it, but it shields him and temporarily grants him telekinesis with which he removes the Master's laser screwdriver from his hand. As the Master cowers against a wall, the Doctor says the words the Master was terrified to hear: "I forgive you".
With the Master out of the picture, Jack rounds up some soldiers to destroy the paradox machine, but is delayed by the Toclafane. The Master, using Jack's vortex manipulator, teleports himself and the Doctor to Earth, threatening to detonate his fleet and take the Earth with it. The Doctor knows that the Master would never kill himself, and manages to teleport both himself and the Master back to the Valiant just as Jack destroys the paradox machine; this causes all time to reverse. Time reverses to the moment of the Paradox machine's activation, just after the US President was killed and just before the Toclafane arriveed. All those on the Valiant will remember the events of the previous year due to being at "the eye of the storm," but nobody else with the exception of Wilfred Mott (TV: The End of Time) will know of the Master's reign of terror in "the year that never was." The Master tries to run but ends up running straight into Jack who recaptures him.
The Master, now defenceless, is handcuffed and stands before the Doctor. The Doctor announces that, since the Master is a Time Lord, he is the Doctor's responsibility and will be imprisoned on board the TARDIS. Francine Jones is talked out of shooting the Master, but Lucy Saxon, with a glazed expression, seizes a gun herself and shoots him. Rather than be a prisoner for the rest of his lives, the Master lets himself die, refusing to regenerate despite the Doctor's desperate pleas. Just before dying in his opponent's arms, the Master muses on the constant drumming in his head, wondering if it will finally stop, and with a smile says, "I win," leaving the Doctor to weep uncontrollably for his lost adversary, now once again left as the last of the Time Lords. The Doctor cremates the Master's body on a pyre. However, after he leaves, a female hand wearing red nail polish is seen taking the Master's signet ring from the burnt-out pyre, while the latter's malevolent laughter echoes in the background.
In Cardiff, Jack decides to remain behind to look after his team, "defending the Earth". The Doctor disables Jack's vortex manipulator to keep him from jumping through time unsupervised. The Doctor then tells Jack there's nothing that can be done about his immortality: it seems likely he'll never be able to die – though he isn't sure about ageing. Thinking about what he might look like millions of years from now, Jack confesses his vanity and recalls how, as the first person from the Boeshane Peninsula to join the Time Agency, his good looks earned him the nickname "the Face of Boe." Martha and the Doctor, realising the Face of Boe's true identity, are surprised and delighted.
With the TARDIS repaired, the Doctor is ready to move on. Martha, however, has decided to stay so she can look after her family and finally qualify as a medical doctor. She gives the Doctor her phone number so they can keep in touch and says she will see him again, but when someone is in love and it's unrequited, they have to get out: "This is me getting out." The Doctor, now in possession of his severed hand, sets the TARDIS controls – until the room is suddenly shaken with great force, and the bow of a ship smashes through the console room wall. Picking up a lifebelt, he finds "Titanic" written on it, to which he can only respond flatly, "What?!"
- The Doctor - David Tennant
- Martha Jones - Freema Agyeman
- Captain Jack Harkness - John Barrowman
- The Master - John Simm
- Lucy Saxon - Alexandra Moen
- Francine Jones - Adjoa Andoh
- Tish Jones - Gugu Mbatha-Raw
- Clive Jones - Trevor Laird
- Thomas Milligan - Tom Ellis
- Alison Docherty - Ellie Haddington
- Lad - Tom Golding
- Woman - Natasha Alexander
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner|
|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.|
- The Master mentions the Doctor's battles with the Sea Devils (TV: The Sea Devils) and the Axons (TV: The Claws of Axos) and how he closed the rift at the Medusa Cascade.
- As he leaves, Jack tells Martha and the Doctor that he was called the Face of Boe in his youth.
- The Master and Lucy travelled to Utopia.
- The Master's laser screwdriver has isomorphic controls.
- The Master refers to the human race as "the biggest monsters of them all", a line previously used by the Doctor following his confrontation with the Sycorax.
- The Master refers to Rose, saying Martha is useless compared to her.
- The ending of the episode is similar to that of Doomsday, when Donna Noble suddenly appears inside the TARDIS, but this time it is the Titanic. This is also the second time a season finale ends with the Doctor exclaiming, "What? What? What?"
- The Master calls the aged Doctor "Gandalf", a reference to Lord of the Rings.
- The Master uses the line, "How 'bout that, I win." near his death. The Doctor spoke a similar line in Dalek, "I win, how bout that".
- It appears that the Master's funeral takes place on Malcassairo, however it could've taken place on Earth. It did take place on Earth, as we find out that Trefusis was the person who picked up the ring, for the events of The End of Time.
- Although the events of the so-called Year That Never Was are negated, several key events still occurred and as such are known to the residents of Earth, including the existence of the Toclafane and their subsequent murder of the US President-Elect. The general public is also aware of the existence of the Valiant.
- Alison Docherty mentions that she misses both Des's from Countdown and says, "Who would have thought we'd miss Bill Gates".
- The Doctor wants to take Martha to the planet Meta Sigma Folio.
- Thomas works for a Peripateic Medical Squad.
Story notes Edit
- Utopia, The Sound of Drums and Last of the Time Lords have a combined running time of 2 hours 21 minutes. This makes it not only the longest continuous story of the revived series, but the longest since the Sixth Doctor's The Trial of a Time Lord. It beats The End of Time by just six minutes (and this is only because Last of the Time Lords is 51 minutes long, six minutes longer than a standard episode).
- Additionally, if you include the full string of seven connected episodes (which begins with Captain Jack Harkness and End of Days, leads directly into Utopia, The Sound of Drums, and Last of the Time Lords, then finishes with Time Crash and Voyage of the Damned) the full running time comes to 5 hours 18 minutes, stopping just 37 minutes shy of The Trial of a Time Lord. If you consider Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang as a direct follow-up to Last of the Time Lords as well, the total rises to 6 hours 6 minutes, which would be the longest continuous story by merely 11 minutes.
- This is the only finale in the revived series that features a Doctor Rose Tyler has seen, but not Rose herself. (TV: The Parting of the Ways, Doomsday, Journey's End, The End of Time)
- The Master seems to be a Scissor Sisters fan. He's singing along to "I Can't Decide" from their Ta-Dah album on the flight deck of the Valiant. This segment is absent from the iTunes version of the episode (likely for music licensing reasons). The episode is also cut between the opening credits and the "One year later" subtitle on the iTunes version, for unknown reasons.
- The sound of the Master's laugh can be heard while a finger with a red painted finger nail picks up the Master's ring. The character who picked up the ring is seen in The End of Time.
- Since the programme's revival, this is the only series finale so far not to feature the Daleks (discounting the 2009 Specials). By the same token, every finale up to this point since the series' revival has involved either Daleks or the Master, but never both. Even the series 6 finale featured a cameo appearance from a Dalek. (TV: The Wedding of River Song)
- The Doctor trying to redeem the Master and the funeral pyre at the end could be a reference to Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Additionally, the Master's ring getting picked up by a laughing, unseen figure is reminiscent of the end of the film Flash Gordon.
- The Doctor states a desire to meet Agatha Christie, foreshadowing The Unicorn and the Wasp in which he follows through with this wish, with Donna Noble.
- The title Last of the Time Lords had previously been reported as a working title for one of the (ultimately aborted) big-screen adaptations of the series planned between 1989 and 2005; a poster showing the title Doctor Who: Last of the Time Lords even appeared in some film trade publications.
- Lucy, who was very loving towards her husband in The Sound of Drums, in this episode appeared to be very afraid of him, and she even had marks around her eye. According to the commentary this is because the Master's power went to his head and he started to physically abuse her. Hence one of the reasons she joined in saying the Doctor's name, and shot the Master after he was defeated.
- The iTunes version of this episode is 45 minutes long, same as a regular episode is, while the episode on DVD and the original broadcasting on BBC is 51 minutes and contains extra scenes.
- This was the final episode to give screen credit to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for its help in co-funding the series; the CBC would continue its involvement in Series 4, but would not be credited on screen.
- The Toclafane's origin is similar to that of the Somnus Foundation in AUDIO: Singularity. Singularity also featured technology that focused the collective psychic energy of humanity, like the satellites in this story.
- The episode features the surprise revelation that Jack was once known as the Face of Boe, suggesting that the character encountered in TV: The End of the World, New Earth and Gridlock is in fact a future version of Jack Harkness. Writer Russell T Davies reportedly tried to backpedal from this in the DVD commentary, leading to speculation as to whether this is actually the case. However multiple interviews on DVD and in other media by producer Julie Gardner and actors David Tennant and John Barrowman have all indicated without ambiguity that Jack is destined to become the Face of Boe. According to Gardner during a panel presentation at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con, Barrowman wasn't aware of the revelation until fairly late in production.
- At the scene where Jack reveals he was called the Face of Boe, several people can be seen in the background taking pictures at the location of the Torchwood lift.
- As with the last episodes of the previous two series, there is no "NEXT TIME" trailer at the end of the episode, merely a message that "Doctor Who will return in Voyage of the Damned".
- 8.61 million - Final Ratings
- 0.86 million - BBC Three Sunday repeat
Myths and rumours Edit
- The Toclafane were rumoured to be an early form of Dalek created by the Master. This was proved false.
- As Freema Agyeman's departure from the series had been previously reported, there were rumours that Martha Jones might die in this episode. This was proved false.
- Some have claimed that it is Donna Noble (or maybe even Lucy Saxon) who picks up the ring after it falls from the Master's grip near the end of the episode. Russell T Davies jokes in the audio commentary of this episode that it was the hand of the Rani. In The End of Time the hand was revealed to be that of a prison warden who was a devotee of the Master.
Filming locations Edit
- Cwrt-y-Vil Road, Penarth
- Nippon Electric Glass UK (Trident Park), Cardiff Bay (Lower decks of the Valiant)
- RAF St Athan (MOD St Athan), Vale of Glamorgan
- South Luton Place, Adamsdown, Cardiff (Street where Martha confronts the Master)
- Aberthaw Power Station, Aberthaw (Exterior of Professor Docherty's lab)
- Vaynor Quarry, Trefechan, Merthyr Tydfil (Location of the Doctor and the Master's fight)
- Whitmore Bay, Barry Island (Location of when Martha arrives by boat onto beach)
- Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff (Martha and the Doctor bid Jack goodbye)
- Alexandra Gardens, Cardiff (Location where Martha gives Professor Docherty flowers)
- BBC Studios, Treforest Industrial Estate, Upper Boat, Pontypridd
Production errors Edit
- When the Master attempts to use his laser screwdriver on the psychically empowered Doctor, the laser light from the prop is reflecting off the lens of the camera he is pointing it at, which tells you there is a camera there.
- When the Master uses his laser screwdriver to age the Doctor, while he is in fast motion, on the TV screen Martha is looking at, you can clearly see Lucy's arms are also in fast motion.
- When Martha asks Professor Docherty to find out what the disc contains, the exact amount of electricity required is "A current of 58.5 kiloamperes, transferring a charge of 510 megajoules precisely" she is wrong as the unit of charge is the Coloumb not the Joule.
- The "Toclafane" are the last humans, seen in TV: Utopia.
- This episode is the fifth of the continuous arc (the end of one episode immediately leading into another) that starts in the Torchwood episode Captain Jack Harkness, switches over to Doctor Who in Utopia and ends in Voyage of the Damned.
- As referenced by the Master, the Third Doctor fought the Sea Devils in TV: The Sea Devils and the Axons in The Claws of Axos. The Master was present for both events.
- Earth was first referred to as Sol 3 in TV: The Deadly Assassin.
- The central London UNIT base appeared in TV: Spearhead from Space and Terror of the Autons
- The idea of a devastated London overrun by rabid dogs was first shown in PROSE: Blood Heat.
- Jack returns to Cardiff for series two of Torchwood. TV: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang takes place immediately after this one (although it is suggested in the later episode that some hours or possibly days pass before Jack actually reunites with his team - it's daytime when he leaves the Doctor, but night when he finds the team). The Master tells the Doctor in the previous episode to tell Jack that he sent his gang on a wild goose chase in the Himalayas, so it most likely took some time for them to return to the UK.
- The TARDIS has previously held back a paradox in PROSE: The Shadows of Avalon to The Ancestor Cell.
- An explanation of why the Master is afraid of the Doctor is first suggested in TV: The Mind of Evil where the Master's nightmare image is the Doctor towering over him and laughing.
- While previous regenerations of the Doctor imply regeneration is a partly involuntary feature of Time Lords, the Master's choice to die rather than regenerate shows that a Time Lord has some control over his regenerative process. This is supported by Romana I's regeneration in TV: Destiny of the Daleks where she is seen "trying on" various forms before settling on the final version of her new body.
- Jack Harkness later obtains the missing digit needed to reactivate his Time Agency wrist strap's teleportation functions from Martha Jones following her use of Project Indigo in TV: The Stolen Earth. The Doctor again deactivates this function in TV: Journey's End.
- In a deleted scene, before leaving the Doctor, Jack recites the "the 21st century is when it all changes and you've got to be ready" monologue heard at the beginning of all Torchwood episodes. TV: Fragments would later reveal that Jack is (perhaps subconsciously) paraphrasing the last words of former Torchwood Three member Alex Hopkins.
- Isomorphic controls were mentioned in TV: Pyramids of Mars, and are seen again in TV: A Christmas Carol.
- This is the only finale of the revived series that does not feature any Daleks. The Parting of the Ways, Doomsday, Journey's End, The Big Bang and The Wedding of River Song all did.
- The Master mentions companions who could absorb the time vortex. (TV: The Parting of the Ways).
Home video releases Edit
- This has been released with Utopia and The Sound of Drums on the Series 3 Volume 4 DVD.
- It is also part of the series 3 DVD box set.
- It was also released on iTunes, available for download onto an Apple iPod.
- Official BBC Website - Episode Guide: Last of the Time Lords
- Detailed synopsis of Last of the Time Lords at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- Last of the Time Lords at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Last of the Time Lords at The Locations Guide