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The End of the World (TV story)

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RealWorld
The End of the World
The-end-of-the-world
Script release: The Shooting Scripts
Doctor: Ninth Doctor
Companion(s): Rose
Main enemy: Cassandra
Main setting: Platform One, 5,000,000,000[1]
Key crew
Writer: Russell T Davies
Director: Euros Lyn
Producer: Phil Collinson
Release details
Story number: 158
Season/series: Series 1
Premiere broadcast: 2 April 2005
Premiere network: BBC One
Format: 1x45 minute episode
Production code: 1.2
Confidential: Aliens: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
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Memorable moment
Sun Filter Descending - Doctor Who - BBC04:05

Sun Filter Descending - Doctor Who - BBC

Another memorable moment
The end of Earth - Doctor Who - Series 1 The End of the World - BBC03:36

The end of Earth - Doctor Who - Series 1 The End of the World - BBC

Behind the scenes video
Creating Cassandra - Dr Who Confidential - BBC sci-fi01:01

Creating Cassandra - Dr Who Confidential - BBC sci-fi

You may be looking for the audio story.

The End of the World was the second story in the first series of Doctor Who. It was the first instance of travelling into the viewers' relative future in the revived series. The story also introduced recurring characters Lady Cassandra and the Face of Boe, and featured the first mention of the ubiquitous phrase "Bad Wolf". Though of relatively minor impact here, it soon exploded into a persistent story arc that continued to thrive across multiple series beyond the first in the revived continuity.

This episode is also notable for introducing the Last Great Time War and the impact it had on the Doctor, as the Doctor reveals that Gallifrey was destroyed because of the war, making him the last surviving member of the Time Lords. The survivor's guilt caused by the war would stick with the Doctor in his Tenth and Eleventh incarnations.

It was director Euros Lyn's first work on the series. At the time of broadcast, it featured the most extensive use of CGI yet seen on Doctor Who.

Synopsis Edit

The Ninth Doctor takes his new companion, Rose Tyler, to the year 5,000,000,000 to see the sun expand and destroy the Earth. The observation deck space station, Platform One, is holding an event with the richest beings of the time observing the Earth's destruction, but mysterious metal spiders gifted by the Adherents of the Repeated Meme to the other guests are secretly infiltrating and sabotaging the station.

Plot Edit

The Doctor asks Rose where she would like to go on her first trip in the TARDIS. She asks to go one hundred years into the future, but when they arrive, the Doctor says the 22nd century is boring. They travel again, this time to 12005, the time of the New Roman Empire. Again, they move on without leaving the TARDIS as Rose cannot believe his explanation. Finally, to impress his new companion, the Doctor takes Rose to a space station orbiting Earth in the year 5.5/Apple/26. As they watch in amazement, the Sun expands partially — "Welcome to the end of the world".

The Doctor tells Rose that Earth has long been empty of any kind of life. Mankind left it long ago and the planet was taken over by the National Trust. They have used gravity satellites to hold the effects of the Sun back, but the money has run out. Earth will be swallowed up by the Sun at last. The rich and powerful of the universe will witness the end of the world, which will occur in about half an hour. The station has automated systems and is staffed by blue-skinned humanoids.

On encountering the blue-skinned Steward, who manages Platform One, the Doctor persuades him that he and Rose are invited guests by using a piece of psychic paper that makes people see what the Doctor wants. The other guests arrive, including the diminutive Moxx of Balhoon, the Face of Boe, living humanoid trees from the Forest of Cheem (whose ancestors originated on Earth) and, from Financial Family Seven, a group of hooded aliens known as the Adherents of the Repeated Meme. Rose watches in horrified fascination as the last living human arrives — the Lady Cassandra O'Brien Dot Delta Seventeen, a piece of stretched-out skin with eyes and a mouth, mounted on a frame and connected to a brain jar. The skin needs to be constantly moisturised by her attendants. The guests exchange gifts. Jabe of the Forest of Cheem gives the Doctor a cutting taken from her grandfather. The Doctor gives her the gift of air from his lungs. The Moxx gives the gift of bodily salivas, and the Adherents of the Repeated Meme hand out gifts of "peace" in the form of metal spheres, even to the Steward.

Cassandra gives her own gifts: the last ostrich egg, and an "iPod" (actually a jukebox) from ancient Earth. Rose is a bit overwhelmed when the jukebox plays "classical" music — the song "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell — and leaves the hall. The Doctor receives a call about the TARDIS' parking place and is given a ticket telling him where it is being moved. Elsewhere, Rose has a brief conversation with a station plumber, Raffalo, who is investigating a blockage. At first she is comforted by the familiarity of Raffalo's matter-of-fact, working-class manner, but when Raffalo explains that she is from Crespallion, which is part of the Jaggit Brocade, affiliated to the Scarlet Junction in Complex 56, Rose realises just how far she is from home, with a man she does not know. She leaves, and does not see Raffalo spot small, spider-like robots in the ducts, which rapidly grab her and pull her inside. The spiders are being disgorged from the metal spheres gifted by the Adherents of the Repeated Meme to guests. They soon infiltrate the entire station, sabotaging its systems.

Cassandra and rose

The last humans chat.

The Doctor finds Rose. When she asks where he is from, he brushes off her questions. When the Doctor alters Rose's mobile phone so she can talk to her mother in the past, another fact sinks in — her mother is long dead. The Doctor jokes that if Rose thought the telephone call was amazing, she should see the bill. Suddenly, a tremor shakes the station, and the Doctor gleefully observes that was not supposed to happen. The Steward, investigating the cause of the tremor, is killed when a spider lowers the sun filter in his room, exposing him to the direct heat of the Sun's rays.

The Doctor starts to look into the tremor and Jabe offers to show him where the maintenance corridors are, while Rose goes to speak to Cassandra. Rose finds Cassandra has had seven hundred and eight cosmetic operations, and considers herself the last "pure" human — the others who left "intermingled" with other species and she considers them all mongrels. Her next operation, to bleach her blood, is next week. Disgusted that humanity has come to this, Rose insults Cassandra and storms off, only to be met by the Adherents, who knock her out.

Pensieve doc nine

The Doctor is reminded of his past.

In the corridors, Jabe quietly tells the Doctor that she scanned him earlier, and was astonished to discover he exists. She sympathises with him and the Doctor is briefly moved to tears. They continue to the bowels of the station, where they find one of the spiders. Jabe captures it with a long, vine-like appendage.

As the station's systems continue to fail and, as a "traditional ballad" — Britney Spears singing "Toxic" — plays on the jukebox, Rose is lying unconscious on the floor. She wakes up and is trapped in a room with a lowering sun filter. The Doctor hears her cries for help and raises the filter, but Rose is still locked in. Returning to the main hall, he releases the spider to seek out its master. It first scurries over to Cassandra and then veers towards Adherents of the Repeated Meme. The Doctor says that a "meme" is just an idea and reveals that the Adherents are robots as they collapse to the floor. He then sends the spider out to find who was controlling them and it goes directly to Cassandra.

Cassandra has her attendants hold the others at bay, saying the moisturiser guns can also shoot acid. Her operations cost a fortune and she was hoping to create a hostage situation and later seek compensation. Now she will just let everyone burn and take over their corporate holdings. Cassandra orders the spiders to shut off the force field protecting the station, then uses a teleportation device to transport herself and her attendants away.

Earthdeath

The last moments of Earth.

With only minutes until the Sun incinerates Earth and the station, the Doctor and Jabe rush back to the air-conditioning chamber. The restore switch for the computer systems is at the other end of a platform blocked by giant rotating fans. The Doctor protests the rising heat will burn the wooden Jabe, but she insists on staying to hold down the switch that slows the fans. The Doctor makes it nearly to the end before Jabe catches fire and burns. He closes his eyes and concentrates, making it past the last fan and throwing the reset switch. The force fields come up around the station just as the Earth explodes into cinders. The station's systems start to self-repair.

Several of the guests are now dead, incinerated as the Sun's rays burst through cracks in the windows. The Doctor finds Cassandra's teleportation feed inside the ostrich egg and reverses it to bring her back. She starts taunting the Doctor, saying that he cannot do anything about her. However, the Doctor calmly notes he has transported Cassandra back without her moisturising attendants. In the heat, she begins to dry out. Cassandra begs for mercy and Rose asks the Doctor to help her, but the Doctor coldly says that everything has its time and everything dies. Cassandra's skin stretches and tears, her innards exploding, leaving only her brain tank and empty frame.

Rose is sad that in all the danger, Earth's passing was not actually seen by anyone. The Doctor takes her back to the present in the TARDIS, telling her that people think things will last forever, but they don't. He admits his home planet was burned like Earth, but in a war. He is the last survivor of the Time Lords. Rose says he still has her, and he smiles as she offers to buy him some chips. They have only five billion years before the shops close.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound







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


References Edit

Individuals Edit

  • Cassandra calls the Moxx of Balhoon a pixie.

Gallifrey Edit

  • The Doctor tells Rose his planet was destroyed before its time as the result of a war which his people lost.

Bad Wolf arc Edit

  • Bad Wolf is mentioned for the first time, the Moxx of Balhoon stating, "Indubitably, this is the Bad Wolf scenario."

Species Edit

  • Cassandra mentions there are many species out there that describe themselves as "human-ish", likely referencing the many humanoid races. Cassandra most likely assumes that Rose is one of these humanoids upon meeting her.

Culture from the Real World Edit

  • One of the Earth's relics on display during the tribute to the end of the planet is the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, seen in a glass case by Cassandra.
  • Cassandra plays what she thinks is a "traditional Earth ballad" to mark the destruction of Earth- this song is the racy single "Toxic" by Britney Spears, highly irreverent for the moment.

Story notes Edit

  • The majority of the series' effects budget were used up for this episode, because the story required more CGI effects than any other story.
  • The story begins with a brief re-cap of the last week's episode similar to many American shows, but unlike most American shows there is no voice-over announcing "previously on Doctor Who". The footage from Rose simply begins the episode. Discounting the 1996 TV movie, this marked the first time a Doctor Who episode had started with a pre-credits sequence since Remembrance of the Daleks in 1988; unlike the original series, which used the device rarely, it would become standard practice for the series, with very few episodes made without a teaser (the exceptions are usually series premieres).
  • A BBC logo is on the bottom of the screen when the recap finishes and this episode begins. At this point the corporation had not yet established the practice of showing the logo during the opening credits.
  • Russell T Davies, who created Cassandra, has said on many occasions that he was inspired to create Cassandra upon viewing skinny Hollywood actresses at the Academy Awards. On 2 April 2006, the Sunday Mirror quoted Davies: "It was horrific seeing those beautiful women reduced to sticks. Nicole Kidman struck me in particular. Nicole is one of the most beautiful women in the world. But she looks horrifying because she's so thin. It's like we're killing these women in public. We watch while you die."
  • In one scene Rose says, "Wait hold on. They did this once on Newsround Extra". Newsround is a news programme on BBC 1 and CBBC aimed at providing news for children. Newsround Extra is an extended version of this concept which concentrates on a single issue or subject. A Newsround reporter was on set watching as this scene was filmed. His report can be read here on the newsround website.
  • A minor milestone occurs when the Doctor utters the phrase, "What the hell is that?", the first time the character has used the minor swear word on-screen. This marked a slight loosening of the Doctor's use of language in the revived series, although in light of the show's family-friendly tone the Doctor has never said anything stronger than "hell" and "damn."
  • The scene between Rose and Raffalo was a late addition, added because the episode was underrunning.
  • This is the first time the Doctor has actually been seen to shed a tear.

Ratings Edit

  • Saturday - 7.97 million viewers

Myths Edit

  • The first thing Rose sees upon leaving the TARDIS is a ventilation duct. What is commonly mistaken for a ventilation duct was actually the shuttered window in the smaller observation room. The Doctor opens it after he exits the TARDIS.

Cultural references Edit

  • When the Ninth Doctor returns Rose to Earth in the 21st century there is a man selling the Big Issue. This is a magazine sold on the streets in the United Kingdom and Australia to provide money for homeless people.
  • When Rose tells the Doctor she is going to talk to Cassandra she calls her "Michael Jackson", referring to that singer's well-known cosmetic surgery.

Music Edit

Filming locations Edit

  • Much of Platform One was filmed in 'the chapel of peace' in Cardiff.
  • The service tunnels were filmed in the basement of BBC Wales.

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.
  • After the Doctor fiddles with Rose's mobile phone, he doesn't put the cover on the back before handing it to her, yet it's suddenly there when she phones her mum.
  • At the beginning, when the Doctor and Rose are looking at Earth from the Station while Rose is talking on her mobile, you see them from the outside looking in, and the Doctor has his hands in his pockets. When you see them from behind, the Doctor has his hands behind his back instead, then back to the front view and they're instantly back in his pockets.
  • Also while Rose is phoning her mum, notice that the Doctor has his mouth shut. The camera angle changes and instantly his mouth is open.
  • When Rose and Cassandra are in conversation, they're shot intermittently from behind, looking out of the Space Station window. In the shots from behind, Cassandra's lips don't appear to move at all, though we still hear her speak.
  • After her chat with Cassandra (the trampoline speech) Rose leaves the observation room with her silver ball in her hand. But she'd already put it down, before the mobile phone speech.
  • As the Doctor and Jabe walk along a corridor on their way to sort out the spider problem, you can see them walk through the same section twice: look overhead to spot a distinctive-looking metal frame with wires hanging around it.
  • When Rose is about to be fried by the sun's rays, she runs up and down the stairs to bang on the doors to avoid the rays. While she does, the long shots show most of the doors as being incinerated, but in the close-ups (as she starts banging again) they look fine.
  • The Doctor is noticeably paler and more unshaven in the final scene on present-day Earth.

Continuity Edit

Home video releases Edit

Series-1-volume-1

Series 1 Volume 1 DVD Cover

  • This was released with Rose and The Unquiet Dead on a "vanilla" DVD with no extras.
  • It was also released as part of the Series 1 DVD box set
  • This was also released with Issue 1 of the Doctor Who DVD Files.
  • Released in the Series 1 Bluray set in November 2013 along with the rest of the series.
    • This release was initially bundled with the first seven series of the revived Doctor Who.
  • Available for streaming via Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime.

Footnotes Edit

  1. In TV: New Earth, the Tenth Doctor mentions the Earth getting "roasted" in 5,000,000,000 when the sun expands, making 5.5/Apple/26 the same as 5,000,000,000.

External links Edit


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