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Utopia (TV story)

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Utopia
YanaAndChantho
Doctor: Tenth Doctor
Companion(s): Martha, Jack
Main enemy: The Master
Futurekind
Main setting: Malcassairo in
100 trillion AD
Key crew
Writer: Russell T Davies
Director: Graeme Harper
Producer: Phil Collinson
Release details
Story number: 187a
Season/series: Series 3
Premiere broadcast: 16 June 2007
Premiere network: BBC One
Format: 1x45 minute episode
Production code: 3.11
Confidential: 'Ello, 'Ello, 'Ello
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Doctor Who television stories
Blink The Sound of Drums
Production order
42 The Sound of Drums
Behind the scenes video
Regeneration of the Master - Doctor Who Confidential - BBC01:56

Regeneration of the Master - Doctor Who Confidential - BBC

More behind the scenes stuff
Captain Jack is back - Doctor Who Confidential - BBC01:49

Captain Jack is back - Doctor Who Confidential - BBC

You may wish to consult Utopia for other, similarly-named pages.

Utopia was the eleventh episode of the third series of the revived series of Doctor Who. It marked the return of Captain Jack Harkness and notably featured the first televised re-appearance of the Master since 1996's Doctor Who TV movie.

This story continued on from the end of the Torchwood episode End of Days, with a six month gap between broadcasts. It also continued in The Sound of Drums leading some, including the DWM survey, to take it as a three part story. (DWM 385) However, Davies himself always took it to be a separate story. (DWM 406)

Synopsis

Jack Harkness is back! As Captain Jack comes storming into the Doctor's life again, the TARDIS is thrown to the end of the universe itself. As the last remnants of humanity struggle to reach "Utopia", unknown to all, the Doctor's greatest enemy is about to rise again...

Plot

The TARDIS arrives at Cardiff to refuel at the Rift. The Tenth Doctor notes in surprise that the Rift has been active, and so refuelling should only take 20 seconds. Martha asks about the earthquake that happened in Cardiff, to which the Doctor replies, "A bit of trouble with the Slitheen". However, a figure suddenly bolts toward the TARDIS from the distance...

The Doctor, shocked, sees Jack Harkness running towards the TARDIS on the monitor and takes off. Jack leaps onto the TARDIS as it dematerialises, and the TARDIS console sends out sparks, knocking the Doctor and Martha to the floor. The Doctor is astonished that they are accelerating towards the future, ending up at the year 100 trillion — the end of the universe. Jack holds on tightly to the TARDIS, screaming for the Doctor as they hurtle through the time vortex... Somewhere else, a humanoid face with fangs turns and announces that "humans are coming!"

In a desolate area, a human is running from the Futurekind. Within his laboratory, Professor Yana notes that there is movement on the surface: a "human hunt". His assistant Chantho asks if she should alert the guards. Yana tells her not to, as they can't spare them. The Professor is asked for a progress report over the radio, but evades it by having Chantho answer. While she speaks, he is unable to focus due to the sound of drums in his head. Chantho gains his attention to show him that the surface scanner has now detected the TARDIS. He remarks, "It would seem something new has arrived..."

The Doctor tells Martha that he doesn't know what is outside — none of the Time Lords ever came this far. Gleeful at seeing the unknown, they leave the TARDIS. Outside, they find Jack on the ground. While Martha rushes back into the TARDIS to get a medical kit, the Doctor says to Jack, "Oh, I'm sorry." Realising that Jack hung on all the way through the vortex, the Doctor remarks it is "very him". Martha says that Jack is dead but just then he takes a deep breath and sits up, grabbing a shocked Martha by the arms. Jack immediately begins flirting with Martha, and an annoyed Doctor tells him not to start.

The Doctor and Jack greet each other tersely. The Doctor asks Jack if he has "had work done", to which an incredulous Jack replies, "You can talk!" Jack accuses the Doctor of abandoning him, which the Doctor shrugs off. Jack asks after Rose, having seen her on the list of the dead after the Battle of Canary Wharf. The Doctor happily tells Jack that she is safe and sound on a parallel world along with Mickey and Jackie. Jack and the Doctor embrace in relief, while Martha shows subtle resentment over the mention of Rose again.

The Futurekind are once again seen chasing the same man as before. Jack tells Martha of being stranded in the year 200,100 A.D after the Doctor had left without him, much to her indignation. In response, the Doctor coolly claims that he had been "busy". Jack shows Martha his vortex manipulator — which an unimpressed Doctor considers a space-hopper in comparison to his "sports-car" TARDIS — and explains that he had used the manipulator to try to get back to 2005, but ended up in 1869 and had to live through the following decades, basing himself at the Rift until his life coincided with one of the Doctor's incarnations that would know who he was. Martha asks if the Doctor just gets bored of his companions. Jack says, "Not if you're blonde", to which Martha displays sarcastic surprise at the fact Rose was blonde, causing the Doctor to become irritated at their complaining.

They come across a city-like conglomeration. When Martha asks about humanity's fate, Jack spots the man running from the Futurekind. Jack catches the man, and pushes him towards the Doctor, drawing his service revolver. The Doctor stops Jack from killing the Futurekind, and Jack fires into the air, scaring them. The Doctor plans to head for the TARDIS, but they are cut off by more Futurekind. The four head for "the Silo".

They approach the gates, with the Futurekind closing the distance. The guard yells at them to show their teeth, admitting them to the Silo once they show their normal human teeth. A soldier fires an assault rifle at the Futurekind to force them back; when Jack remarks that the Doctor didn't tell him to put his gun down, the Doctor points out that the soldier is not his responsibility. The Futurekind leader reluctantly orders his minions to fall back; they retreat a short distance where they can keep watch on the Silo. The man asks the soldier if he can be taken to Utopia, which the soldier happily responds to affirmatively.

Professor Yana learns that the Doctor, who claims to be a scientist, is in the Silo, and rushes upstairs to find him. The Doctor asks for the men to help retrieve the TARDIS. The Doctor is happy when he discovers that humans have survived to the end of the universe, remarking that though they "spent a million years evolving into clouds of gas", they revert to the same form eventually.

Jack flirts with a male refugee, with the Doctor once again telling him to stop. Jack helps the Doctor open a deadlock seal, and the door opens to show a deep rocket shaft, into which the Doctor blindly steps and nearly falls down before Jack yanks him back. They see a large rocket in the shaft, with neither the Doctor or Jack recognising the engines. The Doctor muses on what "Utopia" can mean if the universe is collapsing.

Jack flirts with Chantho

Jack flirts with Chantho.

The Professor arrives, dragging an amused Doctor away, followed by Martha and Jack, but the four pass a woman whom nobody notices baring her teeth, revealing her to be one of the Futurekind. Back in the lab, an incorrigible Jack immediately flirts with Yana's alien assistant while the Professor shows the Doctor all the machines within the rocket. However, the Doctor can't help, as the technology is utterly unknown to him.

Martha is shocked and disgusted to find the Doctor's hand (which Jack describes as his "Doctor Detector") in a glass case in Jack's backpack, and the Doctor has to explain how he lost it in the events of Christmas 2006. Yana enquires as to the Doctor's species, and the Doctor is saddened by the fact that the Time Lords have never been heard of in this time.

Chantho reveals that like the Doctor she is also the last of her kind, the Malmooth, and Yana says that this was originally the Malmooth homeworld Malcassairo, before the humans took refuge. In response to Jack's query about who the "Beastie Boys" upstairs are, Yana tells them of the Futurekind, which in themselves are a myth. It is feared that they are what the humans will become, unless they reach Utopia.

Utopia coordinates

The supposed "Utopia."

Yana shows the Doctor the co-ordinates of Utopia, supposedly a project of the Science Foundation to find a way to save mankind from the end of everything. Yana once again hears the sound of drums. The Doctor surmises that the rocket will not fly, but Yana hasn't told the others to keep them from losing hope. Impressed by this, the Doctor applies what knowledge he has and uses the sonic screwdriver to get the system working. The passengers board the rocket, the outside guards secure the gate against the Futurekind and retreat into the Silo, and the Doctor, Yana and Jack work to speed up the launch process.

The Doctor remarks to Yana that he built the system of "food and string and staples", calling Yana a genius who would be revered in a different time. Yana admits wistfully that some admiration just once would have been nice. The Doctor has also realised that Yana must stay behind to launch the rocket, which the Professor admits — Chantho has refused to leave, and he considers himself too old for Utopia, instead wishing for rest (death). A message comes over the radio that the TARDIS has been found. The Doctor gleefully remarks he may have a way for Yana to go too, though Yana barely hears him, for as he looks at the picture of the TARDIS, the sound of drums grows louder in his head...

The Doctor uses the TARDIS to provide extra power. The Professor tells the Doctor of the sound of drums, and how they are growing louder, as if they are getting closer; he says that he has heard them all his life.

Chantho tells Martha she has been with the Professor for 17 years, letting slip her unrequited love for him, something Martha sympathises with. Martha asks about the sentence structure she uses, starting sentences with "Chan" and ending with "Tho". Chantho replies that it would be rude not to, before trying once (with a fit of the giggles).

Atillo communicates with Yana, who gives him instructions as the communication line fails and then gets Martha to reboot the system every time the picture goes. Atillo sends a man into the couplings room, which is flooded with Stet radiation, to enable the launch with a gravity footprint.

The female Futurekind damages the system, and Jack and Yana furiously try to correct the radiation levels. Finally, Jack sends a massive (and lethal) current through his body in order to jump-start the override system, but the man in the couplings room is vapourised by the Stet radiation. As the Doctor points out, no one can enter the room without dying, but as Jack comes back from the dead, remarks he has got just the man for the job.

The Doctor and Jack race down to the couplings room — ordering Atillo to board the rocket — and Jack asks the Doctor how long he has known that he is immortal. The Doctor grimly replies, "Since I ran away from you", as Jack enters the couplings room — unlike his predecessor, he just winces instead of disintegrating. As they watch the process, Martha tells Yana and Chantho of the Doctor's ability to travel through time and space. Yana has new sounds in his head, including the reverberating word "TARDIS".

Jack explains that it wasn't until 1892 that he found out he was immortal after getting killed in a fight on Ellis Island, then waking from death. His past deaths included falling off a cliff; getting trampled by horses; World War I; World War II; poison; starvation... even a stray javelin. The Doctor tells Jack that to him he is "wrong" — a fixed point in time and space, a fact. Just looking at him is an effort for the Time Lord. Even the TARDIS knew what Jack was — it had travelled to the end of the universe just to try to shake him off!

Jack recalls facing three Daleks and his death at their hands, and the Doctor explains about Rose and the Bad Wolf entity, remarking that if a Time Lord had done what she did, they would have become a powerful and vengeful god. The Doctor then tells Jack that because of her humanity and compassion, Rose used her new-found power to bring him back to life, but unable to control the power, the transformation was irrevocable; the Doctor muses that "the final act of the Time War was life". When Jack asks if Rose could reverse the process, the Doctor replies that not only did he remove the power from her, but she is trapped in the parallel universe and can't return home. Jack says that he went back to the Powell Estate in the 1990s, never letting Rose see him (to avoid temporal contamination), but watching her growing up. When asked if he still wants to die, Jack finally admits he isn't sure anymore. The Doctor points out that Jack has the potential to meet other incarnations of himself across time — and that he might still be around in this time — joking that "it's the only man you're ever gonna be happy with". As Jack says that this new regeneration is a cheeky one, "regeneration" is another word added to those reverberating around Yana's head...

Yana is in tears, remembering stories of time travel from the old days that he never believed. He pulls out a fob watch, remarking that he was always late with time and the watch never worked. Martha is shocked, recalling the Doctor having a similar watch which he used to become human to avoid the Family of Blood. She asks where he got it, and Yana remarks that he was found with the watch, "an orphan in the storm", on the coast of the Silver Devastation. Yana says it is broken, and Martha asks how he could know if he has never opened it. Martha turns over the watch and finds Gallifreyan inscriptions on it.

Martha rushes to find the Doctor, having inadvertently piqued Yana's interest in the watch. The countdown for launch begins. Martha tells the Doctor of the watch, and the Doctor dismisses the idea as impossible. Jack says he may not be the last Time Lord, and Martha says it should be brilliant news — though the Doctor says it depends just which Time Lord Yana is. The Doctor yells at Martha, desperate to know exactly what Yana said.

The Master revealed

Yana opens the watch.

As Yana inspects the watch malevolent voices call to him from it, demanding he open it. Jack remarks that the end of the universe is the perfect place to hide, and Martha recalls the dying words of the Face of Boe: "You Are Not Alone" — for which "Yana" is an acronym — and the Doctor's face is filled with fear, as the Professor opens the watch. A burst of golden energy swirls into the Professor's face and radiates through the laboratory, which astonishes Chantho. The rocket launches, and the Futurekind watch in frustration as it leaves. Chantho tries to speak to the Professor, but the look in his eyes has changed — they are now dark and sinister.

Yana deliberately closes all the doors, barring the entrance of the Doctor, Martha and Jack to the laboratory, then coolly opens the front gates, allowing entrance by the Futurekind to the Silo. Chantho frenetically attempts to reason with him, but he fails to yield. She holds a gun to Yana to try to stop him, but he advances on her with high-voltage cable in hand. As the Doctor and the others try to get back to the lab — having to double back after running into the Futurekind — Yana blames Chantho for never asking about the watch and spitting that her constant "chan" and "tho" drove him insane. Chantho begs "the Professor" for his forgiveness, but he shouts that it is not his name — merely a disguise so perfect he forgot his own identity. When a terrified Chanto asks who he really is, he replies, "I... am...the Master", before electrocuting her with the cable as the Doctor, Martha and Jack reach the lab and try to get in. As the Master pulls the cable from the TARDIS, Chantho shoots him before dying. Jack finally smashes the control panel to open the door, but the Master retreats into the TARDIS, putting the catch on the lock to prevent the Doctor getting in with his key as well as deadlocking it against the sonic screwdriver.

Utopia the master regenerating

The Master regenerates.

As the Doctor shouts desperately that everything's changed, Jack and Martha struggle to close the lab's door against the Futurekind. Fatally injured, the Master fumes on being killed "by an insect... a girl..." and then proclaims that if the Doctor can be young and strong, so can he, before regenerating into a new incarnation of the Master. With a deranged wail, the Master explodes in a spectrum of regeneration energy, his eyes glow violently, and he changes into a younger form, collapsing to the floor as the pain of his regeneration overwhelms him. The Doctor stands outside his TARDIS completely aghast and helpless, peering through the police box windows bathed with the blinding light from the Master's transformation, while Martha and Jack desperately block the Futurekind from gaining entrance. Now a new, even more psychotic version of himself, the Master springs up from the TARDIS floor. Laughing in triumph, the Master uses the TARDIS' intercom to speak to the Doctor — sarcastically remarking about his past propensity to tell the Doctor his plans and remarking that he won't do so this time — and Martha realises that she knows his voice. The Doctor begs him to stop, to which the Master demands that he use his name. The Doctor then says, "Master... I'm sorry." The Master pauses, and shouts, "Tough!" as he prepares the TARDIS for launch. The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver and stops the launch momentarily. The Master overrides it and gleefully bids the three a sarcastic goodbye. The TARDIS dematerialises as the Doctor looks on in horror, while the Futurekind pound at the door...

Cast

Crew

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.
          

Though not credited in the original broadcast roll, Simon C. Holden was depicted in CON: "Ello, 'Ello, 'Ello" as a visual effects supervisor, and appeared to have been particularly involved with the John Simm/Derek Jacobi regeneration sequence — which logically would have made him an on-set visual effects supervisor. It's unclear why the credited on-set visual effects supervisor, Barney Curnow, did not represent the visual effects crew on Confidential for this episode.


References

Individuals

Species

TARDIS

  • The TARDIS rushes through the vortex trying to escape Jack Harkness, who clings to its side.

Time Lords

  • Yana (as in Professor Yana) is an acronym of the Face of Boe's last words "You Are Not Alone"

Story notes

  • This episode is the third 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 this one, and ends in TV: Voyage of the Damned.
  • This episode marks the start of the first 3-part story since Survival which also featured the Master. In terms of actual screen time, it is actually more the equivalent of an old-style 6-part episode. The episode was not originally promoted as being connected to the finale two-parter, and there remains some debate as to whether it should actually be considered a three-parter.
  • This episode shows flashbacks from TV: The Parting of the Ways, The Christmas Invasion, Gridlock, and Human Nature.
  • Each sentence heard from the watch were spoken by Derek Jacobi and Roger Delgado respectively, the latter taken from an audio clip from classic series episode The Dæmons, and the chuckle is Anthony Ainley's trademark laugh from his classic series appearances, though it is not (currently) known which specific episode the audio clip is taken from. Delgado and Ainley (both now deceased) portrayed the two best known incarnations of the Master.
MagnifiedMaster

The distorted main character: a Graeme Harper signature

  • 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 other magnifying glasses in The Unicorn and the Wasp and Army of Ghosts, a curved window in Journey's End, and with mirrors in Turn Left. This time, it's the Master that's under the magnifying glass.
  • For the first time, three names are presented in the opening credits; prior to this only the Doctor and his "current" companion's names were ever displayed, even when the series featured other actors as companions, such as Barrowman and Noel Clarke. Hereafter, most guest companions (such as the returning Martha Jones in The Sontaran Stratagem and the multiple companions of The Stolen Earth/Journey's End) receive similar credit treatment.
  • This story features the second regeneration scene in which the Time Lord subject is shown to be standing.
  • This is the sixth televised Doctor Who story which actually shows a regeneration occurring within the Doctor's TARDIS. It was preceded by The Tenth Planet, Destiny of the Daleks, The Caves of Androzani, Time and the Rani, and The Parting of the Ways. Additionally, Spearhead from Space implies, and COMIC: The Night Walkers confirms, that the regeneration resulting in the Third Doctor actually occurred in the TARDIS as well. Since then, The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor showcase the beginning of the regeneration in the Ninth Doctor, and the Eleventh Doctor's regeneration into the Twelfth Doctor respectively.
  • The Master last appeared on-screen in TV: Doctor Who.
  • Sir Derek Jacobi and John Simm are the fifth and sixth distinct incarnations of the Master (respectively) seen on screen. However there have been eight actors to previously play the Master in different media. This marks the first time two different incarnations have played major roles in a single episode (only the 1996 TV movie and The Keeper of Traken previously showed more than one Master).
  • Just before the start of the opening credits, the scene shifts from showing Jack clinging onto the TARDIS as it flies through the vortex to the Futurekind preparing for a human hunt. According to the DVD commentary, this had to be done, otherwise the opening credits — showing the TARDIS flying through the vortex — would have felt out of place without Jack being seen clinging to the outside. David Tennant jokes that they could have re-made the titles with Jack clinging onto the TARDIS.
  • The keyboard Chantho uses is a keyboard for Japanese hiragana.
  • This is the first episode to identify the severed hand Jack possesses as belonging to the Doctor.
  • Captain Jack last appeared in Torchwood episode End of Days. This episode continues directly from the end of that episode, which had been first broadcast six months earlier. He last appeared in Doctor Who itself in TV: The Parting of the Ways.
  • This is the first time in the revived series that the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver in a vertical fashion, reminiscent of his old sonic screwdrivers.
  • In Doctor Who Adventures issue 22 it mentions the Doctor and Martha "discovering" Utopia, suggesting that it is a real place.
  • John Bell (who played Creet) won his role on the British children's television show Blue Peter during a Doctor Who special that aired the same night.
  • Executive producer Russell T Davies said that he would have liked the moment where Jack was seen clinging to the outside of the TARDIS to segue directly into the opening credits as it flies through the time vortex. He chose against doing this and opted to lead in with the Futurekind, because this would mean Jack would have to be seen attached to the TARDIS in the opening credits for his vision to work, which was impractical to animate.

Ratings

  • 7.3 million viewers - Overnight
  • 0.82 million viewers - BBC Three Sunday repeat
  • 7.84 million viewers - Final BARB ratings

Myths

  • The setting of this episode in the year 100 trillion isn't the farthest in the future of a science fiction story. In fact, there are works that take place in even later times, in particular the works of Stephen Baxter, whose novel Manifold: Time takes place in the year 500,000,000,000,000,000,000 (500 quintillion).

Filming locations

  • Trident Park - Cardiff Bay
  • Wenvoe Quarry - Cardiff
  • Argoed Quarry - Llanharry
  • Roald Dahl Plass - Cardiff

Production errors

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 Jack goes through the time vortex, he clings onto the TARDIS. At the start the windows are clearly blue, reflecting the vortex, but when zoomed out, they are white.

Continuity

Home video releases

Bbcdvd-s3-v4

Series 3 Volume 4 DVD Cover

External links

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