New Earth

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172 - New Earth
Doctor David Tennant (Tenth Doctor)
Writer Russell T. Davies
Director James Hawes
Script editor Simon Winstone
Producer Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T. Davies
Julie Gardner
Production code 2.1
Length 45 mins
Transmission date 15 April 2006
Preceded by The Christmas Invasion
Followed by Tooth and Claw
IMDb profile
Series 2
April 15, 2006July 8, 2006
  1. New Earth
  2. Tooth and Claw
  3. School Reunion
  4. The Girl in the Fireplace
  5. Rise of the Cybermen
  6. The Age of Steel
  7. The Idiot's Lantern
  8. The Impossible Planet
  9. The Satan Pit
  10. Love & Monsters
  11. Fear Her
  12. Army of Ghosts
  13. Doomsday

New Earth is an episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who which was first broadcast on April 15, 2006. It is the first episode of Series 2 of the revived Doctor Who series.


[edit] Synopsis

In the year five billion and twenty-three, after the destruction of the Earth, the Doctor takes Rose to the New Earth. There, in a hospital facility, the feline Sisters of Plenitude can mysteriously cure any diseases, but, in the basement, an old enemy of the Doctor is out for revenge.

[edit] Plot

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

As the Tenth Doctor powers up the TARDIS, Rose says good-bye to Jackie and Mickey at the Powell Estate. Although Jackie and Mickey sadly watch the TARDIS fade away, inside the ship Rose is all smiles as she asks where they are going next. The Doctor tells her that they are going further than they have ever gone before.

The TARDIS materialises on New Earth, in the year five billion and twenty-three. Following the destruction of Earth, humanity became nostalgic and settled a new planet with similar gravity and atmosphere in the galaxy M87. Rose is delighted at the beauty of the new world, the sight of the futuristic city of New New York in front of them and the smell of apple-grass, reminiscing about their "first date" in the year five billion. However, the two travellers are being observed by a robot spider controlled by Chip, a small, pale man with multiple tattoos. Chip takes his orders from Lady Cassandra, who is still alive and recognises Rose.

"It's the year five billion and twenty-three, we're in the galaxy M87 and this... this is New Earth."
"It's the year five billion and twenty-three, we're in the galaxy M87 and this... this is New Earth."

The Doctor and Rose head for a large hospital building, the Doctor having been summoned by a telepathic message displayed on his psychic paper: "Ward 26, Please Come". The hospital is run by humanoid feline nuns belonging to an order called the Sisters of Plenitude. Trying to find the right ward, the Doctor and Rose enter separate lifts, which give each of them a disinfecting shower. However, Chip has overridden Rose's lift controls, and diverts her to the basement. He beckons her forward, calling her by name, which rouses her suspicions.

In the ward, the Doctor is escorted around by Sister Jatt. He observes that the patients all have diseases which are supposed to be incurable, but yet the Sisters are able to cure them. However, the nuns are evasive about what precisely is in the coloured solutions that are given to the patients. The Doctor then recognises who it must be that has called him here — the Face of Boe. He is being tended to by Novice Hame, who tells the Doctor that the Face is dying of old age.

Meanwhile, Rose explores the basement warily, holding a pipe for defence, and finds an old projector showing a film of a party, with several men surrounding a blonde woman with a very familiar voice. That same voice makes Rose turn to see Cassandra, looking just as she did when Rose last saw her: a piece of skin stretched out on a frame above a brain jar. Cassandra's brain had survived her apparent death, her eyeballs recovered, and the rest reconstructed using the skin from the back of her original body. Chip (a forced-growth clone devoted to Cassandra) smuggled her into the hospital, where he has been tending to her ever since. However, Cassandra has discovered that the Sisters are hiding something, and to find out what, she needs Rose's help… or rather her body. Using a device called a psychograft, Cassandra implants her consciousness over Rose's own, allowing her own brain to die. Cassandra gives Rose's body a mixed review at first ("I'm a chav!"), but soon decides she's attractive enough.

In the ward Novice Hame tells the Doctor that legend has it that the Face has lived for thousands, perhaps millions of years and that he will give his dying message to a wanderer without a home, to "the Lonely God". The Doctor realises that he fits the description in the legend, but says nothing. Below, Cassandra reads Rose's surface thoughts and discovers that the man with Rose is the Doctor, with a new face. She goes to meet him.

"Rose's" odd behaviour raises the Doctor's suspicions, especially when she kisses him passionately and later shows anachronistic knowledge of the hospital's computer systems, but he keeps the thought to himself. With her help, however, they enter Intensive Care and discover the horrifying secret behind the hospital: hundreds of individual pods containing artificially grown human beings each infected with a thousand different diseases, a human farm to breed cures. If the subjects become healthy enough to speak or move, the Sisters kill them. The Doctor, in a rage, confronts Novice Hame about this, but she argues that these artificial humans are just "flesh". It was necessary to cope with the influx of patients and diseases. The Doctor also demands the Sisters reverse what they have done to Rose, not realising that Cassandra is responsible. "Rose" admits she is Cassandra, and knocks out the Doctor with some drugged perfume.

While the Doctor is trapped in a pod about to be injected with diseases, "Rose" tries to blackmail Matron Casp, demanding payment to keep quiet about the Sisters' actions. When Casp declines and threatens her physically, "Rose" releases the Doctor and some of the plague carriers as a distraction. They, in turn, release the rest, and the zombie-like mass of them begin to lurch through the hospital, groping blindly at anyone they encounter, who are then infected with "all the diseases in the world" and die almost instantly, Sister Jatt being the first to go. Matron Casp orders that the building be quarantined.

After failing to find a way out through the basement, the Doctor demands Cassandra release Rose, threatening her with the sonic screwdriver. Cassandra transfers her consciousness to the Doctor instead. "The Doctor" and Rose climb up the lift shaft, pursued by the carriers. Matron Casp tries to stop them, but is infected and falls down the shaft, screaming. Cassandra transfers herself to a plague carrier so that the Doctor can use the sonic screwdriver to unseal the lift doors, and then jumps back into Rose. Cassandra is momentarily shocked and moved by the loneliness the carriers feel, not being able to touch or be touched all their lives.

The Doctor and "Rose" reach Ward 26, which seems to be the only place still untouched by the carriers. The Doctor takes all of the intravenous solutions and straps them to his body. Together with "Rose", he slides back down the shaft to the lift car, where he empties the solutions into the disinfectant reservoir. The Doctor opens the doors, luring several plague carriers inward as "Rose" starts the shower. The spray drenches the carriers, curing them. The Doctor encourages them to pass it on, and they wander back out to spread the cure to the others.

The surviving Sisters are arrested by the New New York Police Department (NNYPD), and the cured New Humans (as the Doctor calls them) are to be taken into care. At that moment, the Doctor remembers the Face of Boe. No longer dying, the Face tells the Doctor telepathically that he had grown tired of the universe, but the Doctor has taught him to look at it anew. The Doctor asks the Face about his message, but the Face enigmatically replies that it can wait for their third and final meeting. The Face then teleports away.

The Doctor now orders Cassandra out of Rose's body. Cassandra transfers her consciousness to a willing Chip instead, but his cloned body begins to fail, and Cassandra accepts her impending, true death; the New Earth has no place for people like her and Chip. The Doctor does one last thing for Cassandra, taking her back to the party seen earlier, to see herself on the last night someone had called her beautiful. "Chip" approaches the Cassandra of the past and tells her just that, and collapses into the younger Cassandra's arms as she comforts "him". As the older Cassandra finally dies, the Doctor and Rose silently leave in the TARDIS.

[edit] Cast

[edit] Continuity

  • This is the furthest known point into the future that the TARDIS has ever travelled. This May Change in Gridlock.
  • Excluding the interactive episode Attack of the Graske, New Earth is the first episode of the revival of Doctor Who to be set on a planet other than Earth (although references to adventures on other planets had been made previously).
  • There have been several planets called "New Earth" in Doctor Who: the planet where Sarah was told she was being taken to in a spaceship in the serial Invasion of the Dinosaurs; a planet from the Fourth Doctor comic strip story Doctor Who and the Iron Legion (Doctor Who Weekly #1-#8); a planet in the New Earth system colonised by humans in the year 2380 in the comic strip story Doctor Who and the Dogs of Doom (DWW #27-#34); the homeworld of the Sixth Doctor novel companion Grant Markham and the setting of the Virgin Missing Adventures novel Time of Your Life by Steve Lyons; and the "New Earth Republic", a future Earth colony and the setting of the Past Doctor Adventures spin-off novel Synthespians™ by Craig Hinton.
  • The Sisters of Plenitude are not the first feline aliens to feature in the series. Feline aliens were seen in the Seventh Doctor serial Survival.
  • This episode is set twenty-three years after the events of the 2005 episode The End of the World, and twenty years prior to the events of episode three from the 2007 series.
  • Originally, Davies intended the Face of Boe to empart his message upon the Doctor in this episode; when he discovered that a third series was definitely to occur, Davies quickly decided to delay Boe's message for a year. This is one of several plot and thematic details (including whole episodes) that Davies chose at a rather late stage of development to move from series two to three, also including the 2006 Christmas special The Runaway Bride.
  • The giant "BAD WOLF" graffiti written on a paved public area of Rose's estate (seen in The Parting Of The Ways) is still visible, though faded, at the start of the episode.
  • The ailment that the Duke of Manhattan is dying from, Petrifold Regression — a disease that turns its victims to stone — is also mentioned in the Tenth Doctor Adventures novel The Stone Rose by Jacqueline Rayner.
  • A phrase the Doctor says to a diseased 'New Human' — "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." — recurs throughout the second series.
  • Despite the Doctor's mention that the elevators had been deactivated as a precaution during quarantine, an external shot of the building during this time clearly shows the elevators in motion.
  • According to Davies on the episode commentary, Cassandra's earlier self bases Chip on the man who had praised her beauty at the party — Chip himself. Where the "pattern" for Chip comes from in the first instance is thus unclear, creating an ontological paradox.
  • In the commentary, Tennant noted that the TARDIS has moved since The Christmas Invasion. He speculates that there might have been many off-screen adventures, or (observing that it no longer seems like Christmas in the introduction) perhaps that the Doctor "lived there for a bit".
  • The Face of Boe is set to return in the Season 3 Episode "♦Gridlock♦". Many unofficial sources have indicated the Face of Boe's message to the Doctor will be "You are not alone ..", indicating the Doctor is not the only survivor of the Time War.

[edit] Production

  • In a feature in the Radio Times (issue dated 8 April-14 April), Russell T. Davies said of New Earth, "I promised Billie [Piper] an episode in which she'd be funny. So episode one of the new series is very much based around comedy for Billie."
  • The exterior scenes on New Earth were shot on the Gower Peninsula. The hospital basement scenes were recorded at Tredegar House in Newport. The location for the pods containing the human specimens was a disused paper mill previously used as the base of the Nestene Consciousness in Rose.
  • The hospital scenes were filmed inside the Wales Millennium Centre, which appeared in the previous series episode Boom Town and is a common fixture in the spin-off programme, Torchwood. When the Doctor asks about the shop and points to where he would put it, he points to the location of the centre's own Portmeirion shop.
  • The exterior shots of the lift car as Rose descends to the basement are reused footage from Rose.
  • The producer's and director's credits have been amended slightly since The Christmas Invasion, so that now the credit is in lower case and the name of the crewmember is in capitals. This was the result of a suggestion from Doctor Who Magazine editor Clayton Hickman, who felt the previous arrangement had made the job seem more important than the crewmember.
  • The theme music in the closing credits features the reinstated bridge, or "middle 8", which was absent from the 2005 season and last heard in The Christmas Invasion. The "middle 8" would continue to play over the closing credits from this episode on.

[edit] Outside references

[edit] Broadcast and DVD release

  • Overnight ratings for the episode peaked at 8.3 million viewers in the UK,[1] with a final rating of 8.62 million, making it the ninth most watched programme of the week. The episode achieved an audience appreciation index of 85.
  • Immediately after the episode, a commentary for the episode, featuring David Tennant, Russell T. Davies and Phil Collinson, was made available on the official website for viewers to download and listen to alongside the repeat, as it was for The Christmas Invasion.
  • This is the first Doctor Who episode to have an accompanying TARDISODE.
  • The Canadian English-language premiere of Series 2 on CBC, consisting of this episode, took place on October 9, 2006. It concluded with an extended version of the Tooth and Claw trailer from the BBC broadcast; the revised closing theme was not heard in the broadcast and it was also the first episode to be broadcast without a specially taped introduction featuring one of the lead actors. The episode had previously aired on August 29, 2006 in translation on the French-language broadcaster Ztélé, under the title Une nouvelle Terre.
  • This episode was released together with The Christmas Invasion as a basic DVD with no special features on 1 May 2006, and as part of a second series boxset on 20 November 2006. This release included an audio commentary by Julie Gardner (Head of Drama for BBC Wales), director James Hawes and visual effects producer Will Cohen, recorded before the story aired. This commentary was also made available as an MP3 on the BBC Doctor Who website.[2]
  • Copies of the DVD from the complete Series 2 set distributed to Netflix customers contained an error: at the 32-minute mark, the playback switched abruptly to a scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. Netflix has pulled the disc from their inventory while they work out the issue with the BBC; this only seems to have affected Netflix copies. [3]

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Doctor Who attracts eight million", BBC News, 2006-04-16. Retrieved on 2007-01-21.
  2. ^ BBC - Doctor Who - Sound Downloads. BBC Doctor Who website. Retrieved on 2007-01-21.
  3. ^ Bement, Jeremy. "Netflix needs the Doctor", Outpost Gallifrey News Page, 2007-01-20. Retrieved on 2007-01-21.

[edit] External links

[edit] Reviews