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Doctor Who - The End of Time
season 4 special 4 & 5

UK 2009/2010
produced by
Tracie Simpson, Russell T. Davies (executive), Julie Gardner (executive) for BBC (BBC Wales)
directed by Euros Lyn
starring David Tennant, John Simm, Bernard Cribbins, David Harewood, Tracy Ifeachor, Claire Bloom, Timothy Dalton, Catherine Tate, Jacqueline King, Billie Piper, Camille Coduri, John Barrowman, Freema Agyeman, Noel Clarke, Elisabeth Sladen, June Whitfield, Jessica Hynes, Tommy Knight, Russell Tovey, Joe Dixon, Julie Legrand, Brid Brennan, Krystal Archer, Sinead Keenan, Lawry Lewin, Alexandra Moen, Karl Collins, Teresa Banham, Barry Howard, Allister Bain, Simon Thomas, Sylvia Seymour, Pete Lee-Wilson, Dwayne Scantlebury, Lacey Bond, Lachele Carl, Paul Kasey, Ruari Mears, Max Benjamin, Brian Cox (voice), Nicholas Briggs (voice), Matt Smith
written by Russell T. Davies, music by Murray Gold, special effects by Any Effects, visual effects by The Mill, prosthetics by Millenium FX

TV-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (David Tennant), Doctor Who (new series), The Master, The Master (John Simm), Doctor Who (Matt Smith) (cameo), Donna Noble (cameo), Martha Jones (cameo), Rose Tyler (cameo), Captain Jack (cameo), Sarah Jane Smith (cameo)

review by
Mike Haberfelner




The Doctor (David Tennant) is summoned by the Ood, who tell him about his fast approaching death which will knock four times, and somehow, the Doctor finds out it all has to do with his arch nemesis (well, one of them, anyway) the Master (John Simm) but who was thought to be dead, and the Timelords, who seem not to be utterly destroyed after all.

Back on earth, the Doctor's tracked down by his former companion Donna's (Catherine Tate) grandfather Wilfred (Bernard Cribbins), and through him he finds the Master, who has only recently been resurrected but isn't yet in very stable a condition. The Doctor somehow listens into the mind of the Master and hears a constant repetition of four knocks, which apparently drives the Master mad. With four knocks of course being the signal for the Doctor's impending death, he's ready to battle it out with the Master to the last ... when the Master is just snatched away ...

Meet multi-billionaire Joshua Naismith (David Harewood) and his daughter Abigail (Tracy Ifeachor), who have found some alien technology that apparently is designed to grant eternal life, but it's damaged and the Master is supposed to fix it - but the Master has another plan ... and eventually turns everyone on the whole wide world into himself - exceptions apply though. The Doctor and Wilfred arrive too late to stop him, but with the help of two friendly cactus-like aliens they manage to save themselves ... to return to the Naismiths' place which is not the Master's headquarters - to see the return of the Timelords lead by Rassilon (Timothy Dalton). But Rassilon's motives are far from benign, as with their return into this dimension, they would bring with them all of the universe's most evil races, including the Daleks, the Cybermen and whoever else the Doctor fights on a regular basis anyway. Somehow, the Doctor manages to send the Timelords back to where they've come from, the Master escapes, and in a (successful) attempt to save Wilfred, the Doctor is exposed to an overload of radiation and is now slowly dying ... but not before he, in an overlong post-finale, drops in on all his companions (in this incarnation) again, including Donna, Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke), Captain Jack (John Barrowman) and of course Rose Tyler (Billie Piper). Then he dies - or rather regenerates into Matt Smith, but in doing so he almost wrecks his TARDIS ...

 

This was supposed to be David Tennant's triumphant finale as the Doctor, but frankly, it feels more like a paint-by-numbers take on a typical blockbuster story (and not in a good way(, including putting spectacle over story (though the spectacle is pretty well-conceived), failing to give the characters much development, failing to give the main villain a proper motive, and not even really trying to make everything wholly logical or putting some of the weirder plot elements into context - like who's that woman who's constantly giving Wilfred pointers? And frankly, the post-finale sequence is really milking it and fails to have any narrative necessity. That all said, the episode is not a total loss, at least it moves along swiftly and does actually have its moments - it's just nothing special at all.

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD