Martha Jones (Freema Agyema) - Doctor Who (c) BBC
Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) – Doctor Who (c) BBC

Smith and Jones

First Broadcast March 31st, 2007 @ 7.00pm (8.1m viewers)

Doctor Who returned to BBC One for a third full 13 episode series since cancellation in 1989 proving that the Doctor was well and truly back. ‘Smith and Jones’ marked the beginning of a series which would not feature Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, who in her twenty-seven episodes (plus one Children in Need scene) cemented her place as one of the most popular companions ever. Talk about a tough act to follow. As a result, Martha Jones is often overlooked sandwiched between the universally adored Rose and the star quality of comedienne Catherine Tate as Donna Noble, however, her debut episode is as strong an introduction as one could possibly want.

Martha Jones (Freema Agyema) - Doctor Who (c) BBC
Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) – Doctor Who (c) BBC

In our opinion, Martha is one of the more rounded companions and although the unrequited love storyline over the course of the series feels like a misstep it is refreshing to see the Time Lord through the eyes of a person to whom the title of ‘Doctor’ is truly significant. She refuses to call the Time Lord ‘Doctor’ stating that it is a title that must be earned in the same way as she is studying to also be called a Doctor. This medical training supports her high intelligence, an aspect which immediately appeals to the Doctor when surrounded by other feeble humans losing all composure. Continuing with Russell T Davies’ belief of grounding the companion with a family sees us also introduced to the Joneses, with Martha’s parents now divorced and causing the conflict which makes a journey through the universe the most appealing of propositions. This unconventional family dynamic, therefore, provides an added level of realism to Martha’s character.

The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), Martha Jones (Freema Agyema) and The Jadoon - Doctor Who - Smith and Jones (c) BBC
The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) and The Jadoon – Doctor Who – Smith and Jones (c) BBC

Providing many of the highlights of the episode are the Judoon, a unique creation that can be simply summarised as big space rhinos, easy for younger viewers to identify and impersonate by stomping around the school playground. The animatronic lead Judoon head is incredibly impressive with convincing movements including speech and, of course, was so costly that only one of the creatures was allowed to remove its helmet. Central to the plot is the Judoon’s search for a Plasmavore, a variation of traditional vampiric elements but with the surprising appearance of an old lady with a straw, a neat camouflage when hiding out in a hospital on Earth. In composing this episode Russell T Davies neatly manages to concoct a way for human beings to encounter alien creatures, without resorting to an invasion Earth story, combined with the spectacular imagery of a hospital on the surface of the moon and the traditional running through corridors. David Tennant flourishes in the story in particular, given a number of brilliant lines specifically when posing as a human to trap Mrs. Finnegan, in keeping with the more lighthearted romp of an episode than others which would follow later in the series.

Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), Martha Jones (Freema Agyema) - Doctor Who - Smith and Jones (c) BBC
The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) – Doctor Who – Smith and Jones (c) BBC

This is only a small moment but viewers watching would have been left bemused by Martha’s first encounter with the Doctor as he removes his tie in front of her. Towards the very end of the episode, however, all is explained as the Time Lord proves the time travel capabilities of his machine. Although simple in construction and execution, it is a clever touch given that at no point during the rest of the episode is time travel ever mentioned with a major emphasis on aliens and space. It also leads to one of my favourite moments as the Doctor, preempting Martha’s reaction, mouths to himself the infamous line “it’s bigger on the inside”, which was an addition from David Tennant himself whilst filming. Whilst the viewer, like the Doctor, has seen many companions step aboard the TARDIS, Freema Agyeman adds a genuine freshness to the programme, highlighting that although now in it’s third year of production the show is continuing to grow, learn and become even better.

Cast:

The Doctor  – David Tennant
Martha Jones – Freema Agyeman
Florence Finnegan – Anne Reid
Mr. Stoker – Roy Marsden
Francine Jones – Adjoa Andoh
Tish Jones – Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Leo Jones – Reggie Yates
Clive Jones – Trevor Laird
Annalise – Kimmi Richards
Morgenstern – Ben Righton
Julia Swales – Vineeta Rishi
Judoon Captain – Paul Kasey
Judoon voices – Nicholas Briggs

Crew:

Writer  – Russell T Davies
Producer – Phil Collinson
Director – Charles Palmer

Also first aired On This Day…

  • Frontier in Space: Episode 6
  • Doctor Who Confidential: Meet Martha Jones

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