The Stolen Earth
First Broadcast June 28th, 2008 @ 7.10pm (8.78m viewers)
The penultimate episode of Russell T Davies’ fourth series at the helm of Doctor Who sees an indulgent look back at the many achievements since the show returned to television screens. This included cameos from central figures in the two spinoff shows, Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures, and returns from several other characters who had also featured during the reinvigorated show, resulting in a seriously long cast list. These reappearances are not restricted to humans with the bronze Daleks and the Judoon featuring but it was another, much more highly anticipated individual, who would return to television screens for the first time in 20 years.
‘The Stolen Earth’ continues from the previous week’s story ‘Turn Left’ as Rose Tyler’s prediction that something Bad (Wolf) was about to happen becomes reality. Of course, the Doctor realises that the centre of the universe is planet Earth and heads straight there only for the ground to be taken out from underneath. It soon emerges that the only race capable and frankly insane enough to steal the planet Earth is those dastardly Daleks.
When the communication from the incoming spaceships is transmitted the reactions are superb. Firstly, Elisabeth Sladen sends chills up the spine with her reaction. Having survived two encounters with the Daleks the character of Sarah Jane Smith no doubt hoped to never hear their chant of ‘Exterminate’ ever again. Similarly, Capt. Jack and Martha realise it is the Daleks and shudder at the prospect. Those three characters who have encountered the Daleks before demonstrating the fear that the creatures warrant and need if you are to create drama and tension for the viewers watching at home, something completely obliterated by the recent reveal of new companion Bill.
After the initial fast-paced excitement the episode slows whilst even more pieces are positioned, with Harriet Jones and Francine Jones (no relation) showing up, although the former Prime Minister’s technical abilities stretch the realms of plausibility a tad. We are also treated to the grotesque jealousy of Rose Tyler which rears its ugly head once again. It’s amazing that she didn’t scratch out Donna’s eyes in a catty rage during ‘Turn Left’.
Memorable Moment 2
As well as a shiny new Supreme Dalek the big reveal of this story was the return to BBC1 of Davros, creator of the Daleks, 20 years on since we last saw him in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’. After the ‘Genesis Ark’ red herring fans were clamouring for the return of Davros and became increasingly excited when a trailer alluded to his presence in the latter part of the series. The moment when viewers finally received a clear, unobscured view of this new Davros was a real thrill. Like the Doctor, they were transfixed, unblinking at their screens in order to take in every gorgeous detail. A design faithful to the original creation and with actor Julian Bleach channeling Michael Wisher, the first to portray the character, the result is truly spectacular.
Memorable Moment 3 (Spoiler Warning)
Finally ‘The Stolen Earth’ concludes with a shocking cliffhanger. Never before or since has the prospect of the Doctor regenerating been used for an episode cliffhanger but it proves so incredibly effective. For the next seven days, people across the country were postulating exasperated how just like that the most popular incarnation of the Time Lord since the heady days of the iconic Tom Baker could be leaving the show, after all, there had been no announcements that David Tennant was leaving. It caught everyone off guard and encouraged an even bigger audience to tune in to see how it could possibly be resolved.
The Doctor – David Tennant
Donna Noble – Catherine Tate
Rose Tyler – Billie Piper
Martha Jones – Freema Agyeman
Captain Jack Harkness- John Barrowman
Sarah Jane Smith – Elisabeth Sladen
Harriet Jones – Penelope Wilton
Ianto Jones – Gareth David-Lloyd
Gwen Cooper – Eve Myles
Luke Smith – Tommy Knight
Wilfred Mott – Bernard Cribbins
Sylvia Noble- Jacqueline King
Francine Jones – Adjoa Andoh
Davros – Julian Bleach
Writer – Russell T Davies
Producer – Susie Liggat
Director – Graeme Harper
Also First Aired On This Day…
- Doctor Who Confidential : Friends and Foe