‘THE END OF TIME’
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“He will knock four times!” – The Return of the Master and the End of Ten
This two-part story by Russell T. Davies is the final TV adventure of David Tennant’s era as the Doctor. It was shown over Christmas 2009 and on New Year’s Day in 2010. This is a bittersweet and heart-breaking swansong story to watch with David’s last run as the Doctor. It is also a fitting tribute to his era on the TV show.
There are many returns of characters to see the Tenth Doctor off. John Simm returns as the Master; Bernard Cribbins returns as Wilfred Mott (Donna’s granddad); Catherine Tate returns as Donna and Jacqueline King returns as Sylvia (Donna’s mum). There are more returns, but I will get to that later.
The Doctor finds himself up against the Master, who returns after being resurrected since ‘Last of the Time Lords’. I was so pleased that the Master was returning as the big villain for this story. It seemed right for David Tennant’s Doctor to fight off the Master in this last TV adventure of his era.
Here the Master has become a wretched and homeless creature, unlike when he was Prime Minster of Great Britain. He’s living in the wastelands of London and is torn-up and broken. He has a ravenous appetite and is eating people like tramps by the skin of his teeth whenever he’s so hungry.
It’s a terrifying notion that the Master is a cannibal in this story. John Simm is so into his role as the Master and is terrifyingly brilliant. I love it when he has scenes with David Tennant’s Doctor. In this story, we get the shocking revelation for why the Master hears drum-beating inside his head.
Donna Noble returns! I was so pleased to see Donna back in ‘Doctor Who’. I missed seeing her since Series 4. She’s now engaged to be married to a new bloke called Shaun Temple. She seems happy and the Doctor is trying to avoid her seeing him. He’s afraid she’ll die if she instantly remembers him.
But the Doctor is overjoyed to see Donna again, despite Wilfred trying to persuade him to go and talk to her. I was afraid for Donna when the ‘world turned into the Master’ at the end of ‘Part One’. I did wonder what would happen to Donna next week for the following instalment on New Year’s Day in 2010.
Bernard Cribbins returns as Wilfred Mott, and gets to be the Doctor’s companion for this story. I found it a nice idea for Bernard to be a companion in ‘Doctor Who’. It’s great that Bernard has had a bigger bite of the cherry as Wilfred, following ‘Voyage of the Damned’ and being Donna’s granddad.
Here Wilfred is worried for Donna and is haunted by the vision of a mysterious woman appearing to him. He helps the Doctor with finding the Naismith Mansion and trying to stop the Master’s plans for taking control of the world. The Doctor ponders who Wilfred is, since they keep meeting each other.
I was so pleased to see June Whitfield guest star as Minnie Hooper (‘Minnie the Menace’ as she calls herself). It’s so lovely to see June in this, as I’ve seen her in ‘Terry and June’ (one of my favourite BBC sitcoms). She gets to pinch David Tennant’s bum in this story, which was funny and so unusual to see.
There are also the Vinvocci aliens that appear in this story. They look (according to Wilfred) like cactuses. They’re Sinead Keenan as Addams and Lawry Lewin as Rossiter. I found these aliens really funny to watch and it’s so good we get to see green spiky-haired looking aliens for a Christmas show.
I liked it when they ‘shimmer’ and reveal their true guises under their human form. They manage to save the Doctor and Wilfred during ‘the worst rescue ever’ in ‘Part Two’, before getting aboard their ship. These two are quite annoying and argumentative sometimes, but they’re good aliens at heart.
The Master carries out his insane plan, when he gets to use the Immortality Gate on himself at the Naismith Mansion. He turns everyone human into duplicate versions of himself. Everyone is the same as him! Everyone’s the Master! The whole world is turned into a very big John Simm/Master population.
The whole ‘world turned into the Master’ is a mad idea and a pretty daft and silly one at that by Russell T. Davies. Yet it is terrifying! The Doctor is shocked to see this happen when the Master does it. He’s determined to put it right. It was scary when the Master laughed a lot at the end of ‘Part One’.
But of course, the ultimate enemy of this story (and I wasn’t expecting this) are the majestic Time Lords of Gallifrey. They are led by…James Bond himself (Timothy Dalton as Rassilon, the Time Lord President of Gallifrey). Timothy Dalton is very ferocious and brilliant as the Time Lord President here.
The Time Lords seek to escape the Time War and initiate the Final Sanction, causing the ‘end of time itself’. The Doctor is determined to stop the Time Lords and uses the Vinvocci’s spaceship to get back to Earth. I was so pleased the look of the Time Lords resembles the same as in ‘The Deadly Assassin’.
The final confrontation between the Doctor and the Time Lords was tremendous and brought me close to tears. There were moments of tension between the three characters – the Doctor, the Master and Rassilon. But soon, the Doctor manages to send the Time Lords back into the Time War.
The Master also zaps them back into the Time War with his scared Time Lord energy, after the awful things they had done to them. The Master pushes the Time Lord back, fighting them into a void. I wish we could see more of John Simm as the Master in ‘Doctor Who’, as he’s such a great actor to play it.
Towards the end, the Doctor is still alive and he’s overjoyed, thinking he’s managed to cheat death. But then the ‘four knocks’ come and the Doctor is absolutely devastated. I won’t say more on who’s knocking (though you probably have guessed who it is). But it’s such a terrifying and moving scene.
The Doctor goes through such a rage, as he’s so upset to be ending his life to save someone. But eventually he sacrifices himself and goes through the painful process that leads him to his regeneration. It’s a powerful scene and it is wonderfully performed by David Tennant as the Doctor.
Then we get the Doctor’s reward. He goes to various points of time to say farewell to his companions. First he sees Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones and Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith. Then he saves Tommy Knight as Luke before he waves goodbye to Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith.
Then he sees John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness before seeing Jessica Hynes as Verity Newman, the descendant of Joan Redfern from ‘Human Nature’/’The Family of Blood’. Then he sees Donna married to Shaun Temple, before he sees Billie Piper as Rose Tyler on New Year’s Day, 2005.
As the Ood sing the Tenth Doctor to sleep, he soon returns to his TARDIS one last time and takes off leaving the Earth. They are some lovely and tearful moments for David Tennant, as we say goodbye to him. His final words are “I don’t want to go!” I don’t want you to go either, David! You’ve be great!
Then he regenerates, exploding in an inferno that blows up the TARDIS console. David Tennant’s fiery face changes…into Matt Smith. There are then the last few minutes of the Eleventh Doctor waking up, as he finds he’s crashing to Earth. His last words are “GEROMINO!!!”, as his new life begins.
The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1 of ‘The End of Time’ DVD and on Disc 4 of ‘The Complete Specials’, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ making-of documentary called ‘Lords and Masters’. On Disc 2 of ‘The End of Time’ DVD and on Disc 5 of ‘The Complete Specials’, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ making-of documentary called ‘Allons-Y!’ Both documentaries have behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including David Tennant; John Simm, Bernard Cribbins and Timothy Dalton.
On ‘The Complete Specials’ DVD, there’s also a commentary on ‘Part One’ with David Tennant; Catherine Tate and director Euros Lyn and a commentary on ‘Part Two’ with David Tennant, John Simm and director Euros Lyn. There are also David Tennant’s Video Diaries; Deleted and Extended Scenes on ‘The Complete Specials’; the ”Doctor Who at Comic Con’ convention panel and the ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas 2009 BBC Ident clips.
‘The End of Time’ has been a really epic two-part TV adventure to close off the David Tennant era of ‘Doctor Who’. It’s wonderfully directed by Euros Lyn and it’s a big tribute to a wonderful Doctor who many will miss. I’m so pleased with how the Tenth Doctor’s era was handled towards its conclusion.
Both ‘The Waters of Mars’ and ‘The End of Time’ close off the David Tennant and the Russell T. Davies era of the show superbly. It was such an epic and thrilling era of ‘Doctor Who’ that will be forever missed and will never be forgotten. Many thanks to David and Russell for five happy years!
‘The End of Time’ rating – 10/10
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