Doctor Who Confidential and BBC Learning teamed up in a competition for UK students aged 9-11 to write a script for a Doctor Who short. The winning script was chosen by Doctor Who producers Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger and Beth Willis and Controller of BBC Learning Saul Nassé. The writers of the winning script were Adam, Daniel, Katie, and Ben, Year Six students at Oakley C.E. Junior School in Basingstoke.
In the console room of his TARDIS, the Eleventh Doctor is celebrating his acquisition of a new fez formerly owned by his old friend Albert Einstein. The Doctor trips near the console, knocking the fez out of his hands and onto a lever on the console. The Doctor accidentally pushes another lever, causing the fez to vanish. A time portal appears and Einstein himself stumbles through it with the fez, bewildered.
Einstein had been working on his own attempt at a time machine, but when he tried to turn it off, he arrived in the TARDIS. Einstein also thought that he'd discovered the vital part of finishing his time machine — a green liquid, which he believed to be bionic fusion liquid. After scanning the liquid, the Doctor informs Einstein that he is wrong. When Einstein walks away from the console to run some tests on the liquid, the flask suddenly bubbles over and the liquid splashes onto his face, turning him into an Ood who repeats the sentence, "Death is the only answer."
The Doctor has the TARDIS generate an energy field which turns Albert back into his normal self. The Doctor recommends that Albert keeps his fried hair, as it looks "more sciencey". The Doctor drops Albert off on 18 September 1945, and leaves for another adventure; unnoticed by the Doctor, a bit of Einstein's liquid remains on the console room floor, moving on its own.
- The Doctor mentions that Einstein's toothbrush was destroyed by the Daleks during a recent encounter, or if his memory is slipping, within the last century.
- The Doctor and Einstein are old friends.
Story notes Edit
- For their on-screen credit, the only credit in the episode, the authors were collectively known as the Children of Oakley Junior School. This form of collective on-screen writing credit is unique in the history of the franchise to this and the other script-to-screen episode, TV: Good as Gold written by the Children of Ashdene School.
- Aspects of this episode's production were covered in a regular "Script to Screen" feature, which appeared in every Confidential episode from River Runs Wild through its premiere within When Time Froze.
- A shortened version of the Doctor Who opening titles was used.
- After being cast as the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith famously wrote several (unpublished) Doctor Who short stories, in order to help him prepare for the role. According to several interviews, one of these stories featured the Doctor meeting Einstein.
- Nickolas Grace (Albert Einstein) previously played Mr Loozly in AUDIO: Bang-Bang-a-Boom! and Straxus in AUDIO: Human Resources, AUDIO: Sisters of the Flame and AUDIO: The Vengeance of Morbius.
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Filming locations Edit
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Production errors Edit
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- The Doctor has obtained a new fez, one which had been previously owned by Albert Einstein. He mentions River Song blowing up his old fez. (TV: The Big Bang)
- Albert Einstein gets temporarily turned into or replaced by an Ood. Their last appearance was in TV: The Doctor's Wife.
- The Doctor says of the TARDIS that "This 'old Trash' will be around until the end of time. In fact, it was."
- This is the second time Einstein has been seen in the TARDIS, and references are made to unseen adventures of Einstein and the Doctor. His first appearance was with the Seventh Doctor in TV: Time and the Rani explaining that the TARDIS was all relative. He once had his picture taken with the Eleventh Doctor and Father Christmas at Frank Sinatra's hunting lodge. (TV: A Christmas Carol)
- The Doctor also wore a fez while sharing adventures with Kazran Sardick and Abigail Pettigrew, and when appearing in a Laurel and Hardy film. (TV: A Christmas Carol, The Impossible Astronaut)
- The Doctor states that Einstein should keep his frizzy hair as it looks "more sciencey". This is a nod to Einstein's famously large and often exaggerated frizzy hairstyle that he was seen with for most of his life as a theoretical physicist.
DVD/Blu-ray release Edit
Although the episode of Doctor Who Confidential that contained Death is the Only Answer was included in the Series 6 DVD and Blu-ray box sets in a "Cutdown" edit, this mini-episode was not included, although its follow-up, Good as Gold, would be included in the UK edition of the Series 7 set. It joins a handful of other minisodes, such as the Tardisodes of Series 2 and P.S. that have yet to receive home video release.