The SS Madame de Pompadour had a crew of fifty people and a similar number of clockwork repair droids ready to repair the ship at any cost to the crew or themselves. The vessel was named for Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, better known as Madame de Pompadour.
The SS Madame de Pompadour was damaged by an ion storm in the Dagmar Cluster. The repair robots attacked the crew to use human body parts to repair the spacecraft. They had been programmed and designed to repair the ship, but no-one had foreseen the possibility they would look to the crew for parts.
Examples of human parts substituting the different parts of the ship include a human eye taking the place of a camera lens, and a heart wired into a conduit. They modified the ship's warp engines to rip a hole through time to 18th century France. They intended to take the brain of the original Madame de Pompadour, for they believed only it could serve as the new onboard computer. However, due to the ship's age - 37 years - the robots believed the brain would not be compatible until she was 37 years old herself, but their time portals had problems pinpointing the right time they could finally repair their ship's computer, so the portals opened up at different points in Madame de Pompadour's life. They were stopped by the Tenth Doctor, who shut them down by breaking the only time window, trapping them in the past and leaving them with no purpose. The ship was left adrift in space. (WC: Tardisode 4, TV: The Girl in the Fireplace)
Its databanks filled with the scans of Madame de Pompadour, the ship's computer came to believe she was the real thing, spending a silent eternity wondering why she saw and felt nothing, and where the Doctor had gone. Ironically, the false Madame de Pompadour, still aware of all the original had learned — including the existence of the SS Madame de Pompadour — speculated about this exact scenario happening to the ship's computer, yet without figuring out this did occur. (WC: Pompadour)
Behind the scenes Edit
- According to Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary, a non-narrative source, the SS Madame de Pompadour was powered by dark matter, which was scooped up by two rotating arms and delivered to the central hub. These arms also had an artificial gravity field and a negative magma field for propulsion. The ship had back-up sigmus-style warp engines, which were powerful enough to punch a hole in space, creating a wormhole through time.
- According to a Salvage Report in The Doctor: His Lives and Times, the SS Madame de Pompadour was recovered in the Dagmar Cluster with engines at full power, but no humans or robots aboard. The surveillance systems indicated a mass robotic failure had occurred.