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You may wish to consult Series 4 for other, similarly-named pages.

The term Series 4 of Doctor Who was one that had several different meanings, making a precise and universally-agreed definition difficult. It was nevertheless generally considered the "2008 series". It ran from 16 November 2007 to 1 January 2010. It mainly starred David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor and Catherine Tate as Donna Noble. The regular series was preceded by Voyage of the Damned, opened with Partners in Crime and concluded with Journey's End, before being followed by a number of specials ending with The End of Time.


It consisted of eighteen stories and twenty-one episodes. From a production standpoint, the series began with Voyage of the Damned, continued to Time Crash, and concluded with The End of Time. This view was amply supported by Russell T Davies in his memoir, The Writer's Tale, and by production code and production block numbering, and is how this wiki presents the series and information relating to it.

Subsequent home video releases suggested — by their very contents — that series could be considered as having begun with Time Crash and having ended with Journey's End. Additionally, the BBC's official Doctor Who website blurred the marketing message by treating Christmas specials as independent of any series. Whatever one's perspective, though, there was universal agreement that the regular, weekly portion of series 4 began on 5 April 2008 with the broadcast of Partners in Crime and continued through to the 5 July 2008 broadcast of Journey's End. It was the second series of BBC Wales to have received a BAFTA nomination in the "Best Drama Series" category, although it did not win, as series 1 had done. The four principal producers — Phil Collinson, Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Susie Liggat — were all named nominees.

The final two (or three in the case of Billie Piper) episodes saw the return of Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones), John Barrowman (Jack Harkness), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) and Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) to the main cast, accompanied by Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith), Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Penelope Wilton (Harriet Jones), Adjoa Andoh (Francine Jones), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), and Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones). Kylie Minogue starred as Astrid Peth in the Christmas special Voyage of the Damned. Peter Davison returned to the role of the Fifth Doctor for the Children in Need special Time Crash. It also featured the return of Davros, the creator of the Daleks, not seen on television since 1988's Remembrance of the Daleks. Davros was recast and was played by Julian Bleach.

Although the majority of the series was broadcast in 2008, all stories from Partners in Crime through to The End of Time were actually set in the following year, meaning there was almost a year's gap between Voyage of the Damned and its successor.

Broadcast milestones[]

Series 4 featured several milestones. It is the 30th broadcast season of Doctor Who, and features the 750th broadcast episode; The Stolen Earth, and the 50th new series episode; Silence in the Library. The finale episodes The Stolen Earth and Journey's End also took the revived series to new heights of popularity, scoring the highest viewership ratings since the Tom Baker era and according to the media both episodes scored Appreciation Index ratings unprecedented for an ongoing scripted drama series.

In terms of production, the season marked the first production of a "Companion-lite" episode, Midnight (as opposed to the usual "Doctor-lite" episodes, ie. Love & Monsters and Blink), although a Doctor-lite episode, Turn Left was also produced. This was necessitated by the need to film several episodes at the same time, including an unprecedented 15th episode, The Next Doctor, which would air as the 2008 Christmas special.

Series 4 marked the last full season to be produced by Russell T Davies, Phil Collinson and Julie Gardner. Collinson left following Journey's End, and Davies and Gardner announced they would depart following production of a series of specials planned for 2009 in lieu of a regular season. When the show resumed weekly broadcast in 2010, Steven Moffat became the head writer and show-runner. It also marked the last full season featuring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor as, in October 2008, he announced his intention to leave the role following the production of the 2009 specials; in January 2009 Matt Smith was announced as his successor, with Karen Gillan appearing as his companion Amy Pond.

From a retroactive standpoint, the series was also noteable for containing two instances that forshadowed the Doctor's eventual twelfth incarnation. The Fires of Pompeii saw the Doctor saving Lobus Caecilius (portrayed by eventual Twelfth Doctor actor, Peter Capaldi) and his family from being killed in the distruction of Pompeii at Donna's urging, which would lead the Doctor to take on Caecilius' appearance in his twelfth incarnation, as a subconcious reminder to himself to always save people - no matter how impossible or "wrong" it might seem, as revealed in Series 9's The Girl Who Died. Furthermore, in Silence in the Library, River Song explains to the Doctor that a "future version" of him gave her her sonic screwdriver during their last night together at Darillium, this "future Doctor" would, indeed, turn out to be the Twelfth Doctor, and the events described would take place in The Husbands of River Song, 7 years later.



and introducing Matt Smith as the Doctor



Television stories[]


Title Writer Director Notes
N/A Time Crash Steven Moffat Graeme Harper Guest appearance by the Fifth Doctor. First multi-Doctor story of the revived series.

Christmas special[]

Title Writer Director Notes
N/A Voyage of the Damned Russell T Davies James Strong Dedicated to Verity Lambert. First appearance of Wilfred Mott.

Regular series[]

Title Writer Director Notes
1 Partners in Crime Russell T Davies James Strong Return of Donna Noble, Sylvia Noble, Wilfred Mott, and, briefly, Rose Tyler.
2 The Fires of Pompeii James Moran Colin Teague Peter Capaldi's first acting appearance in the show.
3 Planet of the Ood Keith Temple Graeme Harper Return of the Ood. First appearance of Ood Sigma.
4 & 5 The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky Helen Raynor Douglas Mackinnon Reintroduction of the Sontarans. Guest appearance by Martha Jones.
6 The Doctor's Daughter Stephen Greenhorn Alice Troughton First appearance of Jenny. Continuing guest appearance by Martha Jones.
7 The Unicorn and the Wasp Gareth Roberts Graeme Harper
8 & 9 Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead Steven Moffat Euros Lyn First appearance of River Song, and features her death.
10 Midnight Russell T Davies Alice Troughton Companion-lite episode.
11 Turn Left Graeme Harper Doctor-lite episode. Return of the Bad Wolf meme and the official return of Rose Tyler.
12 & 13 The Stolen Earth / Journey's End Graeme Harper Reintroduction of Davros. Return of Martha Jones, Jack Harkness, Sarah Jane Smith, Mickey Smith, and Jackie Tyler. First direct crossover with Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Final appearance of Harriet Jones. First appearance of the Meta-Crisis Doctor. Resolution of the "missing planets" arc.


Title Writer Director Notes
N/A Music of the Spheres Russell T Davies Euros Lyn Shown during the BBC Proms season


Sometimes referred to "Series 4b," the "David Tennant Specials" and the "2009 Specials," five special episodes following the regular season were broadcast at Christmas 2008, Easter 2009, November 2009, Christmas 2009 and New Year's Day 2010. These four stories (the last two broadcasts were a single two-part story) were overseen by Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner, but long-term line producer Phil Collinson did not return for them. All starred David Tennant. For these, the Doctor was travelling alone, with each story featuring a one-off companion.

There had been conflicting reports given as to why a year was taken off. Initial media reports suggested this was to allow David Tennant to perform a season of Shakespeare during the time a regular season would have normally entered production.[1] However, these reports were directly contradicted in Russell T Davies' book Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale, which has correspondence from the spring of 2007, months before the gap year plan was announced. Davies indicated the intent was to take the series off for a year, except for a few specials, to let the new production team make its transition. Davies had already informed the BBC that he would not executive-produce a fifth season.

Exactly how to refer to these specials is a matter of some debate. Aside from informal terms such as "2009 Special" or "Gap Year", it is known that Planet of the Dead was considered Episode 15 of Series 4 by the production team, as revealed by David Tennant in his video diary of the episode's read through, and The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter shows the specials were all numbered 4.X. On the DVD/Blu-ray release of the four specials plus The Next Doctor (in a box set titled The Complete Specials), a bonus feature of deleted scenes was entitled Series 4 Specials Deleted Scenes.

2008-10 Specials[]

Title Writer Director Number of episodes Notes
1 The Next Doctor Russell T Davies Andy Goddard 1 Return of the Cybus Industries Cybermen.
2 Planet of the Dead Russell T Davies & Gareth Roberts James Strong 1 First appearance of Lady Christina de Souza.
3 The Waters of Mars Russell T Davies & Phil Ford Graeme Harper 1 Dedicated to Barry Letts.
4 The End of Time Russell T Davies Euros Lyn 2 Last regular appearances of the Tenth Doctor, Donna Noble, Sylvia Noble and Wilfred Mott. First appearance of the Eleventh Doctor. Return of the Saxon Master. Reintroduction of Rassilon and the High Council of Time Lords. Resolution of the "knock four times" arc.

Animated special[]

Title Writer Director Notes
NA Dreamland Phil Ford Gary Russell First Doctor Who story produced entirely in 3-D computer animation.

Dreamland was a serialised animated story initially made available on the BBC's Red Button service before being televised in December 2009. Its writer has stated it takes place after the events of The Waters of Mars but it is not officially considered one of the Specials.

Other productions[]

Adaptations and merchandising[]

Home media[]

DVD and Bluray[]

Series 4 steelbook.

All episodes of Series 4 were released between 2008 and 2010. It was also included in the Doctor Who: Complete Series 1-7 Bluray boxset, released on November 5, 2013 in the US and November 4th, 2013 in the UK, split into the "Complete Fourth Series" and "The Complete Specials" sets respectively.

Series 4 was released on Blu-ray steelbook on 27 May 2019. The artwork created by Sophie Cowdrey.[2]

Of note, the inclusion of "The Next Doctor" on the Complete Specials Bluray set makes this story the first standard-definition Doctor Who story to be upscaled for high-definition.

name Number and duration
of episodes
R2 release date R4 release date R1 release date
Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned
Time Crash
Voyage of the Damned
1 x 8 min.
1 x 72 min.
10 March 2008 20 June 2008
Doctor Who: Series 4, Volume 1
Partners in Crime
The Fires of Pompeii
Planet of the Ood
2 x 50 min.
1 × 45 min.
2 June 2008 7 August 2008
Doctor Who: Series 4, Volume 2
The Sontaran Stratagem /
The Poison Sky
The Doctor's Daughter
The Unicorn and the Wasp
4 × 45 min. 7 July 2008 4 September 2008
Doctor Who: Series 4, Volume 3
Silence in the Library /
Forest of the Dead
3 × 45 min. 4 August 2008 2 October 2008
Doctor Who: Series 4, Volume 4
Turn Left
The Stolen Earth /
Journey's End
1 x 50 min.
1 × 45 min.
1 x 65 min.
1 September 2008 6 November 2008
Doctor Who: The Complete Fourth Series 1 x 8 min.
1 x 72 min.
9 x 45 min.
3 x 50 min.
1 x 65 min.
17 November 2008 4 December 2008 18 November 2008
Doctor Who: The Next Doctor
The Next Doctor
Music of the Spheres
1 x 60 min.
1 x 7 min.
19 January 2009 5 March 2009 15 September 2009
Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead
Planet of the Dead
1 x 60 min. 29 June 2009 2 July 2009 28 July 2009
Doctor Who: 2009 Winter Specials
The Waters of Mars
The End of Time
2 x 60 min.
1 x 75 min.
11 January 2010
Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars
The Waters of Mars
1 x 60 min. 4 February 2010 2 February 2010
Doctor Who: The End of Time
The End of Time
1 x 60 min.
1 x 75 min.
4 March 2010 2 February 2010
Doctor Who: The Complete Specials 1 x 8 min.
4 x 60 min
1 x 75 min.
11 January 2010 1 July 2010 2 February 2010


Main article: Doctor Who - Series 4 - The Specials (soundtrack)

The official soundtrack of the specials was released on 4 October, 2010.

Stories set during this season[]


Two of the Series 4 Books

BBC Audio audiobooks[]

Big Finish full-cast audio stories[]

Promotional trailers[]

Early Series 4 promo trailer

As with previous seasons, trailers were created to promote the season, though this year they were shown in theatres as well as on television in the UK. Of particular note is the second trailer that was released, which utilised unique, specially shot footage of Donna sitting by a camp- or bonfire talking to either an unseen individual or the audience about the Doctor "coming back to save us" and "I'll be ready" interspersed with images of Sontarans, Ood and Daleks. There is no scene like this in any of the episodes; the meaning of "he'll come back to save us" is unknown as there is no circumstance within Series 4 in which Donna would be in such a position to make such a remark.

The other major trailers included another Donna-centric trailer utilising a scene between Donna and Wilfred Mott from Partners in Crime, and a mid-season trailer focusing in part on the return of Rose Tyler in Turn Left.

External links[]