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It was the final chronological appearance of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor and introduced Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor in the closing moments of part two. The episode was also the last on-screen appearance of the Saxon Master for over four years. The Master returned in Deep Breath as the female incarnation called Missy.
Part 1 was the show's fifth Christmas special since its revival and the fifth Christmas special starring Tennant as the Doctor while Part 2 served as the first ever New Year special (although wasn't the first to be transmitted on New Year's Day, with episodes from The Daleks' Master Plan, Day of the Daleks and The Face of Evil previously falling on 1 January).
The story revealed details of the Last Great Time War and gave important development to the Master's character. It also featured the final appearance of Elisabeth Sladen in Doctor Who, although she would go on to star in several more episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures, until she passed away in 2011.
From a production standpoint, it marked a major change in the history of Doctor Who. Like only The War Games before it, The End of Time ushered in a complete change of regular cast. Unlike that 1960s story, however, it was the final story for its principal producers, Davies and Julie Gardner, and was the last regular story for Davies as its head writer. It was also the first to include any part overseen by — if not credited to — incoming lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat. Though Tracie Simpson was the credited line producer, her elevation to regular line producer on the first Matt Smith series meant that Julie Gardner effectively became the line producer for the first and only time in her tenure on Doctor Who.
In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the story, Fathom Events held a special screening on 7 August 2019 also including a new interview with Tennant, reflecting on his time in the role and everything that has come since.
It was also the third occasion on which the Doctor underwent a regeneration specifically to save a companion's life. The other instances were the Fifth Doctor saving Peri Brown in The Caves of Androzani and the Ninth Doctor saving Rose Tyler in The Parting of the Ways.
It is the Tenth Doctor's final journey — but his psychotic nemesis, the Saxon Master, has been resurrected on Christmas Eve! Each determined to cheat death, the battle rages from the abandoned wastelands of London to the mysterious Immortality Gate, whilst the alien Ood warn of an even greater danger approaching, as a terrible shadow falls across the entire universe.
With the sound of the drums growing louder in the Master's head and an ancient trap closing around the Earth, the Doctor and Wilfred Mott must fight alone. Sacrifices must be made, and the deadly prophecy warns: "He will knock four times."
"It is said that in the final days of planet Earth, everyone had bad dreams..." Everyone forgot these terrible dreams, except one man.
On Earth, Wilfred Mott, is walking through the city to do his Christmas shopping. Having a vision of the Saxon Master laughing maniacally, Wilf decides to see if religion will purge these visions from his mind. Inside a church, he notices a stained-glass panel with the image of the TARDIS. A mysterious woman tells him the church was a monastery in the 1300s. It was attacked by a demon which was exorcised by a "sainted physician". When the woman suggests that the physician is returning, Wilf says it would make his Christmas and turns to find she has vanished. He has another vision of the Master laughing, startling him. Wilf hopes more than ever that the Doctor will return.
Meanwhile, in the year 4226, a century after the Doctor freed the Ood, the TARDIS arrives on the Ood Sphere. The Tenth Doctor emerges, wearing a straw hat and ring of flowers. He is greeted by Ood Sigma, whom he tries unsuccessfully to make laugh by locking his TARDIS like an Earth car. The Doctor mentions several feats he's done since the vision Sigma sent him, including naming a galaxy Alison, seeing the Phosphorous Carousel of the Great Magellan Gestalt, and marrying Queen Elizabeth I.
Unfazed by the Doctor's goofiness, Sigma leads him away, with the Doctor curious about how long it's been since he liberated the Ood. They arrive at a large city the Ood have built in place of Ood Operations; the Doctor wonders how long it took the Ood to build their city. Sigma explains that it took merely a hundred years. The Doctor's smile drops and he becomes serious, stating that this is way too fast for them. Something is happening in the past to create a temporal distortion, which is allowing the Ood to evolve at a much faster pace. Not just the city, but Sigma's ability to reach into the past to contact him is something that should be centuries away in the Ood's evolution.
Sigma takes the Doctor to the Ood Elders, who tell him to join hands with them. They show him a vision of the Master laughing, which scares the Doctor. Sigma explains that the Ood have been dreaming about him a lot, and are curious about who the man is. The Doctor explains that the man is a fellow Time Lord, but an evil and insane one. They should have no fear of him, however, as he's dead. The Doctor explains that the Master's wife, Lucy, shot him and the Doctor burnt his corpse to ensure he couldn't be revived or have his biology exploited. However, the Ood tell him that he missed something and show him an older woman taking the Master's ring from his funeral pyre and that this allowed part of him to survive.
The Doctor is more than willing to leave to stop this but is told that it's too late as the events are already happening in the past and that he should not have delayed in answering their summons. The Ood show him visions of a frightened Wilfred and a "King in his Counting House". The Doctor asks about Donna, but the Ood warn him that the Master is only the herald of a greater danger returning from the darkness, as their eyes glow red: "the end of time itself".
Realising what this means, the Doctor immediately runs out. Returning to the TARDIS, the Doctor unlocks it and rushes inside. He begins working feverishly at the controls, hoping to get back to London before the Master is revived. However, it seems the TARDIS isn't willing to cooperate well with him, as it constantly gives off sparks from the strain of the hurried trip into the past.
In 2009, Lucy Saxon has been locked in Broadfell Prison ever since she murdered her husband. One of her warders is Miss Trefusis, the woman who retrieved the Master's ring. On Christmas Eve, the prison governor brings Lucy to a chamber; most of the staff are fanatical disciples of the Master who have worked since his death to bring about his resurrection. They pour potions into a bowl, along with the Master's ring; the only thing they need is some of his DNA. They take it from Lucy's lips. The ceremony begins as the cultists give their life energy to revive him; Lucy tries stopping them by revealing the Master isn't Harold Saxon and is evil, but they know this already.
The Master appears in a swirl of life energy. He greets Lucy, stating that he's missed the drumming in his head. Only now it's louder. Lucy asks him to stop draining the cultists' lives as he's taken enough to sustain himself, but he tells her they'll only be the first. Lucy tells him that she's been preparing for his return as well and that she's had her family create a Potion of Death to undo his revival. After receiving the potion from her warden ally, she hurls it at the Master, creating a violent explosion that kills everyone and destroys Broadfell Prison. The Doctor arrives the next day, seeing that he was too late.
Elsewhere, Joshua Naismith and his daughter Abigail review footage of the prison fire, seeing a shadow run from it. Smiling, Abigail realises that Mr Saxon has returned and that he would be a great Christmas present. Joshua tells her that he will deliver the gift, cancelling Christmas for his staff; he then orders that the revived madman be brought to him.
Elsewhere, Wilf pretends to leave for drinks with friends. Instead, when he meets up with them, he gives them information packets on the Doctor; they are to be on the lookout for him or the TARDIS. When questioned as to why they need to find this man, Wilf reminds them that they've all been having bad dreams about something horrible that they can't remember. That is why they need to find the Doctor. He is the only one who can answer this mystery.
In a junkyard, two homeless people get sandwiches from a meals on wheels van and leave. A hooded man arrives, being asked for his order. He pulls off his hood, revealing himself to be the Master, only with blonde hair; he states he wants everything because he's so hungry. He surprises the homeless men moments later, quickly devouring his hamburger. When they point out he looks like Harold Saxon, the Master starts rambling that he looks the same despite being a master of disguise. His skin turns transparent briefly with each burst of emotion, scaring the men into running back to the van for help, however, they find only skeletons in the van. Declaring that it's dinner time, the Master pounces after them.
The Doctor arrives in the junkyard, shortly afterwards. The Master senses this and decides to taunt his old friend by beating a trashcan to a four-stroke beat. He then leads the Doctor on a chase through the junkyard, showing amazing speed and agility. However, the Doctor quickly realises the Master's burning up his own life energy; it seems the potion of death and the revival ritual resulted in a clashing, which has given the Master greater abilities that are slowly but surely killing him again.
However, before the Doctor can take off after the Master again, he is stopped dead in his tracks by Wilf and his information network dubbed "Silver Cloak". Minnie Hooper asks if they got the right person; Wilf confirms it. The Doctor berates Wilf for telling people about him. However, Wilf explains that he kept the specifics about the Time Lord as secret, only telling them that he could find out about the strange dreams. To the Doctor's annoyance, the group wants a picture with him.
After retreating to a café with Wilf, the Doctor wonders why it is he keeps bumping into the old man; this is the third time they've met by chance. The Doctor then tells him the prophecy of his death. Wilf is confused, as he thought the Doctor could regenerate if he was about to die. The Doctor replies that he can potentially die before regenerating... and even if he does regenerate, the man he is now will be gone forever with a completely different person left sauntering away in his place. The Doctor then sees Donna standing outside, arguing with a police officer over her ticketed car, and realises why Wilf insisted on this particular café. "She's not changed," the Doctor laughs.
Wilf says she's engaged to Shaun Temple; although he is nice enough, the two are barely making ends meet and can only afford a tiny flat. The Doctor wonders if her married name will be "Noble-Temple" as it sounds like a tourist attraction; however, Wilf states it will be "Temple-Noble". Wilf tells the Doctor that even though Donna is happy with Shaun, there's times when he sees flashes of sadness like there's somewhere else she wants to be but doesn't know where. He pleads with the Doctor to at least go up to her and say hello to her, but the Doctor sadly reminds him that if Donna remembers him for even a second, she will die. Wilf then asks who the Doctor is travelling with now, but the Doctor replies he has no-one and thought it would be better that way... but with no-one around him, he has made some very bad choices. The Doctor then starts crying, burdened by the guilt of his recent actions which also devastates Wilf. He asks if Donna could make him smile again, but by now she is gone.
The narrator, his face revealed, and his voice turning scornful toward humanity, speaks of the passage of Christmas Eve into Christmas Day; the players are moving into their final positions, with each human dreaming of the arrival of the final day.
In a scrapyard, the Master finishes another meal. He notices the Doctor has found him again. Rubbing his hands together, he generates some kind of electricity. He fires some shots of electricity near the Doctor as he approaches. Ultimately, he uses both hands to send focused blasts at the Doctor, managing to make him collapse to the ground. The Doctor realises that the Master's body has been "torn wide open", allowing him to send his life energy as blasts but has also drastically reduced his life force. The Master remembers back to their childhood, where they would play on pastures of red grass, stretching across the slopes of Mount Perdition. Asking the Doctor to listen to the drumming in his head, the Master touches their heads together. The Doctor pulls away horrified; he has heard the drums too and now knows it's not just a symptom of his insanity. The Master becomes ecstatic to learn that the drumming is real, launching himself into the sky. However, before another chase can ensue, Naismith's men arrive and capture the madman, leaving the Doctor knocked out and confused.
Back at Wilfred's house, Donna's fiancé, Shaun, arrives. For Christmas, Donna gives Wilf a book called Fighting the Future by Joshua Naismith. When Wilf questions Donna giving it to him, she has a moment where her mind goes far away as she states that she saw it and sensed that Wilf should have it. As Wilf tries to watch the Queen's Christmas speech, a mysterious woman appears to him only in place of the broadcast, ordering him to take arms; she also advises him not to tell the Doctor of what has happened, so that his life can be saved. Wilf takes his old service revolver from under his bed as the Doctor contacts him by throwing a stone at his window.
Outside, the Doctor tells Wilf he's his only possible connection to what's happening and asks if Wilf noticed anything odd. Wilf tries to tell the Doctor about the woman, but changes his mind and mentions Donna's strange moment with the book. The Doctor recognises the picture of Joshua Naismith from the Ood's vision and speculates the convergence touched upon Donna's subconscious Time Lord mind which acted to help. As they talk, Sylvia comes outside and is angered to see the Doctor. The Doctor quickly retreats to the TARDIS followed by Wilf who'd rather go with the Doctor than face his daughter. Though the Doctor refuses at first, he changes his mind upon seeing how angry Sylvia is. As the TARDIS departs, Sylvia screams after it, drawing the confusion of Donna to her mother's strange behaviour.
In the TARDIS, Wilf asks the Doctor why he can't go back to yesterday and catch the Master. The Doctor says he can't go back in his own timeline as that can lead to the end of not only the world, but the universe as well. The Doctor then wonders what Wilf thinks of his TARDIS, to which he gets "I thought it would be cleaner" due to how messy the control room is.
At the mansion, the Master is wheeled to Naismith and Abigail on a trolley, and strapped to it in a straitjacket. He notices the "Immortality Gate", which can heal injuries and, Naismith hopes, offer life everlasting. Naismith acquired the Gate after the fall of Torchwood. The gate came with two nuclear-powered control booths, which are set-up in a way that if a worker wishes to leave he must be replaced in the other booth ensuring that someone is working the controls at all times. Abigail learned of the Disciples of Saxon, and that Mr Saxon was an alien; it's their hopes that the Master will be able to repair the Gate properly. With it working properly, Naismith can give his daughter immortality.
The Doctor and Wilf arrive at the Naismith estate and hide the TARDIS one second out of sync, so the Master can't get to it. Their last encounter taught the Doctor to never leave the means of altering time available to a madman with an ego bigger than the size of a planet.
In the basement, they discover two of Naismith's staff, Addams and Rossiter, are undercover Vinvocci, disguised with shimmers as human; the Doctor can see through the shimmers and deactivates them with his sonic screwdriver, revealing their true appearance as spiky green humanoids who resent being compared to cacti. The Vinvocci explain the Immortality Gate is a medical device that heals lifeforms across entire planets, using a genetic template. Realising the Master's plan, a horrified Doctor rushes up to the room with the Gate. He tells Naismith not to let the Master anywhere near the Gate, which has now been repaired by the madman. Naismith assures the Doctor that the Master is secured, being proven wrong moments later as the Master blasts his straitjacket off and jumps into the Gate.
Every single human on Earth sees the Master in their minds, and when Wilf also arrives seeing the Master the Doctor gets the current worker out of the nuclear booth, then has himself replaced with Wilf, and the Doctor then modifies the booth to protect Wilf from whatever is happening. The Doctor asks the Master if he's planning on transmitting mind-control or hypnotic instructions, but the Master has far grander plans than that. He has modified the Gate to transmit his own genetic template across the entire planet. The gate is activated, and a wave spreads across the Earth. Everyone's heads shake back and forth rapidly; shortly after this starts, their bodies start fading in and out of a different form.
Donna phones Wilf, herself immune due to the metacrisis that made her part Time Lord and tells him the same has happened to her mother and fiance. Seeing such a sight makes Donna start to remember her travels with the Doctor in flashes, and this causes her terrible pain as her brain cannot handle her Time Lord knowledge. Wilf, frightened for Donna's life, warns the Doctor his granddaughter is starting to remember her adventures.
Enraged, Wilf demands to know what the madman has done. The Master smugly asks if he was talking to him, while everyone in the room echoes the question, revealing that the Master has turned everyone on Earth into his clones. A clone who used to be Trinity Wells clearly makes his point for him: "Breaking news: I'm everyone."
As the Master's duplicates unveil themselves, the Doctor is horrified to find himself surrounded by perfect copies of the Master, including the people on TV. On top of that, he has become President Obama. He quickly abuses the President's power by blanking out a financial crisis solution just to spite the world, while a crowd of his own duplicates claps, roots, and hollers for the original Master's triumph.
As the Master steps out of the gateway he tells the Doctor that the human race was always the Doctor's favourite, but it now exists no more, having been replaced with "the Master Race". Every single Master on the planet laughs together with narcissistic glee and celebration, while the original laughs in the Doctor's face. As a world full of Masters taunts and mocks him, the Doctor's face twists with extreme fury.
The Narrator announces the Master and his removal of humanity is only a small part of an approaching conflict. Suddenly, he belittles humankind; this is not a narrator, but the Lord President of the High Council of Time Lords, addressing the Gallifrey Panopticon, which is packed with Time Lords. He announces that "This is the day the Time Lords return. For Gallifrey! For victory! For the end of time itself!"
On a devastated Gallifrey, on the last day of the Time War, the Time Lord Council reports that the Doctor still possesses "the Moment". They have foreseen that he will use it to end the war by destroying the Daleks and Gallifrey alike. A Time Lady suggests that this might be for the best. At the heart of the Time War, billions are dying, being resurrected and dying repeatedly. The never-ending carnage is a travesty of life.
The Lord President uses his gauntlet to vaporise her. Exploding with anger, he decrees he will not allow himself or his race to die, with "a billion years of history riding on our backs". Finding that the Doctor and the Master both somehow survive the Time War and end up on Earth, the Lord President decides that the salvation of Gallifrey lies with the two renegades. They retroactively implant a link to the Master during his early childhood: the four-beat drum rhythm that has tormented him all his life. They send a "White-Point Star" diamond to Earth as a more physical link next. This will let the Time Lords escape from the time-lock and their impending destruction at the hands of the Doctor.
On Earth, the Master has the Doctor and Wilf tied up. The Doctor tries warning him about the prophecy, but the Master insists he was what the prophecy was talking about. He interrogates the Doctor as to the whereabouts of his TARDIS, as he wants the technology to pinpoint where the drumming in his head is coming from; with 6,727,949,338 clones, it will be easy. The Doctor tries reasoning with the Master, asking him to travel with him to see the universe; he tells him "that's ownership enough".
Wilf's mobile phone rings. The Master is confused, as no one but the Master Race exists on Earth; and there's no way he'd be calling Wilf. He finds the phone, receiving a call from Donna. The Master hears Donna, who is confused about everyone else changing; she ran into the alley, to get away from Sean and Sylvia. Suspicious, the Master demands to know why Donna didn't change. Wilfred reluctantly admits the metacrisis that made her part Time Lord. The Master sneers, "He does love playing with Earth girls!", then orders his copies to take her down. He tells "grandad" to say goodbye to the freak. Wilf yells to Donna to run for her life.
As Donna is cornered by the Master Race, who state they have his hunger and plan to eat her. She starts to remember her adventures with the Doctor and is scared and confused, wondering why she can see a giant wasp. Instead of burning up, she emits an energy pulse that knocks everyone unconscious, including herself. Hearing nothing and seeing the Doctor smile, the Master removes his mouth gag. The Doctor calmly points out that when he erased Donna's memories of her time with him he also left her, his best friend, with a defence mechanism to protect her from aliens and her Time Lord knowledge.
The Master demands to know where the TARDIS is, threatening to kill Wilfred. The Doctor asks why the Master is so desperate to rule the universe when they could just travel together and see it, admitting that he knows the Master is a genius and would be honoured for the chance to travel with him. The Master asks if the drums in his head would stop, and tells Wilf how the noise started when he looked into the Untempered Schism as a child.
On Gallifrey, the Lord President is informed of this too. Although the Time Lords had assumed the drums were a symptom of the Master's insanity, the President sees it as something more; "a rhythm of four... a heartbeat of a Time Lord".
The Master reveals that despite the gate, his body is still dying and then realises that as he's been duplicated, so has the drumbeat in almost every single person on Earth. Intending to triangulate the signal and work out where it's coming from, he demands the TARDIS again. The Doctor retorts "You know the most amazing thing about you is that after all this time, you're still bone-dead stupid." Somehow, the Master has failed to notice that the guard next to him is one inch too tall. The "guard" hits him in the head with the rifle, knocking him down. The guard is Rossiter. Addams rushes in and urges her partner to get the two men out of the mansion. Rossiter, unable to free the Doctor from the chair he is strapped to, wheels the chair bumpily down several flights of stairs to the basement, prompting the Doctor to note this as the "worst... rescue... ever!".
From the basement, the four teleport to the orbiting Vinvocci ship, narrowly escaping the Master and his guards. Wilfred is amazed at being in space; the Doctor is more concerned with the Master. As soon as he gets out of his restraints, he destroys the teleporter, preventing the Master Race from following them. He asks for directions to the bridge; Addams initially refuses, citing that they are 100,000 miles above the Earth, but reconsiders when the Doctor points out the 'slight' problem of the Master having every single missile on the planet ready to fire. When they arrive, the Vinvocci prepare to leave, so the Doctor destroys the ship's systems, leaving them dead in orbit. As the Doctor begins to mend the systems, Wilfred sees the mysterious woman again, who instructs him to give the Doctor his gun.
The Master and his clones listen to the drumming in their heads, pinpointing the source as "from the sky". Meanwhile, the Time Lord council have just finished putting the drumbeat in the Master's head as a child, giving them his location now. But as they're still trapped in the time lock, they need something to make physical contact. The Lord President removes a diamond from his staff and throws it through the link to Earth where it falls to the ground in a blaze, landing in London. The Master soldiers pick it up, telling the original what they have found is not just any diamond... it's a White-Point Star. This makes the Master crack up hysterically.
On the ship, the Doctor is still repairing the systems. Wilf talks to him about many things and tries to have the Doctor take the gun to save himself by killing the Master. They believe the four knocks is the rhythm in the Master's head. The Doctor refuses and Wilf begins to cry over his fruitless efforts, prompting the Doctor to hug him. A broadcast from the Master reaches the ship; he informs the Doctor about the diamond and reveals it as a White-Point star. It can only mean the Time Lords are returning. Wilfred considers this good but the Doctor's reaction says quite differently... he grabs the gun and rushes for the control room. Wilf is confused as he thought the Time Lords were wise and peaceful. The Doctor tells him that's how he chooses to remember them; in reality, the horrors of the Time War had changed them, irrevocably corrupting them and making them far more dangerous than any of his enemies.
The Doctor has repaired the ship, but Addams will not have them going to Earth. The Doctor tells her "there's an old Earth saying. A phrase of great power and wisdom; and consolation to soul in times of need." When asked what it is, the Doctor yells "Allons-y!" and speeds the ship towards Earth. The Master decides to kill the Doctor as "soon [he'll] have Time Lords to spare", sending missiles at the ship. Rossiter and Wilf take charge of the asteroid lasers and blast away the missiles the Master launches at them.
Addams plots a course for Naismith's mansion and the Doctor jumps from the ship, crashing several stories through the skylight and into the Immortality Gate room. While he recovers from the fall, he finds himself too late. The Master has brought the Time Lords back. Not only is the Master in the room, but so is the Time Lord Council...
The President greets "Lord Doctor" and "Lord Master", then defames the latter by noting the 'paradox' that they have been saved by Gallifrey's most infamous child. The Master, fast to retort, quickly belittles the Lord President's authority and reveals that he did not call the Time Lords to Earth to save them. He intends to implant himself in them and assert control of the entire race, gloating at how much better the Lord President will look as him. However, the Lord President is not amused at the Master's assertion over his power and demonstrates how fast he can unravel his scheme. He raises his gauntlet and it radiates a blue light. The Master Race begins to revert to their unaltered human identities, causing the Master great panic as he loses his trump card.
The Lord President tells the humans present in the Naismith Mansion to kneel. Left powerless, the Master tries to bargain with the Time Lords by reminding them that he was their salvation. However, the whole planet shakes intensely. The President announces that "the approach begins". The Master is confused by his cryptic words; the Doctor angrily tells him that not only the whole species of Time Lords are coming back, but so is the planet.
Gallifrey begins to materialise near Earth, fulfilling the prophecy that "it is returning". Standing about three times the size of Earth, it shadows over Earth with an air of doom.
Panic erupts in the streets of London as the giant red world of Gallifrey manifests above the atmosphere, with the Earth itself trembling. Shaun Temple goes searching for his fiancée Donna, while Sylvia Noble looks up at the ominous sky and prays for the Doctor to save them. Wilf, having left the Vinvocci shuttle, makes his way through the crumbling Naismith Mansion to find the Doctor. Refusing to stay on Earth as Gallifrey threatens to knock it out of orbit, Addams immediately readies the shuttle for takeoff. Rossiter is concerned about the Doctor's fate, but Addams shrugs and reminds him that he already said he was dying. All the residents of Naismith Mansion, including Joshua and his daughter, flee from the residence. Joshua spots Gallifrey's descent and is affixed with terror.
Wilf returns to help the Doctor, freeing a trapped man in the control booth and trapping himself in the process, not hearing the Doctor yell out to stop him. The Master thinks that the Time Lords' restoration to the universe is fantastic, but the Doctor tells him that the broken time-lock means that all of the other horrors born in the last days of the Time War, which he had sealed away in the Time Lock as well, would also be released. The Daleks would not be the only additional escapees; they would be joined by the Skaro Degradations, the Horde of Travesties, the Nightmare Child, and the Could've Been King with his Army of Meanwhiles and Neverweres. The war had turned to Hell, which is exactly what the Master has unleashed above Earth. The Master delights at the thought of such chaos, but the Doctor tells him that not even the Time Lords can survive such an onslaught.
The Lord President then reveals that he had planned to deal with these horrors by initiating the Ultimate Sanction; a plan for the Time Lords to survive the collapse of all creation and all time, as the paradox of Gallifrey's return to the universe rips the Time Vortex apart, by ascending their conscious minds beyond the need for bodies, whilst creation itself ceases to be. The Master asks to join them, but the President refuses, contemptuously dismissing the Master as "diseased... albeit a disease of [the Time Lords'] own making," and moves to kill him.
Then the Doctor aims Wilf's gun at the President, who cautions the Doctor to "choose [his] enemy well. as [they] are many but the Master is one". Even the Master goads him on, urging him to kill the President and claim Gallifrey for himself. At this, the Doctor spins and aims the gun at the Master, who realises that the link that brought the Time Lords to Earth is inside his head, and if he dies, the link is broken and the Time Lock is reformed. He points out that killing the President would have the same effect. The Doctor aims the gun at the Lord President again, who coldly remarks that the final act of the Doctor's life is murder: which one will he choose?
Finally, in this dark hour of the Doctor's life, one of the "disgraced" Time Lords covering her eyes behind the Lord President reveals herself to the Doctor; she is the mysterious woman that Wilfred had seen on a number of occasions. As she casts her gaze to a spot behind the Doctor, he not only seems to recognise her but now knows what to do: he whirls around and aims toward the Master once again.
As the Master's face falls, the Doctor orders him to get out of the way. Suddenly understanding, the Master smiles darkly and jumps away from the White-Point Star just as the Doctor shoots it, and its destruction severs the link and reinforces the Time Lock, pulling the Time Lords back into the Time War and to their inevitable doom. The Doctor sends them "back into Hell", and identifies the Lord President as Rassilon.
As Gallifrey vanishes back into the Time Lock, Rassilon refuses to die alone and prepares to kill the Doctor. The Doctor is ready for the prophecy to be fulfilled... but the Master orders the Doctor out of the way and attacks Rassilon with his life force energy powers, shouting that Rassilon was responsible for everything that has happened to him since he was a child.
As the Master counts the drums one last time, his blasts occupy Rassilon long enough for a bright flash of light to send all of them — the Time Lords, Rassilon, Gallifrey, and the Master, back into the last day of the Last Great Time War. In the streets, Sylvia and the other humans watch as the giant red planet fades away and allows the sun to shine. The Doctor struggles to his feet, weary, but happy, almost in disbelief that he has survived the prophecy.
The Doctor's face turns from relief to horror as he hears the four hesitant knocks portending his death. The knocks persist, condemning him further. As he slowly turns, he sees where they are coming from — Wilfred is still trapped in the nuclear booth and wants to be let out. The Doctor, leery to approach the booth, looks at him with dread. As he suspects, Wilfred's life is in dire straits.
Upon inspection of the booth, the Doctor tells Wilf that the Master left the nuclear bolt running. The machine has gone past critical and is about to overload, which will release a lethal dose of radiation into the booth and doing anything to it, even using the sonic screwdriver, will set it off. The only way to get Wilf out alive is for the Doctor to walk into the open side of the booth and push a button to release the one-way lock, but this means the Doctor will be trapped inside in place of Wilf to endure the radiation blast. At 500,000 rads, it would inflict catastrophic damage to his body.
Wilf tells the Doctor to leave him. Since he's lived a full life, it doesn't seem worth it for his friend to give up his own just for Wilf's sake. The Doctor pretends to callously accept Wilf's offer but knows he cannot allow the sacrifice. His spirit finally shattered, the Doctor cuts loose with a rant of anger, grief, and frustration. He rages and chokes back tears about how despite everything he's done he's still going to die just because Wilf had to climb into the booth and he's just an old man, "not remotely important"; he could just be left and the Doctor could live so much longer and "do so much more". Then he snaps out of this self-absorption and realises what he's just said. He knows he can't leave Wilf to die and concludes that a Time Lord sometimes lives too long.
Ignoring Wilf's pleas, the Doctor enters the opposite booth and frees him, releasing the radiation into his booth. The Doctor writhes in intense pain until he finally collapses and the booth itself goes dead from the loss of power. After a few seconds, the Doctor gets up, having absorbed all the radiation from the nuclear bolt. At first, it looks like the Doctor has survived; however, when Wilf comments that the Doctor acquired some battle scars in the course of stopping the Time Lords returning, the Doctor passes his hands over his face, healing the wounds he had sustained earlier from crashing through the skylight. In response to Wilf's surprise, the Doctor examines his hands and announces that "It's started"; his body is preparing to regenerate.
The Doctor takes Wilf home and tells him, "I'll see you again, one more time." When Wilfred asks where he's going, the Doctor simply states, "To get my reward."
The Doctor travels to various places where he has brief, mostly distant encounters with recent friends. He saves Martha and Mickey from a Sontaran sniper. He pushes Luke Smith out of the path of a car, and exchanges a meaningful look with Sarah. He goes to an alien bar where he finds a despondent Captain Jack, drowning his sorrows after leaving Earth; and connects him with midshipman Alonso Frame. All of them realise they are seeing him for the last time. He visits a book signing for A Journal of Impossible Things by Verity Newman, Joan Redfern's great-granddaughter, to find out if Joan was happy in the end. She was.
The Doctor then appears after Donna's wedding and meets Wilfred and Sylvia. Wilfred tells him Joshua and Abigail Naismith were both arrested, and asks the Doctor who the mysterious woman was. The Doctor focusses on Donna and then Sylvia, but doesn't answer. He then gives Wilfred and Sylvia a wedding gift for Donna; an envelope with something in it, purchased with a pound given to him by Sylvia's late husband. When Donna opens it she finds a lottery ticket, to which both Wilf and Sylvia realise that it is a winning ticket which will solve all of Donna's financial problems. The Doctor then leaves with a final look at Wilfred, the man whose life he saved at the expense of his own. As he leaves Wilfred salutes him and cries, realising he'll never see the Doctor again.
The Doctor's final stop is the Powell Estate early on New Year's Day 2005, where he sees Jackie and Rose heading home after the New Year's celebrations. After Jackie departs, he talks to Rose, keeping himself partly hidden in the shadows. When the Doctor asks her the year, she responds, "January 1, 2005". The Doctor tells that she'll "have a really great year." She smiles and leaves.
When Rose is gone, the Doctor staggers away as the pain of the radiation poisoning is finally setting in. A few feet away from the TARDIS, he collapses. He looks up to see Ood Sigma, standing calmly. As the Doctor struggles to his feet, Sigma tells him that the universe will sing him to his sleep and "this song is ending, but the story never ends." This gives the Doctor the last bit of strength he needs to make it to the TARDIS. On the Ood homeworld, the Ood sing "Vale Decem" in chorus.
The Doctor enters the TARDIS. After tossing his coat on one of the coral structures, he notices his right hand glowing with regenerative energy. He sets the TARDIS in flight as he circles the console. Fighting back tears, he utters: "I don't want to go..."
As the words leave him, golden energy radiates from both his hands and face as he breathes heavily. Taking a deep breath, the Doctor stretches his arms out as golden energy bursts from his hands and head and his body regenerates.
The regenerative energy shatters the TARDIS windows and sets the console room ablaze, destroying columns, blowing out the lights, and raining debris down from above. The Doctor's face is consumed by the regeneration energy. The Doctor closes his eyes as his facial features fade and morph into those of a young man with a swirl of brown hair, who is screaming in pain.
As the strain of the regeneration wears off, the Eleventh Doctor stumbles back with a look of surprise. He quickly examines himself to make sure all his body parts are still in the same place (although he is shocked at his larger than usual chin), with his long hair causing him to think he had become a girl for a moment. With a quick feel of his Adam's apple confirming that he hasn't, yet, he then notices, much to his annoyance, he is still not ginger, but has dark hair again.
Remembering there was something important that he forgot, the Doctor tries recalling what it was until another explosion forces him to his knees. Realising that what he was trying to remember was that the TARDIS is now crashing, the Doctor oddly seems happy as he jumps over to the monitor — it shows the ship spinning wildly towards Earth. Delighting in the chaos, the Doctor clings to the console and gleefully shouts, "Geronimoooooooooooo!"
- The Doctor - David Tennant
- The Saxon Master - John Simm
- Wilfred Mott - Bernard Cribbins
- Lord President - Timothy Dalton
- Donna Temple-Noble - Catherine Tate
- Sylvia Noble - Jacqueline King
- The Woman - Claire Bloom
- Minnie Hooper - June Whitfield
- Joshua Naismith - David Harewood
- Abigail Naismith - Tracy Ifeachor
- Addams - Sinêad Keenan
- Rossiter - Lawry Lewin
- Lucy Saxon - Alexandra Moen
- Shaun Temple - Karl Collins
- Governor - Teresa Banham
- Oliver Barnes - Barry Howard
- Winston Katusi - Allister Bain
- Mr Danes - Simon Thomas
- Miss Trefusis - Sylvia Seymour
- Tommo - Pete Lee-Wilson
- Ginger - Dwayne Scantlebury
- Serving Woman - Lacey Bond
- Trinity Wells - Lachele Carl
- Ood Sigma - Paul Kasey
- Elder Ood - Ruari Mears
- Teenager - Max Benjamin
- Voice of Ood Sigma - Silas Carson
- Voice of Elder Ood - Brian Cox
- Rose Tyler - Billie Piper
- Jackie Tyler - Camille Coduri
- Captain Jack Harkness - John Barrowman
- Martha Smith-Jones - Freema Agyeman
- Mickey Smith - Noel Clarke
- Sarah Jane Smith - Elisabeth Sladen
- Verity Newman - Jessica Hynes
- Luke Smith - Thomas Knight
- Midshipman Frame - Russell Tovey
- The Chancellor - Joe Dixon
- The Partisan - Julie Legrand
- The Visionary - Brid Brennan
- Nerys - Krystal Archer
- Voice of Judoon - Nicholas Briggs
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
Because this site puts both episodes of The End of Time into a single article, it is slightly more difficult to properly represent the crew in the above framework. The two episodes did not have exactly the same credits. The position of 3rd AD was only credited on part 1. A "Unit Manager" was only credited on part 1. Floor runner Chris Goding was only credited on part 2, while Tom Evans was only credited on part 1. Production secretary Kevin Myers was only credited on part 1. No boom operators were credited in part 1. No electricians were credited in part 2. Stephen Nicholas is credited as "Chief Supervising Art Director" in part 1, and "Supervising Art Director" in part 2. Design assistant Al Roberts was only credited in part 2. Associate designer James North was only credited in part 1. Standby art director Keith Dunne was only credited in part 1. No kind of buyer was credited in part 1. A "Storyboard Artist" was only credited on part 2. A "Property Master" was only credited on part 1. Casting assistant Alice Purser was only credited on part 1. Assistant editor Carmen Roberts was only credited on part 2. Matt Mullins was VFX editor for part 1; Joel Skinner, for part 2. In part 1, post-production supervisor Chris Blatchford is listed before Samantha Hall; in part 2, it's reversed. Foley editor Will Everett was only credited on part 1. Counter Tenor Mark Chambers was only credited on part 2.
- Wilfred watches the Queen's Christmas speech.
- Wilf mentions ATMOS.
- The Doctor compares regeneration to dying, and how he feels a part of him dies during the regeneration.
- The Time Lords, during their council meeting, make an oblique reference to the Doctor's activities at that point in the Time War.
- The Doctor shows the Ood the Year that Never Was telepathically to show them the history of the Master and Lucy Saxon.
- Before meeting Ood Sigma, the Doctor says that he saw the Phosphorous Carousel of the Great Magellan Gestalt amongst other things.
- The Tenth Doctor regenerates into the Eleventh Doctor.
- The Master kills a cook.
- The Doctor's TARDIS key can be pointed at the TARDIS, emitting a warbling noise that puts it a second out of sync with space and time to hide its presence entirely.
- The coral-themed interior of the TARDIS console room is destroyed by the Tenth Doctor's turbulent regeneration.
Foods and beverages
- Tommo and Ginger eat burgers.
- The Master savagely eats a whole cooked turkey at the Naismith Mansion.
- Donna makes margaritas, but uses oranges instead of lemons.
- Netty is referred to as a member of the Silver Cloak.
- Jimbo is mentioned by Jackie Tyler.
- Joshua Naismith has a book titled Fighting the Future.
- The Doctor believes that the Doctor-Donna subconscious hidden in Donna's mind sensed from the convergence of events that he would need the Naismith book.
- Ms Collins was a test subject for the Immortality Gate.
- Lucy is helped in her attempt to kill Saxon by a Broadfell Prison guard.
- The Doctor sends Jack a note via a barman.
- The Vinvocci imply that they are connected to the Zocci. Additionally, they take offence to being called cactus, citing it as a racist slur.
- A Raxacoricofallapatorian, an Adipose, Judoon, Graske, Sycorax, a Uvodni, a Eukanian and three Hath all appear in a space cantina, along with Jack Harkness and Alonso Frame.
- The Doctor has saved a planet from the Red Carnivorous Maw.
- Rassilon mentions the Weeping Angels.
- When asked why he couldn't just take the TARDIS back to the previous day, the Doctor states, "I can't go back inside my own timeline. I have to stay relative to the Saxon Master within the causal nexus."
- The Time War is time locked, but the Master's drumbeat was transmitted back through time through the Untempered Schism into the Master's mind so it was present throughout the Master's life.
Time Lords and the Time War
- Several crashed Dalek saucers are next to a badly damaged Citadel.
- An incarnation of the Doctor possesses the Moment, and the Time Lords believe he will use it to destroy Gallifrey and the Daleks.
- The Time Lords send a repeating four beat rhythm back through time and placed it in the Master's mind as a child.
- Rassilon kills the Partisan for suggesting they end the Time War.
- Rassilon says the Time Lord's have a history spanning a billion years.
United Nations Intelligence Taskforce
- Numerous map references appear on the screens at UNIT HQ. These include New York City, Adelaide, Los Angeles, London, Moscow, Warsaw, Perth, Auckland, Mexico City, Winnipeg, Shanghai, Belfast, Madrid, Nairobi and New Delhi, Houston, Toronto and Durban.
Cultural references from the real world
- As the Doctor is pushed down the stairs strapped to a wheelchair, he remarks "Worst. Rescue. EVER!", in reference to Comic Book Guy’s catchphrase from The Simpsons.
- Working titles for this story included The Immortality Gate.
- The original title for Part 1 was The Final Days of Planet Earth, and was in fact the title when Russell T Davies teased readers of Doctor Who Magazine with the statement that the title was six words long. Later, however, he decided to give the title The End of Time to both specials, stating that the original didn't seem to 'fit' once he saw it on-screen.
- This story features the last appearance of the title sequence that debuted in Rose and the theme that debuted in Partners in Crime.
- The second part is 75 minutes, 3 minutes longer than TV: Voyage of the Damned, making this currently the fourth longest single episode behind the 90-minute TV: The Five Doctors, the 85-minute TV: Doctor Who, and the 76-minute TV: Deep Breath.
- The version of Part 1 on US streaming service HBO Max has different end credits from the broadcast and home video versions. The "To be continued" message is made up of what seem to be flat cut-outs of the same message from the end of TV: The Stolen Earth, and there is an additional woosh noise over the Doctor Who logo that pans horizontally after the end credits (the logo that usually precedes a "Next Time" trailer during the Russell T Davies era). This then abruptly cuts to the BBC Wales end card.
- With this, his final Doctor Who story to date, Russell T Davies received a writing credit for ten consecutive episodes, an unprecedented accomplishment in the history of the franchise.
- This is the first story of more than one episode since TV: Survival to have one overarching title and the first 2-parter since Revelation of the Daleks to be called part 1 and part 2.
- The Time Lords return after their apparent destruction in the Last Great Time War. This is their first appearance onscreen (except for a flashback in TV: The Sound of Drums) since TV: The Trial of a Time Lord in 1986.
- Russell T Davies originally planned for the Master leave an 'M' at the scenes of the murders he committed so as to provide a trail for the Doctor to follow. This was dropped when he realised that it had already been established that the Doctor would simply 'know' where to find his fellow Time Lord.
- This is a second time that a Sontaran has appeared as a cameo in a regeneration story. The first was the Fourth Doctor's final story Logopolis, in his flashback to his enemies whilst hanging from the Pharos Project radio telescope.
- There is no traditional celebrity cameo in the story. Instead, a stand-in plays US President Barack Obama and stock audio from a speech of his is dubbed in. This is the first time in the revived series that the real world US presidency has coincided with that featured in the Whoniverse.
- The opening credits list David Tennant, John Simm and Bernard Cribbins. Simm is the second person to be credited in the opening credits for playing a villain. The first was Eric Roberts, who also played the Master, in TV: Doctor Who. This is only the third time that all of the credits were male, the first being TV: Time Crash and the second being TV: The Next Doctor, discounting Attack of the Graske and Music of the Spheres, in which David Tennant is credited alone. The next time this would happen with more than one credited actor in the opening credits would be TV: The Return of Doctor Mysterio, which credits Peter Capaldi and Matt Lucas.
- Despite this being David Tennant's last regular Doctor Who story, he filmed scenes for TV: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith after the production of this story; in the Doctor's personal timeline, the events of that story occur before The End of Time.
- In the Doctor Who Confidential for this episode and the ones for the other 2009 specials, the TARDIS in the opening titles bears the St. John's Ambulance badge, a nod to the Eleventh Doctor's upcoming model.
- The continuity announcement before part 2 was voiced by the Tenth Doctor, and was the last time that the Christmas ident featuring him was used.
- Russell T Davies confirmed in the commentary for part 2 that the scene where Captain Jack is in an alien bar is in a city named Zaggit-Zagoo on the planet Zog. This is an in-joke referencing one of Davies' statements regarding his approach to the series that "no-one cares about Zogs attacking Zogs on the planet Zog". The scene, a tribute to the famous Cantina Bar scene in Star Wars, features cameo appearances by many alien species featured during the Davies era, plus the return of Alonso Frame (TV: Voyage of the Damned) and also features the song "My Angel Put the Devil in Me", last heard in TV: Daleks in Manhattan.
- Russell T Davies has said in an interview that the Tenth Doctor's death had been planned out since David Tennant was signed on for the role. Davies also heavily implied had Tennant not been cast, the Tenth Doctor would have died a different way.
- During the Doctor Who Confidential episode for part two, Davies stated that the name of the Vinvocci's ship was The Hesperus.
- The Master redeems himself by sacrificing himself and saving the Doctor. According to historical accounts of the production of the classic series, this idea dates back to the original concept for Jon Pertwee's final story as the Third Doctor, which would have seen Roger Delgado's Master redeem himself in a similar fashion, also causing the Doctor's regeneration; with Delgado's tragic death aborting this idea.
- Russell T Davies originally considered having the Time Lords in an alliance with the Daleks, but after consulting with Steven Moffat and correspondent Benjamin Cook, eliminated this plot thread. (REF: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter)
- Russell T Davies had originally intended for the Tenth Doctor to sacrifice himself for a complete stranger, but decided that Wilf should be the person the Doctor saved as he developed the story.
- In an early draft of the script, Russell T Davies had the Doctor address the "half-human" statement the Eighth Doctor made in the 1996 TV movie, dismissing it as "a forty-eight-hour bug". The line was cut by Davies for several stated reasons, including the fact it would have confused viewers who were only familiar with the events of TV: Human Nature. (REF: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter)
- During the chaotic sequence after the regeneration, the Eleventh Doctor is shown spitting, an act that raised some eyebrows. In addressing this during a publicity event for the launch of Series 5, Smith explained that it was his natural reaction to all the debris raining down on him during the filming, while Steven Moffat indicated that Davies chose to leave it in.
- Russell T Davies claimed that Omega was originally going to appear instead of Rassilon, but the idea was dropped.
- Joshua Naismith mentions that the Gate was found buried at the foot of Mt. Snowdon by Torchwood. In TV: Doomsday, Yvonne Hartman states that the gravity clamps were found buried in the same place. Presumably, this means the gravity clamps are of Vinvocci origin. Also, in Death of the Doctor, UNIT has a base at Mt. Snowdon.
- Jessica Hynes's scene as Verity Newman was the first scene of this episode to be filmed (the scene was brought forward to accommodate Hynes's schedule, as she had just been cast in a Broadway play).
- Part 2 was the only David Tennant era episode to premiere in 2010.
- The scene where Luke is saved is part of an in-joke, according to Davies; in the first series of The Sarah Jane Adventures, none of the children characters looked where they were going whilst crossing the road.
- Martha, a Jones, has now married Mickey, a Smith — a reference to her first episode, TV: Smith and Jones. This was highlighted in episode commentary.
- The name of Jessica Hynes' character, Verity Newman, is a reference to Verity Lambert and Sydney Newman. This is the second time the revived series has honoured the two people who are considered among the primary creators of Doctor Who. In TV: Human Nature, the Doctor in his human guise says his parents were named Verity and Sydney. In this episode, Hynes plays a descendant of Joan Redfern, the major character she portrayed in Human Nature.
- While the rest of the story was entirely written by Russell T Davies, Matt Smith's scene was written by Steven Moffat.
- Four takes of the Tenth Doctor's final line ("I don't want to go") were filmed, with David Tennant upping the emotion for each one. The third one was the take chosen. The fourth take featured the Tenth Doctor breaking down tearfully; however, Tennant and the editors felt that this was too out of character and that he should show bravery as he faced regeneration.
- Donna's neighbour who appeared throughout Series 4 is finally given a name in part one: Sally.
- Early on in the bar scene, a creature somewhat resembling a Silurian is present, although it does not have a third eye. It is unlikely that this is actually intended to be a Silurian due to the physical difference, and as there had been no indication previously of Silurians engaging in inter-stellar travel. Also in the bar scene, another white furred alien appears that is reminiscent of Muftak, a character who appeared in the cantina scene in Star Wars: A New Hope.
- The Master reminisces about how "we", presumed to be himself and the Doctor, used to run through fields of red grass on his father's estates, shouting up at the sky. This is the first reference to the Master's family, as well as presumably a reference to the fact the Doctor and the Master were once friends, previously confirmed in other stories. The fact the Master refers to "my father's estates", and not "our father's estates", can be seen as further implying that the Doctor and the Master are not brothers, as has often been speculated. The Doctor previously seemed to dismiss that speculation in TV: The Sound of Drums.
- During his resurrection, the Master tells Lucy, "You will obey me!" This was a frequent catchphrase used during his previous incarnations, particularly the one played by Roger Delgado.
- Since the drumming in the Master's head has served its purpose, it's possible he is no longer tormented by it. His next incarnation, Missy, shows no signs of being haunted by the drumming, nor does he in his next appearance. However, in the following episode, the Doctor mentions the Time Lords curing his decaying body, although it is unclear if the drumming was also cured.
- Part of Rassilon's narrations begin with the phrase "And so it came to pass ..."; TV: The Sound of Drums ended with a similar narration, albeit given by the Master instead.
- Composer Murray Gold said that the pivotal scene featuring the Tenth Doctor's final meeting with Rose Tyler did not feature the incidental music he intended for the moment. He wished to use the music piece "Song For Ten (Reprise)", a melancholy version of the original "Song For Ten". However, he argued with Julie Gardner to include this piece and lost, resulting in the use of "Rose's Theme" for the last time during the Tenth Doctor's tenure, whilst the reprise was moved up to the scene where the Tenth Doctor returned Wilf to Chiswick and embarked on his final reward.
- With regards to total runtime and not episode count, this is the second longest regeneration story, behind The War Games and ahead of Planet of the Spiders.
- Russell T Davies originally wanted to have the Doctor and the Master swap bodies. However, Davies wasn't keen to spend time during David Tennant's final story with the actor playing anybody other than the Doctor, and was also mindful that he had used a similar notion in New Earth.
- Donna was originally supposed to appear only in the epilogue for Part Two, giving the Doctor a chance to see that she was enjoying a good life despite losing all memory of her time with him.
- Patrick Stewart was offered the role of Rassilon.
- Abigail Naismith was originally named Alice.
- There was originally a scene where the Doctor actually met Trinity Wells. Russell T Davies was eager to give Lachele Carl a proper appearance in the series, but ultimately dismissed the sequence as too self-indulgent.
- The Master's original plan was to trap Earth in the Time War in place of Gallifrey.
- Originally, much of the Vinvocci's faces retained their natural human skin tones, but it was now decided that they should be completely green; sequences featuring the aliens which had already been recorded would be computer-tinted to match the revised look.
- One prominent element dropped from the script was a subplot in which the Doctor tries to convince the "Danes-Master" (that is, the copy of the Master who had been Danes, the Naismiths' butler) to rebel against the evil Time Lord..
- The two Raxacoricofallapatorians at the bar are the new Slitheen costumes created for The Sarah Jane Adventures rather than the old ones from season one. Notably, this was filmed before but broadcast after The Gift, where the Slitheen costumes were painted orange to serve as Blathereen.
- Bernard Cribbins served in the army during World War II and he never killed a man during his service. He insisted that Wilfred not only have the same lack of kills in his past, but also share in his pride for never taking another life.
- It was John Simm's idea for the Master to have blond hair.
- David Tennant and Timothy Dalton had each other's theme songs as their ringtones - Tennant had the James Bond theme and Dalton had the Doctor Who theme.
- The Vinvocci were originally named Shanshay and Shanshay - the pronunciation of the two names being so subtly different that Wilf is unable to discern it (although the Doctor can).
- Catherine Tate filmed her role in five days.
- John Simm based his portrayal of the revived Master on The Joker in The Dark Knight.
- The Doctor's confrontation with the Master originally took place in a desert. This setting was used for Planet of the Dead.
- Timothy Dalton and Billie Piper would later co-star in Penny Dreadful.
- The female Time Lord was intended to be the Doctor's mother.
- Euros Lyn wanted to remove the scene where the Doctor visits Verity Newman, thinking it would be confusing for anyone who had missed the connection she has to the Doctor, but Russell T Davies insisted on keeping the scene in the final cut.
- The TARDIS console room exploding was done in one take because of the coral pillars being really expensive to redo, so multiple takes was not on the cards.
- Russell Tovey and Sinead Keenan both appeared in Being Human as werewolves.
- The Eleventh Doctor was originally expected to have just a line. Steven Moffat took the opportunity to write a short monologue.
- Part 1 - 11.57 million - According to BARB.
- Part 2 - 12.27 million - According to BARB.
- Part 1 - 12.04 million - UK final.
- In America, three broadcasts of Part 2 garnered a combined total of 1.42 million viewers, a record for BBC America.
- Tredegar House, Newport - Naismith residence
- CEMEX's Taffs Well quarry - the Ood Sphere
- Wookey Hole Caves, Wells, Somerset - Ood council
- Blackwells Bookshop, Cardiff University - book signing
- On the wide shot of the Master's resurrection, it can marginally be seen that Lucy Saxon is kneeling on what appears to be knee support pads.
- After principal photography had wrapped, the production team decided to change the Vinvocci's appearance. They had originally envisaged that the race would only be partially green. The only solution was to digitally composite a more complete green, and this necessitated frame-by-frame colouring of the Vinvocci scenes. At some points in the episodes this is noticeable, for example when Rossiter is climbing into the mining laser pod while the Vinvocci ship is under fire from the missiles.
- Also, when the Vincocci are in their control room hearing the Master's broadcast about finding the White-Point Star, it can be seen that the production team neglected to recolour that particular scene, as it can be seen (albeit with difficulty, since the Vinvocci are in the shadows) that their faces are not green.
- During the first time where Wilf is in the glass cabinet, in the close up his phone is to his head, yet in the long shots both his hands are against the glass.
- When the Doctor goes to get A Journal of Impossible Things signed, Jessica Hynes is quite plainly hovering her pen just above the page and not writing in it.
- When the Doctor arrives at Donna's wedding, the gates he stands behind are closed, but when Wilf and Sylvia approach him, one is open. Also, when Sylvia looks at him, the TARDIS is closer to the Doctor than when they approach him.
- The Nuclear Bolt control room switches sides of the Naismith's main hall at various points in part 2: It starts off on the right side in part 1, and stays that way until the Master reveals his true intentions of rescuing the Time Lords to Rassilon. The next shot, when all the Masters look smugly at Rassilon shows the Bolt on the left hand side. It later swaps back to its original position. This seems to suggest the post-production crew unnecessarily "flipped" the shot.
- Similarly, the occupants changed sides within the Bolt room. Two Masters (yellow shirt and purple shirt) did a change-around, with the purple-shirted Master taking the place of the yellow-shirted one. The first time this happens, the purple-shirted Master is on the left-hand side, and the yellow-shirted Master on the right. In the aforementioned shot of the Masters looking smugly at Rassilon, when the Bolt swaps sides the first time, the purple-shirted Master is now on the right-hand side of the Bolt, which would be explained by a reflection of the shot. When the Bolt swaps back to its original side, the purple-shirted occupant is once again on the right-hand side, which would not be explained by a reflection of the shot, rather than the left-hand side, which Wilf then occupies. Furthermore, when the Master starts the nuclear bolt, the left-hand booth is occupied but when Wilf arrives and rescues the booth's occupant, it is the right-hand booth with a man in it, leaving Wilf trapped on the left side.
- When the Doctor drops Wilf's gun after falling through the roof, it falls facing towards him and close to his hand. After the camera briefly pans to Rassilon, the gun is further away from the Doctor's hand and pointed towards the Time Lords.
- When the Doctor points Wilf's gun at Rassilon it is in his right hand, but when he turns to point it at the Master, it is immediately in his left hand.
- When the Doctor is aiming Wilf's gun at the Master and Rassilon, the trigger of the gun has already been pulled in and it should have fired. This is incorrectly reported as an error. Wilf's revolver was being used in 'single-action' mode, in which the hammer has been moved into the rearward position, which also moves the trigger rearward to a firing position. In 'double-action' mode, the hammer starts in the lowered position, and the trigger is forward; in this mode, pulling the trigger moves the hammer into firing position, causes the cylinder holding the bullets to revolve into place, and eventually causes the gun to fire.
- After the Doctor knocks Jask out, the latter's body disappears in subsequent shots.
- The Doctor's jacket is tattered before he enters the nuclear chamber to let Wilfred out. However, as he returns Wilf home before setting off to get his Reward, the jacket appears undamaged. The Doctor may have spares of his jacket and changed into another one. (A change of clothes is further implied by the fact that the Doctor's tie is different when he returns Wilf home.)
- During the Time Lord council scene, Rassilon's collar isn't in the middle and sits to one side.
- During the Captain Jack scene, a Sycorax that walks behind him only has one red eye.
- The Doctor recalls seeing the Phosphorous Carousel of the Great Magellan Gestalt, (AUDIO: Out of Time) saving a planet from the Red Carnivorous Maw, (COMIC: The Good Companion) naming a galaxy Alison (AUDIO: The Shattered Hourglass) and marrying Queen Elizabeth I. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
- The Tenth Doctor previously visited Christmas Day 2009 with Heather McCrimmon. (COMIC: A Merry Little Christmas)
- The fall of Torchwood is mentioned. (TV: Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, Children of Earth)
- The Doctor tells the Ood of his last encounter with the Master. The Ood knew, though the Doctor did not, that the Master somehow survived at that time through his ring. (TV: The Sound of Drums, Last of the Time Lords)
- The Doctor's reluctance to regenerate can be linked with the fact that he only has one left to use (although this is never brought up in the episode, obviously partly due to the War Doctor not having been conceived at this point), though he would later be given a new regeneration cycle by the Time Lords. (TV: The Time of the Doctor)
- The Doctor holds off his regeneration, much like the Fifth and Ninth Doctors before him. (TV: The Caves of Androzani, The Parting of the Ways) However, while the Fifth Doctor did so to save Peri Brown, the Ninth Doctor only did so briefly to explain the process to Rose Tyler, and the Tenth Doctor does so to say goodbye to all of his companions.
- The Tenth Doctor's upset at regenerating, and growing attached to being this specific incarnation, is later tied to him having "vanity issues". (TV: The Time of the Doctor) The Twelfth Doctor would later echo the sentiment, purposefully halting his body's numerous attempts at regenerating in defiance of constantly changing who he is. (TV: The Doctor Falls)
- Ood Sigma tells the dying Tenth Doctor that "[His] story never ends." The Eleventh Doctor would later tell an earlier version of the Tenth that "the story ends" on Trenzalore. (TV: The Day of the Doctor) However, the Eleventh would later be given a new cycle of regenerations, allowing him to survive the events of Trenzalore, (TV: The Time of the Doctor) and allowing his story to continue. Ood Sigma's comment that "The story never ends" indicates that the Ood's new power to see through time may have allowed him a vision of the Doctor's victory in the Siege of Trenzalore.
- The Immortality Gate was previously referenced by the Trickster as "the Gate" which was waiting for the Doctor. (TV: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith)
- Donna begins to remember several of her adventures with the Doctor:
- the Judoon, (audio only - TV: The Stolen Earth, AUDIO: One Mile Down)
- the Empress of the Racnoss, (TV: The Runaway Bride)
- the Adipose, (TV: Partners in Crime)
- the Ood, (TV: Planet of the Ood)
- the Vashta Nerada, (TV: Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead)
- the Vespiform, (TV: The Unicorn and the Wasp)
- Sontarans, (TV: The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky)
- a Pyrovile, (TV: The Fires of Pompeii)
- and Dalek Caan, Davros and the Supreme Dalek. (TV: The Stolen Earth/Journey's End)
- Alonso Frame (TV: Voyage of the Damned) sits down in an alien bar next to Jack Harkness, who appears depressed following his loss of Ianto Jones and his grandson. (TV: Children of Earth) The Doctor sends Jack a note with Alonso's name.
- The Doctor mentions Joan Redfern to her great-granddaughter Verity, asking if she was happy after "John Smith" had gone. (TV: Human Nature/The Family of Blood)
- The song "My Angel Put the Devil in Me" is playing in the alien bar. (TV: Daleks in Manhattan)
- Netty is mentioned as a member of the Silver Cloak. (PROSE: Beautiful Chaos)
- The circumstances of the Tenth Doctor's regeneration echo that of the Ninth Doctor in that he absorbed a massive amount of energy into his body in order to save the life of another. (TV: The Parting of the Ways)
- This is the third time the Doctor has been forced to regenerate due to suffering near-lethal radiation poisoning; this was the fate of the Third Doctor in TV: Planet of the Spiders and the Sixth Doctor in AUDIO: The Brink of Death.
- Nerys is at Donna's wedding. (TV: The Runaway Bride)
- The notion of Gallifrey being moved due to Time Lord action isn't the first time the Time Lords have shown the ability to relocate an entire planet. (TV: The Trial of a Time Lord, Journey's End)
- The Doctor knocks out a Sontaran by striking its probic vent with a mallet kept in the TARDIS for percussive maintenance. (TV: The Sontaran Experiment, The Poison Sky)
- When the Doctor is pointing the gun at the Master, the Master states that the Doctor "never would." The Doctor used these words himself when holding Cobb at gunpoint. (TV: The Doctor's Daughter)
- This is not the first time the Master has been trapped in a body that is slowly dying. When he stole the body of a human named Bruce, that too began to perish. (TV: Doctor Who)
- Rassilon had achieved immortality before the Time War, though in a passive state. (TV: The Five Doctors) In council, we learn that many throughout the Time War are dying, only to be resurrected. He has been revived and restored to mastery over Time Lord society.
- The Doctor refers to Donna as his best friend, a title he had previously conferred on Sarah Jane Smith, (TV: The Seeds of Doom) K9 Mark II (TV: The Pirate Planet) and, presumably in jest Malcolm Taylor. (TV: Planet of the Dead)
- The Doctor tells Wilf that some people wait centuries to find him. One example of such is Captain Jack Harkness, who waited over a hundred years to find him again after being stranded in the late 19th century. (TV: Utopia, Fragments)
- The Doctor tells Wilf that he has taken lives, "and I got worse, I got clever. Manipulated people into taking their own." (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks, The Curse of Fenric, Journey's End)
- When Wilfred Mott mentions that Donna is getting married to Shaun Temple the Doctor asks "another wedding?" referencing Donna's previous cancelled marriage to Lance Bennett. (TV: The Runaway Bride)
- The Doctor's hands glow as the time his imminent regeneration nears. (TV: The Parting of the Ways, The Stolen Earth, The Time of the Doctor, The Doctor Falls, Twice Upon a Time)
- The Doctor offers to travel the universe with the Master. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)
- The Doctor was previously called a "physician" by the Empress of the Racnoss. (TV: The Runaway Bride)
- The Master has said, "Go on then... Do it!" when a gun was aimed at him before. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)
- The Doctor again uses the phrase Allons-y. (TV: Army of Ghosts, Midnight, Voyage of the Damned)
- The Doctor's description of the phrase, "Allons-y", as being "a phrase of great power, and wisdom, and consolation to the soul in times of need" mirrors a similar comment made by the Fourth Doctor about jelly babies being "a great comfort in times of stress". (PROSE: Psi-ence Fiction) Both ("Allons-y" and "Would you like a jelly baby?") were catchphrases of the Doctor (in his tenth and fourth incarnations, respectively).
- This is not the first time that the Doctor has bought a lottery ticket for someone. (TV: School Reunion)
- The Doctor considers the amount of coincidence around Wilf, and the sheer unlikelihood of the two meeting so many times. He also mentioned this about Donna. (TV: Turn Left, Journey's End)
- The Vinvocci imply that they are connected to, or at least aware of, the Zocci when the Doctor refers to having met one. (TV: Voyage of the Damned)
- When Wilf says that he's going to die some day, the Doctor tells him, "Don't you dare!" This phrase has been used at least two other times related to an impending death; River Song said this to the Doctor, and the Doctor will have said it to her. (TV: Forest of the Dead, The Wedding of River Song)
- The Doctor again begs the Master to understand the difference between ruling the Universe and having unfettered freedom to travel through it. (TV: Colony in Space)
- The Master has caused the Doctor to regenerate before. (TV: Logopolis, Doctor Who)
- Earth had previously been threatened by the approaching of a whole planet in 1986, in that case Mondas. (TV: The Tenth Planet)
- Rassilon condemns the two Time Lords that didn't agree with the return of Gallifrey to cower and hide their faces, just like "the Weeping Angels of old." (TV: Blink)
- The Doctor puts his TARDIS a second out of sync with time, creating a temporal gate to mask its presence. Objects and individuals have been placed in this asynchronous state before. (TV: The Stolen Earth, The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith)
- One of the things the Tenth Doctor lists he did instead of rushing to meet Ood Sigma is his marriage with Elizabeth I, (TV: The Day of the Doctor) possibly explaining why she wanted him arrested. (TV: The Shakespeare Code)
- The Nightmare Child is mentioned to be one of the "horrors of the Time War." (TV: The Stolen Earth)
- While these events are taking place on Gallifrey, it is the final day of the Time War: the Capitol is under attack by Daleks, the War Council has already dismissed the High Council's plans, and the Doctor has (as mentioned by the High Council) stolen the Moment with plans to use it to end the war. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
- When Donna wakes up on the couch in her home she asks "Did I miss something, again?". Previously when she woke up from her bed she asked if she had "missed something". (TV: Journey's End) This also refers to the fact that Donna missed several important world-changing events due to various reasons. (TV: The Runaway Bride, PROSE: Rose)
- The bearded male on the High Council is later identified as Grayvas. (PROSE: Engines of War)
- In an alternate timeline created by a continuity bomb, the Doctor allowed Wilf to die in the radiation chamber. He went on to embrace the title of "Time Lord Victorious" and became a mad tyrant over time and space, until a Raxacoricofallapatorian killed him without regeneration. (COMIC: Four Doctors)
- The dying Master is last seen attacking Rassilon with his weaponised life force as Gallifrey is resigned to meet its fate at the end of the Time War. Following the revelation that "all thirteen" incarnations of the Doctor had preserved Gallifrey from destruction by relocating it to a pocket universe, (TV: The Day of the Doctor) the Master is revealed to have somehow repaired his condition before regenerating into a female incarnation known as "Missy", (TV: Dark Water) while Rassilon, who also survived, remained Lord President of Gallifrey while also regenerating into an older body. (TV: Hell Bent) When the Twelfth Doctor encounters the resurrected version of the Master again, it is from after the events of The End of Time. During their meeting, it is revealed that after returning to Gallifrey, the Time Lords cured the Master's condition. He then left in his TARDIS in what he calls "a mutual kicking me out." He is ultimately forced to regenerate into Missy by Missy herself though the regeneration from the Master to Missy is never shown on-screen. (TV: The Doctor Falls)
- During the Time War, the Eighth Doctor encountered another Sontaran named Jask on Drakkis. (AUDIO: The Sontaran Ordeal)
- The Eleventh Doctor checks on various parts of his body immediately after regenerating. The Ninth Doctor previously indicated that he could regenerate into having multiple or no heads, (TV: The Parting of the Ways) while the Twelfth Doctor would claim that syphoning regeneration energy would cost him an arm, leg, or diminish his overall size down the line. (TV: The Witch's Familiar)
- The Eleventh Doctor takes note of his nose and claims, "I've had worse!" The Fourth Doctor previously stated that his nose was an improvement from the Third Doctor's very prominent one, (TV: Spearhead from Space, Robot) while the Eighth and Tenth Doctors both noted the size of the Ninth's. (PROSE: The Tomorrow Windows, COMIC: Four Doctors)
- The Doctor attended Donna's two previous weddings. (TV: The Runaway Bride; AUDIO: Death and the Queen)
- The Eleventh Doctor briefly thinks he has regenerated into a woman. Though he is incorrect in this instance, such a change would actually occur two regenerations later. (TV: Twice Upon a Time)
- The last place the Doctor visits before finally regenerating is New Years Day 2005. According to one account, the last place the Sixth Doctor visited before his regeneration was also a New Years Day, in 2000. (PROSE: Head Games)
- The Doctor tells Wilf that he did some things that went wrong. (TV: The Waters of Mars; PROSE: The Knight, The Fool and The Dead, All Flesh is Grass; AUDIO: The Minds of Magnox; COMIC: Defender of the Daleks, Tales of the Dark Times)
During the final scene, the Eleventh Doctor takes a look at his hair and utters the phrase, "Still not ginger!" This statement was misinterpreted by a number of viewers as being a negative comment on redheaded people, resulting in more than a hundred forty complaints being filed with the BBC. In response, the BBC issued an official statement clarifying that the Doctor was stating disappointment at not being ginger, a reference to the Tenth Doctor similarly expressing a wish to be ginger in The Christmas Invasion. In response to claims of an "anti-ginger agenda" by the series, the BBC statement noted that the Doctor's two most recent ongoing companions, Donna Noble and Amy Pond, are both redheads, not mentioning the difference between "red" and "ginger" hair.
Home video releases
- The End of Time was released to DVD and Blu-ray both bundled with The Waters of Mars and part of a Specials box set in the UK on 11th January 2010. A similar release in North America was released on 2nd February 2010.
- It was released as a promotional DVD alongside The Eleventh Hour in 2011, with British tabloid The Sun.
- It was released as Doctor Who DVD Files issue 56.
- As mentioned above, it has been released with The Waters of Mars and as The Specials. It was the first Doctor Who Blu-Ray boxset release.
- In 2013, this release was bundled with the first seven series of the revived Doctor Who.
- Netflix in the US lists The End of Time as episodes 18 and 19 of Series 4. Previously the story was listed as its own title. As of 2013, the story was rolled into the core show listing. This story is also available for streaming via Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. It can also be purchased on iTunes.
- In 2015, it was released by BBC Worldwide on BitTorrent and iTunes, in A Decade of the Doctor bundle to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the new series. It included introductions by Peter Capaldi, Earth Conquest: The World Tour and an episode guide.
- BBC — Doctor Who — The End of Time — Episode Guide
- The End of Time at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The End of Time at The Locations Guide
- Original script, posted online by Russell T Davies in conjunction with the release of his book REF: Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter.
- Rassilon is credited as "The Narrator" in Part One and "Lord President" in Part Two
- Profile Joan Williams at Casting Collective
- Russell T Davies, Production Notes, DWM #416, 7 January 2010.
- Long-awaited Doctor Who lands on American TV screens tonight, Digital Journal, 17 April 2010; accessed 17 April 2010
- Ratings - DW News
- Doctor Who News Page: Ginger Clarification, 6 January 2010
- BBC Complaint response, 6 January 2010