Doctor Who (2008–2010 specials)

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Doctor Who 2008–2010 specials
Doctor Who Specials DVD.jpg
Cover of the DVD box set
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 5
Original channel BBC One
Original run 25 December 2008 (2008-12-25) – 1 January 2010 (2010-01-01)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 2 February 2010 (2010-02-02)
Region 2 11 January 2010 (2010-01-11)
Region 4 1 July 2010 (2010-07-01)
Blu-ray Disc release
Region A 2 February 2010 (2010-02-02)
Region B 11 January 2010 (2010-01-11) (UK)
29 June 2010 (2010-06-29) (Australia)
Series chronology
← Previous
Series 4
Next →
Series 5
List of Doctor Who serials

The 2008–2010 specials of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who are five specials that linked the programme's fourth and fifth series. They began on 25 December 2008 with "The Next Doctor" and concluded on 1 January 2010 with Part Two of The End of Time. They saw the departure of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor.

List of episodes[edit]

The End of Time was the first "serial" with an overall title and episode numbers since Survival in Season 26, the final serial broadcast during the series' original run.

Story Episode Title Directed by Written by UK viewers
AI[1] Original air date Production
199 1 "The Next Doctor" Andy Goddard Russell T Davies 13.10 86 25 December 2008 (2008-12-25) 4.14
This special sees the return of the Cybermen (of the design of the parallel universe's Cybus Industries Cybermen), following their previous appearance in the two-part finale of series two in 2006, "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday". Having fallen back in time to Victorian London, the Cybermen create a huge "Cyber-King" with child labour and the help of Miss Hartigan (Dervla Kirwan). Meanwhile Jackson Lake (David Morrissey) has accidentally absorbed the Doctor's memories and thinks himself to be the Doctor.
200 2 "Planet of the Dead" James Strong Russell T Davies & Gareth Roberts 9.75 88 11 April 2009 (2009-04-11) 4.15
While investigating a wormhole in London, the Doctor meets Lady Christina de Souza (Michelle Ryan) and they are both accidentally transported to a desert planet which was destroyed by metallic sting ray-like aliens travel between planets via wormholes. They rig the bus to travel back to London while UNIT works to close the wormhole to prevent Earth's destruction.
201 3 "The Waters of Mars" Graeme Harper Russell T Davies & Phil Ford 10.32 88 15 November 2009 (2009-11-15) 4.16
The Doctor visits Bowie Base One, Earth's first colony on Mars, led by Captain Adelaide Brooke (Lindsay Duncan). A waterborne virus from the glacier used for the water supply begins to possess the crew and Brooke plans to destroy the base in order to prevent the virus spreading to earth via an escape rocket. The Doctor saves the remaining crew, including Brooke in the TARDIS, but Brooke kills herself on Earth to ensure that the history is unchanged.
202a 4 The End of Time
"Part One"
Euros Lyn Russell T Davies 12.04 87 25 December 2009 (2009-12-25) 4.17
The Doctor learns from the Ood that the Master (John Simm) will be returning soon. A cult of the Master has resurrected him using the ring dropped at the end of "Last of the Time Lords", but Lucy Saxon sabotoges the process, causing the Master to experience intense hunger and energy expension, which also gives him superhuman powers. In his investigations, the Doctor meets up with Wilfred Mott and they both travel to the Naismith Institute where they have enlisted to repair an alien "Immortality Gate". However, the Master uses the gate to re-write the DNA of all humans on the planet to his own, creating a planet of Masters. Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) and Wilf (Bernard Cribbins) are shielded from this. Far across the universe, Rassilon (Timothy Dalton) heralds the return of Gallifrey and the end of time itself.
202b 5 The End of Time
"Part Two"
Euros Lyn Russell T Davies 12.27 89 1 January 2010 (2010-01-01) 4.18
The Doctor and Wilf are rescued by two alien Vinvocci who were working undercover at the Institute to retrieve the "Immortality Gate" and take refuge in their spaceship above Earth. It is then revealed that Rassilon had placed the sound of drums in the Master's head as a signal that he could use to pull Gallifrey out of Time-Lock via a white-point star. Gallifrey materialises above Earth, with all the other horrors of the Time War likely to follow. Armed with Wilf's gun, the Doctor stands off against Rassilon to break the link between Gallifrey and Earth. To do this, he must either shoot the Master or Rassilon, but instead he shoots the white-point star, which causes Rassilon and Gallifrey to recede back into Time-Lock. Rassilon attempts to kill the Doctor, but the Master sacrifices himself to save him. Meanwhile, Wilf has trapped himself in the Gate's isolation chamber, which is about to flood with deadly radiation. The Doctor activates the chamber's other compartment, saving Wilf but irradiating himself. He holds off regeneration while he goes on a "farewell tour", visiting all of his companions. Alone in the TARDIS, the Doctor regenerates, giving off such violent energy that the console room is set ablaze. The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) inspects his new body as the stricken TARDIS plummets earthward.

Supplemental episodes[edit]

The animated serial Dreamland was produced for the BBC's Red Button service and "Music of the Spheres" was filmed for the 2008 Doctor Who Prom.

Title Directed by Written by UK viewers
Original air date Production
"Music of the Spheres" Euros Lyn Russell T Davies N/A 27 July 2008 (2008-07-27)
The episode has fictional and non-fictional components: the fictional component takes place in the TARDIS; the non-fictional component is the Doctor Who Prom, which took place during the episode's first transmission. The Doctor converses with the viewer and conducts the orchestra to perform his symphony Ode to the Universe, while being antagonised by the Graske (Jimmy Vee), who intends to cause mischief at the Prom.
Dreamland Gary Russell Phil Ford N/A 21–26 November 2009
The Doctor investigates alien activity at Area 51 with the help of local Nevadans Cassie Rice and Jimmy Stalkingwolf.


Main characters[edit]

The 2008-2010 specials marked the end of David Tennant's reign as The Doctor after 5 years.

These specials marked David Tennant's final run of episodes as the Tenth Doctor and Matt Smith's first appearance as the newly regenerated Eleventh Doctor. They also featured a string of one-time Companions beginning in "The Next Doctor" with David Morrissey as Jackson Lake, a man who thinks himself to be the Doctor[2][3] and his "companion" Rosita Farisi played by Velile Tshabalala.[4] "Planet of the Dead" featured Michelle Ryan as young thrill-seeking burglar Lady Christina de Souza.[5][6] "The Waters of Mars" starred Lindsay Duncan as Adelaide Brooke, Captain of Bowie Base One on Mars.[7] Finally, the two-part The End of Time had Bernard Cribbins as recurring character Wilfred Mott as a full-fledged Companion for the first time. Other companions appear briefly during the Tenth Doctor's "farewell tour": Catherine Tate as Donna Noble, Billie Piper as Rose Tyler,[8] Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones,[9] Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith, John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness,[10] and Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith,[11] and Verity Newman, whose grandmother, Joan Redfern, fell in love with the human John Smith in "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood".[12] John Simm reprises his role as the Master in The End of Time.[13]


"I would have thought that when I handed in the last script I might have burst into tears or got drunk or partied with 20 naked men, but when these great moments happen you find that real life just carries on. The emotion goes into the scripts."

Russell T. Davies[14]
A bespectacled man in a black jacket, waistcoat, and tie, pink shirt, and jeans, sitting with his back to a marble-effect wall.
Following the specials Russell T Davies stood down as show runner for Doctor Who after resurrecting it after 16 years off the air.

In his book The Writer's Tale, Russell T Davies reveals that the plan to have only specials for 2009 was to allow the new production team headed by new lead writer Steven Moffat to have enough time to prepare for the full fifth series in 2010. David Tennant took this opportunity to appear in a stage production of Hamlet. For practical reasons, these specials continued to use series 4 production codes.

On 28 October 2008 at the National Television Awards during his speech after winning Outstanding Drama Performance for his work on series 4, David Tennant announced that he would be standing down as the Doctor for series 5 and that the 09/10 specials would be his last.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21] The specials not only marked an end to Tenant's reign as the Doctor, but also Russell T. Davies' as show runner, head writer and executive producer of the show, who announced his departure from the series on 20 May 2008 with his final episode airing in 2010.[22][23][24][25]

"The Next Doctor" and "Music of the Spheres" were produced at the end of the production run of series 4, but were not included in the Complete Series 4 DVD set, instead with the Complete Specials set.

"The Next Doctor" was filmed in April 2008 at Gloucester Cathedral,[26][27] St Woolos Cemetery in Newport[28] and the streets of Gloucester, where shooting was hampered by up to 1,000 onlookers. The main setting of Torchwood, their Torchwood Hub was also redesigned and used as the workshop for the children.[29] The two major filming locations of "Planet of the Dead" were the desert of Dubai was used for scenes on the "planet of the dead"; and the Queen's Gate Tunnel in Butetown, Cardiff was used for the majority of Earth-bound scenes. Filming for "The Waters of Mars" began on 23 February 2009. In late February, David Tennant, Duncan and other actors were seen filming in Victoria Place, Newport.[30] The filming took place on a city street, which the production team covered with artificial snow.[30][31] The glasshouse scenes were filmed in the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire.[32] The first location filming for The End of Time took place on Saturday, 21 March 2009 at a bookstore in Cardiff.[33] Jessica Hynes was filmed signing a book titled A Journal of Impossible Things, by Verity Newman.

"David owned that role in a spectacular way, gave it an all-new cheeky sexy performance and became a national treasure, so the idea that ‘Doctor Who’ could go on at all in the absence of David was a huge question. I didn't realise how many people thought it wouldn't succeed at all. That was quite terrifying when I found out about it later. It was Russell T Davies saying, 'You are not allowed to end it' [that kept it going]."

Steven Moffat

"Planet of the Dead" was the first Doctor Who episode shot in HD, with all subsequent episodes also being shot in HD.[34]

Steven Moffat stated in 2014 that Doctor Who could have ended in 2010 out of fear it would not succeed without Tennant.[35][36][37][38][39] Davies' successor as show runner, Steven Moffat asked Davies to write an episode or two every year he was executive producer of the show just as he had done every year of Davies' tenure as executive producer.[40][41][42]


DVD and Blu-ray releases[edit]

Episode name Number and duration
of episodes
R2 release date R4 release date R1 release date
Doctor Who: "The Next Doctor"
"The Next Doctor"
"Music of the Spheres" (as part of the 2008 Doctor Who Prom)
1 × 60 min.
1 × 7 min.
19 January 2009 5 March 2009 (DVD)
3 June 2010 (Blu-ray)
15 September 2009
Doctor Who: "Planet of the Dead"
"Planet of the Dead"
1 × 60 min. 29 June 2009
(DVD and Blu-ray)
2 July 2009 (DVD)
1 October 2009 (Blu-ray)
28 July 2009
(DVD and Blu-ray)
Doctor Who: 2009 Winter Specials
"The Waters of Mars"
The End of Time
2 × 60 min.
1 × 75 min.
11 January 2010 N/A N/A
Doctor Who: "The Waters of Mars"
"The Waters of Mars"
1 × 60 min. N/A 4 February 2010
(DVD and Blu-ray)
2 February 2010
(DVD and Blu-ray)
Doctor Who: The End of Time
The End of Time
1 × 60 min.
1 × 75 min.
N/A 4 March 2010
(DVD and Blu-ray)
2 February 2010
(DVD and Blu-ray)
Doctor Who: The Complete Specials
"The Next Doctor"
"Music of the Spheres" (as part of the 2008 Doctor Who Prom)
"Planet of the Dead"
"The Waters of Mars"
The End of Time
1 × 7 min.
4 × 60 min.
1 × 75 min.
11 January 2010
(DVD and Blu-ray)
1 July 2010 (DVD)
29 June 2010 (Blu-ray)
2 February 2010
(DVD and Blu-ray)
Doctor Who: Dreamland 1 × 12 min.
5 x 6 min.
1 February 2010 3 June 2010 5 October 2010


Selected pieces of score from these specials (from "The Next Doctor" to The End of Time), as composed by Murray Gold, were released on 4 October 2010 by Silva Screen Records.


  1. ^ a b "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "BBC NEWS - Health - Dr New - is this the next Doctor?". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "Brief Encounter With David Morrissey". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Robert Collins (16 December 2008). "Doctor Who: Velile Tshabalala". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Oliver Luft. "Doctor Who: Michelle Ryan to guest star in Easter special". the Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Andrew Pettie (11 April 2009). "Interview: Michelle Ryan on joining Doctor Who". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Lindsay Duncan to star in Doctor Who special following role as Margaret Thatcher". 19 February 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Billie Piper returns to Doctor Who to see David Tennant bow out in all-star show". Mail Online. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  9. ^ metrowebukmetro. "Freema set for Doctor Who return". Metro. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  10. ^ NathalieC. "The Inside Trekker". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  11. ^ Charlie Jane Anders. "Star Trek Comedy And Doctor Who Tragedy — Revealed!". io9. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  12. ^ Charlie Jane Anders. "Discover Both Ends Of The "Spectrum Of Spock." Plus The Doctor's Worst Nightmare.". io9. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Simm Returns as The Master in Doctor Who". WIRED. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Last script for the doctor". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "BBC NEWS - Entertainment - David Tennant quits as Doctor Who". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "David Tennant: Why I'm quitting Doctor Who". 29 October 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "David Tennant quits 'Doctor Who'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "Regenerate! Tennant to end stint as the Doctor". the Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  19. ^ metrowebukmetro. "Time I left Dr Who, says winning Tennant". Metro. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  20. ^ Anita Singh (29 October 2008). "David Tennant to quit Doctor Who". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  21. ^ "David Tennant Quits Doctor Who". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  22. ^ metrowebukmetro. "Doctor Who helmsman steps down from role". Metro. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  23. ^ mirror Administrator (20 May 2008). "Dr Who writer and producer Russell T Davies to quit". mirror. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  24. ^ "'Doctor Who’s given me the time of my life' - Russell T Davies on leaving Doctor Who". 18 December 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  25. ^ Ben Dowell. "Steven Moffat to replace Russell T Davies as Doctor Who lead writer and executive producer". the Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  26. ^ "David Morrissey to star in Doctor Who Christmas special featuring deadly Cybermen". Daily Mail (London). 22 April 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  27. ^ "David films 'Dr Who' Christmas special in 'snowy' Gloucester". Hello Magazine. 23 April 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  28. ^ David Deans (4 April 2008). "Cybermen invade Newport". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  29. ^ Hosts Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner (2008-12-25). "The Next Doctor". Doctor Who: The Commentaries. Series 1. Episode 14. BBC. BBC Radio 7. 
  30. ^ a b Lewis, Tim (2 March 2009). "Fans gather to see Doctor Who’s new assistant". Western Mail. Retrieved 8 April 2009. 
    Nicholls, Matt (1 March 2009). "Doctor Who teams up with award-winner Lindsay Duncan". Wales on Sunday. Retrieved 8 April 2009. 
  31. ^ "Walesarts, Victoria Place, Newport". BBC. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  32. ^ "National Botanic Garden of Wales : Doctor Who". Retrieved 2009-08-12. [dead link]
  33. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane (25 March 2009). "Your Spock/McCoy Snark Forecast". io9. Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  34. ^ "What to watch on TV this weekend". the Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  35. ^ "Doctor Who Could Have Ended With Tennant". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  36. ^ "Doctor Who could have ended when David Tennant left says Steven Moffat - Metro News". Metro. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  37. ^ "Doctor Who: David Tennant's departure left future of show in doubt, says Steven Moffat". The Independent. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  38. ^ "‘Doctor Who' Creator: ‘We Considered Ending The Show When David Tennant Left'". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  39. ^ "Doctor Who Almost Ended After David Tennant Left". Yahoo TV UK. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  40. ^ "Doctor Who: Steven Moffat on "getting nowhere" asking Russell T.Davies to return". Den of Geek. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  41. ^ "Russell T Davies turned down 'Doctor Who' return, says Steven Moffat". Digital Spy. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  42. ^ "A Series 8 Wish-list (Part 2)". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 

External links[edit]