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Doctor Who (series 4)

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Doctor Who (series 4)
Doctor Who Series 4.jpg
DVD box set cover art
Starring
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of stories 10
No. of episodes 13 (+1 supplemental)
Release
Original network BBC One
Original release 5 April (2008-04-05) – 5 July 2008 (2008-07-05)
Series chronology
← Previous
Series 3
List of Doctor Who episodes (2005–present)

The fourth series of British science fiction television programme Doctor Who was preceded by the 2007 Christmas special "Voyage of the Damned". Following the special, a regular series of thirteen episodes aired, starting with "Partners in Crime" on 5 April 2008 and ending with "Journey's End" three months later on 5 July 2008.

"Partners in Crime" marked the debut of Donna Noble, as played by Catherine Tate, as a full-time companion to the Tenth Doctor, after she first appeared in the 2006 Christmas special, "The Runaway Bride". Freema Agyeman also returns as the Doctor's companion Martha Jones from the previous series. John Barrowman, Elisabeth Sladen, Noel Clarke and Camille Coduri also returned to appear in the series finale, as well Billie Piper, who appeared as Rose Tyler in the three final episodes of the series.

The series started production on 8 August 2007 and concluded on 29 March 2008. A short Children in Need special titled "Time Crash" was also produced and before "Voyage of the Damned", as well as a mini-episode entitled "Music of the Spheres", which was premiered at the Doctor Who Prom after the fourth series finale in July 2008. The fourth series was the final full series to star David Tennant as the Doctor, and the last with lead writer and showrunner Russell T Davies, but they would both stay until 2010, following the 2008–2010 specials.

Episodes[edit]

StoryEpisodeTitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
UK viewers
(millions) [1]
AI [1]
Special
188"Voyage of the Damned"James StrongRussell T Davies25 December 2007 (2007-12-25)4X13.3186
The Tenth Doctor repairs the damage to the TARDIS from crashing into the Titanic, before landing on the ship. He discovers it's not the RMS Titanic, but instead a duplicate starliner. The Doctor meets waitress Astrid Peth, before joining an excursion to London. The Doctor notes that London seems abandoned, and questions newspaper seller Wilfred Mott about it. As part of businessman Max Capricorn's revenge plot after Max's board votes him out of his company, Captain Hardaker drops the vessel's shielding, causing meteors to be pulled toward the ship. The vessel begins plunging toward the Earth. Max has the Heavenly Host androids kill any survivors. The Doctor is stranded on board as the meteor strike causes the TARDIS to go overboard. The Host take the Doctor to Max Capricorn. Following the Doctor, Astrid uses a forklift to push Max into the ship's engine, seemingly killing herself too. Reaching the bridge, the Doctor uses the heat from the re-entry to restart and stabilise the ship. The Doctor retrieves Astrid's pattern from her teleport bracelet, before her ghostly remains dissipate into space. The Doctor and the excursion guide Mr Copper teleport to Earth to find the TARDIS unharmed.
Series
1891"Partners in Crime"James StrongRussell T Davies5 April 2008 (2008-04-05)4.19.1488
Donna Noble finds herself regretting declining the Doctor's invitation to travel in the TARDIS, and confides her regrets to her grandfather Wilfred. The Doctor and Donna, neither aware of the other's involvement, both investigate Adipose Industries, which is marketing a special diet pill. The pills use body fat to parthenogenetically create small white aliens called Adipose. The Doctor and Donna separately infiltrate Adipose Industries. As they explore the building, they encounter each other through opposite windows in an office. They are confronted by Miss Foster, an alien who is using Britain's population to create Adipose babies. Miss Foster catches them in an office, and the Doctor creates a diversion and escapes, so Miss Foster accelerates her plans. Throughout London, the Adipose begin to spawn and soon number several thousand. The Doctor and Donna prevent total parthenogenesis occurring, and the remainder of the young Adipose make their way to Adipose Industries. The Adiposian First Family arrive in a spaceship and begin collecting their young. The Doctor refrains from killing the young Adipose because they are children, to which Donna remarks that Martha Jones made him more human. Donna accepts the Doctor's offer to travel in the TARDIS.
1902"The Fires of Pompeii"Colin TeagueJames Moran12 April 2008 (2008-04-12)4.39.0487
The Doctor and Donna arrive in Pompeii one day before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79. They discover that the TARDIS was sold to sculptor Lobus Caecilius, and they search for it. At Caecilius's house, the Doctor and Donna meet the local augur, Lucius Petrus Dextrus, who has arrived to collect what resembles an oversized circuit board Caecilius has sculpted. The Doctor breaks into Lucius' house with Caecilius's son Quintus, and finds numerous circuit boards made by multiple sculptors without the others knowing. The Doctor deduces that the circuits will form an energy converter. The Doctor discovers that the Sibylline Sisterhood soothsayers are being slowly turned into stone creatures called Pyroviles. He escapes with Donna into the heart of Mount Vesuvius, and is faced with the choice of either erupting the volcano and killing Pompeii's inhabitants, or letting the Pyroviles use the converter to turn all of humanity into Pyroviles. The Doctor and Donna trigger the eruption and run for the TARDIS, leaving Caecilius and his family, but Donna begs him to go back and save them. The Doctor relents and saves Caecilius and his family, leaving them on a hill overlooking Pompeii.
1913"Planet of the Ood"Graeme HarperKeith Temple19 April 2008 (2008-04-19)4.27.5087
The Doctor and Donna land on the Ood's home planet, the Ood-Sphere. Outside, they find an injured Ood lying in the snow; his eyes turn red and he attacks. The Doctor and Donna find an industrial complex called Ood Operations, a company that has been selling the Ood as slaves across three galaxies. The "Red Eye" phenomenon has affected other Ood. A member of Friends of the Ood, Dr Ryder, infiltrates the company and lowers the settings on the force field which blocks the giant brain that telepathically connects all of the Ood. The Ood start a revolution. Halpen murders Dr Ryder, but transforms into an Ood because of his personal Ood, Ood Sigma, filling Halpen's hair tonic with "Ood graft suspended in a biological compound". Sigma promises to take care of Halpen. The Doctor shuts down the force-field, freeing the Ood. The Ood send a telepathic message across the galaxies so that the rest of the Ood can be brought back home.
192a4"The Sontaran Stratagem"Douglas MackinnonHelen Raynor26 April 2008 (2008-04-26)4.47.0687
Martha Jones calls the Doctor for assistance during an investigation by UNIT. Minutes after the TARDIS materialises, Martha authorises the raid of an ATMOS factory. ATMOS is marketing a satellite navigation system developed by young prodigy Luke Rattigan. The system also reduces carbon dioxide emissions to zero; UNIT requested the Doctor's help because the technology may be alien, and they are also concerned about 52 early simultaneous deaths that occurred spontaneously. The Doctor investigates the system at Rattigan's private school and discovers a plot by an alien warrior race known as the Sontarans. Instead of an outright invasion, they are taking control with a combination of human clones, mind control, and ATMOS; Martha is captured and cloned to provide a mole within UNIT. Donna returns home to her mother Sylvia and grandfather Wilfred. The Doctor investigates the ATMOS devices and discovers it can emit a poisonous gas. Wilfred attempts to take the car off the road, but is trapped when all 400 million ATMOS devices installed in cars worldwide are activated. The Doctor stares helplessly at a street full of cars emitting the gas, while the Sontarans prepare themselves for battle.
192b5"The Poison Sky"Douglas MackinnonHelen Raynor3 May 2008 (2008-05-03)4.56.5388
Sylvia frees Wilfred. The Doctor and Donna return to the ATMOS factory, where the Doctor warns UNIT not to engage the Sontarans. The Doctor tells Donna to stay in the TARDIS, but the Sontarans teleport the TARDIS aboard their ship. The Doctor learns from General Staal that the gas is being used to convert Earth into a breeding world for the Sontarans. The Sontarans defeat UNIT at the factory and take it over. UNIT manages a counterattack. Finding the TARDIS missing, the Doctor tells Donna to re-engage the teleport pods. The Doctor enters the factory and awakens the real Martha. The Doctor tells Donna how to use the pods and teleport the TARDIS to Earth. The Doctor constructs an atmospheric converter at Rattigan’s academy, which harmlessly ignites the gas and ends the threat. He calibrates the converter so it can ignite the Sontarans on board their ship, and teleports on board. The Doctor offers Staal the chance to retreat, but Staal encourages him to destroy them. Rattigan switches places with the Doctor, sacrificing himself to destroy the Sontarans. Martha is trapped on the TARDIS when it takes flight on its own.
1936"The Doctor's Daughter"Alice TroughtonStephen Greenhorn10 May 2008 (2008-05-10)4.67.3388
The TARDIS takes the Doctor, Martha, and Donna to the planet Messaline. They are met by soldiers working for General Cobb. The soldiers force the Doctor into a progenation machine, which uses his DNA to generate a soldier who becomes the Doctor's daughter. The other occupants of the planet, the Hath, attack, taking Martha hostage. The Doctor and Donna are taken to see Cobb, and Donna names the Doctor's daughter "Jenny". Elsewhere, Martha tends to an injured Hath, and they take her back to their command center. The General explains that they were meant to live with the Hath, but a dispute arose over "the Source". The Doctor and Martha both inadvertently reveals its location to Cobb, and the two sides prepare for battle. Cobb imprisons them when they refuse to battle, but Jenny helps them escape. The Source turns out to be a terraforming device. Martha makes her way to the Source, and reunites with the Doctor and Donna. The Doctor releases the terraforming agent, and Cobb tries to shoot the Doctor, but Jenny takes the bullet to the chest and dies. Later, Jenny revives and commandeers a rocket to leave the planet.
1947"The Unicorn and the Wasp"Graeme HarperGareth Roberts17 May 2008 (2008-05-17)4.78.4186
The Doctor lands the TARDIS in Surrey, England in 1926. He and Donna attend a dinner party, hosted by Clemency Eddison and Hugh Curbishley, where one of the guests is Agatha Christie. The Doctor realises that they have arrived when she inexplicably disappears. One of the guests is found dead and with Agatha, they conclude that the murderer is an alien in human form. While searching a room, Donna is attacked by a gigantic wasp. When they regroup in the study, the Doctor identifies the alien as a Vespiform. After the Doctor adds pepper to the dinner meal, using its piperine as an insecticide, he reassembles the guests. Years ago, Lady Eddison become impregnated by another Vespiform, which gave her a necklace before he died. It links her with their child, revealed to be Reverend Golightly, who transforms into the Vespiform. Agatha lures him towards the Silent Pool. Donna throws the necklace into the water, and the wasp dives after it and drown. Agatha suffers as the wasp dies, but he severs its link with her. This becomes the event that gave her the amnesia during her disappearance, and the Doctor returns her to the Harrogate Hotel.
195a8"Silence in the Library"Euros LynSteven Moffat31 May 2008 (2008-05-31)4.96.2789
A young girl is visited by psychiatrist Dr. Moon, and becomes upset when the Doctor and Donna burst into her imaginative library. The Doctor and Donna are in the 51st century on a planet-sized library, but they find it empty. The Doctor searches for information and is told that trillions of life signs are present. A team of explorers led by River Song arrives, and River acts like she knows the Doctor. She reveals to him that he is the youngest version of him she has met. The Library's operation system appears to be connected to the mind of the girl living in 21st-century Earth. Dr. Moon visits the girl, telling her that the library is actually real, and he implores her to save the people in the library. Evangelista, Lux's secretary, is attacked and killed. The Doctor explains that they are surrounded by Vashta Nerada, creatures that appear as shadows. The team notices that their pilot has two shadows; the Vashta Nerada kill him too. The creatures use Dave's suit to chase the others. The Doctor teleports Donna back to the TARDIS, but the teleport fails. The Doctor later finds an information node with Donna's face.
195b9"Forest of the Dead"Euros LynSteven Moffat7 June 2008 (2008-06-07)4.107.8489
The Doctor, River, Lux, and the remainder of their team flee the Vashta Nerada. Lux explains that the Library was constructed by his grandfather, who had a giant computer constructed at Library's core to preserve Charlotte's mind, Lux's grandmother; the computer represents Charlotte's mind, struggling after "saving" the thousands of patrons' consciousnesses she transferred to the computer. Within the simulation, a trapped Donna is introduced to Lee by Dr. Moon, whom she marries and raises two children. Aware that something is wrong, Donna is alerted to its computerized nature by Miss Evangelista. The Doctor, River and the others descend to the core. The Doctor prepares to hook himself to the computer terminal, but River takes his place. The Doctor tries to stop her, but River insists that his death now would prevent her meeting him in her own past. As River initiates the connection, the patrons stored inside the computer re-materialise in the Library. The Doctor and Donna leave behind River's diary and sonic screwdriver, but the Doctor finds a data recorder inside the mechanism which has preserved River's data ghost, and he uploads her pattern, upon which River wakes up in the simulation.
19610"Midnight"Alice TroughtonRussell T Davies14 June 2008 (2008-06-14)4.88.0586
The Doctor and Donna visit the resort planet Midnight, the surface of which is bathed in lethal radiation. The Doctor plans to take a shuttle tour to visit a waterfall made of sapphires, and decides to take the trip with other tour-goers. Mid-route, the shuttle stops; the Doctor joins the pilot and mechanic in the cockpit and see all systems appear operational, but they are simply not moving. The pilot calls in for a rescue shuttle. The Doctor returns to the cabin, before knocking begins on the sides of the shuttle. After the lights go out, the hostess finds the cockpit has been ripped out. Sky begins repeating what the Doctor and passengers are saying. Sky starts to only repeat what the Doctor says, and soon is speaking simultaneously with him, and eventually starts saying things before the Doctor repeats them. While most of the other passengers begin to sacrifice the Doctor, believing him to now be possessed, the hostess begins to believe in the Doctor. The hostess grabs Sky and sacrifices herself by pulling the two of them into the radiation. The Doctor returns to normal, and the shuttle passengers are rescued and returned to the resort.
19711"Turn Left"Graeme HarperRussell T Davies21 June 2008 (2008-06-21)4.118.0988
On the planet Shan Shen, a fortune teller approaches Donna, who helps Donna recall meeting the Doctor. Donna remembers she was driving to get a new job, and Donna turned left instead of right to get a temp position. When the fortune teller convinces Donna to turn right instead, a large beetle attaches itself to her back. Donna's decision creates an alternate reality, where Donna never met the Doctor, so the Doctor drowned after killing the Racnoss children. Sarah Jane Smith and Martha Jones die, as do sixty million people in the United States from the Adipose. The spaceliner Titanic crashes into Buckingham Palace, killing millions in London's destruction. Rose Tyler appears to warn Donna, which saves Donna and her family. Rose insists that Donna travel back and turn left. Donna is transported back, and is hit by a passing truck, creating a traffic jam that causes her past self to turn left. As Donna dies, Rose whispers a message to her. The alternate universe disappears. The Doctor hears Donna scream and after examining the beetle, the Doctor's remarks cause Donna to recall Rose's message: "Bad Wolf". He announces that the universe is in danger.
198a12"The Stolen Earth"Graeme HarperRussell T Davies28 June 2008 (2008-06-28)4.128.7891
The Earth is teleported away shortly after the Doctor and Donna arrive to investigate Rose Tyler's warning. The Doctor contacts the Shadow Proclamation to find Earth. They determine twenty-seven missing planets automatically reorganise into a specific pattern when placed near each other. The Doctor traces the planets to the Medusa Cascade, an inter-universal rift. A Dalek force, led by their creator Davros, quickly subjugate Earth. Davros, alive after the Time War, was saved by Dalek Caan, who become precognitive at the cost of his sanity. The Doctor's former companions Captain Jack Harkness, Martha Jones, Sarah Jane Smith, and Rose Tyler hide in various places. They are all contacted by former Prime Minister Harriet Jones through a secret "Subwave Network". They attempt to reach the Doctor by amplifying the sub-wave signal. The Doctor receives the transmission and traces the signal: the Doctor is able to locate Earth in a pocket universe. Davros hijacks the signal and taunts the Doctor, and the Doctor breaks communication. The Doctor lands on the same street as Rose, but is shot by a Dalek. Carried into the TARDIS, the Doctor begins to regenerate.
198b13"Journey's End"Graeme HarperRussell T Davies5 July 2008 (2008-07-05)4.1310.5791
The Doctor is regenerating, and part-way through the process, he halts the transformation by transferring the remaining energy into his severed hand. The TARDIS is transported to the flagship. The Doctor, Jack Harkness and Rose Tyler leave the TARDIS, but Donna is locked in. The Dalek Supreme orders the TARDIS to be destroyed. Donna causes a reaction with the Doctor's severed hand, which grows into a full body, forming a new cloned Doctor. Davros explains the compression field from the planets can cancel the electrical energy of atoms to destroy every universe. Davros prepares to detonate the reality bomb, before the clone Doctor arrives and tries to refocus the bomb, but fails. Donna becomes imbued with Time Lord knowledge from the clone Doctor, and she disables the bomb. She and the two Doctors relocate the missing planets. The new Doctor destroys the Daleks and the Crucible; Davros is apparently killed. The companions "tow" the Earth back into its original orbit with the TARDIS. The Doctor returns Rose to her universe, and sends the cloned Doctor with her. Donna's mind becomes overwhelmed by the Time Lord knowledge; the Doctor is forced to wipe her mind, and returns her home.

Supplemental episode[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
UK viewers
(millions)
1"Time Crash"Graeme HarperSteven Moffat16 November 2007 (2007-11-16)CIN211.0[2]
After the Doctor parts ways with Martha, he tries taking off, only for the TARDIS to spin wildly and sound an alarm. Checking out the systems, the Doctor passes his fifth incarnation doing the same thing. The Tenth Doctor recognises his past self and is overjoyed to see him, gently poking fun at his particular eccentricities; he also explains that his presence has "shortened out the time differential" between himself and his past incarnation, resulting in the latter gaining an uncharacteristic older physical appearance. The Fifth Doctor is annoyed, believing his counterpart to be a fan who has broken into the TARDIS. The Fifth Doctor discovers that two TARDISes have merged, a paradox that will cause a massive black hole. The Tenth Doctor counters it with a supernova, a solution he remembers seeing himself perform in this same incident; the Fifth Doctor realises that the Tenth really is his future self. The Tenth reminisces as the Fifth begins to fade into a separate timeline. The two Doctors say goodbye. As the time streams split, the Fifth Doctor warns the Tenth to put his shields up, but the Titanic collides with the TARDIS.

Casting[edit]

Main characters[edit]

After appearing in "The Runaway Bride" as a one off companion, Donna Noble became the Doctor's companion for series 4.

The fourth series marked David Tennant's third and final full series as the Doctor, although he continued in the role for the 2008–2010 specials.[3] In the Christmas special, Australian actress and singer Kylie Minogue starred as one-time companion Astrid Peth, who died during the events of the episode.[4] The companions in the regular series had all been in the lead companion role previously: the primary role of Donna Noble, who was introduced in "The Runaway Bride", was played by Catherine Tate for all thirteen episodes.[3] Her return was announced by the BBC on 3 July 2007.[5] Freema Agyeman, who portrayed the Doctor's companion Martha Jones in series three, returned for "The Sontaran Stratagem",[6] "The Poison Sky",[7] "The Doctor's Daughter",[8] "The Stolen Earth"[9] and "Journey's End".[10] Billie Piper, who played Rose Tyler from the first episode of the new series to the finale of the second series appeared in the three final episodes of the series.[11][9][10] She made brief appearances in the episodes "Partners in Crime",[3] "The Poison Sky"[7] and "Midnight".[12] Her return had been planned by Davies since her departure in 2006, and was officially announced on 27 November 2007.[13][14][15] John Barrowman, Elisabeth Sladen, Noel Clarke and Camille Coduri, who portrayed previous companions Jack Harkness, Sarah Jane Smith, Mickey Smith and Jackie Tyler respectively, also reappeared in the finale.[9][10]

Guest stars[edit]

Recurring guest stars for the series included Bernard Cribbins and Jacqueline King as Donna's grandfather Wilfred Mott and mother Sylvia Noble.[6][7] Penelope Wilton returned as shamed former Prime Minister Harriet Jones in "The Stolen Earth", her first appearance since "The Christmas Invasion".[9] Noel Clarke and Camille Coduri reprised their roles as Mickey Smith and Jackie Tyler in "Journey's End".[10] Adjoa Andoh returned as Martha Jones' mother Francine in the finale.[10] Eve Myles, Gareth David-Lloyd and Tommy Knight also starred in the finale in their respective roles of Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones and Luke Smith from spin-off series Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.[10] This marked their first appearances in Doctor Who itself, although Eve Myles had previously featured in "The Unquiet Dead" as a direct ancestor of Gwen called Gwyneth.[16]

The fourth series featured a large number of high-profile stars such as Kylie Minogue (Astrid Peth in "Voyage of the Damned"),[4] Alex Kingston and Steve Pemberton (River Song and Strackman Lux respectively in "Silence in the Library" / "Forest of the Dead"),[17][18] Sarah Lancashire (Miss Foster in "Partners in Crime"),[3] and Phil Davis and Peter Capaldi (Lucius and Caecillus respectively in "The Fires of Pompeii").[19][20] Other guest stars included Sasha Behar,[20] Tim McInnerny,[21] Colin Morgan,[12] Christopher Ryan,[6] Georgia Moffett (daughter of Fifth Doctor actor Peter Davison and current wife of David Tennant),[8] Nigel Terry,[8] Felicity Kendal,[22] Fenella Woolgar,[22] Colin Salmon,[17] Lesley Sharp,[12] Lindsey Coulson,[12] David Troughton (son of Second Doctor actor Patrick Troughton),[12] and Chipo Chung (who had previously portrayed Chantho in "Utopia").[23][24] Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and Paul O'Grady made cameo appearances as themselves in "The Stolen Earth".[25][26]

Production[edit]

The Doctor Who title card for series 4, identical to that used in series 3.

Development[edit]

All of the episode titles were revealed in the 5 April 2008 issue of the Radio Times, except the title of the twelfth, which was "being kept secret as it gives away too much."[27] The article also identified the title of episode 9 as "River's Run", as did the press release for the subsequent issue of Doctor Who Magazine, but this was changed a few days afterwards to "Forest of the Dead". The title of episode 12 was eventually revealed in a press release as "The Stolen Earth".[28] A Children in Need special, entitled "Time Crash", was produced alongside the series and was broadcast on 16 November 2007. In addition, a mini-episode entitled "Music of the Spheres" was shot on 3 May 2008[29] for series 4 and was premiered at the Doctor Who Prom on 27 July 2008, with the audio being broadcast simultaneously on BBC Radio 3. It was then broadcast on BBC One on New Year's Day 2009.

"You've got to watch and listen closely. It's been seeded for a long time, with small but vital references going all the way back to series One."

Russell T Davies[30]

Like the previous three series, all of the episodes are bound together in a loose story arc. In previous series, the story arcs were in the form of an arc word, such as Bad Wolf, Torchwood, or Mr Saxon, but the arc for the fourth series is cumulative: Doctor Who Magazine's preview of "Partners in Crime" described the arc as "an element from every episode–whether it's a person, a phrase, a question, a planet, or a mystery –builds up to the grand finale". Multiple mentions were made about the bees disappearing from planet Earth and stories driven by a missing or lost planet. Executive producer Russell T Davies stated in the same feature that the series' finale had been planned for three years previous to its airdate.[30] The regular series focuses heavily on Donna: David Tennant stated that the "whole thirteen weeks is Donna's story ... why she's with the Doctor again is the subtext",[31] and producer Phil Collinson cited Donna as a "fresh dynamic" for the fourth series.[32]

Writing[edit]

Doctor Who Magazine gradually revealed writers for the series alongside episode announcements. First-time writers for the programme included James Moran, co-writer of the 2006 horror film Severance,[20] and Keith Temple, who had written episodes of Byker Grove and Casualty.[21] Previous writers Gareth Roberts,[22] Stephen Greenhorn,[8] Helen Raynor[6] and Steven Moffat[17] all contributed to the series, with Russell T Davies continuing to act as head writer and executive producer.[3] Tom MacRae had written an episode for this series, entitled "Century House",[33] but this was replaced after Russell T Davies decided that it was too close in tone to Gareth Roberts' "The Unicorn and the Wasp".[34] This was Phil Collinson's last series as producer,[35] as well as Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner's last full series as executive producers, all having worked on the programme since its return.[36][37] Susie Liggat produced five episodes (blocks 2, 5 and 7),[21][6][7][22][11] as she did in series 3 with "Human Nature" / "The Family of Blood".[38][39]

Filming[edit]

Doctor Who had been recommissioned for a fourth series in March 2007,[40] shortly before the broadcast of the third series. The production schedule called for 15 full episodes to be produced, rather than the usual 14, due to the announcement that the next full series of Doctor Who would not air until 2010. This schedule meant that the programme would be unable to enter production during the second half of 2008. The 15 episodes consisted of 13 regular episodes and two Christmas specials. Recording for the 2007 Christmas special began on 9 July 2007,[41] with production on the series itself beginning on 8 August 2007[42] and concluding on 29 March 2008.[43] The tenth production block — consisting of 2008 Christmas special "The Next Doctor" and the BBC Proms "cutaway" scene "Music of the Spheres" — completed recording on 3 May.[29]

Production blocks were arranged as follows:[44]

Block Episode Title Director Writer Producer Code
1 "Voyage of the Damned" James Strong Russell T Davies Phil Collinson 4X
2 "The Unicorn and the Wasp"
"Planet of the Ood"
Graeme Harper Gareth Roberts
Keith Temple
Susie Liggat 4.7
4.2
3 "The Fires of Pompeii" Colin Teague James Moran Phil Collinson 4.3
4 "Partners in Crime"
"Time Crash"
James Strong
Graeme Harper
Russell T Davies
Steven Moffat
Phil Collinson 4.1
CIN2
5 "The Sontaran Stratagem"
"The Poison Sky"
Douglas Mackinnon Helen Raynor Susie Liggat 4.4
4.5
6 "The Doctor's Daughter"
"Midnight"
Alice Troughton Stephen Greenhorn
Russell T Davies
Phil Collinson 4.6
4.8
7 "Turn Left" Graeme Harper Russell T Davies Susie Liggat 4.11
8 "Silence in the Library"
"Forest of the Dead"
Euros Lyn Steven Moffat Phil Collinson 4.9
4.10
9 "The Stolen Earth"
"Journey's End"
Graeme Harper Russell T Davies Phil Collinson 4.12
4.13
10 "The Next Doctor"
"Music of the Spheres"
Andy Goddard
Euros Lyn
Russell T Davies Susie Liggat
Catrin Lewis Defis
4.14

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The fourth series received positive reviews from critics. The series is considered among critics as one of the greatest of the revived era of the programme, as the series saw the revived era at its peak in popularity, with the term "Doctor Who fever" being coined alongside this series.[45] The series finale "The Stolen Earth" / "Journey's End" received an Appreciation Index score of 91, the highest ever for an episode of Doctor Who and one of the highest ever given to a television programme.[46] A poll conducted by Radio Times in 2015 found that readers voted the fourth series finale as the greatest finale of the programme.[47]

Ben Rawson-Jones of Digital Spy gave the series four out of five stats, stating that "a winning mixture of elation and poignancy ensured that the season achieved a great tonal balance where neither light nor dark was allowed to fully overwhelm the other". He praised Tate's performance, by saying of the series that "at the core was Catherine Tate's excellent performance as Donna Noble, a refreshing contrast to the effervescent spirits of Rose and Martha". He also praised the tone of the series, stating that "Russell T. Davies deserves great praise for assembling such a diverse range of stories". However, Rawson-Jones was critical of certain monsters lacking "menace"; he named the Sontarans as an example and stated that the execution of UNIT "was a genuine letdown".[48]

Den of Geek gave an overwhelmingly positive review of the series, giving it four stars out of five, believing it to be the most consistent series of the revived era so far, and of the programme as a whole. They praised the special effects, citing "The Fires of Pompeii", "Planet of the Ood" and the finale as "the epitome of what The Mill can do". Den of Geek further praised the acting talents of David Tennant and Catherine Tate, saying "never have we had it so good... she [Tate] displayed such a fine grasp of character that even David Tennant was left slightly in the shade by her energetic, thoughtful, hopeful and achingly sorrowful (not to mention damn funny to boot) performance". However, they also criticised the familiarity of the Sontaran two-parter and the hollowness of "Voyage of the Damned". Overall, Den of Geek summarized the series as "astonishing", stating that "series four was never anything less than stunning, there were no 'lows' it was all 'highs'".[49]

David Cornelius of DVD Talk stated that "It's the best season yet...every episode in this season is a highlight". He too praised Tate's performance, declaring her as "the new series' best companion yet." Cornelius went on to state that Davies' and Tennant's final series was the series "we'll always remember as the year Davies and Tennant went out on top". He further praised the cast and crew as a whole, complimenting "the excellent guest stars, the impressive set designs, the sharp direction and the detailed creature makeup". Overall, Cornelius summarized that "the fourth season of Doctor Who is outstanding television...and a monumental work of storytelling".[50]

Travis Fickett of IGN gave the series a rating of 7.5 out of 10. Summarizing the series, he stated that "Overall, this season is a mixed bag. I enjoyed Donna more than Martha and less than Rose. It was a let down to see the Daleks as the villains yet again, especially after the terrific appearance by The Master. The Sontarans were original and fun, but nothing to write home about." Fickett stated that Moffat's episodes, "Silence in the Library" / "Forest of the Dead", and Davies' episodes, "Midnight" and "Turn Left", were the highlights of the series.[51]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
2008 Constellation Awards Best Science Fiction Television Series of 2008 Doctor Who Won [52]
Best Male Performance in a 2008 Science Fiction Television Episode David Tennant for "Midnight" Nominated [52]
Best Female Performance in a 2008 Science Fiction Television Episode Catherine Tate for "Turn Left" Won [52]
Best Overall 2008 Science Fiction Film or Television Script Steven Moffat for "Silence in the Library" Won [52]
Edinburgh International Television Festival Award Best Programme of the Year Doctor Who Won [53]
National Television Awards Outstanding Drama Performance David Tennant Won [54]
Catherine Tate Nominated [54]
RTS Television Awards Best Drama Series Doctor Who Nominated [55]
Best Actor-Male David Tennant Nominated [55]
Best Sound-Drama Julian Howarth, Tim Ricketts, Paul McFadden and Paul Jefferies for "Midnight" Won [55]
Satellite Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama David Tennant Nominated [56]
Scream Awards Best Science Fiction Actor David Tennant Nominated [57]
SFX Awards Best TV Show Doctor Who Won [58]
Best TV Episode Graeme Harper and Russell T. Davies for "The Stolen Earth" / "Journey's End" Won [58]
Best TV Actor and Actress David Tennant and Catherine Tate Won [58]
TV Quick Awards Best Loved Drama Doctor Who Won [59]
Best Actor and Actress Tennant and Tate Won [59]
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Broadcast Program or Commercial Simon Wicker, Charlie Bennett, Tim Barter, Arianna Lago for "Silence in the Library" Won [60]
2009 BAFTA Cymru Awards Best Drama Series/Serial Doctor Who Nominated [61]
Best Director – Drama Euros Lyn for "Silence in the Library" Won [61]
Best Screenwriter Russell T. Davies for "Midnight" Won [61]
Best Original Music Soundtrack Doctor Who Nominated [61]
Best Sound Julian Howarth, Tim Ricketts, Paul McFadden and Paul Jefferies for Midnight Won [61]
Best Director of Photography – Drama Rory Taylor for "Silence in the Library" Nominated [61]
Best Make-Up Barbara Southcott for "The Next Doctor" Nominated [61]
Best Editor Phillip Kloss for "The Next Midnight" Nominated [61]
British Academy Television Awards Best Drama Series Doctor Who Nominated [62]
British Academy Television Craft Awards Best Writer Russell T. Davies for "Midnight" Nominated [63]
Best Editing Fiction/Entertainment Philip Kloss Won [63]
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Actor David Tennant Nominated [64]
Hugo Awards Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation "Silence in the Library" / "Forest of the Dead" and "Turn Left" Nominated [65]

Release[edit]

Promotion[edit]

On 1 February 2008, the BBC announced that, in a partnership with Carlton Screen Advertising, a 90-second film trailer of the fourth series would be shown in cinemas across Britain "before the most anticipated new releases".[66] The trailer was aired on British television on 22 March 2008.[67] As with the third series and every series subsequently, the stars of the programme and production crew attended a premiere in central London where the first two episodes of the series were screened.[68]

Broadcast[edit]

The fourth series premiered on 5 April 2008 with "Partners in Crime", and concluded after 13 episodes on 5 July 2008 with "Journey's End".[69] Doctor Who Confidential also aired alongside each episode of the series, continuing on from the previous series.[70]

DVD and Blu-ray releases[edit]

Series Episode name Number and duration
of episodes
R2/B release date R4/B release date R1/A release date
4 Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned
"Time Crash"
"Voyage of the Damned"
1 × 8 min.
1 × 72 min.
10 March 2008[71] 1 July 2008[72] N/A
Doctor Who: Series 4, Volume 1
"Partners in Crime"
"The Fires of Pompeii"
"Planet of the Ood"
2 × 50 min.
1 × 45 min.
2 June 2008[73] 7 August 2008[74] N/A
Doctor Who: Series 4, Volume 2
"The Sontaran Stratagem" / "The Poison Sky"
"The Doctor's Daughter"
"The Unicorn and the Wasp"
4 × 45 min. 7 July 2008[75] 4 September 2008[76] N/A
Doctor Who: Series 4, Volume 3
"Silence in the Library" / "Forest of the Dead"
"Midnight"
3 × 45 min. 4 August 2008[77] 2 October 2008[78] N/A
Doctor Who: Series 4, Volume 4
"Turn Left"
"The Stolen Earth" / "Journey's End"
1 × 50 min.
1 × 45 min.
1 × 65 min.
1 September 2008[79] 6 November 2008[80] N/A
Doctor Who: The Complete Fourth Series 1 × 8 min.
1 × 72 min.
9 × 45 min.
3 × 50 min.
1 × 65 min.
17 November 2008 (D) [81]
4 December 2013 (Blu-ray box set)[82]
31 August 2015 (B) [83]
4 December 2008 (D) [84]
4 December 2013 (B) [85]
18 November 2008 (D) [86]
5 November 2013 (Blu-ray box set)[82]
[87]
Doctor Who: Series 4, Part 1
"Voyage of the Damned"
"Partners in Crime"
"The Fires of Pompeii"
"Planet of the Ood"
"The Sontaran Stratagem" / "The Poison Sky"
"The Doctor's Daughter"
1 × 72 min.
2 × 50 min.
4 × 45 min.
N/A N/A 5 August 2014[88]
Doctor Who: Series 4, Part 2
"The Unicorn and the Wasp"
"Silence in the Library" / "Forest of the Dead"
"Midnight"
"Turn Left"
"The Stolen Earth" / "Journey's End"
5 × 45 min.
1 × 50 min.
1 × 65 min.
N/A N/A 2 September 2014[89]
2, 3, 4,
2008–2010 Specials
Doctor Who: The Complete David Tennant Years 5 × 6 min, 2 × 7 min,
1 × 8 min, 1 × 12 min,
35 × 45 min, 4 × 50 min,
6 × 60 min, 1 × 65 min,
1 × 72 min, 1 × 75 min.
10 November 2014[90] N/A 11 October 2011[91]

Soundtrack[edit]

Selected pieces of score from this series (from "Voyage of the Damned" to "Journey's End"), as composed by Murray Gold, were released on 17 November 2008 by Silva Screen Records.[92] 27 tracks were released on a single CD, with a total length of 76 minutes, 27 seconds.[93]

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External links[edit]