New Earth (Doctor Who)
|168 – "New Earth"|
|Doctor Who episode|
The Doctor and Rose arrive on New Earth.
|Directed by||James Hawes|
|Written by||Russell T Davies|
|Script editor||Simon Winstone|
|Produced by||Phil Collinson|
|Executive producer(s)||Russell T Davies
|Incidental music composer||Murray Gold|
|Originally broadcast||15 April 2006|
"New Earth" is the first episode of the second series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, first broadcast on 15 April 2006. It is a sequel to the first series episode "The End of the World", and brings back its villain who was thought to be destroyed, Lady Cassandra, as well as the mysterious Face of Boe. In the year five billion and twenty-three, after the destruction of Earth in "The End of the World", the Doctor and Rose arrive on the New Earth and enter a hospital run by half-alien cat-like nuns called the Sisters of Plenitude, who have been hiding a gruesome secret.
The Doctor takes Rose to the farthest point he's ever taken her, to the year five billion and twenty-three in the M87 galaxy. After the destruction of the Earth, humanity settled onto a world they named "New Earth". The Doctor is summoned to Ward 26 in a hospital in New New York through his psychic paper. In the Ward, the Doctor meets several humanoid feline nuns of the Sisters of Plenitude who are overseeing the patients. The patients catch the attention of the Doctor because they all have incurable maladies but are somehow being cured by the Sisters. The Doctor recognises the Face of Boe, who sent the message the Doctor received. Meanwhile, Rose is separated from the Doctor and brought to the basement, where she is escorted by Chip to meet Lady Cassandra. Chip has been using the hospital facility to care for Cassandra, but she is suspicious of the methods used in the hospital and needs Rose's help to investigate. Rose is tricked into stepping into a psychograft, a machine that allows Cassandra to implant her mind into Rose's body possessing her. Examining her new appearance, Cassandra is initially disgusted by Rose's "Chav" outfit but soon decides she is attractive enough. She is able to access Rose's thoughts and learns of the Doctor's new form.
The Doctor is suspicious of Cassandra/Rose's actions after she kisses him and displays knowledge of advanced computer systems. He and Cassandra/Rose discover that the hospital houses thousands of pods containing artificially grown humans what is supposedly the hospital's intensive care unit. The artificial humans are forcibly infected with every disease in the galaxy so that the Sisters can discover the cures. The Doctor confronts the Sisters over their atrocity, and they insist it was necessary to deal with the influx of settlers and the diseases they brought with them. They also insist that they are simply flesh due to their origins, without any actual life. The Doctor believes that Rose's current actions are a result of being a test subject and orders her affliction to be reversed, but Cassandra/Rose uses a perfume gas hidden in her cleavage to knock the Doctor out, locking him in a pod. Cassandra/Rose then approaches the head Sister and demands payment in exchange for keeping the human test subjects secret. The Sisters refuse, and Cassandra/Rose releases the Doctor and some of the humans as a distraction. The infected humans release others from their pods and soon a zombie-like attack begins, with those infected trying to attack others in the hospital.
A quarantine is ordered, and the Doctor, Cassandra/Rose, and the remaining Sisters try to flee the lower levels. Cassandra is able to jump her mind between other bodies, including one of the infected humans, and learns that the infected humans feel a strong sense of loneliness of not being able to touch or be touched. Eventually, the Doctor and Cassandra/Rose reach Ward 26 and grab all the intravenous medical solutions, emptying them into a disinfectant shower. They are able to spray the mixture onto a group of the infected humans, who within moments become cured of their diseases. The Doctor encourages them to go and spread the cure to the other infected people, and soon the attack is over. The police arrest the surviving Sisters, while the Face of Boe tells the Doctor that the message for him can wait until they meet for the third and final time.
The Doctor orders Cassandra out of Rose's body. Cassandra doesn't want to die, and Chip volunteers to accept her consciousness. Chip's cloned body begins to fail, and Cassandra finally accepts her impending true death. The Doctor decides to do one last thing for Cassandra and takes her back to see herself on the last night someone had called her beautiful. Cassandra/Chip approaches the Lady Cassandra at a party and tells that she is beautiful before collapsing and dying in the younger Cassandra's arms. As Cassandra finally dies, the Doctor and Rose silently leave in the TARDIS.
This episode is set twenty-three years after the events of the 2005 episode "The End of the World", and thirty years prior to the events of the 2007 episode "Gridlock". Originally, Davies intended the Face of Boe to impart his message upon the Doctor in this episode; when he discovered that a third series was definitely to occur, Davies quickly decided to delay Boe's message for a year.
The ailment that the Duke of Manhattan is dying from, Petrifold Regression — a disease that turns its victims to stone — is also mentioned in the New Series Adventures novel The Stone Rose by Jacqueline Rayner.
According to Russell T Davies on the episode commentary, Cassandra's earlier self bases Chip on the man who had praised her beauty at the party — Chip himself. Where the "pattern" for Chip comes from in the first instance is thus unclear, creating an ontological paradox.
Also in the commentary, Tennant noted that the TARDIS has moved since "The Christmas Invasion". He speculates that there might have been many off-screen adventures, or (observing that it no longer seems like Christmas in the introduction) perhaps that the Doctor "lived there for a bit".
The exterior scenes on New Earth were shot at Worm's Head on the Gower Peninsula on 26 September 2005. The hospital basement scenes were recorded at Tredegar House in Newport. The location for the pods containing the human specimens was a disused paper mill previously used as the base of the Nestene Consciousness in "Rose". The hospital scenes were filmed inside the Wales Millennium Centre. When the Doctor asks about the shop and points to where he would put it, he points to the location of the centre's own Portmeirion shop. The nightclub the Doctor and Rose take Cassandra (as Chip) to at the end was filmed at the restaurant Ba Orient in Cardiff Bay. As it was filmed during the day, the building was covered with black drapes. The exterior shots of the lift car as Rose descends to the basement are reused footage from "Rose". Cassandra's face and body was put in during post-production by The Mill.
The producer's and director's credits have been amended slightly since "The Christmas Invasion", so that now the credit is in lower case and the name of the crewmember is in capitals. This was the result of a suggestion from a Doctor Who Magazine editor, who felt the previous arrangement had made the job seem more important than the crewmember.
Adjoa Andoh returned to Doctor Who in five episodes of Series 3 and the final two episodes of Series 4, as Francine Jones, mother of Martha Jones. She also played Nurse Albertine in the audio play Year of the Pig.
Cassandra uses the UK slang term chav, although she is unable to mimic Rose's accent properly, instead making attempts at Cockney rhyming slang. Rose refers to Cassandra as "Michael Jackson" as she did in "The End of the World". She refers to Chip as "Gollum".
Broadcast and reception
Overnight ratings for the episode peaked at 8.3 million viewers in the UK, with a final rating of 8.62 million, making it the ninth most watched programme of the week. The episode achieved an audience Appreciation Index of 85. This is the first Doctor Who episode to have an accompanying TARDISODE.
The Canadian English-language premiere of Series 2 on CBC, consisting of this episode, took place on 9 October 2006. It concluded with an extended version of the "Tooth and Claw" trailer from the BBC broadcast; the revised closing theme was not heard in the broadcast and it was also the first episode to be broadcast without a specially taped introduction featuring one of the lead actors. The episode had previously aired on 29 August 2006 in translation on the French-language broadcaster Ztélé, under the title Une nouvelle Terre.
This episode was released together with "The Christmas Invasion" as a basic DVD with no special features on 1 May 2006, and as part of a second series boxset on 20 November 2006. *Copies of the DVD from the complete Series 2 set distributed to Netflix customers contained an error: at the 32-minute mark, the playback switched abruptly to a scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. Netflix has pulled the disc from their inventory while they work out the issue with the BBC; this only seems to have affected Netflix copies.
IGN's rated the episode 7.2 out of 10, concluding, "Although this was an entertaining episode, it did not have the dramatic impact of the previous episode. Overall, "New Earth" featured more than a few interesting moments, such as the scenes with the Doctor and the Face of Boe, and Billie Piper's performance as the Casandra-possessed Rose was hilarious; but the zombie attack felt quite out of place for a Doctor Who episode". Nick Setchfield of SFX questioned whether the "brash, colourful and occasionally howl-out-loud funny" tone was appropriate enough to start the series, but he praised the concept of the cat nuns as well as their prosthetics, Tennant's performance, and the ending that "alchemises the broad strokes comedy into something genuinely moving". Writing for The A.V. Club in 2014, Alasdair Wilkins gave "New Earth" the grade of "C+". He noted that, likely due to production difficulties, it "too often feels like it is missing vital context" and suffered from unconvincing special effects. Furthermore, he criticised the story for being "caught between two irreconcilable tones" and featuring a "baffling" ending that wished to redeem Cassandra. Nevertheless, he found Tennants performance to be impressive though not as coherent as he eventually will be, and he praised Piper despite the fact that the story lacked Rose's character.
- Radio Times, 8–14 April
- "Walesarts, Worm's Head, Rhossili, Gower". BBC. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
- "Doctor Who New Earth location guide". BBC. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- "Doctor Who attracts eight million". BBC News. 2006-04-16. Retrieved 2007-01-21.
- "Weekly Top 30 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
- Doctor Who Magazine: Series Two Companion (14 - Special Edition), 9 November 2006 Missing or empty
- Bement, Jeremy (2007-01-20). "Netflix needs the Doctor". Outpost Gallifrey News Page. Archived from the original on 2007-01-20. Retrieved 2007-01-21.
- Haque, Ahsan (2 October 2006). "Doctor Who: "New Earth" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- Setchfield, Nick (30 March 2006). "Doctor Who: New Earth". SFX. Archived from the original on 9 May 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
- Wilkins, Alasdair (26 January 2014). "Review: Doctor Who: "New Earth"/"Tooth and Claw"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Tenth Doctor|
- New Earth (TV story) on TARDIS Data Core, an external wiki
- TARDISODE 1
- Episode commentary with David Tennant, Russell T Davies and Phil Collinson (MP3)
- "New Earth" episode homepage
- "New Earth" at the BBC Doctor Who homepage
- "New Earth" at Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- "New Earth" at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- "New Earth". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-01-01.
- "New Earth" at TV.com
- BBC's "New Earth" image gallery
- New Earth as Planet Name in Science Fiction
- "New Earth" at the Internet Movie Database