The Doctor's Daughter

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193 – "The Doctor's Daughter"
Doctor Who episode
Directed byAlice Troughton
Written byStephen Greenhorn
Script editorLindsey Alford
Produced byPhil Collinson
Executive producer(s)Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Music byMurray Gold
Production code4.6
SeriesSeries 4
Running time45 minutes
First broadcast10 May 2008 (2008-05-10)
← Preceded by
"The Poison Sky"
Followed by →
"The Unicorn and the Wasp"
List of Doctor Who episodes (2005–present)

"The Doctor's Daughter" is the sixth episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who.[1] It was broadcast on BBC One on 10 May 2008.[2]

Set on the planet Messaline, the episode features Georgia Moffett as Jenny, the cloned daughter of the series' protagonist, the alien time traveller the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant). The plot of the episode involves two factions of clones descended from a group of human and alien Hath pioneers, each of whom are seeking to wipe out the other side with a lost artefact called the Source, while the Doctor also comes to accept Jenny as his real daughter.


The TARDIS takes the Tenth Doctor, Martha and Donna to the planet Messaline. As they emerge from the TARDIS, they are met by human soldiers who force the Doctor to stick his hand into a progenation machine. The Doctor's daughter, whom Donna later names Jenny, emerges from the machine. They are soon confronted by the other occupants of the planet, the Hath. The Hath take Martha hostage. Jenny causes an explosion that traps Martha on the other side of the corridor. Martha tends to an injured Hath and earns their trust. The Doctor and Donna meet with General Cobb, who explains that, initially, the humans were meant to live with the Hath, but a dispute arose over something called "the Source", which Cobb believes has the power to end the war by wiping out the Hath. The Doctor inadvertently reveals the location of the Source to the humans and the Hath. The two sides prepare for battle.

The Hath as they appear at the Doctor Who Experience.

The Doctor confides privately to Donna that he is resistant to Jenny travelling with them because she reminds him too much of everyone who was killed in the Time War. Donna becomes intrigued by a series of numbered plaques that she notices in each room. The Doctor, Donna, and Jenny reach the Source, which is a terraforming device within a colonising spaceship. Donna realises that the plaques represent the dates each part of the building was completed; according to the dates, the ship landed only seven days ago. The humans and Hath have bred so many generations through the progenation machines that their own history has degraded into myth. The Doctor determines the original cause of the conflict was a power vacuum created after the death of the mission commander.

By travelling over the surface with a Hath's help, Martha reunites with the Doctor and Donna near the Source shortly before both armies arrive. The Doctor declares the war to be over and releases the terraforming agent. Cobb tries to shoot the Doctor. Jenny steps in the way and takes a bullet to the chest, and the Doctor holds her as she dies. The Doctor picks up Cobb's gun and holds it to his head, but refuses to shoot him. He declares that the humans and Hath should build their new society based on peace. Martha returns home. Meanwhile, on Messaline, Jenny suddenly revives. She then commandeers a rocket and leaves the planet.


Georgia Moffett, daughter of Fifth Doctor actor Peter Davison, was cast as the title character, Jenny.


Russell T Davies has stated that this episode "does exactly as it says on the tin".[3] Jenny's death was originally to take place in what Davies called "a Generic Spaceship Room", but producer Phil Collinson suggested filming the scene at Plantasia botanical garden in Swansea.[4][5] Having Jenny come back to life at the end of the episode was Steven Moffat's idea.[3]


Georgia Moffett, who plays Jenny, is the real-life daughter of Fifth Doctor actor Peter Davison and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy actress Sandra Dickinson.[1] David Tennant described the episode by saying "We get to see the Doctor's daughter, played by the Doctor's daughter."[6] Georgia Moffett had previously auditioned for a role in "The Unicorn and the Wasp" in 2007. Her role as Jenny was not chosen because of her father; it was entirely coincidental, but nevertheless a "great PR coup" for the series.[3] Moffett previously appeared alongside her father in the Big Finish audio story Red Dawn and drama series Fear, Stress & Anger. In Doctor Who Confidential, Peter Davison stated that, after he finished filming "Time Crash", he said to Moffett "[now] it's your turn".

Tennant and Moffett, who met on the episode, started dating some time after filming the episode, and married on 30 December 2011.

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Unofficial figures indicated that "The Doctor's Daughter" was watched by 6.6 million viewers, giving it a 38.4% share of the total television audience. The final consolidated figure was 7.33 million viewers.[7] While most programmes received lower figures than the previous week, Doctor Who had increased its audience. The top rated programme of the day was still ITV1's Britain's Got Talent, although its audience was down by a million at 8.17 million. Doctor Who was the highest rated programme on BBC1 for the day and had the biggest share of any programme on Saturday. The episode received an Appreciation Index score of 88 (considered "excellent").[8]

"The Doctor's Daughter" received mixed reviews. David Chater of The Times described it as "A wonderful episode – funny, exciting and strangely moving."[9] Martin Anderson of Den of Geek! stated that it was "rather good – though badly plot-holed". He noted that it was yet another episode of Doctor Who "undermined by Murray Gold's incessant music". He also described the episode as "quite redolent of Tom Baker-era Who, with plenty of dark and cheap corridors to run down and two under-manned warring factions for the Doctor to bring peace to".[10] For SFX's Ian Berriman, the running up and down corridors was reminiscent of Lenny Henry's 1985 Doctor Who spoof featured on The Lenny Henry Show. Berriman described the episode as "underwhelming", citing that because one "always suspect[s] she's a redshirt" it is difficult to care for Jenny. Although "reasonably diverting", Berriman argues that budgetary constraints make "the story feel so enclosed" and that the episode's plot, likened to "old-school Trek", seems too similar to that of the Sontaran two-parter immediately prior to this adventure because both involve "militarism" and "cloning".[11] Newsround's Lizo Mzimba also notes the similarities with "The Sontaran Stratagem" and "The Poison Sky". Mzimba asserts that the episode's "biggest problem" is that it tries "to cram an enormous amount into 45 minutes" with most of the "interesting" and new ideas not getting "the attention they deserve" resulting in the audience not caring about either the human fighters or the Hath and thereby limiting a "sense of danger or menace".[12]

Mzimba observes that, since her return in "The Sontaran Stratagem", Martha shares little onscreen time with the Doctor therefore reducing the emotional impact of her departure in this episode. He describes Moffett as "superb",[12] with Berriman calling her "cute as a button".[11] Berriman praises Tennant's performance,[11] but Anderson suggests that Tennant shouts too much. Anderson asserts that "Donna's role as the Doctor's conscience is beginning to take shape" describing this as "refreshing" in a companion and noting that "Tate has toned down the grating voice a tad".[10]


  1. ^ a b "The Stars are Coming Out". Radio Times. No. 5–11 April 2008. BBC. April 2008. pp. 14–24.
  2. ^ "Saturday 10 May 2008". Network TV Week 20. BBC Press Office. Retrieved 25 April 2008.
  3. ^ a b c David Tennant; Russell T Davies; Alice Troughton (10 May 2008). The Doctor's Daughter (Podcast; MP3). BBC. {{cite AV media}}: |access-date= requires |url= (help); |format= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ "Phil's Full Of Ideas! Executive Producer on Collinson's Series Four suggestions". Doctor Who: News. BBC. 14 August 2008. Archived from the original on 26 October 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  5. ^ "Doctor Who in Wales – Plantasia, Swansea". BBC Online. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  6. ^ Wylie, Ian (2 April 2008). "Doctor Who: Tonight's New Series Launch". The Life of Wylie. Manchester Evening News. Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  7. ^ "Weekly Viewing Summary w/e 11/05/2008". BARB. 21 May 2008. Archived from the original on 12 July 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  8. ^ Marcus (13 May 2008). "The Doctor's Daughter – Overnight Ratings". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2008.
  9. ^ Times review 10 May 2008
  10. ^ a b Anderson, Martin (10 May 2008). "Doctor Who Series 4 episode 6 review – The Doctor's Daughter". Den of Geek!. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  11. ^ a b c Berriman, Ian (10 May 2008). "TV REVIEW: Doctor Who 4.6 "The Doctor's Daughter"". SFX. GamesRadar. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  12. ^ a b Mzimba, Lizo (5 May 2008). "Lizo reviews sixth episode of Dr Who". Newsround. BBC. Retrieved 11 May 2008.

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