Doctor Who in Review: Season Four, Episode #12 – “The Stolen Earth”

Rick Marshall

Rick Marshall was Online Managing Editor for ComicMix before joining MTV's SplashPage. Previously, he was Online Content Manager for Wizard Entertainment. He has written for several daily newspapers, alternative weekly newspapers, trade magazines and online media, and was named "Writer of the Year" by the New York Press Association in 2005.

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8 Responses

  1. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    "I have to hand it to the Doctor Who crew " – you mean to tell me you dind't hang on to that line till next week? Wow, you really HAVEN'T seen the episodes in advance…"Of course, after having this thought, it then occurred to me how ridiculous it would have been if the explanation for all of the planets in the sky ended up having something to do with Davros punching (literally) a hole in reality." see previous comment…Possibly the most jaw-dropping cliffhanger in quite a while. A classic example of taking something that every one of the viewers knows is An Important Thing and using it at the proper moment. DUELING PLANETS – The idea of planetary configuration used to generate power has been referenced in Doctor Who before. The shrunken worlds in The Pirate Planet (which gets an oblique tip of the hat by "Callufrax (sic) Minor" being one of the missing worlds in this episode) were being used to generate incredible power to keep Queen Xanxia alive, frozen in temporal stasis at the last seconds of her life. In Planet of Evil, The Doctor suggests to Professor Sorenson that he "decided" to forsake investigation of the animatter crystals on Zeta Minor to look into harnessing the kinetic energy of moving planets. A slightly similar idea is the "Kemplerer Rosette" Larry Niven references in the Known Space books. Here, a configuration of planets does not generate power, but their gravitic attraction on each other allow them to remain in relative positional stasis to each other. The powerful and overly-cautious Pierson's Puppeteers placed their home world and several of their farming planets into a rosette, and are towing them out of the galaxy altogether, to escape a cataclysmic explosion at the galactic core that won't reach Known Space for tens of thousands of years.Ironically, the American Doctor Who comic published by IDW is currently doing a storyline featuring planets being stolen by a mysterious nemesis.SEVEN SECONDS INTO THE FUTURE – While I can't find any reference to back me up, I seem to recall the Transduction Barriers (as referenced in The Invasion of Time) on Gallifrey working in a similar way to the little hide-and-seek trick used for the missing planets in the Cascade. The Barriers shift the Gallifrey system several seconds out of phase with the rest of space, rendering them inaccessible to attack.CALL FOR THE DOCTOR, QUICK, QUICK, QUICK – To my disappointment, the phone number displayed on the cellphones in the episode was NOT a functioning number. Though about 2500 people had the same idea, according to the London Daily Mail – that many people tried dialing the number during and after the episode. Quite a marketing opportunity missed, IMHO. Considering how many people went to the Primatech Paper website after a business card featuring the website address and (also working) phone number on Heroes, they could have had a great deal of fun with it.YES, WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE – Harriet Jones, Former Prime Minister was supposed to have served three terms and ushered in England's next Golden Age, according to The Doctor in her first appearance. So it's not surprising that on both the episode commentary and in Confidential, jokes abounded that she had a trap door in her house and escaped at the last moment, before the Daleks had a chance to fire.GUEST STAR REPORT – If a company could earn Carbon Credits for recycling actors, Doctor Who could cover the entirety of the BBC. Davros is played by Julian Bleach, last seen as the creepy Ringmaster in the Torchwood episode From Out of the Rain.

  2. Jonathan (the other says:

    Personal favorite throwaway bit:"You're trying to tell me that bees are aliens?""Don't be daft! Not all of them."

  3. Neil Ottenstein says:

    What an amazing episode. It is unfortunate that the previews on SciFi for the next episode came up so quickly to spoil some things. The commentary is by the Dalek crew and I have notes I'll have to type in later in the week about that. One humorous line was about The Doctor and Rose running towards each other on "the longest street in London." So, now we know what happened to Dalek Caan. They had reduced the Daleks back down to one and then he somehow gets Davros out of the Time War bubble and the two of them create a new Dalek race again. Folks watching this on SciFi should know that the season finale is scheduled to start at 8:30 so they can get it into a 90 minute block. The commentary for the finale runs just about 63.5 minutes so with any luck the 26.5 minutes left will be enough advertisements for SciFi and they won't cut anything out.

    • Neil Ottenstein says:

      I finally went to You Tube to see the BBC trailer for Journey's End. It didn't spoil anything. I can't fathom why SciFi didn't use that.

  4. mike weber says:

    As i've said before, when i saw the end of this episode (and remembering that Rose's brief appearance in the first episode was left out of pre-broadcast airings for critics), i found myself wondering of the reports of Tennant appearing in the specials next year were one of the most successful disinformation campiagns in the hostory of television.

  5. Steve Chaput says:

    I just happened to catch the episode after spending the day at the SD convention. Having stood for a few minutes by a 'life-size' Dalek it was a kick to find the old boys popping up as the villains here.Did love both 'bee' line and the Facebook reference, but I'm sure there were many more I missed. Also, seeing all those companions there on the computer screen did make me go all warm & fuzzy for a moment.Got to set the DVR for sure this week!

  6. Neil Ottenstein says:

    The commentary for this episode features Nicholas Briggs (Dalek Voice), and Dalek Operators Barnaby Edwards and Nick Pegg. They said that this was the first time they shot Daleks out on the streets with people watching. Apparently people in Cardiff have figured out when Doctor Who does it location shooting there. Nicholas Briggs voiced the Judoon, Dalek Caan, the Supreme Dalek and more. Elizabeth Sladen doesn't particularly like Mr. Smith because he really heats up the set there. The TARDIS set, Torchwood, and Sarah Jane's attic are all together in the same studio. They said that reading the script was a thrill a minute. The Dalek operators likened being in a Dalek to being in a Flintstones car. Apparently the door that the Supreme Dalek comes through is about a half inch smaller than the Supreme Dalek. There was a big cut in the script when the Doctor and Donna visited the Shadow Proclamation. Originally they were going to have the Slitheen and other alien races there as well. They decided to cut it for time and cost considerations as it didn't really add much to the story.Nicholas Briggs said he got into the Dalek Caan character through the laugh. He figured that Caan's being sucked through the Time War and back again got his neurons firing in the wrong direction.Here's more to love about Bernard Cribbins (Wilf) – the line "do you want to swap" guns was his adlib idea. The whole scene about attacking the Dalek with the paint gun was his idea.Harriet Jones was in a real house and not a set. They believe that there are several outtakes of Daleks falling off ramps going to attack Harriet Jones. One joke about the next episode – "the tap dancing Dalek sequence was quite consuming."One thing of interest to notice about the Dalek designs is that the Daleks around Davros had different implements than the Daleks in the other room.A note about the filming sequence – the first day of Dalek filming was the Daleks entering Torchwood. A month later the last bit of Dalek filming was the Daleks stopping Sarah Jane in her car. The commentary was quite entertaining.

  7. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    There's one running joke/tribute that I hadn't mentioned. In every Dalek episode since the start of the new series, when you enter the Dalek base, they've gon back to the old Radiophonic Workshop archives and pulled out the classic sound effect for the dalek base. That low heartbeat-like pulse you hear in the backgroun in the base, that's straight from the old series. It's also on the "Doctor Who Sound Effects" album they did back in the day. And yes, I own a copy.