Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Countdown - Utopia

To celebrate the fact that 2013 is the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, we are taking a look back at all of the episodes of the show which featured David Tennant as the Doctor. At the end of our look back we'll be asking you, the fans, to vote for what you think is the ultimate David Tennant episode of Doctor Who....

We continue with the next David Tennant episode.... Utopia
Read our previous Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Countdown posts here.

26. Utopia

First Broadcast on 16th June 2007. Running Time: 45 Minutes. Viewing Figures: 7.84million.
Written By Russell T Davies.
Directed By Graeme Harper.
Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner. Rating: 9/10.

As Captain Jack storms back into the Doctor's life, the TARDIS is thrown out of control, to the end of the universe. There, they find the savage Futurekind ruling the wilderness, while a lonely Professor tries in vain to save the last of the human race...

Extras: Promotional Photos | Videos | Articles | On Set Photos

Production Notes:
From the very start of his reign as show runner Russell T Davies was determined to bring back the Doctor's arch enemy The Master, but he constantly denied that he would ever resurrect the character in order to keep it a secret from fans.
When in 2005 he was given the go ahead by the BBC for series 2 and 3 of the show he began to put in place plans to bring the Master's return to fruition.

Davies began referencing the Master's alter ego Harold Saxon as early as the 2006 episode Love & Monsters, when a newspaper articles headline "Saxon Leads Polls With 64%" was shown. In The Runaway Bride the British army were described as acting under Saxon's orders, while Saxon's name was featured on an election poster and during a radio broadcast in the 2007 series opener Smith and Jones. The election poster "Vote Saxon" was also featured in the Torchwood episode Captain Jack Harkness.
Agents of Harold Saxon contacted Francine Jones to warn her about the Doctor's influence over her daughter Martha in The Lazarus Experiment and 42. 
Then in Human Nature and The Family Of Blood it was revealed that a Time Lord can alter their genetic structure in order to become a human through the use of a device called a chameleon arch which allows them to rewrite every single cell of their biology. The process is extremely painful and the essence of the Time Lord is then stored in a fob watch.
Whilst dying in Gridlcok The Face Of Boe also hinted that the Master may be return when he told the Doctor that he was not the last surviving Time Lord.

The plan was to reveal that Harold Saxon was really the Master, the Doctor had been unable to detect he was a Time Lord due to his use of the chameleon arch. 
This idea meant that Davies was able to introduce him as Professor Yana, a friendly older man who got on well with the Doctor thus being able to explore the relationship between the Doctor and the Master further. 

Utopia saw the return of Captain Jack Harkness, played by John Barrowman. The character had first appeared alongside Christopher Eccleston's Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler in the 2005 series. He had since gone on to become the main character his own spin off series Torchwood. At the end of the Torchwood series finale, End Of Days, Captain Jack vanished and the sound of the TARDIS materialiing was heard. This led directly in to the beginning of Utopia.  On his return to the TARDIS Jack brought with him the Doctor's severed hand (The Christmas Invasion) which had been on display in Torchwood's Hub. 

Children's TV show Blue Peter ran a competition for persons aged 13 or under to win a speaking role in the episode. The eventual winner was John Bell, who was selected by Davies to play the role of Creet.

There was a real casting coup when the older and kinder face of the Master, Professor Yana,  was revealed to be portrayed by Sir Derek Jacobi. 
Jacobi has enjoyed a highly successful stage career, appearing in such stage productions as Hamlet, Uncle Vanya, and Oedipus the King. He is one of the most respected actors of present day and his involvement in the show brought much excitement. Jacobi was no stranger to the world of Who, having previously appeared in Scream Of The Shalka, voicing a robotoc likeness of The Master and as Martin Bannister in Big Finish's Doctor Who Unbound story Deadline.

Jacobi's incarnation of The Master was however fleeting as Davies intended for him to regenerate in to John Simm at the end of the episode. Simm was currently riding high and enjoying the recent success of his BBC show Life On Mars where his character Sam Tyler was ironically named after Doctor Who's Rose Tyler.
The offer of the role as the Master came after several attempts by Davies and Julie Gardener to cast him as the Doctor.

For Simm's Master, Davies wanted to draw a parallel with David Tennant's Doctor. He chose to make the Master a sociopath to show him as a more interesting and dangerous character. To illustrate this he gave Yana a loyal companion in the shape on Chantho, who, once he had changed back in to the Master he murdered in cold blood. 
There was a long discussion of whether or not Simm's Master should sport a goatee beard, as previous incarnations had done. Davies and Simm both changed their mind several times on whether he should or not before ultimately deciding that it wasn't necessary. 

Utopia was directed by Graeme Harper and was filmed alongside 42 as part of Production Block 7. It was originally intended to be filmed before 42, but was pushed back due to other work commitments that Jacobi had.

A key characteristic of the Futurekind, that they would travel around on quad bikes, had to be abandoned due to safety reasons.

Filming began on 15th January 2007 with scenes of the Doctor and Martha in the TARDIS being shot at Upper Boat. A fortnight later the cast and crew assembled at the NEG Glassworks at Trident Park in Cardiff Bay to film scenes in the radiation room and in various corridors. Filming at NEG began on 30th January, and saw John Barrowman shooting his first scenes on the show in almost two years, they filmed there until 2nd February. 

From February 5th to 9th the action returned to Upper Boat to shoot scenes in Professor Yana's lab. Greenscreen work of Captain Jack clinging to the exterior of the TARDIS and extra TARDIS console scenes were also shot during this time as was Derek Jacobi's part of the regeneration sequence.

On the 12th and 13th February the team filmed at Argoed Quarry and on the 14th February they filmed at Wenvoe Quarry. These were for scenes of Malcassairo.

20th February saw John Simm make his debut as the Master as he began filming scenes at Upper Boat. The opening scenes were finished on 23rd February and Captain Jack's race to the TARDIS was filmed in Millennium Square, Cardiff Bay, on 1st March.

It was decided that John Barrowman would be credited during the show's title sequence alongside David Tennant and Freema Agyeman. This was the first time that three names had been shown, with usually only the actors playing the Doctor and his regular companion credited. 

Never Judge A Book By It's Cover:
Fleeing the Time War, the Master used a chameleon arch to become an orphaned child, found naked on the coast of the Silver Devastation following a storm, and given the name Yana. The child had no possessions other than a broken fob watch - actually the receptacle that stored the Master's true conciousness. Entirely unaware that he was anything other than a real human, Yana had experienced headaches and heard the constant sound of pounding drums. He'd spent his time travelling between refugee ships, before settling on the planet Malcassairo to work as as scientist, having aaumed the archaic title of Professor for himself in the process. A genius across a variety of fields, he oversaw the development of the Utopia project for 17 years, with the help of his friend and companion Chantho, and was willing to sacrifice his own life to ensure the survival of the human race when his Footprint Impeller System finally became active. It was during a conversation with Martha Jones that Yana discovered the truth about time travel, and was encouraged by his curiosity to open his fob watch, at which point the Master reasserted himself, effectively destroying Professor Yana and his work.
The Face Of Boe had tried to warn the Doctor about the Professor on New, New Earth when he spoke the acronymous phrase You Are Not Alone.

The Ever Loyal Companion:
The last surviving member of the Malmooth race, which had originally lived in the Coglomeration on Malcassairo. Chantho worked alongside Professor Yana as both his scientific assistant and his friend. However, when, she saw him become the Master as he opened his Gallifreyan fob watch, she realised he had to be stopped. The Master instead murdered her by electrifying her, but with her last dying breath, Chantho shot him causing him to regenerate inside the Doctor's TARDIS.

The futurekind were mutated humans living on Malcassairo who had become cannibals, living a nomadic exsistence on the plains near the old Coral City of Malmooth and hunting humans foolish enough to venture there. To many, the Futurekind represented everything humanity might become if they allowed themselves to. Human guards at the rocket silo would check approaching humans for pointed teeth - if they had fangs, they were futurekind and were refused admission. After the rocket launched, taking the humans to Utopia, the Futurekind Cheiftain realised the power was off and his people could get into the base and ransack it. The Doctor, Martha Jones and Captain Jack were still in the silo base and the Futurekind hunted them, still trying to get at them even as they teleported back to 21st century Earth.


Professor Yana: It's just a headache. It's just this noise inside my head, Doctor. Constant noise inside my head.
The Doctor: What sort of noise?
Professor Yana: It's the sound of drums. More and more, as though it's getting closer.
The Doctor: When did it start?
Professor Yana: I've had it all my life, every waking hour. Still, no rest for the wicked.

The Doctor: That rocket's not going to fly, is it? This footprint mechanism thing. It's not working.
Professor Yana: We'll find a way.
The Doctor: You're stuck on this planet, and you haven't told them, have you? That lot out there, they still think they're going to fly.
Professor Yana: Well, it's better to let them live in hope.
The Doctor: Quite right too.

The Doctor: I can't help it. I'm a Time Lord. It's instinct; it's in my guts. You're a fixed point in time and space; you're a fact. That's never meant to happen. Even the TARDIS reacted against you, tried to shake you off. Flew all the way to the end of the universe just to get rid of you.
Captain Jack Harkness: So what you're saying is... you're prejudiced?
The Doctor: I never thought of it like that.
Captain Jack Harkness: Shame on you.

Utopia was the title of a book by Sir Thomas Moore which was first published in 1516. The book describes the narrator's search for the perfect form of government. Utopia has come to mean an imaginary place, state or society of idealized perfection.
Sir Derek Jacobi is the first Knight of the Realm to have acted in Doctor Who. It's not his first connection with the series; in 2003 he guest-starred as The Master in the online adventure - Scream of the Shalka by Paul Cornell. He also starred in an audio adventure by Robert Shearman entitled Deadline.
100 trillion is a huge number. If you counted at the rate of one year per second without ever stopping, it would take just 1 minute 40 seconds to count to 150 years, the approximate length of time that Jack was waiting for the Doctor; it would take about 33 and a half minutes to count back to the birth of Christ; it would take over 55 hours to count to 200100, the time of Bad Wolf; it would take over 158 years to count to 5 billion and 53, the year of the Gridlock. To count to the year 100 trillion would take - wait for it - over 3,168,808 years.
The Doctor has now encountered six versions of The Master. The actors who have played him are:

Master No. One - Roger Delgado (1971-73)
Master No. Two - Peter Pratt (1976) and Geoffrey Beevers (1981)
Master No. Three - Anthony Ainley (1981-1989)
Master No. Four - Eric Roberts (1996)
Master No. Five - Sir Derek Jacobi (2007)
Master No. Six - John Simm (2007)

For completists, however, Gordon Tipple played 'The Old Master' in the 1996 TV Movie, appearing very briefly in the pre-titles sequence and without dialogue. It is possible that he also played Master No. Three.

  • David Tennant - The Doctor
  • Freema Agyeman - Martha Jones
  • John Barrowman - Captain Jack Harkness
  • Sir Derek Jocobi - Professor Yana / The Master
  • John Simm - The Master
  • Chipo Chung - Chantho
  • RenĂ© Zagger – Padra
  • Neil Reidman – Lieutenant Atillo
  • Paul Marc Davis – Chieftain
  • Robert Forknall – Guard
  • John Bell – Creet
  • Deborah Maclaren – Kistane
  • Abigail Canton – Wiry Woman