Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Countdown - The Poison Sky

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.... The Poison Sky
Read our previous Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Countdown posts here.

34. The Poison Sky

First Broadcast on 3rd May 2008. Running Time: 44.30 Minutes. Viewing Figures: 6.5 million.
Written By Helen Raynor.
Directed By Douglas Mackinnon.
Executive Producers Russell T Davies, Phil Collinson and Julie Gardner. Rating: 8/10.


The Sontarans activate their masterplan, and begin to choke the whole of planet Earth. UNIT is left defenceless, but there's a traitor in their ranks, and as interplanetary war edges closer, the Doctor has to fight to keep both Martha and Donna alive - but will he have to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Extras: Promotional Photos |  Videos | On Set Photos | Screen Caps

General Staal - The Undefeated Warrior:
Commander of the Tenth Sontaran Battle Fleet and leader of the project to turn Earth into a Sontaran clone-breeding world Staal enlisted the help of arrogant human genius Luke Rattigan, playing to his ego and ambition, and adapted Rattigan's ATMOS to put Caesofine gas into Earth's atmosphere.
When the Doctor stopped this plan, Staal was proud to let the Doctor kill him, but was furious when it was Luke Rattigan and not the Doctor who finally defeated him and blew him, and his Sontarans and their spaceship to pieces.

Luke Rattigan - Twisted Genius
Luke Rattigan was a millionaire egocentric child prodigy, who famously invented the Fountain Six search engine when he was just 12 years old. He entered in to an arrangement with the Sontarans. They perfected his ATMOS and in return, promised to take him and his Rattigan Academy students to Castor 36, or Earth Point Two as he called it, as the Sontarans were going to destroy Earth by turning it in to a clone-breeding world. 
However when Luke learned the Sontarans planned to kill him and use his students as target practice, he was left lonely and friendless in his Academy until the Doctor arrived and built and Atmospheric Converter from the equipment there to save Earth.
When he realised the Doctor was going to blow the Sontaran ship up with him on board, Luke teleported to the ship, sent the Doctor to safety and blew himself and the Sontarans to pieces.


The Doctor: Oh, I've never given you a key. Keep that. Go on, that's yours. Quite a big moment really.
Donna: Yeah. Maybe we can get sentimental after the world's finished choking to death.
The Doctor: Good idea.

The Doctor: Are you my mummy?

Sylvia: Donna, don't go! Look what happens every time that Doctor appears. Stay with us. Please.
Wilfred: You go, my darlin'.
Sylvia: Dad!
Wilfred: Don't listen to her. You go with the Doctor. That's my girl!

Donna: Back of the neck!

Donna: You know that coat... sort of works.
Martha: I feel like a kid in my dad's clothes.
Donna: Oh well, if you're calling him "dad" you're definitely getting over him.

The defense condition (DEFCON) is a measure of the activation and readiness level of the United States Armed Forces - although NATO appear to have adopted it, too, in the Doctor Who universe. DEFCON 1 refers to maximum readiness. It is not certain whether this has ever been used, but it is reserved for imminent or ongoing attack on US military forces or US territory by a foreign military power.
Rattigan designates Castor 36 as Earth-point-2, rather than the more conventional 2.0. It's similar to the way as Cybermen we referred to as humans-point-2 in 2006's The Age Of Steel.
In 1974's Invasion Of The Dinosaurs, another group of humans believed they were going to start a new life on a new planet. Sadly the truth was that evil politicians and scientists planned to roll back time on Earth, deleting all of Human history.
When the Doctor cut's off Staal's speech on the video screen in mid flow, a clip from CBeebies cartoon Tommy Zoom is featured. The original plan to use a clip from Shaun The Sheep fell through.
In the script, the Valiant is instructed to have the same green lasers as the Torchwood ones used to fire at the Sycorax in the The Christmas Invasion (2005).
Mention is made of the Sontarans' ongoing war with the Rutans. Blobby green jellyfish from Ruta 3, the Rutans have the ability to shape-shift and impersonate creatures they have killed. The only story to actually feature a Rutan was 1977's Horror Of Fang Rock.
We wonder if a speelfox is related to the speelsnape that the Sixth Doctor mentions in 1985's Revelation Of The Daleks?
Catherine Tate claims that she originally thought all the Sontarans were animatronic, rather than played by actors.
The Doctor and Mace namecheck the Classic Series' head of UNIT's UK branch, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Sadly the Brig didn't make it out of Peru to join in the action.

  • David Tennant - The Doctor
  • Catherine Tate - Donna Noble
  • Freema Agyeman - Martha Jones
  • Billie Piper - Rose Tyler 
  • Rupert Holliday-Evans – Colonel Mace
  • Dan Starkey – Commander Skorr
  • Ryan Sampson – Luke Rattigan
  • Bernard Cribbins – Wilfred Mott
  • Jacqueline King – Sylvia Noble
  • Bridget Hodgson - Captain Price
  • Christian Cooke - Ross Jenkins
  • Clive Standen - Private Harris
  • Wesley Theobald - Private Gray
  • Meryl Fernandes – Female Student
  • Leeshon Alexander – Male Student
  • Kirsty Wark – Herself
  • Lachele Carl – US Newsreader
  • Jack Steed – Lieutenant Skree