Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Countdown - The Stolen Earth

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 Stolen Earth
Read our previous Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Countdown posts here.

41. The Stolen Earth
First Broadcast on 28th June 2008. Running Time: 45.39 Minutes. Viewing Figures: 8.78 million.
Written By Russell T Davies.
Directed By Graeme Harper.
Executive Producers Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson. Rating: 10/10.


Earth's greatest heroes assemble in a time of dire need, but can the Doctor's secret army defeat the might of the new Dalek Empire? With battles raging on the streets and in the skies, the Doctor and Donna must brave the Shadow Proclamation to find out the truth. However, a fearsome old enemy waits in the shadows, and the entire Universe is in danger as the Daleks activate their masterplan.

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

Production Notes:

The series finale for 2008 was always going to be big. It was to be the final episode overseen by producer Phil Collinson, and was also to be the last series finale for Russell T Davies and Julie Gardener who had both announced they would also be leaving the show after a series of specials. As a result Davies wanted the two part finale to tie up many elements of his time on the show.
The original plan was for the Doctor and his companion Penny, Catherine Tate hadn't been recast as Donna at this point, to be joined by Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Captain Jack Harkness, Sarah Jane Smith and Love & Monsters character Elton Pope. Davies was also thinking of cameos from Mickey Smith and Jackie Tyler and hoped that Catherine Tate may return to reprise her role as Donna Noble, although he doubted that Tate would be able to due to her work schedule.

Davies wanted the villains of the piece to be the Daleks and their evil creator Davros. Although the Daleks had appeared in several New Who stories, Davros had only been referenced and had not actually appeared on screen since 1988's Remembrance Of The Daleks.

To incorporate appearances from some of the series' best loved characters in to the episode Davies planned to include an intergalactic conference on a space station. This would provide an excellent platform for fans to see the return of many creatures including the Slitheen, The Krillitane and the Judoon.

By the summer of 2007 Davies plans were changing. To his surprise and delight, Catherine Tate had agreed to come back to the show and reprise her role as Donna Noble full time. She was set to appear in the entire 2008 run and the finale would see her swan song.

Davies also changed his mind about the return of Elton Pope and instead started to toy with the idea of bringing back Midshipman Frame played by Russel Tovey, last seen in the 2007 Christmas Special, Voyage Of The Damned. The idea was that he would be reintroduced as a secret agent of the Shadow Proclamation, a top secret organisation which had been referenced as far back as the Series One opener, Rose.

In August 2007, Billie Piper told bosses that she would be unable to film her scenes in January 2008 as she would be away on her honeymoon, following her New Year's Eve wedding to Lewis actor, Laurence Fox.

This was a massive blow to the production team as it was conflicting with all of their plans for filming.
Davies quickly had to start ammending the plot and reducing Rose's appearances in the finale. The result was a short parallel earth beach scene with Rose and the 'Doctors' and Mickey and Jackie were eliminated from the episodes. Fortunately Julie Gardener managed to rearrange the series shooting schedules around Piper's holiday plans and filming for the finale could instead begin in February 2008. However a result of this was that the episodes original director, Euros Lyn, was moved to work on Silence Of The Library and Forest Of The Dead. Instead Graeme Harper would direct the finale, starting work on them immediately after concluding Turn Left.

In December 2007 Davies began work on the scripts, at this point he decided to include characters from the Doctor Who spin offs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Torchwood's Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones and The Sarah Jane Adventures' Luke, K-9 and Mr Smith were all to make cameo appearances, as would Francine Jones, Martha's mother.

At this stage Davies was still working on the storyline revolving around Russel Tovey's character, Midshipman Frame. He was to meet up with the Doctor and Donna when they visited the Shadow Proclamation and would help them to communicate. He would then join the Doctor on board the TARDIS and travel on board the Crucible, were he would be exterminated by the Daleks. This was to allow a character to be killed by the Daleks without Davies having to gt rid of any of the series regulars.

However the plans had to be scrapped when Tovey revealed that he was unable to join the cast due to prior work commitments.

So Davies set about thinking of another character who could return and be sacrificed before the Daleks. Gardener and Collinson both requested the return of Harriet Jones, the former UK Prime Minister, who had last been seen in The Christmas Invasion back in 2005. It was not certain that Penelope Wilton, who played Harriet, would be available and so Davies also drafted in Voyage Of The Damned's Mr Copper, played by Clive Swift. But fate was eventually smiling on Davies and Wilton happily confirmed that she could return and would be available for filming.

There were lots of different plot threads that needed tying up in the series finale. Firstly there was the return of Rose Tyler. Viewers had been catching glimpses of the former companion throughout the 2008 series as she tried to get in touch with the Doctor and his current companion Donna Noble.

Then there was the missing worlds. Several episodes had referenced this phenomenon; Adipose 3 (Partners In Crime), Pyrovillia (The Fires Of Pompeii), and the Lost Moon Of Poosh (Midnight).
The eventual twenty-seven worlds captured by the Daleks was a big increase from Davies' original plan in which only six planets had been captured and then there was Earth's missing bumblebees referenced in The Unicorn And The Wasp, Partners In Crime, Planet Of The Ood and Turn Left.

As the deadlines loomed at the end of 2007 Davies became aware that his director, Graeme Harper, would need to see both scripts. Working flat out to finish, he had to cancel attending Billie Piper's wedding to give himself more time to work on the scripts.

Davies finally finished his first draft in the small hours of New Year's Eve morning. The script included a scene, suggested by Wilfred Mott actor Bernard Cribbins, in which Wilf attempts to blind a Dalek with a paint gun.

Davies began writing the script for the second part of the series finale, Journey's End, on 11th January 2008. 

As he began work Davies began to get worried that he wouldn't be able to wrap the story up in the allotted 50 minutes slot. He began to wonder if he should cut some scenes from the episodes, specifically those centred around the Torchwood crew and Sarah Jane. Davies discussed the dilemma with Gardener and on the 19th January Gardener managed to get Jane Tranter to extend the episode's running time by ten minutes, making it the longest regular episode of the series. Davies finally finished the draft for the episode on 22nd January 2008.

A few changes had to be made to the original drafts of The Stolen Earth and Journey's End in the lead up to production beginning, these were mostly due to budget.

The scenes of the Shadow Proclamation were drastically cut, the scene had grown in the draft and was to include a plethora of characters now also including the Vespiform and an adult sized Adipose, but due to budget restraints only the Judoon ended up staying. However Davies kept the idea on board and decided to use it for the final episodes of Tennant's era instead.
The scenes being cut meant that audio, already recorded by Annette Badland, as Margaret the Slitheen, had to be dropped. Other scenes dropped included a lengthy flashback to Davros' younger years on Skaro, experiments on Kaled soldiers and scenes of the explosion which had disfigured him.

On 31st January 2008 filming for the two parter, The Stolen Earth / Journey's End, began when scenes of newsreaders were shot at BBC Broadcasting House in Cardiff.
Shooting with the main cast began on 18th February at the Upper Boat Studios. Scenes in the TARDIS were filmed on the first day and then the scenes within the Torchwood Hub were shot on the 19th to the 21st. On the 22nd scenes were recorded in both the TARDIS and the Hub. Further shots in the TARDIS were completed on the 25th February.
On the 26th and 27th the cast and crew went out on location to the Noble's family home and shot scenes at Nant Fawr Road in Cardiff.
Then it was back to Upper Boat on the 28th and 29th were yet more scenes in the TARDIS were shot.

From on the 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th March scenes on board the Dalek's Crucible were shot at Upper Boat.
The 5th March saw David Tennant, Catherine Tate and Billie Piper working on location at 'Bad Wolf Bay' - Southerndown Beach, near Bridgend.
On the 8th March the filming moved to Cardiff University's School of Optometry which was used as the location for the Shadow Proclamation headquarters. And on 10th and 11th March the final scenes on board the Dalek Crucible were completed at Upper Boat.
The 11th also saw the scenes of the Doctor and Donna arriving in the TARDIS and Rose arriving back on Earth filmed in Tonteg.

On 12th March shots outside the Noble's home were recorded as well as scenes of Rose visiting the looted computer shop, Megabyte City, which was actually Computer Wales in Pontrypridd.

On the night of 13th March  various scenes of the streets of 'London' were recorded in Penarth, this included the scene were the Doctor and Rose are reunited, only for him to be shot down by a Dalek as he rushes to embrace her. These scenes were completed in Cardiff on the 14th.
The 14th also saw scenes of the German Castle visited by Martha Jones shot at  Castell Coch in Tongwynlais. The 16th saw the Traffic Management Centre in Cardiff pose as the New York base of UNIT whilst shots of the Reality Bomb Test were recorded at a disused warehouse, Alpha Steel, in Newport.

 The 18th March saw scenes at Harriet Jones' cottage recorded at Lower House Barn in Dinas Powys, whilst more shots of the exterior of the German castle were recorded at Castell Coch.
The 19th saw the scene of the Doctor returning Jack, Mickey, Sarah Jane and Martha to Earth shot at Morgan Jones Park in Caerphilly, whilst the scene of Martha being teleported away from UNIT HQ was recorded at the Wales Museum Collection Centre at Parc Nantgarw.

On the 20th and 21st March it was back to the the Upper Boat Studios with further scenes in the TARDIS, including the Christmas Special cliffhanger shot as well as more scenes on the Dalek Crucible. 
These scenes marked Catherine Tate's last day on the Doctor Who set, although Catherine has since said that despite rumours to the contrary she would have loved to have stayed on the show until David Tennant left and would have remained on the show if asked. The day was also the last for Producer Phil Collinson who was leaving show to work on Coronation Street.

On the 24th March it was back to work on the set of the Crucible at Upper Boat and on the 25th and 26th filming was on location at two homes in Penarth to record scenes at Francine Jones' house and Sarah Jane Smith's.
On 27th 29th March it was back to work at Upperboat for scenes in Sarah Jane's attic and at the Osterhagen HQ as well as various insert shots.
On 28th March Richard Dawkins celebrity cameo was recorded, the 31st saw Paul O'Grady record his cameo at the London Studios.

As the filming for the Christmas Special was to be brought forward Davies decided that he would not need the traditional cliffhanger at the end of Journey's End, as by the time it aired The Next Doctor would have already have been filmed as so a normal preview could be used instead.
He decided to cut the final cliffhanger scene in the TARDIS were a Cyberman would loom behind the Doctor as he leaves Donna's home and so a new final scene was written quickly and filmed at Upper Boat on 1st May.

Despite the extended running time one huge scene was still cut from the episode, originally, before leaving Rose and the meta crisis Doctor at Bad Wolf Bay, the real Doctor was to give them a cutting from the TARDIS with which they could grow their own version of the time machine.  This would have presumably have left the door open for further adventures with Rose and her Doctor. But it never made the final episode. 


The Doctor: You see? Used the regeneration energy to heal myself, but as soon as that was done I didn't need to change. I didn't want to. Why would I? Look at me! So to stop the energy from going all the way, I siphoned off the rest into a handy biometric receptacle. Namely, my hand. My hand there. My handy spare hand. Remember? Christmas Day. Sycorax. Lost my hand in a sword fight. That's my hand. What do you think?
Rose: You're still you.
The Doctor: I'm still me.

The Doctor: We'll have to go out. Because if we don't they'll get in.
Rose: You told me nothing could get through those doors.
Jack: You've got extrapolator shielding.
The Doctor: Last time we fought the Daleks they were scavengers and hybrids. And mad. But this is a fully-fledged Dalek Empire. At the height of its power. Experts at fighting TARDIS's. They can do anything. Right now that wooden door is just wood. 

Donna: It's you.
The Doctor: Oh yes!
Donna: You're naked.
The Doctor: Oh yes. 

The Doctor: What's an Osterhagen Key?!
Martha: There's a chain of twenty-five nuclear warheads. Placed in strategic points beneath the Earth's crust. If I use the key, they detonate and the Earth gets ripped apart.
The Doctor: What?! Who invented that...well, someone called Osterhagen, I suppose. Martha, are you insane?!

Rose: Oh she's good!
Martha: Who's that?
Rose: My name's Rose. Rose Tyler.

Martha: Oh my god, he found you. 

Donna: Part-human. Oh yes. That was a two-way biological metacrisis. Half-Doctor Half-Donna.

The Doctor: The Doctor Donna! Just like the Ood said. Remember? They saw it coming. The Doctor Donna. 

Harriet Jones first appeared in 2005's Aliens of London. She makes a return here after being ousted by the Doctor in 2005's The Christmas Invasion... and she was right - he wasn't there to help this time.

This isn't the first time milkmen have featured in the series - the Third Doctor disguised himself as one to break into Global Chemicals during 1973's The Green Death and a milkman was attacked by a Cheetah Person at the start of 1988's Survival.

Despite their many encounters, the Doctor's only been shot by a Dalek twice before: in 1973's Planet of the Daleks (when a Dalek deliberately disabled the Third Doctor by zapping his legs) and in 1975's Genesis of the Daleks, when, just prior to blowing up the Daleks' incubation room, the Fourth Doctor received a glancing blow to his hand from a Dalek ray.

Michael Brandon is probably best known for his portrayal of tough 80's New York cop Lt. James Dempsey in the 1980s TV show Dempsey and Makepeace.

Kelly Hunter appeared in the BBC's 2005 adaptation of Bleak House alongside Carey Mulligan, who played Sally Sparrow in 2007's terrifying Blink.

The characters of Ianto Jones, Gwen Cooper, Luke and the computer Mr Smith all make their Doctor Who debuts in this episode, although they've already starred in their own shows: Ianto and Gwen in Torchwood and Luke and Mr Smith in The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Among the stolen celestial bodies are The Lost Moon of Poosh (as mentioned in Midnight) and Calufrax Minor. The Fourth Doctor visited Calufrax in 1978's The Pirate Planet.

The Shadow Proclamation was first mentioned in 2005's Rose; the Judoon debuted in 2007's Smith and Jones; and the Medusa Cascade was first referenced in 2007's Last of the Time Lords.

This isn't the first time Bernard Cribbins has faced the Daleks. He starred in the 1960s feature film Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD as policemen Tom Campbell. The film, starring Peter Cushing, was based on the television adventure The Dalek Invasion Of Earth (1964).

This proclamation by a Dalek, unaffected by Wilf's paintball gun, is a reference to another of the Daleks' famous catchphrases "My vision is impaired!" A Dalek was disabled by obstructing its vision in the very first Dalek story in 1963. We're rapidly running out of ways to defeat or get away from them!

Despite being the longest serving of all the companions featured in this episode, this is the first time that actress Elisabeth Sladen, who plays Sarah Jane Smith, has appeared in the show's opening titles.

Paul O'Grady is a huge fan of the show, and when Russell T Davies heard this, he jumped at the chance to give Paul a cameo!

Richard Dawkins, the celebrated ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer, is married to the Second Romana, actress Lalla Ward.

Davros has been referenced twice since the series restarted in 2005, but never by name. He was referred to in 2005's Dalek as a "man who was king of his own little world"; and in Evolution of The Daleks as the creator "who removed emotion to make them stronger."

The Daleks tried to move Earth before, in 1964's The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Their attempts to put pilot the planet were thwarted by the pull of the Earth's magnetic core.

The Time Lords have also moved the Earth - as part of a shady cover-up in 1986's The Trial Of A Time Lord.

The Supreme Dalek's red colour scheme is a nod to the Dalek Controller from the two 1960s Dalek films.