Doomsday (Doctor Who)

Doomsday (Doctor Who)
177b – "Doomsday"
Doctor Who episode
Doomsday (Doctor Who).jpg
The Daleks, the Cybermen and Torchwood battle in Canary Wharf, in the first Dalek–Cyberman encounter and conflict in the show's forty-three year history.
Writer Russell T Davies
Director Graeme Harper
Script editor Helen Raynor
Producer Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Series Series 2
Length 2nd of 2-part story, 45 minutes
Originally broadcast 8 July 2006
← Preceded by Followed by →
"Army of Ghosts" "The Runaway Bride"

"Doomsday" is the thirteenth and final episode in the second series of the revival of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was first broadcast on 8 July 2006 and is the conclusion of a two-part story; the first part, "Army of Ghosts", was broadcast on 1 July 2006. The two-part story features the Daleks, presumed extinct after the events of the 2005 series' finale, and the Cybermen, who appeared in "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel". Both species unexpectedly arrive on Earth at the conclusion of "Army of Ghosts".

The concept of the Daleks and the Cybermen both appearing on-screen was first proposed in 1967, but was vetoed by Terry Nation, the creator of the Daleks. The episode is the first conflict between the two species in Doctor Who's 45-year history, and features Billie Piper's last appearance in the lead companion role as Rose Tyler; the final regular appearance of Noel Clarke as Rose's ex-boyfriend and previous companion Mickey Smith; and the final regular appearances of Camille Coduri and Shaun Dingwall as Rose's parents, Jackie and Pete Tyler. The episode was filmed in December 2005 and January 2006, alongside the episodes "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel".

The plot consists mostly of the Daleks and Cybermen waging a global war, with humanity caught in the crossfire. The Doctor, the Tyler family, and Mickey Smith fight for their lives trying to reverse the situation. They are successful, but at an emotional cost to the Doctor and Rose, as they are left in separate universes.

The episode is one of the most popular Doctor Who episodes since the show's revival. It was nominated, along with "Army of Ghosts", for the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form; the award was won by the fourth episode in the series, "The Girl in the Fireplace". It shared the revived series' highest Audience Appreciation rating of 89 with "The Parting of the Ways", "Silence in the Library", and "Forest of the Dead" until 28 June 2008—"The Stolen Earth" gained a AI rating of 91[1]—and is favoured by most critics for both the Cybermen–Dalek conflict and the farewell scene between the Doctor and Rose.



The episode's opening continues from the final scene of "Army of Ghosts"; Dr Singh (Raji James), Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke), and Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) are trapped in a sealed room within Torchwood's Canary Wharf. Four Daleks, accompanied by a device known as the "Genesis Ark", have emerged from the void ship.[2] A Dalek Supreme called Dalek Sec extracts information about Earth from Singh, killing him in the process. He discovers that a separate invasion is in progress, and sends Dalek Thay to investigate. The Cybermen, who took control of Torchwood, detect the Dalek technology and offer an alliance. The Daleks decline, and the two species declare war.

While discussing humanity with the Doctor (David Tennant), the Cyber Leader is destroyed by a strike team led by Jake Simmonds (Andrew Hayden-Smith), from the same universe as the Cybermen. Jake takes the Doctor to his universe and a parallel Torchwood. Pete Tyler (Shaun Dingwall) tells him that the Cybermen vanished and they have followed them. The breach is causing unprecedented global warming on the parallel Earth and must be closed before the damage destroys both worlds. They return to Earth and approach the Cybermen with a truce against the Daleks.

Meanwhile, Rose surmises that they were kept alive because, as time travellers, their touch would activate the Ark. Sec explains that they cannot open the Ark because it is stolen Time Lord technology. He demands that Rose open it, but she refuses, and mocks the Daleks until the Doctor appears. Upon realising that the Daleks are the enigmatic Cult of Skaro, he uses his sonic screwdriver to allow the Cybermen to attack the Daleks, letting the humans escape. Mickey accidentally activates the Ark when escaping, and the Daleks, after escaping the Cybermen, travel to the exterior of Canary Wharf to release the Ark's contents: millions of Daleks who were imprisoned during the Time War. These Daleks encounter the Cybermen, and the two races begin fighting all over the world.

The Doctor and his companions flee into the tower. En route, Pete rescues Jackie from upgrading and the couple are reunited. As the Dalek–Cyberman war rages outside—with humans being massacred in the crossfire—the Doctor brings everyone to the breach room. He explains that crossing the Void causes a traveller to become saturated in Void material. If he opens the breach to the void, any being saturated will be pulled in. He will then close the breach forever. However, Rose and Mickey have crossed the Void and are contaminated and vulnerable.

The Tylers and Mickey cross into the parallel universe, but Rose decides she would rather be with the Doctor than her family and jumps back to help him. They open the breach and hold onto a pair of magnetic clamps as the Cybermen and Daleks are pulled in, though the Cult of Skaro escape via an "emergency temporal shift". Rose's lever slips; she pushes it back into position but loses her grip. Before she falls into the Void, Pete reappears, catches her, and jumps back to his world. The breach closes and leaves a devastated Rose trapped in the other world.

Some time later, Rose has a dream where she hears the Doctor's voice calling her. The Tyler family follow the voice to a remote bay in Norway called Bad Wolf Bay, where an image of the Doctor appears; he is harnessing the power of a supernova to transmit through one of the final breaches. Because the breach is to close permanently in two minutes, the pair share one last conversation. Rose breaks down in tears and tells him that she loves him, but as the Doctor starts to reply, the breach closes. In the TARDIS, a tearful Doctor regains his composure and sets a new course. He looks up to see a woman in a wedding dress (portrayed by Catherine Tate), who demands to know where she is.[3]



The concept of the Daleks and Cybermen appearing together on screen is not new; in December 1967, the BBC approached Terry Nation to have both races in a serial, but Nation vetoed this idea. The concept came to Davies while mapping out the 2006 series: the story would both serve to resurrect the popular Daleks and provide a suitable exit for Piper, who had decided to leave Doctor Who.[4] "Doomsday" is the first episode in the history of Doctor Who where the Cybermen and the Daleks appear on-screen together; Cybermen and Daleks were both featured in The Five Doctors and "Army of Ghosts", but in separate scenes.[5][6]

The two-part finale was originally going to take place in Cardiff on the time rift, which was the focus of the episodes "The Unquiet Dead" and "Boom Town". When Torchwood was commissioned in 2005, Davies decided to base the spin-off in Cardiff and relocate "Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday" to Canary Wharf in London.[4]

An item of discussion between the production staff was over who would rescue Rose; Davies and Julie Gardner wanted Pete to rescue her, while Clarke and Phil Collinson wanted Mickey. The role was ultimately given to Pete, to emphasise that he had accepted Rose as a surrogate daughter.[4] The Doctor's intended reply to Rose was also discussed; Davies, who left the reply unspecified, stated he didn't know when asked by Collinson on the episode's commentary track, and Gardner vehemently believed the Doctor would reciprocate Rose's love.[7]

Some elements of the story were inspired by Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Pullman was "flattered" by the references in the episode, and compared Davies' actions to his own practice of referencing works.[8]


Southerndown beach in Wales was used as the backdrop to the Doctor's farewell to Rose Tyler on Bad Wolf Bay.

To ensure that Clarke and Dingwall were available for filming, the story was filmed in the season's third production block with "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel". Filming for the story started on 2 November 2005 on location in Kennington, London, but did not become the primary focus of the production crew until 29 November, when filming began on the scenes in and around the sphere chamber. The scene of the Tylers driving through Norway was filmed at Bridgend on 6 December. Scenes in the lever room, the main setting for the story, were filmed on 12–15 December and 3–5 January 2006. Greenscreen work for Rose being sucked into the void took place on 13 January, and the skirmish between the military and Cybermen on the bridge was filmed on 15 January.[4]

Other location shooting took place at the Coal Exchange and Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff Bay.[9]

The penultimate scene of the episode, the Doctor's farewell to Rose, was filmed on 16 January 2006; it was the last day of filming for Clarke and Dingwall. As with all scenes set at Bad Wolf Bay, these were in fact filmed at Southerndown beach in the Vale of Glamorgan.[10] Piper's last scene was Rose's reunion with the Doctor in "The Satan Pit" on 31 March,[11] but the shoot was rather emotional,[7] to the point there were several tears on set.[12] The last scene of "Doomsday", Catherine Tate's appearance in the TARDIS as Donna Noble (credited as "The Bride"), was filmed on 31 March during the wrap party. To ensure the secrecy of Rose's departure and Tate's appearance, only Piper and Tennant were given scripts of the departure scene, and director Graeme Harper was not informed of the final scene until the last possible second.[4]


As well as using existing music, such as the themes for the Daleks, Cybermen, and Rose, Murray Gold specially composed a piece of music for Rose's farewell entitled "Doomsday", which featured vocal work from Melanie Pappenheim. Instead of using the swelling violins that Davies and the rest of the production team had expected, Gold took a minimalist approach. When pitching the track to the production team, Gold described the track as representing Rose's unbridled energy and determination as she searches for the Doctor. He later said, "I wanted to get that kind of throbbing, sort of hurt sound of quite emotional rock, because I thought that's what Rose would do if she was hurting and ran up to her bedroom and locked herself in her room and had a good old cry, really."[13] The piece uses the same vocal work from "Rose", when Rose first enters the TARDIS, thus creating a bookend effect.[13] It is a favourite among fans and of executive producer Julie Gardner,[7] and is one of the reasons, along with Pappenheim's overall contribution and the "Song for Ten" from "The Christmas Invasion", that the soundtrack of both series was released several months later.[14][15]

Broadcast, reception, and legacy

Broadcast and pre-airing media blackout

To protect as much information concerning the episode as possible, the final scene of "Army of Ghosts" was withheld. The BBC website's Fear Forecasters, a panel who rate the episodes, were not allowed to see "Doomsday" before its airing,[16] and access to copies was restricted; the website thus does not have a Fear Forecast for the episode.[17] Despite this, the Dalek Sec prop, which had been previously unused in the series, had invaded the stage at the 2006 BAFTA Television Awards while the production team were collecting an award.[7] A similar moratorium would be placed on the following series' finale, "Last of the Time Lords".[18]

The episode's finalised average viewing figure was 8.22 million viewers and was, excepting World Cup games, the second most-watched television programme of the week, behind an episode of Coronation Street, and eighth most-watched overall. The companion episode of Doctor Who Confidential gained just over one million viewers, making it the second most watched programme on a non-terrestrial channel that week.[19] The ratings for the episode were higher than the following World Cup match between Germany and Portugal, which had a million fewer viewers.[20]

Critical reception and later release

"Doomsday" is one of the most popular episodes of the revived Doctor Who. It gained an audience Appreciation Index (AI) of 89, which was the highest figure for nearly two years—it was later surpassed by "The Stolen Earth", which had an AI of 91[1][21]—and is the first episode of Doctor Who to receive a perfect 10 rating on IGN,[22] who congratulated Davies on making an action-packed episode so emotional.[23] Television Without Pity gave the episode an A+ rating.[24] The Stage commented that the Dalek-Cybermen conflict was the "only thing worth watching" at the weekend, overshadowing even the World Cup Final, and that the parting scene was "beautifully written and movingly played," with "not a dry eye in the universe".[25] Dek Hogan of Digital Spy stated that the episode was "beautifully balanced and with moments of high excitement and touching poignancy" and that the single oil tear shed by the Cyberman version of Hartman was a "nice touch". He criticised Catherine Tate's appearance as being unnecessary to end the episode and for "breaking the mood".[26] Stephen Brook of The Guardian thought that the episode was "a highpoint of the modern series, highly emotional, scary and genuinely exciting", while Rose's departure was "brilliantly handled". He positively compared the episode's plot of a war between "the greatest monsters in the programme history" against the film Alien vs. Predator.[27]

After its initial airing, the episode was released on DVD, with "Fear Her" and "Army of Ghosts", on 25 September 2006.[28] It was first aired on CBC Television on 19 February 2007.[29] The story ("Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday") was one of three from the second series of Doctor Who to be nominated for the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form; the other stories nominated were "School Reunion" and "The Girl in the Fireplace",[30] the award was won by the latter.[31]

Impact on the show's continuity

The episode's events created a minor story arc for the following series and spin-off series Torchwood. The effects of the "cyber-conversion" of humans to Cybermen were later explored in the 2006 Torchwood episode "Cyberwoman", which focused upon character Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) keeping his partially-converted girlfriend away from his colleagues while he searches for a cure.[32]

The loss of Rose was used several times in the third series: the memory was used in an attempt to weaken the Doctor in "The Shakespeare Code",[33] and was an annoyance to companion Martha Jones.[34] The loss of Rose upset him during "The Runaway Bride",[3] but it also allowed him to "keep on fighting" several times.[33]

The alternate universe and the Void were further explored in several episodes in 2008: the events of the last three episodes of the fourth series, "Turn Left",[35] "The Stolen Earth",[36] and "Journey's End",[37] weaken the divisions between the parallel universes, causing most of the beings in the Void to perish.[38] A small group of Cybermen appear in "The Next Doctor", having stolen Dalek technology and escaped from the Void into Victorian London.[38]

The Daleks and Cybermen appeared on screen together again in 2010 in "The Pandorica Opens", alongside other classic Doctor Who villains.


  1. ^ a b Hilton, Matt (30 June 2008). "The Stolen Earth – AI and Digital Ratings". Doctor Who News Page. Retrieved 30 June 2008. 
  2. ^ "Army of Ghosts". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Graeme Harper, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2006-07-01.
  3. ^ a b "The Runaway Bride". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Graeme Harper, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2006-12-25.
  4. ^ a b c d e Sullivan, Shannon (15 November 2006). ""Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday"". A Brief History of Time (Travel). Retrieved 30 October 2007. 
  5. ^ The Five Doctors. Writer Terrance Dicks, Directors Peter Moffatt, John Nathan-Turner (uncredited), Producer John Nathan-Turner. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 23 November 1983.
  6. ^ "Army of Ghosts". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Graeme Harper, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 1 July 2006.
  7. ^ a b c d Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner, Phil Collinson (mp3). Commentary for "Doomsday". BBC. Archived from the original on 20 January 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007. 
  8. ^ "Would Pullman write for Dr Who?". Newsround. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007. 
  9. ^ "Walesarts, Coal Exchange and Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff Bay". BBC. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  10. ^ "Walesarts, Southerndown beach, Vale of Glamorgan". BBC. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  11. ^ Sullivan, Shannon. ""The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit"". A Brief History of Time (Travel). Retrieved 30 October 2007. 
  12. ^ "Episode 13: Finale" (Embedded Flash object). Doctor Who Confidential. BBC. Retrieved 29 October 2007. 
  13. ^ a b "Music and Monsters". Doctor Who Confidential. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 25 December 2006.
  14. ^ "Who soundtrack soon". BBC. 17 July 2006. Archived from the original on 17 March 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  15. ^ "Soundtrack details". BBC. 6 November 2006. Archived from the original on 6 November 2006. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  16. ^ "Fear Forecast: "Army of Ghosts"". BBC Doctor Who website. BBC. Retrieved 25 February 2007. 
  17. ^ "Fear Forecast". BBC. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  18. ^ "What did Lizo think of Doctor Who?". CBBC. 18 June 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2007. 
  19. ^ Lyon, Shaun (20 July 2006). "Doomsday Final Ratings, and Series Two Recap". Doctor Who News Page. Archived from the original on 16 February 2009. 
  20. ^ Hoskyn, Jane. "World Cup streaming fails to score". The Register; TV Scoop. 
  21. ^ Hilton, Matt (2 April 2007). "Smith and Jones AI figure". Doctor Who News Page. Retrieved 24 January 2008. 
  22. ^ "Television reviews; Score: 10". IGN. 22 December 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2007. 
  23. ^ Haque, Ahsan (11 December 2006). "Doomsday review". IGN. Retrieved 2 November 2007. 
  24. ^ Clifton, Jacob (31 December 2006). "Hold the Line With Me: Doomsday recap". Doctor Who reviews. Television Without Pity. Retrieved 2 November 2007. 
  25. ^ Venning, Harry (17 July 2006). "TV review". The Stage. Retrieved 22 December 2007. 
  26. ^ Hogan, Dek (9 July 2006). "Horses for Courses". Dek's TV Diary. Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 December 2007. 
  27. ^ Brook, Stephen (10 July 2006). "Doctor Who: that was the year that was". Organgrinder. The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2008. 
  28. ^ "Doctor Who: Series 2 Volume 5". BBC Shop. BBC. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  29. ^ "Vol 10, No 6". This Week in Doctor Who. Doctor Who News Page; Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 7 February 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  30. ^ "Nippon 2007 Hugo Nominees". World Science Fiction Society. Retrieved 29 March 2007. 
  31. ^ "2007 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. 1 September 2007. Retrieved 1 September 2007. 
  32. ^ "Cyberwoman". Writer Chris Chibnall, Director James Strong, Producers Richard Stokes, Chris Chibnall. Torchwood. BBC. BBC Three, Cardiff. 5 November 2006.
  33. ^ a b "The Shakespeare Code". Writer Gareth Roberts, Director Charles Palmer, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 7 April 2007.
  34. ^ "Gridlock". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Richard Clark, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 14 April 2007.
  35. ^ "Turn Left". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Graeme Harper, Producer Susie Liggat. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 21 June 2008.
  36. ^ "The Stolen Earth". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Graeme Harper, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 28 June 2008.
  37. ^ "Journey's End". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Graeme Harper, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 5 July 2008.
  38. ^ a b "The Next Doctor". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Andy Goddard, Producer Susie Liggat. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 25 December 2008.

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