Utopia (Doctor Who)

Utopia (Doctor Who)
187a – "Utopia"
Doctor Who episode
Master Regenerates.jpg
The Doctor's greatest enemy regenerates.[1]
Writer Russell T Davies
Director Graeme Harper
Script editor Simon Winstone
Producer Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Production code 3.11
Series Series 3
Length 1st of 3-part story, 45 minutes
Originally broadcast 16 June 2007
← Preceded by Followed by →
"Blink" "The Sound of Drums"

"Utopia" is an episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was broadcast on BBC One on 16 June 2007[2] and is the eleventh episode of series three of the revived Doctor Who series. It is the first of three episodes that form a linked narrative, followed by "The Sound of Drums" and "Last of the Time Lords".

This episode is set upon the planet of Malcassairo in the year 100 trillion, where a professor is working to send the last remnants of the human race to a place called "Utopia". The vicious Futurekind threaten to scuttle the rocket, but a greater threat hides in the shadows: the Doctor's greatest nemesis is about to rise again.



The TARDIS lands in Cardiff to refuel from the Rift. The Doctor states that this will only take twenty seconds (in contrast to his previous visit), noting that the Rift has been active recently. Captain Jack Harkness races towards the TARDIS and grabs onto it as it dematerialises, causing the TARDIS to fly to the end of the Universe to try to shake Captain Jack off.

After landing in the year 100 trillion on the planet Malcassairo, Jack confronts the Doctor about abandoning him on Satellite 5, and asks about Rose Tyler. Jack reveals that he returned to Earth using a vortex manipulator, but was stranded in the 19th century; therefore, he went to wait at the Cardiff Rift, knowing the Doctor would eventually come back. Exploring, they find a dead city and encounter the Futurekind, cannibalistic humanoids who are hunting a human. The human is attempting to reach a transport to "Utopia", the last hope of the human race.

At the transport site, the TARDIS crew meet the elderly Professor Yana and his insectoid assistant Chantho, who are desperate for help. The spacecraft to Utopia can't launch due to problems with its experimental engine system. Despite the unfamiliar technology, the Doctor solves the scientific problems, and Jack makes final preparations in a heavily irradiated room. As Jack does this, he and the Doctor discuss their mutual affection for Rose and Jack's inability to die, revealing that his resurrection is why the Doctor abandoned him on Satellite 5. The rocket finally takes off for Utopia, leaving the Doctor, Yana, Chantho, Martha, and Jack behind.

A separate plot shows that Yana has been hearing a constant drumbeat inside his head — a condition he reports having had all his life, with the drums getting louder of late. Words such as "regeneration" and "TARDIS" — elements of Time Lord lore — exacerbate the problem. When Martha expresses concern over the Professor's uneasiness, he reveals a long-standing concern with time, and shows Martha a broken fob watch he's had since childhood, identical in design to John Smith's watch in "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood". Concerned about the implications, Martha rushes to inform the Doctor.

When the Doctor hears about Yana's timepiece, a flashback sequence inter-cut with the letters of the Professor's name makes clear that "Yana" is an acronym of "You are not alone", the Face of Boe's last words to the Doctor. At the same time, Yana opens the watch, releasing his Time Lord essence. Frantic and horrified, the Doctor races towards Yana's laboratory but is hindered as the Professor closes the doors and allows the Futurekind to enter the base. Yana reveals his true identity to Chantho: he is the Master. He electrocutes her, but Chantho manages to shoot him before dying.

The Doctor arrives in Yana's laboratory just as the Master enters the Doctor's TARDIS, taking the severed hand (which Jack recovered after the events of "The Christmas Invasion" and had carried ever since) with him. He then deadlock seals the TARDIS doors, preventing the Doctor from opening it. Dying from Chantho's shot, the Master regenerates, in a spasm of volcanic, multi-coloured energy, into a younger body, whose voice Martha recognises. After taunting and berating the Doctor, he leaves in the TARDIS, stranding the three time travellers in the distant future, with the Futurekind about to break through the door.


Jack Harkness and Torchwood

  • Harkness was last seen at the end of the Torchwood episode "End of Days", looking off-screen while the familiar sound of the TARDIS is heard in the background. The Torchwood team find him gone, and the place in a mess. While refuelling, the Doctor notes that the Rift has been active recently; this was due to Abaddon escaping through the Rift in the same episode.
  • Harkness says that he used a Vortex Manipulator to travel back from the year 200,100, arriving in 1869. This places his arrival in Cardiff within months prior to the events of "The Unquiet Dead". Stolen Vortex Manipulator technology was also used by the Family of Blood in "Human Nature" to track the Doctor through time.
  • Jack tells Martha and the Doctor that he learned of their arrival from a signal on his vortex manipulator. In "End of Days", however, he runs upstairs when sees the Doctor's hand's jar bubbling and hears the TARDIS.
  • One of the items in Harkness's backpack is the severed hand of the Doctor. This was first seen in "The Christmas Invasion", when the hand was cut off by the Sycorax leader, and was a recurring background item on the Torchwood Three Hub set. This episode confirms that the hand is indeed the Doctor's.

The Master

  • Derek Jacobi plays the fifth version of the Master whom the Doctor has encountered on screen, and John Simm is the sixth.[3] At least one television pundit speculated whether "Mister Saxon" was an intentional anagram of "Master No. Six" or was perhaps "a big red herring".[4] However, when asked, Russell T Davies stated that it was not deliberate.[5][6]
  • The episode marks the first time the Master has been shown undergoing regeneration; in previous episodes ("The Keeper of Traken", the TV movie) the Master has been shown appropriating someone else's body, which is not the same as regeneration. This is the second episode to show a Time Lord other than the Doctor regenerating on screen, the first being the regeneration of K'anpo in "Planet of the Spiders" (the regeneration of Romana occurred off-camera).
  • The Master continually hears the sound of drums; this continues through the following episodes, "The Sound of Drums" and "Last of the Time Lords".

References to other stories

  • The Doctor, in comparing his and Jack's respective time-traveling devices, comments about Jack having a "space hopper" (the Vortex Manipulator), while he has a "sports car" (the TARDIS). Donna Noble, in the later episode "Planet of the Ood", makes a similar comment early on about a shuttle passing over head; the Doctor has a little blue box while the shuttle is a Ferrari.
  • Martha inquires about the earthquake in Cardiff a couple of years ago, and the Doctor claims he had a bit of trouble with the Slitheen. This refers to the events of the 2005 episode "Boom Town". He also states that he was a different man back then; the episode took place during the Ninth Doctor's tenure.
  • The Doctor informs Jack he knew Rose had brought him back to life ever since he left Satellite 5. The Doctor was shown to be aware of this in the Children in Need special.
  • The Doctor speaks about Rose's actions in "The Parting of the Ways" as "the last act of the Time War".
  • This episode contains clips from "The Parting of the Ways", "The Christmas Invasion", "Human Nature" and "Gridlock". It also features sounds of previous Masters when the Professor's watch is beckoning him to open it, including Anthony Ainley's laugh and a line Roger Delgado spoke in The Dæmons.[3][7]
  • Yana recalls that he was found as a child "on the coast of the Silver Devastation", a place from where the Face of Boe was said to have come in the 2005 episode "The End of the World".
  • The truth behind the existence of 'Utopia' and the fate of the humans seen in this episode is revealed in "Last of the Time Lords".
  • While walking through the Silo, The Doctor comments on how the human race has survived to the end of the universe, describing them as 'indomitable'. The Fourth Doctor gave a similar speech about the human race in The Ark in Space.

Production and pre-broadcast publicity

  • This is the first episode in the revived series to credit three principal cast members within the title sequence, with the addition of John Barrowman, who plays Captain Jack Harkness.
  • Music originally composed for Torchwood can be heard in the background of this episode: a variation of the Torchwood theme plays when Jack runs towards the TARDIS and a motif plays when Jack lies dead, having ridden on the TARDIS through the Vortex.
  • This episode was announced as the first of a three-part story in Totally Doctor Who, broadcast the day before. Prior to this, only the following two instalments had been linked. Later reference material, including Doctor Who Magazine's season poll, treated the three episodes as a single three-part story. Russell T Davies has said that he regards "Utopia" as a separate story, but notes that the determination is arbitrary.[8]
  • The drumming motif is suggestive of the fifth and subsequent bars of the Doctor Who theme tune as composed by Ron Grainer and realised by Delia Derbyshire.[9]

Cast notes


  1. ^ "Utopia". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Graeme Harper, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2007-06-16.
  2. ^ "Doctor Who UK airdate announced". News (Dreamwatch). 27 February 2007. http://www.dwscifi.com/articles/show/227. 
  3. ^ a b "Doctor Who - Fact File - "Utopia"". http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/episodes/2007/facts/fact_311.shtml. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  4. ^ "Of a Thursday". Digital Spy. 2007-04-01. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/a44695/of-a-thursday.html. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  5. ^ Radio Times 30 June–6 July 2007: Doctor Who Watch
  6. ^ Doctor Who Magazine issue 384: Return of the Master
  7. ^ ""Utopia" Podcast". 2007-06-16. http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/s311_commentary.mp3. Retrieved 2007-07-09. [dead link]
  8. ^ Davies, Russell T (4 March 2009 (cover date)). "Production Notes". Doctor Who Magazine (Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Panini Comics) (406): p 4. "And I certainly feel the Series Three climax was two stories, no matter what the DWM season poll says. I'm sorry! I just do! I could rattle off the reasons, but we're into the mystical land of canon here, where the baseline of the argument simply comes down to "because I think so!"" 
  9. ^ Freema Agyeman, Trevor Laird, Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The Sound of Drums commentary BBC's Doctor Who microsite. Podcast accessed on 2007-06-25
  10. ^ "A New Doctor, A New Dimension?". http://www.bigfinish.com/drwho_unbound/dwu05_deadline.shtml. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  11. ^ "Jacobi confirmed for Dr Who role". BBC News (BBC). 25 January 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6297661.stm. 
  12. ^ "Future Boy". News (BBC Doctor Who website). 7 June 2007. http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/news/cult/news/drwho/2007/06/07/45505.shtml. 
  13. ^ "Doctor Who - Memory Lane". Big Finish. http://bigfinish.com/88-Doctor-Who-Memory-Lane. 

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