Last of the Time Lords

Last of the Time Lords

Infobox Doctor Who episode
number = 191c
serial_name = Last of the Time Lords

caption =
show = DW
type = episode
doctor = David Tennant (Tenth Doctor)
companion = Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones)
companion2 = John Barrowman (Jack Harkness)
guests =
* John Simm – The Master
* Alexandra Moen – Lucy Saxon
* Adjoa AndohFrancine Jones
* Trevor LairdClive Jones
* Gugu Mbatha-RawTish Jones
* Reggie YatesLeo Jones
* Tom Ellis – Thomas Milligan
* Ellie Haddington – Professor Docherty
* Tom Golding – Lad
* Natasha Alexander – Woman
* Zoe Thorne, Gerard Logan, and Johnnie Lyne-Pirkis – Toclafane voices
writer = Russell T Davies
director = Colin Teague
producer = Phil Collinson
executive_producer = Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
script_editor = Simon Winstone
production_code = 3.13
date = 30 June 2007
preceding = "The Sound of Drums"
following = "Time Crash" (mini-episode) "Voyage of the Damned" (special)
imdb_id = 1000255
length= 3rd of 3-part story, 52 minutes
series = Series 3
series_link = Series 3 (2007)

"Last of the Time Lords" is an episode of the British science fiction television series "Doctor Who". It was broadcast on BBC One on 30 June 2007, [cite news
title = Doctor Who UK airdate announced
work = News
publisher = Dreamwatch
date = February 27, 2007
url =
] and is the thirteenth and final episode of Series 3 of the revived "Doctor Who" series. It is the last of a three-part story, following "Utopia" and "The Sound of Drums". This episode shows the departure of Freema Agyeman and John Barrowman as Martha Jones and Jack Harkness respectively until Series Four.


One year after the events of "The Sound of Drums", the Master has conquered the Earth and enslaved its population. He holds the aged Doctor prisoner, and prepares warships for a new Time Lord Empire. Now it is up to Martha Jones to carry out the Doctor's plan and save the universe.


A year after the events of "The Sound of Drums", Earth has been closed to all species and labelled as in "terminal extinction". Martha returns to Britain, having travelled the world since teleporting away from the "Valiant" at the moment of the Master's triumph. Her TARDIS key, still generating a perception filter, has kept her hidden all this time. She meets Thomas Milligan, a doctor-turned-freedom-fighter, who can lead her to one Professor Docherty. Martha herself has become a figure of hope against the Master, rumoured to be the only one capable of killing him.

Meanwhile, on the "Valiant", the Master is keeping the aged Doctor in a "dog-kennel" tent as his humiliated prisoner, Martha's family as his servants, and Jack Harkness in chains. Lucy Saxon is still his companion, but shows evidence of physical abuse. The Master shows the Doctor the world he has created: the new Time Lord Empire. Across the planet, warships are being built to wage war on the rest of the universe. The Doctor has "only one thing to say", but the Master does not want to hear it. After a failed attempt by the Jones family, Jack, and the Doctor to gain control by stealing the Master's laser screwdriver, the Master sends out a transmission intended for Martha. Watching in Docherty's lab, she sees the Master suspend the Doctor's capacity to regenerate, shrinking him into a tiny, frail creature. Instead of despairing, Martha draws strength from the Doctor's continued survival.

Though the Toclafane have proven to be virtually invincible, Martha reveals that she stumbled upon one that was struck by lightning, and with the data gathered from the incident Docherty is able to replicate the required conditions. Upon examining the sphere thus captured, they make a horrifying discovery: the Toclafane contain the conscious remains of the humans from the year 100 trillion. The Toclafane claims there was no Utopia, only more darkness, and with everything dying around them the humans cannibalised and regressed themselves, becoming the child-like Toclafane. The Master brought them back in time using the TARDIS, which could only travel between Utopia and present-day Earth. The contradiction of the Toclafane killing their own ancestors is made possible by the paradox machine built by the Master. Martha is horrified when the Toclafane quotes young Creet, whom she met on Malcassairo, telling her that the Toclafane have shared memories of the last of humanity. When questioned as to why it wishes to kill its own ancestors, the Toclafane responds, "Because it's fun" and laughs maniacally. Tom, sickened and horrified, shoots it dead. Meanwhile, the Doctor (who is now imprisoned in a bird cage) warns the Master that he is changing history of not only Earth but the whole universe. The Master reminds his enemy that he is a Time Lord and as such he has the right to do so. The Master also states that the human race are the "greatest monsters of them all."

When Docherty asks if the rumours about Martha are true, Martha reveals a gun, developed by Torchwood and UNIT, purportedly able to kill a Time Lord and prevent the ensuing regeneration. Martha has retrieved three of the four chemicals needed for the gun from their hiding places around the world, and has returned to London to find the fourth. After Martha and Thomas depart for a shelter in Bexley to hide, Docherty (who is desperate for information regarding her missing son) reveals their whereabouts to the Master.

The Master comes to Earth's surface to capture Martha, threatening to have everyone in the shelters executed unless she gives herself up. Martha surrenders and is forced to hand over the bag containing the special gun which the Master immediately destroys with his Screwdriver. He then tells Martha that her work is done, and prepares to execute her in the street; Tom charges to her defence, and the Master kills him instead. Musing that the Doctor should see Martha die, the Master takes her back to the "Valiant", where he plans to execute her in front of the Doctor, Jack, and Martha's family at the moment his fleet is launched. Ordering her to kneel, the Master awaits the end of the countdown, but as it counts down to zero, a defiant and amused Martha laughs mockingly at the Master, then reveals to him the real reason she travelled the globe: not for a fictional anti-regeneration gun, or to fight back, but merely to talk. Docherty's betrayal was expected, engineered by Martha so that she would be brought on board the "Valiant" to rejoin the Doctor at the right time. For a whole year, Martha had crossed the globe, telling the human race about the Doctor, and instructing everyone to think of the Doctor at the same time the Master plans to launch his fleet. Crucially combined with the Master's own Archangel satellite network — which the Doctor has had an entire year to get in tune with — this has the effect of charging the Doctor with the combined psychic energy of all the people of Earth. Now renewed with powerful psychokinetic abilities, the Doctor restores his body to its original form and ends the Master's control. As the Master cowers, the Doctor says the words the Master was afraid to hear: "I forgive you".

With the Master out of the picture, Jack rounds up some soldiers to destroy the paradox machine, but is delayed by the Toclafane. The Master, using Jack's vortex manipulator, teleports himself and the Doctor to Earth, where he creates a standoff by threatening to detonate his fleet and take the Earth with it. The Doctor, however, calls the Master's bluff, telling the Master that the Earth's destruction requires the Master to kill himself: the one thing the Doctor knows that the Master would never do. The Master surrenders, and the Doctor manages to teleport both himself and the Master back to the "Valiant" just as Jack destroys the paradox machine, rewinding time to just after the US President is killed and just before the Toclafane arrive. All those on the "Valiant" remember the events due to being at "the eye of the storm", but nobody else will know of the Master's reign of terror in "the year that never was".

The Master, now defenceless, attempts to escape but is caught by a returning Jack and handcuffed and stands before the Doctor, but Francine Jones grabs a gun and is ready to shoot the Master. As she says, he still committed the atrocities she was forced to witness, even if they have been reversed, but the Doctor talks her out of committing murder, and she collapses in tears. The Doctor announces that, since the Master is a Time Lord, he is the Doctor's responsibility and will be imprisoned on board the TARDIS. However Lucy Saxon, with a glazed expression, seizes the gun herself and shoots him. Rather than be a prisoner for the rest of his lives, the Master lets himself die, refusing to regenerate despite the Doctor's desperate pleading for him to do so. Just before dying in his opponent's arms the Master muses on the constant drumming in his head, wondering if it will finally stop, and with a smile says, "I win" before he dies, leaving the Doctor to weep uncontrollably for both his old enemy and the last remaining member of his species, leaving him, once again, the last of the Time Lords.

The Doctor cremates the Master's body on a pyre. However, after he leaves, a female hand wearing red nail polish is seen taking the Master's signet ring from the burnt-out pyre, with malevolent laughter echoing in the background. In Cardiff, Jack decides to turn down the chance to remain with the Doctor, chosing to return to look after his team, "defending the Earth". The Doctor reclaims his severed hand from Jack, and disables his vortex manipulator to keep him from jumping through time and space unsupervised. The Doctor then tells Jack that there is nothing that can be done about his immortality: it seems likely he will never be able to die — though he is not sure about aging. Thinking about what he might look like millions of years from now, Jack confesses his vanity and recalls how in his youth on the Boeshane Peninsula his good looks earned him the nickname "the Face of Boe", much to the surprise of the Doctor and Martha.

With the TARDIS repaired, the Doctor is ready to move on. Martha, however, has decided to stay so she can look after her family and finally qualify as a medical doctor. She gives the Doctor her phone so they can keep in touch and says she will see him again, but when someone is in love and it is unrequited, they have to get out, and as Martha explains: "this is me getting out". The Doctor sets the TARDIS controls - until the room is suddenly shaken with great force, and the bow of a ship smashes through the console room wall. Picking up a lifebelt, he finds "Titanic" written on it, to which he can only respond flatly, "What?!"

Cast notes

*Reggie Yates is credited as playing Leo Jones; however, the character Leo only appears in this episode as background. The audio commentary for the episode mentions that Leo was originally scheduled to appear in the sequence showing Martha's return to Britain, but Yates was double-booked.
* Zoe Thorne also voiced the Gelth in "The Unquiet Dead".
* Uncredited as the hand that picks up the Master's ring was production manager, Tracie Simpson.


* In the episode's commentary, writer Russell T Davies called the implication of Jack's nickname ("the Face of Boe") "a theory" as to the Face of Boe's origins, prompting Executive Producer Julie Gardner to urge him to "stop back-pedalling" about the two characters being the same. Davies then mentioned the addition of a line in "Gridlock" in which the Face of Boe calls the Doctor "old friend", suggesting a strong connection between him and the Doctor.
* Davies also jokingly termed the hand seen removing the Master's ring from the ashes of his funeral pyre "the hand of the Rani".cite web |title="Last of the Time Lords" Podcast |url= |work= |date= 2007-07-27 |accessdate=2007-06-30 ]
* The Master makes reference to the Sea Devils (which the Third Doctor and the Master encountered together in the 1972 serial "The Sea Devils") and the Axons (which they met in 1971's "The Claws of Axos").cite web|url=|title=Doctor Who - Fact File - "The Last of the Time Lords"|accessdate=2007-07-01] The Doctor also makes references to the Daleks; the Daleks were previously seen to have dealings with the Master in "Frontier in Space" (1973) and in the 1996 "Doctor Who" TV movie.
* The Master refers to the Doctor singlehandedly sealing "the rift in the Medusa Cascade" during the Time War. The Medusa Cascade is referred to again in the fourth series episodes "The Fires of Pompeii", "The Sontaran Strategem" and "Midnight", and appears in the fourth series episode The Stolen Earth.
* Earth is referred to as Sol 3, the third planet from the star Sol, as it was in "The Deadly Assassin". Sol is the Latin name for the Sun, and is often used in science fiction.
* The Master's laser screwdriver is said to be isomorphically controlled, a property the Doctor attributed to the TARDIS controls in "Pyramids of Mars".
* Clips from "Smith and Jones", "Utopia" and "The Sound of Drums" are used in this episode.
* After receiving a great amount of psychic energy, and rejuvenating himself, the Doctor says the line: "", a frequently used catchphrase of his.
* Martha mentions that she once met William Shakespeare ("The Shakespeare Code").
* When the Master is shot by Lucy Saxon he says, "It's always the women." He was previously shot by Chantho in "Utopia". The Doctor's granddaughter Susan also shoots the Master in the novel "Legacy of the Daleks". In the novel "First Frontier", it is Ace who shoots the Master.
* The Doctor's severed hand from "The Christmas Invasion", "Utopia", "The Sound of Drums" and various "Torchwood" episodes can be seen at the end of the episode inside the TARDIS.
* At the end of the episode, the Doctor says "What?!" three times, after the Titanic crashes through the TARDIS wall, which is also his response to Donna at the end of "Doomsday", when she appears on board the TARDIS.
* The hand seen picking up the Master's ring leaves open the possibility of reintroducing the character at a later date, although Russell T Davies stated in the podcast for this episode that this would not occur in the 2008 series. [cite web |title="Last of the Time Lords" Podcast |url= |work= |date= 2007-07-27 |accessdate=2007-06-30 ]
* Martha mentions that both UNIT and Torchwood have been studying Time Lords for several decades. Torchwood was set up in "Tooth and Claw" for the specific purpose of tracking the Doctor, while the Doctor worked for UNIT in the mid-20th century. During the Doctor's tenure with UNIT, a full season of stories revolved around the Master, ending in his capture by UNIT in "The Dæmons".
* The 2007 Children in Need mini-episode "Time Crash" takes place within the last few minutes of this episode.
* The Doctor tells Martha he has never met mystery writer Agatha Christie, although in the Big Finish audio drama "Terror Firma" the 8th Doctor says that Agatha Christie once travelled as the Doctor's companion for some time. The Doctor encounters her in the 2008 episode, "The Unicorn and the Wasp".
*The New Series Novel "The Story of Martha" to be released in December 2008 will chronicle the journey and tales of Martha Jones during her year on Earth.

Outside references

*The Master refers to the aged version of the Doctor as "Gandalf" from J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings".
*Whilst attempting to mend a television to pick up the broadcast from the Master, Professor Docherty remarks on a fondness for "Countdown" and states that "it's never been the same since Des took over. Both Deses", referring to Des Lynam and Des O'Connor's hosting of the show after the death of Richard Whiteley in 2005.
*When Professor Docherty was interrupted with Martha Jones, she said she didn't care if it was the Queen of Sheba.
*While working on a troublesome computer to access the data from the one Toclafane struck down by lightning, Professor Docherty says, "Who ever thought that we would miss Bill Gates?"


*One of the last words The Master speaks is "How bout that, I win". The Doctor mutters a similar phrase referring to the Time War in the serial Dalek, "I win, how bout that".

Production and publicity

*"Last of the Time Lords" was a subtitle proposed at one stage for a film version of "Doctor Who" that was in development from 1987 to 1994. [cite book |last=Lofficier |first=Jean-Marc |authorlink=Jean-Marc Lofficier |title=Doctor Who: The Nth Doctor - An in-depth Study of the films that almost were |year=1997 |publisher=Virgin Books |location=London |id=ISBN 0426204999 |pages= ]
*This episode was planned to be broadcast live to the crowds attending Pride London in Trafalgar Square via a giant screen. However, a local curfew after the nearby attempted terrorist bombing the previous day prevented the screening. Freema Agyeman and John Barrowman attended the event.cite news|url=|title=Gripping finale of Doctor Who closes Pride show in Trafalgar Square|publisher=Pride London|accessdate=2007-06-25] cite news|url=|title=Doctor Who dropped at London Pride 2007|publisher=Outpost Gallifrey|accessdate=2007-07-02]
*In order to keep the episode's details secret, access to preview copies of this episode was restricted.cite news|url=|publisher=CBBC|title=What did Lizo think of Doctor Who?|date=2007-06-18|accessdate2007-06-21] There was a similar moratorium on copies of "Doomsday" the previous year and on the series four finale "Journey's End" the following year. [cite web |url= |title=Fear Forecast: "Army of Ghosts" |accessdate=2007-02-25 |work=BBC "Doctor Who" website |publisher=BBC ]
*The episode was allocated a 50-minute timeslot for its initial broadcast, [ [ Doctor Who - Saturday] , 30 June, "Radio Times"] as with "Daleks in Manhattan" previously, and 55-minute timeslots for the BBC Three repeats. [ [ Doctor Who - Sunday] , 1 July, "Radio Times"] [ [ Doctor Who - Friday] , 6 July, "Radio Times"] According to Russell T Davies in Doctor Who Magazine 384, this is because it ran over-length but they did not wish to lose the material. The official run time from [] for the episode is almost 52 minutes. The final episode of "The Trial of a Time Lord" was also extended by five minutes in 1986.
*In the audio commentary, the producers reveal that Graeme Harper filled in to direct some scenes after director Colin Teague was injured.
*At the start of this episode, The Master enters the bridge of the "Valiant" as "I Can't Decide" by the Scissor Sisters plays in the background. He refers to it as "track 3", its place on the Scissor Sisters' second album, "Ta-Dah".
*Two sets of audio commentaries were recorded for the episode: one with producers Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson, which was intended for podcast broadcast to coincide with the episode's initial UK telecast, and the other featuring actors David Tennant, Freema Agyeman and John Barrowman, which was included on the UK DVD release of the episode as part of the Series 3 box set. However, the Region 1 (North America) release of the DVD saw the actor commentary replaced by the earlier podcast version, although a production error resulted in the set's booklet not indicating this substitution (and the booklet also omits Tennant's name). [BBC Worldwide press release, quoted on [ TV Shows on DVD] , Nov. 18, 2007 (accessed Nov. 20, 2007)]
*This episode marked the last regular-episode use of the Doctor Who theme music arrangement by Murray Gold that had been introduced in 2005 and used (notwithstanding minor modifications and an extension of the closing theme in 2006) thereafter. The opening theme would be heard once more in its 2005 arrangement in the "Time Crash" short episode, before both opening and closing themes would be revised beginning with "Voyage of the Damned" and continuing into Series 4 in 2008.

Critical reception

According to official BARB ratings, "Last of the Time Lords" was watched by 8.61 million viewers. It received an Audience Appreciation Index of 88, considered "excellent" for a drama. Stephen Brook, writing on Guardian Unlimited's "Organgrinder" blog, said the episode was "certainly an epic conclusion... but not a satisfying one." He felt it was too epic and too rushed, and "the resurrection of the Doctor... left me cold." [cite web|author=Brook, Stephen|title=Doctor Who: it's season finale time!|publisher=Guardian Unlimited|url=|date=2007-07-02|accessdate=2008-08-10] Stephen James Walker, in his book "Third Dimension", summed up the episode as "bleak and depressing", and listed the ill treatment of the Doctor, the use of a reset button and the underuse of Captain Jack as among the problems he had with the story. [cite book|author=Walker, Stephen James|title=Third Dimension:The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who 2007|publisher=Telos Publishing|year=2007|pages=264|id=ISBN 978-1-84583-016-8]


External links

*BBCDWnew | year=2007 |id = 313| title = Last of the Time Lords
*Doctor Who RG|id=who_tv31|title= Utopia" / "The Sound of Drums" / "Last of the Time Lords|quotes=y
*Brief|id=2007lm|title=The Sound Of Drums" / "Last Of The Time Lords|quotes=y
* [ "Last of the Time Lords"] : episode trailer


*DWRG| id=lastlords | title=Last of the Time Lords | quotes=y

*The Stage review of "Last of the Time Lords": []

*"Last of the Time Lords" reviewed at [ OFF THE TELLY]

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