Doctor Who (series 4)

Doctor Who (series 4)
Doctor Who series 4
Doctor Who Series 4.jpg
DVD box
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 15 (+2)
Original channel BBC One
Original run 5 April 2008 (2008-04-05) – 5 July 2008 (2008-07-05)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 18 November 2008 (2008-11-18)[1]
Region 2 17 November 2008 (2008-11-17)
Region 4 4 December 2008 (2008-12-04)
Series chronology
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Series 3
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2008–10 Specials
List of Doctor Who serials

The fourth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who began on 25 December 2007 with the Christmas special "Voyage of the Damned". Following the special, a regular series of thirteen episodes aired, starting with "Partners in Crime" on 5 April 2008 and ending with "Journey's End". Episode one ("Partners In Crime") marked the debut of Donna Noble, as played by Catherine Tate, as a full-time companion to the Tenth Doctor. The last episode to be produced for the fourth series was the 2008 Christmas special, "The Next Doctor", which aired on 25 December 2008. Two short special episodes were produced; a Children in Need special and a special for the Doctor Who Prom. The series started production on 8 August 2007 and concluded on 29 March 2008.



Doctor Who had been recommissioned for a fourth series in March 2007,[2] shortly before the broadcast of the third series. The production schedule called for 15 full episodes to be produced, rather than the usual 14, due to the announcement that the next full series of Doctor Who would not air until 2010. This schedule, combined with David Tennant's commitments with the Royal Shakespeare Company, meant that the programme would be unable to enter production during the second half of 2008. The 15 episodes consisted of 13 regular episodes and two Christmas specials. Recording for the 2007 Christmas special began on 9 July 2007,[3] with production on the series itself beginning on 8 August[4] and concluding on 29 March 2008.[5] The tenth production block — consisting of 2008 Christmas special "The Next Doctor" and the BBC Proms "cutaway" scene "Music of the Spheres" — completed recording on 3 May.[6]

Doctor Who Magazine gradually revealed writers for the series alongside episode announcements. First-time writers for the show included James Moran, co-writer of the 2006 horror film Severance, and Keith Temple, who had written episodes of Byker Grove and Casualty. Previous writers Gareth Roberts, Stephen Greenhorn, Helen Raynor, Steven Moffat and Russell T Davies all contributed to the series, with Davies continuing to act as head writer and executive producer. Tom MacRae had written an episode for this series, entitled "Century House",[7] but this was replaced after Russell T Davies decided that it was too close in tone to Gareth Roberts' "The Unicorn and the Wasp".[8] This was Phil Collinson's last series as producer, as well as Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner's last full series as executive producers, all having worked on the programme since its return. Davies and Gardner continued their roles for the 2009-10 Specials. Susie Liggat produced five episodes (blocks 2, 5 and 7), as she did in series 3 with "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood". Collinson received an executive producer credit for these episodes.

All of the episode titles were revealed in the 5 April 2008 issue of the Radio Times, except the title of the twelfth, which was "being kept secret as it gives away too much."[9] The article also identified the title of episode 9 as "River's Run", as did the press release for the subsequent issue of Doctor Who Magazine, but this was changed a few days afterwards to "Forest of the Dead". The title of episode 12 was eventually revealed in a press release as "The Stolen Earth".[10]

A Children in Need special, entitled "Time Crash", was produced alongside the series and was broadcast on 16 November 2007. In addition, a mini-episode entitled "Music of the Spheres" was shot on 3 May 2008[6] for series 4 and was premiered at the Doctor Who Prom on 27 July 2008, with the audio being broadcast simultaneously on BBC Radio 3. It was then broadcast on BBC One on New Year's Day 2009.

On 1 February 2008, the BBC announced that, in a partnership with Carlton Screen Advertising, a 90-second film trailer of the fourth series would be shown in cinemas across Britain "before the most anticipated new releases".[11] The trailer was aired on British television on 22 March 2008.[12] Three teaser trailers and one full length trailer consisting of unique footage were subsequently produced and aired on television and in cinemas promoting the fourth series.[13][14]

Production blocks were arranged as follows:

Block Episode Title Director Writer Producer Code
1 "Voyage of the Damned" James Strong Russell T Davies Phil Collinson 4.X
2 "The Unicorn and the Wasp"
"Planet of the Ood"
Graeme Harper Gareth Roberts
Keith Temple
Susie Liggat 4.7
3 "The Fires of Pompeii" Colin Teague James Moran Phil Collinson 4.3
4 "Partners in Crime"
"Time Crash"
James Strong
Graeme Harper
Russell T Davies
Steven Moffat
Phil Collinson 4.1
5 "The Sontaran Stratagem"
"The Poison Sky"
Douglas Mackinnon Helen Raynor Susie Liggat 4.4
6 "The Doctor's Daughter"
Alice Troughton Stephen Greenhorn
Russell T Davies
Phil Collinson 4.6
7 "Silence in the Library"
"Forest of the Dead"
Euros Lyn Steven Moffat Phil Collinson 4.8
8 "Turn Left" Graeme Harper Russell T Davies Susie Liggat 4.11
9 "The Stolen Earth"
"Journey's End"
Graeme Harper Russell T Davies Phil Collinson 4.12
10 "The Next Doctor"
"Music of the Spheres"
Andy Goddard
Euros Lyn
Russell T Davies Susie Liggat
Catrin Lewis Defis


The Doctor Who title card for series 4, identical to that used in series 3.

Main characters

The fourth series marked David Tennant's third and final full series as the Doctor (although he continued in the role for the 2009-10 Specials) and also featured a total of seven companions. In the Christmas special, Australian actress and singer Kylie Minogue starred as one-time companion Astrid Peth, who perished before the end of the episode. The companions in the regular series had all been in the lead companion role previously: the primary role of Donna Noble, who was introduced in "The Runaway Bride", was played by Catherine Tate for all thirteen episodes. Freema Agyeman, who portrayed the Doctor's companion Martha Jones in series three, returned for "The Sontaran Stratagem", "The Poison Sky", "The Doctor's Daughter", "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End". Billie Piper, who played Rose Tyler from the first episode of the new series to the finale of the second series appeared in the three final episodes of the series. She made brief appearances in the episodes "Partners in Crime", "The Poison Sky" and "Midnight". John Barrowman, Elisabeth Sladen and Noel Clarke who portrayed previous companions Jack Harkness, Sarah Jane Smith and Mickey Smith respectively, also reappeared in the finale.

Guest stars

Recurring guest stars for the series included Bernard Cribbins and Jacqueline King as Donna's grandfather Wilfred Mott and mother Sylvia Noble. Penelope Wilton returned as Harriet Jones in "The Stolen Earth", her first appearance since "The Christmas Invasion". Noel Clarke and Camille Coduri reprised their roles as Mickey Smith and Jackie Tyler in "Journey's End". Adjoa Andoh returned as Martha Jones' mother Francine in the finale. Eve Myles, Gareth David-Lloyd and Tommy Knight also starred in the finale in their respective roles of Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones and Luke Smith from spin-off series Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. This marked their first appearances in Doctor Who itself, although Eve Myles had previously featured in "The Unquiet Dead" in a different role.

The fourth series featured a large number of high-profile stars such as Kylie Minogue (Astrid Peth in "Voyage of the Damned"), Alex Kingston (River Song in "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead"), Sarah Lancashire (Miss Foster in "Partners in Crime"), and Phil Davis and Peter Capaldi (Lucius and Caecillus respectively in "The Fires of Pompeii").[15] Other guest stars included Sasha Behar, Tim McInnerny, Colin Morgan, Christopher Ryan, Georgia Moffett (daughter of Fifth Doctor actor Peter Davison), Nigel Terry, Felicity Kendal, Fenella Woolgar, Colin Salmon, Lesley Sharp, Lindsey Coulson, David Troughton (son of Second Doctor actor Patrick Troughton), and Chipo Chung (who had previously portrayed Chantho in "Utopia").[16][17] Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and Paul O'Grady made cameo appearances as themselves in "The Stolen Earth".[18]


The forty-second trailer features Donna Noble, portrayed by comedienne Catherine Tate, sitting over a camp fire, talking about "creatures of metal, fire, and blood" threatening the universe as shots of the Daleks, Sontarans, and the Ood come into view. She talks about a man called the Doctor (David Tennant), who is portrayed in fleeting glimpses until his name is mentioned, who constantly saves the universe from these threats. Donna ends her narration by saying the Doctor will be back to save them and she will be ready to join him. The trailer ends with the Doctor and Donna simultaneously saying "and just like that, we'll be gone."

List of episodes

You've got to watch and listen closely. It's been seeded for a long time, with small but vital references going all the way back to series One.

Like the previous three series, all of the episodes are bound together in a loose story arc. In previous series, the story arcs were in the form of an arc word, such as Bad Wolf, Torchwood, or Mr Saxon, but the arc for the fourth series is cumulative: Doctor Who Magazine's preview of "Partners in Crime" described the arc as "an element from every episode–whether it's a person, a phrase, a question, a planet, or a mystery –builds up to the grand finale". Multiple mentions were made about the bees disappearing from planet Earth and stories driven by a missing or lost planet. Executive producer Russell T Davies stated in the same feature that the series' finale had been planned for three years previous to its airdate.[19] The regular series focuses heavily on Donna: David Tennant stated that the "whole thirteen weeks is Donna's story ... why she's with the Doctor again is the subtext",[20] and producer Phil Collinson cited Donna as a "fresh dynamic" for the fourth series.[19]

Story No. Episode Title Directed by Written by UK viewers[21]
AI Original air date Production
188 "Voyage of the Damned" James Strong Russell T Davies 13.31[22] 86[23] 25 December 2007 (2007-12-25) 4.X
The Doctor (David Tennant) finds himself on an interstellar replica of the famous ocean liner Titanic orbiting present-day Earth, shortly before the ship collides with meteors and begins to fall to Earth. The Doctor teams up with one-off companion Astrid Peth (Kylie Minogue) and several passengers to rescue the ship while fending off the Heavenly Host
189 1 "Partners in Crime" James Strong Russell T Davies 9.14 88[24] 5 April 2008 (2008-04-05) 4.1
The Doctor and previous companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) meet while separately investigating Adipose Industries. Together, they attempt to stop businesswoman Miss Foster (Sarah Lancashire) from killing thousands of people in London during the birth of the Adipose, short white aliens made from body fat. 
190 2 "The Fires of Pompeii" Colin Teague James Moran 9.04 87[25] 12 April 2008 (2008-04-12) 4.3
The Doctor and Donna land in Pompeii during the 79AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The Doctor is faced with a moral dilemma: whether to rescue himself from the situation or to save the population of Pompeii. The Doctor's activities in Pompeii are impeded by the rock-like Pyrovile, and their allies, the Sybilline Sisterhood, who are using the volcano to convert the humans to Pyroviles. 
191 3 "Planet of the Ood" Graeme Harper Keith Temple 7.50 87[26] 19 April 2008 (2008-04-19) 4.2
The Doctor and Donna arrive on the Ood-Sphere in the year 4126. They investigate Ood Operations, a company who are selling the Ood as a servant race, to discover the reason the Ood are happy to serve. When they find a group of unprocessed Ood, they become horrified at the alterations performed and resolve to free the Ood. The episode was well-received for its central theme of slavery
192a 4 "The Sontaran Stratagem" Douglas Mackinnon Helen Raynor 7.06 87[27] 26 April 2008 (2008-04-26) 4.4
The Doctor and Donna travel to Earth to convene with the Doctor's previous companion Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman). Martha, now a medical officer at UNIT, requests the Doctor's help in investigating ATMOS (Atmospheric Omission System), a satellite navigation and emission-reducing system created by the Luke Rattigan (Ryan Sampson), a child prodigy working for the Sontarans
192b 5 "The Poison Sky" Douglas Mackinnon Helen Raynor 6.53 88[28] 3 May 2008 (2008-05-03) 4.5
Continuing from the end of "The Sontaran Stratagem", the Sontarans begin their invasion of Earth to convert the planet to a Sontaran atmosphere. The Doctor—impeded by a Sontaran-controlled clone of Martha—aids UNIT in repelling the Sontarans in the ATMOS factory while Donna infiltrates the Sontarans' warship. 
193 6 "The Doctor's Daughter" Alice Troughton Stephen Greenhorn 7.33 88[29] 10 May 2008 (2008-05-10) 4.6
The TARDIS takes the Doctor, Donna, and Martha to the planet Messaline, in the midst of a generations-long war between humans and the fish-like Hath. Martha becomes separated from the Doctor and Donna: the Hath capture Martha shortly after the time travellers arrive; and the Doctor's DNA is used by the humans to create a warrior clone, Jenny (Georgia Moffett). 
194 7 "The Unicorn and the Wasp" Graeme Harper Gareth Roberts 8.41 86[30] 17 May 2008 (2008-05-17) 4.7
The Doctor and Donna travel to December 1926 and meet Agatha Christie (Fenella Woolgar), who is attending a party at Lady Eddison's (Felicity Kendal) country manor. They investigate a jewel robbery perpetrated by the "Unicorn" (Robina Redmond, portrayed by Felicity Jones) and a spree of murders committed by an extraterrestrial wasp (Reverend Golightly, portrayed by Tom Goodman-Hill), and discover the meaning of Christie's famous disappearance. 
195a 8 "Silence in the Library" Euros Lyn Steven Moffat 6.27 89[31] 31 May 2008 (2008-05-31) 4.9
The Doctor and Donna travel to a library encompassing an entire planet, but are baffled when they find it deserted. Shortly after, they encounter a team of archaeologists led by River Song (Alex Kingston), who are investigating the sudden disappearance of the library's visitors a century ago. They discover the Vashta Nerada, carnivorous creatures living in the shadows, are responsible, and attempt to stay out of the shadows. 
195b 9 "Forest of the Dead" Euros Lyn Steven Moffat 7.84 89[32] 7 June 2008 (2008-06-07) 4.10
Continuing from the end of "Silence in the Library", the Doctor and the team of archaeologists remain in flight from the Vashta Nerada, while Donna finds herself trapped in an alternate reality, in the care of Doctor Moon (Colin Salmon). As the Doctor progresses closer the library's command centre, he discovers the alternate reality—and the missing people—are sustained by CAL (Eve Newton), a computer-linked child related to the library's owners. 
196 10 "Midnight" Alice Troughton Russell T Davies 8.05 86[33] 14 June 2008 (2008-06-14) 4.8
The episode is a psychological thriller taking place on a tour bus on the planet Midnight. The Doctor leaves Donna at a spa to take a four hour trip to the beautiful Sapphire Waterfalls, and befriends several people on the tour. When the bus breaks down while taking a detour, an unknown lifeform capable of stealing voices takes control of Sky Silvestry (Lesley Sharp) and breeds distrust between the other tourists in the bus. 
197 11 "Turn Left" Graeme Harper Russell T Davies 8.09 88[34] 21 June 2008 (2008-06-21) 4.11
On a visit to the Chino-planet Shan-Shen, Donna agrees to have her fortune read by a fortune teller (Chipo Chung). The fortune teller forces Donna to live an alternate history where she never met the Doctor, which results in disastrous consequences. The Doctor's previous companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) works with Donna to restore the status quo and warn the Doctor of impending doom. 
198a 12 "The Stolen Earth" Graeme Harper Russell T Davies 8.78 91[35] 28 June 2008 (2008-06-28) 4.12
The Earth is stolen along with twenty-six other planets by Davros (Julian Bleach), creator and commander of the Daleks. As the Doctor and Donna try to find Earth, the Doctor's previous companions Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), and Rose Tyler convene together to contact the Doctor and mount a defence against the Daleks. 
198b 13 "Journey's End" Graeme Harper Russell T Davies 10.57 91[36] 5 July 2008 (2008-07-05) 4.13
At the beginning of the episode the Doctor forces a partial regeneration to heal himself from a Dalek attack. The TARDIS is subsequently taken to the Crucible: the Daleks' flagship; where the near-destruction of the TARDIS results in the creation a half-human Doctor. The two Doctors, Donna, Jack, Rose, Martha, Sarah, along with Rose's ex-boyfriend Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) and mother Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri) attempt to foil Davros' plans to destroy reality itself. 
199 "The Next Doctor" Andy Goddard Russell T Davies 13.10[37] 86[38] 25 December 2008 (2008-12-25)[39] 4.14
This special sees the return of the Cybermen (of the design of the parallel universe's Cybus Industries Cybermen), following their previous appearance in the two-part finale of series two in 2006, "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday". 

Supplemental episodes

Two mini-episodes were filmed especially for other events: "Time Crash" was filmed for the 2007 Children in Need appeal, and "Music of the Spheres" was filmed for the 2008 Doctor Who Prom. Both episodes were filmed in the fourth series' production cycle.

Title Directed by Written by UK viewers
Original air date Production
"Time Crash" Graeme Harper Steven Moffat 11.0[40] 16 November 2007 (2007-11-16) CIN2
The episode, set during the last scene of the previous episode "Last of the Time Lords", depicts a humorous encounter between the Doctor's fifth and tenth incarnations, played by Peter Davison and David Tennant respectively. 
"Music of the Spheres" Euros Lyn Russell T Davies N/A 27 July 2008 (2008-07-27)
The episode has fictional and non-fictional components: the fictional component takes place in the TARDIS; the non-fictional component is the Doctor Who Prom, which took place during the episode's first transmission. The Doctor converses with the viewer and conducts the orchestra to perform his symphony Ode to the Universe, while being antagonised by the Graske (Jimmy Vee), who intends to cause mischief at the Prom. 


Selected pieces of score from this series (from "Voyage of the Damned" to "Journey's End"), as composed by Murray Gold, were released on 17 November 2008 by Silva Screen Records


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  2. ^ "Doctor Who set for fourth series". BBC. 2007-03-21. Retrieved 12 July 2008. 
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  4. ^ "The Unicorn and the Wasp". Doctor Who Magazine The Doctor Who Companion: Series 4 (Special Edition 20): 83. 19 November 2008. 
  5. ^ "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End". Doctor Who Magazine The Doctor Who Companion: Series 4 (Special Edition 20): 127. 19 November 2008. 
  6. ^ a b "The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky". Doctor Who Magazine The Doctor Who Companion: Series 4 (Special Edition 20): 71. 19 November 2008. 
  7. ^ "In the Midnight Hour". Doctor Who Magazine (400): 35. 15 October 2008. 
  8. ^ "Production Notes". Doctor Who Magazine (391): 4. 10 January 2008. 
  9. ^ "The Stars are Coming Out". Radio Times (BBC) (5–11 April 2008): pp 14–24. April 2008. 
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  13. ^ Hilton, Matt (22 March 2008). "Series Four Trailer". The Doctor Who News Page (Outpost Gallifrey). Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  14. ^ Hilton, Matt (29 March 2008). "New Series Four Trailer". The Doctor Who News Page (Outpost Gallifrey). Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  15. ^ T Davies, Russell (April 2008). "Be My Guest". Radio Times (BBC) (5–11 April 2008): p 17. 
  16. ^ "30 reasons to be excited about Series 30!". Doctor Who Magazine (393): pp. 9–10. 6 March 2008 
  17. ^ T Davies, Russell (April 2008). "The Definitive Episode Guide". Radio Times (BBC) (5–11 April 2008): pp 18–20. 
  18. ^ "The Stolen Earth". BBC. Retrieved 21 August 2008. 
  19. ^ a b c Spilsbury, Tom (April 2008). "The Gallifrey Guardian: Series Four Episode 1: Partners in Crime: Back in Business!". Doctor Who Magazine (Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Panini Publishing Ltd) (394): 6–7. 
  20. ^ (FLV) Dr Who. London: Press Association. 2 April 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2008. 
  21. ^ Spilsbury, Tom (21 August 2008). "Doctor Who is the No 1 show on television: official!". Doctor Who Magazine (Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Panini Comics) (399): 11. 
  22. ^ Ormsby, Avril (26 December 2007). "EastEnders pips Dr Who on Christmas". Reuters UK. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  23. ^ Marcus (2007-12-27). "Voyage - Appreciation Index". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 27 December 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
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  29. ^ "The Doctor's Daughter - AI and Digital Ratings". Outpost Gallifrey. 13 May 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2008. 
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  34. ^ "Turn Left - AI and Digital Ratings". Outpost Gallifrey. 23 June 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2008. 
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