Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

The End of Time Parts One and Two

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2010-04 SFX p140.jpg

  • Publication: SFX
  • Date: Apr. 2010
  • Author:
  • Page: 140
  • Language: English



Writer Russell T Davies

Director Euros Lynn


The Doctor ... David Tennant

The Master ... John Simm

Wilfred ... Bernard Cribbins

Rassilon ... Timothy Dalton

Donna Noble ... Catherine Tate

So, this is how their world ends. Not with a whimper, but a bang. David Tennant and Russell T Davies' farewell to the show they loved and that loved them could not have been bigger or more spectacular.

This year's must-have Christmas present, "The End Of Time, Part One" ★★★☆☆1/2 set the scene nicely for the fireworks that followed in episode two. Like "The Waters Of Mars" before it, it didn't unfold anything like a typical Who story. We first meet a frivolous Doctor arriving on the planet of the Ood to learn of their "bad dreams". It's a minor shock seeing the Doctor in this sort of mood after his traumas on Mars, but we just know that beneath the breezy exterior this is a deeply perturbed Time Lord - Tennant's multi-layered performance gradually reveals his true state of mind, most notably in the wonderful café scene with Wilf ("Even if I change it feels like dying").

Before this, the Master has been briskly resurrected, and John Simm's performance here eclipses even his season three finale performance, as he's transformed into a snarling, rabid, feral madman who's the most alien creature you could imagine. Indeed, you could almost say this two-parter is all about four great performances: Simm's, Tennant's, Cribbins's and Dalton's. The former Bond's sonorous tones can be expressly appreciated on the small screen, flying phlegm and all.

He certainly out-villains David Harewood, somewhat ineffective as Joshua Naismith, the main human baddie of the story. Other nitpicks: lipstick bringing the Master back to life is a bit iffy; the use of a real-life president, Obama, so soon after the fictional one in "The Sound Of Drums" feels a tad odd; and doesn't the Doctor take some rather big risks with Donna's life when he shows up so close to her? Unlike some I had no problem with the Vinvocci (but it's a shame they weren't related to Meglos rather than Bannakaffalatta!). And I enjoyed seeing the Master gnaw down on his poultry, imagining comments all round the country along the lines of "Trey, that was just like you at lunchtime"...

Sandwiched between a couple of classic episodes, it didn't quite have the same insistent narrative drive or power, and at the mid-point, where the Doctor and Master have their second confrontation, things threaten to go a little flat. But then it picks up again and we head toward RTD's most outrageous, most sensational cliffhanger ever. Apparently preview audiences didn't get to see the Time Lord coda, but to be honest, a world full of Masters would have made a superb climax anyway.

So on to part two ★★★★☆1/2 , Who's highest ever rated regeneration episode. How fitting that it should showcase David Tennant's finest performance - every single line reading was impeccable, every look suggesting so much beneath the surface. But then it had a bit of everything - laughs, thrills, bombast, emotion, a couple of Star Wars nods...

Like its two predecessors. the episode followed an unpredictable, unusual path, with the now-revealed-to-be-ruthless Time Lords' ambitions crisscrossing with the Doctor and co's escape and re-entry on the Vinvocci spaceship until they finally, astonishingly, meet. It's a measure of the hugeness of New Who that Doctor Ten's dive out of the spaceship into the mansion house via the window didn't kill him. Such falls have terminated other incarnations. It's also a mark of the writer's genius that there are two occasions when we expect the Doctor to die and regenerate before he finally does so.

The final 15 minutes are like a mini compilation cum homage of RTD's time on the show and offer up further fascinating facets of this tremendous television programme. I'd take this epilogue over the end of The Return Of The King's any day. Following quarter of an hour of our gentle blubbing the flood arrives with the finest ever of the Doctor's many final words. His "I don't want to go" captures not just the feeling of the loss of a man we've idolised since 2005, but every childhood experience of being parted from your mother, every broken down relationship you've ever endured, and also a foreshadowing of the time when we ourselves will eventually expire. "Stirring" hardly does it justice.

And yet the majesty of Doctor Who is its ability to follow the fraught with the comic, as Matt Smith gets to spout his first, decidedly Moffat-esque lines as the Doctor. The final minute is a tingling treat, all exploding TARDIS (that makeover is going to be much-needed) and Smith jumping about like a ferret on fire. The show is in very safe hands.

And so the story ends. Magic moments linger in the brain. There was the Worst. Rescue. Ever. The "Breaking news - I'm everyone!". Donna's Lottery ticket. The Adipose, Sycorax and Hath doubling their appearance tally in one quick go. Most scenes with Cribbins, Tennant and Simm. And despite all those rumours and silly whispers, no Rani, no Doctor's daughter, no River Song and no regenerating Master. All the RTD ends have been nicely tied up (asides from that "weeping angel" mother person, Perhaps). Satisfaction has never been so exciting. Russell Lewin

Best bit is

00:48:53 Four knocks

The Doctor lives - amazingly.

Who's that knocking at the door?

The beginning of the end.

It's old people comedy time:

The Doctor and Wilf one of the show's greatest ever double acts?

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  • APA 6th ed.: (Apr. 2010). The End of Time Parts One and Two. SFX p. 140.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "The End of Time Parts One and Two." SFX [add city] Apr. 2010, 140. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "The End of Time Parts One and Two." SFX, edition, sec., Apr. 2010
  • Turabian: "The End of Time Parts One and Two." SFX, Apr. 2010, section, 140 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The End of Time Parts One and Two | url= | work=SFX | pages=140 | date=Apr. 2010 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=1 March 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The End of Time Parts One and Two | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=1 March 2024}}</ref>