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5.0 out of 5 stars 'He will knock four times!' - The Flood and the return of the Master!, 18 Nov 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who - Winter Specials 2009 - Waters of Mars and The End of Time [DVD] (DVD)
This box-set contains the last two TV adventures to feature David Tennant's Doctor and concludes the Russell T. Davies era of the show. These are two thrilling stories that bring a closure to the Tenth Doctor with touching and moving dedication. David Tennant was the best Doctor I've ever seen and enjoyed watching and he's truly missed.

The two stories are `The Waters of Mars' (a one-part story on one disc) and `The End of Time' (a two-part story spread across two discs).

`THE WATERS OF MARS'

The `Autumn Special' that was shown in November back in 2009. This is a chilling horror story that will make your children scared to bits. It stars David Tennant alongside his main co-star Lindsay Duncan as Captain Adelaide Brooke. It's set on the planet Mars and it's the 21st of November 2059. New reports about the existence of life on Mars has been with us long as man first walked on the moon back in 1969. And it's great that in the Russell T. Davies era they actually get to do a story that's a proper Martian adventure.

Mars is of course the home of popular Doctor Who monsters - the Ice Warriors. But they don't appear in this story. Instead we have the deadly Flood - an alien species in the form of water that possesses human bodies whenever you touch or drink one drop. The look of these monsters when the humans actually become the Flood like Andy, Tarak and Maggie are really terrifying. They're properly one of the most scariest monsters ever to appear in `Doctor Who'. And it's a really frightening idea of people being taken over by water that controls you and once you've been hit by water, you're dead. I found it very heart-breaking when Steffi gets trapped about to be hit by water and she's crying when watching a `family video' before she dies. I wouldn't be surprised if they ever did a story like this with the Flood again as it really is a chillingly terrifying horror story.

The main guest star in this episode is Lindsay Duncan (who I know for playing Margaret Thatcher in `Margaret' earlier that year). She plays Adelaide Brooke, who's in charge of this doomed expedition to study and find life on the planet Mars. She leads her team on the famous Bowie Base One and becomes a driving force during the whole of the story when trying to save her team from being killed by the Flood. She's a very strong and sharp individual. She doesn't take too kindly to many of her team players as she's not an automatically nice person. But there's something about that makes the Doctor take a liking to since she has a fascination and wonder what life's like out there in the universe. She saw the Daleks invading the Earth during 'The Stolen Earth'/'Journey's End' and one even looked at her whilst she was in her house and it flew away. Since then she was determined to travel the stars.

`Gadget, gadget'. There's a funny little robot in this story. `Gadget, gadget'. His name is Gadget. `Gadget, gadget'. He's like a security drone and maintenance tool that helps out during the operations of Bowie Base One. `Gadget, gadget'. I found Gadget very funny and thought him rather sweet. `Gadget, gadget'. The Doctor hates funny robots but manages to put him to go use in the end. `Gadget, gadget'. He reminds a bit of Wall-E from that daft Disney film Pixar made. `Gadget, gadget'. He manages to get to fly the TARDIS in the end for the Doctor and save everybody else in the end. `Gadget, gadget'. He also gets a power boost up which makes him go more than two miles an hour. `Gadget, gadget'. Good, old Gadget who's such a funny sweet little thing. `Gadget, gadget'.

The story of courses focuses on a future event that's a fixed point in time where Bowie Base One will blow up because of an explosion and that everybody including Adelaide will die. The Doctor knows this event must occur and can't interfere. He's put through agonising torment and grief as he knows everybody will die on Bowie Base One and doesn't want to let that happen but can't be involved. It reminds me of his predicament in 'The Fires of Pompeii' when he was responsible for the eruption of Vesuvius. He tries to walk away from the chaotic events happening when people are getting killed left, right and centre by the Flood. But as he walks away, a certain rage enters into him and he becomes fed up at people dying that he decides to go back. He decides to save the people of Bowie Base One despite himself being a Time Lord and defies the laws of time. It results with disastrous consequences making him the `Time Lord Victorious' and the loss of a person he most admires.

This episode contains a colossal and amazing performance from David Tennant and is brilliantly directed by Graeme Harper. The episode ends on a depressing but thrilling note, as the Doctor gets summoned back by the Ood to meet his fate. At that time it became such a heart-throbbing moment that I wondered what was going to happen next.

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Barry Letts - former producer of `Doctor Who'.

On this disc there's an hour long documentary focusing on the making of `The Waters of Mars', featuring interviews with David Tennant, Graeme Harper, Russell T. Davies, Julie Gardner, Lindsay Duncan, etc. and narrated by Anthony Head.

`THE END OF TIME'

This two-part story is the final adventure of David Tennant's time as the Doctor, that shown over Christmas 2009 and New Year's Day 2010. It was a bittersweet heart-breaking story to watch David's last run as the Doctor and is a fitting tribute to his era on the show.

This story features many good returns of characters to see the Tenth Doctor off. There's John Simm returning as the Master in this story. There's Bernard Cribbins playing Wilfred Mott (Donna's granddad), Catherine Tate playing Donna herself and Jacqueline King playing Sylvia (Donna's mum). It's a story containing many returns of characters to tribute David Tennant's Doctor, but more on that later.

The Doctor finds himself up against the Master in this story, who returns after being resurrected since 'The Sound of Drums'/'Last of the Time Lords'. I was so pleased the Master was returning as the big villain for this story as it seemed right for David Tennant's Doctor to fight him off in this one. Here the Master has become a wretched and homeless creature, unlike the last time when he had great power as Prime Minster of Great Britain. Here he's living on the wastelands of London and is torn-up and broken as he has a ravenous appetite and is eating tramps and people off by the skin of his teeth. It's a terrifying notion to have the Master becoming a cannibal and a creepy one since it's a side of this rogue Time Lord we've never seen before. John Simm is so into his role as the Master and is terrifying brilliant and I love it when he has scenes with David Tennant's Doctor. In this story we get the revelation for the Master's drum-beating inside his head and it becomes a shocking one at that.

Donna Noble returns in this story. I'm so glad to see Donna back in `Doctor Who'. I really missed seeing her since the last time she appeared. She's now engaged to be married to a new bloke Shaun Temple and seems to be happy at the moment. The Doctor is trying to avoid Donna seeing him since he's afraid she'll die and her mind will burn up with the memories of him. But the Doctor overjoyed at seeing Donna despite Wilfred persuading him to go and talk to her. I was afraid for Donna when the `world turned into the Master' at the end of Part One and wondered what would happen to her next week in the following instalment on `New Year's Day'.

Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott gets to be the Doctor's companion for this final story. I found it a rather nice idea for Bernard to be a companion to the Doctor (and he had been a companion before with Peter Cushing's Doctor in the movie `Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD'). It's great that Bernard has had a bigger bite of the cherry as Wilfred since his small appearance in 'Voyage of the Damned' and to have him as Donna's granddad is such a blessing and he has managed to bring so much to the role. Here Wilfred is worried for Donna and gets haunted by the vision of a mysterious woman appearing to her and telling him messages about the Doctor. He helps the Doctor out with finding the Naismith Mansion and trying to stop the Master's plans for taking control of the world. The Doctor is pondering on who Wilfred is since they kept meeting up with each other. But he shares with Wilfred that he's going to die and the prophecy that `he will knock four times' since there's no one else to turn to.

Another guest star I'm pleased to see in this is June Whitfield playing Minnie Hooper (`Minnie the Menace' as I like to call her). It's so lovely to see June in this as I've been watching her in `Terry and June' (one of my favourite sitcoms) and she gets to bring light relief in such a dark story as this. She also gets to pinch David Tennant's bum which is quite unusual for a story as this and quite a funny treat.

There are the Vinvocci aliens that appear in this story that look (according to Wilfred) like cactuses - called Addams and Rossiter (played by Sinead Keenan and Lawry Lewin. I found these aliens to be really funny to watch and it's so good we get to see green spiky haired looking aliens for a Christmas show as this. I like it when they go `shimmer' and reveal their true guises under their human form. They manage to save the Doctor and Wilfred during a very funny chase/escape sequence in `Part Two' - regarded as the worst rescue ever by the Tenth Doctor. We also get to go onboard their ship that manages to save the planet Earth. They are quite annoying and argumentative, but they're a good bunch of aliens all around.

The Master carries out his insane plan using the Immortality Gate at the Naismith Mansion as he turns everyone being human in duplicate version of himself. Everyone is the same as he. Everyone's the Master. The whole world turns into one big John Simm Master population. It's a mad idea and pretty daft and silly one by Russell T. Davies. And yet it's terrifying. The Doctor is shocked at seeing this happen and is determined to put it right when the Master laughs his head a lot.

But of course there's an ultimate enemy in this story (and I wasn't expecting this when I saw it) as we get the long-awaited return of the majestic Time Lords of Gallifrey, led by none other than James Bond himself - Timothy Dalton playing Rassilon the Time Lord president of Gallifrey. Here Timothy Dalton is ferocious as the Time Lord president as he uses his energy gauntlet to zap people when he gets angry or when they anger him. The Time Lords seek to escape the Time War and initiate the Final Sanction causing the `end of time itself' - which the Ood warned the Doctor in a prophecy when he came to visit them on the Ood Sphere at the beginning of the story. The Doctor's determined to stop the Time Lords and he uses the Vinvocci's spaceship to get back to the mansion to stop the Time Lords when they return. I was so pleased with the look of the Time Lords in this story as the production team manage to be faithful to the look of Jim Acheson's designs for the Time Lords in 'The Deadly Assassin' all those years ago back in the 70s.

The final battle between the Doctor and the Time Lords was tremendous and brought me close to tears when there were moments of tensions between all three characters - the Doctor, the Master and Rassilon himself. The Doctor manages to send the Time Lords back into the Time War itself, with the Master zapping them with his scared Time Lord energy after the awful things they had done to them. The Master pushes the Time Lord back fighting them into a void. I don't think that's the end of the Master as he's got to come back somehow. It would be great to see the Master returning to Doctor and with John Simm playing him as he's such a great actor to play the part.

Towards the end, the Doctor is still alive and he's overjoyed thinking he's managed to cheat death once the Time Lords and the Master are gone. But then come the `four knocks' and the Doctor is absolutely devastated. I won't say anymore on who's knocking (though you probably have guessed), but it's a really terrifying and moving scene. The Doctor goes through such a rage that he's so upset to be ending his life to save someone. But eventually he sacrifices himself and goes through the pain process that leads him to his regeneration. It's a very powerful scene wonderfully played by David Tennant and is such a moving scene that manages to encapsulate the Tenth Doctor all over.

Then we get the Doctor's reward, where he's going to various points of time to say farewell to his companions. First he sees off Martha Jones and Mickey Smith (Freema Agyeman and Noel Clarke) who are escaping a Sontaran and have got married (which I don't buy at all). Then he manages to save Luke Smith's (Tommy Knight) life and waves goodbye to Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) at her house (from `The Sarah Jane Adventures). Then he sees Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) at an alien bar in the future, saddened and depressed following recent events in 'Torchwood - Children of Earth' and gives him Alonso from `Voyage of the Damned'. Then he meets Verity Newman - the descendant of Joan Redfern from 'Human Nature'/'The Family of Blood' - (played by Jessica Hynes) and gets his copy of her book signed from her about `A Journal of Impossible Things'. Then the Doctor sees Donna getting married to Shaun Temple with her family and her friends and gives Wilfred and Sylvia a present which is a lottery ticket that he managed to get with some money from Geoff Noble (father of Donna, played by the late Howard Attfield who died before Series 4). And finally, the Doctor sees Rose Tyler before she met him on New Year's Day, 2005, and wishes her great year knowing she's going to meet him later in March as the Ninth Doctor.

And as the Ood sing the Tenth Doctor to sleep, the Doctor returns to his TARDIS one last time and takes off leaving the Earth. They are very lovely and tearful moments for David Tennant as we say goodbye to him. His final words `I don't want to go' are uttered, and I don't want him to go either. Then he regenerates, exploding in an inferno that even blows up the TARDIS console on fire. We see David Tennant's fiery face before it changes and he turns...into Matt Smith the Eleventh Doctor. What we have are the few minutes of the Eleventh Doctor waking up, finding he's got legs and has got long hair - still not ginger. Then he remembers he's crashing and is plummeting to Earth. His last words `GEROMINO!!!' as his new life is about to begin.

On both discs, there are `Doctor Who Confidential' documentaries focusing on the making of this final two-part story for David Tennant's Doctor. On Disc 1 there's `Lords and Masters' focusing on the making of `Part 1' and on Disc 2. there's `Allons-sy' focusing on the making of `Part 2'. Both documentaries feature interviews with David Tennant, John Simm, Bernard Cribbins, Russell T. Davies, Julie Gardner (executive producer), Euros Lyn (the director), etc and are both narrated by Anthony Head.

This has been a really epic story to close off David Tennant's Doctor and wonderfully directed by Euros Lyn. It's a big tribute to a wonderful Doctor, one who we will all miss.

So this DVD box set closes off the David Tennant and Russell T. Davies era of the show. Such an epic and thrilling of `Doctor Who' that will be forever missed and will never be forgotten. Many thanks to David and Russell for five happy years. You've made us proud.

Next it's Matt Smith's Doctor starting in 'The Eleventh Hour'.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Nov 2013 16:53:26 GMT
Timelord007 says:
Exellent well written & structured review Tim, You really excelled yourself with this superb review mate.

Waters of Mars is a favourite of mine & shows the emotional & darker aspects of the Doctor.

Superbly acted by David Tennant this was quite a chilling story.

End of Time again a great finale for Tennants Doctor & fans complain his regeneration takes forever well he deserved those 10 minutes to say goodbye & i was choking back tears with the Sarah Jane clip & then with Wilfred Mott i was crying & finally to the regeneration i was sobbing as i didn't want this exellent actor to leave the Tardis.

Matt Smith is a good Doctor in parts but Tennants a great Doctor everytime.

I cant wait to see Peter Capaldi take on Doctor Who now as he could bring something special & a Mini series with Paul McGann as he was exellent in Night of the Doctor, More please BBC make it happen.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2013 07:38:00 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Nov 2013 08:24:27 GMT
Tim Bradley says:
Yes 'End of Time' was a great finale. I couldn't sleep at night when I finished watching it as I was sad David Tennant was gone. I made the decision to go to conventions then which made me happy.

David did deserve his 10 minutes before he regenerated, and it's a fitting tribute to see all his companions before he goes.

Yes they should do a mini-series with Paul McGann, or even better with past Doctors to make the anniversary worth celebrating.
Glad you enjoyed this review. I'm glad you think it's excellent.

I've responded to your comments on some of my DOTD reviews by the way. Tim.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2013 21:22:24 GMT
Timelord007 says:
Thought u like to know i reviewed Mind of Evil & Key to Time boxset, The latter was a hard review to write it took me a hour.

Hope you like them mate.

Posted on 24 Nov 2013 12:49:37 GMT
Timelord007 says:
Hey Tim just post see if you enjoyed Day of the Doctor, Adventure in time & space.

I loved the eyes of Capaldi Doctor he looks scary & Toms cameo had me welling up as he's my Doctor.

John Huet was brilliant & Tennant & Smith bounced off each other well like brothers.

Have you seen the five(ish) Doctors it on BBC I player I very funny, Written by Peter Davison.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Nov 2013 21:32:30 GMT
Last edited by the author on 25 Nov 2013 21:35:28 GMT
Tim Bradley says:
Hello. I've been away in Chicester for the weekend. Just got back today.

Yes I have seen 'Day of the Doctor' and 'Adventure in Time and Space'. Really enjoyed it.

I was amazed to see Peter Capaldi in the anniversary special and to see Tom Baker. That was a treat. I did not expect that.

I watched the AfterParty on BBC Three and enjoyed seeing all the companions and Doctors on it.

And yes I've loved 'The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot' so much that I'm currently re-watching it on iPlayer. Thanks to Peter Davison. That really made the 50th anniversary for me. Hope they'll put this onto DVD.
Tim.
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