Death of the Doctor

Death of the Doctor
21 – Death of the Doctor
The Sarah Jane Adventures story
Writer Russell T Davies
Director Ashley Way
Script editor Gary Russell
Producer Brian Minchin
Phil Ford (co-producer)
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Nikki Wilson[1]
Production code 4.5 and 4.6
Series Series 4
Length 2 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast 25 & 26 October 2010
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Vault of Secrets The Empty Planet

Death of the Doctor is a two-part story of The Sarah Jane Adventures which was broadcast on CBBC on 25 and 26 October 2010.[2] It is the third story of the fourth series. This episode features the return of Katy Manning to the role of Jo Grant and a guest appearance by Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor. Exposition at the end of the episode provides updates on the lives of numerous companions from the "classic era" who had gone unaddressed in the revived era. This story was the last to feature Sarah Jane Smith and the Doctor together onscreen.



Part 1

Sarah Jane, Rani and Clyde are talking to Luke via webcam but are interrupted when Mr Smith alerts them that a UNIT convoy is converging on the house. The commanding officer, Colonel Karim, informs the group that the Doctor is dead. A race called the Shansheeth[3] have retrieved the body and are holding a funeral at UNIT Base 5, buried underground at the foot of Mount Snowdon. However, Sarah Jane believes that the Doctor is still alive, but goes along to search for evidence that this is a hoax.

Upon arriving at the base they find a small number of other mourners have been invited, as few survive their encounters with the Doctor. The team also find a Groske working at the base, a blue-skinned cousin of the Graske race they've had problems with in the past. The Doctor's body is to be blasted into space via a rocket built by the Groske. As they proceed to the ceremony of remembrance, Clyde's left hand develops a growing blue electric charge. At the ceremony, music is played which recalls memories for all about the Doctor. Clyde then realizes that the charge is artron energy, which he had previously carried after touching the vanishing TARDIS at Sarah Jane's wedding. The ceremony is interrupted by the clumsy arrival of Jo Jones (née Grant), as she drops a vase of flowers. She is accompanied by her grandson, Santiago. The two former companions chat, as do the children, and both women agree they're sure the Doctor must still be alive.

In their room, the two women make a list of enemies that might try to fake the Doctor's death, while the children wander round the base. Clyde again receives a shock on his hand and reveals the affliction to the other two. They encounter the lead Groske again, who informs them that the rising artron energy signals that an unidentified someone is getting closer and closer. Clyde and his companions pursue the Groske down an air vent, where they watch as the Shansheeth plot to make the two companions relive their days with the Doctor and then drain their minds, killing them in the process. The children are discovered by the Shansheeth when another artron energy discharge gives away their position.

The children flee and run into Sarah Jane and Jo. After learning what the Shansheeth are doing, they are surprised to hear an adult male talking through Clyde's mouth. However, the next minute Clyde appears normal. He then gains the Doctor's hand before morphing into the Doctor. The Doctor explains that he used Clyde's residual artron energy to make a complicated swap of 10,000 light years. The result of this is, as the Doctor realizes, he can fight the Shansheeth while Clyde is where the Doctor just was: trapped in danger on an alien world. Sarah Jane realizes the man standing before them is the Doctor's newest incarnation shortly before the Shansheeth catch up with the group. A Shansheeth quips that they will ensure their announcement of the Doctor's death is correct this time, then proceeds to launch a beam of energy from their claws at him, causing him to collapse to the floor.

Part 2

The Doctor disappears and Clyde reappears. Clyde, Jo, Rani, Santiago and Sarah Jane run away from the Shansheeth to safety, the Doctor swapping places again with Clyde part way. The Doctor, Jo and Sarah swap places with Clyde and go to the alien planet, where they talk. The Doctor says that he visited Jo before he regenerated and tells Jo that he had been into her future and seen her thirteenth grandchild. The Doctor works on perfecting the machine which allowed them to swap places with Clyde. When fixed, it can transport them without needing to swap with Clyde. Colonel Karim meanwhile is with the Shansheeth, and they are plotting to use Jo and Sarah Jane's memories of the TARDIS to create a new TARDIS key, so the Shansheeth can stop death across the universe by interfering with the timelines and so that Colonel Karim, in return, can visit the stars because she has nothing left for her on Earth.

Rani, Santiago, Clyde and a Groske try to get through the ventilation shafts, but Colonel Karim heats up the shafts until the children are in danger of roasting. The Doctor, Jo and Sarah Jane go to the rescue, but Jo and Sarah Jane are kidnapped and the Doctor goes on alone. Sarah Jane and Jo are strapped into the Memory Weave. Their minds are scanned and they begin remembering the TARDIS; these memories generate a new TARDIS key.

The Doctor, Rani, Clyde, Santiago and a Groske come to the room Sarah Jane and Jo are in and tell them to remember other experiences. Jo remembers all the countries she has been to as Sarah Jane remembers her battles with aliens. The Memory Weave overloads and explodes, setting the room on fire. Sarah Jane and Jo hide in the lead coffin and shut themselves inside to survive the explosion. Later, they are taken to Sarah Jane's house, alive and well. Jo and Sarah Jane talk with the Doctor inside the TARDIS before he bids them a fond farewell. Jo and Santiago leave for Norway, and the trio are left behind, where Sarah Jane tells them of other companions of the Doctor she has researched – all of whom have done or are achieving wonderful things for the human race. She says that with friends like these and themselves, the Doctor will surely never die.


  • The Doctor mentions that Amy and Rory are spending time on a planet for their honeymoon after their wedding, meaning that this takes place after "The Big Bang" and before "A Christmas Carol" from the Doctor's perspective; this parallels the episodes' broadcast sequence.
  • Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is noted as "stranded in Peru", the exact phrase used to describe his whereabouts in "The Sontaran Stratagem" and The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, and is the final mention of him in life. At some point after this story, he is moved to a nursing home, where he eventually passes away.[4]
  • Liz Shaw, the first UNIT assistant of the Third Doctor, cannot make the funeral as she is currently working at UNIT's moonbase.
  • The Doctor briefly sends Clyde off-world, despite having been told by Sarah Jane at the end of The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith that Clyde and Rani were sentenced by the Judoon to be confined to Earth. The Doctor's ability to transport Clyde stems from The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, when Clyde was charged with Artron energy.
  • Alien artifacts have been found "at the foot of Mount Snowdon" by the Torchwood Institute in "Army of Ghosts" and Joshua Naismith in The End of Time.
  • Sarah Jane tells Clyde that she has researched many previous companions of the Doctor and what they are doing now. Those whom she has traced include the following:
  • The Doctor tells Jo that before regenerating, his tenth incarnation looked up all of his previous companions. Some of these visits were seen in The End of Time shortly before the Tenth Doctor's regeneration.
  • Several flashbacks from the original Doctor Who series as well as clips from previous Sarah Jane Adventures stories are seen - including images of the first four Doctors, whose incarnations were familiar to both Sarah Jane and Jo (They both travelled with the Third Doctor, Sarah travelled with the Fourth, Jo met the First and Second Doctors in The Three Doctors, and Sarah Jane met the First and Second doctors in The Five Doctors). Former Sarah Jane Adventures principal, Maria Jackson, is included in the clips, as are a number of monsters including Daleks, Slitheen and Sontarans.
  • When Clyde asks The Doctor how many times he can change, he states that he can change 507 times, contrary to the original twelve. Davies subsequently explained that the line was a joke.[5]
  • Jo mentions the Doctor taking her to the planet Karfel, something that was never seen on-screen but mentioned in the story Timelash; the visit was hinted at in the novel Speed of Flight, which also revealed that Jo and the Doctor were accompanied by Captain Mike Yates during their trip.
  • Jo's married name is taken from her husband, Professor Clifford Jones whom she left U. N. I. T. for, to marry in The Green Death.
  • When Sarah Jane and Jo are in the lead coffin, as the Doctor goes to help them out he says "Smith and Jones", which was the title of the first episode of Series 3 of the revived version of Doctor Who.
  • This was the last time The Doctor would appear in the show and the last adventure Sarah Jane Smith would share with him. In the show this is probably Sarah Jane's last meeting with the Doctor, unless other off-screen meetings occurred.


In some of Sam Watts' music, vocals were provided by Jodie Kearns, wife of Doctor Who and Torchwood writer James Moran.[6][clarification needed]


Part 1 achieved combined final ratings of 1.40 (0.92/0.48) and Part 2 achieved combined final ratings of 1.43 (0.96/0.47).[7]

The story was repeated on 25 December 2010 as one full story where it achieved an overnight rating of 1.40 million on BBC One.[8]


External links

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