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The Discontinuity Guide
The New Series

The End of the World

2nd April 2005

Writer: Russell T Davies

Director: Euros Lyn

Roots: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Cassandra is inspired by plastic surgery and cosmetics culture, particularly of the vain hollywood variety, and also by a similar obsession with plastic surgery in Terry Gilliam's film Brazil. The scene where the Doctor has to get past the fans to get to the control is reminiscent of Galaxy Quest and also (like most sci-fi film and TV shots featuring this type of matte shot - e.g. Star Wars and Babylon 5) homages Forbidden Planet. The zen fan-dodging is based on Highlander II. The Adherents of the Repeated Meme are inspired by the works of Richard Dawkins, and may be influenced by the Black Monk from Checov's short story The Black Monk. The National Trust is, of course, based on the National Trust, an English organisation which preserves historic sites. The Moxx of Balhoon is inspired by the Mekon, and is also similar to the Vogans from the Doctor Whom comic strips The Vogan Slaves and The Wreckers, and the blue staff by Roald Dahl's Oompa Loompa's from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The spider robots are inspired by he replicators from Stargate SG-1., the surveillance robots from Minority Report, and the Shadows from Babylon 5. Jabe sacrificing her life by holding down the fan switch is reminicent of Mayday (Grace Jones) holding back the brake on a mine cart to remove the bomb in View to a Kill. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (the Doctor getting past the fan is similar to Indy's ordeal to obtain the Grail at the end). The Wizard of Oz (Rose's first trip 'over the rainbow' even features Munchkin-like guards). Star Trek: Journey to Babel - a menagerie of imaginative, deliberately colourful and well-made up aliens. Dryad Mythology and Lord of the Rings (Sentient, walking, talking trees). The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy also makes a throwaway reference to "walking treeoids". The Face of Boe in his tank resembles the Guild Navigator from the movie version of Dune.

Woody Allen's Sleeper - common 20th /21st century objects become relics in the future and get comically misnamed and misunderstood there (e.g. Jukebox/Ipod gag). The exterior shots of Platform One (and its Word+Number naming) and reminiscent of Bablyon 5. Also, the Bablyon 5 episode The Deconstruction of Falling Stars features a last human observer (though now volved to Vorlon-like levels) in the far future, waiting to watch the final death of the Sun and the Solar System. Though The End of the World's main storyline is the camp runaround, the frame and backdrop of the Far Future, the Sun's expansion and Earth's destruction is (like B5's take) intended to give a vast sense of humanity across a cosmic timescale and the importance of the Earth as our homeworld (something that The Doctor stresses in the opening and that strikes Rose in the denouement). Murder on the Orient Express - The Doctor's unmasking of the villain amongst a group of guests/suspects is a detective cliché, complete with red herring/decoy.

Goofs: This is the second Doctor Who story to revolve around the destruction of Earth. The Ark placed Earth's death in the 57th segment of time, which the Doctor guessed was circa 10 million AD, and attributed to the sun going nova. [Either the National Trust stepped in at that point with their gravity satellites, or the Doctor's dating in The Ark was wrong and the passengers on The Ark were the evacuation the Doctor mentions here.]

Why is there a button on the Steward's desk to cause a sunfilter to descend into his office? [The spiders have reprogrammed the systems to do this.]

Why put the system restore switch in such an inaccessible location? Having to dodge giant fans in order to get to such an important control beggars belief. [It's been suggested that this is part of the station's retro look, but even if it is, it's still an appallingly shoddy design feature.]

When Jabe burns, the Doctor isn't even sweating at the temperature. (cf. The Seeds of Doom)

Nobody notices the sound the spiders are making, though in Cassandra's case, that might be because she has no ears, or lungs, or vocal cords.

Cassandra's back-up plan seems a little strange. How will she explain her survival without being punished for using a teleportation device? [Perhaps by claiming she never arrived, or maybe she's not thought it through or places a lot of trust in her lawyers].

When the light starts breaking through the station's windows, shouldn't the air be sucked out by the vacuum? [It's actually breaking through the force-fields rather than the windows, it only looks like it's breaking through the windows.] Furthermore, If the light and heat blazing through the unshielded windows is bright and hot enough to roast the Steward and Rose, looking at it would be painful and damage their eyesight. Despite this, the Steward actually turns to look back at the light as it kills him. Rose also looks back at it with no ill effects. Their pupils don't respond to the intense light levels either.

One of the spiders bumps into a camera. Which is quite impressive, given that they're computer generated images.

When Rose calls her mum, you can see lots of greenery - looking like shrubs - outside the window. However, in Rose, the flat was at least 4 floors up in a block of flats, so you wouldn't see that greenery outside the window.

Why is all the writing on the station in English? Does the telepathic field affect writing as well? {Maybe it's part of the "retro" look.]

Fluffs: When Rose is telling the Doctor to "stop mucking about" it sounds like she's saying something slightly different.

Technobabble: The Doctor has a piece of "slightly psychic" paper, which shows someone whatever he wants them to see.

Double Entendres: Rose's use of the word pollinating.

Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor: 'You lot, you spend all your time thinking about dying. Like you're going to get killed by eggs or beef or global warming or asteroids. But you never take time to imagine the impossible: that maybe you survive. This is the year 5.5/apple/26 - 5 billion years in your future, and this is the day - hold on... This is the day the Sun expands. Welcome to the end of the world!'

Rose describes Cassandra as "Michael Jackson" and a "bitchy trampoline".

The Doctor: 'If we get in trouble, there's no-one to help us out.'
Jabe: 'I'm afraid not.'
The Doctor: 'Fantastic.'

The Doctor on finding that Rose is in trouble: 'Oh, well, it would be you.'

Rose: 'Where am I going to go? Ipswich?!'

The Doctor: 'What are you going to do? Moisturise me?'

The Doctor: 'Sabotaging a ship while you're still on board. How stupid is that?'

Dialogue Disasters: Rose: 'The aliens are so alien. You look at them and they're alien.'

The Doctor: 'Jabe, you're made of wood.'

Continuity: The TARDIS now shakes whilst in flight. Its telepathic field gets inside your head and changes your perceptions so that you understand other languages as if they're your own.

Platform One is an observation deck which forbids the use of weapons, teleportation, and religion. There are at least 15 of these stations. It is computer-controlled, there are only the Steward and the staff onboard, and it is the height of the Alpha Class. It is owned by the Corporation, who move it from artistic event to artistic event.

Rose once watched a Newsround Extra feature on how the Sun would take centuries to expand. She never phones her mum in the middle of the day. She would rather die than have plastic surgery.

Crispallion is part of the Jagger Brocade, affiliated to the Scarlet Junction, complex 56. It is not a planet.

The Doctor says that he came first in jiggery-pokery. He can easily reverse a teleportation feed. Gallifrey has been destroyed, burnt like the earth, just rocks and dust. It went before its time. The Time Lords were in a war, and they lost. He is [or at least believes himself to be] the last of the Time Lords, the only survivor. He carries a piece of "slightly psychic" paper which says whatever he wants it to say.


The fate of The Doctor's home planet (which, strangely, is never named - though presumably it's still Gallifrey, as established in the original series) is referenced throughout the new series. Each time it is mentioned, we discover new facts, which form an overall picture. It is first explicitly referenced in The End of the World, where the Doctor tells us that his planet was destroyed in a war, reduced to burning rock, and that he is the last of his people. There are a lot of details provided about this war.

The war was a time war which, whilst invisible to lesser species, devastated the "higher forms" (The Unquiet Dead), and the Nestene Consciousness was one of the victims - having had its foodstock of protein planets destroyed (Rose). The two main protagonists were the Daleks (who vanished from history in order to fight it - Bad Wolf), and the Time Lords (Dalek, Bad Wolf, The Parting of the Ways). The war ended with the destruction of both races - the Time Lords sacrificing themselves to destroy the Daleks. Ten million Dalek ships were destroyed by fire, and the Doctor claims that, not only did he watch it happen, but he "made it happen". He also says that the Time Lords burnt with the Daleks - suggesting that both sides were destroyed during the same event(Dalek).

Until Dalek, the Doctor believed himself to have been the only survivor of the Time War - in that story, he comments that he would know if any other Time Lords had survived. However, two Daleks managed to survive by falling through time. One, a soldier, landed on Earth in the 1960s and was captured by humans. The other, the Emperor Dalek, arrived in the far future, some time before the year 200,000. He hid in Earth's Solar System, manipulating humans into masking his new fleet, and began converting human cells into a new race of Daleks. He developed delusions of grandeur, proclaiming himself to be God, but he and his Daleks (or at least those of his Daleks in the main fleet in the Solar System) were ultimately destroyed in The Parting of the Ways - ending the Last Great Time War. Unless, of course, other Daleks managed to survive...

The Time War also had an effect on time and space, as the Time Lords are no longer able to enforce the Laws of Time as they once did, in fact there is evidence that the laws of time have changed. The implications of this can be found in the boxed section "The Post-Gallifreyan Laws of Time in the guide for Father's Day.

Links: The war the Doctor mentions may be the same one the Nestene was fleeing from in Rose.

Location: Station One, near Earth, the year 5.5/apple/26 circa 5 billion AD, with brief scenes in present day London.

Future History: In the year 12,005 there is a New Roman Empire. Jabe's people are descended from the tropical rainforest. Their ancestors were transplanted from Earth. When the Sun expanded, the National Trust protected Earth with gravity satellites. They also rearranged the continents into their classical arrangement. Before the National Trust's money ran out, the people all left Earth. Most of them interbred, calling themselves things like "new humans", "proto-humans", "digi-humans", or "humanish". The last purebred human was Cassandra, who had hundreds of operations to become thin. There was a peace treaty called 5.4/cup/16 which forbade teleportation devices and applies to Platform One.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor remarks that he was once on an unsinkable ship, and that he ended up clinging to an iceberg. This may be an inaccurate reference to his visit to the Titanic and its sinking during The Left-Handed Hummingbird, or to the Doctor persuading the Daniels family to cancel their trip on the Titanic as mentioned in Rose.

Q.v: Bad Wolf, The Parting of the Ways.

The Bottom Line: 'Everything has its time, and everything dies.' A poignant science-fiction tale. The fates of Earth and Gallifrey are cleverly counterpointed, and there's lots of emotional drama, though a bit more action would have been nice.


Thanks go to all the folk who commented on The End of the World in the Bloopers thread on Outpost Gallifrey's forum. Without them, the goofs section would have been a lot smaller. Also to James Precious, who provided lots of comments, particularly on the roots section.

You visited the Whoniverse at 4:28 am BST on Friday 28th April 2006