Recap: Doctor Who S30 E12 "The Stolen Earth"

aka: Doctor Who NSS 4 E 12 The Stolen Earth

"Saturday? Good. Good, I like Saturdays."
The Doctor

After the end of "Turn Left", the Doctor races back to Earth to find that... everything's fine? Not exactly. The BAD WOLF from the last episode was, like all the others, a message from Rose. Since Rose has been trapped in a parallel universe since "Doomsday", the Doctor realises that the walls between universes are breaking down, but he's not sure why, so they go back to the TARDIS to check. They are suddenly jolted, and the Doctor and Donna run to check outside. Instead of seeing the street and the milkman there a moment ago, they find that the TARDIS is...

Floating in empty space.

The Doctor races to the controls to see where the TARDIS has moved but then realizes that, in fact, they haven't moved at all. Their location is fixed.

The Earth is gone.

Far across the universe, we join everybody we've known since the show's revival in 2005. Martha Jones with UNIT in New York; Jack, his boyfriend Ianto and their friend Gwen in the Cardiff Hub; Sarah Jane, her adopted son Luke and their supercomputer Mr Smith in Ealing; Sylvia and Wilfred in London, and they've all felt what they think is a massive earthquake. That is, until each races outside to look at the sky. Martha calls Jack, but no one knows what's happening and no one can reach the Doctor. Just then, Action Girl Rose, complete with a BFG on a shoulder strap, zaps onto the street, steeled and ready to go. The cheery morning sky has been replaced by night and disturbingly low-hanging planets.

Wait, what?

No, really. Richard Dawkins is on TV talking about it and everything. There are giant planets in the Earth sky, and not a single familiar star.

Back at where the Earth isn't, the Doctor decides that now is the time to call in reinforcements, so he heads out to the Shadow Proclamation.

Teams Torchwood, Bannerman Road and UNIT detect 26 other planets and a fleet of mysterious spaceships heading directly for the Earth. Who could they possibly be? Everyone tries to call the Doctor, but no one can get through. Then, a eerily familiar transmission comes in from the incoming ships...


Jack, Martha and Sarah recognise the sound immediately. Jack pulls Ianto and Gwen close and kisses their foreheads. He says, "There's nothing I can do. I'm sorry, we're dead." Sarah hugs Luke, sobbing. Action Hero Rose, however, picks up her BFG and heads out into the street, her hair blowing from the explosions behind her.

The Daleks commence "ultimate extermination" on the Earth.

Back at the Shadow Proclamation, after a nifty bit of Judoon from the Doctor, our heroes try to piece the situation together. Once he puts his Purely Aesthetic Glasses on, the Doctor realises that if you steal 27 specific planets out of space and time, they sync with one another to make a giant galactic-strength engine! That's what's been happening to all those missing planets (and one missing moon) we've been hearing about. Now only if he can figure out where they went. The Doctor asks Donna if she can remember anything out of the ordinary back on Earth. She can't, except the bees had been disappearing. The bees? Yes! The bees! The Doctor explodes into some lovely techno-babble about the bees, some of which have been aliens all along, sensing danger and fleeing to their home planet and now the Doctor can trace their journey and find Earth! Allons-y!

Oh, and the creepy Shadow Proclamation woman says sorry to Donna about her loss that has yet to come. Poor Donna.

Things look bad. Earth surrenders to the Daleks, Wilf's awesome plan to beat the Daleks with a paintball gun fails, the Doctor gets lost in the Medusa Cascade, Cap Jack waxes melancholy and no one's phones work. But guess who hasn't given up yet? That's right, Harriet Jones (former Prime Minister)! note  She patches together a Doctor Who co-star conference call, using a bio-detection system she helped develop specifically to contact the Doctor... despite the Doctor ruining her life last time they met. Everyone Meets Everyone. Jack hits on Sarah Jane (and a little bit on Luke), Rose feels bad about not being included (because the bio-system wasn't linked to her, being in an alternate dimension and all), and they make a super mega cell phone call to the Doctor! The Doctor latches on and even though the TARDIS catches fire a little (it gets better), he finds his way to Earth!

Unfortunately, Harriet Jones (former Prime Minister) is found by the Daleks and sacrifices herself in a noble and dignified fashion. Good show, Harriet. Good show.

Everyone is happy to see each other. Ianto checks out the Doctor, Donna picks the worst possible moment in history to start fancying Jack, but all of this "outer space Facebook" action is wrecked by a very familiar voice. The Doctor and Sarah Jane recognise... Davros! Back from the dead! ...Again!

The Doctor takes off, and everyone goes after him. The Daleks go on alert, Jack gets his vortex manipulator working again with a little help from Martha's UNIT knowledge and teleports away, Sarah Jane drives off leaving Luke with Mr Smith, Martha is ordered by UNIT to blip out and activate something called the Osterhagen key, and Rose zaps after the TARDIS.

And Rose is the one that finds him first.

Rose and the Doctor see each other across a destroyed street. Overjoyed, they run towards each other. Before they reach each other, a Dalek appears and zaps the Doctor. Jack appears and blows up the Dalek. Rose, Donna and Jack gather around the Doctor, but it is clear he is dying. They take him back to the TARDIS.

The Daleks are closing in on team Torchwood and Sarah Jane. The Doctor begins to regenerate, energy bursting from him in a bright orange display.

To. Be. Continued.


  • 555: The Doctor's mobile phone number uses an 07700-900xxx number, which is Ofcom's reserved range for mobile drama numbers.
  • Alien Sky: The first on-world clue as to something very wrong happening to the earth. To wit.
  • And Starring: "With Elisabeth Sladen And Billie Piper"
  • Arbitrary Scepticism: The lady in charge of the Shadow Proclamation claims Time Lords are "the stuff of legends" and that the Doctor cannot possibly exist. While she's talking to him. The Doctor doesn't bother trying to argue with her about it.
  • Arc Words: "There was something on your back."
  • Dalek Attack Formation Seven: A straight line, apparently.
  • Back from the Dead: Davros, who at this point has to be considered a professional resurrector.
  • Benched Hero: While everyone else is dealing with the Daleks, the Doctor is missing. Or to be more exact, the Earth is missing. The Doctor couldn't find the planet he was to save. When he does return, Jack is less than happy with him.
  • BFG: Wielded by Rose and Captain Jack, and Lampshaded by Rose when driving off a pair of looters.
  • Big Damn Heroes: "Hostility will not be tolerated! Exterminate! Exterminate!! Extermi—" *BLAM*
    Wilf: D'you wanna swap? (Wilf's paintball gun with Rose's BFG-9000)
  • Body Horror: Davros reveals he gave himself to the Daleks... literally... he grows them from cells in his own body. Normal cloning procedure? In his enthusiasm, he ended up using up most of the flesh on his chest, baring his rib cage — you can see his heart beating.
  • The Brigadier: General Sanchez.
  • Call Back: A great many of the planets.
    • "Clom. Clom's gone; who'd want Clom?" (Clom, twin world to Raxacoricafallapatorius, is the home of the Absorbaloff.)
    • "Woman Wept", a planet Rose said in "Boom Town" that she visited.
    • "The Lost Moon of Poosh" was the subject of Dee Dee Blasco's research paper in "Midnight".
    • Pyrovillia was the planet of the Pyroviles, as stated in "The Fires of Pompeii".
    • And Adipose 3, which was said to have gone missing prior to "Partners in Crime".
    • Furthermore, remember how in "Genesis of the Daleks" the Kaled general Ravon's medical scanner didn't know what to make of Harry? Well, when Davros opens his shirt we see why.
  • The Cameo:
    • Named on screen. Richard Dawkins, famous British scientist (although best known for a book called The God Delusion) appears on screen as himself. Dawkins is married to Lalla Ward, who played the second Romana.
    • Paul O'Grady also appears on his chat show making light of the stolen planets.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Shadow Proclamation is finally revealed after having first been mentioned in "Rose".
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Doctor connecting the Earth being stolen with the Daleks is a reference to "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", in which they planned to replace the planet's core with an engine.
    • Also, all the stolen planets have been mentioned previously.
    • Harriet's subwave communicator was built with the help of the Mr. Copper Foundation (Mr. Copper being the passenger from "Voyage of the Damned" who became a millionaire).
    • There's a direct quotation from "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", when the Daleks demand that every human leave their homes: "the males, the females, the descendants".
      • The Daleks also call themselves "the Masters of Earth".
    • The Anti-Dalek gun that Jack is using is the modified Defabricator from "Bad Wolf" and "The Parting of the Ways"; apparently he's modified it beyond one shot.
    • Sarah Jane is the only person besides the Doctor to recognise Davros, having met him back in his very first appearance — well, if by "met" you mean "he tortured her to get information from the Doctor".
    • The Medusa Cascade is hidden beyond a Time Barrier, first introduced in the Fourth Doctor serial "The Face of Evil". Was also briefly mentioned in "Midnight" when the Doctor was saying random things to the planet's creature.
    • The Cascade is also one second out of sync with the rest of the universe.
    • Wilfred taking on a Dalek, and not for the first time (actor Bernard Cribbins played the cop who stumbled into the TARDIS in the spin-off film Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.).
    • Just the fact that subwave transmissions always start with four beeps.
  • Crisis Crossover: Ianto, Jack and Gwen from Torchwood, and Sarah Jane, Luke and Mr Smith from The Sarah Jane Adventures, and Rose and Martha and Harriet Jones and basically everyone connected to the show since Rusty got hold of it (well, except Mickey and K9... for now) all turn up.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Shadow Proclamation, even with a name like that (literally too, their uniforms are all-black), appear to be good guys. Though you could easily make a case for them being Good Is Not Nice. They have The Judoon as enforcers and demand the Doctor hand over his TARDIS so they can go to war.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: The BF Gs are pump-action, to allow for extra emphasis.
  • The Dreaded: The Daleks. If you doubt, observe the Companions' reactions when they hear the Daleks' battlecry.
  • Evil Is Not Well Lit: Davros is hidden in shadow for the better part of the episode.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Harriet.
    Harriet: (calmly) Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister.
    Dalek: Yes, we know who you are.
    Harriet: Oh you know nothing of any human. And that will be your undoing.
  • Genre Blindness: The Shadow Proclamation know who the Doctor is (sort of), but they actually think he's going to fight a war for them. And let him "fetch (his) keys".
  • Genre Savvy: Davros actually shows some of this, warning the Supreme Dalek not to assume they've won just yet.
  • Go for the Eye: Subverted. "My vision is not impaired!" That's both of the Dalek's age-old weaknesses removed. No longer will they be stymied by a third-floor walk-up and a can of spray paint! Even being pushed over was shown to be a Dalek-killer in the original series. The former is implied to have been solved in the episode "Dalek" (Rose touching the Dalek and surviving was because it wanted her to; dialogue suggests the first guy to do that got turned into a human torch).
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: With a side order of Epic Hail: the entire world, calling the same phone number at once.
  • Heroic Blue Screen of Death: Sarah Jane and Jack react to the Daleks this way, pulling their loved ones close and giving in to despair. Particularly notable in Jack's case, since his first death was at the hands of Daleks. It takes Harriet Jones, Former Prime Minister, to break them out of it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Harriet.
  • Hope Spot: A really obvious one, too; the Doctor and Rose finally see and run towards each other. Their reunion, however, is interrupted at the last second by a Dalek shooting the Doctor.
  • I Have Just One Thing to Say: "After all this time... everything we saw, everything we lost... I have only one thing to say to you: ''BYE!'".
  • Internal Homage: "Ladies and gentleman, we are at war!" was used with slightly different inflection, by Captain Jack in "The Parting of the Ways".
  • The Internet Is for Porn: Wilfred isn't allowed to have a webcam because they're naughty.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Harriet, to the companions.
  • Laughing Mad / Evil Laugh: Sweet Gallifrey, Dalek Caan, the first Dalek to ever laugh.
  • Left the Background Music On: When Sarah Jane says "Mr Smith, I need you!" the Mr Smith music plays as her Magical Computer reveals itself, as it does every time on The Sarah Jane Adventures — however, now Sarah Jane says, "I wish you would stop giving me that fanfare."
  • Mad Oracle: Dalek Caan.
  • Mars Needs Women: Wilfred's first guess as to the purpose of the invasion.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The entire supporting cast when they first hear the Daleks. Particularly notable with Sarah Jane, Jack and Ianto. Brave Sarah Jane breaks into sobs and clutches her son, (literally) never-say-die. Given that this is Sarah Jane, who has faced an all manner of bug-eyed monsters and horrible creepy things, you KNOW it's bad. Jack gives up, and Ianto, one of the only survivors of Canary Wharf, knows exactly what's coming and appears to be briefly in shock.
  • Meadow Run: Subverted.
  • Mama Bear: Sarah Jane.
  • Monumental Theft: Taken to its extremes, with the Daleks' theft of the Earth (and numerous other planets).
  • Mood Whiplash: Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister.
    Dalek: Yes, we know who you are.
    Harriet: Oh, you know nothing of any human. And that will be your undoing.
    (extermination sounds)
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Averted with the Shadow Proclamation, who seem to be good guys, if a bit slow on the uptake.
  • Negative Continuity: Davros' reduction to being just a head encased in the Dalek Emperor casing back in "Remembrance of the Daleks" (and, if you follow the audio plays, the destruction of his original personality and his becoming the Dalek Emperor mentally as well) is undone here, and he appears pretty much as the Davros we know and love. In a neat aversion though, the loss of his hand in "Revelation of the Daleks" is followed up on, and he is shown to have a mechanical replacement here. Perhaps forgivable considering it was called a Time War for a reason.
  • Oh, Crap: The Doctor, on seeing Davros again. Donna has to remind him that he's not really there.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Invoked on a meta level — David Tennant was almost incapable of pronouncing the Judoon language thanks to his native Scottish accent, so they made him do it just to screw with him.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, John Barrowman and Elizabeth Sladen are all added to the title credits, with Penelope Wilton, Adjoa Andoh, Tommy Knight, Eve Myles, and Gareth David-Lloyd in a post-title caption (a series first).
  • Red Baron: Dalek Caan refers to the Doctor as "The Dark Lord".
  • Red Alert: UNIT starts the episode at this level. Once they realise the Daleks are attacking, they switch to Ultimate Red Alert.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Shadow Architect.
  • Red Shirt Army: UNIT's American branch, who wear the same uniforms as their British counterparts.
  • Resistance Is Futile: Or rather, useless.
  • Rule of Drama: Fridge Logic shows that the Daleks had nothing to gain in actually attacking Earth. They had the planet for a different purpose — they didn't need to go there for the Big Bad's plan to work. However, while Earth is in their plunger anyway, might as well let the Daleks blow off some steam and give the writers some exciting sequences to write...
  • Running Gag: "Yes, we know who you are!" Even the Daleks.

"It's too late. I'm regenerating..."

Alternative Title(s):

Doctor Who NSS 4 E 12 The Stolen Earth