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Recap / Doctor Who 2007 CiNS "Time Crash"

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Ah, yes: fifteen!note 

"Hey, I'm the Doctor! I can save the universe with a kettle and some string and look at me, I'm wearing a vegetable!"
Tenth Doctor

The One With… Belgium.

Also the one that marks the first time a classic series Doctor and a revival series Doctor cross paths.

Written by Steven Moffat.

The Tenth Doctor and the Fifth Doctor meet in a special taking place in between "Last of the Time Lords" at the end of Series 3 and "Voyage of the Damned" at the beginning of Series 4. You have been warned: it would most likely be quicker just to watch the episode, seeing as it's only 7 minutes long, than to read the following recap. As well as YouTube, it can also be found on the Series 4 DVD and the Season 19 Blu-ray box set.

The episode begins with a recap of the end of "Last of the Time Lords", with Martha leaving and the Tenth Doctor indulging in one of his current favourite ways to pass the time: staring into space in a state of maudlinness.

He eventually snaps out of it and potters around the console, but when he pulls the take-off lever everything explodes and sends the Doctor flying. The camera briefly turns upside to stress how serious this really is. There's a cool little effect with echoes of the Doctor following around what he's doing. When everything settles down the Doctor demands to know what all that was about, and begins checking the instruments, absentmindedly apologizing to the Fifth Doctor, who is also checking the console, when the two bump into each other... wait a sec.

Realisation dawns. Ten goes "What?" Five goes "What?!" Ten goes "What?!" again. Credits roll. David Tennant AND Peter Davison's names in big words. Back on the TARDIS, the incidental music does in fact come from the Fifth Doctor's era.

Five testily demands to know who Ten is. Ten, on the other hand, is utterly thrilled, despite his own acknowledgement that it's "totally wrong, big emergency, universe goes bang in five minutes but... brilliant!" Five is obviously not impressed by Ten's prattling, announces "I'm the Doctor!" and demands to know who Ten is again. Ten, who is clearly experiencing an intense fangasm (he's not the only one), excitedly replies "you are the Doctor!" In the tone of someone talking to a kid who has been held back a couple of years and thinks that two and two equaling four is the coolest thing ever, Five makes it clear that they've established that and demands to know whether there's something wrong with Ten.

In response, Ten merely happily makes fun of Five's "frowny face", before pointing out that it's a bit saggier than he remembers and the hair's a bit greyer, which Five appreciates about as much as you'd expect (especially as this comes with added prodding and rubbing — no, not like that). Ten explains the fact that Peter Davison's clearly much older than he was in 1983, and only just fitting into his old costume, with some technobabble about the time differential shorting out. After this helpful bit of exposition, Ten continues his appreciation of Five's "crickety-cricket" stuff, but struggles to come up with anything complimentary to say about the stick of celery in his lapel, although it's clearly a brave fashion choice on Five's part.

At this point, Five's had enough, snaps and yells "Shut up!" (note to self: don't criticize the celery). Whipping off his hat to show how serious he is, Five points out that there's something very wrong with "his" TARDIS, he's got to do something very quickly and it'd be a lot easier if there wasn't "some skinny idiot ranting about every single thing that happens to be in front of him". Ten apologizes in a very humbled fashion, but perks up immediately when Five turns around and he gets to see the back of his own head. He's a bit less impressed with Five's emerging bald-spot, though.

Five decides to go on the offensive again and demands to know what's happened to his TARDIS, Ten obviously having changed "the desktop theme" to "Coral" since Five's time, which is worse than the leopard skin. Ten geeks out again when Five puts on his "brainy specs", happily needling him by pointing out that Five doesn't even need to wear them, but thinks they make him look clever.

A level five alert indicating a temporal collision interrupts the fun and games. Five panics, and begins to run around the console. Continuing his quest to not notice the painfully obvious, he babbles about how it's as if there's two TARDISes occupying the same space, but there's only one TARDIS present. In any case, there's two time zones "at war in the heart of the TARDIS", ominously noting that the paradox resulting from it could blow a hole in the space-time continuum. Ten, who has been watching Five dance around the obvious conclusion with a "Dude, seriously" expression on his face, twists the console monitor to face Five, who's a bit deflated to learn that the hole will only be the size of Belgium, which as holes in the space-time continuum go is a bit small, and, in Five's words, undramatic.

Ten offers his sonic screwdriver to Five, who rejects it. Obviously smarting a bit from his earlier dressing down, Ten bitchily points out that Five "went hands free": "Like, hey, I'm the Doctor, I can save the universe with a kettle and some string! And look at me, I'm wearing a vegetable!"

Five again demands to know who Ten is. Ten mysteriously encourages Five to "take a look". Five then comes to the dawning conclusion that Ten is... "a fan!" (which is technically invokedtrue). This is evidently not the response Ten was expecting. Whilst Five continues to panic about the impending crisis ("Two minutes to Belgium!"), Ten finally decides that Five, who is a lot denser as well as being chronologically younger, obviously needs it spelled out for him, but Five merely interprets this as Ten saying he's Five's biggest fan, pausing his frantic prodding at the console to discuss in detail just how great he is, and that weird little groups like LINDA notice him sometimes.

The Cloister Bell rings. Five begins to panic again, and Ten decides that it's time he actually did something other than prattle. In another helpful bit of exposition, Ten points out that it's all his fault because he forgot to put the shields back up after rebuilding the TARDIS following "Last of the Time Lords", and uses some technobabble to cause a supernova and a black hole forming at the exact same instant, which cancels out the paradox. Five is at first surprised by the unexpected solution, before he realizes that Ten came up with it because he would remember having watched it now as Five, meaning that Ten is his future self. Ten tries to celebrate Five finally catching up with the rest of the world with a high five, but Five just looks at him like he's sprouted a second head.

The TARDISes begin to separate, and Ten tries to work out where Five is in his time stream by making references to Tegan, Nyssa, the Time Lords and the Master, mentioning that the latter just came back. Five sighs, exasperated at the fact that the Master is still around to bother him in his future, and asks if he still has that "rubbish beard". Ten assures him that the Master is beardless this time... unless you count the wife, of course. Five begins to fade away, but Ten brings him back by flipping a switch. Ten gives Five his hat back and makes a lovely speech telling Five how much he loved being that incarnation, since it gave him the opportunity to just loosen up, play cricket and have a laugh after the pompousness of his previous selves. He then points out all the ways that Five continues to inspire him, with his trainers and his squeaky voice and his glasses (and essentially, this is all David Tennant talking, while the fanboys and girls of the world start tearing up). Touched, Five raises his hat in salute: "To days to come." "All my love to long ago," Ten replies, and Five disappears.

Ten begins to potter around the console again. Five's voice archly reminds him to put the shields up; but it is too late, because at that moment, the Titanic crashes into the wall, and we're into "Voyage of the Damned".

Behind the scenes, this minisode would have unexpected meta-layers added in the following years. Davison's real-life daughter, Georgia Moffett, would guest-star with Tennant in the next season's episode "The Doctor's Daughter" (in which Georgia plays a cloned daughter of the Doctor, though the episode's double-entendre title was not unintentional). Either during or after filming, Tennant and Moffett began dating, married in 2011, and share five children (Tennant adopted their eldest, Ty, Moffett's son from a previous relationship), thereby making Davison Tennant's father-in-law, a fact that Davison would later play up in the 50th anniversary tribute/spoof The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.


  • Actor Allusion: To David Tennant's invokedPromoted Fanboy status. A transcript of only Ten's lines would read like fanmail.
  • The Beard: Lucy Saxon.
    Tenth Doctor: Cybermen and Mara and Time Lords in funny hats and the Master? Oh, he just showed up again, same as ever.
    Fifth Doctor: Oh no, really? Does he still have that rubbish beard?
    Tenth Doctor: No; no beard this time— well, a wife.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Five's initial, annoyed response to Ten's chattiness.
  • Book Ends: The last words before the opening credits are Ten and Five sharing a triple Flat "What". Ten's last words of the special are a triple Flat "What" on his own.
  • Continuity Nod: LINDA has been bothering the Fifth Doctor as well.
    Fifth Doctor: Naturally, now and then, people notice me. Start up their little groups— that LINDA lot... are you one of them?
  • Flat "What": Ten ends the episode with a very confused one.
  • Friendly Enemy: On learning the Master is still around in the future, Five just asks if his fashion sense has improved.
  • Future Me Scares Me: The Fifth Doctor discovers there are worse fates than turning into Colin Baker.
    Fifth Doctor: Who are you?
    Tenth Doctor: Take a look.
    Fifth Doctor: Oh... oh no.
    Tenth Doctor: Oh yes.
    Fifth Doctor: You're... oh no...
    Tenth Doctor: Here it comes, yeah, yeah, I am.
    Fifth Doctor: A fan!
    Tenth Doctor: Yep.... What?!
    • But in all seriousness, this is ultimately subverted when Five finally figures out who Ten is.
  • Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: "... tear a hole in the space-time continuum about the size of–... the exact size of... Belgium. That's a bit undramatic, isn't it?" And then Five starts counting down "to Belgium".
  • I Hate Past Me: Inverted. The Tenth Doctor is thrilled to see the Fifth — mostly because his actor (and writer) are both long-time fans.
  • Intra-Franchise Crossover: This is the first crossover between the Revival and Classic eras of the show, with Ten's TARDIS merging with Five's which allows them to meet. It generally pokes fun at what the Doctor and the show was like during The '80s, from Five's clothes to things like the music and dramatic acting. Five however also complains about how undramatic it is that the TARDIS explosion will only create a hole in the universe the size of Belgium and critiques Ten's Motor Mouth and inability to sit still, reflecting how the Revival era is more fast paced and the difference in how adventures are treated.
  • Interquel: The entire skit takes place during the final scene of "Last of the Time Lords".
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Downplayed; Ten likes Five's cricket gear, but not the celery.
  • Jerkass Ball: Five begins the minisode uncharacteristically angry, but quickly calms down once the other occupant of the TARDIS reveals his identity.
  • Large Ham: Double the serving. Both Tennant and Davison ham it up impressively.
  • Last-Second Showoff: Ten spends most of the time Squeeing over Five, but when the Cloister Bell rings with one minute until a catastrophe that will tear a hole in the universe Ten jumps in flipping switches and pressing buttons to solve the problem, which he only knows to do because he remembers seeing himself do it back when he was Five.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: More like punching so many holes in the fourth wall you're not sure what you're seeing (which is oddly fitting, since the episode is about a hole being punched in the universe; evidently the Fourth Wall took some battering). Towards the end, you're not sure if the scene is Ten gushing at Five, David Tennant gushing at Five, or David Tennant gushing at Peter Davison. Heck, the fourth wall is so screwed up, it could be Ten gushing at Peter Davison. note  Regardless, it's absolutely adorable.
  • Meet Your Early-Installment Weirdness: Ten meets Five from the Classic era of the show, and quickly notes that Five wears a decorative vegetable and that he pretty much abandoned the sonic screwdriver. However he's overall full of glee to meet Five, and it's noted that both incarnations are actually pretty similar when compared to their first four incarnations.
  • Metaphorically True: Ten exclaims that it is with Five that he really started to enjoy himself and loosen up. Except that we know how dark Five's era was compared to previous selves. The ever-increasing body count, the ever-present dark cloud of Adric's death, an assassin (Turlough) aboard the TARDIS, Tegan's icy handshake and departure because she couldn't bear the violence anymore. It only got worse with Six's rocky relationship with Peri and the still violent nature of his travels. The Expanded Universe strongly suggests that Seven isn't well-liked by his other selves. Then, there's Eight, the War Doctor, and Nine with the Time War. Maybe Ten really means that this is when he started to embrace his more human nature instead of the definitely alien nature of Two & Four and the aloofness of One & Three. Thus, he was able to connect better to his companions.
  • My Future Self and Me: Five meets his far-flung regeneration, Ten.
  • Mythology Gag: The phrase "two minutes to Belgium" sounds like "Four to Doomsday", the name of a Fifth Doctor serial. Doubles as both a Mythology Gag and a Shout-Out to Douglas Adams, former Doctor Who scriptwriter and editor, and more famously author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In that franchise, Belgium is the worst expletive you can utter (and the only one with any shock value left).
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever the leopard skin "desktop theme" looked like.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Tennant, right around when he says "And the trainers", says a distinctly Scottish-sounding "and".
  • Out-of-Character Moment: The pleasant, mild-mannered Fifth Doctor is written to be more tempermental and impatient. His "generally being brilliant" line really jars considering he was one of the more humble Doctors.
  • Please Keep Your Hat On: Ten tells Five this after seeing the latter's thinning hairline.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: The Fifth Doctor dons them for the first time in over 20 years.
    Tenth Doctor: Aw, here they come out! The brainy specs! You don't even need them! You just think they make you look a bit clever!
  • Retraux: The background music used in the Classic Series makes a reappearance.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Lampshaded by Ten, who points out that he and Five only wear their glasses to look clever.
  • Squee: Practically every single line of Ten's is ecstatic glee until Five figures out who he really is. No wonder Five thought he was a fan.
  • Stable Time Loop: Five will know how to counter the black hole when he is Ten in the future, because he will remember watching Ten showing him how when he was Five.
  • Stealth Pun: To link the scene with the start of the next episode, the prow of the Titanic bursts in through the hull of the TARDIS. This happens from behind the camera's field of view, which means it broke the fourth wall.
  • Temporal Paradox: Ten knows which buttons to press to save the universe, because he remembers being Five watching Ten pressing the right buttons to save the universe.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Given a nod by both Five and Ten at the same time, to Hand Wave how Ten can remember Five meeting him despite previously established canon.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Five is a lot less patient and more crotchety, impatient, grouchy and arrogant than he ever was in his tenure. He acts more like One, Three, Four, Six, Nine or Twelve.


Video Example(s):


Time Crash (Doctor Who)

The tenth Doctor saves the TARDIS by copying a technique he witnessed himself perform when he was fifth Doctor. Now that five has seen it, he'll remember when he becomes ten. Confused?

How well does it match the trope?

4.94 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / StableTimeLoop

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