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Recap / Doctor Who S30 E12 "The Stolen Earth"

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

The one where all three vectors of the Whoniversenote  intersect.

Written by Russell T. Davies.

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The cheery morning sky has been replaced by night and disturbingly low-hanging planets. No, really. Richard Dawkins is on TV talking about it and everything. There are giant planets in the Earth's 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, an 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, Captain 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 subwave network she helped develop specifically to contact the Doctor... despite the fact that the Doctor ruined 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 Sylvia wouldn't let Wilf get a webcam for their laptop because she thinks they're naughty), and they make a super mega 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 recognize... 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.

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, but 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.
  • Actor Allusion: Wilf facing down a Dalek? Not the first time!
  • Alien Animals: Why are the bees disappearing? Turns out that a large chunk of the bees of Earth are actually aliens, who were returning home because they sensed something bad was going to happen.
  • Alien Sky: The first on-world clue that something very wrong's happening to the Earth. To wit.
  • And Starring: "With Elisabeth Sladen And Billie Piper".
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: 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."
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Dalek Attack Formation Seven is apparently a straight line.
  • Back from the Dead: Davros, who at this point has to be considered a professional resurrector. In this case, Dalek Caan fished him (and possibly his ship) out of the Nightmare Child's mouth.
  • 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? [his paintball gun with Rose's BFG-9000]
  • Body Horror: Davros reveals he gave himself to the Daleks... literally... he grew them out of cells from 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 is the ranking UNIT officer in this episode.
  • The Bus Came Back: Why, hello there, Dalek Caan! And looking considerably the worse for wear. Unprotected jaunts through the Time Vortex will do that.
  • 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 mentioned visiting in "Boom Town".
    • "The Lost Moon of Poosh" was the subject of Dee Dee Blasco's research paper in "Midnight".
    • Pyrovilia was the planet of the Pyroviles, as stated in "The Fires of Pompeii".
    • Adipose 3, which was said to have "been lost" prior to "Partners in Crime". (Although Miss Foster didn't know it was literally missing.)
    • Furthermore, remember how in "Genesis of the Daleks", Kaled General Ravon's medical scanner didn't know what to make of Harry? 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.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Richard Dawkins, who appears in the episode, is married to Lalla Ward, who played Romana II in the classic series.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Shadow Proclamation is finally revealed after having first been mentioned in "Rose". Turns out that it's the posh name for the Space Police, who are named after the document they enforce.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Rose is disappointed she can only watch and listen in on the subwave network. When Martha appears and is introduced, she changes her tone to offended.
  • 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.
    • The Time Lords themselves have moved the Earth prior to the events of season 23, "The Trial of a Time Lord".
    • Many of the stolen planets have been mentioned previously.
    • Just as in her first episode, Martha wonders if the teleportation of a building/planet was an earthquake. "What was that? Felt like an earthquake or something."
    • UNIT's Project Indigo is made from looted Sontaran tech, from those Sontarans who came visiting a few months back.
    • 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"/"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 — if by "met" you mean "he tortured her to get information from the Doctor". No wonder she's so scared of him.
    • The Medusa Cascade is hidden beyond a Time Barrier, first introduced in the Fourth Doctor serial "The Face of Evil". It 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.).
    • Donna last phoned home from the planet called Midnight
    • Jack compliments Sarah for her nice job with the Slitheen
    • Just the fact that subwave transmissions always start with four beeps.
  • Couch Gag: To hammer home the fact this episode is a big deal and a Crisis Crossover, instead of the usual two names (Doctor and companion) in the opening credits, the opening is jam-packed with names — including Elisabeth Sladen getting her first-ever above-the-title credit on Doctor Who — and for the first time additional actors are credited over the first post-credits scene as well. This "couch gag" is repeated in the next episode, as well, with even more names.
  • 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 (except Mickey and K9... for now) all turn up.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: The Doctor is astonished by Davros' return, as he last saw his flagship being swallowed whole by some kind of Eldritch Abomination.
    "But you were destroyed. In the very first year of the Time War, at the Gates of Elysium. I saw your command ship fly into the jaws of the Nightmare Child!"
  • Darker and Edgier: Lampshaded when Sarah mentions she stays away from Torchwood due to "too many guns".
  • 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.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Gwen plans to go out shooting at a Dalek with an assault rifle.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: The BFGs 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. Jack says that he and his employees are already dead and gives up. Sarah starts bawling and mourning for her still alive son because he won't be alive much longer. The Doctor himself is freaking out.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Supreme Dalek thinks that Dalek Caan is insane, and an abomination. It's implied Davros is the only one keeping the Daleks from killing him.
  • 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 downfall.
  • Genre Blindness: The Shadow Proclamation know who the Doctor is (sort of), but they think he's going to fight a war for them. Then they let him "fetch (his) keys".
  • 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 to contact the Doctor.
  • 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. It's 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 Jones, former Prime Minister, knows that the Daleks will trace the subwave system back to her location and exterminate her, and she does so anyway to alert the Doctor.
  • 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.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Averted, the Daleks abduct Earth on a perfectly normal Saturday morning.
  • Humans Are Special: The Doctor is practically giddy when his friends manage to reach him, impressed by their intelligence and resolve.
  • 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 Honour: Harriet, to the companions. Jack salutes her.
  • Just One Second Out of Sync: How the Daleks hide the stolen planets. They have also done this to the entire Medusa Cascade. This causes the Doctor some difficulty when attempting to get to Earth.
  • Laughing Mad: Sweet Gallifrey, Dalek Caan, the first Dalek to ever laugh. This is because he lost his mind breaking through the timelock on the Last Great Time War - though as revealed in the next episode, some of this is Obfuscating Insanity.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The Supreme Dalek just happens to be a funky deep red.
  • 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 — Now Sarah Jane says, "I wish you would stop giving me that fanfare."
  • Lighter and Softer: Out of necessity, the more adult aspects of Torchwood are omitted in order to allow the characters to appear on a show that is aimed at a younger demographic and crosses over with a series with an even younger viewership.
  • Mad Oracle: Dalek Caan lost the ability to think rationally (or so it appears) and gained the ability to prophesize the future in the same incident.
  • Mars Needs Women: Wilfred's first guess as to the purpose of the invasion. Hence, he tells his daughter to stay inside.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The entire supporting cast when they first hear the Daleks, and especially 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. Rose and the Doctor run to each other in the streets, full of joy and eagerness, and then a Dalek comes out of nowhere and shoots the Doctor.
  • Mama Bear: Sarah Jane, after savings her son from all manner of alien nasties in her own series, falls into despair because she can't repeat the feat this time.
  • Meaningful Name: The home planet of the alien bees is called Melissa Majoria. Guess what "Melissa" means in Greek.
  • Mistaken for Quake: Martha, on waking up after the theft of the Earth:
    Martha: What was that? Felt like an earthquake or something...
  • Monumental Theft: Taken to an extreme, 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 downfall.
      [extermination sounds]
    • Martha's alive! And with her mum, safe and sound. And she's still got the Osterhagen key an-... and suddenly Harriet Jones is angry.
    • The Doctor's found the Earth, and gotten through to all his friends. Suddenly the screen shorts out, and despite the Doctor's hopes, the person who's taken over isn't Rose.
  • Murder by Cremation: The Daleks attempt to dispose of Captain Jack's body in an incinerator. Of course, he's not actually dead at the time...
  • 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 as the Davros we know and love. In a neat aversion, 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.
  • Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer: Martha's colleague Susanne ("Just look at the sky!"), Mr. Smith to Sarah-Jane ("I think you'll find the visual evidence most conclusive.")
  • Oh, Crap!: The Doctor, on seeing Davros again. Donna has to remind him that he's not really there.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Harriet Jones (former Prime Minister) is all stoic and dignified even in the face of a Dalek invasion, and Jack being Jack — but when Martha brings out the Osterhagen key, she gets properly angry for the first time we've ever seen, snapping at Martha and Jack to never mention it again.
  • 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.
    • Somewhat hilariously, it shouldn't even be necessary, as the TARDIS always translates alien languages. Thus making it even more obvious that it was only added to mess 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 Shirt Army: UNIT's American branch, who wear the same uniforms as their British counterparts, are gunned down by the Dalek army.
  • Resistance Is Futile: Or rather, useless because DALEKS REIGN SUPREME!
  • 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.
    • It may also have a practical purpose by stopping Earth from contacting the Doctor. If Martha hadn't escaped their attack on UNIT then she couldn't have given Harriet the Doctor's number, and he may never have found the Earth.
  • Running Gag:
    • "Yes, we know who you are!" Even the Daleks.
    • Jack being told to stop flirting.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Significant Anagram: "Osterhagen", as in the Osterhagen Key, is an anagram of "Earth's Gone". Possible Meaningful Name too: Osterhagen is the name of a Nazi concentration camp 1944-1945 near the German city of the same name.
  • The Starscream: Averted; the Daleks don't even pretend to respect Davros this time, and are keeping him as a "pet". The Supreme Dalek is clearly in charge from start to finish, hence the name.
  • There Is Another: There are always more Daleks. In this case, Dalek Caan rescued Davros from the Nightmare Child back during the Last Great Time War and he recreated the Daleks from himself.
  • Time Is Dangerous: Dalek Caan is driven Laughing Mad by his accidental breach of the time-lock on the Time War.
  • To Be Continued: Hardly a first for the series, but the first time in the revival the words appear on screen (one-by-one for bonus points). Boom. Boom. Boom.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Gwen and Ianto taking on the Daleks with G36s.
    • This entire episode goes out of its way to establish the position of ex-Companion as a badass prestige class, even giving them a cool collective name as "The Children of Time".
  • Unflinching Walk: When a Dalek ship shoots out a building right behind her, Rose doesn't even blink.
  • The War Room: UNIT's New York office declares red alert and plans the counter attack.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Subverted. Wilfred shoots a Dalek in the eye with a paintball gun, figuring that he can render it blind, but it simply burns the paint off.
  • Wham Episode: The beginning of Donna Noble's last adventure as a Companion.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Welcome to my new empire, Doctor." Not so much for us, but for the Doctor.
    • "Why don't you ask her?"
    • "Exterminate!"
  • You Shall Not Pass!: The American UNIT general and a random Red Shirt single-handedly stand against an oncoming Dalek force to give Martha Jones time to teleport away. ... and of course, get lasered rather quickly. I mean, come on, these are Daleks.

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

Alternative Title(s): Doctor Who NSS 4 E 12 The Stolen Earth