Doctor Who

Season 3 Episode 3


Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Apr 14, 2007 on BBC America



  • Trivia

    • Brannigan tells the Doctor that a car can only call cars on their "friends list." However, the Catkind woman is still able to call Milo, Cheen, and Martha in the fast lane, despite them not knowing each other.

    • The Doctor hitches a ride with a Cat Man and a Human Woman and they tell him about their children. The children being a litter of kittens, he smiles happily as he sees the kittens and even picks one up and starts petting it. This is strange since in Series 2, Episode 11 Fear Her, Rose goes to pet a cat and she notices the not so happy look on The Doctor's face... Rose: What?

      The Doctor: No I'm not really a cat person. Once you've been threatened by one in a nuns wimple it kinda takes the joy out of it.

    • Frank Cox the husband of Bridget Turner (who played Alice) once directed Doctor Who. he directed The Edge of Destruction episode 2 and The Sensorites episodes 5 and 6. Then many years later he turned down David Tennant for a job in Take the High Road.

    • The Cat Nun prosthetic masks took 4 days to make and could only be worn once, so a new one was needed every day.

    • The year five billion and fifty three is, from what we have seen, the furthest into the future that the TARDIS has ever travelled.

    • The Doctor: The leaves on the trees were silver and when they caught the light every morning, it looked like a forest on fire...

      This description of Gallifrey is very similar to the one given by The Doctor's 'grand-daughter' Susan in the 1964 episode The Sensorites: "Oh, it's ages since we've seen our planet. It's quite like Earth, but at night the sky is a burnt orange; and the leaves on the trees are bright silver."

    • As the Doctor first steps out of the TARDIS in this episode he can be seen to be pulling an arrow out of the door of the TARDIS.

      The arrow is from the ending of the previous episode The Shakespeare Code when one of Queen Elizabeth's guards shoots an arrow which hits the TARDIS.

    • When the Doctor drops into the Asian car, there is a poster on the wall that reads 'Bad Wolf' in Chinese.

    • This episode aired forty minutes later than usual due to the BBC's coverage of the FA Cup Semi-Final football match between Manchester United and Watford. Had the match gone into extra time, the episode would have been postponed a week. (As it was, Manchester United won 4-1)

    • The original story that featured the Macra - entitled The Macra Terror (1967) and starred Patrick Troughton as the Doctor - is missing in its entirety from the BBC archives, due to the mass clear-out of programmes that took place during the 1960s.

    • The Doctor says that New Earth is 50,000 light years away from the old Earth. However in New Earth he said the planet was located in the M87 galaxy, which cosmologists estimate is 52 million light years away from Earth.

    • When Martha et al turn off the car's engine, how is it still able to hover?

    • Some publicity has been given to the fact that Gridlock is the 727th episode of Doctor Who. This will break the record held by the various Star Trek series, which have a total of 726 combined episodes amongst them. Doctor Who has been recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running science fiction series in the world, based on the original series' 26-year continuous run and the 43+ years since the programme's 1963 debut. However, the Star Trek total includes all the various (live action) spin off shows by the same logic, taking Torchwood, 1981's K9 and Company and 2007's The Sarah Jane Adventures into account, the record was broken by Day One, the second episode of Torchwood. On the other hand, most Doctor Who episodes prior to the new series were half an hour in length while all Star Trek episodes are one hour, so Trek still has had more hours of programming.

    • The creator of the Macra- Ian Stuart Black- is mentioned in the closing credits.

  • Quotes

    • (After the Doctor refuses to answer Martha's questions, she takes a chair and sits down)
      The Doctor: Alright. Are you staying?
      Martha: Until you talk to me properly, yes. He said 'last of your kind'. What does that mean?
      The Doctor: It really doesn't matter.
      Martha: You don't talk! You never say! Why not?
      (Quietly, the hymn 'Abide With Me' begins to be sung)
      Martha: It's the city. They're singing.
      (The Doctor and Martha listen to the singing for a moment)
      The Doctor: I lied to you, cos I liked it. I could pretend, just for a bit, I could imagine they were still alive underneath the burnt orange sky. (pause) I'm not just a Time Lord. I'm the last of the Time Lords. The Face of Boe was wrong, there's no one else.
      Martha: What happened?
      (As the singing continues, the Doctor takes a chair and sits opposite Martha)
      The Doctor: There was a war, a time war. The Last Great Time War. My people fought a race called the Daleks for the sake of all creation, and they lost. We lost. Everyone lost. They're all gone now, my family, my friends, even that sky. (pause; the Doctor begins to well up as he speaks) Oh, you should have seen it, that old planet. The second sun would rise in the south and the mountains would shine. The leaves on the trees were silver and when they caught the light every morning, it looked like a forest on fire...

    • The Doctor: New New York can start again. And they've got Novice Hame. Just what every city needs, cats in charge.

    • Novice Hame: My lord gave his life to save the city and now he's dying.
      The Doctor: No, don't say that. Not old Boe. Plenty of life left.
      The Face of Boe: It's good to breathe the air once more.
      Martha: Who is he?
      The Doctor: I don't even know. Legend says the Face of Boe has lived for billions of years. Isn't that right? And you're not about to give up now.
      The Face of Boe: Everything has its time. You know that, old friend, better than most.
      Novice Hame: The legend says more…
      The Doctor: Don't. There's no need for that.
      Novice Hame: It says that the Face of Boe will speak his final secret to a traveller.
      The Doctor: Yeah, but not yet. Who needs secrets, eh?
      The Face of Boe: I have seen so much, perhaps too much. I am the last of my kind. As you are the last of yours, Doctor.
      The Doctor: That's why we have to survive. Both of us. Don't go.

    • Cheen: I never even asked, where's home?
      Martha: A long way away. I didn't really think, I just followed the Doctor and… they don't even know where I am, my mum and dad. If I died here, they'd never know
      Milo: So, who is he then, this Doctor?
      Martha: I don't know. Well, not really. There's so much he never says.
      Cheen: But that means that… the only hope right now is a complete stranger.

    • Novice Hame: They died, Doctor. The city died.
      The Doctor: How long's it been like this?
      Novice Hame: Twenty-four years.
      The Doctor: All of them? Everyone? What happened?
      Novice Hame: A new chemical, a new mood. They called it Bliss. Everyone tried it. They couldn't stop. A virus mutated inside the compound and became airborne. Everything perished, even the virus in the end. It killed the world in seven minutes flat. There was just enough time to close down the walkways and the flyovers, sealing off the undercity. Those people on the motorway aren't lost, Doctor, they were saved.
      The Doctor: So the whole thing down there's running on automatic.
      Novice Hame: There's not enough power to get them out. We did all we could to stop the system from choking.
      The Doctor: Who's we? How did you survive?
      Novice Hame: He protected me and he has waited for you, these long years.
      The Face of Boe: Doctor…
      (The Doctor rounds the corner and sees the Face of Boe)
      The Doctor: The Face of Boe!
      The Face of Boe: I knew you would come.
      Novice Hame: Back in the old days, I was made his nurse as penance for my sin.
      The Doctor: Old friend, what happened to you?
      The Face of Boe: Failing…
      Novice Hame: He protected me from the virus by shrouding me in his smoke. But with no one to maintain it, the city's power died. The undercity would have fallen into the sea.
      The Doctor: So he saved them…
      Novice Hame: The Face of Boe wired himself into the mainframe. He's giving his life force just to keep things running.
      The Doctor: But there are planets out there! You could have called for help!
      Novice Hame: The last act of the Senate was to declare New Earth unsafe. The automatic quarantine lasts for one hundred years.
      The Doctor: So the two of you stayed here on your own for all these years?
      Novice Hame: We had no choice.
      The Doctor: Yes, you did.

    • (Novice Hame drops from the hatch in the roof of a car)
      The Doctor: I've invented a sport!
      Novice Hame: Doctor! You're a hard man to find.
      Business Man: No guns, I'm not having guns!
      Novice Hame: I only brought this in case of pirates! Doctor, you've got to come with me.
      The Doctor: Do I know you?
      Novice Hame: You haven't aged at all... time has been less kind to me.
      The Doctor: Novice Hame! (he hugs her momentarily before pushing her away) No, hold on, get off. Last time we met, you were breeding humans for experimentation.
      Novice Hame: I sought forgiveness, Doctor, for so many years under his guidance, and if you come with me, I might finally be able to redeem myself.
      The Doctor: I'm not going anywhere. You've got Macra living underneath this city. Macra! And if my friend's still alive, she's stuck down there.
      Novice Hame: You've got to come with me right now.
      The Doctor: Oh, no, no, you're coming with me. We've got three passengers now.
      Novice Hame: I'm sorry, Doctor, this situation is even worse than you can imagine. (she grabs the Doctor's wrist and depresses a button on her bracelet) Transport!
      The Doctor: Don't you dare, DON'T YOU DARE!!!
      (The Doctor and Novice Hame are transported)

    • The Doctor: The Macra used to be the scourge of this galaxy. Gas. They fed off gas, the filthier the better. They built up a small empire using humans as slaves and mining gas for food.
      Businessman: They don't exactly look like empire-builders to me.
      The Doctor: Well, that was billions of years ago. Billions. They must have devolved down here, now they're just beasts. But they're still hungry and my friend's down there.

    • The Doctor: What if the traffic jam never stops?
      Brannigan: There's a whole city above us. The mighty city-state of New New York. They wouldn't just leave us!
      The Doctor: In that case, where are they? Hm? What if there's no help coming, not ever? What if there's nothing, just the motorway with the cars going round and round and round and round, never stopping, forever.
      Valerie: Shut up! Just shut up!

    • The Doctor: We've got to go to the fast lane. Take me down.
      Brannigan: Not in a million years!
      The Doctor: You've got three passengers.
      Brannigan: I'm still not going.
      The Doctor: She's alone and she's lost. She doesn't even belong on this planet and it's all my fault. I'm asking you, Brannigan, take me down.
      Valerie: That's a no, and that's final. I'm not risking the children down there.
      The Doctor: Why not? What's the risk? What happens down there?
      Valerie: We're not discussing it. The conversation is closed.
      The Doctor: So we keep on driving?
      Brannigan: Yes, we do.
      The Doctor: For how long?
      Brannigan: Till the journey's end.

    • (As Milo, Cheen and Martha travel down to the fast lane, they hear a strange noise)
      Martha: What's that? It's coming from underneath.
      Cheen: It's that noise, isn't it? It's like Kate said. The stories are true.
      Martha: What stories?
      Milo: It's the sound of the air-vents, that's all. Exhaust fumes travel down so at the base of the tunnel, they got air-vents.
      Cheen: No, but the stories are much better. They say people go missing on the motorway. Some cars just vanish, never to be seen again, cos there's something living down there in the smoke.

    • (Milo and Cheen kidnap Martha to allow them access to the fast lane of the motorway)
      Martha: Where are we anyway?
      Milo: We're on the Motorway.
      Martha: What's that then, fog?
      Cheen: It's exhaust fumes.
      Milo: We're going out to Brooklyn. Everyone says the air is so much cleaner. And we couldn't say in Pharmacy Town cos…
      Cheen: Cos of me. I'm pregnant. We only discovered it last week. Scan says it's going to be a boy.
      Martha: Right, what do I do now? Congratulate my kidnappers?

    • The Doctor: (to the Pharmacists in a very angry tone) Word of advice to all of you. Cash up, close down and pack your bags.
      Pharmacist: Why's that then?
      The Doctor: As soon as I've found her alive and well - and I will find her alive and well - then I'm coming back, and this street is closing tonight!

    • Pharmacist: (serving a pale woman) And what can I get you, my love?
      Woman: I want to buy Forget.
      Pharmacist: I've got Forget, my darling. What strength? How much do you want forgetting?
      Woman: My mother and father. They went on the motorway.
      Pharmacist: Oh, that's a swine. Try this. (hands her a small plastic patch) Forget 43. That's two credits.
      The Doctor: Sorry, but… hold on a minute, what happened to your parents?
      Woman: They drove off.
      The Doctor: Yeah, but… they might drive back.
      Woman: Everyone goes to the motorway in the end. I've lost them.

    • Martha: When you say last time, was that… you and Rose?
      The Doctor: Um. Yeah, yeah, it was, yeah.
      Martha: You're taking me to the same planets that you took her?
      The Doctor: What's wrong with that?
      Martha: Nothing. Ever heard the word 'rebound'?

    • The Face of Boe: He has arrived
      Novice Hame: What should I do?
      The Face of Boe: Find him, before it's too late.

    • The Doctor: Just one trip. That's what I said, one trip in the TARDIS and then home. Although, I suppose we could… stretch the definition. Take one trip into the past, one trip into the future. How do you fancy that?
      Martha: No complaints from me.
      The Doctor: How about… a different planet?
      Martha: Can we go to yours?
      The Doctor: (pause) Ah, there's plenty of other places.
      Martha: Come on, though, I mean, planet of the Time Lords, that's gotta be worth a look. What's it like?
      The Doctor: (non-committal) It's beautiful, yeah.

    • Martha: (to Cheen and Milo) You've got your faith, your songs and you hymns and I've got The Doctor.

    • Cheen: (talking about the Doctor) He looked kind of nice.
      Martha: He's more than that.

    • Brannigan: This Martha, she must mean an awful lot to you
      The Doctor: Hardly know her. I was too busy showing off. And I lied to her.

    • Cheen: ...something huge and hungry and if you get lost on the road, it's waiting for you.

    • The Doctor: You've been driving for two months?
      Brannigan: Do I look like a teenager? We've been driving for 12 years now.
      The Doctor: I'm sorry?
      Brannigan: Yeah, started off as newly-weds. Feels like yesterday
      Valerie: Feels like twelve years to me.

    • Cheen: I'm sorry but that's not a real gun
      Martha: Yeah you would say that.

    • The Face Of Boe: Save them doctor, save them.

    • (About the Doctor)
      Valerie: He's completely insane!
      Brannigan: That, and a bit magnificent!

    • The Doctor: I've got to find my friend!
      Valerie: You can't make outside calls - the motorway's completely enclosed.
      The Doctor: What about the other cars?
      Brannigan: Well we've got contact with them, yep, well some of them anyway. They've got to be on your 'friends' list. Now let's see, who's nearby... Ahh! The Casini sisters! (via radio from here on) Be still your hearts, my handsom girls, it's Brannigan here!
      May: Get off the line, Brannigan, you're a pest and a menace.
      Brannigan: Come on now sisters, is that any way to talk to an old friend?
      May: You know full well we're not sisters: we're married.
      Brannigan: Ooo, stop that modern talk for an old-fasioned cat. Now, I've got a hitchiker here who calls himself 'the Doctor'.
      The Doctor: Hello, sorry, I'm looking for someone called Martha Jones, she's been carjacked. She's inside one of these vehicles but I don't know which one.
      Alice: Wait a minute... (leafs through a book) Could I ask, what entrance did they use?
      The Doctor: (To Brannigan) Where were we?
      Brannigan: Pharmacy Town.
      The Doctor: Pharmacy Town, about 20 minutes ago.
      Alice: Let's have a look...
      May: Just my luck to marry a car-spotter...
      Alice: In the last half hour 53 new cars joined from the Pharmacy town junction.
      The Doctor: Anything more specific?
      Alice: All in good time. Was she carjacked by two people?
      The Doctor: Yes she was, yeah.
      Alice: There we are! Just one of those cars was destined for the fast lane, and that means they had three onboard, and the car number is 4-6-5-◊-6.
      The Doctor: That's it, so how do we find them?
      Alice: Ah, well there I'm afraid I can't help.

    • Martha: But what did he mean? The Face of Boe... 'You're not alone'?
      The Doctor: I don't know.
      Martha: You've got me. Is that what he meant?
      The Doctor: I don't think so. Sorry.
      Martha: Then what?
      The Doctor: Doesn't matter.

    • The Doctor: The transformers are blocked, signal can't get through.
      Face of Boe: Doctor...
      The Doctor: Yeah, hold on, not now!
      Face of Boe: I give you my last... (the Face of Boe breathes and the power comes back)
      The Doctor: Hey, look after him! Don't you go dying on me, you big old face! You gotta see this, the open road! Hah!

    • Martha: How many cars are out there?
      Cheen: I don't think anyone knows. (Offers Martha a biscuit) Here you go - hungry?
      Martha: Thanks. But how far down is it to this fast lane?
      Milo: It's right at the bottom, underneath the traffic jam. Not many people can afford three passengers so it's empty down there. Roumer has it you can reach up to 30 mph!
      Martha: (sarcasm) Wow, that's like, crazy... But how're you supposed to live inside this thing, it's tiny!
      Cheen: Oh, we stocked up! Got self-replicating fuel, muscle stimulants for excercise and there's a chemical toilet out the back, and all waste products are recycled as food.
      Martha: (quickly dropping biscuit) OK...

    • (The Doctor enters through the top of the car)
      Motorist: Who the hell are you?
      The Doctor: Sorry... motorway foot patrol. I'm doing a survey, how are you enjoying your motorway?
      Motorist: Well, not very much, junction 5 has been closed for 3 years.
      The Doctor: Thank you, your comments have been noted. Have a nice day! (exits through the bottom of the car)

    • Milo: This will be as fast as we can. We'll take the motorway to the Brooklyn Flyover, and then after that it's going to take a while, because there's no fast lane, just ordinary road. But at least it's direct.
      Cheen: It's only ten miles.
      Martha: How long's it going to take?
      Cheen: About... six years?
      Martha: What?!

    • Martha: Are they selling drugs?
      The Doctor: I think they're selling moods.
      Martha: Same thing, isn't it?

    • The Doctor: (sees a view of New New York on a television screen) Ah, that's more like it, that's the view we had last time. This must be the lower levels, down the base of the tower, some sort of under-city.
      Martha: You've brought me to the slums.
      The Doctor: Much more interesting, it's all cocktails and glitter up there! This is the real city.

    • The Doctor: The sky's burnt orange, with the citadel enclosed in a mighty glass dome, shining under the twin suns. Beyond that, the mountains go on forever. Slopes of deep red grass, capped with snow.
      Martha: Can we go there?
      (long pause)
      The Doctor: Nah, where's the fun for me?! I don't want to go home!

    • The Face of Boe: Know this, Time Lord: you are not alone.

    • Martha: Sometimes I think he likes me, sometimes I think he needs someone with him.

    • The Doctor: If it's any consolation Valerie, I'm having kittens.

    • Brannigan: A fifty foot head, just think of it! Imagine picking that nose!

  • Notes

    • International Air Dates:

      Australia: 14 July 2007
      Canada: 1 July 2007
      New Zealand: 9 August 2007 on Prime
      United States: 20 July 2007
      Thailand: 28 October 2008 on BBC Entertainment
      Turkey: 31 October, 2010 on CNBC-e

    • On the Sci-Fi Channel in America, several times throughout the episode, when people say "The Face of Boe", the closed captioning inaccurately reads it as "Professor Boe".

    • Overnight viewing figures for this episode were 8 million, with a final viewing figure of 8.41 million.

    • The BBC One continuity announcer introduced the episode with "Don't miss a moment of Doctor Who; set your machine to record the whole series, after the latest travel news, with Sally Calipso", referring to the news-reading character who was first to speak in the episode.

    • This is the second time we have seen New Earth, but it is the third time that the time period has been visited. In all three series the Doctor has visited the year 5 billion.

    • The two hymns sung in this episode are The Old Rugged Cross written by George Bennard, and Abide With Me, written by Henry Francis Lyte.

    • This episode features the first mention of the Daleks in season 3, when The Doctor tells Martha all about the Time War.

  • Allusions

    • Man and Woman's clothing:
      The couple is dressed like the couple in American Gothic, the famous painting of Grant Wood, which is now in the Art Institute of Chicago. Wood painted it in 1930, when he was inspired by a Gothic Revival style building that he pictured in the background, placing a couple in front looking like the people he imagined lived in a house like this.

    • Traffic reporter Sally Calypso is a deliberate homage to Swifty Frisko the automated newsreader in the 2000AD comic story The Ballad of Halo Jones.

    • The roof of the motorway openning as the character, The Face of Boe, dies, is an apparently unintended allusion to a "prediction" written in the 2005 Doctor Who book, "Monsters and Villains", in which Doctor Who producer, Russell T. Davies, wrote that, "When The Face of Boe dies, the sky will crack asunder". Davies freely admitted he had forgotten what he had written in the book while devising this episode.

    • Brannigan, the cat in the flying helmet was inspired by Ratz the VR cat, a computer animated head of a Cat in a flying helmet, used as continuity announcements for Children's BBC in the early nineties.

    • Novice Hame: They called it Bliss. Everyone tried it. They couldn't stop. A virus mutated inside the compound and became airborne.

      The drug that kills the city, Bliss, may be a reference to BlyssPluss, a drug in Margaret Atwood's 'Oryx and Crake' which, like Bliss, kills its users and eventually becomes airborne wiping out almost all human life.

    • The businessman's appearance in this episode is based on Max Normal from the Judge Dredd comic books. Max stood out from his contemporaries for dressing conservatively in clothes which in the mid-twentieth century would have been perfectly normal. Russell T Davies mentions this and that New New York is based on Mega City One in the downloadable commentary for the episode.

      It could also have been a reference to Magritte's painting Man in a Bowler Hat. This idea is justified by the resemblance to the first pair of passenger-victims being clearly modelled on another famous painting, Grant Wood's American Gothic (it is confirmed in the DVD commentary that this resemblance was intentional).

    • The Doctor name drops again, claiming his coat was a gift from Janis Joplin. Joplin was a blues/rock singer with a distinctive voice who died in 1970. Two things about Joplin are connected with this episode. Firstly she is probably best known today through her hymn to the motor car 'Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz' (referencing the 'Gridlock' of the title). Secondly she died from a drugs overdose - a similar theme to the death of the senate in this episode.

    • The Macra, the large and deadly race of crab-like creatures seen in this episode, were first seen in the 1967 Patrick Troughton story 'The Macra Terror'.

      In this instance the Macra themselves were also used as an allusion to the Urban Myth/Newspaper stories of "Alligators in the Sewers".

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