Doctor Who

Season 3 Episode 6

The Lazarus Experiment

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM May 05, 2007 on BBC America
out of 10
User Rating
456 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Location: London
Date: 2008
Enemy: Professor Lazarus
Back in modern-day London, Martha returns to her family, one day after having left them. Tish, Martha's sister, works for a Professor Lazarus, who claims he "...will change what it means to be human". The family, plus the Doctor, visit his presentation, in which he uses a manipulator to become younger. But soon, defects appear, and younger isn't the only thing he's becoming...moreless

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  • The Lazarus Experiment

    The Lazarus Experiment was a great episode of Doctor Who. I really enjoyed watching because Martha's family is involved in the major plot line of the episode. The story was well written and fun. There was some great character development as Martha's family questions her about The Doctor and a someone feeds information about him to Martha's mother. Lazarus was an interesting character and his idea was intriguing. I liked watching what happened and the action scenes. The special effects were superb. I loved the ending where Martha calls The Doctor out on the "Let's go for one more ride" bit and how she felt about it. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!moreless
  • The lazarus Experiment is, above all, a filler episode.

    Not the best episode ever, even with the Doctor as the star and a great story, the Lazarus experiment does not really work as well s others. The graphical effects are kind of disapointing compared to other monsters. It is a worthwile episode to watch, but it isn't a golden one. I like the whole "Make yourself a little tiny bit younger" story, but that has been done in many sci fi series before it, so nothing special. A few funny bits and a few scary bits(and a few heroic bits) make the Lazarus Experiment worthwile to watch once, but that's it.moreless
  • Sorry, but I miss Rose ...

    Sorry, but I miss Rose (Billie Piper). I know, get over it, right? But Martha (Freema Agyeman) seems like such a lightweight, more a groupie than a collaborator - and that family (especially the mother)! Piper had more gravitas as an actress, sprinkled with a pinch of darkness. And her mum, Jackie (Camille Coduri), had more strength and down home charm than that upper-crust iceberg Martha is stuck with. The Doctor, as usual, had great verve and energy, but he was very second fiddle to the Jones family storyline. Add to that - the (CGI?) monster was a bit soft an blurry as well. So there you have it : compared to the best of Doctor Who, this one was, well, soft and blurry.moreless
  • Very good storyline.

    Great episode. It had adventure, action, drama, comedy and death. It isn't the best episode there has been but it is certainly not the worst.

    Mark Gatiss performs well as Proffessor Lazarus and the idea were beautiful. You could see the writing was great, it was just some of the acting that let it down.

    The special effects were great and the Lazarus Monster was the best CGI monster ever created.

    It was fun to see Martha's family again and Tish being in danger when they were in the Cathedral.

    All in all a good episode but was let down a bit by the acting.moreless
  • Phew...that was some ride! I am beginning to think I should hav docked the preceeding Dalek episode a point as 10 days on I feel less positive about it. But Lazarus didn't disappoint in any way.moreless

    It was great to see Mark Gatiss on screen, and he gave Doctor Lazarus a wholly believable aspect (though my wife thought the "old man" makeup was poor). I was expecting a kindly old gentleman but what we got was a creepy, smarmy, dirty old man - right from the get go you realise Lazarus isn't nice even if he obviously is not evil. That often makes for the best of villians, they are more believable if you can see they're not just bent on destruction. Lazarus has a motivation for what he is doing, and in the same circumstances many sane people might do the same.

    We also got to see Martha's family for the first time since "Smith & Jones", but isntead of the soap scenes with Jackie Tyler we are treated to an altogether more satisfactory situation where they are attending Lazarus's great unveilling of his life's work.

    And what of his invention? Something akin to a regeneration chamber funded by Mr Saxon...if the rumours are true Saxon might well have good reasons for funding Lazarus's reserach! It is worth pointing out at this juncture that I have been pleasantly surprised that Saxon has not been mentioned every other sentence this year, I felt there were far too many Torchwood references last year.

    As we all know, Laz's experiment goes wrong and his DNA becomes unstable forcing him to change into a hideous monster...and back into the young Lazarus. I felt the monster was good, but not necessary. Some of the dialogue between the Doctor and young Lazarus was truly excellent, a treat in an era of modern soundbites and something we wouldn't have had from a Davies-penned script (though his humour in Gridolck was fantastic).

    The twist, where we think Lazarus is dead with 15 minutes to go was well handled. I really felt we were going to go off on some other tangent, and hoped it wasn't a prolonged family scene chez Jones. When it became Lazarus wasn't dead after all that was a nice surprise.

    Also wonderfully written and acter was the scene where the Doctor tries to leave Martha behind. I really found myself wondering if he was going to leave her! Given how well Martha's character is working out I was very glad he didn't.

    The final scenes in the cathedral made for a thrilling climax, with the Doctor's organ playing quite an appropriate way to do away with the monster in a non-violent fashion.

    Overall this was very strong, if not perhaps a classic. Stephen Greenhorn's script is among the very best in terms of dialogue and the pacing of the direction was superb.

Mark Gatiss

Mark Gatiss

Professor Lazarus

Guest Star

Thelma Barlow

Thelma Barlow

Lady Thaw

Guest Star

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Tish Jones

Guest Star

Adjoa Andoh

Adjoa Andoh

Francine Jones

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The Doctor mentions 'reversing the polarity' and saying he 'must be a bit out of practice'. Reversing the polarity was a frequently-used term during Jon Pertwee's tenure as the Doctor (1970-1974): the full term used then was 'reversing the polarity of the neutron flow'.

  • QUOTES (36)

    • Martha: You mean you don't have a plan.
      The Doctor: Yes, the plan was to get inside here. Well, then I'd come up with another plan.
      Martha: In your own time, then.

    • Martha: It's impossible.
      The Doctor: And that's two impossible things we've seen so far tonight. Don't you love it when that happens?

    • Tish: There's nowhere else to go, we're trapped!
      Martha: This is where he (the Doctor) said to bring him (Lazarus).
      Tish: Then we're not trapped, we're bait!

    • (After watching Professor Lazarus announcing it was going to change what it means to be human, The Doctor is preparing to leave)
      Martha: Thank you. For everything.
      The Doctor: It was my pleasure.
      (The Doctor gets in the TARDIS and leaves, only to come back a moment later and open the door)
      The Doctor: No, I'm sorry, did he say he was going to change what it means to be human?
      (opening titles)

    • Martha: Thanks
      Tish: It's your doctor you should be thanking.

    • Lazarus: I will be feeding soon.
      The Doctor: I'm not gonna let that happen.
      Lazarus: You haven't been able to stop me so far...

    • Tish: (with regards to Martha and The Doctor): Maybe she loves him.
      Francine: She's only just met him!

    • Martha: Are you okay?
      Tish: (with regards to Lazarus) I was gonna snog him!

    • Lazarus: Ladies and gentlemen, I am Richard Lazarus and I am 76 years
      old. I am reborn!
      Lady Thaw: He did it, he actually did it!

    • The Doctor: One trip. That's what we said.
      Martha: Well, I suppose things just kind of ... escalated.
      The Doctor: Hmm. Seems to happen to me a lot.
      Martha: Thank you, for everything.
      The Doctor: It was my pleasure.

    • Francine: (on answer phone) Martha, it's your mother. Please phone me back, I'm begging you. I know who this Doctor really is. I know he's dangerous. You're going to get yourself killed. Please trust me. This information comes from Harold Saxon himself! You're not safe!

    • Martha: You should take more care in the future, and the past, and whatever other time period you find yourself in.
      The Doctor: It's been fun, though, hasn't it?
      Martha: Yeah.
      The Doctor: So what do you say? One more trip?
      Martha: (after a pause) No. Sorry.
      The Doctor: What do you mean? I thought you liked it.
      Martha: I do. But I can't go on like this, 'one more trip'. It's not fair.
      The Doctor: What are you talking about?
      Martha: Well, I don't want to be just a passenger anymore, someone you're taking on for a treat. If that's how you still see me, well… I'd rather stay here.
      The Doctor: OK, then. If that's what you want.
      Martha: Right. Well, we've already said goodbye once today, so it's probably best if you just go.
      (Martha turns her back on him; he does not go)
      Martha: What is it?
      The Doctor: Well, I said OK.
      Martha: Sorry?
      The Doctor: OK!
      Martha: (running to him and hugging him) Oh, thank you! Thank you!
      The Doctor: Well, you were never really just a passenger, were you?

    • Professor Lazarus: You're so sentimental, Doctor. Maybe you are older than you look.
      The Doctor: I'm old enough to know that a longer life isn't always a better one. In the end you just get tired. Tired of the struggle, tired of losing everyone that matters to you, tired of watching everything turn to dust. If you live long enough, Lazarus, the only certainty left is that you'll end up alone.
      Professor Lazarus: That's a price worth paying.

    • (The Doctor, Tish and Martha find Lazarus at Southwark Cathedral)
      Professor Lazarus: I came here before. A lifetime ago. I thought I was going to die then. In fact, I was sure of it. I sat here, just a child. The sound of planes and bombs outside.
      The Doctor: The Blitz…
      Professor Lazarus: You've read about it.
      The Doctor: I was there.
      Professor Lazarus: You're too young.
      The Doctor: So are you.
      (Lazarus laughs then winces as the mutation begins to take over again)
      Professor Lazarus: In the morning, the fires had died, but I was still alive. I swore I'd never face death like that again. So defenceless. I would arm myself, fight back, defeat it.
      The Doctor: That's what you were trying to do today?
      Professor Lazarus: That's what I did today.
      The Doctor: What about the other people who died?
      Professor Lazarus: They were nothing. I changed the course of history.
      The Doctor: Any of them might have done too. You think history's only made with equations? Facing death is part of being human. You can't change that.
      Professor Lazarus: No, Doctor. Avoiding death, that's being human. It's our strongest impulse, to cling to life with every fibre of being. I'm only doing what everyone before me has tried to do. I've simply been more… successful.

    • The Doctor: Ahh, Mrs. Jones! We still haven't finished out chat.
      (Francine slaps the Doctor across the face)
      Francine: Keep away from my daughter!
      Martha: Mum what are you doing!?!
      The Doctor: (to himself) All their mothers, every time...
      Francine Jones: He is dangerous! I've been told things.
      Martha: What are you talking about?
      Francine Jones: Look around you. Nothing but death and destruction!
      Martha: This isn't his fault. He saved us, all of us!

    • The Doctor: It really shouldn't take that long just to reverse the polarity. I must be a bit out of practice.

    • Mysterious Man: Is your daughter still in there with the Doctor?
      Francine: You know him?
      Mysterious Man: He's dangerous. There are things you should know.
      Francine: What things?
      (The Man whispers in Francine's ear)

    • The Doctor: (to the mutated Lazarus) You can't control it, the mutation's too strong. Killing those people won't help you. You're a fool. A vain old man who thought he could defy nature, only nature got her own back, didn't she? You're a joke, Lazarus! A footnote in the history of failure.

    • The Doctor: Look at what you've done to yourself.
      Professor Lazarus: Who are you to judge me?

    • The Doctor: Wouldn't have thought you had time for poetry, Lazarus, what with you being so busy to defy the laws of nature and everything.
      Professor Lazarus: You're right, Doctor, one lifetime's been too short for me to do everything I'd like. How much more I'll get done in two, or three, or four.

    • Professor Lazarus: I find that nothing's ever exactly like you expect. There's always something to surprise you. Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act…
      The Doctor: …falls the shadow'.
      Professor Lazarus: So the mysterious Doctor knows his Eliot. I'm impressed.

    • Mysterious Man: (about the Doctor) Do you know that man?
      Francine: No, he's a… friend of my daughter.
      Mysterious Man: Perhaps she should choose her friends more carefully...

    • Professor Lazarus: (on television) With the push of a single button, I will change what it means to be human.

    • Lady Thaw: When the device is ready, I'll be rejuvenated too. We could be rich and young and together.
      Professor Lazarus: You think I'd waste another lifetime on you?
      Lady Thaw: Did that process make you even more cruel?
      Professor Lazarus: No, my love. That I learned from you. You have a gift for it.

    • The Doctor: Basically, he hacked into his own genes and instructed them to rejuvenate.
      Martha: But they're still mutating now?
      The Doctor: Because he missed something. Something in his DNA that's been activated and won't let him stabilize, something that's trying to change him.
      Martha: Change him into what?
      The Doctor: I don't know. But I think we need to find out.

    • The Doctor: This isn't about improving. This is about you and your customers living a little longer.
      Professor Lazarus: Not a little longer, Doctor. A lot longer. Perhaps indefinitely.

    • The Doctor: Using hypersonic soundwaves to create a state of resonance… that's inspired.
      Professor Lazarus: You understand the theory then.
      The Doctor: Enough to know that you couldn't possibly have allowed for all the variables.
      Professor Lazarus: No experiment is entirely without risk.

    • Professor Lazarus: (after his rejuvenation) This is only the beginning. We're not just making history, we're shaping the future too.
      Lady Thaw: Think of the money we'll make. People will sell their souls to be transformed like that, and I'll be first in line.

    • Professor Lazarus: Ladies and gentlemen, I am Professor Richard Lazarus and tonight, I'm going to perform a miracle. It is, I believe, the most important advance since Rutherford split the atom and the biggest leap since Armstrong stood on the moon. Tonight, you will watch and wonder, but tomorrow, you will wake to a world which will be changed forever.

    • The Doctor: Lovely to meet you, Mrs. Jones. I've heard a lot about you.
      Francine: Have you? What have you heard then?
      The Doctor: (growing more awkward) Well, you know… that you're Martha's mother and… um… no, actually, that's… that's about it. We haven't had much time to chat, you know. We've been… busy.
      Francine: Busy? Doing what exactly?
      The Doctor: Oh… you know… stuff.

    • The Doctor: Do you know what the Professor's going to be doing tonight? That looks like it might be a sonic microfield manipulator.
      Tish: He's a science geek, I should have known. I've got to get back to work now, I'll catch up with you later.
      (Tish leaves)
      The Doctor: Science geek, what does that mean?
      Martha: That you're obsessively enthusiastic about it.
      The Doctor: (pleased) Oh, nice.

    • Lady Thaw: The people in that room will represent billions of pounds worth of potential investment. Mr. Saxon wants to be sure they like what they see.
      Professor Lazarus: Don't worry, our friend will get his money's worth.

    • Martha: Home. You took me home.
      The Doctor: Back to the morning after we left. So you've only been gone about twelve hours. No time at all, really.
      Martha: But all the stuff we've done: Shakespeare, New New York, Old New York?
      The Doctor: Yeah, all in one night. Relatively speaking.

    • Professor Lazurus: Why don't you come and face me?
      The Doctor: Have you looked in the mirror lately? Why would I want to face that?

    • The Doctor: Some people live more in 20 years than others do in 80. It's not the time that matters, it's the person.

    • Professor Lazarus: (touching Tish's hand) That's an interesting perfume, what is it?
      Tish: Soap!
      (Tish yanks hand away)

  • NOTES (7)

    • Mark Gatiss is the third person in the history of Doctor Who to both write and act for the series: the other two were Glyn Jones (writer of The Space Museum (1965) who appeared in The Sontaran Experiment (1975) as Krans) and Victor Pemberton (who wrote Fury From The Deep (1968) and played the role of a scientist in The Moonbase (1967)). Gatiss is, of course, the first person to do so since the show was revived in 2005.

    • The exterior of Lazarus Laboratories was filmed at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff city centre, whilst the interior- with the Lazarus machine- was filmed in the Senedd, the Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff Bay.

    • The final scenes that take place in Southwark Cathedral were actually filmed in Wells Cathedral, in Somerset.

    • According to Neill Gorton, Mark Gatiss' old Professor Lazarus make-up took three hours to apply, with a fresh prosthetic needed for each day of filming.

    • International Airdates:
      Australia: August 4, 2007
      Canada: July 22, 2007
      New Zealand: September 30, 2007
      US: August 10, 2007
      Turkey: December 5, 2010

    • Overnight viewing figures for this episode were 6.7 million, with a final viewing figure of 7.19 million.

    • The machine and the DNA reconfiguration of Lazarus into a monster is an homage to the sci-fi B movie classic The Fly in which a man becomes a fly/human hybrid.


    • Martha: Like Pandora's Box.

      In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create her as part of the punishment of mankind for Prometheus' theft of the secret of fire, and all the gods joined in offering her gifts. In modern times, Pandora's Box has become a metaphor for the unanticipated consequences of technical and scientific development.

    • Martha: I think you look like James Bond.

      Commander James Bond, CMG, RNVR is an agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service. Created in 1952 by British journalist Ian Fleming, Bond is a handsome well known jet-setting ladies-man, and a dapper dresser.

    • The Doctor: There's no place like it.
      Martha: (opening the TARDIS door straight into her bedroom) Home, you brought me home.

      There's no place like home, is the iconic line from 'The Wizard of Oz' that Dorothy uses thoughout the film and in order to go home at the end using the magical ruby slippers. Incidentally the Doctor is once again wearing his red shoes when he brings her home.

    • The death of Lazarus by falling from the top of Southwark Catherdral is a reference to the final scenes of another BBC sci-fi classic, "The Quatermass Experiment" where an alien/human hybrid falls from Westminster Abbey and dies.

    • The Doctor: (whilst playing the organ) We need to turn this up to eleven.

      This is a reference to the spoof documentary film 'This Is Spinal Tap' (1984) which featured a heavy-metal glam-rock band whose lead guitarist, Nigel Tufnel (played by Christopher Guest), has amplifiers that go up to eleven, which he believes makes them louder than those that go to ten. It has also come to refer to anything capable of being exploited to its utmost abilities, or to exceed them.

    • Professor Lazarus: 'Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act…'

      This is a quote from 'The Hollow Men' (1925) written by T.S. Eliot. (1888-1965). At the end of the episode, the Doctor uses another quote from 'The Hollow Men'– 'This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper'.

    • Lazarus is a Biblical character that was resurrected from the dead by Jesus after he had spent four days in his tomb (see John 11:41-44).