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Last of the Time Lords
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Series Number: Series 3
Story Number: 187c
Doctor: Tenth Doctor
Writer: Russell T Davies
Director: Colin Teague
Producer: Phil Collinson
Broadcast: 30th June, 2007
Format: 1x51 minute episode
Prod. Code: 191 c
Previous Story: The Sound of Drums
Following Story: Time Crash
"Older and older and older and older. Down you go Doctor, down the years"
The Master



It has been one year since Martha teleported away from the Valiant and the Earth is now enslaved by the Master. Martha has travelled and seen, she has spoken and she has searched. Was it for a weapon to end the tyranny of the Master? Now the Master is ready to begin his new Time Lord Empire, with the Doctor aged beyond the point of no return, and Jack locked away below the Valiant's decks, only Martha can stop the Master.


One year after the Master's takeover and decimation of Planet Earth, the Earth (Sol 3) is announced to be closed from space traffic as it is entering extinction. On a beach on the coast of England, a man named Tom Milligan directs Martha's boat in using a lamp. She arrives back in the UK for the first time since the Toclafane invasion, having travelled the world. She tells Tom she has to talk to a woman called Professor Docherty, and asks him why he is allowed to travel. He says it is because he is a doctor, and Martha is happy to realize she is travelling with a Doctor. Tom tells Martha that she has become something of a legend around the world as the one person who can kill the Master, and asks her if this is true. She does not answer him.

The Master enters the deck of the Valiant, singing and dancing happily. He rings a bell to summon the Doctor out of his tent on the floor, commenting that there is one day until launch. The Doctor is still unnaturally aged and is now refusing to speak. He only responds when the Master mentions that Martha has apparently returned to England. He tells the Master to leave her alone. The Master tries to force him to talk more, but realizes that the "Toclafane" broke the Doctor's hearts when he realized what they are. The Doctor says he has just one thing to say, and the Master knows what it is, but the Master walks away. Francine is forced to be a waitress for the Master. Lucy looks beaten and seems to be much more miserable than she was before. Clive and Tish are also working on the Valiant. Tish's job is to feed Jack, who is chained to the engines. Tish gives Jack a hand signal to explain her plan, and Jack winks in acknowledgement.

Martha and Tom walk up a hill and see an enormous statue of the Master at the top of it. Looking out at the miles of countryside in front of them, they see thousands of spaceships being built. Martha explains that the Master is preparing for war with the rest of the universe. Suddenly, two Toclafane arrive and demand an explanation for Tom's traveling. He presents identification that he is allowed to travel and the Toclafane taunt him and move on. Tom asks Martha how the spheres didn't notice her, and she reveals that she is still wearing her TARDIS key perception filter, and that is how she has managed to travel the world.

Tish continues to spread her hand signal of three fingers, indicating that they will rebel at 3:00pm. As the Master picks a girl to give him a massage and insults Lucy, Jack manages to break free of his chains, Clive pours water over all the technology and equipment, and Francine throws the Master's laser screwdriver to the Doctor. He points it at the Master and says once more that he only has one thing to say and the Master knows what it is, who simply laughs at the Doctor. Jack is shot dead (again) by the Master's guards. The Master explains that the screwdriver has isomorphic controls and it only works for the Master. He demonstrates by torturing Francine and forcing her to apologize. She does so and the Master warns everyone that siding with the Doctor is not recommended. The Master continues to insult the Doctor and decides to take his revenge.

Martha and Tom arrive at Professor Docherty's workplace. She is trying to fix a television so they can watch a transmission from the Master. They are successful, and the Master speaks to the world. He asks them how much hope does the Doctor have, and on camera, ages the Doctor a further 900 years. On the television, the Doctor appears to be dead, and the transmission ends with a word of warning to Martha to surrender. On the Vaiant, a tiny, disfigured creature emerges from the Doctor's clothes - a 1000 year aged Doctor. Martha is undisturbed, saying she knows the Doctor is still alive.

Martha tells Professor Docherty that she came to see her so that they can catch themselves a sphere. They know that a lightning strike can strike down a sphere, and Professor Docherty manages to produce enough electricity to simulate one. Tom attracts attention by shooting into the air, and draws the Toclafane into the lightning. The sphere is struck down, and Professor Docherty prepares to find out what is inside.

Upon examining the sphere thus captured, they make a horrifying discovery: the Toclafane contain the conscious remains of the humans from the year 100 trillion. The Toclafane claims there was no Utopia, only more darkness, and with everything dying around them the humans cannibalized and regressed themselves, becoming the child-like Toclafane. The Master brought them back in time using the TARDIS, which could only travel between the years of Utopia and our present. The contradiction of the Toclafane killing their own ancestors is made possible by the paradox machine built by the Master. Martha is horrified when the Toclafane quotes young Creet that she met on Malcassairo, telling her that the Toclafane have shared memories of the last of humanity. When questioned as to why it wishes to kill its own ancestors, the Toclafane responds, "Because it's fun" and laughs maniacally. Tom is sickened and horrified by this and shoots it dead.

When Docherty asks if the rumours about Martha are true, Martha reveals a gun developed by Torchwood and UNIT, purportedly able to kill a Time Lord and prevent the ensuing regeneration. Martha has retrieved three of the four chemicals needed for the gun from their hiding places around the world, and has returned to London to find the fourth. After Martha and Thomas depart for a shelter in Bexley to hide, Docherty (who is desperate for information regarding her missing son) reveals their whereabouts to the Master. The Master thus comes to Earth's surface to capture Martha, killing Tom, destroying the special gun and taking her back to the Valiant. He intends to execute her before the Doctor and her family, at the moment his fleet is launched. As the clock counts down, Martha reveals the real reason she travelled the globe. It wasn't for a fictional anti-regeneration gun, or to fight back, but merely to talk. She told everyone about the Doctor; specifically, she told everyone to think of the Doctor at the same time the Master plans to launch his fleet. Docherty's betrayal was expected, engineered by Martha so that she would be brought on board the Valiant to rejoin the Doctor. Combined with the Master's Archangel Satellite network, which the Doctor has had an entire year to get in tune with, this has the effect of charging the Doctor with the combined psychic energy of the people of Earth. This enables the Doctor to restore his youthful physiognomy and end the Master's control. The combined psychic energy gives the Doctor great power and he is not only able to restore himself with it, but it shields him and temporarily grants him telekinesis with which he removes the Master's laser screwdriver from his hand. As the Master cowers against a wall, the Doctor says the words the Master was terrified to hear: "I forgive you".

With the Master out of the picture, Jack rounds up some soldiers to destroy the paradox machine, but is delayed by the Toclafane. The Master, using Jack's vortex manipulator, teleports himself and the Doctor to Earth, threatening to detonate his fleet and take the Earth with it. The Doctor knows that the Master would never kill himself, and manages to teleport both himself and the Master back to the Valiant just as Jack destroys the paradox machine; rewinding time to just after the US President is killed and just before the Toclafane arrive. All those on the Valiant remember the events due to being at "the eye of the storm," but nobody else will know of the Master's reign of terror in "the year that never was." The Master tries to run but ends up running straight into Jack who recaptures him.

The Master, now defenseless, is handcuffed and stands before the Doctor. The Doctor announces that, since the Master is a Time Lord, he is the Doctor's responsibility and will be imprisoned on board the TARDIS. Francine Jones is talked out of shooting the Master, but Lucy Saxon, with a glazed expression, seizes a gun herself and shoots him. Rather than be a prisoner for the rest of his lives, the Master lets himself die, refusing to regenerate despite the Doctor's desperate pleas. Just before dying in his opponent's arms, the Master muses on the constant drumming in his head, wondering if it will finally stop, and with a smile says, "I win," leaving the Doctor to weep uncontrollably for his lost adversary and fellow Time Lord. The Doctor cremates the Master's body on a pyre. However, after he leaves, a female hand wearing red nail polish is seen taking the Master's signet ring from the burnt-out pyre, while the latter's malevolent laughter echoes in the background.

In Cardiff, Jack decides to remain behind to look after his team, "defending the Earth". The Doctor disables Jack's vortex manipulator to keep him from jumping through time unsupervised. The Doctor then tells Jack there's nothing that can be done about his immortality: it seems likely he'll never be able to die — though he isn't sure about ageing. Thinking about what he might look like millions of years from now, Jack confesses his vanity and recalls how, as the first person from the Boeshane Peninsula to join the Time Agency, his good looks earned him the nickname "the Face of Boe." Martha and the Doctor, reacting to their previous experience with that name, are surprised and delighted.

With the TARDIS repaired, the Doctor is ready to move on. Martha, however, has decided to stay so she can look after her family and finally qualify as a medical doctor. She gives the Doctor her phone so they can keep in touch and says she will see him again, but when someone is in love and it's unrequited, they have to get out: "this is me getting out." The Doctor sets the TARDIS controls - until the room is suddenly shaken with great force, and the bow of a ship smashes through the console room wall. Picking up a lifebelt, he finds "Titanic" written on it, to which he can only respond flatly, "What?!"



to be added


  • The Master mentions the Doctor's battles with the Sea Devils and the Axons and how he closed the rift at the Medusa Cascade.
  • As he leaves, Jack tells Martha and the Doctor that he was called the Face of Boe in his youth.
  • The Master and Lucy travelled to Utopia.
  • The Master's laser screwdriver has isomorphic controls.
  • The Master refers to the human race as "the biggest monsters of them all", a line previously used by the Doctor folowing his confrontation with the Sycorax.
  • The Master refers to Rose, saying Martha is useless compared to her.
  • The ending of the episode is similar to that of Doomsday, when Donna Noble suddenly appears inside the TARDIS, but, this time it is the Titanic. This is also the second time a season finale ends with the Doctor exclaiming "What? What? What?"
  • The Master calls the aged Doctor "Gandalf",  a reference to Lord of the Rings.
  • The Master uses the line "How bout that, I win." near his death. The Doctor spoke a similar line in Dalek, "I win, how bout that".
  • It appears that the Master's funeral takes place on Malcassairo, however it could've taken place on Earth. It did take place on Earth, as we find out that Trefusis was the person who picked up the ring, for the events of The End of Time.
  • Although the events of the so-called Year That Never Was are negated, several key events still occurred and as such are known to the residents of Earth -- including the existence of the Toclafane and their subsequent murder of the US President-Elect. The general public is also aware of the existence of the Valiant.
  • Alison Docherty mentions that she misses both Des's from Countdown and "Who would of thought we'd miss Bill Gates".

Story Notes

  • The Master seems to be a Scissor Sisters fan. He's singing along to "I Can't Decide" from their Ta-Dah album on the flight deck of the Valiant. This segment is absent from the iTunes version of the episode (likely for music licensing reasons). The episode is also cut between the opening credits and the "One year later" subtitle on the iTunes version, for unknown reasons.
  • The sound of the Master's laugh can be heard while a finger with a red painted finger nail picks up the Master's ring. The character who picked up the ring is seen in The End of Time.
  • Since the programme's revival, this is the first (and so far only) series finale not to feature the Daleks (discounting the 2009 Specials). It also the only the only finale to not feature Rose Tyler.
  • The Doctor trying to redeem the Master and the funeral pyre at the end could be a reference to Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Additionally, the Master's ring getting picked up by a laughing, unseen figure is reminiscent of the end of the film Flash Gordon.
  • The Doctor states a desire to take Martha to meet Agatha Christie, foreshadowing The Unicorn and the Wasp in which he follows through with this wish, only with Donna Noble.
  • The title Last of the Time Lords had previously been reported as a working title for one of the (ultimately aborted) big-screen adaptations of the series planned between 1989 and 2005; a poster showing the title Doctor Who: Last of the Time Lords even appeared in some film trade publications.
  • Lucy, who was very loving towards her husband in The Sound of Drums, in this episode appeared to be very afraid of him, and she even had marks around her eye. According to the commentary this is because the Master's power went to his head and he started to physically abuse her. Hence one of the reasons she joins in saying the Doctor's name, and she shot the Master after he was defeated.
  • The iTunes version of this episode is 45 minutes long, same as a regular episode is, while the episode on DVD and the original broadcasting on BBC is 51 minutes and contains extra scenes.
  • This was the final episode to give screen credit to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for its help in co-funding the series; the CBC would continue its involvement in Series 4, but would not be credited on screen.
  • The Toclafane's origin is similar to that of the Somnus Foundation in BFA: Singularity. Singularity also featured technology that focused the collective psychic energy of humanity, like the satellites in this story.
  • The episode features the surprise revelation that Jack was once known as the Face of Boe, suggesting that the character encountered in DW: The End of the World, New Earth and Gridlock is in fact a future version of Jack Harkness. Writer Russell T Davies reportedly tried to backpedal from this in the DVD commentary, leading to speculation as to whether this is actually the case. However multiple interviews on DVD and in other media by producer Julie Gardner and actors David Tennant and John Barrowman have all indicated without ambiguity that Jack is destined to become the Face of Boe. According to Gardner during a panel presentation at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con, Barrowman wasn't aware of the revelation until fairly late in production.


  • 8.61 million - Final Ratings
  • 0.86 million - BBC Three Sunday repeat

Myths and rumours

  • The Toclafane were rumored to be an early form of Dalek created by the Master. This was proved false.
  • As Freema Agyeman's departure from the series had been previously reported, there were rumours that Martha Jones might die in this episode. Once again, the rumour turned out to be false.
  • Some have claimed that it is Donna Noble (or maybe even Lucy Saxon) who picks up the ring after it falls from the Master's grip near the end of the episode. Russell T Davies joked in the audio commentary of this episode that it was the hand of the Rani. In The End of Time the character was revealed to be a prison warder.

Filming Locations

  • Cwrt-y-Vil Road, Penarth
  • Nippon Electric Glass UK (Trident Park), Cardiff Bay (Lower decks of the Valiant)
  • RAF St Athan (MOD St Athan), Vale of Glamorgan
  • South Luton Place, Adamsdown, Cardiff (Street where Martha confronts the Master)
  • Aberthaw Power Station, Aberthaw (Exterior of professor Docherty's lab)
  • Vaynor Quarry, Trefechan, Merthyr Tydfil (Location of the Doctor and the Master's fight)
  • Whitmore Bay, Barry Island (Location of when Martha arrives by boat onto beach)
  • Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff (Martha and the Doctor bid Jack goodbye)
  • Alexandra Gardens, Cardiff (Location where Martha gives professor Docherty flowers)
  • BBC Studios, Treforest Industrial Estate, Upper Boat, Pontypridd

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • How did the Doctor know about the countdown a year before it was due? (The Master is predictable so the Doctor knew that he would never resist the temptation of having a "ticking clock" as part of his plan.)
  • In The Sound of Drums, the Doctor tells Jack that he shouldn't touch the paradox machine, as it could destroy the solar system. So why does he carelessly shoot at it with an Assault Rifle? (When the Doctor warns him, he doesn't know what the paradox is yet. Once he knows what the paradox is, he probably determines that it's safe to destroy the machine. Furthermore, it's not as if they had much choice at that point, as all six billion Toclafane were rushing towards The Valiant.)
  • How did Martha know to walk round the Earth for a year based the Doctor telling her "use the countdown"? (Not every word the Doctor said to Martha is revealed; the Doctor could have told Martha at least 10-15 seconds of information. It's also been established that the Doctor can impart (and remove) information through psychic means, so he may have given her far more information than was actually spoken. After all, the Doctor reveals he integrated himself with the Archangel network.)
  • How did the Master know about Rose absorbing the time vortex? (The Doctor told Jack about Rose absorbing the time vortex near the end of Utopia, when Jack was in the radiation room, and Professor Yana heard them over the intercom.)
  • Why did a soldier who had been loyal to the Master decide to obey Jack Harkness' orders? (They are only loyal to the Master under duress.)
  • How did Martha and the Doctor know when the countdown would take place? (The Doctor would have known about the countdown and either told Martha before she teleported down to Earth or transmitted the thoughts through what was left of the TARDIS psychic network. Also, it could have been an undisclosed known notion, learnt by Martha as she was peregrinating throughout the world.)
  • Where did Martha get the idea for the gun from? (The Doctor could have transmitted those through the network or told her while the Master was distracted before she left the Valiant. Alternatively it may be a bending of the truth - it's possible that UNIT, Torchwood, or some other organisation who are aware of Time Lord physiology were developing some kind of weapon and Martha discovered this and embellished the story so that her journey around the world might seem less preposterous or unlikely to the Master.)
  • There is no explanation for Leo, Martha's brother. Was he killed in the attack? Did he hide like Martha asked? Did he join the resistance? It's not a plot hole, it just wasn't explained.
  • Shouldn't the Doctor turn into a giant monster just like Lazarus did? (The Doctor made it clear that the monster was unlocked from Human DNA.)
  • If the Master was able to convert the TARDIS into a paradox machine in order to change history, what's to stop the Doctor using the same kind of machine to allow him to change the events of the Time War? The End of Time explains why the Doctor would not prevent the destruction of Gallifrey even if he could do so.
  • When the Master talks about the Doctor's achievements, he mentions the Medusa Cascade and how he sealed it, this does not occur until Journey's End, so how did he know? (The Doctor sealed the Medusa Cascade back during the Time War, and Davros later utilized it during the events preceding Journey's End.)
  • When the Master attempts to use his laser screwdriver on the psychically empowered Doctor, the laser light from the prop is reflecting off the lens of the camera he is pointing it at, which tells you there is a camera there. (This would not be unusual, as the use of cameras is quite common, even to the point of being considered essential, when shooting a TV program.)
  • Apparently the president of the USA is killed (by the Toclafane) and this is recognised post-time reversal. Wouldn't that cause international outrage the likes of which we would see a different ending? (This may have been tempered by the subsequent death of the Master. In addition, it would almost certainly have been discovered thereafter that he hypnotized Britain into electing him.)
  • Jack refers to himself as the Face of Boe, apparently without realising the connection to the Doctor's "old friend". But wouldn't he have known about the Face either through the events of Utopia in which the Doctor realizes the significance of Boe's final message (per Gridlock), or even before that given the Face was something of an interstellar celebrity in Jack's home era (per The Long Game)? (The Doctor never told Jack about the Face of Boe, and Jack probably teleported out of the year 200,100 without checking intergalactic celebrity news. It's also possible that he was given the nickname in honor of the Face and later became the Face himself in a case of paradoxical irony.)
  • What happened to all the people who were on the Valiant when the President was assassinated but not present when the Paradox Machine was destroyed? To go one step further, what about the Toclafane vanguard who assassinated president Winters? Does that mean they are still on the loose? As the Valiant was rewound to where it was before, anyone on the Valiant at the time of assassination but not at the destruction of the paradox machine would have been killed (or rather stop existing). One step further, however, anyone NOT on the Valiant at the assassination but on it during the paradox machine's destruction should have been duplicated. How can all this be addressed? (It could be that, as it is said in this episode, that the Valiant and the people on it were at the eye of the storm, so some aspects of "The Year That Never Was" were not removed.)
  • It has been established that the First Doctor was his first incarnation and would have been over 800 years old, and he only appeared to be an old man, so why is that when aged by as little as a hundred, the Tenth Doctor becomes as aged as he is shown? (An effect of artificial aging, as seen in The Leisure Hive. The Master has unnaturally made the Doctor age more like a human.)
  • The Doctor says that time has reversed to "just after the president was assassinated but just before the spheres arrived", so what killed the president? (The Doctor meant that it was before the scene shown where the sky splits open and all of the Toclafane pour out. Not the scene where the Toclafane first appear and kill President Winters. Also even if Toclafane from the split had killed him unless they were on the Valiant they would have been sent back to Utopia. The Valiant's position is the 'eye of the storm' so that the people aboard it still experienced the year 'which never was'. The Toclafane which killed him were not on the Valiant so they didn't make it.)
  • How did the Doctor repair the TARDIS when the Doctor wasn't worried that the Master could repair just the navigational systems and the Doctor had a lot more to repair? (The Doctor is more familiar with his TARDIS and they do share a telepathic connection so he could have found it a lot easier to fix it.)
  • Wouldn't The Year That Never Was have coincided with Davros's reality bomb since it runs into circa May 2009?
  • It isn't explained how the Doctor converted the destroyed paradox machine back into the TARDIS. How did he repair it so fast? (He's a Time Lord. He should know how to fix his own TARDIS.)


The Master's greatest fear, shown in The Mind of Evil, is realised in Last of the Time Lords.
  • The 'Toclafane' are the last humans seen in DW: Utopia.
  • As referenced by the Master, the Third Doctor fought the Sea Devils in DW: The Sea Devils and the Axons in The Claws of Axos. The Master was present for both events.
  • Earth was first referred to as Sol 3 in DW: The Deadly Assassin.
  • The central London UNIT base appeared in DW: Spearhead from Space and Terror of the Autons
  • The idea of a devastated London over run by rabid dogs was first shown in NA: Blood Heat.
  • Jack returns to Cardiff for season two of Torchwood. TW: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang takes place immediately after this one (although it is suggested in the later episode that some hours or possibly days pass before Jack actually reunites with his team, as it's daytime when he leaves the Doctor, but night when he finds the team).
  • The TARDIS has previously held back a paradox in EDA: The Shadows of Avalon to The Ancestor Cell.
  • An explanation of why the Master is afraid of the Doctor is first suggested in DW: The Mind of Evil where the Master's nightmare image is the Doctor towering over him and laughing.
  • While previous regenerations of the Doctor imply regeneration is a partly involuntary feature of Time Lords, the Master's choice to die rather than regenerate shows that a Time Lord has some control over his regenerative process. This is supported by Romana's regeneration in DW: Destiny of the Daleks where she is seen "trying on" various forms before settling on one for her new body.
  • Jack Harkness later obtains the missing digit needed to reactivate his Time Agency wrist strap's teleportation functions from Martha Jones following her use of Project Indigo in DW: The Stolen Earth.
  • In a deleted scene, before leaving the Doctor, Jack recites the "the 21st century is when it all changes and you've got to be ready" monologue heard at the beginning of all Torchwood episodes. TW: Fragments would later reveal that Jack is (perhaps unconsciously) paraphrasing the last words of former Torchwood 3 member Alex Hopkins.


For the Doctor

For Jack Harkness

For The Master

DVD and Other Releases

Series 3 Volume 4 DVD Cover
  • This has been released along side Utopia and The Sound of Drums
  • It is also part of the series 3 DVD boxset.
  • Also, it was released on iTunes, available for download onto an Apple iPod.

See also

to be added

External Links

Series 3
Christmas Special: The Runaway Bride

Smith and Jones  • The Shakespeare Code  • Gridlock  • Daleks in Manhattan  • Evolution of the Daleks  • The Lazarus Experiment  • 42  • Human Nature  • The Family of Blood  • Blink  • Utopia  • The Sound of Drums  • Last of the Time Lords

Animated serial: The Infinite Quest

The Master - TV Stories
Terror of the Autons  • The Mind of Evil  • The Claws of Axos  • Colony in Space  • The Dæmons  • The Sea Devils  • The Time Monster  • Frontier in Space  • The Deadly Assassin  • The Keeper of Traken  • Logopolis  • Castrovalva  • Time-Flight  • The King's Demons  • The Five Doctors  • Planet of Fire  • The Mark of the Rani  • The Ultimate Foe  • Survival  • Doctor Who: The TV Movie  •
Utopia/ The Sound of Drums/ Last of the Time LordsThe End of Time

This article uses material from the "Last of the Time Lords" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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