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From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

"I'm sorry, did he say he was going to change what it means to be human?"
―The Doctor
The Lazarus Experiment
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Series Number: Series 3
Story Number: 183
Doctor: Tenth Doctor
Companions: Martha Jones
Enemy: Richard Lazarus
Setting: London, 2008
Writer: Stephen Greenhorn
Director: Richard Clark
Producer: Phil Collinson
Broadcast: 5th May 2007
Format: 1 45-minute Episode
Prod. Code: 187
Previous Story: Evolution of the Daleks
Following Story: 42



When the Doctor takes Martha home after her "one trip", he decides to stay around to witness the experiment of a man who claims to be able to "change what it means to be human".


The TARDIS materialises in Martha's flat. The Doctor tells her that they had agreed - one trip and home. It is about twelve hours after they left. Martha's phone rings, but she does not pick it up; it is her mother Francine, saying that her sister Tish is on the news. Martha turns the television on and, alongside Tish, an elderly man, Professor Richard Lazarus, announces that tonight he "will change what it means to be human." The Doctor says goodbye to Martha and, oblivious to her upset, steps into the TARDIS. It dematerialises, but quickly rematerialises. "No, I'm sorry, did he say he was going to change what it meant to be human?"

At Lazarus Laboratories, Professor Lazarus and Lady Thaw discuss the need for the experiment to work, with Thaw mentioning that Mr Saxon is funding their research. Tish comes in and Lazarus attempts to flirt with her.

The Doctor and Martha attend Professor Lazarus' reception that evening, as do Martha's mother and her brother Leo. Martha introduces the Doctor to her family; Francine is suspicious of him. Lazarus announces he is to perform a "miracle", and steps into the manipulator's capsule. As technicians operate the machine, the Doctor notices that the system is overloaded and jumps in to avert disaster. Lazarus emerges, looking decades younger. Despite the momentary crisis, his experiment appears to have been a success - but the Doctor is certain there are dangers the professor has overlooked. Lazarus scoffs at the Doctor's warnings, so the Doctor and Martha sneak off to conduct their own tests, taking a DNA sample from Martha's hand, which Lazarus has just kissed. They see that his sonically "hacked" DNA is unstable: Lazarus is changing.

Meanwhile, Lazarus speaks with Lady Thaw. She wants to be the next to be rejuvenated, and to continue their partnership both personally and professionally. He rejects her. As she threatens to complain to Mr. Saxon, Lazarus' financial backer, he transforms into a large, scorpion-like monster with Lazarus' face, and kills her.

Downstairs, Francine asks Tish and Leo whether Martha has ever mentioned the Doctor to them before. She worries there is "something going on". Lazarus returns to the reception, apparently human and wearing a different suit, and invites Tish upstairs with him.

The Doctor and Martha find Lady Thaw's body; the Doctor says she had all the life energy drained to supply energy to the processes caused by Lazarus' fluctuating DNA. Worried he will kill again, they go back downstairs, only to learn that he has gone off with Tish. They rush off, the Doctor accidentally spilling a drink on Francine. Another man replaces her drink, and darkly warns that Martha should be more careful in choosing her friends.

Lazarus takes Tish to the roof, where he talks about nearby Southwark Cathedral and quotes T.S. Eliot, a quote the Doctor completes. As they argue, Martha gets Tish away from Lazarus before he transforms again into a monster. The Doctor comments that what Lazarus has transformed into is an accidentally-unlocked evolutionary dead-end lying dormant in human genes (resembling brontoscorpio, see Walking with Monsters). They run away, tripping a security lockdown. The Doctor gives Martha the sonic screwdriver to unlock the doors, and warns everyone at the reception to get out; but Lazarus kills one woman and Leo suffers a concussion. The Doctor draws Lazarus away from Francine. Lazarus chases the Doctor down a corridor.

Martha examines Leo, gets everyone out of the building, and goes back inside to help the Doctor despite Francine's protests. Tish guesses that "maybe she loves him". The man who replaced Francine's drink earlier calls the Doctor "dangerous", and whispers in Francine's ear the things he says she "should know" about him.

The Doctor turns on the gas in a lab and leaps away from the resulting fireball, but the Lazarus monster survives. Martha returns the sonic screwdriver to the Doctor. They flee together into the capsule of Lazarus' machine, on the Doctor's hunch that Lazarus is unlikely to destroy his own creation. Instead, Lazarus turns it on. The Doctor "reverses the polarity" so that it affects the outside of the capsule instead of the inside, transforming Lazarus back to human in appearance - and killing him.

Outside, as the ambulance carrying Lazarus' body pulls away, Francine slaps the Doctor, and tells him to keep away from Martha. The Doctor hears the ambulance crash and rushes toward it, followed by Martha and Tish. They find two more of Lazarus' victims in it; Lazarus has come back to life. They find him in human form inside Southwark Cathedral, where as a child he took refuge during the London Blitz. The Doctor says he was present during the Blitz, but Lazarus says that he is not old enough to have been there. They argue again about the benefits and curse of longevity. Martha (accompanied by Tish) then lures Lazarus away to the top of the bell tower; the Doctor told her earlier that Lazarus could be defeated if he could just get him up there. As the Lazarus monster chases the Jones sisters at the top of the cathedral, the Doctor pulls out all the stops on the pipe organ, inserts the sonic screwdriver, and plays it at maximum volume, setting up a resonance in the bell above Lazarus that interferes with his sonic-based experiment. Lazarus falls to the cathedral floor below, transforming one last time - back into the elderly man he once was.

Back in Martha's flat, the Doctor offers Martha one more trip, but Martha refuses to go with him on that basis, as a mere passenger being given a treat. The Doctor says "Okay, then, if that's what you want." She thinks he means to leave her again, but he indicates with a nod that she is welcome to rejoin him on her terms, and admits she was "never really just a passenger". They leave together in the TARDIS. As it disappears, Martha's phone rings; it's Francine. She warns Martha about "who this Doctor really is", saying, "This information comes from Harold Saxon himself. You're not safe!"



  • Organ Performance - David Bednall


  • When the Doctor references "something bad happening" whenever he wears a tuxedo, he is making a reference to Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel.
  • Martha states The Doctor is her "Plus One." The Doctor said Rose Tyler was his Plus One in The End of the World.
  • Jackie Tyler was the last mother to slap the Doctor.
  • The Doctor states that he has to turn the sound "to eleven", which is a reference to the mockumentary "This is Spinal Tap", wherein guitarist Nigel Tufnel discusses how amplifiers that go to eleven go "one louder" than usual, giving a necessary push.

Story Notes

  • Gatiss's appearance will make him one of a select few to have both written for and acted in the show, and the first of the new series to do so. Gatiss' involvement with the Doctor Who franchise dates back to writing for the Virgin New Adventures novel series in the early 1990s, as well as appearing in and writing several independent spin-off video productions.
  • The Doctor states that he has to 'reverse the polarity', this was also a common statement used excessively during Jon Pertwee's time as the Third Doctor.
  • The Doctor claims to have been taught how to play the pipe organ by Beethoven.
  • The name 'Lazarus' is perhaps a reference to the Biblical man who was resurrected from the dead, similar to been given youth back.


  • 7.19 million viewers - BARB Final Rating
  • 6.7 million viewers - Overnight
  • 0.98 million viewers - BBC3 Repeat


to be added

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • Martha knows that Tish has a job in PR. Then why is she so surprised that she's on the news? Especially when she's already got an invite to the event that Tish is talking about. Although working in PR, this didn't mean she would definitely be on the news.
  • Firstly, none of the creatures whose features are seen in Lazarus's monster form (insects, crustaceans, and scorpions) are supposed to have been part of the evolutionary lineage of human beings. Secondly, these features shouldn't work on for a human-sized being in Earth's atmosphere gravity. Lazarus's exoskeleton should shatter when he runs. It's science fiction. Maybe it's not an exoskeleton, this creature may have a proper skeleton, like us. And the "evolutionary lineage of human beings" is very relative... after all, our DNA is more similar to the pig than to the chimpanzee. So, the tiniest changing could make the biggest differences. Also, maybe because insects or arachnids wouldn't suit the lineage of humans, is the reason they were rejected. The Doctor states that Lazarus's cells are 'stretched thin', so this may account for his unfeasible form.
  • There is no way that the gas taps the Doctor opens would produce enough gas for an explosion in the time available. Depends how much gas were in the tanks or how many taps he opened.
  • The sounds made by the pipe organ bore no relation to the notes that the Doctor was actually playing.


  • The Doctor saw the Blitz first hand in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances.
  • At the end of the episode Harold Saxon is mentioned by Francine.
  • Lazarus' project insignia, a circular pattern of circles, is the same pattern seen on the Master's ring at the end of Last of the Time Lords. This symbol can be seen many times inside the laboratory during the episode.


DVD and Other Releases

Series 3 Volume 2 DVD Cover
  • This episode was released alongside Daleks in Manhattan, Evolution of the Daleks and 42.
  • It is also part of the series 3 DVD boxset.
  • A deleted scene establishes that the Doctor once helped [at the time] future president Thomas Jefferson draft the US Declaration of Independence, and he specifically takes credit for the reference to "the pursuit of happiness". The Doctor finds the first draft of the document in his tuxedo pocket.

See Also

External Links

Official BBC Website The Lazarus Experiment

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

This article uses material from the "The Lazarus Experiment" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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