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New Earth

The Doctor and Rose discover that the future of healthcare includes some unusual therapies…

Exploring the hidden depths of Doctor Who’s most intriguing stories

The two Peladon stories of the early 1970s – The Curse of Peladon (1972) and The Monster of Peladon (1974) – are widely recognised as acute satires of the UK political scene. But that wasn’t the reason they were held in such affection by the children who watched them first time around. For them, the Peladon stories were all about the aliens – all those different types of weird, exotic aliens, all in one story; all in one ongoing history.

The ‘year five billion’ trilogy of the mid-noughties – beginning with The End of the World (2005) and ending with Gridlock (2007) – must be their latter-day equivalent. New Earth, its middle part, sees the return of Lady Cassandra, the villain of the first – so it’s as if The Curse of Peladon’s Arcturus had somehow survived to take possession of Third Doctor companion Jo Grant’s body in order to marry/ snog/kill King Peladon (perhaps). Come to think of it, it’s extraordinary to think that this didn’t actually happen!

Extraordinary to think, too, that it took Doctor Who so long to get around to a true ‘body swap’ story, of the type established in F Anstey’s novel Vice Versa: A Lesson to Fathers (1882) – when it seemed like every other sci-fi/fantasy TV show had done one long before: The Avengers, with Who’s Who??? (1967); Star Trek, with Turnabout Intruder (1969); Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Who Are You (2000); and countless more, besides. But a closer relative to New Earth might be the mixed-up Steve Martin/Lily Tomlin comedy All of Me (1984) – in which a ‘soul transfer’ leads a heartless millionairess to a kind of redemption.

Novice Hame (Anna Hope), one of the Sisters of Plenitude.

New Earth

FIRST BROADCAST: 15 APRIL 2006

00m 30s Outside the TARDIS, a rucksack-carrying Rose (Billie Piper) says her goodbyes to mum Jackie (Camille Coduri) and boyfriend Mickey (Noel Clarke) – but when? In the shooting script dated 8 July 2005, writer and co-executive producer Russell T Davies specified that this was ‘DAY 3 – 1000’, continuing on from The Christmas Invasion (2005) – making this 10.00am on 26 December 2006. When last we saw the TARDIS, though, at around 7.20pm on Christmas Day, it was parked elsewhere in the Powell Estate – which was showered in snowy ash, residue from the exploded Sycorax spaceship. If this really is Boxing Day 2006, where’s the ash gone, and how come the trees are green with leaves? In fact, this opening sequence was supposed to be recorded at the same London location featured in The Christmas Invasion (among others) – the Brandon Estate in Kennington, on Friday 29 July 2005. Schedule pressure caused it to be shunted to Cardiff on the following Monday – specifically to Canal Park, near Loudoun Square in Butetown. So the TARDIS now stands round about where it deposited Rose in The Parting of the Ways (2005) – with a portion of ‘BAD WOLF’ graffiti still visible on the tarmac (in the high shot overlooking the TARDIS’ lamp). We presume, therefore, that the Doctor and the TARDIS have been elsewhere between the end of The Christmas Invasion and now (whenever ‘now’ is) – with or without Rose.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

DWM 522 throws new light on Doctor Who's success in its early years, with exclusive interviews with two people who knew Terry Nation (the creator of the Daleks) well: his agent Beryl Vertue and his writing colleague Brad Ashton. Doctor Who Magazine 522 also includes: • New research which reveals the Dalek toys which never made it to the shelves • The story of the Daleks in print in the 1960s • Previously unseen interviews with Peter Capaldi • Comedian – and now Doctor Who writer – Susan Calman discusses her love for the Time Lord • Emma Freud, the organiser of Comic Relief's unprecedented Breakfast with the Doctors is interviewed • Christel Dee’s guide to cosplaying Ace • Part four of The Phantom Piper, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Doctor and Bill • The Fact of Fiction explores the 2006 Tenth Doctor story New Earth • Previews, book and audio reviews, news, The Blogs of Doom, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!