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The Long Game

Extra, extra, read all about it! The Doctor, Rose and Adam travel to the year 200,000 and uncover some very bad news…

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

Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), Adam Mitchell (Bruno Langley) and the Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) arrive on a space station in the year 200,000.

A ppropriately enough, The Long Game had a lengthy gestation – Russell T Davies, writer/ showrunner since the early 2000s, had first dreamed it up 15 years or so earlier.

“I submitted it to the Doctor Who offce in the late 1980s and got a reply from the script editor, Andrew Cartmel,” he remembered in the 2006 ‘making of’ book Doctor Who: The Inside Story. “It was very different, a more traditional four-part story as they did in those days, but the space station was always there…” In DWM 356, Davies elaborated further on the elements common to the 1980s and 2000s versions – not just the newscasting space station, but “the canteen, the Doctor’s friendship with a journalist, something nasty hidden upstairs…”

Squint, and it’s just about possible to conjure up ffashes of that late 1980s iteration in the mind’s eye: the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) taking his companion Ace (Sophie Aldred) on an undeclared mission to investigate the inaccurate stories being ltered through the galaxy’s principal news hub, maybe; that canteen, not unlike the Iceworld café in Dragonffre (1987), perhaps; a journey up to the executive floor, potentially reminding us of the lift journey up to the penthouse in Paradise Towers (also 1987); and the Editor, a gift of a role for an old Light Entertainment turn…

In 1988 or 1989, though, the story’s target might have been immediately apparent – because surely, like The Happiness Patrol (1988), it would have had a Message. Sunday 5 February 1989, we note, marked the beginning of satellite broadcasting in the UK, when News International launched its Sky Television service a full year ahead of the rival British Satellite Broadcasting network. That’s not to suggest that the monster on the top floor would have been an alien called ‘Rupert’. That would have been far too on the nose… Wouldn’t it?

“So, it’s 200,000, and it’s a spaceship.No, wait a minute, space station…” THE DOCTOR


The TARDIS brings the Doctor, Rose Tyler and their new friend Adam Mitchell to a space station orbiting the Earth in the year 200,000 – at the height of the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire.

00m 38s The Long Game follows on from the end of Dalek (2005) – when, urged by Rose (Billie Piper), the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) agreed to take Adam (Bruno Langley) by TARDIS away from an alien museum in Utah. It doesn’t necessarily follow on directly, though: according to The Other Side, a story by Scott Handcock included in the audiobook collection The Ninth Doctor Chronicles (2017), the Doctor first tried to take Adam home… but landed in an abandoned museum in Birmingham in 2012, where the new gang encountered the extraterrestrial Bygone Horde.

The Doctor meets Suki (Anna Maxwell-Martin) and Cathica (Christine Adams).

02m 37s On Floor 139, the Doctor tells Adam that this is a fantastic period – with “fine food, good manners…” As scripted, he promised “fine cuisine, the great philosophers, good manners, the works…”

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: • An exclusive interview with Jodie Whittaker. • The latest Production Notes from showrunner Chris Chibnall. • Former Doctor David Tennant discusses Jodie Whittaker. • Howard Burden recalls designing costumes for three different Doctors. • The second part of a candid interview with 1980s script editor Eric Saward. • What topped the DWM season poll? We reveal the results! • We talk to the team behind the Blu-ray special edition of 1973’s Planet of the Daleks. • The Fact of Fiction explores the 2005 story The Long Game. • Eric Saward previews his novelisations of Resurrection and Revelation of the Daleks. • Is Doctor Who a kids’ show? The Time Team decides. • How to recreate the Second Doctor’s ‘cosmic hobo’ style. • The final part of Herald of Madness, a comic strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends. • The Blogs of Doom, audio reviews, previews, news, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!