New Series Episode 2:
The End Of The World


The Doctor and Rose arrive on Platform One in the year Five Billion, where some of the richest beings in the universe have gathered to watch the destruction of the Earth as its Sun erupts into a red giant. But one of the attendees is planning on profiting from the event, and has unleashed an army of robotic spiders to take control of the space station. Is the mastermind Jabe, the serene Tree? Cassandra, the last pure human in existence? The diminutive Moxx of Balhoon? Or the imposing Face of Boe? And whoever it is, can the Doctor stop them before Platform One perishes along with the Earth?


Having begun the new Doctor Who series with Rose, an episode firmly set on modern-day Earth, executive producer Russell T Davies sought to begin exploring the programme's breadth of scale with episode two, an adventure originally set “millions” of years in the future. Given the title The End Of The World in Davies' Autumn 2003 pitch document, the story was subsequently fleshed out with the addition of the villainess Cassandra, inspired by Davies' observation of grotesquely-thin celebrities -- particularly Nicole Kidman -- attending the Academy Awards.

Davies tried to maintain continuity with the original Doctor Who series by including a reference to the remnants of humanity escaping the doomed Earth aboard massive space arks -- the basis for the 1966 adventure The Ark. However, this was excised when it was discovered that animating Cassandra was more difficult than initially anticipated. Another change was the setting of the final scene, originally meant to take place in Piccadilly Circus. This would have demanded an extra trip to London, and so was shifted to an unspecified thoroughfare which could be filmed in Cardiff; Davies eventually decided that he preferred the anonymity this provided to the locale.

The closing scene was originally meant to take place in Piccadilly Circus

As the only two episodes out of the first five not to take place on modern-day Earth, it was decided to pair The End Of The World and the next story to be broadcast, The Unquiet Dead, as the second recording block. The director assigned to the two episodes was Euros Lyn, who had previously helmed episodes of series such as Casualty and Cutting It.

Production on The End Of The World started gradually. Jackie's end of the phone conversation was recorded in Unit Q2 at Newport on September 7th, 2004 (during Block One, which consisted of Rose, Aliens Of London and World War Three). The same studio space was the venue for recording the TARDIS material on the 23rd, and scenes in the ventilation chamber on October 4th and 5th.

Virtually all location work was conducted in Cardiff for The End Of The World. The majority of the sequences aboard Platform One were taped at the Temple of Peace in Cathays Park from October 6th to 8th and 11th to 14th. The latter day also saw segments set in the maintenance ductwork completed at BBC Broadcasting House in Llandaff. Two more studio days at Unit Q2 followed on October 15th (scenes in the viewing gallery) and 18th (scenes in the ventilation chamber and the ducts). Pick-up and insert shots were filmed on October 20th at Headlands School in Penarth, and on the 22nd back at Unit Q2.

What should have been the final taping for The End Of The World then took place for logistical reasons during the third production block (which included Dalek and Father's Day). This was the concluding scene of the Doctor and Rose on modern-day Earth, filmed in Cardiff on Churchill Way and Queen Street on November 9th. It was subsequently decided that more work was required on the duct sequences, and this was carried out at Unit Q2 on November 26th.

However, the decision came in February 2005 to truncate Cassandra's screen time, most notably her lengthy conversation with Rose about the fate of humanity (with the special effects team at the Mill nonetheless logging over two hundred effects shots). Consequently, Davies had to write additional material to pad out the episode. To this end, he created the new character of the plumber, Raffalo, and the scenes involving her and Rose were taped at the Temple of Peace on February 19th. The day before, the sequence of the Doctor getting past the final fan blade in the ventilation chamber was rerecorded at Unit Q2, as the production team had been unhappy with the way the original version of the shot had turned out.

The plumber Raffalo was created when it was decided to severely truncate Cassandra's screen time

The transmission of The End Of The World on April 2nd came as Doctor Who remained squarely in the public eye. On the basis of the news that Rose had secured an audience more than half again what the BBC had been aiming for, Head of Drama Jane Tranter did not hesitate in commissioning both a Christmas special and a second season on March 29th. The renewal was revealed to the public the following day, and it was confirmed that Billie Piper would return to play Rose Tyler.

Just hours later, however, it was learned that while the new Doctor Who series was to continue beyond its initial thirteen episodes, Christopher Eccleston would be absent from the sophomore season. Initial BBC reports, apparently released to head off a leak to the tabloids, suggested that Eccleston was concerned about the gruelling recording schedule and feared becoming too associated with the role of the Doctor.

On April 4th, however, Tranter admitted that the BBC had not consulted with Eccleston before preparing the press release, and that the reasons cited for his decision were inaccurate (although Eccleston's actual motivation for leaving the show remained unconfirmed). Tranter apologised to Eccleston for the misattribution, as well as for not following through on a promise to keep his departure from Doctor Who a secret. It was further noted that Eccleston's decision had not come recently, but in fact had been known to the production team since January. As had so often been the case in the past, controversy once again stalked Doctor Who behind the scenes, even as the programme flourished on television.


Original Transmission
Date 2nd Apr 2005
Time 6.59pm
Duration 44'44"
Viewers (more) 8.0m (19th)
· BBC1 8.0m
Appreciation 76%

Doctor Who
Christopher Eccleston
Rose Tyler
Billie Piper
Simon Day
Yasmin Bannerman
Moxx of Balhoon
Jimmy Vee
Zoë Wanamaker
Jackie Tyler
Camille Coduri
Beccy Armory
Computer Voice
Sara Stewart
Alien Voices
Silas Carson

Written by
Russell T Davies
Directed by
Euros Lyn
Produced by
Phil Collinson

1st Assistant Director
Lloyd Elis
2nd Assistant Director
Steffan Morris
3rd Assistant Director
Dan Mumford
Location Manager
Clive Evans
Unit Manager
Emma Reid
Production Co-ordinator
Pamela Joyce
A/Production Accountants
Debi Griffiths
Kath Blackman
Non Eleri Hughes
Script Editor
Elwen Rowlands
Camera Operators
Martin Stephens
Mike Costelloe
Focus Pullers
Steve Lawes
Mark Isaac
Camera Assistants
Anna James
David Jones
John Robinson
Boom Operator
Damian Richardson
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Peter Chester
Stunt Co-ordinator
Lee Sheward
Stunt Performers
Jamie Edgell
Sarah Franzl
Ailsa Altena-Berk
Art Department Co-ordinator
Gwenllian Llwyd
Concept Artist
Bryan Hitch
Production Buyer
Catherine Samuel
Set Decorator
Peter Walpole
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Standby Art Director
Arwel Wyn Jones
Property Master
Patrick Begley
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Adrian Anscombe
Construction Manager
Andrew Smith
Graphic Artist
Jenny Bowers
Wardrobe Supervisor
Yolanda Peart-Smith
Make-Up Supervisor
Linda Davie
Make-Up Artist
Sarah Wilson
Casting Associate
Kirsty Robertson
Assistant Editor
Ceres Doyle
Post Production Supervisor
Marie Brown
On Line Editor
Matthew Clarke
Kai van Beers
2D VFX Artists
Sara Bennett
Michael Harrison
Jennifer Herbert
Astrid Busser-Casas
Simon C Holden
Alberto Montanes
Bronwyn Edwards
3D VFX Artists
Nick Webber
Matt McKinney
Porl Perrott
Joel Meire
Paul Burton
Chris Petts
Andy Howell
Digital Matte Painter
Alex Fort
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
Dialogue Editor
Paul McFadden
Sound FX Editor
Paul Jefferies
Picture Publicist
Francine Holdgate
Finance Manager
Richard Pugsley
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Accountant
Endaf Emyr Williams
Sound Recordist
Ian Richardson
Costume Designer
Lucinda Wright
Make-Up Designer
Davy Jones
Murray Gold
Visual Effects
The Mill
Visual FX Producer
Will Cohen
Visual FX Supervisor
Dave Houghton
Special Effects
Any Effects
Millennium Effects
John Richards
Production Designer
Edward Thomas
Director of Photography
Ernie Vincze BSC
Production Manager
Tracie Simpson
Associate Producer
Helen Vallis
Executive Producers
Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Mal Young

Updated 17th October 2009