New Series Episode 7:
The Long Game


The Doctor, Rose and Adam find themselves on Satellite 5 in the year 200,000, when Earth is meant to be at the forefront of a mighty galactic empire. But something has gone wrong: humanity's development has stalled, and the Doctor suspects that it has something to do with the media transmissions bombarding the populace, emanating from the space station. It soon becomes clear that the answer lies on the mysterious Floor 500, abode of the sinister Editor. The Doctor and Rose investigate, while Adam risks everything by immersing himself in the culture of the far future.


One of executive producer Russell T Davies' goals for the first season of the new Doctor Who series was to demonstrate that not everybody was cut out to accompany the Doctor in the TARDIS. His pitch document, originally written in the fall of 2003, set out a short-term story arc for a new companion named Adam, who would join the Doctor and Rose in the episode which would develop into Dalek, only to fail miserably in the very next adventure. Davies dubbed this story “The Companion Who Couldn't”. Much of the underlying plot of the episode, with the Doctor investigating a far-future space station from which an alien is trying to control Earth by subverting its news transmissions, was adapted from a Doctor Who idea Davies had had as a teenager, nearly a quarter of a century earlier.

Electing to develop the script himself, Davies changed the title to The Long Game and shifted the setting from the year 8922 to 200,000. Suki Macrae Cantrell's name was, in part, an homage to his colleague Tom MacRae (who would later write Rise Of The Cybermen / The Age Of Steel for the series). Davies originally envisaged the episode as a money-saver, and so wrote it in such a way that many sets could perform double- or even triple-duty. As production neared, however, it became clear that the special effects requirements were more considerable than had been envisaged. This resulted in some of Davies' ideas being toned down, such as the head “spike”, which as initially conceived would have involved the entire cranium opening up, rather than just a small aperture on the forehead.

The head “spike” originally involved the entire cranium opening up, rather than just a forehead aperture

Rather than being made as part of the third recording block (alongside Dalek and Father's Day, the stories which would bookend it in transmission order), The Long Game was therefore shunted to Block 4A instead. This technically put it in the same production block as The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances (Block 4B), but with Brian Grant in the director's chair. Grant had begun his career as a cameraman in the Seventies before directing music videos for the likes of Elton John, the Rolling Stones and Peter Gabriel, in addition to television commercials. Grant also became a partner in a production company, Initial Films. Grant moved into directing television drama in the Nineties, including episodes of Bugs, Highlander: The Raven and Clocking Off.

Unlike the other stories of the first season, The Long Game was made exclusively in the studio -- either in Doctor Who's usual production home of Unit Q2 in Newport, or at sets erected in the Old British Telecom building in Coryton. Work began at Unit Q2 on November 30th, 2004, and continued until December 3rd for scenes on the observation deck and the Floor 139 causeway. The British Telecom building was visited on the 6th, for material set in the Floor 500 spike room and Adam's house (originally meant to be in Nottingham, but then moved to Manchester following the casting of Bruno Langley, who would be ending his brief tenure on Doctor Who with The Long Game). Adam's mother, never named onscreen, was called Sandra in the script.

Simon Pegg had enormous difficulty saying the name of the Editor's boss

December 7th was another day spent at Unit Q2, for sequences in the elevator and on the Floor 500 causeway. The final two days at the British Telecom facility were the 8th and 9th; efforts here concentrated on the Floor 139 spike room, as well as Adam's house again. The remainder of the recording then took place in Newport from December 10th to 15th, with scenes in the Floor 500 control room, the medical room, the lift, the Floor 16 causeway, and Adam's house (the set having been relocated from Coryton) all completed. Stills from numerous BBC programmes were used in the control room, including two stories from the original Doctor Who series -- The Ark In Space and The Leisure Hive. Guest star Simon Pegg, playing the Editor, suffered mightily on his first day of recording in the control room set, as he encountered enormous difficulty saying the name “The Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe”.

Several substantial scenes were edited out of The Long Game in post-production. In particular, an alternative motivation for Adam's duplicity -- his father's ill health -- was cut completely. Both Suki and the Doctor were also meant to be delivered gold keys by courier, which provided them access to Floor 500.


Original Transmission
Date 7th May 2005
Time 7.00pm
Duration 44'28"
Viewers (more) 8.0m (17th)
· BBC1 8.0m
Appreciation 81%

Doctor Who
Christopher Eccleston
Rose Tyler
Billie Piper
Bruno Langley
Head Chef
Colin Prockter
Christine Adams
Anna Maxwell-Martin
The Editor
Simon Pegg
Tamsin Greig
Adam's Mom
Judy Holt

Written by
Russell T Davies
Directed by
Brian Grant
Produced by
Phil Collinson

1st Assistant Director
Gareth Williams
2nd Assistant Director
Steffan Morris
3rd Assistant Director
Dan Mumford
Location Manager
Lowri Thomas
Unit Manager
Llyr Morus
Production Co-ordinator
Jess van Niekerk
A/Production Accountants
Debi Griffiths
Kath Blackman
Pam Humphreys
Script Editor
Elwen Rowlands
Camera Operator
Martin Stephens
Focus Puller
Mark Isaac
John Robinson
Boom Operator
Damian Richardson
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Peter Chester
Stunt Co-ordinator
Lee Sheward
Art Dept Co-ordinator
Gwenllian Llwyd
Concept Artist
Bryan Hitch
Production Buyer
Catherine Samuel
Set Decorator
Liz Griffiths
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Standby Art Director
Julian Luxton
Property Master
Adrian Anscombe
Construction Manager
Andrew Smith
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Trystan Howell
Graphic Artist
Jenny Bowers
Wardrobe Supervisor
Yolanda Peart-Smith
Make-Up Supervisor
Linda Davie
Make-Up Artists
Claire Pritchard
Steve Williams
Casting Associate
Kirsty Robertson
Assistant Editor
Ceres Doyle
Post Production Supervisor
Marie Brown
On Line Editor
Matthew Clarke
Kai van Beers
2D VFX Artists
David Bowman
Simon C Holden
Astrid Busser-Casas
Jennifer Herbert
Alberto Montanes
3D VFX Artists
Chris Petts
Jean-Claude Deguara
Andy Howell
Mark Wallman
Nick Webber
Digital Matte Painter
Alexander Fort
Model Unit Supervisor
Mike Tucker
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
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

Working Titles
The Companion Who Couldn't

Updated 17th October 2009