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New Series Episode 16:
New Earth

Plot

The Doctor is summoned to a hospital on New Earth in the far future. The facility is run by the cat-like Sisters of Plenitude, and the Doctor is astonished to find that the Sisters' medical technology is centuries ahead of its time. Meanwhile, Rose is lured into a trap by Cassandra, the last human, who aims to restore her long-lost beauty while uncovering the secrets of the Sisters of Plenitude.

Production

One of the early successes of Doctor Who's first season back on the air was The End Of The World. Considerable word of mouth was excited by its vastly far-future setting and plethora of alien creatures, and in particular its digitally-rendered villainess, Cassandra. For the programme's next season, executive producer Russell T Davies was eager to write a sequel -- not just in the hope of catching lightning in a bottle twice, but also to further reinforce (as with the appearance of Harriet Jones in The Christmas Invasion) that the change in lead actor from Christopher Eccleston to David Tennant had not fundamentally altered the show.

Davies therefore came up with an idea originally called “Body Swap”. In addition to Cassandra and the Year Five Billion setting, Davies also decided to bring back another character from The End Of The World: the monolithic Face of Boe. Davies had devised a “secret” which the Face of Boe (who, it had been implied in the first season's The Long Game, was incredibly long-lived) would impart to the Doctor. Originally, this secret would be divulged at the end of “Body Swap”, but when Doctor Who's renewal was extended to include a third year in June 2005, Davies opted to postpone its revelation.

“Body Swap” was initially set on a planet named Coffra, but this had changed by the time the adventure gained its final title of New Earth. The Sisters of Patience became the Sisters of Plenitude, and the medical facility was at one point called the Hospital of Evergreen Days. Cassandra's servant was envisioned as a dwarf named Zaggit, but as the character's importance grew during the scripting process, he developed into Chip. The climax of the story changed significantly from Davies' original conception; at first, the Doctor would have been forced to let the Intensive Care patients die, but Davies came up with a more optimistic solution when Steven Moffat (who had written The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances for the 2005 season) observed that Davies had a penchant for creating interesting characters and then doing away with them.

As for Cassandra herself, Davies intentionally kept her appearances as a “stretched skin” to a minimum, because these scenes were gruelling to computer-animate. Instead, Davies came up with Cassandra's ability to take over the bodies of others, which also fulfilled a promise to Billie Piper that she would be given a comic role in the new season, as a counterpoint to the often very serious material she had tackled the year before.

New Earth formed part of the first production block for the new Doctor Who programme's second season, directed by James Hawes alongside The Christmas Invasion and School Reunion. The first sequences filmed for New Earth were all those featuring Zoe Wanamaker in person; Wanamaker had thoroughly enjoyed recording Cassandra's lines for The End Of The World and was happy to take an on-camera role in the sequel, but also had very limited availability. Cassandra's party was actually held at the Bar Orient restaurant on Cardiff Bay. The same day, the departure of the TARDIS from London was recorded elsewhere in Cardiff, at Loudoun Square in Gabalfa.

Production did not resume until August 22nd, when special effects work was conducted at HTV Studios in Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff. Things then picked up in earnest in September. By this time, most of The Christmas Invasion and School Reunion had been completed and the recording block as a whole had fallen badly behind schedule. As a result, several scenes were dropped from Hawes' plans. Many of these concerned the Duke of Manhattan and Frau Clovis. Originally, they first appeared in the hospital foyer when the Doctor initially arrives; as scripted, the Doctor immediately earns the Sisters of Plenitude's disfavour when he saves the Duke's life. Later, Clovis mutinies when the Duke refuses to help defend the hospital against the Intensive Care patients.

Material in the hospital foyer was performed on September 5th, at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff. The only work carried out on New Earth over the next two days involved smoke effects at the BBC Model Unit in London. Recording proper continued on the 9th and 10th, when the disused Ely paper mill in Cardiff -- the same one which had featured as the Nestene lair in Rose the year before -- played host to scenes in the Intensive Care Unit. Cast and crew then repaired to the main Doctor Who studio space, Unit Q2 in Newport, for a week. From September 12th to 16th, scenes in the hospital wards and shafts were taped, as was material in the TARDIS. At one point, work had to be interrupted so that repairs could be made to the Face of Boe prop, which had been inadvertently damaged by Piper's boyfriend.

Location filming resumed on September 19th at Tredegar House in Newport, where material in Cassandra's lair was recorded. This continued on the 21st and 22nd. The final exterior scenes to be recorded were those outside the TARDIS on New Earth. The locale used was actually Worm's Head on the Gower Peninsula near Swansea, on September 26th. Unfortunately, the shoot was hampered by high winds and rain, forcing the abandonment of the final scene to be recorded. Planned to bridge the final hospital sequence and the material at the party, this would have seen the Doctor reminding Cassandra (now in Chip's dying body) that he still hasn't forgiven her for the deaths she caused in The End Of The World. The uncooperative weather was not the only misfortune to befall the day's recording: it was belatedly discovered that a camera had malfunctioned during the shoot, resulting in the loss of several close-ups.

Two more days at Unit Q2 were needed on October 7th and 8th; these chiefly dealt with scenes in the hospital lift and in the lift shaft. The final material taped for New Earth was also studiobound; a pick-up shot of the Doctor emerging from the TARDIS at Cassandra's party was recorded on November 3rd.

Davies had always been uncertain of the placement of New Earth in the season schedule. Before production began, he suggested it might swap places with The Girl In The Fireplace (which was intended to be the second story at that stage). Closer to transmission, there was discussion of running Tooth And Claw first and New Earth second, inspired at least in part by the latter's fraught production. In the end, however, it was felt that such a move would necessitate too many changes to New Earth's narrative, and so the adventure was kept in the pole position.

Not long before its broadcast, producer Phil Collinson requested changes to some of the computer-generated effects shots of the hospital exterior. Previously, the facility had been depicted as being removed from any other buildings, but Collinson thought this looked unnatural. Additional structures and architectural detail were hastily added to the images in response to these criticisms.

As with all the other second-season episode, New Earth was trailed by a one-minute prologue which could be downloaded from the BBC Doctor Who website or via a mobile phone. These teasers -- all of which were written by Gareth Roberts, who had also penned the Attack Of The Graske interactive game which had appeared on the BBC's digital service at Christmas -- initially went under the banner “Vortext” (after names such as “Whosode”, “Epi-mobe” and “Who Alert” were rejected) but were rechristened TARDISodes at a late stage.

The 46-second TARDISode for New Earth took the form of an advertisement for the hospital and featured Anna Hope reprising her role as Novice Hame. It was recorded on January 26th, 2006 at Enfys Television Studios in Cardiff. The TARDISode became available on March 31st. Two weeks later, Doctor Who repeated the pattern of the 2005 season by debuting on Easter Saturday, April 15th.

Sources

Original Transmission
Date 15th Apr 2006
Time 7.15pm
Duration 44'03"
Viewers (more) 8.6m (9th)
· BBC1 8.6m
Appreciation 85%


Cast
The Doctor
David Tennant
Rose Tyler
Billie Piper
Jackie Tyler
Camille Coduri
(more)
Mickey Smith
Noel Clarke
Cassandra
Zoë Wanamaker
Chip
Sean Gallagher
Matron Casp
Dona Croll
Duke of Manhattan
Michael Fitzgerald
Frau Clovis
Lucy Robinson
Sister Jatt
Adjoa Andoh
Novice Hame
Anna Hope
Patient
Simon Ludders
Face of Boe
Struan Rodger


Crew
Written by
Russell T Davies
Directed by
James Hawes
Produced by
Phil Collinson
(more)

1st Assistant Director
Jon Older
2nd Assistant Director
Steffan Morris
3rd Assistant Director
Lynsey Muir
Location Managers
Lowri Thomas
Gareth Skelding
Unit Manager
Justin Gyphion
Production Co-ordinator
Jess van Niekerk
Production/Script Secretary
Claire Roberts
Production Runner
Debbie Meldrum
A/Production Accountants
Debi Griffiths
Kath Blackman
Bonnie Clissold
Continuity
Llinos Wyn Jones
Script Editor
Simon Winstone
Camera Operator
Julian Barber
Focus Puller
Mark Isaac
Grip
John Robinson
Boom Operators
Jeff Welch
Rhydian Yeoman
Gaffer
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Peter Chester
Stunt Co-ordinator
Peter Brayham
Stunt Performers
Dean Foster
Kim McGarrity
Maurice Lee
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Art Dept Production Manager
Jonathan Marquand Allison
Standby Art Director
Nick Burnell
A/Supervising Art Director
James North
Design Assistants
Matthew Savage
Ben Austin
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Trystan Howell
Standby Carpenter
Silas Williams
Standby Scenic Artist
Louise Bohling
Set Decorator
Julian Luxton
Property Master
Adrian Anscombe
Production Buyer
Catherine Samuel
Props Chargehand
Paul Aitken
Props Storeman
Stuart Wooddisse
Specialist Prop Maker
Mark Cordory
Prop Maker
Penny Howarth
Construction Manager
Matthew Hywel-Davies
Construction Chargehand
Allen Jones
Graphics
BBC Wales Graphics
Costume Supervisor
Anna Lau
Costume Assistants
Lindsay Bonaccorsi
Barbara Harrington
Make-Up Artists
Anwen Davies
Steve Smith
Moira Thomson
Casting Associate
Andy Brierley
Assistant Editor
Ceres Doyle
Post Production Supervisors
Chris Blatchford
Samantha Hall
Post Production Co-ordinator
Marie Brown
On Line Editor
Matthew Clarke
Colourist
Mick Vincent
3D Artists
Chris Petts
Paul Burton
Jean-Claude Deguara
Nicolas Hernandez
Andy Howell
Matthew McKinney
Neil Roche
Chris Tucker
Mark Wallman
Nick Webber
2D Artists
Sara Bennett
David Bowman
Melissa Butler-Adams
Joseph Courtis
Bronwyn Edwards
Simon C Holden
Russell Horth
Kim Phelan
Digital Matte Painter
Alex Fort
Model Unit Supervisor
Mike Tucker
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
Sound Editors
Paul McFadden
Doug Sinclair
Sound FX Editor
Paul Jefferies
Finance Manager
Richard Pugsley
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Accountant
Endaf Emyr Williams
Sound Recordist
Simon Fraser
Costume Designer
Louise Page
Make-Up Designer
Sheelagh Wells
Music
Murray Gold
Visual Effects
The Mill
Visual FX Producer
Will Cohen
Visual FX Supervisor
Dave Houghton
Special Effects
Any Effects
Prosthetics
Neill Gorton and
Millennium Effects
Editor
Liana Del Giudice
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


Working Titles
Body Swap


Media
DVD Releases
Doctor Who: Series 2 Volume 1 (2006; single disc)
Buy: UK
Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series (2006; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Doctor Who: Series 1-4 Box Set (2009; boxed set)
Buy: UK
Doctor Who: The David Tennant Years (2011; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · USA
Doctor Who: Series Two, Part One (2014; two discs)
Buy: Canada · USA

Updated 6th July 2014