New Series Episode 32:


The Doctor takes Martha to New Earth, thirty years after his last visit. Within minutes, Martha is kidnapped and finds herself a captive on the Motorway, a seemingly endlessly congested traffic conduit on which thousands of people have become trapped -- in some cases for decades. And rumours abound that there are creatures in the depths of the Motorway, living... and feeding.


Executive producer Russell T Davies was aware that a potential problem with Doctor Who was the difficulty in establishing a sense of continuity with the audience, given that the TARDIS tended to land somewhere new in every story. He had addressed this, to an extent, by devising recurring characters for those episode set on present-day Earth. As a further measure, Davies wanted to have some other settings recur from time to time, and so for Doctor Who's 2007 season, he decided that a return trip to the eponymous planet of the previous year's New Earth was in order.

Davies had originally planned to set a key story arc in motion in New Earth by having the Face of Boe reveal with its dying words that the Doctor was not the last of the Time Lords after all. When Davies was informed that Doctor Who would continue into a third season early in the planning stages for the 2006 episodes, he elected to defer these developments, using the Face of Boe's appearance in New Earth to foreshadow it instead. The crucial event would now take place in the 2007 New Earth episode.

Russell T Davies was entertained by the notion of resurrecting a forgotten 40-year-old monster

From the outset, Davies wanted to avoid writing a direct sequel to New Earth, and so shifted the setting thirty years in the future (to 5,000,000,053 AD) and into the city of New New York, which had only been glimpsed from a distance before. As initially conceived, the action would have been split between the wealthy inhabitants of the Overcity, the downtrodden denizens of the Undercity riding the Motorway, and the gargantuan creatures living in New Earth's oceans. In devising an appropriate aquatic monster, Davies had considered both a Godzilla-like reptile and a giant octopus, before recalling the enormous crab-like Macra which had featured in the 1967 serial The Macra Terror. Davies was entertained by the notion of resurrecting a forgotten forty year-old monster, especially since his story already called for exactly such a beast.

Meanwhile, the development of the episode -- called Gridlock -- had begun to focus more and more on events in the Motorway. This led to Davies eliminating the dwellers of the Overcity as living characters altogether, and moving the Macra from New Earth's seas to the depths of the Motorway itself. As a happy coincidence, The Macra Terror had already established the Macra's need to live in a gas-rich environment, which dovetailed nicely with the exhaust-choked Motorway. One story strand excised at this point involved baby Macra, which were feeding upon the drivers of the Motorway's lowest level.

Several elements of Gridlock were directly inspired by the comic book 2000AD. From the Judge Dredd strip, Davies seized upon the overcrowded Mega-City One for the look of New New York, and upon informant Max Normal for the appearance of the bowler-hatted Businessman. Reporter Swifty Frisko from The Ballad Of Halo Jones gave Davies the idea for Sally Calypso. In addition, Brannigan's appearance was taken directly from Ratz, a character created for BBC children's programming in 1994.

Several elements were directly inspired by the comic book 2000AD

Directing both Gridlock and The Lazarus Experiment, which formed the year's third production block, was Richard Clark. Clark had recently handled episodes of Life On Mars. Amongst his cast was Bridget Turner, playing Alice; Turner was married to Frank Cox, who had directed episodes of Inside The Spaceship and The Sensorites for the original Doctor Who series' very first season.

Production on Gridlock began with two days at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff, on September 18th and 19th, 2006. This was the site of the Face of Boe's retreat; the clips involving Sally Calypso were also taped there. With the exception of an off day on September 24th, the next week was spent in the studio at Upper Boat, covering sequences in virtually all the cars and the TARDIS interior, more material in the Face of Boe's lair, and greenscreen work. The Undercity alleyway was actually the Maltings in Cardiff Bay; filming there started on the 28th and continued to the 29th, when the Doctor's pursuit of Milo, Cheem and Martha through the warehouse was also recorded at the Ely Papermill in Cardiff. Work on Gridlock then wrapped up with further days at Upper Boat, with sequences inside the cars completed on October 2nd, and inserts and remounts undertaken on October 18th and November 7th.


Original Transmission
Date 14th Apr 2007
Time 7.40pm
Duration 44'58"
Viewers (more) 8.4m (7th)
· BBC1 8.4m
Appreciation 86%

The Doctor
David Tennant
Martha Jones
Freema Agyeman
Ardal O'Hanlon
Novice Hame
Anna Hope
Travis Oliver
Lenora Crichlow
Jennifer Hennessy
Bridget Turner
Georgine Anderson
Simon Pearsall
Daisy Lewis
Nicholas Boulton
Sally Calypso
Erika MacLeod
Judy Norman
Graham Padden
Pale Woman
Lucy Davenport
Pharmacist #1
Tom Edden
Pharmacist #2
Natasha Williams
Pharmacist #3
Gayle Telfer Stevens
The Face of Boe
Struan Rodger

Written by
Russell T Davies
Directed by
Richard Clark
Produced by
Phil Collinson

Macra Created by
Ian Stuart Black
1st Assistant Director
Dan Mumford
2nd Assistant Director
Jennie Fava
3rd Assistant Director
Sarah Davies
Location Manager
Lowri Thomas
Unit Manager
Rhys Griffiths
Production Co-ordinator
Jess van Niekerk
Production Secretary
Kevin Myers
Production Assistant
Debi Griffiths
Production Runner
Siân Eve Goldsmith
Floor Runners
Lowri Denman
Heddi-Joy Taylor
Contracts Assistant
Bethan Britton
Non Eleri Hughes
Script Editor
Simon Winstone
Focus Puller
Steve Rees
John Robinson
Boom Operator
Jon Thomas
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Peter Chester
Stunt Co-ordinators
Tom Lucy
Crispin Layfield
Chief Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Art Department Production Manager
Jonathan Marquand Allison
Art Department Co-ordinator
Matthew North
Chief Props Master
Adrian Anscombe
Supervising Art Director
Arwel Wyn Jones
Associate Designer
James North
Set Decorator
Malin Lindholm
Standby Art Director
Leonie Rintler
Design Assistants
Ian Bunting
Al Roberts
Cyfle Trainee
Christian Ibell
Storyboard Artist
Shaun Williams
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Nick Murray
Standby Carpenter
Paul Jones
Standby Painter
Ellen Woods
Standby Rigger
Bryan Griffiths
Props Master
Paul Aitken
Props Buyer
Blaanid Maddrell
Props Chargehand
Gareth Jeanne
Props Storeman
Martin Griffiths
Forward Dresser
Amy Chandler
Practical Electrician
Albert James
Construction Manager
Matthew Hywel-Davies
BBC Wales Graphics
Assistant Costume Designer
Marnie Ormiston
Costume Supervisor
Lindsay Bonaccorsi
Costume Assistants
Sheenagh O'Marah
Kirsty Wilkinson
Make-Up Artists
Pam Mullins
Steve Smith
John Munro
Casting Associate
Andy Brierley
Assistant Editors
Ceres Doyle
Tim Hodges
Post Production Supervisors
Chris Blatchford
Samantha Hall
Post Production Co-ordinator
Marie Brown
Special Effects Co-ordinator
Ben Ashmore
Special Effects Supervisor
Paul Kelly
Prosthetics Designer
Neill Gorton
Prosthetics Supervisor
Rob Mayor
On Line Editor
Matthew Clarke
Mick Vincent
3D Artists
Matthew McKinney
Neil Roche
Jean-Claude Deguara
Bruce Magroune
Nick Webber
Paul Burton
Jeff North
Serena Cacciato
2D Artists
Sara Bennett
Adam Rowland
Tim Barter
Visual Effects Co-ordinators
Rebecca Johnson
Jenna Powell
Digital Matte Painter
Simon Wicker
On Set VFX Supervisor
Barney Curnow
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
Supervising Sound Editor
Paul McFadden
Sound Editor
Doug Sinclair
Sound FX Editor
Paul Jefferies
Finance Manager
Chris Rogers
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Executive
Julie Scott
Production Accountant
Endaf Emyr Williams
Sound Recordist
Julian Howarth
Costume Designer
Louise Page
Make-Up Designer
Barbara Southcott
Murray Gold
Visual Effects
The Mill
Visual FX Producers
Will Cohen
Marie Jones
Visual FX Supervisor
Dave Houghton
Millennium FX
Special Effects
Any Effects
John Richards
Production Designer
Edward Thomas
Director of Photography
Rory Taylor
Production Manager
Tracie Simpson
Executive Producers
Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner

Updated 6th July 2014