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Stakes Are Higher In ‘Waters Of Mars’

PLUS: Expect lots of tears for David Tennant’s final ‘Doctor Who’ episode


The idea that the clock is ticking for a character that can time travel is somewhat ironic, but fans of “Doctor Who” have only embraced that eccentricity and are both thrilled and terrified of the final two episodes of David Tennant’s run that have still to air.

Beginning with “Waters Of Mars,” which airs on the BBC in November, fans of the show will see a slightly different side to The Doctor as he begins making decisions that we wouldn’t normally expect of him. Landing in a more realistic outer-space setting, The Doctor and his new colonist companions will deal with everyday problems in space. Air supply and food shortages are top of their agenda … until deadly creatures made of water arrive on the scene.

And then the episode will descend into darkness.

“I think that that’s inevitable,” Tennant told SFX Magazine regarding the tone that the series will take in his final two episodes. “At the end of ‘Planet Of The Dead,’ the Doctor is told, ‘Your time is running out. He will knock four times,’ and that hangs heavy. The fact that The Doctor knows his time is running out. It influences choices that The Doctor makes in ‘Waters Of Mars’ and he allows himself to go to new areas. Experiment out the character, perhaps.”

Outgoing showrunner Russell T. Davies also points out that part of the drama in these final episodes is the fact that the audience is well aware that they are the final episodes … and they certainly don’t want to see their Doctor go.

“There’s a great game going on,” Davies explained. “We know The Doctor’s going to die and regenerate, and so does The Doctor. And so the program starts to know that as well. After ‘Planet Of The Dead’ you can’t have him walking around happily because everyone is watching, knowing this. So you have to include that in the drama. That’s fascinating. It’s very rare to write a drama that’s publicly such a game – the knowledge becomes part of the fiction.”

But you won’t need to watch everything from behind a sofa. In a traditional “Doctor Who” fashion, the final two episodes will offer some laughs and plenty of moments to cheer at the television screen. One scene in particular has Davies particularly moved as Gramps makes his return to the series.

“When you see Bernard Cribbins fighting to save the world in the Christmas special, that is just a joy,” Davies said. “We locked the edit just two days ago – we’re all done now.”

While “Waters Of Mars” was a technical challenge to develop (water and electrics don’t play well together), there are still some worries on the water front for the Christmas special.

“The only water you really need to worry about is the tears you will cry in the final episode,” Davies said. “We played the last episode to Murray Gold, our composer, when he was to start scoring it. Murray just spent the final 20 minutes berserk with tears! Murray was so distressed and so moved.

“It’s going to be traumatic but brilliant. I’m really proud of those last two episodes.”

The final “Doctor Who” episodes are set to air in early November and Christmas on BBC, and a schedule yet to be determined on BBC America.

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Could they be a gh...gh...gh...ghost? Rut-ro! Shaggy
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