Doctor Who: Season 3, Episode 3

Gridlock (14 Apr. 2007)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Reviews: 12 user | 7 critic

The Doctor takes Martha to New Earth, where she is kidnapped by two carjackers and taken to an underground Motorway, where the remainder of humanity on the planet live in perpetual gridlock.

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Title: Gridlock (14 Apr 2007)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
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Anna Hope ...
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Milo
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Jennifer Hennessy ...
Valerie
Bridget Turner ...
Alice
Georgine Anderson ...
May
Simon Pearsall ...
...
...
Businessman
Erika Macleod ...
Judy Norman ...
Ma
Graham Padden ...
Pa
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Storyline

The TARDIS takes the Doctor and Martha to New Earth in the year Five Billion and Forty-Three, where the Face of Boe finally reveals his message to the Time Lord; meanwhile, terrifying beasts are lurking beneath the city of New New York - creatures that the Doctor believed he defeated many, many years ago. Written by Jonathan Tonkin

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14 April 2007 (UK)  »

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Trivia

Ma and Pa at the start of the episode are based on the farming couple in the painting American Gothic, both having identical hairstyles, glasses and fashions. See more »

Quotes

The Doctor: You've been driving for two months?
Thomas Kincade Brannigan: Do I look like a teenager? We've been driving for 12 years now.
The Doctor: [in disbelief] Sorry?
Thomas Kincade Brannigan: Yeah, started out as newly weds. Feels like yesterday.
Valerie Brannigan: Feels like 12 years to me.
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Connections

Featured in Doctor Who Confidential: Are We There Yet? (2007) See more »

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Doctor Who Theme
(uncredited)
Written by Ron Grainer
Arranged by Murray Gold
Performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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User Reviews

A dark, gripping and ambitious New Earth episode
14 April 2007 | by (England) – See all my reviews

This third episode of Tennant's second season is a cracker. With The Doctor returning to New Earth, we find a world that is grimly disturbing. Inhabitants of the planet's dark underworld resort to emotion-altering drugs dished out from shanty-town vendors while the rest of the population are caught-up in the mother of all traffic-jams. Stuck in an agonisingly slow flow of traffic, the passengers are lucky to move 5 miles in 12 years. Unless, perhaps, they move to the Fast Lane...

With a huge scale, mind-boggling big-scale effects and the return of the Face of Boe and Novice Hame, this is a future classic. The icing on the cake is the totally unexpected appearance of an old (and I really mean old - think Troughton's era!) enemy, produced with The Mill's CGI wizardry.

The New Earth of "Gridlock" is a mix of "Blade Runner"'s rain splattered streets, Judge Dredd's overcrowded Mega-City One and Star Wars' majestic, sky-scraping Coruscant. There's even a nod to Dredd's pinstripe freak, Max Normal, in this tale. Superb stuff.

The cast are excellent as always. The series attracts the UK's best talent and in "Gridlock" we have "Father Ted"'s Ardal O'Hanlon (disguised heavily under brilliant cat make-up) and the lovely Lenora Crichlow. Crichlow was a delight in "Sugar Rush" and she's very watchable here.

This is an ambitious, CGI-reliant episode that hits the mark. Tennant is spot-on with his performance and Agyeman's beautiful Martha Jones is proving to be one of the best companions we've seen. Russell T. Davies displays his usual ability to create genuinely moving scenarios in phantasmagoric settings. Only hours after this episode has aired, I already know of one person who cried during the finale. A nice touch in this episode is The Doctor's description of Gallifrey, i.e. "the burnt orange sky" and "silver trees". This ties up with previous descriptions from earlier incarnations of the Time Lord and is a lovely example of continuity with the "classic" series. Despite a few silly touches (for example, the talking kittens), this is a well written episode that deserves to be recognised as an above-average tale.

On a side note, I think I deserve a prize for guessing what the Face of Boe's last words would be. I bet a few thousand fans will have been in the same position, though. Showing a lot of future thinking, the arcs in "Doctor Who" are elaborate and span seasons rather than mere episodes! Next episode - the dreaded Daleks are back! This is proving to be a very memorable season and one that is not short of treats.

9 out of 10.


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