Doctor Who: Season 3, Episode 12

The Sound of Drums (23 Jun. 2007)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 8.8/10 from 3,005 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 4 critic

The Doctor, Martha and Jack return to the 21st Century eighteen months after the Doctor and Martha left. They find they've missed the election, and the new Prime Minister, Harold Saxon, is someone they've met before by another name.


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Trevor Laird ...
Nichola McAuliffe ...
Nicholas Gecks ...
Sharon Osbourne
Ann Widdecombe ...
Ann Widdecombe


With the Master having regenerated himself and taken the TARDIS, the Doctor, Martha and Jack Harkness manage to return to Earth. When they arrive, they see the new British Prime Minister, Harold Saxon, on television and Martha immediately recognizes his voice: it's the regenerated Master. He announces that he has been contacted by alien beings and that they will arrive in two days' time. Despite an attempt by the American President to take over the situation, the Master is very much in charge. The situation is particularly stressful for Martha in particular as the Master has taken her family as prisoners. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Release Date:

23 June 2007 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Martha's suggestion that the Doctor and the Master are brothers - dismissed by the Doctor - was Russell T. Davies response to a popular fan theory he found rather daft. See more »


When the police open fire on Martha's car, you can see sparks where the bullets from their guns bounce off her windscreen. At that close range, just one of those bullets could go through a brick, and despite the back window of the car being shattered, there are no bullet holes in the sides of the car, nor have the side windows been shattered. See more »


The Master: We meet at last, Doctor!
[he laughs]
The Master: I love saying that!
See more »


References Torchwood (2006) See more »


Voodoo Child
Performed by Rogue Traders
See more »

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User Reviews

Just when you think, "Surely, the series can't be any better?"...
23 June 2007 | by (England) – See all my reviews

With "The Sound of Drums", Russell T. Davies shows that despite a smörgåsbord of treats throughout the season, there's still a lot more surprises in his TARDIS-like bag.

A dark, tense and highly original episode, "The Sound of Drums" is so good it's difficult to know where to begin. Davies' teases fans with references to The Doctor's brother (a few seconds pause seemed like an eternity in this scene), jelly babies and so on, while giving long-term viewers the best Gallifrey treat they could ever wish for in this episode. The short, beautifully shot clip of The Master's back-history is informative and manages to honour the memories of anybody who has grown up with "The Deadly Assassin" and the various subsequent Time Lord tales. This is epic stuff - there's a legendary feel to "The Sound of Drums" and the show appears bigger in scale than a television programme, having an almost movie-like feel to the proceedings. After watching this series of "Doctor Who" other science fiction offerings are going to feel tired and drawn-out compared to this lean and mean, multi-faced beast. We have seen a diverse number of stories this year but the quality has remained constant throughout.

John Simm steals the show as the psychopathic Master. He has all the best lines and eats the part up like the world's most scrumptious meal. Simm is the very picture of a maniacal genius and it's hard to imagine anybody delivering a better performance in this role. His scenes with the cabinet and the President of the USA will be difficult to forget.

The Jones family are proving more entertaining and likable than the Tylers - Trevor Laird and Adjoa Andoh are excellent as Martha's parents and Gugu Mbatha-Raw is wonderful as younger sister, Tish.

The episode finishes on the ultimate cliffhanger. This is black as night "Doctor Who" and it's an absolute delight.

10 out of 10. Again, thank you Russel T. Davies and Phil Collinson for delivering such a treat to fans everywhere, young and old. This is more than anybody could have ever expected and as each season progresses, the creative envelope is pushed ever further. Genuinely jaw-dropping entertainment.

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