TV Club: The End of the World

TV Club’s journey though Series 1 of the modern series continues with the second episode - The One with all the Weird Aliens.

Available on BBC iplayer:

Let’s discuss the End of the World, bitchy trampolines and the Forest of Cheem!

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The End of the World is great! I always wish we had more Doctor Who in settings like this. One of my big complaints has always been how many episodes are set on Earth…

I love the use of Brittney Spears “Toxic” & Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”, and I was happy to see “Spice Up Your Life” show up in the show recently.

Cassandra is a great villain. Also, Jabe’s death in this episode was tragic.

And, of course, the dialogue at the end was great.

DOCTOR: You think it’ll last forever, people and cars and concrete, but it won’t. One day it’s all gone. Even the sky. My planet’s gone. It’s dead. It burned like the Earth. It’s just rocks and dust before its time.
ROSE: What happened?
DOCTOR: There was a war and we lost.
ROSE: A war with who? What about your people?
DOCTOR: I’m a Time Lord. I’m the last of the Time Lords. They’re all gone. I’m the only survivor. I’m left travelling on my own 'cos there’s no one else.
ROSE: There’s me.
DOCTOR: You’ve seen how dangerous it is. Do you want to go home?
ROSE: I don’t know. I want. Oh, can you smell chips?
DOCTOR: Yeah. Yeah.
ROSE: I want chips.
DOCTOR: Me too.
ROSE: Right then, before you get me back in that box, chips it is, and you can pay.
DOCTOR: No money.
ROSE: What sort of date are you? Come on then, tightwad, chips are on me. We’ve only got five billion years till the shops close.


I like this episode a lot. My favorite part is when Rose gets overwhelmed by all the Alien stuff and runs off. It feels like a relevant emotion and makes her feel more like a person. Casandra is a good villain.



I think that as a way of introducing Rose (and new viewers) to the wider universe of planets, aliens, different cultures and general sci-fi stuff, this works a treat. There is a lot of comedy while still being serious sci-fi, almost the very definition of Doctor Who.
The interactions between Jabe and the Doctor are so great and really heartfelt, when Jabe admits to knowing the Time Lords, the look on Eccleston’s face is both subtle and heartbreaking, all in all making her sacrifice that much more painful and personal for the Doctor.
The plot of the story is rather straightforward, but probably exactly what was needed in the early days of modern Who.

I never really took to Cassandra as a villain, there is not much depth to the character, she is all surface - looks and money (though that might be a very relatable personality in a social media/reality TV world).

Overall I would rate this 3,5/5 :star:


Huge step up from Rose for me, really fun story with a lot of emotional impact. Also helps that this one got basically all of the S1 budget lol


I haven’t seen this in ages, in fact it’s not an episode I think of returning to even though I remember enjoying it. Watching it again I wasn’t over impressed. The plot is pretty average & RTD using a pop song once is fun, twice a bit self-indulgent which is a symptom of his era. But where it works is in the character stuff - Rose’s encounters with aliens & the future, added levels of emotional depth with her scenes with the Doctor. It’s setting out RTD’s main idea of making the show companion focused & as such relatable to a new young audience. So despite me not enjoying it I’m always mindful of the fact that this is for viewers who may not have heard of Doctor Who. I also wish we got to see the Forest of Cheem again.


I’ve never really found Rose to be a particularly strong opening episode (even though the Doctor talking about feeling the Earth spin always stuck with me), so I always sort of considered this to be the first proper episode of New Who.
I think that when I first watched this episode as a kid I wasn’t aware of the cultural impact of Toxic and Tainted Love, but I definitely love those choices now.
All the different aliens are so cool. Despite being a sci fi show, I feel like they don’t really explore all the different aliens and alien cultures. The only other episodes I can think of that have such a variety of aliens are the beginning of Turn Left and The Rings of Akhaten, two fantastic episodes. I wish they did it more.
But I think my favourite part of this episode is the conversation Rose has with one of the workers. Rose being lower class is incredibly important to me. Getting back into Doctor Who after a few years in the Star Trek fandom, where the future is painted as a socialist utopia, really makes the commentary Doctor Who has about social and income classes all the more poignant. I always liked that bit, and now I love it even more.
I can probably spend hours talking about this episode and it’s impact on me as an introduction to the show, but I’ll leave it here. I love it!


Fun fact: RTD said in the commentary for Rose that the scene with them walking, which included this incredible speech, was added a month later because the episode was running short! Necessity sure is the mother of invention…

(I know this comment is off topic, I’ll discuss The End of the World soon. I need to watch it with the commentary so I can provide more fun facts)


The scene in Church on Ruby Road with the Doctor, the falling snowman, and the policeman was also a late addition by RTD, added because Disney wanted an earlier scene with the Doctor, too!

For some reason, seems like RTD shines with this type of last minute thing…


I love love love this episode, I just really enjoy the vibe of it. There’s a sort of ‘hope despite the end’ thing going on, and I think it gives Nine a good chance to show us exactly how kind and goofy, and cold and broken he is. I also like a space station episode, so that also works for me. I just think this is a beautiful episode and it’s exactly what I like Dr Who to be - silly and sad and wonderful


What strikes me about this story is how it demonstrates RTD’s penchant, particularly in Series 1, for rather ridiculous, often long and complicated names:

  • The Moxx of Balhoon
  • Adherents of the Repeated Meme
  • Lady Cassandra O’Brien dot delta 17.
  • The brothers Hop Pyleen
  • Jabe, Coffa and Lute from the Forest of Cheem.
  • Cal ‘Spark Plug’ MacNannovich
  • Noxwen Van Coofen
  • Ambassadors of the Binding Light
  • Mr and Mrs Pakoo
  • The Face of Boe

Was there a danger this would turn the general audience off the show with all the silly names or is it part and parcel of throwing the audience into this strange new universe, in exactly the same way Rose is?


I like the silly names, but I also like Romanadvoratrelundar, Sabalom Glitz, Sil, Hyph3n, the savage Sevateem, etc. Doctor Who has a bit of a history of silly names.


And what some of you might not know is that we actually got the Further Adventures of the Platform One Guests in a six-part comic strip published across 6 issues on Battles in Time - the rather odd magazine/card game which came out when Doctor Who merchandise was practically everywhere!

And they even got be the cover stars of Issue 6! (The Moxx was everywhere - my eldest still has the duvet cover and pillow case he features on prominently!)


And lest we forget the audio sequel we were all clamouring for - The House that Hoxx Built.

Anyone heard this?

Yup. It was a good little haunted house story. I mean, it didn’t really gain anything from having the Hoxx, it could’ve been any old alien. But it was enjoyable.

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Time for a deep dive - this story produced a surprising number of action figures including a pull back and go Moxx and action figures packed alongside various robot spiders.

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I was re-reading this book last night as it contains some extra background to characters like Cassandra and the Forest of Cheem, written by RTD (I think - the overall text is written by Justin Richards but RTD is credited for these).

It gives a few fun additional details - as well as a whole host of new silly, lengthy names to get your tongue around.

I also had forgotten that I’ve got it signed by a lot of the actors who played or voiced these roles - Paul Kasey and Alan Ruscoe, Simon Paisley Day and Struan Roger (who would voice the Face of Boe in his reappearances).

What book are you re-reading?

Good point - meant to add an image to my post! :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

A comfort favorite of mine. This is definitely a step-up from Rose. I like how we see her interact with the plumber, and just over time realize how nuts it was for her to run off with this alien! And he won’t tell her anything about himself until the end - which is one of my favorite scenes in Doctor Who. I believe they filmed it out in the open, with no one realizing what show it was for, so none of them are extras walking around. The music is perfect, Rose’s support is profound for our poor Doctor who’s all alone now.
Other things I love about this episode are the pop-culture references. I think they’re hilarious! Cassandra is great, love the Moxx of Balhoon, and the first appearance of the face of Boe. There’s quite a few aliens that really have no importance after this episode, which is a shame. Still, there are significant aliens introduced.
I think the overall plot isn’t anything too special, but it’s in the little details and the surrounding relationship building that makes it really good.