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Smith and Jones ★★★★

Series three kicks off in style as the Doctor meets Martha Jones when her hospital is sent to the Moon

Published: Tuesday, 15th October 2013 at 3:05 pm

Story 179

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Series 3 – Episode 1

“We’re on the Moon. We’re on the bloody Moon!” – Martha

Storyline
Medical student Martha Jones encounters the Doctor, who is posing as patient John Smith at the Royal Hope Hospital in London. The entire building is transported to the Moon, then stormed by a platoon of Judoon, interplanetary police with rhino heads. They are seeking a bloodsucking Plasmavore wanted for murder. As the forcefield of air around the hospital runs low, the Doctor and the resourceful Martha join forces to thwart the fugitive killer, who is posing as elderly patient Florence Finnegan. The Time Lord later offers Martha a trip in the Tardis.

First UK transmission
Saturday 31 March 2007

Production
August–September 2006. Main locations: University of Glamorgan School of Sciences, Glyntaff, Pontypridd. Usk Valley Business Park, Pontypool. Singleton Hospital, Swansea. Studio: Upper Boat Studios, Treforest, Pontypridd. Further locations. October 2006: Tyfica Crescent, Taff Street and Market Tavern in Pontypridd. The Friary/Queen Street in Cardiff.

Cast
The Doctor – David Tennant
Martha Jones – Freema Agyeman
Florence Finnegan – Anne Reid
Mr Stoker – Roy Marsden
Francine Jones – Adjoa Andoh
Tish Jones – Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Leo Jones – Reggie Yates
Clive Jones – Trevor Laird
Annalise – Kimmi Richards
Morgenstern – Ben Righton
Julia Swales – Vineeta Rishi
Judoon Captain – Paul Kasey
Judoon voices – Nicholas Briggs

Crew
Writer –Russell T Davies
Director – Charles Palmer
Designer – Edward Thomas
Incidental music – Murray Gold
Producer – Phil Collinson
Executive producers – Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner

RT review by Patrick Mulkern (published 31 March 2022)
With no preliminary scene to ease us into the episode, Smith and Jones gets cracking with the exhilarating title sequence, and two star names whirl towards us in the time vortex: DAVID TENNANT… FREEMA AGYEMAN… Looking back to 2007, now many years later, it’s extraordinary that Russell T Davies’s Doctor Who had only been up and running for two years but could boldly forge ahead with its lead line-up completely refreshed.

Tennant is well into his stride by this point. Hugely popular. Two Christmas specials and one whole series under his belt. Now wearing a blue suit and, briefly, pyjamas again, Doctor Ten is perky and spry, wide-eyed, the cockiness in check but eager for danger and a new chum. Despite the palate cleanser of his festive interlude with “runaway bride” Catherine Tate, many viewers were still lamenting the loss of Billie Piper as Rose Tyler. Tough act to follow. But time and Tardis wait for no woman. Welcome aboard, Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones!

Davies establishes his new co-lead briskly. Confident, positive, walking down a busy London street. Fielding calls with her dysfunctional, middle-class family. Martha provides calm in a storm – she’s considerate and loving. Medical student. Eager to learn. When her hospital is wrenched from its foundations and deposited on the Moon, chaos and panic ensue, but Martha is intuitive, observant and yet again remains calm. Freema Agyeman conveys all these qualities instantly and brings her own beauty and grace.

There’s really no need to acknowledge in the fiction that we’ve seen her face before. Agyeman played Adeola briefly in Army of Ghosts (2006) and Martha mentions her (identical) cousin who disappeared during the Cybermen attack. But this is far from the first time an actor who impressed in an earlier role is recast as a series regular (think Peter Purves, Jean Marsh, Nicholas Courtney, Ian Marter, Lalla Ward, Colin Baker) and Agyeman would be followed by Karen Gillan and Peter Capaldi.

But on with the story. We know that Davies is a master at immediate characterisation and spare, natural dialogue, and he’s not shy when it comes to spectacle and action. There’s a lot of running-down-corridors for the energetic pairing of Tennant and Agyeman, well captured by director Charles Palmer. We share the gawping bystanders’ awe as rain goes upwards and the Royal Hope is ripped from its foundations by the Thames (actually, the site of St Thomas’ Hospital) and deposited on the Moon. The panic among the supporting-artist patients and medics may be risibly overwrought, but serenity is restored when the Doctor and Martha step outside, gazing at the stars and “standing in the Earth light”.

High-calibre guest stars relish their roles: Roy Marsden as the seen-it-all registrar Stoker (Davies later said any nod to Dracula author Bram was unintended), whose blood is sucked dry by Anne Reid’s character, Florence Finnegan. She’s a scream in her perm and nightgown, brandishing her offensive weapon: a straw. We get mere glimpses of Martha’s family but instantly register who they are, though it’s hard to know at this point if they’ll have the same weight and involvement in the coming weeks as Rose’s loved ones once had.

The Judoon make for credible new monsters, threatening and amusing, reminiscent of Sontarans (who had yet to appear on Davies’s Who) in their bombast, uniformity and helmets. For budgetary reasons, only one Judoon is seen unmasked, an ugly rhino-like brute and a splendid creation with animatronic facial movements by Millennium FX, based in Chesham, Bucks.

We’re told they have no jurisdiction on Earth, hence their removal of the hospital to the Moon. By what means is unexplained. Conveniently, once their business is concluded, they return the edifice to its riverside home. But with what consequences? How many patients in critical care died during this upheaval? The practically minded viewer might wonder what happened to all the hospital’s utilities (electricity, water, drainage) that were wrenched asunder.

But back to the eponymous Mr Smith and Miss Jones. In the aftermath of her brother’s birthday party, Martha sees the Doctor loitering on a street corner giving her a blatant “Fancy me?” look. He lures her into his blue box of delights: space, time, transcendental dimensions, possibly passion…? She reminds him, “You’re the one that kissed me.” “That was a genetic transfer,” he replies flatly. “And if you will wear a tight suit,” she says. Like Rose before her, she’s fast become fascinated and attracted, but he’s offering one trip in thanks for saving his life, and claims, “I’d rather be on my own.” This is patently untrue. He’s lonely, isn’t over Rose yet and has sucked Martha – a more than worthy successor – into his orbit, aware but regardless of her human stirrings. This coda, sharply written and performed, sits uncomfortably. The Doctor is a cad.

*

Radio Times Archive

So much for Smith and Jones. It’s Smith and Jowett who spring to mind when I look back at those days and the extensive coverage Radio Times gave Doctor Who. That is: art editor Paul Smith and commissioning editor Anne Jowett, the husband-and-wife team who had orchestrated RT’s splendid episode-by-episode features and many front covers since the programme’s relaunch in 2005.

They were dear friends from my first stint at RT in the 1980s, right at the start of my career when our HQ was at 35 Marylebone High Street. I’d left in 88 and spent many years toiling elsewhere but, in March 2007, I rejoined the BBC payroll with a post on the Radio Times features desk. And it was a delight to find Anne and Paul gearing up for Doctor Who’s third series, mere weeks away.

To this end, an exuberant young man with a cascade of brown hair bowled into our offices on 7 March 2007. This was my first sight of Edward Russell, the Doctor Who brand manager who would become a friendly ally in the decade to come. Hot-foot from Cardiff, he reached into his man-bag and gleefully flourished some high-grade contraband – DVDs of the first two episodes of the new season. He’d come to show them to a select band: Anne and Paul, my new chum (and fellow Who fan) Mark Braxton and, as luck would have it, me.

Reliable tech and quiet viewing rooms were in short supply at our old office space, then in BBC Woodlands (in Wood Lane near Television Centre), and once we’d settled into a small room, the DVD player flatly refused to recognise Edward’s discs. In desperation, we eventually turned to RT TV editor Alison Graham, who allowed the five of us to invade her private sanctum. And so, some of us sitting on the floor, we settled down to enjoy new Doctor Who.

This memory remains sharp in my mind 15 years later, perhaps because these were the first episodes of Who I’d seen in advance of transmission for 20 years. But also because it reminds me of how we once worked and how much effort and enthusiasm my Radio Times colleagues put into the covers and features, which are now appending these online articles.

We launched the 2007 series with two collectable covers: EARTH and MOON...

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Inside, there was a run of features introducing Freema Agyeman and the Judoon, speaking to David Tennant, and Russell T Davies providing readers with a tantalising episode guide.

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