Doctor Who - The New Series
1.07: "THE LONG GAME"
TX: 7 May 2005
Written by: Russel T. Davies
Directed by: Brian Grant
Running time: 43' 43"
Location: Station 5, Orbiting Earth
Date: 200,000 AD
Monsters and villains: The Editor (a callous killer controlling Station 5's output), The Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe (a grotesque monster, and the Editor's superior).
Plot Synopsis: The Doctor takes Rose and Adam to Station 5, a news broadcasting satellite, to view "the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire" from space. But something has gone wrong - humanity's progress has been impeded by someone on Floor 500 of the station. And those who travel to Floor 500 never come back...
Bad Wolf Reference: One of the news channels glimpsed by the Doctor is called BADWOLFTV.
Trivia: (1) Simon Pegg, the actor who plays the Editor in this episode, is a devoted science fiction fan and Doctor Who aficionado; he is best known for writing and starring in the cult hit Shaun of the Dead. He was originally to play Rose's father in 1.08, Father's Day, but prior commitments made this impossible.
(2) Whilst filming, Pegg had enormous trouble saying "The Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe", fluffing the line 20 times.
(3) Although this episode is called "the Long Game", the true meaning of the title is not explained until 1.12, Bad Wolf.
(4) Russel T. Davies actually pitched this story when the original Doctor Who series was still in production; it was turned down.
(5) The name of Suzie MacRae Cantrell is a reference to Davies's friend and writer of the second season's Cybermen episodes, Tom MacRae.
Spoiler Synopsis: The Doctor takes Rose and Adam to the year 200,000, the age of the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire, and to Station 5, the news satellite that beams out news to the entire planet. The Doctor notes that something seems wrong with the technology, so he sends Adam and Rose off to explore the station with an infinite money chip whilst he questions two journalists named Suki and Cathica. He uses his psychic paper to convince them that they are undergoing a test which might give them a promotion to the fabled Floor 500, where the walls are made of gold. They take him to a conference where a group of people distribute data using their brains as processors, accessing the network through an electronically sealable hole in the front of their skulls called a "dataspike".
Meanwhile, on a distinctly ungolden Floor 500, where zombified-looking people operate frost-covered computers, the Editor sees something unusual in the conference room. He has his lackeys electronically scan it, looking for the odd one out - and finds it, in the shape of Suki.
Back in the conference room, a message comes through promoting Suki to Floor 500. She packs her bags and gets ready to go, thanking the Doctor for all his help. He asks why she's carrying her suitcases, and she explains that once you've been promoted to Floor 500, you never come back. Nobody but the Doctor and his companions find this unusual.
Up on Floor 500, Suki is taken aback by the sudden chill in the air. Everything is dilapidated and covered in frost, and behind a tarpaulin she finds seven mummified corpses. She panics at first, but soon regains her composure and turns to see the Editor. He pulls down a view screen which shows that she is not really a journalist - in fact, she's not even called Suki. She is really an Earth freedom fighter with false memories implanted in her brain to get through security systems. She pulls a hidden gun on the Editor and demands to know what the secret of Station 5 is. He says that he can't help her, but offers to refer it upwards... literally. 'Suki' looks up and sees something grotesque on the ceiling. She screams and fires her gun, but nothing can stop it from diving down and killing her.
On the lower floors, Rose shows Adam her specially modified mobile telephone, capable of contacting people across space and time. Adam pretends to be weary and asks for some time alone, pocketing the phone as Rose walks off. He attempts to use the computers, but finds that he cannot access them without having the dataspike operation, so he goes off to have one fitted. Meanwhile, Rose and Cathica watch the Doctor examining the ventilation systems. He notes that the reason the station is so hot is because all of the coolant is being routed through to Floor 500, whilst the heat is moved down to the floors below.
The Doctor and Rose use his sonic screwdriver to access Floor 500, where they find 'Suki'. She is dead, but her body - like all of the others promoted to Floor 500 - is being controlled by computer to work as a security drone. They confront the Editor, who tells them that the station is actually under the control of the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfo, or "Max" for short. It sits in Station 5, feeding from the bodies of the promoted and guiding humanity through the path it chooses by manipulating the world's media. It cannot survive in warm weather, so it uses the station's cooling systems to keep it frosty even though the lower floors are freezing.
The Editor has the Doctor and Rose tied up ready to become food for Max when Adam uses his dataspike to access all of the information of Station 5, sending it down Rose's mobile phone to his mother's answering machine. But as he accesses the computers, the system pulls out all of the information about the Doctor and the TARDIS. As he taunts the Doctor, Cathica sneaks up and begins observing the scene. The Doctor speaks to her without drawing attention to her presence, and convinces her to save the day.
She goes to a forgotten dataspike terminal and accesses it, reversing the flow of heat up to Max's 'office'. Max begins to swell grotesquely with the warmth as the Doctor, Rose and Cathica run to the lift. The Editor attempts to run as well, but Max uses Suki's corpse to hold him back. Max explodes horribly, taking the Editor with him.
The Doctor tells Cathica that with Max dead, humanity should soon catch up with itself and the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire will be as it should be. Adam turns up and the Doctor angrily pushes him into the TARDIS. They materialise in Adam's mother's house, where the Doctor destroys the answering machine that held all of the future information. He's disgusted that Adam should use the opportunity given to him for personal gain. Rose takes her phone back and they travel away for more adventures, leaving Adam far behind.
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