Smith and Jones

Crossing into established events is strictly forbidden. Except for cheap tricks.

The Tenth Doctor


It’s just an ordinary day at work for Martha Jones, student doctor, until she meets a mysterious man during morning rounds and then her hospital ends up on the Moon!


The opening of Series 3 sees the Tenth Doctor acquire a new companion in the shape of Martha Jones. It is a confident restart for the revived series, as the show transitions through it’s second change in as many years.

Smith and Jones serves as a reintroduction, and it is noticable that the choice has been made to start in a similar way to Rose, having the focus straight on the new companion, which is something that seems to go by the wayside once Russell T Davies leaves the mantle of showrunner., as Davies does the same thing when reintroducing Donna in Partners in Crime. The first character we see is the new companion, and in this time we are introduced to the background of the character. Arguably, this is the slowest point of the story, but it is all adding texture and details to Martha’s character. There are some lovely ideas here, like the H20 scoop which gets the hospital to the Moon, and the storytelling is confident and intelligent enough to give its audience credit and not need everything spelt out to them. For instance, we have a very simple shot of the TARDIS outside the Royal Hope Hospital to establish that the Doctor can’t simply get everyone out of the hospital with ease. Once the story gets going, it is certainly a story that can’t be described as lacking peril as the Doctor and Martha attempt to evade the Judoon whilst trying to find the vampire causing terror all over the hospital. Whilst this involves a lot of running down various corridors in the hospital, isn’t that ultimately what makes for a great Doctor Who story?

The story is fast-paced and that is in no small part down to the direction of Charles Palmer. The story gives us an effective ticking clock through the risk of the oxygen running out, as well as the sense of peril as the Doctor and Martha run around the hospital trying to avoid Judoon and the Slabs and catch Florence Finnegan. Palmer’s direction keeps this pace up through quick cutting, which is very evident in the more dialogue-heavy scenes, cutting between shots of the characters speaking, keeping the audience on their toes.

I really don’t buy the Doctor’s indifference towards Martha, and I don’t think that it did Martha many favours with many members of the fanbase. If the show is being disrespectful to the point of being quite rude to the character, it is perhaps no surprise that the audience didn’t warm to her to the same extent that they did to Rose. I can understand to an extent why Russell T Davies would want to have the Doctor missing their former companion and it is certainly something that is missing in the original run of the show and thus doesn’t really show the Doctor being truly attached to anyone he travels with. The danger of relying on recent nostalgia is that your audience will accept that as gospel and not accept your new companion.

There is nothing here suggesting that the Doctor goes straight from the end of The Runaway Bride into Smith and Jones, so you could argue that there’s a significant passage of time for the Tenth Doctor to be travelling alone and recovering from the events of Doomsday. Donna in The Runaway Bride is almost the perfect palate cleanser, giving this Doctor a chance for a no-obligations romp and reiterates that The television show Doctor Who is one that thrives on change. By all means, fans will always have their favourite Doctors and companions (Tom Baker and Sarah Jane Smith are always a classic example), but the show shouldn’t get so hung up on the recent past. I really like this series, which for my money contains a run of four episodes amongst the revival’s strongest, but its treatment of Martha is horrible and it could possibly ruin the Tenth Doctor’s run for me. Retreading the companion having romantic feelings for the Doctor so soon after we’ve just seen it makes it feel like that’s the only type of companion that Davies finds interesting. Of course, he does subvert this when Donna becomes the full-time companion, but can’t resist teasing it, and the Tenth Doctor ends up kissing every companion he has, with the exception of Adelaide Brooke in Waters of Mars. There’s no real reason for Martha to fall for the Doctor except for the fact that he looks like David Tennant, and no reason why they cannot travel the universe as friends, like the Tenth Doctor and Donna will do in just one series time.

The two stand out guest stars are almost certainly Anne Reid as the Plasmavore masquerading as Florence Finnegan and Roy Marsden as Martha’s boss, a consultant at Royal Hope Hospital. Reid seems to delight in playing the seemingly harmless old lady, backed up by two beings mading entirely of leather, and the glee with which she produces her straw to suck first Mr Stoker’s, then the Doctor’s blood is lovely, camp villainy. Mr Stoker, on the other hand, plays his role much straighter but it is no less of a good performance. The two other doctors brought into the story, Oliver Morgenstern and Julia Swales serve to highlight that not everyone is equipped to travel with the Doctor. Morgenstern has a rather active ego, demonstrated by the way he describes his actions to the media later, and Julia goes to pieces in a crisis.

The Judoon are an interesting alien race brought into the show. Whilst they are antagonistic here, they are described as a mercenary police force and are later seen working for the Shadow Proclaimation in The Stolen Earth and employed by Division in Fugitive of the Judoon. The Judoon probably cannot carry an episode by themselves as they are almost a bit too physical and lack a brain to be able to pose the Doctor too much of a threat for too long. They are an interesting example of an almost neutral alien race in Doctor Who, as they aren’t prepared to slaughter everything in the hospital, but they are there to fulfill their contract and nothing else, being unconcerned about the fate of the innocent inhabitants of the hospital or the Earth once Florence Finnegan has been killed. The prosthetics for the Judoon are really impressive, and the vocal work by Nick Briggs is great, especially considering that it’s him without any synthesized effects on it.

Who are you, then?

I’m the Doctor.

Me too, if I can pass my exams.

Martha Jones and the Tenth Doctor

Having read the above, it will probably come as no surprise that Martha is one of my favourite companions of the revived show. She is more than capable and naturally inquisitive, something highlighted against her colleague who insists that they cannot possibly be breathing oxygen, something that irritates the Doctor as they are clearly still breathing. Freema Agyeman is a good actress and she and David Tennant have good chemistry. Martha stands out amongst the modern companions as having both parents at the beginning of her run, albeit separated, and siblings. Her family dynamic is messy though, with the presence of Annalise, her father’s new partner and her siblings have sided with different parents following the separation. Agyeman captures effectively the character’s desire to escape, something that she is able to do by the end of the story with the help of the Doctor.

The Tenth Doctor kicks off his second full series as the Doctor in fine fettle, even if his behaviour towards Martha is highlighted as being troubling for the reasons listed above, it helps that he is being played by an actor as charming as David Tennant. The Tenth Doctor gets a lot of chance to develop further here, showing signs of being cheeky and manipulative in equal measure. His performance when he tricks Florence into thinking that he is just an ordinary human is amongst this episode’s highlights, claiming to just be a humble postman who failed his GCSE to get the foe to underestimate him.

Verdict: Smith and Jones is a strong series opener and is well paced and introduces a good new companion into the bargain. 8/10

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

Writer: Russell T Davies

Director: Charles Palmer

Producer: Phil Collinson

Composer: Murray Gold

Original Broadcast Date: 31 March 2007

Behind the Scenes

  • This is the first episode of Doctor Who to use a companion’s surname in the episode title.
  • Despite being the on-screen debut of Martha, a novel written by Terrance Dicks, named Made of Steel featuring the Tenth Doctor and Martha, was released a month before this episode was broadcast.
  • The first episode of the revived series not to feature a cold open since Rose. Partners in Crime, the series opener for Series 4, would also not have a cold open.
  • The line “Judoon platoon upon the Moon” was written as a joke towards David Tennant’s Scottish accent, which makes it challenging to pronounce the sound and syllable for “-oon” in an English accent.
  • David Tennant improvised mouthing along with Martha stating that the TARDIS was bigger on the inside.
  • Judoon weaponry was originally supposed to boil away the skin of its victims, however, this was deemed to be too frightening.
  • For several drafts, the key element of the story was the Doctor and the Plasmavore trying to get to the TARDIS, which would have been in the hospital’s basement. Russell T Davies thought that this was too banal, however, and the decision was made to have the TARDIS left on Earth.
  • There would have been a sequence with the Doctor scaling the outside of the hospital in a window cleaner’s cradle, however, this was cut for time. A similar sequence would feature in Partners in Crime.
  • Mr Stoker was meant by Russell T Davies to be a reference to the character of the same name in Children’s Ward, a programme for which he served as producer. The production team, however, took it to be reference to Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, which led to them sticking a sign on the door of his office, ‘B. Stoker’.

Cast List

  • Anne Reid had previously played Nurse Crane in The Curse of Fenric.
  • Roy Marsden also played Todd Hulbert in the Big Finish story Human Resources.
  • Adjoa Andoh previously played Sister Jast in New Earth. She also appeared in Year of the Pig and Empress of the Racnoss along with numerous other roles for Big Finish.
  • Trevor Laird had previously played Frax in Mindwarp.
  • Vineeta Rishi has also appeared in Big Finish plays such as The Emerald Tiger and Dalek Soul.

Best Moment

I do love the scene in the alleyway where Martha is introduced to the TARDIS. Everything about it feels perfect and unhurried and I love the Doctor mimicking her when she says that it’s bigger on the inside.

Best Quote

You see, I was only salt deficient because I am so very good at absorbing it. But now I need fire in my veins, and who better than a consultant, with blood full of salty fats and vintage wines and all those Michelin star sauces.

Who are you?

Oh, I’m a survivor, Mister Stoker. At any cost. Look, I’ve even brought a straw.

Florence Finnegan and Mr Stoker

Previous Tenth Doctor review: The Runaway Bride

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