AS VISITED BY THE DOCTOR
The Tenth Doctor: the year 100 trillion, almost the end of the universe. [Utopia, RTD3.11]
Universe: Normal space.
Galaxy: At this time, there are no galaxies – they have all collapsed. [The Doctor Who universe ends then as the Heat Death (extreme expansion) theory rather than the Big Crunch theory (extreme contraction.)]
Human Colony: A human gathering rather than a colony.
The area of the Planet Malcassairo encountered by the Doctor is a rocky scrubland. The remnants of the Malmooth Conglomeration can be seen, an abandoned organic city-structure built in a canyon. Stalactitic in appearance, with tunnels and vanes, it is similar to the mounds produced by Earth’s termites. Elsewhere, humans are sheltering within a building known as Silo 16, (which has been apparently constructed by humans.) Protecting the area from invaders, there are large gates – which lead to a compound and a subterranean silo. There is a huge rocketship within.
Within Silo 16, the Doctor, Martha, and Jack meet Chantho and the Professor. Chantho is the last of her kind, the Malmooth of Malcassairo, who created the Conglomeration. The Malmooth are blue humanoids, with some insectoid characteristics. Their culture means that Chantho must begin each sentence with “Chan” and end it with “Tho”, lest she appears rude. She is working as the Professor’s assistant.
The Professor, a human, is working on the launch mechanism of the rocketship, to allow the humans who are gathering at Silo 16 to board the craft which will take them to “Utopia”. This is a point in space from which a signal “Come to Utopia” is being transmitted. This signal, the Professor believes, is from the Utopia Project. Humanity’s science foundation created the Utopia Project thousands of years ago to preserve humankind, to find a way of surviving beyond the collapse of reality itself.
The rest of the people of Silo 16 are humans who have gathered here from all over the universe, drawn by stories that a way has been found to reach Utopia.
On the outskirts of the area of Silo 16, the Futurekind have their camp. Human-like in appearance, with tatoos and other tribal adornments, they have sharp teeth – an identifying characteristic which the humans of Silo 16 use to differentiate the Futurekind from newcomers to the area. The Futurekind are barbaric and with a seemingly basic language, they hunt any humans they encounter for food.
The Professor, when asked by Jack what they are, replies “it’s feared they are what we will become, unless we reach Utopia”.
There is a pleasing ’80s Doctor Who atmosphere to the planet – the Futurekind being the kind of creatures that the Seventh Doctor might encounter. With the Malmooth, or rather a Malmooth, the first Nu-Who alien race native to an alien planet is encountered (the Cats presumably colonising New Earth along with the humans, and the Ood were brought to Krop Tor.) The retro feel is continued with the Professor’s laboratory and the rocketship, in this instance recalling the stories of the pre-Edwardian era of H.G. Wells rather than the ’80s.
The actual story itself is astounding, but the actual planet is very good too – and so the following rating…
Zog rating: 8
The episode Utopia, RTD3.11, is similar to the story Terminus, C21.3. In Terminus, the last of humanity struggle for survival on planet Frontios in the year 10 million. This was the furthest into the future that Classic Doctor Who ever showed the Doctor visiting on-sceen – a date that Nu-Who went further than with its second episode, The End of the World, RTD1.2. The date of Utopia is even further, the furthest yet shown on-screen: the year 100 trillion.
For futher information on the Heat Death of the Doctor Who universe, refer to the story Logopolis, C18.7.