Doctor Who Logo 'Gridlock'
(Story Code 3.3)

by Russell T Davies
The Doctor and Martha

“People go missing on the Motorway. Some cars vanish never to be seen again. Cos there’s something living down there. In the smoke. Something huge. And hungry. And if you get lost on the road, its waiting for you.” - Cheen

Deep in the Undercity of New New York, a couple are driving in the Fast Lane of the Motorway when they are attacked and slaughtered by something fearsome from the depths… Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor offers Martha a second trip in his time / space machine. Avoiding her request to visit his home planet, the Time Lord instead decides on New New York, on New Earth in the year Five Billion and Fifty-three, but instead of the gleaming towers and spires of the futuristic city, they materialise in the slums of the Undercity, where they meet the Pharamacists, dealers in drugs that allow users to experience specific moods. Elsewhere, the enigmatic Face of Boe detects his old friend’s arrival and despatches the cat-nun, Novice Hame, to find him. The Doctor and Martha meet a young girl whose parents have been lost to her after going on “The Motorway”, but before she can tell them more, the grieving girl takes a ‘forget’ drug and then goes about her way. A couple suddenly bursts onto the scene and abducts Martha at gunpoint, drugging her into unconsciousness and bundling her into a hover vehicle before the Doctor can catch up with them. As the kidnappers drive away, the Doctor learns from the Pharamacists that his friend’s abductors are ‘carjackers’, drivers who need a third person aboard their car so that they qualify for use of special access to the Motorway’s Fast Lane. Martha comes to and meets her abductors, Milo and Cheen, who explain that they desperately need to reach Brooklyn so that they can begin a new life with their unborn child; to Martha’s astonishment, she learns from her new acquaintances that their journey will take six years due to the excessive gridlock in which the city’s traffic is stuck. The Doctor finds the colossal traffic jam, only to experience the terrible exhaust fumes that permeate the Undercity. He is invited into one of the gridlocked vehicles by a concerned cat-man named Thomas Kincaid Brannigan, who introduces the Time Lord to his wife Valerie and their litter of kittens, and explains that they have been stuck aboard their self-sustaining hovercar on the Motorway for the last twelve years, during which they have covered five miles. Seeing the Doctor’s concern for his lost friend, Brannigan contacts his friends Alice and May, an elderly married couple whose car-spotting enthusiasm has led them to compile information on Martha’s abduction. Learning that Martha’s vehicle has just reached the Fast Lane at the bottom of the Motorway, the Doctor asks Brannigan to follow, but Valerie refuses, clearly afraid of something in the depths below. As the motorists listen to the latest broadcast from the city’s traffic reporter, Sally Calypso, they and everyone else around them join together in a hymn. Martha, Milo and Cheen head downwards and soon reach the lower Fast Lane, where they speed up to a whopping thirty miles an hour; on hearing some terrifying noises from outside, Valerie reveals that rumours abound that something terrible lives in the lower levels… Deciding to find his own way to Martha, the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to open an access panel in the hovercar and jump onto the roof of the vehicle below; he then repeats the procedure for the next car, and the next, and the next… Reaching the Brooklyn tunnel, Milo is dismayed to find that their exit is closed; he then receives a call from another driver warning that none of the exits is open, but before he can learn more, the woman and her two passengers are attacked by something unseen from the smoky depths of the Undercity. Reaching the final layer before the fast lane, the Doctor enters a businessman’s car; opening the access door, he looks down into the carbon-monoxide-filled depths and sees a sight he never expected to see again: the floor of the Motorway is crammed with Macra, telepathic crab-like creatures he thought he defeated billions of years ago. The Doctor hypothesises that over the millennia, these monsters have devolved into hungry beats that live off of the Motorway’s exhaust fumes – and any unwary travellers that they find. Meanwhile, Martha, Milo and Cheen are attacked by the Macra, but manage to evade the crabs’ enormous claws by switching off their vehicle’s engines, rendering themselves silent to detection – but leaving them with only eight minutes of air. The Doctor is joined by Novice Hame, who has used a weapon to cut through the cars’ access panels in order to follow him; however, their reunion is cut short when Hame promptly teleports the Doctor to the Senate up in the Overcity. Here the Doctor learns that everyone in New New York died twenty-four years ago from a virus caused by a mutated ‘Bliss’ drug, and that only the Face of Boe and the now-repentant Hame were able to survive; in the wake of the catastrophe, which lasted just seven minutes, the Undercity was sealed off in order to protect everyone in the lower levels, and New Earth was placed under a hundred-year quarantine. Since then, the Face of Boe has remained connected to the city’s mainframe and has been using his life force to keep alive the only survivors – the motorists, safely sealed, unaware, in their vehicles in the Undercity – ever since. With their air running out, Milo reactivates his hovercar’s systems and valiantly attempts to evade the Macras’ snapping claws while Martha desperately hopes that the Doctor will rescue them. Using the city’s systems, the Doctor detects what can only be the vehicle of Martha’s abductors’. As the Face of Boe channels the last of his energies through the mainframe, the Doctor opens the huge doors that separate the Undercity from the Overcity, and by using the automated systems of Sally Calypso, he broadcasts a message to everyone on the Motorway instructing them to fly up into the sunlight. From the depths below, the elated motorists take their vehicles up into the clear skies above. However, as the city of New New York is repopulated, the strain proves too much for the Face of Boe, and the billion-year-old alien finally begins to die. As Martha rejoins the Doctor, the Face of Boe fulfils the ancient legends by imparting his final message to the Time Lord: “You are not alone”, before passing away, leaving the Doctor visibly shaken and somewhat confused. Some time later, having shut down the Pharamacists’ drugs operation and watched as the city reawakens to its former glory, the Doctor leads Martha back to the TARDIS. However, Martha has had enough of her friend’s inability to open up to her, and she stubbornly refuses to leave until he has talked to her. As the city’s residents begin to sing once more, the Doctor begins to tell Martha of the Time Lords, of the Time War and of Gallifrey, the home he lost…

David Tennant (The Doctor), Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones), Ardal O'Hanlon (Thomas Kincaid Brannigan), Anna Hope (Novice Hame), Travis Oliver (Milo), Lenora Chrichlow (Cheen), Jennifer Hennesy (Valerie), Bridget Turner (Alice), Georgina Anderson (May), Simon Pearsall (Whitey), Daisy Lewis (Javitt), Nicholas Boulton (Businessman), Erika Macleod (Sally Calypso), Judy Norman (Ma), Graham Padden (Pa), Lucy Davenport (Pale Woman), Tom Edden (Pharamacist #1), Natasha Williams (Pharamacist #2), Gayle Telfer Stevens (Pharamacist #3), Struan Rodger (The Face of Boe)

Directed by Richard Clarke
Produced by Phil Collinson
Executive Producers Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner
A BBC Wales production

14th April 2007 @ 7.40 pm

*Featuring the Tenth Doctor and Martha

*The motorists sing the hymns 'The Old Rugged Cross', composed by George Bennard, and 'Abide With Me', composed by Henry Francis Lyte

*Transmission was put back to 7.40 pm due to 'Match of the Day's Live's coverage of an F.A. Cup semi-final