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Series 3

Episode 7

First Transmitted

19 May 2007

Final Ratings



Series 3 Volume 2


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Regular Cast

David Tennant (The Doctor), Freema Ageman (Martha)

Guest Cast

Adjoa Andoh (Francine Jones), Michelle Collins (Kath McDonnell), William Ash (Riley Vashtee), Anthony Flanagan (Orin Scannell), Mat thew Chambers (Hal Korwin), Vinette Robinson (Abi Lerner), Gary Powell (Dev Ashton), Rebecca Oldfield (Erina Lessak), Elize du Toit (Sinister Woman), Joshua Hill (Voice of Countdown).


Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Graeme Harper
Produced by Julie Garner and Phil Colinson


The TARDIS materialises on a space cargo vessel, where The Doctor and Martha learn that a crazed crewmember has sabotaged the ship. The Doctor has only 42 minutes before they all burn into the sun.


  • In the commentary for this episode, Russell T. Davies stated that he prefers The Doctor in the blue suit when going to the future and the brown suit when going to the past.
  • “42” may also be seen as reference to the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, as written by Douglas Adams in the radio series”The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. Adams also wrote scripts for several Doctor Who episodes during the late seventies. Interestingly, in one of the “Hitchhiker’s Guide” books there is also a chapter where the protagonists are caught in a stolen spaceship headed for the sun.
  • Martha Jones gets a key to the TARDIS, the second of two signs that she’s the new companion (the other being her mobile phone upgraded).
  • This episode ostensibly (though not quite) takes place in real time, a technique made famous by the show, 24. The average running time of a Doctor Who episode also happens to be about 42 minutes.
  • The episode occurs (approximately) in real time, like the American television programme 24. 42 is of course 24 reversed, possibly another tip of the hat to the show. However, technically the events do not occur in real-time in this episode, for example, the countdown timer runs out at approximately 40 minutes into the episode, leaving 2 unaccounted minutes as well as almost the entire pre-credits sequence (itself about 2 minutes).
  • 42 is somewhat similar to the movie Sunshine. Both of these involve a delivery ship, both of these involve possession and both of these involve a ship going out of control to the nearby Sun. Also, the DVD commentary states the ship’s original name as written and filmed was the “Icarus”, just as in Sunshine, until they ed the name out of the final episode to avoid confusion.
  • This episode has the shortest title of any televised instalment of Doctor Who broadcast to date
  • At one stage the Ood were going to be in this episode, where they were to be possessed again
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