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Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Code

Martha and the Doctor visit Elizabethan England and the original Globe Theatre to see the latest Shakespeare play, Love's Labour's Won. But once there, they find three evil witches, set on hijacking the play's production and changing the course of history.

Episode Info

Episode number: 3x2
Airdate: Saturday April 07th, 2007

Alternate Airdates:

US (BBC America) Jul 13, 2007
NL (Sci-Fi) Mar 18, 2009

  • Currently 8.9/10
8.9/10 (15 Votes cast)


Guest Stars
Dean Lennox Kelly
As William Shakespeare
Sam Marks
As Wiggins
Amanda Lawrence
As Doomfinger
Linda Clark
As Bloodtide
Andrée Bernard
As Dolly Bailey
Chris Larkin
As Lynley
Matt King
As Peter Streete
Robert Demeger
As Preacher
Angela Pleasence
As Queen Elizabeth I
Main Cast
David Tennant
As The Tenth Doctor
Freema Agyeman
As Martha Jones


In London, 1599, a man in the street serenades a woman, Lilith, in front of her home. She invites him in but when he kisses her, she becomes an ugly hag and two other hags descend upon the man, killing him...

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Episode Notes
Date: 1599
Location: London, England

Peter Streete refers to himself in the third person and calls himself "Poor Peter." This is a reference to King Lear in which Edgar (posing as a madman named Poor Tom) does likewise.

The Doctor remarks that an animal skull that he finds among Shakespeare's belongings reminds him of the Sycorax, an alien race seen in "The Christmas Invasion." Shakespeare responds "Nice word. I'll have that!" In The Tempest, Sycorax is mentioned as being a witch and the mother of Caliban.

Filming Locations: the (recreated) Globe Theater in London, Coventry, the Lord Leycester Hospital (Warwick)

This makes the fourth time the Doctor has seen or referenced seeing Shakespeare. He originally watched Shakespeare meet with Queen Elizabeth I via the Time-Space Visualizer in "The Chase" in his first incarnation. Later in his fourth incarnation he mentions having met Shakespeare in "Planet of Evil." Finally, in "City of Death" he mentions having helped the Bard write Hamlet.

Episode Quotes
Martha: Magic and stuff, that's a surprise. It's all a bit Harry Potter.
The Doctor: Wait till you read book seven. I cried.

Martha: (to Shakespeare) Your breath doesn't half stink!

The Doctor: Just think. When you get back, you could tell everyone that you've seen Shakespeare.
Martha: Yeah! And then I could get sectioned!

Martha: Expelliarmus!
The Doctor: EXPELLIARMUS! Good old J.K.!

The Doctor: How to explain the temporal flux...It's like Back to the Future.
Martha: What, the film?
The Doctor: No, the novelisation. Of course the film!

Shakespeare: How can a man so young have eyes so old?
The Doctor: I do a lot of reading.

The Doctor: All the world's a stage...you can have that one!

Shakespeare: This play must stop immediately!
Kempe: Everyone's a critic!

Lilith: Such sweet music shows your blood to be afire. Why wait beyond stale custom for consummation?
Wiggins: Oh, yes! Tonight's the night!

Shakespeare: (admiring Martha) Such unusual clothes. So... fitted...
Martha: Um, verily. Forsooth. Egads!
The Doctor: No, no, don't do that. Don't.

Shakespeare: To be or not to be... Ooh. That's quite good.
The Doctor: You should write that down.
Shakespeare: Maybe not. Bit pretentious?
The Doctor: Meh.

Cultural References
The Doctor tells Shakespeare that Martha comes from Freedonia, a fictional country featured in the 1933 Marx Brothers film Duck Soup.

The title of this episode is a reference to The Da Vinci Code, the best selling novel by Dan Brown.

Warning: Doctor Who season 3 episode 2 guide may contain spoilers
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