Penultimate episode of series three. World is in peril again.

Primary Cast and Crew

David Tennant as the Doctor
Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones
John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness
John Simm as the Master
Adjoa Andoh as Francine Jones
Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Tish Jones
Trevor Laird as Clive Jones
Reggie Yates as Leo Jones
Alexandra Moen as Lucy Saxon
Colin Stinton as the President

Written by Russell T. Davies

Directed by Colin Teague

Originally aired on the 23rd of June 2007 on BBC One in the United Kingdom.


Earth, early 21st Century, and Harold Saxon has become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, he’s not a loyal British subject, but an insane, evil Time Lord.

High Points

  • Hurrah for UNIT! Finally the new series notices them.
  • “Who’d have sonic?”

Low Points

  • The Master’s behaving more like the Doctor than I’m entirely comfortable with. I keep thinking how John Simm would make a good Doctor.

The Scores

Originality: another series ending, another invasion of the Earth, doom of humanity, yadda, yadda, yadda. Just for once I’d like the Earth not to be doomed at the end of the series, even if it is by a different person each time. Three out of six.

Effects: ripping open the sky and destroying civilisation isn’t easy. Five out of six.

Story: while everything’s woven together very well, hints from earlier in the series coming to fruition, I’m left puzzled by the motivation the Master has to destroy the world this time. Perhaps we’ll find out next time. Four out of six.

Acting: John Simm is a superb actor. I didn’t think he’d be quite this insane, and quibble with the characterisation all I might, he acts it extremely well. Tish seems a bit wooden though. Five out of six.

Emotional response: my strongest response is a sense of revulsion at what the Master’s done to the British government and police. That mass hypnosis is very effective, but it’s creepy. I’m not sure I care very much about the end of the world though – you just know they’re not going to actually destroy the entire planet. Five out of six.

Production: the sound of drums mentioned in the title is carried in rhythmic form throughout the soundtrack in a very effective way. The locations are a lot more interesting than last week’s corridors as well. Five out of six.

Overall: I’m disappointed, but it actually improves a little on second viewing. It must be the shock of what they did with the Master wearing off. Perhaps we can have some evil that’s not played for comedy next time? Four out of six.

The Sound of Drums receives thirty-one out of forty-two.