|First UK Transmission Date (BBC1)||Scheduled TX||Viewers|
|26th March 2005||19:00||10.81m|
Cast: Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri), Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke), Clive (Mark
Benton), Caroline (Elli Garnett), Clive's Son (Adam McCoy), Autons: Alan Ruscoe,
Paul Kasey, David Sant, Elizabeth Fost, Helen Otway, (Nestine Voice) Nicholas
Writer: Russell T Davies, Script Editor:
Director: Keith Boak , First Assistant Directors:
George Gerwitz, Second Assistant Directors: Steffan Morris, Third Assistant
Director: Daffyd Rhys Parry
Synopsis: Christopher Eccleston takes the role of the time-travelling
crusader, who lands on Earth just in time to save department store worker Rose
Tyler (Billie Piper) from a horde of marauding mannequins - plunging the pair
into a desperate battle against a malevolent alien intelligence with the ability
to bring plastic to life.
Season Background: Doctor Who's
return to series format after 16 years came about largely through two factors:
The stubbornness of Russell T Davies who refused to write for the BBC unless it
was for Doctor Who, and the eagerness of Lorraine Heggessey, the first female
controller of BBC ONE, to resurrect Doctor Who. It's never been quite clear
how much influence public opinion had on the decision to bring back Doctor
Who but it was not long after the series topped a poll of television programmes
viewers wanted to see brought back, that the announcement came on 26th September
2003 that Doctor Who would return.
By the time of this announcement three
key figures were in place. Head of Drama for BBC Wales Julie Gardner had been
approached to be an executive producer and, having been working on Casanova
for 18 months alongside Russell T Davies, knew before asking him that he would
jump at the chance to work on Doctor Who. The BBC's Head of Continuing
Series Mal Young was the other executive producer and together they went about
fashioning Doctor Who for the 21st century. A run of 13 episodes was requested,
and granted, and Russell T Davies delivered a 15-page outline on the construction
of the show, detailing the characters and the tone. A list of desired writers
was submitted and all were signed up by the BBC. Mal Young was first to verbalise
thoughts that all three had had about Christopher Eccleston as a candidate for
the lead role. Despite press speculation about Eddie Izzard, Alan Davies, Richard
E Grant and Hugh, Eccleston was announced as the new Doctor on 22nd March 2004.
Billie Piper was subsequently announced as the new companion Rose on 24th May
2004. Filming of the new series begin in Cardiff on the week of 19th July 2004
and continued for 8 months.
'Rose' Background and Summary: Writer/Producer
Russell T Davies had the difficult task of writing what was both an introductory
episode for an entirely new series, and a piece of television faithful to its
roots. It had to enthrall new views who had never heard of Doctor Who and
not alienate viewers who had affection for the original series. The story was
structured such that in theory the new audience of children identify with the
character of Rose and the older generation with the Doctor. Mannerisms which would
instantly put older viewers in mind of Tom Baker or Patrick Troughton would have
been equally enjoyable seen fresh by young children. The scene in Rose's flat
is an affectionate rehash of several 'new Doctor' scenes from the past (covered
below) and the story, as a whole, treads much of the same ground as Jon Pertwee's
debut Spearhead from Space. While hailed as a ratings success by the BBC
to new story) reaching over 10 million viewers, it was met with cautious appreciation
by the viewing public as a whole. The general consensus was that it was (which
was a distinct improvement on the Paul McGann TV movie) but whether it was strong
enough to entice viewers again next week was still to be seen. The older generation
were fairly lukewarm about it, but the very younger viewers (who were the real
target) loved it. However this had been a pattern of Doctor Who almost
since it started and there was always a percentage of the surveyed public who
were scornful of such "childish rubbish". The BBC publicity machine
could ever reach a percentage of people and therefore the single-part nature of
this story took some people by surprise, expecting as they were a traditional,
multi-part serial. The 45-minute nature of the episode did a lot to alter the
general mood of the story as it gave little time for the tension to build and
it was a short five minutes between the activation of the alien menace, and its
destruction. Its understandable why the decision was made to structure the story
as though the adventure was well underway before both the viewer and Rose herself
joined in, but this alienated viewers who would more happily have watched a full-blown
invasion unfold. It also denied the opportunity for a definite hook onto episode
two, had it concluded the following week. Arguably this season could even have
been braver by starting with no alien menace at all, with drama developing from
Rose's meeting with Clive who provided a thoroughly fascinating angle on the Doctor's
dubious impact throughout time, however the appeal of a Doctor Who story with
no alien threat at all is questionable at best. Ultimately the appraisal of 'Rose'
as being rushed and too crowded is unfair because, scene-for-scene, this is pure
TV gold and one of the finest Doctor Who stories ever produced. It has a witty
and inventive script that drives the story with a great deal of energy and style.
Even the throwaway nature of the alien invasion is given enough weight to make
the final confrontation interesting and the action-sequences are unsurprisingly
the best in the series' history. At the heart of it all, as with all the best
stories of the past, is the characterisation. The platonic love between the Forth
Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith is recaptured beautifully and the exchanges between
the Ninth Doctor and Rose are wonderful right from the moment they meet. Beyond
all the talk of plot and pace and effects sequences, the qualities of the two
lead characters shine through this episode and its this warmth that most viewers
take away with them. Once the initial shock subsided from seeing the first true
Doctor Who in 16 years, this story will received greater and greater appreciation
upon repeat viewings and regardless of the public opinion, it will remain with
fans as one of the most episodes in Doctor Who history.
Classic Series Influences and References:
- The opening space shot of Rose bares a striking resemblance to the
opening shot of Jon Pertwee's debut story Spearhead from Space (1970) which
also introduced a revamped format of the show and also featured the Nestines/Autons.
The Nestines/Autons reappeared
in Terror of the Autons (1971).
sonic screwdriver was first seen in Fury from the Deep (1968).
wheelie bin scene continues the theme of the telephone cord strangling the Doctor
in Terror of the Autons, although in the original Nestine stories, only
special plastic could be animated by the aliens, not everyday plastic.
Doctor has previously seen or commented on his new face after seeing it in a mirror
in Power of the Daleks (1966), Spearhead from Space (1970), Robot
(1974), Castrovalva (1982), The Twin Dilemma (1984), The
TV Movie (1996).
- The Doctor is also unable to shuffle cards with
any skill in Tom Baker's debut story Robot.
- The Doctor reads a
book in a couple of seconds in City of Death (1979) and on that occasion
comments "Bit boring in the middle."
Doctor's accent has been referred to before in a broader sense in the The TV
Movie (1996) in which Grace describes the Doctor as 'British'.
assassination preceded by one day the broadcast of the first-ever episode of Doctor
- When the Doctor is listing plastic items which will come to life
he includes "telephone cords" which threatened his third incarnation.
Rose's contribution of "breast implants" is a reference to the Novel
- In The Invasion of Time (1977) he says
he is not responsible for the sinking of the Titanic however in Rose its
stated that he stops the Daniels family from boarding before the maiden voyage.
the Complete First Series
is an absolutely must for anyone who remotely enjoyed the new series of Doctor
Who. Unlikely the previous individual releases of episodes, the box set has extras
coming out of its ears. And whereas some box sets just have extras on the final
disc, this brilliant package has a selection of extras on each disk, plus the
entire set of Doctor Who confidential (cut down) on another disk.
much needs saying about the episodes themselves but commentaries on certain episodes
are almost worth the price alone. The commentaries of Rose, The Unquiet
Dead and Dalek are of particular note and the video diaries of certain
members of the team are very interesting and fun. The TARDIS container is a nice
package and overall, believe me this set of DVDs is well worth the asking price,
or probably more!