26th March 2005
The Doctor: What you doing here?
Rose: I live here.
The Doctor: What do you do that for?
Writer: Russell T. Davies.
Director: Keith Boak.
Producer: Phil Collinson.
Starring Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler; with Camille Coduri as Jackie Tyler, Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith and Alan Ruscoe, Paul Kasey, David Sant, Elizabeth Frost and Helen Otway as the Autons.
For Rose Tyler, the world has gone mad: her workplace is blown up; her boyfriend’s acting weird; and plastic mannequins are walking the streets. The Doctor is back.
What they thought:
Doctor Who hadn’t been onscreen since 1996, and Russell T. Davies’ revamp could go one of two ways. Of course, now we know what a phenomenal success it is, but in early 2005, nobody qui knew what to expect, as John Bensalhia says in his review on Shadowlocked: “I was fearful of the much-touted revamp being a complete dog’s dinner… We’d heard all about the big, exciting launch of Doctor Who, now bang-up-to-date for a 21st century take on a show that had once been scorned at for being cheap old hat. My expectations were not particularly high, to say the least.”
But y’know what? Nearly 10 million tuned in, and it was… well, fantastic. Especially for an episode that had to introduce whole new generations to the Time Lord and his TARDIS, as well as setting up the new series’ look and direction.
Bensalhia goes on to say that “Eccleston’s début is spot on” while Rose “quickly earns her place as one of the all-time great companions.”
And as Christian Cawley notes in his book, Ultimate Regeneration: “The Autons (other than their appearance in Terror of the Autons in 1971) had been woefully underused; their return in Rose, culminating in an attack on a shopping mall, was very welcome indeed… Wielding an iron bar to smash your opponent’s brain is obvious; manipulation of those everyday plastic consumables to achieve your aim of world domination is genius. Not bad for dummies.”
The Doctor was back, and as popular as ever. More so, in fact.
DVD (Region 2) Information:
- Released as part of the Doctor Who: Series One box set in 2005, including commentaries with cast and crew.
- Also released as a ‘vanilla’ DVD, alongside the End of the World and The Unquiet Dead.
- The Autons and Nestene Consciousness firs appeaed in 1970’s Spearhead from Space, and were last seen 1971. They were most recently used in 2010’s The Pandorica Opens.
- The Nestene survives this encounter with the Doctor, and tries another invasion of Earth eight years later, as seen in the book, Autonomy.
- Rose sees the onscreen Who debut for most of the cast and crew, apart from model unit supervisor, Mike Tucker, who had worked on the classic series as a mostly-uncredited visual effects assistant between 1985 and 1989. He has also written the New Series Adventures novels, The Nightmare of Black Island and Snowglobe 7.
WATCH IT IF YOU LIKE… SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE.