Rose by Russell T. Davies
Back where it all started. Or restarted at least. In 2005 Doctor Who exploded back onto our screens (literally with a massive department store exploding in the first 5 minutes) and Rose had a lot to do as a premiere. Introduce a new Doctor. Introduce a new companion. Finally, introduce Doctor Who and it’s concepts to a new generation.
On most levels it succeeds. Christopher Eccleston comes across rather well as the Ninth version of the mysterious, slightly eccentric alien time-traveller known as ‘The Doctor’, and Billie Piper is good value as the first 21st Century companion. Curious, brave and plucky, Rose Tyler (Piper) instantly wins over most viewers (many of who would stay loyal for a very long time) and ends up saving the day (and the Doctor). Piper and Eccleston also have a clear rapport with each other, it’s a pairing that holds the show together through it’s first series.
The episode itself? The villain of the piece is the ‘Nestene Consciousness’ an alien life form which can control anything made out of plastic. While the Nestene’s visual appearance isn’t that impressive, the scenes where shop window dummies under Nestene control come to life en masse and start gunning down civilians is duly iconic and shocking, especially to people new to the series.
Another scene that works wonders is when the Doctor decapitates a plastic duplicate of Rose’s boyfriend Mickey (Noel Clarke). The duplicate merely responds ‘Don’t think that will stop me’ as it’s headless body starts smashing up a restaurant, showing how indestructible the plastic warriors are. However – like most Davies era episodes – the ending is a bit convenient with the Doctor using a vial of ‘anti-plastic’ to destroy the Nestene consciousness.
Like most premieres written by Russell T. Davies, this one has a lot of humour in it. Some of it works (The Doctor failing to notice the London Eye as ‘a giant circular transmitter’ when it is right behind him), some is a bit too juvenile (a plastic wheelie bin burping after swallowing Rose’s boyfriend Mickey). As for Rose’s mum Jackie attempting to seduce the Doctor…hilarious, showing Ecclestone’s great comic timing.
Overall, it was a solid, but unspectacular relaunch to one of the most successful shows on British Television, and while far from Doctor Who’s best, showed the potential of the new series with good monsters and a decent performance from the main duo.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Next Time: The Doctor takes Rose to the year 5 Billion; the End of the Earth…