Review of Doctor Who ‘Rose’ (Series 27)
In the run up to the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ in November 2013, Neela Debnath with the help of BBC DVD, will be reviewing one story from each of the previous 31 series of the show. Each review will offer readers a snapshot from every series of ‘Doctor Who’ and celebrate the longest-running science fiction television programme in the world.
It all started at a party. Writer Russell T. Davies had a brief conversation with television executive Jane Tranter about resurrecting Doctor Who. Davies had been campaigning for years to get Doctor Who back on the box and finally here was his chance. Taking the best bits from the past 40 years and updating the show, Davies pitched his vision for Doctor Who to the BBC.
After some discussion, the show went into production and then in March 2005 Doctor Who made its long-awaited comeback. The news that Doctor Who was returning sounded slightly farcical because it had been off the air for so long. If anything, it had ended up being a guilty pleasure for many towards the end of the Eighties.
On top of that former teen pop sensation Billie Piper was going to be the Doctor’s new companion Rose Tyler. She was best known for her pop anthem Because We Want To rather than her acting skills. It all smacked of spoof and parody. However, after watching Rose any misgivings disappeared and Doctor Who was finally back for good.
The regenerated series helmed by Davies saw the ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) battling with Autons (think homicidal shop mannequins) animated by a race known as the Nestene Consciousness. The aliens had come to Earth to feed off the abundance of plastics and toxins after their home planet was destroyed.
Rose provides a strong introduction to Doctor Who for new viewers and sets the tone of the show for the 21st Century. The production values were of a high calibre, the companion had a more important role to play, a lot of the action would be based on Earth, and much of the mythology surrounding the Time Lords and Gallifrey were dispensed of.
We never see the regeneration between the eighth and ninth incarnations but in Rose it is suggested that it is fairly recently, judging by the Doctor’s comments about his ears. No doubt we will see more of this mystery in the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor in November.
We get a sense of the Doctor’s alien and otherness when he first visits Rose’s house. Eccleston’s Doctor is more edgy than his previous incarnations. He has a northern accent and a leather jacket all of which makes his version of the Time Lord much more gritty. The ninth Doctor detaches from the traditional view of the cravat-wearing Doctor speaking in Received Pronunciation. It was a refreshing and necessary way to re-launch Doctor Who in a new age.
Piper’s companion is a conduit for the audience and asks questions on their behalf. She is also a feisty young woman who challenges the Doctor and doesn’t take his first answer as gospel. In the resurrected series more importance is placed on the role of the companion. It is Rose who saves the Doctor and not the other way round. Even though Rose may not be academic she is streetwise and smart in other ways.
Noel Clarke serves as another assistant of sorts as Rose’s hapless boyfriend Mickey Smith. Clarke is great in this comedic role, the young man who is always dismissed by the Doctor but is wonderful in his own way. He is also important because he builds upon Rose’s life and world.
Doctor Who was now a 45 minute adrenaline ride and gave the audience a different story each week, with an overarching story arc that would only come into fruition at the climax of the series. The popularity of Nu-Who led to the birth of two spin off shows The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood. It was a new era for the show.
DVD & image credit: BBCTagged in: Billie Piper, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, doctor who, Doctor Who 50th anniversary, Russell T. Davies
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