“You wanna come with me? Cause if you do, then I should warn you. You’re gonna see all sorts of things – ghosts from the past, aliens from the future, the day the Earth died in a ball of flame. It won’t be quiet, it won’t be safe and it won’t be calm. But I tell you what it will be: the trip of a lifetime.”
In March 2005, the Ninth Doctor looked straight out of the TV at the BBC One audience and spoke these words in a trailer for the new series. A few weeks later, he grabbed Rose Tyler by the hand and whisked us away to more adventures, in the first new televised Doctor Who for nine years.
The Ninth – in his first ever outing.
Henrik’s shop assistant, Rose Tyler.
Rescued from marauding living plastic mannequins by a very strange man - who then blows up her place of work - Rose Tyler decides to investigate.
The story so far…
- There’s no direct reference as to where the Doctor has been prior to this adventure. Throughout the first series we learn more – that the Doctor has been in a war, that his planet burned and his people died – but here, he’s a lone traveller.
- The Doctor’s remarks at his reflection suggest that this may be the first time he’s seen this face – although we do not get to see a regeneration.
- Rose Tyler works at Henrik’s department store, lives with her mother on the Powell Estate in London, and is dating Mickey Smith.
- The Nestene Consciousness and its living plastic foot-soldiers, the Autons, were created by classic series legend Robert Holmes. The twice terrorised the Third Doctor – in his debut adventure Spearhead from Space (1970) and the following year’s Terror of the Autons, where, under the influence of the Master, they refined their methods of killing to include deadly dolls, daffodils and even plastic chairs.
The Doctor: I can feel it. The turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at 1,000 miles an hour and the entire planet is hurtling around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour, and I can feel it. We're falling through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world, and if we let go... That's who I am.
Why it’s worth a watch
As “jumping on” points go, there are few better than Rose. It manages to reset the series perfectly for a new audience – the arrival of a new Doctor that doesn’t get bogged down in the complex business of regeneration, and (even more importantly) introducing a new companion, who we care about and whose life of “alarm-work-home-repeat” we can all relate to. There’s bags of action and running around, but this time it’s supplemented by modern (at the time) CGI. Balanced against this are moments of great stillness, like the Key Quote, above, and tonnes of comedy – mainly from the phenomenal Jackie Tyler, but also, perhaps surprisingly, from Christopher Ecceleston’s grinning Doctor. When Rose finally dashes into the TARDIS at the end, none of us can wait to join her…