Ten and Rose part: Doomsday - 10 Years On...
Brace yourself. It’s TEN whole years since the broadcast of one the most-loved Doctor Who episodes of all time, Doomsday.
In case you’ve forgotten, Doctor Who Series 2 ended on July 8, 2006 with Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler leaving David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor in the most dramatic and emotional of fashions - parted by a parallel universe.
Every, and we mean EVERY, end of 2006 TV round-up featured those iconic scenes with Rose and the Doctor connecting one final time on Bad Wolf Bay. In fact, most TV round-ups of that entire decade would not fail to include it as a highlight. And just a couple of years ago, SFX readers voted it the greatest sci-fi moment of all time.
So here for you, are the thoughts and memories of those involved, those in the worlds of Doctor Who and journalists - all fans. We really hope you enjoy these exclusive comments from some of Doctor Who’s greatest contributors.
Russell T. Davies
Showrunner, 2005 - 2010
It’s funny to remember that we actually shot those scenes in the middle of the series, not the end. So instead of being all emotional at the time, I was probably trying to fix some problem with The Idiot’s Lantern or something.
My most powerful memory of Billie’s departure is the final scene of The Satan Pit, the last thing she shot, because I was actually in studio that day. But I do love Doomsday! Murray’s finest score, I think.
And I love the fact that it’s Jackie Tyler’s finest hour too, our forgotten heroine - it’s the shot of her, running across the beach to her daughter, that gets me, every time.
Director of Doomsday (and many more eps)
In the early part of 2006, producers Russell T Davies and Phil Collinson invited me to direct four episodes of Series 2 of the new series. I was so excited to be considered but little did I know how iconic a moment was coming my way in the making of Doomsday. I was given the chance to create an exciting series of episodes ending with war between two of Doctor Who's most dangerous foes - the Daleks and the Cybermen. And to see David Tennant right at the forefront of the head to head, helping humanity save itself from these vicious enemies and try to destroy them forever; what a privilege and a pleasure.
The second iconic moment was the most tenderly written final moment for the Doctor and Rose on the beach when Rose declares her love for him. Then, just as he starts to fade away from this dimension never quite able to get the words “I love you!” out, he disappears completely, leaving a devastated Rose - and breaking all our hearts on her behalf.
I had the chance to watch David Tennant put his stamp completely on Doctor Who in his first series and then to grow over three more series, developing his wonderful version of the Doctor, and how inventive and creative he was with such a free spirit. But in Doomsday you can see the early raw Doctor, vulnerable and sometimes lost but always truthful. His energy and enthusiasm and truthfulness in the telling of every story he was a part of was boundless, and to watch the bond between the Doctor and Rose grow so strongly is a tribute to how in tune with each other they were as actors. They were always surrounded by a fantastic plethora of wonderful actors, all really pleased to be a part of this epic story which all made the making of Doomsday for me a great moment in my career and an absolute thrill and a great joy to have worked on.
Thank you Russell and Phil for this great opportunity.
Composer, 2005 - present
Graeme Harper had been over to my flat and left the episode Doomsday with me and up till the end I remember it being a normal, every day kind of episode. To tell the truth, I can't remember what the rest of that episode was about, only the end. With David and Billie.
It's no secret that the entire universe loves Billie Piper. She was, and is, a special, magnetic type of person whose performances helped make the revival of Doctor Who the success it was. Without her, the show would have been scored differently. There would have been no Rose's Theme, and therefore no other companion theme.
What I remember most from the episode, at least from my contribution to it, is the track Doomsday that takes us to the beach scene. At the beginning of Series 1, Melanie Pappenheim had sung a few short pieces I'd written which became the core of the music for the first two series. I was wracking my brain for something to take us through the montage to the beach. I found this one piece Melanie had sung that I didn't think I had used. In fact it plays, in a different form, when Rose first sees the TARDIS in Episode 1 [2005’s Rose]. I took out my Fender Jazz bass and improvised a new bassline over the top of it. I liked how it sounded so added some acoustic guitar and a drum machine. I got a friend to play some cello for the middle section which I recorded in my kitchen and boosted all the treble so it sounded really woody, almost like a baritone sax.
I think Graeme had been expecting sad strings. I remember saying I was trying to evoke the kind of music Rose would be playing in her locked room with tears running down her cheeks. But maybe it was me that was upset.
Doomsday was one of the most unforgettable pieces of television to be a part of. Such a privilege to watch Rose and the Doctor break the nations hearts in true Russell T Davies style; giving the fans an ending they'll remember forever.
I really enjoyed shooting Doomsday. It was a great point in Mickey’s timeline where he was becoming the cool character he eventually became. Seeing the Daleks and Cybermen together was also a dream.
The whole thing was a dream job and I’ll never forget it.
Showrunner, 2010 - 2017
I didn't know how Series 2 would end, and I was extremely careful not to find out. First time round, I'd wanted to know everything, but this time I was writing Episode 4 [The Girl in the Fireplace] so I could stay spoiler free for all the rest of the run. So glad I did.
It's a wonderful ride that final two-parter, but dear God, that scene on the beach! The acting is, of course, wonderful, but it's the writing that shines. The next day, standing in my kitchen, I discovered I could remember almost every word of the dialogue. Every line flowed so beautifully, so poignantly, into the next, I couldn't stop it all unspooling in my head.
Russell at the top of his game - and it doesn't get better than that.
Strax, Ian (the Elf), Commander Skorr
Series One of the revived Doctor Who had ended with a bang, with an armada of resurgent Daleks and Doctor Nine's regeneration to boot. I suppose the question for the end of Series Two, was how to top that?
Well, an on-screen battle between the Daleks and Cybermen was a pretty effective way to pull out all the stops. I remember the sheer glee the snippy dialogue in the initial stand-off between the two sets of monsters induced in me: "Daleks have no concept of elegance", "that much is evident", "this is not war it is pest control!" and so on...
Doctor Who's always been about change, and this episode was also very effective in how it handled Rose Tyler's departure. We'd already seen how emotional the Doctor had got being reunited with Sarah-Jane Smith in School Reunion a few weeks before, but now here was an exit that left him properly emotionally harrowed. In contrast to some more - shall we say - understated departures in the classic series (“Oh, right, you off Leela? Right, bye then!”), we saw the poor old Doctor left sobbing alone in the TARDIS console room after harnessing the power of a supernova to exchange a few last plangent words with Rose.
It was all terribly romantic, wasn't it?
Executive Producer (2013 - present)
Of all the things people thought Doctor Who could achieve, telling a love story that hit home with such emotional power wasn’t one of them.
Oh! The separation felt so cruel. And that trip to Norway so poignant. Of course there’s a temptation to remember the episode for those final scenes, but this wasn’t a different, softer sort of story. It was all achieved with Doctor Who at its most gloriously and most bonkers sci-fi best. There were Daleks Vs Cyberman in Torchwood Tower, the Cult of Skaro, a Genesis Ark and a Void Ship, parallel worlds, and borrowed energy from a supernova.
The scale! The excitement! It showed that the epic scope of Doctor Who could be a huge emotional ride, and cemented Doctor Who finales as TV events like no other.
Writer, Face The Raven
In 2006 I was living in a share house in Melbourne with my two best friends and we watched Doctor Who every week in religious silence with the lights out. For some reason one of my friends had to go out on the night Doomsday aired and after coming home to find us utterly distraught and tear-stained, she promptly decided she didn't want to watch the episode, ever. She chose to live in a universe in which Rose remained happy always, and never had to say goodbye to the Doctor.
This deeply offended my sense of narrative continuity and I pestered her about it for years, because I am an excellent friend. My heartache at saying goodbye to Rose Tyler felt necessary and important, and those final scenes were wonderfully cathartic. How could we have parted from such a brilliant companion in any less tearful circumstances?
Writer, Full Circle
10 years since the broadcast of Doomsday. Blimey, that went quickly.
As a fan of the Cybermen, I remember feeling they were despatched a little too easily by the Daleks, but it was still great fun to see these two top Who villains pitted against each other.
And what about those final heart-wrenching scenes between the Doctor and Rose? It was truly a shock when she was lost to the parallel world. Still, in Bad Wolf Bay, she got to tell the Doctor she loved him. And if he hadn’t vanished just as he started to answer her, “Rose Tyler...” Well, who knows what he would have said?
The appearance of Donna Noble in the TARDIS, in a wedding dress, moments later, sealed a wonderful finale to a series that confirmed the programme’s place in the top ranks of television programmes.
Jenny T. Colgan
Author, In The Blood
Some Doctor Who episodes are more for fans, or action enthusiasts, or monster lovers. And some are for everyone.
Doomsday’s mix of drama, excitement - when Daleks weren't yet so commonplace as to not be terrifying - humour (throwing Cyberman shade), a sensational supporting cast ("I did my duty... for Queen and country!"), and of course the most emotional episode ever; even more so when you didn't know that Rose was going to get a DoctorDonna of her very own in two years time.
It's a perfect balance of absolutely everything that makes Doomsday so wonderful - Jackie and Pete! Donna showing up! - added to the simple fact that Tennant and Piper never looked more tragic or more beautiful than when burning up an entire sun just to say goodbye.
Author, The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who
Doomsday was shown on my friend Karen's 40th birthday, and – oh no! – she'd organised a party in a pub that night. But, being wise, Karen organised Doctor Who to be projected on a big screen, like they do with the football. There was a good crowd of us, cheering and laughing and gasping along to the episode, which made each joke and twist all the more fun. But in the final scenes, after Rose has been parted from the Doctor, the sound kept popping and the picture glitching – and it looked like we, too, would be cut off. Luckily, the connection held to the end and we watched in awe-struck silence as the Doctor didn't quite tell Rose that he -
Gosh, just to think of it again makes the hair stand up on my arms. And then when Catherine Tate turned up – the sheer, extraordinary gall of that ending! – we erupted in applause. “Cor, that was a bit bloody good, wasn't it?” I wrote later on my blog (do you remember when we had blogs?). And yes it was. Thrilling, exhilarating, ridiculous, and the perfect way to start a good party.
Editor, Doctor Who Magazine
Oh, that wall!
After all the excitement of Daleks versus Cybermen – explosions and exterminations – it all came down to that scene with the wall. It’s a clever touch to make it look as though the Doctor and Rose are literally separated by a layer of brick; that they could almost touch each other, despite being separated across the universes. Of course, in purely fictional terms, the wall is irrelevant. The Doctor and Rose are actually standing in the SAME room, in exactly the SAME place, on the SAME side of the wall. We’re made to think that the wall is important, but that’s just a TV trick. But it’s a trick that WORKS. We get it.
The Doctor and Rose can never see each other again; both of them stuck in a different reality, a different parallel universe, with no way to cross between the two. It must be said, that’s a rather highbrow sci-fi concept to try to get across to the Saturday night BBC One audience, especially in a show where the TARDIS can normally take you anywhere you like… but it’s the wall that sells it.
That’s not just clever direction; it’s genius writing. Clever old Russell T Davies!
I remember this being not only a golden-era of modern day Doctor Who, but a golden-era of not having spoilers! So I had absolutely no idea the Daleks were going to play a part in the finale - which RTD was delighted to hear a journalist tell him after the big reveal.
The final scenes absolutely broke my heart, and still do. We've all been Rose... Well, except for being dragged into a parallel universe.
Still, at least we know they have amazing dentists there, as seen in her return for Series Four.
Contributor, BBC America's Anglophenia
Doctor Who was never supposed to make me cry. I was above all that kind of thing. I was a cynical twenty-something bloke, I didn’t really care very much about Rose or her relationship with the Doctor. I loved the show, sure – but it wasn’t going to get me emotionally, was it? If I’d managed to handle the Eccleston regeneration, I could surely handle this.
But then, I’d grown up and got into the show long after the last time a proper companion departure scene had been filmed – so perhaps I’d underestimated the effect a new one would have on me. Or perhaps more accurately, I’d underestimated the effect the combination of a Russell T Davies script, that Murray Gold bit of score and David Tennant’s sad, sad face would have on me. Either way, while I’d like to claim that my most enduring memory of Doomsday was the spectacularly good Dalek-Cyberman “pest control” banter – it’s not. What I’ll always remember is sitting there watching those closing scenes with two other cynical twenty-something blokes, and all three of us staring directly ahead in a futile attempt to hide our weeping faces from each other.
This is the story of how I cried.
TV Editor, Digital Spy
David Tennant's Tenth Doctor dared to be more human than any of his nine predecessors - or, indeed, any of his successors, bringing a laddish likability to the part of a centuries-old alien.
This was the Doctor as romantic hero – smart, funny, dashing and hugely endearing. Which only made it all the more devastating to see his heart(s) get broken in Doomsday.
For all this grand finale's distractions - Daleks, Cybermen, parallel universes and imploding supernovas - its most powerful scene is something simple and typically human; the end of a romance (for it surely is that) as the Doctor bids Rose a tearful farewell on Bad Wolf Bay.
Gut-wrenching stuff - and the end of an era for the revived Doctor Who.
Doomsday is available on Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series on DVD, bluray and digital.