|Rose Tyler, the 9th Doctor's new companion.|
‘Rose’ marks both the first episode for the ninth incarnation of The Doctor, as played by Christopher Eccleston, and the return of Doctor Who as a regular show after sixteen years off the air. It not only had the challenge of producing an introduction to the show for new viewers, but it had to create something that would draw people in and guarantee future audience.
The episode opens with Rose Tyler, an ordinary young woman that works in a department store, lives in a flat with her mum Jackie and hangs out with boyfriend Mickey. The first few scene of the show go out of their way to show that this is somewhat of a normal world, that Rose is a normal girl and that what happens in the rest of the show could happen to anyone.
Very quickly Rose finds herself drawn into the mystery of The Doctor when she encounters him whilst being pursued by Autons. Having been saved by this mysterious ‘Doctor’ Rose attempts to find out more about him, discovering a conspiracy theorist who tells her that a man matching The Doctor’s description has appeared throughout the course of history.
During this Mickey is attacked by a Nestene controlled wheelie bin and is replaced by a plastic replica. The Doctor reappears, tracking the plastic Mickey, and brings Rose into the Tardis. The Doctor tracks the Nestene signal to its source, and with Rose’s help, defeats it. As thanks for her assistance The Doctor invites Rose to travel with him.
|The Doctor and Rose go up against a living plastic arm.|
Eccleston is a fantastic choice for The Doctor, giving the role age and authority that is essentially needed, especially as this will be the first time many people have encountered the character. Where the following Doctors, Tennant and Smith, have more of a ‘friend’ relationship with their companions Rose and The Doctor shown here are much more of a father daughter relationship.
He also brings a great deal of depth and pain to the character. As we begin to learn here, and will continue to discover over the course of Eccleston’s time as The Doctor, he plays a man fresh out of the Time War, a man with fresh emotional scars. He plays a character with a broad smile, but with a deep hurt behind his eyes.
Billie Piper’s Rose is well introduced as being just an ordinary girl that gets drawn into an extra-ordinary world. This helps to set up the idea that anyone can become a companion. Rose brings a lot of youth and energy to the show, which is a great counterbalance to the age and wisdom of The Doctor.
The inclusion of the Autons is a great one, mirroring the very first episode of Jon Pertwee’s run as The Doctor in ‘Spearhead from Space’. It is also worth noting that like Pertwee, Eccleston’s Doctor is also freshly regenerated. It is also the one and only time in the history of the show that we do not know the circumstances of The Doctors regeneration.
Unfortunately the Autons seem to be reduced to a mere ‘monster of the week’ status, becoming a foe that is very quickly defeated and forgotten. A great shame for the show’s first returning monster from the classic series.
Despite this ‘Rose’ stands as a great episode and a wonderful re-introduction to the world and the character of The Doctor. The casting is great, and whilst the script and direction may not be perfect it is still one of the better episodes of Eccleston’s year as The Doctor. 7/10
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