Doctor Who: Rose

Eldhrin wrote us a review of the first episode of the new Doctor Who series. There seems to be minimal spoilage here, so feel free to check it out even if you haven’t seen the episode. If you are concerned about spoilers anyway, know that it received 30/42, with 5/6 in the Overall category. Those of us in Canada can catch this on the CBC on April 5. If anyone knows about the US air date (assuming they’ve set one), please let us know.

Cast and Crew

Christopher Ecclestone as The Doctor

Billie Piper as Rose Tyler

Camille Coduri as Jackie Tyler

Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith

Mark Benton as Clive

Ellie Garnett as Caroline

Adam McCoy as Clive’s Son

Alan Ruscoe, Paul Kasey, David Sant, Elizabeth Frost
and Helen Otway as Autons

Nicholas Briggs as the voice of the Nestene
Consciousness

Writer: Russel T. Davis

Director: Keith Boak

Originally shown on BBC One in the United Kingdom on 26th March 2005.

Plot:

Rose Tyler is rescued from walking shop mannequins by a mysterious man who calls himself ‘the Doctor’. After he blows up the shop where she works, she discovers that the Earth is being invaded by a force capable of making any plastic object come to life.

High Point:

Rose: If you’re an alien, how come you sound like you come from the North?

Doctor: Lots of planets have a north.

The other high point was the new use they’ve found for the London Eye.

Low Point:

The pictures shown to Rose by the conspiracy theorist are really badly done. And why no hint of the Doctor’s past regenerations? There’s never been a vast amount of backreferencing in Doctor Who, but some here was needed I think.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6. We’ve seen the Nestene Consciousness before. Twice. Although I believe it used to build robots in the shape of shop mannequins – now it can make any piece of plastic come to life using psychic energy.

Effects: 4/6. Lots of places where they were very, very good, and a fair few places where they were very, very obvious. Miles and miles above any previous Doctor Who, due largely to a bigger budget and better effects technology, but it still retains a sense of the old Who special effects character.

Story: 5/6. Not much wrong here. Rose gets a plausible motivation to join the Doctor, and we do feel like we’ve dropped in on the middle of a larger story showing the Doctor investigating the Nestene Consciousness’ latest invasion attempt, which he is now in the process of dealing with. We also get very clear direction that the Doctor is an alien and has different priorities.

Acting: 5/6. Christopher Ecclestone does a remarkable job as a Doctor who clearly takes a childlike delight in everything, but can also be deadly serious when he wants to be. Contrast him talking about the speed of the world’s movement with his explanation of why the TARDIS looks like a police call box.

Emotional Response: 4/6. The beginning was scary in classic Doctor Who fashion. The Autons aren’t as terrifying as they used to be, and the ones we saw later were less impressive due to the environment. However, there is a response to the continual destruction of what little Rose has in life, and the Doctor’s obvious affection for her.

Production: 4/6. Some of the cuts were just wrong, but it felt like previous Who in that respect, where the timing just doesn’t work out quite right. However, the set design and location shooting was fabulous and the new TARDIS interior is something quite special. Not as impressive as the 1996 movie (it was about the only impressive thing in that farce), but considerably cheaper to film and a lot closer to the TARDIS’ heritage.

Overall: 5/6.

In total, ‘Rose’ receives 30/42.

21 replies on “Doctor Who: Rose”

  1. Trekkie says:

    Effects Rating
    I guess for me the point of some of Doctor Who was the semi campy effects.
    So I wouldn’t probably rate it low just because of that. But then again, I live
    in the US and haven’t seen it yet.

    Would be really cool if it’d air on BBC-America or something like that, just
    hope I find out BEFORE it airs.

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: Effects Rating

      I guess for me the point of some of Doctor Who was the semi campy effects.
      So I wouldn’t probably rate it low just because of that. But then again, I live
      in the US and haven’t seen it yet.

      Would be really cool if it’d air on BBC-America or something like that, just
      hope I find out BEFORE it airs.

      It was tricky to know how to rate it to be honest. There was one effect that looked like they’d done it using a smudge brush on each frame in Photoshop, which dropped a few marks for me, but other bits looked amazing, so it was very mixed. But it did make it ‘feel’ like Doctor Who.

      Would people like me to do reviews of the rest of the series as well? I will of course try and keep it as spoiler-free as possible.

      • Timeshredder says:

        Re: Effects Rating

        Would people like me to do reviews of the rest of the series as well? I will of course try and keep it as spoiler-free as possible.

        Not out of the question, but Fiziko and I had discussed alternating reviews, since Canada will only be about a week and a bit behind Britain. On the other hand, this is a good review, and ours might be late for the Brits at the site (who already get really, really late Galactica reviews).

        This ep airs April 5 on CBC, which might also be available to U.S. border types.

        • Eldhrin says:

          Re: Effects Rating

          Not out of the question, but Fiziko and I had discussed alternating reviews, since Canada will only be about a week and a bit behind Britain. On the other hand, this is a good review, and ours might be late for the Brits at the site (who already get really, really late Galactica reviews).

          Well I’m happy to do it, and I am able to see them on the original airdates. I’ll do one for next week’s, you don’t have to publish it after all.

  2. pdavis says:

    Comparison
    Any comparison between the officially aired episode and the one leaked onto the Net? My understanding is it will not air here in America anytime soon. I enjoyed it well enough, but thought the story was way too short for a pilot. One thing I like about the original series is the long story arcs.

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: Comparison

      Any comparison between the officially aired episode and the one leaked onto the Net? My understanding is it will not air here in America anytime soon. I enjoyed it well enough, but thought the story was way too short for a pilot. One thing I like about the original series is the long story arcs.

      If they don’t do that for the rest of the series, heads will roll I think. If this story was designed to introduce the Doctor and to introduce him to Rose, then it served its purpose well. As I mentioned in the review, it did feel like we came in during the middle of a longer story. The Doctor had clearly been at this for a while.

      I think we’ll see two or three-part stories for the rest of the series.

    • crow says:

      Re: Comparison

      Any comparison between the officially aired episode and the one leaked onto the Net?

      I’ve seen both versions available on the net. The leaked version is obviously from Canada–29.97 frames per second instead of 25.00 for the broadcast version. Also, the leaked one is at 720×432 instead of 640×368. However, while a higher framerate and resolution, both files are almost the same size.

      I would expect the leaked version to be cleaner, as there are no broadcasting artifacts (apparently there were audio glitches in the first UK digital broadcast).

    • crow says:

      Re: Comparison

      Any comparison between the officially aired episode and the one leaked onto the Net?

      I’ve seen both versions available on the net. The leaked version is obviously from Canada–29.97 frames per second instead of 25.00 for the broadcast version. Also, the leaked one is at 720×432 instead of 640×368. However, while a higher framerate and resolution, both files are almost the same size.

      I would expect the leaked version to be cleaner, as there are no broadcasting artifacts (apparently there were audio glitches in the first UK digital broadcast).

  3. hexfortyfive says:

    brand new regeneration

    And why no hint of the Doctor’s past regenerations?

    I disagree; the part where he looks in the mirror and says “Ugh, look at those ears!” implies that his own body is new to him. But… I may be looking into it a bit too much, as I’ve seen the episode three times.

    • Eoghann Irving says:

      Re: brand new regeneration

      And why no hint of the Doctor’s past regenerations?

      I disagree; the part where he looks in the mirror and says “Ugh, look at those ears!” implies that his own body is new to him. But… I may be looking into it a bit too much, as I’ve seen the episode three times.

      Thats exactly what that was referring to. And thats all that was needed. This was about introducing Doctor Who to a new audience, not pandering to old fans.

      • GrimSean says:

        Re: brand new regeneration

        And why no hint of the Doctor’s past regenerations?

        I disagree; the part where he looks in the mirror and says “Ugh, look at those ears!” implies that his own body is new to him. But… I may be looking into it a bit too much, as I’ve seen the episode three times.

        Thats exactly what that was referring to. And thats all that was needed. This was about introducing Doctor Who to a new audience, not pandering to old fans.

        Although I agree with introducing the new Doctor to new fans rather than pandering to the old ones, during Rose’s meeting with the conspiracy theorist he said that “Doctor” was a title passed “from father to son” – with a setup like that, I was expecting him to have some shots of the previous Doctors, not old pics of the new Doctor. Still, just because they didn’t do it doesn’t detract from the show – I’m looking forward to the next one.

    • dubbayoo42 says:

      Re: brand new regeneration

      And why no hint of the Doctor’s past regenerations?

      I disagree; the part where he looks in the mirror and says “Ugh, look at those ears!” implies that his own body is new to him. But… I may be looking into it a bit too much, as I’ve seen the episode three times.

      Yep you’re right except of course for the huge plot hole with Clive showing Rose all those images of The Doctor in his current form… there’s no chance the first time he say his current face was at Rose’s flat.

      • belzedaar says:

        Re: brand new regeneration

        Yep you’re right except of course for the huge plot hole with Clive showing Rose all those images of The Doctor in his current form… there’s no chance the first time he say his current face was at Rose’s flat.

        How is this a plot hole? The Doctor has a time machine. He could see his face for the first time in Rose’s flat, and then he could easily travel back in time to appear in the photos.

        • Alexius says:

          Re: brand new regeneration

          How is this a plot hole? The Doctor has a time machine. He could see his face for the first time in Rose’s flat, and then he could easily travel back in time to appear in the photos.

          I Only Saw The Leaked Episode, But I Was Hoping That Those Photos Might Be Refrences To The Next Few Episodes.

  4. Kaki says:

    Liked it
    It was plenty quirky and had the right feel most of the time.

    The old pictures would have been better for including a couple of other Doctors, if only to keep open in Rose’s mind the idea that it was a cult or some such conspiricy.

    Also it would have been cool if the second time they met from Rose’s point of view had been written to be the first from his. I.e. he is looking for the plastic stuff, finds the arm in her apartment, she mentions that he had already blown up the transmitter last night, and he goes off/back to do so, only to find her in trouble from the converted boyfriend when he is checking if it worked.

    • doctor dave says:

      Re: Liked it

      It was plenty quirky and had the right feel most of the time.

      The old pictures would have been better for including a couple of other Doctors, if only to keep open in Rose’s mind the idea that it was a cult or some such conspiricy.

      Also it would have been cool if the second time they met from Rose’s point of view had been written to be the first from his. I.e. he is looking for the plastic stuff, finds the arm in her apartment, she mentions that he had already blown up the transmitter last night, and he goes off/back to do so, only to find her in trouble from the converted boyfriend when he is checking if it worked.

      Interesting! You’re not thinking that is what happened though are you? Because he seemed to recognise her when he saw her…

      Which reminds me about the ears thing!! I can’t see any other intepretation except that he is new to his body (which would make sense if the BBC are just finishing the final eight doctor book and this is first episode with ninth doctor…) but it is a bit weird to think he’s been running round chasing autons since the previous night at least but hadn’t yet had a chance to look in the mirror! Or perhaps the implication is that he’d actually just regenerated moments earlier after having been hurt by an auton or something…

      BUT ANYHOW what I really want to comment on is all the suggestions above about plot problems with regenerations etc. First up, I don’t have a problem with Clives pictures focusing on just one image only, because it stands to reason that he will have picked up on images that look alike! He has probably unearthed written stories about all the doctor’s many incarnations, but the pictures that have caught his eye just happen to be ones similar to an image he saw first, just a matter of chance which doctor image he happened to come across first and home in on, but if it hadn’t have been CE then Rose might never have responded to his web posting so it all stands to reason really….

      I also agreed that there was no problem with CE being a new body for the doctor and that all the historical images could have been from visits he made to earths past in his personal future… so that was all fine

      UNTIL

      The new regeneration at the end of the series has put a total spanner in the works!! Because as far as I recall Rose barely left his side in the whole series…. so I don’t know how he found the time to visit every major event in earth’s history!! I guess that was never part of the plan… but its a bit of a shame that the whole series is going to be for sale now in one box set but with such a big contradiction between the first and last episodes! never mind… (unless anyone can reassure me with an explanation…)

      • roseblood says:

        Re: Liked it

        Which reminds me about the ears thing!! I can’t see any other interpretation except that he is new to his body (which would make sense if the BBC are just finishing the final eight doctor book and this is first episode with ninth doctor…) but it is a bit weird to think he’s been running round chasing autons since the previous night at least but hadn’t yet had a chance to look in the mirror!

        He’s got his priorities set right. He didn’t dick around with a mirror because he was busy, and I guess there isn’t one in the TARDIS. CE’s Doctor could have been mucking around for some time before he crossed paths with Rose.

        But, yeah, that’s unlikely. I wonder if Time Lords take well to cosmetic surgery? Maybe DT’s Doctor will go under the knife and end up looking like CE (another visit to Satellite 5 and the what-not-to-wear androids?)

      • Kaki says:

        Re: Liked it

        Interesting! You’re not thinking that is what happened though are you? Because he seemed to recognise her when he saw her…

        I didn’t think that was what the writers intended. I just mentioned it because I would like to see little subtle time loops like that which don’t tear at the fabric of reality. They just quietly self-cause or separate two people’s experience of the order for events.

        Personally, I figured the “ears” joke was just a little bending of the fourth wall. But having seen, by the end of the season a self-causing time-goddess Rose, I suppose there may be other loops that were intended.

      • Alexius says:

        Re: Liked it

        UNTIL

        The new regeneration at the end of the series has put a total spanner in the works!! Because as far as I recall Rose barely left his side in the whole series…. so I don’t know how he found the time to visit every major event in earth’s history!! I guess that was never part of the plan… but its a bit of a shame that the whole series is going to be for sale now in one box set but with such a big contradiction between the first and last episodes! never mind… (unless anyone can reassure me with an explanation…)

        How About This, This Is How I Took It:

        The Doctor Asks Rose To Come With Him. She Says No, Since She’s Got To Look After Mickey.

        The TARDIS Leaves…

        The Doctor Bounces Around Throughout History For A Few Hundred Years. He Visits The Titanic, Sees A Few Sites, Watches JFK Get Shot… All The While, He’s Thinking Of That Girl. There Was Something about Her. He’s Not Sure What. He Visits Her A Few Times, Does Things Like Leaving Her A Red Bicycle When She’s Twelve, Hits On Jackie A Bit Before She’s Married, That Sorta Thing. He replays The Rejection In His Mind, And It Hits Him, He Didn’t Tell Her It Travelled In Time! How Could He Forget? Well, It Is A Time Machine…

        The TARDIS Reappears, And He Adds His Last Line In, To Which Rose Runs Over And Hops In…

        • Olenyika says:

          Re:Rose’s past, Doctor’s future

          UNTIL

          The new regeneration at the end of the series has put a total spanner in the works!! Because as far as I recall Rose barely left his side in the whole series…. so I don’t know how he found the time to visit every major event in earth’s history!! I guess that was never part of the plan… but its a bit of a shame that the whole series is going to be for sale now in one box set but with such a big contradiction between the first and last episodes! never mind… (unless anyone can reassure me with an explanation…)

          How About This, This Is How I Took It:

          The Doctor Asks Rose To Come With Him. She Says No, Since She’s Got To Look After Mickey.

          The TARDIS Leaves…

          The Doctor Bounces Around Throughout History For A Few Hundred Years. He Visits The Titanic, Sees A Few Sites, Watches JFK Get Shot… All The While, He’s Thinking Of That Girl. There Was Something about Her. He’s Not Sure What. He Visits Her A Few Times, Does Things Like Leaving Her A Red Bicycle When She’s Twelve, Hits On Jackie A Bit Before She’s Married, That Sorta Thing. He replays The Rejection In His Mind, And It Hits Him, He Didn’t Tell Her It Travelled In Time! How Could He Forget? Well, It Is A Time Machine…

          The TARDIS Reappears, And He Adds His Last Line In, To Which Rose Runs Over And Hops In…

          From what I understand, there is a precedent for this explanation. When the Fourth Doctor stepped into TARDIS during his very first adventure the Robot, and even though it dissapeared but for a few seconds, later this was used to account for some of his travels. I vote that similar loophole used again, especially since the Doctor seems to be taking such an interest in Rose’s life at different points. Maybe she is something specail, more than a mere London girl, as was implied on the Parting of Ways thread?

          • doctor dave says:

            Re:Rose’s past, Doctor’s future

            UNTIL

            The new regeneration at the end of the series has put a total spanner in the works!! Because as far as I recall Rose barely left his side in the whole series…. so I don’t know how he found the time to visit every major event in earth’s history!! I guess that was never part of the plan… but its a bit of a shame that the whole series is going to be for sale now in one box set but with such a big contradiction between the first and last episodes! never mind… (unless anyone can reassure me with an explanation…)

            How About This, This Is How I Took It:

            The Doctor Asks Rose To Come With Him. She Says No, Since She’s Got To Look After Mickey.

            The TARDIS Leaves…

            The Doctor Bounces Around Throughout History For A Few Hundred Years. He Visits The Titanic, Sees A Few Sites, Watches JFK Get Shot… All The While, He’s Thinking Of That Girl. There Was Something about Her. He’s Not Sure What. He Visits Her A Few Times, Does Things Like Leaving Her A Red Bicycle When She’s Twelve, Hits On Jackie A Bit Before She’s Married, That Sorta Thing. He replays The Rejection In His Mind, And It Hits Him, He Didn’t Tell Her It Travelled In Time! How Could He Forget? Well, It Is A Time Machine…

            The TARDIS Reappears, And He Adds His Last Line In, To Which Rose Runs Over And Hops In…

            From what I understand, there is a precedent for this explanation. When the Fourth Doctor stepped into TARDIS during his very first adventure the Robot, and even though it dissapeared but for a few seconds, later this was used to account for some of his travels. I vote that similar loophole used again, especially since the Doctor seems to be taking such an interest in Rose’s life at different points. Maybe she is something specail, more than a mere London girl, as was implied on the Parting of Ways thread?

            I like it. And it fits in well with the general feel of the series that we are watching events from Rose’s point of view. Still think it weird he hadn’t spotted his ears though – I guess it had happened very soon before (in a battle with autons maybe?!). In the old series the tardis had a big changing room with plenty of mirrors (often the first thing the doctor did after a regeneration was go in there to check out his face and choose a new outfit) but perhaps hes less image conscious now he’s a bit older and wiser….!

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