About this Story
|No. of Episodes||1|
|Broadcast Dates||26th Mar 2005|
|Writer||Russell T Davies|
|Rose meets the Doctor after he saves her from the Autons|
BackgroundAfter 16 years off air (besides a TV Movie), Doctor Who returned to our screens in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston playing The Doctor and Billie Piper as his new companion, Rose Tyler. It featured the return of the Nestene Consciouness and the Autons for the first time since Terror of the Autons in 1971. This is the first contribution to Doctor Who for all the key production staff named above, with Russell T Davies continuing as Showrunner until 2010. Keith Boak directed one story later on in Series One, while Phil Collinson continued in the role of producer until 2008.
PlotThe plot is very much based from Rose's viewpoint for this episode. So much, that I can't actually recall any scenes with the Doctor without Rose. We follow how Rose's life changes from mundane to exciting within a few days, starting when a strange man saves her from living plastic. This chance encounter is then replicated the next day (what are the chances...?), leading Rose to grow even more curious as to who The Doctor is.
While Rose discovers the Doctor has been woven throughout history, Mickey is abducted by a bin, which apparently made sense to Davies when he wrote the script. All this builds up to another(?!) chance encounter, after which Rose has her obligatory "It's bigger on the inside" scene. After this, the action switches to the scenes with the Nestene invasion.
The build up for this is quite slow, but it's an acceptable slow due to the need to ease the audience into the revived show, as throwing lots of action and information at the same time would get confusing for people who didn't really understand the concept of the show. Rose also proves her mettle by saving the day with her gymnastic skills, though the Doctor is shown to be a little bit useless in this climax, leaving a big question mark over what kind of a character he is.
Overall, the plot holds up quite well. The steady build up led to an explosive conclusion which made sure that Doctor Who came back with a bang (or two)!
Plot Score: 8/10
ThreatBringing back the show with a pre-established monster was an obvious selling point for this episode, but I don't think it was necessarily the best move. While the audience were being introduced to the entirely new cast, I feel like the Autons took a back seat, which meant they weren't used to their full potential.
However, this move may also have had it's advantages. For example, the established monster wouldn't need much re-establishing, which meant that the episode could spend more time establishing the main characters. Nevertheless, reduced screen time for the threat makes it seem rather diminished.
On the whole, in the time they had, the Autons provided a good enough threat, mercilessly killing poor innocent Clive, depite being almost immediately halted. But, they just seemed too underused for me.
Threat Score: 4/10
ActingThe main cast all performed brilliantly. Eccleston and Piper worked brilliantly with each other, setting the foundations for one of the best Doctor/Companion dynamics of the New series. They were able to switch between serious and silly within the same scene with great ease, making their friendship seem genuine, enabling you to relate to the characters.
The supporting cast of Camille Coduri and Noel Clarke were not used that much in this story, other than someone for Rose to care about when saving the World. This left their characters feeling quite pointless and one-dimensional after this episode due to their underplayed roles. Clive Benton, guesting starring as Clive, gave a brilliant performance, ramping up the tension in the mystery shrouding the Doctor. Shame his prophecies came true....
In balance, the acting in this episode was pretty decent, as the brilliant main cast carried along the less good supporting cast to give a believable performance.
Acting Score: 7/10
Audience EngagementThe companion's natural role in Doctor Who is an audience surrogate. This has never been more true than in this episode. The entire episode is based on Rose's viewpoint as she is thrown into the Doctor's world. This immediately helps the audience to connect with her as they are very much in the same position as her. The high levels of mysteriousness in this episode also engages a new audience into wondering what's going to happen next.
The episode is also brimming with humour, ranging from slapstick comedy to jokes about price wars. Some of this humour can come across as quite childish, such as when the bin burps after consuming Mickey. The characterization of the main characters is good, but supporting characters like Mickey are left pretty one-dimensional after this episode, perhaps not making them as likeable as intended.
For the Classic fans, the Autons and Nestene Consciousness are plucked from the Pertwee era and given a modern makeover. It seemed like a good way to bring back the show, but I feel like they could have been used a bit more.
Overall, despite the burping bins and weird antics from the plastic Mickey, I feel like this episode would have been preety engaging towards it's audience when it first aired.