Doctor Who - The New Series
TX: 26 March 2005
Written by: Russel T. Davies
Directed by: Keith Boak
Running time: 43' 30"
Location: London, England
Date: March 1, 2005 AD
Monsters and villains: The Nestene Consciousness (a creature made of living plastic with the ability to psychically control plastic objects), the Autons (shop window dummies manipulated by the consciousness).
Plot Synopsis: Nineteen-year-old Rose Tyler finds her mundane life turned upside down when a man calling himself the Doctor blows up the store where she works. Soon, she discovers that the Doctor has been glimpsed throughout time, always followed by catastrophe and death.
Bad Wolf Reference: It is alleged that the Nestene Consciousness says "bad wolf" when the TARDIS is revealed. It's hard to tell, though.
Trivia: (1) Christopher Ecclestone is the ninth actor to play the Doctor, the others being William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann. Non-canonical versions have been played by Peter Cushing in two Doctor Who movies from the 60s and Richard E. Grant in a series of Flash animated web episodes for the BBC's website. Eccleston asked for the role personally, having worked with writer and producer Russel T. Davies on The Second Coming.
(2) When Rose and the Doctor are walking away from her block of flats, a strange symbol can be seen spraypainted onto the door of a garage on the right of the screen; this is a letter from the alphabet of the Daleks, the Doctor's most famous enemy.
(3) Just before this episode first aired, former British Prime Minister James Callaghan died. Given the importance of this event, the BBC planned to air a brief bulletin prior to the broadcast of this episode. However, at the last minute the news team decided they were not ready and the rush was on to get Doctor Who broadcast. As a result, there was a conflict with the automatic faders which faded up the microphones in the studio from which Graham Norton's Strictly Come Dancing show was being broadcast. As a result, certain scenes had snatches of dialogue playing over the top of them.
(4) Prior to the series screening, the BBC started a real-life version of www.whoisdoctorwho.co.uk, a website features in this episode. It continued to be updated as the season progressed.
(5) A second season and Christmas special were comissioned by the BBC based on the viewing figures for this episode alone; approximately 10 million people - around a sixth of Britain's entire population - stayed in on a Saturday evening to watch the premiere episode. The average viewing figures for the rest of the season were around eight million.
(6) Just days after this first episode was broadcast, it emerged that Christopher Eccleston had declined to play the Doctor in a second season of the show. A BBC press release cited long hours and a fear of being typecast as reasons for Eccleston's departure. However, this was incorrect and released without Eccleston's permission - in reality he had only signed on for one year, to be replaced in the final episode by another actor. The BBC later apologised to him.
(7) The new series theme is a remix of the original 1960s music created by Delia Derbyshire and Dick Mills.
(8) Henrik's, the department store where Rose works, also appears in sp.01, "The Christmas Invasion".
(9) The episode's working title was "Rose Meets the Doctor".
(10) Some American viewers took the Doctor's comment about "keeping the domestics out of this" to be a racist remark against Mickey, who is black. This is because in some parts of the USA, the term "domestic" refers to domestic servants, who were at one time usually black - and has subsequently been used as a derogatory term. However, in Britain, the word was associated with domestic violence and has slowly been watered down so that it is now used to refer to any kind of spat between partners. The Doctor is using it in this latter sense - to get Rose and Mickey to stop arguing.
(11) This episode was part of the first filming block, which also included 1.04, "Aliens of London" and 1.05, "World War Three".
(12) Director Keith Boak caused some friction with the special effects department when he decided to film some of the Auton suits from behind, despite the fact that the backs of the heads were open. His reasoning was that it could be CGIed out in post-production, which it was, but the SFX team did not appreciate being given more work. Boak has since found it difficult to get more directing work.
Spoiler Synopsis: Rose Tyler is unhappy with her life - her mother is well-meaning but money-grubbing and her boyfriend places football above just about everything else. Her staid life is shaken when she is attacked by living shop mannequins and a man calling himself the Doctor blows up the department store where she works. They meet again the following day, when he again saves her from being killed by a rogue mannequin arm.
After doing some research into the Doctor, Rose's boyfriend is kidnapped by the plastic creatures and replaced with an identical copy who attempts to interrogate her. The Doctor arrives a third time and they escape in his ship, the TARDIS, a unimposing-looking police call box that's bigger on the inside than on the outside. The Doctor explains that he is an alien, hunting down a creature composed of living plastic called the Nestene Consciousness. The Consciousness plans to eradicate all human life and take over the Earth. It plans to do this by bringing plastic objects to life all over the world and it can only do that by boosting its psychic energies with an appropriate structure - something circular and enormous. Rose figures out that it wants to use the London Eye and they race off to investigate.
Beneath the Eye, they find both the Consciousness and a tied up Mickey. The Doctor reveals a vial of a chemical that he called "anti-plastic", but favours talking the creature out of its plan over killing it. Sadly, the negotiations do not go to plan as the Consciousness discovers the TARDIS. Panicked, the Consciousness begins the invasion, and all across the world, shop window dummies come to life and begin killing pedestrians.
The Doctor attempts to throw the anti-plastic onto the Consciousness, but a mannequin holds him back, whilst another takes the vial from him. Thankfully, Rose puts her gymnastics training to good use and swings on a chain hanging from the ceiling, kicking the vial from the mannequin's hand and into the Consciouness. As it dies, the mannequins fall down dead.
The TARDIS materialises in a London alley and the Doctor, Mickey and Rose step out. The Doctor tells Rose that he's impressed with her bravery and asks if she wants to join him on his travels. Rose looks like she's about to accept, but Mickey tells her that he needs her back on Earth, and she declines. The Doctor leaves in the TARDIS, but re-materialises just a few moments later and adds that it can travel through time. Rose accepts and runs onto the ship, leaving Mickey and her old life behind her.
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http://www.physics.mun.ca/~sps/9doc.html - A Brief History of (Time) Travel