Rose (TV story)

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Rose was the first episode of series 1 of Doctor Who.

The first story to be produced by BBC Wales, it was both the first new episode of Doctor Who since Scream of the Shalka, the first full televised adventure since The Curse of Fatal Death and the first story to be part of a regularly airing programme since Survival in 1989. It also introduced recurring supporting cast Camille Coduri as Jackie Tyler and Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith.

An immediate success, the episode set a record 10.81 million BBC One rating that bested the previous record-holder, Robot, and remained the most watched first episode for any new incarnation of the Doctor (not outdone by The Christmas Invasion, The Eleventh Hour, or Deep Breath) until it was finally toppled in 2018 by The Woman Who Fell to Earth.[1]

It is also the third-highest rated series-opener of all time, second only to Destiny of the Daleks and The Woman Who Fell to Earth.

It was the first Doctor Who story to be produced in a 16:9 widescreen format, which would remain until The Woman Who Fell to Earth was produced in 2:1. It was also the first single-episode, 45-minute story and the first 45-minute episode since Part Two of Revelation of the Daleks in 1985. Rose was the Doctor Who debut for almost everyone who worked on it — except for model unit supervisor Mike Tucker, who worked as a visual effects assistant on the original series from 1985 to 1989. Though it was not the Doctor Who debut for visual effects company, The Mill — that had actually come on The Curse of Fatal Death — it did feature the premiere of their title sequence.[2] The sequence would survive with only minor alterations until The End of Time.

Narratively, it portrayed the Nestene Consciousness and Autons for the first time on television since Terror of the Autons in 1971. It also introduced a new recurring element in the form of the Shadow Proclamation, contained the first reference to the Last Great Time War, and introduced elements about Rose's character that would be directly referenced in later episodes.

Unusually, the introduction of the Ninth Doctor in no way explained how this incarnation had come to be, and failed to explain much of anything about who the Doctor was. Indeed, Rose started a mild story arc surrounding the mystery — from Rose's perspective — about the Doctor's identity. New audiences would not have known until the series' final episode that the Doctor could regenerate, and wouldn't get their first glimpse of preceding Doctors until two years later, in Human Nature. As for the Ninth Doctor's origins, it was oft-alluded across the next eight years that the Ninth Doctor had simply regenerated from the Eighth Doctor during the Time War, however the 2013 anniversary special The Day of the Doctor retroactively introduced a "gap" incarnation, the War Doctor.

Various stories were written to coincide with this story. PROSE: UNIT's Position on The London Incident and Operation Mannequin were two narratives published on the U.N.I.T. tie-in website in 2005 to accompany the televsion story, and in 2018, Russell T Davies wrote a novelisation of the story. Later, as the global Doctor Who: Lockdown! watch-along event created by Doctor Who Magazine's Emily Cook continued with a watch-along of this story on 26 March 2020, Davies returned to the writing stool to create new content, both releasing a previously withheld 2013 short story Doctor Who and the Time War, which depicted an alternate account to the origin of this incarnation of the Doctor than what was later revealed, and a sequel entitled Revenge of the Nestene, which Davies placed as Chapter 21 of his 2018 novelisation.

This episode through to The End Of Time of Russell's original time as showrunner all ran with the overarching theme Consequences of the Time War; all of which his successor Steven Moffat wrapped up.

Synopsis[[edit]]

Rose Tyler believes she is living another day of her "ordinary" life, but after being threatened by Autons (living plastic) controlled by the Nestene Consciousness, she meets the Ninth Doctor.

Plot[[edit]]

Rose Tyler being attacked by an Auton.

Rose Tyler wakes up one morning at 7 AM, gets ready for work, and kisses her mother Jackie goodbye. She gets the bus to Henrik's, the department store in central London where she works. In the evening, as the store nears closing time, Rose is about to head home when she is stopped at the door by a security guard who is holding the lottery winnings for Wilson, the chief electrician. She takes the lift down to the basement in search of him, but Wilson is nowhere to be found. Entering a large storage room to investigate a noise, Rose soon finds herself trapped when the door closes and locks on its own, and is disturbed to see a group of moving shop-window mannequins that quickly surround her and raise their arms to kill her. All of a sudden, a man takes hold of her hand and tells her to "run!"

She quickly obliges, and they both run to a lift whilst being pursued by the mannequins. Before the doors can close, one of the Autons reaches for them, but the man quickly pulls its arm off before it can do them any harm. On the way up, he informs Rose that the mannequins are living plastic and that Wilson is dead. When they arrive at ground level, the man holds up a bomb and tells Rose that he plans to destroy a relay device on the roof to stop the creatures. He offers a quick introduction — he is the Doctor — and tells her to run for her life.

The Doctor blows up Henrik's.

Rose heeds his advice, and runs from the vicinity, carrying the plastic arm with her. Once she's at a safe distance, she watches in shock as Henrik's explodes in a huge ball of flame. Rose then returns home, running past a strange blue box, and her boyfriend Mickey Smith comes in to check on her. He eventually leaves to watch football at the pub, and is asked to take the arm with him. He throws the piece of plastic into one of the bins outside.

Rose wakes up at the same time the next morning, before realising that she no longer has a job to go to. Mooching around the flat while bickering with her mother, she suddenly hears a scratching noise from the cat flap, which Jackie still hasn't nailed down, and assumes it's a stray cat. She opens it up to find the Doctor, who tells her he's been tracing a signal from the plastic arm. Demanding answers, Rose invites him inside. While she makes them both coffee in the kitchen, the Doctor explores the flat and is stunned by the size of his ears when he looks in the mirror, implying he has recently regenerated. Investigating a noise from behind the sofa, he is suddenly attacked by the plastic arm. Rose believes the Doctor's strangulation to be in jest — that is, until the arm lets go of him and flies towards her instead. Thankfully, the Doctor manages to deactivate the Auton arm with his sonic screwdriver, though not after Jackie's coffee table has been smashed in the struggle. He takes the arm off her, and hastily rushes out.

Rose chases after him outside, demanding to know what's going on. The Doctor tells her that the living plastic is here to start a war that would overthrow and destroy the human race so that they can claim the Earth as their own. He then departs in a mysterious blue box in the estate car park, ordering her to forget about him. Rose turns away for a second; when she looks back, both the Doctor and the box have gone.

Rose cannot let go, and decides to use Mickey's computer to find out more about the Doctor. She tries several different keywords on search-wise.net, (just the word "doctor" brings up medical results, and "doctor living plastic" produces art results) eventually settling on "doctor blue box". She follows a link to whoisdoctorwho.co.uk, a website owned by a conspiracy theorist named Clive. Mickey drives her to the man's house in the suburbs, where she is invited in by his son. Out in his shed, Clive shows her images from many points in Earth's past, including the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the sinking of the Titanic and the eruption of Krakatoa - all the pictures he shows her feature the Doctor. Clive goes through the facts: "the Doctor is a legend woven throughout history; when disaster comes, he's there." He believes the Doctor is an immortal alien, tells Rose he is dangerous, and that he has only one constant companion: death.

Mickey being attacked by a bin.

Meanwhile, Mickey is waiting in his car outside when he suddenly gets distracted by a plastic wheelie bin moving forwards on its own. He gets out of the car and opens the bin, expecting to find someone playing a practical joke, only to find it completely empty. As he tries to close the lid, he finds that the plastic is stuck to his hands, and merely stretches as he tries to pull away. After a few attempts at breaking free, the bin suddenly tosses Mickey into the air and swallows him whole. Not long after, Rose returns to the car, convinced that she's wasted her time and that Clive really is just a conspiracy nut. She and Mickey decide to go out for a pizza, but what Rose doesn't realise is that her boyfriend has been swapped; replaced by a shiny, plastic duplicate...

As the two of them dine at the restaurant, the plastic Mickey begins grilling Rose about the Doctor. She is disturbed by her boyfriend's odd speech patterns, speaking as if he is somehow malfunctioning. After being interrupted twice by the offer of champagne, Mickey finally looks up from the table, only to find the Doctor standing there holding the bottle. He fires the cork at Mickey's forehead, but it is simply absorbed into his plastic skull, and Mickey spits it out. His hands morph into paddles, and he begins attacking all those around him. The Doctor briefly struggles with the duplicate and manages to pull its head off, but this barely slow the plastic Mickey down at all. Rose hits the fire alarm, and, while the other patrons evacuate, she and the Doctor are chased out of the building by a now-headless Mickey, who flips over tables in the process.

They escape to the back courtyard, and the Doctor calmly enters his little blue box. With nowhere to go, Rose follows him inside at the last second, only to rush back out again at the sight of interior. As the headless Mickey breaks its way into the courtyard, Rose runs back into the box - which is bigger on the inside. The Doctor explains that his blue box is called the TARDIS, that it's impregnable from outside forces like the plastic duplicate, and that both it and he are alien. As he wires Mickey's head into the central console, Rose wonders if her real boyfriend is dead; something the Doctor didn't even consider. Their conversation is cut short, however, when Rose points out that the head is melting, much to the Doctor's dismay; he had hoped to use it to track down the Nestene Consciousness — the entity controlling the Autons. Activating the TARDIS controls, he still manages to follow a trace of the signal, but the head is completely melted before they can find the precise location of the Consciousness.

The box lands somewhere nearby, at the edge of the River Thames, and Rose is shocked to learn that they have moved. The Doctor explains that the Nestene plans to use Earth's polluted atmosphere as a food source after losing its own planet in a war, and will need an activation signal for its invasion plans; a transmitter of some kind, very big and round. He figures it must be "completely invisible", but Rose identifies it instantly: the London Eye would be the perfect transmitter for the Nestene. Hand in hand, the two of them run across Westminster Bridge together, and Rose quickly spots an entrance to an underground base beneath the Eye.

The Nestene Consciousness negotiates with the Doctor.

Entering the Nestene lair, Rose immediately notices Mickey and runs down to him; her boyfriend has been kept alive after being duplicated to maintain the copy. The Doctor, meanwhile, tries to reason with the Nestene, but the Consciousness has two of its Auton guards capture him when it detects the presence of the TARDIS, which it identifies as terrifyingly superior technology. They discover a vial of anti-plastic in the Doctor's pocket — which he had intended to use only as a last resort. The Nestene confronts its Time Lord enemy about its lost planet, and he can only respond, "I couldn't save your world. I couldn't save any of them!" Terrified, it decides to start the invasion ahead of schedule, sending a signal to activate the Autons.

Rose calls her mother to get her to go home to safety, but Jackie can't hear her through the bad reception, and continues into the Queen's Arcade mall for some late-night shopping. Much to her surprise, the shop-window dummies come to life, breaking through the windows as the bemused shoppers stare at them. Clive, who is also shopping there with his family, remarks that everything he read about was true, before he is confronted by an Auton who detaches its hand and shoots him dead in front of his wife and son.

Panic ensues as the Autons start blasting, and shoppers scatter in all directions. Jackie runs outside to behold utter chaos: Autons are everywhere, bodies litter the ground, and a double-decker bus has crashed into a post-box at the end of the street and burst into flames. She takes cover behind a car, just as three bride mannequins smash their way out of the shop window behind her and raise their arms to shoot her dead.

Below the London Eye, Rose finally decides to take some initiative. She breaks free one of the chains on the wall with an axe, and swings down to the Autons, freeing the Doctor and pushing the mannequins, along with the anti-plastic, into the vat containing the Nestene Consciousness. The vial leaks the solution onto the Nestene, and the alien dies in agony. Back outside, all the Autons return to lifeless mannequins again as the transmission from the London Eye is stopped, while underground, the Nestene base starts to collapse and explode. The Doctor, Mickey and Rose board the TARDIS and, just in time, escape the destruction. Jackie looks around at the chaos, as shell-shocked survivors struggle to come to terms with what has happened.

With the Earth saved, the Doctor thanks Rose for her help and suggests she join him on his adventures; the TARDIS can go anywhere in the whole universe. Mickey, however, is not invited. Rose, much to his disappointment, refuses, feeling responsible for her mum and her boyfriend. The Doctor bids her farewell and leaves, dematerialising the box before her eyes. But as Rose prepares to help a terrified Mickey back home, she hears the TARDIS reappear behind her. The Doctor emerges once more, and tells Rose that the TARDIS can also travel in time. Without much thought, she kisses her boyfriend goodbye and runs straight into the TARDIS, to start her adventures in time and space.

Cast[[edit]]

Uncredited cast[[edit]]

Crew[[edit]]

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound



Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.

Note: Paul Perrot was mis-credited as Porl Perrot on the initially broadcast version of the episode.[4]

Worldbuilding[[edit]]

The Doctor[[edit]]

  • The Doctor has been to several major events in his ninth incarnation, including the launching of the Titanic in 1912, the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, and the eruption of the volcano at Krakatoa in 1883.
  • The Doctor reads the novel The Lovely Bones in Jackie's flat by flipping through it.
  • The Doctor often says, "Fantastic!"
  • The Doctor apparently finds out what his current face looks like for the first time by looking in a mirror.

Foods and beverages[[edit]]

  • Mickey offers to make Rose a cup of tea.
  • Rose offers to make the Doctor a cup of coffee which she is preparing in the kitchen when he is attacked by the Auton arm.
  • Rose and Mickey's Auton double go out for pizza.

Individuals[[edit]]

  • Rose's friend Suki says there are jobs going at the local hospital.
  • Jackie's friend Arianna successfully sued the council.
  • Rose thinks the dummies are a practical joke set up by Derek.
  • Jackie's friend Bev phones to make sure Rose is okay.
  • Jackie's friend Debbie knows someone from The Mirror.

Locations[[edit]]

Technology[[edit]]

  • The Nestene Consciousness used warp shunt technology to get to Earth.

Notes[[edit]]

  • This is the first story featuring the new TARDIS console room, which has a far more organic appearance than its predecessors. Initially questioned by fans, the later mini-episode Time Crash would confirm this as a new "desktop theme" for the TARDIS interior, which the Fifth Doctor called "coral".
  • The sonic screwdriver makes a reappearance on screen in a new shape, but with the same sound effect. The screwdriver was first introduced in TV: Fury from the Deep and destroyed in TV: The Visitation, then reappeared in TV: Doctor Who. From this episode onwards, it becomes an established tool within the series.
  • A copy of this story was available to download on the Internet on various peer-to-peer (p2p) networks several weeks before it was released. The preview version was near-identical to the broadcast version, with the exception of the title sequence and ending credits using the version of the title theme used between 1967 and 1980 (presumably as a placeholder) rather than the new arrangement by Murray Gold. In 2005, the illegal distribution of TV series episodes via p2p was nowhere near as widespread as it became with the later rise of torrents; Rose was one of the first major TV productions to be "leaked" in this fashion.[5] The leak was ultimately traced to a third party company in Canada which had a legitimate preview copy. The employee responsible was fired by the company and the BBC considered further legal action.[6]
    • The events of Rose being leaked were seemingly alluded to in the short story Computer Virus File Sharing Alert, where a computer virus conspicuously named "RUFFCUT" (as version of Rose that as leaked was not the final cut of the story) was spread after people began pirating media online. The dates even lined more-or-less up, as the virus became active on 10 March 2005, a few days after the real world incident.
  • The word "Auton" is not used in the dialogue of the story nor does it appear in the shooting script as published in 2005, but does appear in the episode credits.
  • The surname Finch was used for Clive and his wife in the production notes, but not in the on-screen version.
  • For this, the first episode, the opening credits follow the UK standard of "title sequence, then programme." The rest of this season and the next three would include a cold opening before the main title sequence of each episode, as had previously been done in TV: Castrovalva, TV: The Five Doctors, and TV: Time and the Rani.
  • There were problems during the first broadcast of this episode in the UK which meant that sound from a BBC Three program, Strictly Dance Fever hosted by Graham Norton, was heard over the scene in which Rose first encounters the Autons.
  • As part of the launch of the new series, the BBC screened the documentary Doctor Who: A New Dimension on BBC One — coincidentally narrated by David Tennant, the future Tenth Doctor.
  • Following this episode, Doctor Who Confidential Episode 1 was broadcast on BBC 3.
  • The reference to the Doctor having a Northern accent relates to the media attention generated around Christopher Eccleston — who had always retained his native Lancashire accent — not conforming to people's perception of what the Doctor should be like. It also references the fact the different actors who had previously played the Doctor had, themselves, differing accents, most notably Sylvester McCoy, whose Doctor spoke with a light Scottish accent, which would crop up again when Peter Capaldi took on the role.
  • In the scene where the Doctor is in Rose's flat, the original script called for the Doctor to stick his entire head in the cat flap. When it arrived, however, it was far too small.
  • The episode in early drafts had "Auton bin men", which would explain why Mickey could appear in the Nestene Consciousness's lair after being eaten alive by the plastic trash-bin.
  • Rose's comment about the Doctor sounding like he was from the north marks the second time Earth geography has been applied to the Doctor's demeanour (previously, he was referred to as being from England in the TV movie).
  • Similarly, Rose and the Doctor's exchange regarding his accent also echoes a similar discussion between the Fourth Doctor and fellow Time Lord Second Drax in TV: The Armageddon Factor regarding the latter's affected Cockney accent.
  • A special effects milestone occurs when the Doctor is shown standing in the door of the TARDIS and the interior is clearly visible behind him. In the original series, the interior of the TARDIS was usually shown as a dark void whenever a head-on view of the open doors — a rarity — occurred (though this has previously been done in the pilot version of the first episode of the original series; however curiously enough not in its broadcast version). For the first time, elements of the exterior of the TARDIS — specifically the inside of the doors and the POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX lettering along the roofline — are visible from the console room.
  • Between the final scene and the closing credits, the episode incorporates a "Next Time..." trailer for the next episode. This is the first time this device has been used in Doctor Who. This becomes a regular feature, omitted only on rare occasions, or occasionally moved to the end of the closing credits. It also introduces a trend which remained through the first RTD era of the show that the trailer would be proceeded by the 2005 Doctor Who logo swiping across the screen from right to left. It was also rare that this feature would happen before the credits rather than the trailer.
  • Actor Nicholas Briggs makes his debut on the revived series, providing the voice of the Nestene Consciousness. He would go to be the show's designated voice actor, remaining the Daleks' and Cybermen's voice actor (as of 2022). Rose is far from Briggs' first Doctor Who-related work, as he had been an active participant in independent, unofficial, and licensed spin-off productions dating back to the 1980s, most notably hosting the Myth Makers interview video series, writing and directing films for BBV Productions and Reeltime Pictures, and as producer of the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio dramas, a project that had its roots in Audio Visuals, a series of fan-made Doctor Who audio adventures in which Briggs himself played the Doctor. In 2009, Briggs would have his first official on-screen appearance in a Who franchise production with a supporting role in Torchwood: Children of Earth.
  • Russell T Davies becomes the first author of original Doctor Who spin-off fiction to write for the official TV series. A decade earlier, he wrote the Seventh Doctor novel Damaged Goods for the Virgin New Adventures line of novels. Numerous other writers of licensed spin-off fiction and Big Finish Productions audio dramas would go on to write for the revival, including Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss (who would also guest star in three episodes), Steven Moffat (who would ultimately succeed Davies as lead writer in 2009), Robert Shearman, and Gareth Roberts.
  • This is the first episode of Doctor Who to use the name of a companion in its title.
  • The scene in which Rose wanders through the basement of the department store alone was the first scene Billie Piper shot as Rose Tyler (per Project Who).
  • Clive's website, Doctor Who?, marks the first time a character has directly referred to the Doctor by the name "Doctor Who" on screen since WOTAN in TV: The War Machines. Clive's use is clearly meant in the form of a question, with "Doctor Who" being more or less a nickname.
  • The original preview trailers for Series 1 include a scene where the Ninth Doctor is narrowly outrunning a fireball behind him down a concrete tunnel. This is likely set moments after he set off the explosives he laid in Henrik's, and details his escape from the doomed building.
  • Executive producer Russell T Davies stated that he chose to have Christopher Eccleston depict a new incarnation of the Doctor so he could have a fresh start for both the new viewers and the narratives he wanted to implant in the series, and because Eccleston was a good friend of his who wanted to help Doctor Who gain momentum to become successful again.
  • Paul McGann, who portrayed the Eighth Doctor in the telemovie, said that he would have returned to the series if given the chance, but Russell T Davies did not want to depict a regeneration with first-time viewers tuning in, who would be unable to identify why the Doctor changed appearances. Eventually, he was given a chance to reprise the Eighth Doctor in 2013 for the mini-episode TV: The Night of the Doctor, which dealt with the lingering mystery of his regeneration.
  • This story seemingly implied that the Ninth Doctor had recently undergone regeneration from a past incarnation, when he commented about the features of his face while looking at a mirror in Rose's flat. The logical assumption at the time of his debut among viewers was that he had regenerated from the Eighth Doctor. However, this was disproven in 2013 when Steven Moffat conceived a new incarnation to retroactively insert between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors. The so-called War Doctor, played by John Hurt, did not call himself the Doctor until the end of his life and was an honorary, unnumbered inclusion among the other incarnations who carried the title fully throughout their lives. The War Doctor was cemented as the Ninth Doctor's predecessor when he regenerated into him near the end of TV: The Day of the Doctor. Additionally, in a retrospective on the new series in DWM 485, Russell T Davies stated the intention of the scene was merely him noticing the features, rather like being disappointed with "buck teeth" or similar un-aesthetically pleasing traits. He notes the Doctor in the episode is "in command" rather than post-regenerative, and he included the references to Krakatoa and Titanic to suggest this incarnation has a life before this episode.
    • The original assumption about the Ninth Doctor emerging from the regeneration of the Eighth Doctor would later be maintained in Russell's short story Doctor Who and the Time War, written before, but ultimately released after, Moffat introduced the War Doctor and The Night of the Doctor.
  • This is the only episode introducing a new Doctor in the revived series to not run longer than average.
  • This was the first episode since Part Two of 1985's TV: Revelation of the Daleks to run for approximately 45 minutes.
  • This is the first TV story since TV: Mission to the Unknown to consist of a single standard-length episode. This would become the standard for the revived series.
  • This is also the first story since TV: Logopolis, to credit its leading cast member as 'Doctor Who' and not 'The Doctor', but this credit would be reverted during David Tennant's tenure, at his request.
  • This is the first TV story to include a creator credit for a creature or character. In this case, Robert Holmes was credited as the creator of the Autons.
  • During writing, Russell T Davies had trouble coming up with how Mickey was supposed to be captured by the Nestene Consciousness while waiting for Rose in the car, and finally realised he could be lured by a plastic wheelie bin. He commented that such instances of the ordinary being made scary made the series unique.
  • Russell T Davies had to take out "oblique" references to the Autons being like terrorists, as the Eye was once a target of a terrorist attack.
  • The entrance of the Doctor was something much debated; Jane Tranter and other members of the production team wanted it to be more dramatic, but the scene was never reshot. Russell T Davies remarked that it reflects Rose's point of view, whereas a more dramatic entrance would reflect the audience's excitement at the Doctor coming back.
  • The scene in which the Auton arm attacks in the Tylers' flat was originally much longer, but was revised.
  • The episode originally underran by several minutes, and a scene with the Doctor and Rose walking was added a month or so later.
  • Russell T Davies wanted the Doctor to realise that Rose has something to offer to his cause. Their holding hands while running was meant to signify that they were a team, despite him not asking her yet, and they were not to question their relationship.
  • The episode was intended to be presented from Rose's point-of-view. For audience identification purposes, Russell T Davies wanted the alien menace to be easily mistaken as human, so that it was possible for Rose to mistake the aliens for humans. Davies felt that there was no need to create a new monster, as the Autons met these criteria.
  • The Auton sequences were difficult to film because the costumes were uncomfortable for the actors; which meant that frequent breaks from filming were needed.
  • Computer-generated imagery was used in post-production to cover up the zipper on the back of the necks of the Auton costumes.
  • Russell T Davies wanted to recreate the scene of the Autons breaking out of shop windows from their first appearance in Spearhead from Space, although he had the budget to actually smash the glass instead of just cutting around it like in Spearhead.
  • Russell T Davies offered Edgar Wright the opportunity to direct the episode, but Wright was forced to decline, as he was still working on Shaun of the Dead.
  • The restaurant was filmed at La Fosse, located at The Hayes in Cardiff.[7]<ref name=":0"> It took the production team a while to find a restaurant that would require minimal set dressing but would be willing to close for a day.[source needed]
  • The production team sought to film the Cardiff scenes in secrecy, but the day before they began the Cardiff Council issued a press release naming the streets where they would be filming.
  • The area underneath the London Eye where the Doctor and Rose confront the Nestene Consciousness was filmed in an unused paper mill in Grangetown, Cardiff. It underwent steam cleaning because there were such high health and safety concerns. They were only permitted to film for three days, which required that some of the sequence be cut: originally, there was to be another Auton Mickey involved.
  • In the original script, Rose's first experience of seeing the TARDIS interior was shared with the audience. Keith Boak, however, wanted her to exit and run around the TARDIS before entering again, at which point the interior would be revealed to the audience. This change was eventually embraced by the executive producers. Russell T Davies remarked that he originally wanted to take Rose and the audience inside the TARDIS in all one shot, but this was not a feasible with the budget. This effect would later be accomplished in The Snowmen.
  • The episode name was gradually shortened; in Davies' pitch it had been called Rose meets the Doctor, and the journey begins, on his contract Rose Meets the Doctor and finally Rose.
  • Noel Clarke isn't too fond of this episode. He felt that he didn't understand the tone that Russell T Davies was going for, and that he was overemphasising Mickey's cartoonishness as result. This was largely due to the fact that he was also filming the final episode of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, a situation excaberated by the death of co-star Pat Roach. He later said: "It wasn't played straight - some of it was played for laughs. I have no excuses, but I do have reasons: I had no rehearsal time, so I didn't really know the tone of what we were doing. I'd never met Chris before, or Billie or Camille. I didn't realise at the time, but my head wasn't where it should have been".
  • Steven Moffat stated in 2013 that he believed that the Ninth Doctor is newly-regenerated here, as evidenced by his reaction to looking in the mirror. Russell T Davies disagrees: "No, I don't think he'd just regenerated. If you have certain physical features like big ears or buck teeth, you look at them and sigh every time you look in the mirror. And I think if you'd had eight different faces, even if you'd been in the current form for a hundred years, you'd still mutter at them. So it was meant as a nod to the fact he'd once had other faces. But I wrote the Titanic stuff and Krakatoa assuming that the Ninth Doctor had been around for a while. He doesn't act very post-regeneration, does he? He appears in command, waving a bomb. This is a man who knows himself, and has known himself for a while".
  • On March 26 2020, the fifteenth anniversary of the episode, a collective fan "Watch-along" was held on Twitter. Russell T Davies participated and released a prequel and sequel to the episode. The prequel was entitled "Doctor Who and the Time War", an unused story intended for The Doctor: His Lives and Times but declined for contradicting The Day of the Doctor. The story concerns the Eighth Doctor's regeneration into the Ninth Doctor after the events of the Time War. The sequel was entitled "Revenge of the Nestene" it was released in audio form akin to the Big Finish range and serves as a continuation of the novelisation and concerns the survival of one Auton after the events of the episode. The infamous Graham Norton interruption was also recreated.
  • This is the first television story to be recorded on the digital betacam format.
  • Russell T Davies revealed in The Writer's Tale that Mackenzie Crook was almost cast as Clive Finch.
  • Jane Tranter had expected the Daleks to be the villains, but Russell T Davies felt that they would be better used to provide a mid-season bump in publicity.
  • The main villains were originally conceived to be the twin bosses of Rose's company who always appeared to be holding hands, because they were really two Autons who were fused together.
  • Rose was originally an office cleaner. Russell T Davies suggested that she might find dinosaurs in the basement of the high rise where she worked (inspired by Walking with Dinosaurs). She would be saved by the Doctor, with one sequence involving an escape using a window cleaner's cradle.
  • Rose's decision to join the Doctor in the TARDIS was originally foreshadowed when Jackie mentioned receiving a phone call from her daughter that morning, promising that she would be safe, a call which Rose insisted she hadn't placed.
  • Outside Clive's, Mickey was originally kidnapped by Autons disguised as workmen.
  • The use of the plastic garbage bin was inspired by the way Spearhead from Space and Terror of the Autons had made everyday objects sinister.
  • The Mickey duplicate was originally unmasked when his plastic eyeball fell into his soup.
  • In the Nestene's lair, Rose was initially deceived by another Auton Mickey. It was from their conversation that the Nestene learned about the Doctor's anti-plastic serum.
  • Rose was originally supposed to run into Mickey after Henrik's department store blew up. This was abandoned due to Noel Clarke's commitment to Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
  • Filming the scene in the basement was slow and the artistes dressed as Autons needed more breaks than anticipated, especially given the heat of the subterranean spaces.
  • Script editor Elwen Rowlands suggested the name of Tizzano's in reference to the sixteenth-century artist Titian, whose real name was Tiziano Vecelli. The removal of the Auton Mickey's head had reminded Rowlands of the decapitation of John the Baptist, the aftermath of which was debatably the subject matter of the Titian painting popularly known as Salome.
  • Russell T Davies had scripted the Doctor to use the word “Dimensions” when explaining the meaning of the acronym TARDIS, Christopher Eccleston chose to revert back to the original “Dimension”.
  • The chaotic shooting schedule soured the relationship between Russell T Davies and Christopher Eccleston. Frustrated that the production team had not done enough to foster a positive working environment, Eccleston was already contemplating his departure from the series.
  • Christopher Eccleston and Mark Benton had previously appeared in Russell T Davies's The Second Coming.

Ratings[[edit]]

  • 10.81 million, with a 43.2% audience share.[1]

Myths and rumours[[edit]]

  • It is often speculated that the Nestene Consciousness can be heard to utter the words "Bad Wolf". (The subtitles and DVD commentary for the episode state that it says "Time Lord". This can be heard more clearly on the Blu-ray release of series 1.)
  • Due to the widescreen format introduced with this episode, it was often erroneously stated that this episode and those that followed were filmed in high-definition. In fact, the first high-definition Doctor Who episode wasn't produced until Planet of the Dead in 2009. The spinoff series Torchwood, however, had always been produced in high definition. In 2010, the first standard-definition Doctor Who episode to be professionally upscaled to HD, The Next Doctor, was released on Blu-ray; this opened the door for Rose and other episodes of the first four series to undergo similar conversion in 2013.
  • Was produced as a pilot before leading into production of a full series. The episode was always part of a 13-episode production block - with exceptions, the BBC seldom produces "pilot episodes" in the American sense of the word.

Filming locations[[edit]]

  • Howells, Cardiff (Henrik's)
  • Queens Arcade, Cardiff (shopping centre)
  • Working Street, Cardiff (shopping centre)
  • St Mary's Market, Cardiff (alleyway where Rose agrees to travel with the Doctor)
  • Cardiff Royal Infirmary (restaurant yard)
  • Disused paper mill, Grangetown, Cardiff (Nestene lair)
  • Trafalgar Square, London
  • Victoria Embankment, London
  • London Eye, London
  • Westminster Bridge, London
  • Brandon Estate, Kennington, London (Powell Estate)
  • Lydstep Flats, Gabalfa, Cardiff (Powell Estate)
  • University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff (Henrik's basement)
  • Unit Q2, Newport (studio filming)
  • Skinner Street, Newport (scene with the Doctor and the bomb)
  • Culverhouse Cross Studio 1, Cardiff (insert shot) (all TCH 48)

Production errors[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • In the opening titles, when the TARDIS moves screen-left out of the time vortex for the first time (while the vortex is blue, a second or two before the bullet-time freeze transition from blue to red), it doesn't pass through anything but simply vanishes. This error remains part of the title sequence throughout the first Russell T Davies era, and becomes more obvious once production of the show moved to HD in Planet of the Dead.
  • As Rose opens the door to the room in the basement where she first encounters the Autons and the Doctor, before switching the lights on, the cameraman's shadow can be seen falling on some boxes.
  • The BBC news report incorrectly spells Henrik's as Henrick's.
  • In the news report, it shows the time as 20:45, two minutes pass by and it still says 20:45.
  • If one looks carefully, the eyeholes in the faces of the Auton costumes are visible.
  • When the Doctor pulls off the Auton's arm, the sleeve vanishes. There's no sound of it ripping and it wasn't on the arm when it got pulled off.
  • When the Auton's arm gets pulled off, it's obviously its right arm. But when Rose carries it home, it is now a left arm, which turns back into a right arm when she gets home.
  • While Rose is making coffee, the milk is in her right hand. It cuts to the Doctor shuffling cards, then cuts back and we see that now she has a teaspoon in her right hand. Again, it cuts back to him trying to shuffle them, and the milk is back in her right hand.
  • While Mickey is trying to escape from the bin, he turns around 180 degrees, twisting the strands of plastic attached to his hands. It cuts to another angle and the strands are un-twisted.
  • When Rose sets off the fire alarm in the restaurant, the glass cover doesn't break.
  • When Rose first enters the TARDIS, there is only one handrail near the door. Then as she exits the TARDIS there is a handrail on both sides of the entrance.
  • As the Doctor and Rose run across Westminster Bridge, two buses pass by on their right. Another shot shows them from the other side of the road, and the buses have disappeared.
  • After the Nestene identifies the TARDIS, one can see a microphone above the Doctor's head.
  • When the three Auton brides close in on Jackie, their hands fall off one-by-one, but as the second one falls off, the third one has already fallen off, and in the next shot it falls again.
  • The TARDIS interior background painted in behind the Doctor in the first shot of the final scene where he's offering to take Rose with him is jittery and rough, with a noticeable black spot appearing above his left shoulder. It is also noticeable above his right shoulder as he steps back into the TARDIS to close the door and disappear. This is most noticeable on the Bluray release, and is also visible in the recap of the episode seen at the beginning of Aliens of London.

Continuity[[edit]]

Home video releases[[edit]]

DVD releases[[edit]]

  • This story was released on a DVD along with The End of the World and The Unquiet Dead as Doctor Who - Series 1: Volume 1. However, in Portugal and Russia Series 1: Volume 1 also included the contents of Series 1: Volume 2.
  • The version of the episode included on the UK release of Doctor Who - Series 1: Volume 1 was an early edit which includes extra music cues ultimately cut from the transmitted episode, notably in the scene of the Doctor and Rose walking from her flat to the TARDIS.
  • This story was also released as part of the series 1 DVD box set, Doctor Who - The Complete First Series.
  • This story was also released with Issue 1 of the Doctor Who DVD Files.

Blu-ray releases[[edit]]

  • This story was released in The Complete Series One Blu-ray set in November 2013 along with the rest of the series. This release was initially bundled with the first seven series of the revived Doctor Who.
  • In 2017, a Complete Series One Blu-ray steelbook was released as a limited edition.

Other releases[[edit]]

  • Series 1: Volume 1 was also the first to be released in the UMD format for PlayStation Portable.
  • This story is available for streaming via Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. It can also be purchased on iTunes.
  • In 2015, it was released by BBC Worldwide on BitTorrent and iTunes in the A Decade of the Doctor bundle, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the new series. It included introductions by Peter Capaldi, Earth Conquest: The World Tour and an episode guide.

DVD releases[[edit]]

Series 1: Volume 1[[edit]]

UMD releases[[edit]]

Series 1: Volume 1[[edit]]

External links[[edit]]

Footnotes[[edit]]