You may think it a bit late to review the Ninth Doctor’s TV appearances but I thought I would capture what I thought at the time as best I can remember. I have also the benefit of hindsight to add to some of the reviews. If you’re still interested, here goes…
Setting the Scene
As I wrote here, I had somewhat given up on Doctor Who and had no idea what to expect; I also wasn’t over impressed by the idea of ex-pop star Biller Piper as the assistant but I thought I would give it a go! I also had little idea who Russell T Davies was (if indeed I had any!)
The thirteen episodes
Rose – first of all I have to say I came away impressed with the whole production, the characters and everything. They avoided a regeneration sequence, Billie was great, we started with Autons (with Nick Briggs as the Nestene voice) as did the Third Doctor. London made a great backdrop, and this was Dr Who as we had never seen before. Later on re-watching The Movie I can spot hints of that in Rose, but this is a thing unto itself. I also spot a hint of the perhaps sinister influence the Doctor has on those around him; at the finale when he is made a prisoner, Rose finds a new courage and starts leaping around on ropes saving the day. What a great story though!
The End of the World – when he said he had a time machine he meant it, and now zooms off to watch the end of planet Earth with a small number of other odd aliens including the Face of Boe (who we now believe might be Captain Jack) and Cassandra both of whom will appear next series. Looking back I also spot more Nick Briggs as ‘alien voices’. I didn’t like the Cassandra character and thought overall that while this was solid the range of aliens were almost there just to look strange
The Unquiet Dead – and now Rose gets to go back in time and meet a historical figure, this time Charles Dickens. This Mark Gatiss horror story changed the feel and helped flesh out the series. As we all now know Eve Myles appeared here as the maid, before going on to Torchwood (and much later in there will be a mention back to this in The Stolen Earth. The episode also introduces the Cardiff Rift that time-space anomaly that we have all grown to love
Aliens of London / World War Three – the Doctor takes Rose home and overshoots by a year finding wanted posters and shortly afterwards aliens in London. The first part gives us a visit by Toshiko from Torchwood (a season ahead of it getting invented!) covering for Owen; the second gives is the great new prime minister Harriet Jones. A fun romp that did (maybe) take the series too far towards fart gags and gave us the Slitheen. Observant viewers will also have noticed a Bad Wolf clue (I didn’t). By now I am just enjoying having the show back and a dawning sense that this time it might be cool to watch (unlike the 70s!)
Dalek – we waited and they came (or at least one). No pretensions here, the episode was called Dalek and that is what we got along with Nick Briggs making the voice his role. We also got some Time War, a dodgy companion for an episode and torture scenes. In the midst of all this the Doctor / Rose relationship changed and also so did the Doctor moving back towards his classic self away from the warrior he had become
The Long Game – not my favourite and an expensive set which gets re-used later in the series. The dodgy companion Adam is dumped (hurrah!) and more celebrity appearances. I don’t like this episode, the opening scene after the Doctor arrives annoys me and the message about TV controlling people I felt was laboured. The monster (Jagrafess) also whilst striking seemed formulaic. I suspect this is one I need to re-watch to spot the subtleties – wiki tells me there are more pointers to Bad Wolf for example
Father’s Day – so back into Rose’s own past for some back story, the appearance of her (now dead) father and some great acting by Camille Coduri as Jackie Tyler. I thought the reapers were a bit artificial though it has been pointed out they are similar to the Big Finish vortisaurs and have not appeared again despite the possibilities. Despite all that this was a tight episode that showed great quality (whatever that means)
The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances – having re-watched recently, I have decided that this could easily have been a one-part story and that the Captain Jack / dancing / fooling around between Jack and Rose was added to fill out two episode. Anyhow we have the best episode (IMHO) of the series in Empty Child showing us what Steven Moffat could do. We also meet the wonderful Captain Jack Harkness and get a bravura performance by Richard Wilson as the medical doctor and a superb role / performance by Florence Hoath as Nancy. I loved it despite the dancing!
Boom Town – a Cardiff / rift / Slitheen story that just about gives everyone something to do and is interesting to watch knowing the the future Captain Jack could have been underneath in the Torchwood hub at the same time, watching events unfold! Although I don’t care much for the Slitheen the whole dinner sequence with the Doctor is great fun to watch and once again poor Mickey is part of the crew without being allowed to travel in the TARDIS.
Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways – and now the end comes and we get to admire how Russell T Davies had cleverly sneaked lots of clues into the stories (a trait that I think is getting in the way in later series) and was able to pull a big deus ex machina ending (in this case the machine in question being the TARDIS). More Daleks than you can shake two space stations at and I did not expect the regeneration. There I was rejoicing in the triumphant return of the show and bingo we get a new doctor played by a guy who had just played Casanova on TV. What did I know!