Thursday, 27 March 2014

Doctor Who: Step Back in Time - Series One

With Doctor Who's eighth series starring Peter Capaldi's brand-new incarnation of the Doctor in a few short months, it's time to start a retrospective look at the Doctor Who of years gone by. First up, it's 2005 and the show has been off the air for 16 years. Until one Saturday teatime nine years ago yesterday, Doctor Who returned, triumphant. The rest is history... and the future and occasionally the present.

Starring: Christopher Eccleston (the Doctor), Billie Piper (Rose Tyler), John Barrowman (Captain Jack), Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith) and Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler). 
Produced by: Phil Collinson
Executive Produced by: Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Mal Young

Best Episodes

Rose by Russell T Davies
The episode that relaunched Doctor Who for the 21st century serves as a tremendous introduction to all the elements that define the Davies era; the root in the contemporary world, the Doctor's brooding nature and the companion at the heart of the story. A rollocking adventure that promises a whole lot more to come...

Father's Day by Paul Cornell
Although more gung-ho adventures such as 'Dalek' usually get all the attention, 'Father's Day' is an equally terrific episode, and perhaps the first that shows how much the Doctor Who of 2000s is built around its characters. If you like your timey-wimey monster mayhem tinged with touching human drama, this is the Who for you.  

The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances by Steven Moffat
No list of the best of Series One would be complete without this wondrous two-parter. Moffat really shows us what he's made of here with his customary mix of humour, scares and cleverness being sharper than ever. Starring the creepiest 'monster' in years, 'The Empty Child' proved that Doctor Who still had fangs...


From the opening credits of 'Rose' we know that the traditional dynamic of Doctor Who has changed. No longer will the companion, though the original run produced many bright and shining ones, be reduced to needing the Doctor to save them or handily asking all the right questions. This show was all about the Doctor and Rose Tyler, his latest time-travelling companion. Though don't tell her there's been others.
Steven Moffat has gone on record saying that the first two series of the revived show 'belonged' to Billie Piper and in many ways it's hard to argue. Though the tortured yet barnstorming Ninth Doctor is undoubtedly our hero (and as much as I love his fellow Time Lords, Christopher Eccleston offers perhaps the most robust performance of any Doctor) Rose is our eyes and ears. We learn about the Doctor as she does. Who he is, his mysterious, war torn past and, by the end, his little 'trick for cheating death'...
Throughout the series, the Doctor and Rose are also joined on their travels by Adam Mitchell, the companion who was kicked out the TARDIS after one episode, and the whole lot more loveable Captain Jack Harkness who has, of course, since gone on to helm his own spin-off series in Torchwood. Mention must also be given to Rose's mother, Jackie, and her ex-boyfriend, Mickey, who serve to anchor the show to the real world. Though one would get his turn in the TARDIS eventually...

Story arc

Doctor Who had properly materialised in the 21st century with this innovation for the series itself but beloved motif of every other contemporary television show; the story arc. The linking narrative of Series One is slight on the ground but rightly so as something more direct would have detracted from the easing-in to the world of Doctor Who that the series aimed for. The message of 'Bad Wolf' littered through space and time is a neat device and one which is still referenced in the show now, think last November's 'The Day of the Doctor.' Paradoxes have since become a fixture of Doctor Who, particularly in Moffat stories, but the 'Bad Wolf' meme (created by a god-like Rose only after seeing the phrase already) proved that the show was fresher and more imaginative than ever. Doctor Who was back. But it wasn't staying still.
Did someone say 'Barcelona'?

 Next month: Series Two... New Doctor, that's weird.


  1. You're. just. so. good. *paper crumple*

  2. You can talk, Miss Misspent Youth/Nose/PerpetuallyPointlessPerception. :)


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