Doctor Who, ten years ago: Rose
I’d not reviewed Rose straight away, and didn’t catch up until 22 April 2005, in Another Place, another journal… but this, after three or four viewings and frenetic discussion, three more episodes and much discussion, is my 2005 reaction:
‘Rose’ matures well; like lots of other viewers, I thought it was rather like the end of an old-fashioned ‘Doctor Who’ story, as watched by an outsider who gradually becomes drawn into events. However much I was cast adrift by the absence of plot-driven tension, the dampening of the ‘Terror of the Autons’ through overfrenetic music and the clownish interpretation of the Auton Mickey, I was still uplifted by Rose’s gradual discovery of the Doctor, the vindication and redemption of Clive-as-Everyfan; and of course Rose’s final dash towards the TARDIS at the end. Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor seemed too over the top at first, and I wasn’t convinced on the first viewing by his antics with the Auton arm, even though I could see that both were part of the production’s strategy. With the latter scene, we were intended to view the scene through Rose’s eyes (had she been looking), and that she wouldn’t have (and didn’t) immediately assume that anything unusual was occurring other than the Doctor behaving even more strangely than before. It was while watching this episode that my pre-transmission idea of the ninth Doctor as an exile from the welfare state stranded in an individualistic universe was joined by one of the soldier-Doctor – nothing in these scripts is careless and the line ‘I fought in the war’, not something one might have expected the pacific Time Lord to have said, suggested that some character development is to be unveiled during this series.
Sadly I have too much on to add further reflections or join in the anniversary rewatches happening in thousands of homes as I type. Happy rebirthday, however, Doctor.