It’s strange to think, as we await the arrival of Peter Capaldi’s Twelvy, that we are only about eight months away from it being ten years since the show came back with Christopher Eccleston’s Nine instead of Paul McGann’s Eight.
Think about that for a minute. It’s incredible to think that next year’s Series Nine will see the New Series at almost the same point as the Classic Series was with The Three Doctors. Amazing. I was around back in 1989 when it looked like it was all over and I was there again for the false dawn of the TV Movie.
Thank God for Sir Russell Tea of Gayness, Lady Jayne Trantis and Dame Lorraine Escstasy, that’s what I say. The return or revival or rebirth or regeneration or whatever you want to call it of Doctor Who started with them, and on TV it all started here. And the parallels behind the scenes between the show’s return and its origins are rather spooky. If Russell T Davies is the 2005 equivalent of 1963’s Verity Lambert, then who can Jayne Tranter and Lorraine Heggessy be but Sydney Newman and Donald Wilson?
I must be honest, I had huge misgivings about the new look show and, from what I’d seen prior to the TX of Rose, I was genuinely worried that it would be terrible. The Doctor didn’t look like The Doctor, he looked like a Manchester gangster who’d just got out of prison. The Tardis was the wrong size and shape. The console set looked awful in the trailers and there were no round things…
All of which just goes to show what I know and I have never been more happy to be wrong about anything. Of course, nobody knew when Rose went out that the show would be a hit, certainly not the huge hit that us Old Skool Fanboys all hoped and prayed that it would be. And we were only fans.
Heaven only know what it must have been like for Tranter, Heggessy, Gayness and Gardner – people whose professional reputations were on the line – as they waited for the Overnights… much like Hussein and Lambert must have done all those years earlier. And when those overnights proved the detractors wrong, the trip of a lifetime really was underway at last!
The opening few minutes of this story are probably the most important in the show’s history outside of An Unearthly Child. Quite aside from the weight of expectation and the anticipation of failure, the opening of the story has to grab the audience and make sure they stay hooked until the end. Or at least until the new Doctor turns up and they can see what he’s like. Keeping the focus on Rose Tyler, and by extension us ourselves, we get to see what it’s like when they Doctor enters your world and changes your life forever. That moment where Eccles grabs Billie’s hand and says “run!” was the moment when all my concerns, worries and fears left me, I repented for ever doubting RTD and I knew everything would be okay.
And it pretty much was until the moment where the Doctor turns up at Rose’s gaff and we get all that bollocks with the sound of a glass coffee table being smashed getting drowned out by the sound of Jackie Tyler’s hairdryer. Either Jackie is stone deaf in her left ear or that’s one helluva noisy hairdryer! And then we get that crap speech about the turning of the Earth, which is even more bollocks and most deffo not the answer I was expecting to the question “who are you, Doctor?” Meh.
So that’s where we get our first cut. Mickey goes down the pub and the next day Rose turns up at his place and uses his computer, which leads us to Clive. Which in turn leads to the next contentious moment, the burping bin. Yes, it gets cut, but only because its loss heightens the reveal of Auton Mickey later in the restaurant. In the TX version the audience knows that isn’t Mickey when Rose gets back in the car because its made way too obvious and you wonder why, if Rose really is companion material, she doesn’t rumble him earlier.
So this time there’s a bit less Clive, which means we get to the restaurant that bit earlier, which means Rose gets into the Tardis just fifteen minutes in. When the autons break out of the shop windows – something heard but not seen back in 1970, the last time they tried this – look out for a cameo appearance by Elton Pope, something that I couldn’t not include. I also took the opportunity to fix the continuity error with the auton brides attacking Jackie by swapping the shots round and putting them back in the right order.
Now that Rose has been edited, you can watch the Fan Edits of Enemy Within, followed by The Day of The Doctor, followed by this and then see how different the Eccleston Doctor seems to you now that we know at least some of what really happened to him between San Francisco and that fateful meeting at Henrik’s. It’s going to be interesting revisiting these Dr Eccles stories again, knowing what we know now that we didn’t back then and seeing if that knowledge makes us view them any differently…
So, with 2015 just around the corner, nearly Ten Years On we finally have the full picture of how Doctor Who got all the way from Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred in 1989 to Christopher Eccles and Billie Piper in 2005.
The trip of a lifetime starts here. Geronimo!
APRIL 2015 UPDATE:
Having re-edited the closing moments of my fan edit of The Day of The Doctor to include my alternate take on the regeneration from Hurt to Eccles, it made sense to update my edit of Rose to include that new version too so the two edits matched up. Apart from the new regen shots, the only other difference between the original 2014 edit and this new one is the inclusion of the “throw forward” as per the other Series One edits.