TV Club: Rose

I suppose there’s a part of me that really doesn’t care what other people think about the show. I imagine it stems from surviving the Wilderness Years where it was seen as a bit of a joke and sad to be a Doctor Who fan. I love that it’s regained its ‘mainstream’ status but I don’t care about ratings or if it’s appealing to a wide fan base or whatever. I like what I like and if I’m the only person watching, so be it. I love the fact my wife enjoys the show and my eldest too (and I really enjoyed watching the specials with everyone including my youngest who has rarely shown interest) but I’m equally happy settling down by myself on the sofa and revisiting a story.

Maybe I’ll try one of these videos out properly - always willing to give something a chance.


I don’t really feel that it’s at all connected to caring how other people feel about the show in that sense, at least for me. I just enjoy sharing stories I like with people I like. But I wouldn’t claim that reaction videos are or should be for everyone. Everybody’s got their own particular preferences!


I’ve watched this episode so many times! Firstly, I did get the shonky download which had the old theme music on. It was so exciting to watch new Doctor Who! Then I won a place at the DWM early screening across the road from TV Centre. Some of the laughs and other reactions from the audience were a little forced as I think everyone was pretending that they hadn’t already seen it before this sneak preview. I was a little disappointed that we weren’t asked what we thought, as I wanted to tell someone that it was “Fantastic”.

Of course I had to watch Rose on transmission, too. It was vital to keep the viewing figures up. I was genuinely annoyed by the Graham Norton invasion. Having lived through the “Cancellation Crisis”, which became a deferrment in the mid eighties, followed by the cowardly way the show was cancelled at the end of that decade (they kept saying that it wasn’t cancelled; there would just be a bigger gap between series), it was fair to say that I’d developed a dose of fan paranoia. I didn’t think that the feed from Norton’s studio had been deliberately mixed over Rose as it went out, but I did think that it demonstrated the “cannot be bothered” attitude towards Who that dominated in the beeb through the nineties and early 2000s. Of course, I was wrong, because Doctor Who became the jewel in the BBC’s crown for a while.

Anyway, some thoughts about the episode. The soft focus and colour balance made it look a lot like Hollyoaks. Apparently this was a deliberate choice to ease young viewers in who might not be used to watching Sci Fi.

I found the pace much quicker than in classic Who. I liked it, but wondered if it could be sustained. I needn’t have worried of course.

I liked Clive. The joke about a girl being interested in the Doctor was funny but I doubt that it lands now, because the gender balance in fandom is more evenly spread now (again, thanks to all RTD and the team managed in these early episodes)

The wheelie bin was a water cooler moment. A lot of people talked about it. I thought the burp was funny and was surprised that some people objected to it on the grounds that it was “silly”.

Plastic Mickey was fun. Yes, there was no way that Rose could have really not noticed, but I think it was partly played for laughs and partly to demonstrate that Mickey wasn’t a go-getter (yet).

The reveal of the TARDIS and Rose’s reaction was wonderful. I didn’t particularly like the design of the interior, but it wasn’t a big deal.

The resolution and “antiplastic” was rushed, but it wasn’t the main point of the story and in Spearhead we had essentially the same resolution; the Doctor made a gizmo that did the job. It showed Rose in an active role, which was what really worked. And the whole point of the gymnastics thing was that Rose got the Bronze certificate, which isn’t to say she came third. Those certificates were for charting progress. You did bronze, then silver and then gold. The bronze was very simple and would have involved doing a forward roll, maybe a simple vault and dismount. It was more or less a participation certificate. It wasn’t about Rose using her advanced gymnastics skills; it was just another way of pointing out that she was pretty ordinary, but was about to do something extraordinary in swinging on a chain and saving the Doctor. It was her bravery that was her stepping up to the mark. That’s why she didn’t really use her gymnastics again; she didn’t really have any to begin with!

Compared to much of what came later, Rose was an unremarkable episode. However, in 2005 nothing like it was on the box at all, so it stood out as a remarkable bit of TV. People were talking about it in shops and on the street. Doctor Who was back, baby and ordinary people liked it!

I did the watchalong during lockdown and RTD joined via Twitter. I was able to send him a tweet to tell him just how special I thought the relanch was and to thank him for bringing Doctor Who back and making it popular. He (or whoever was working his feed) hit the like button, so I felt hopeful that he had read it. I’d wanted to thank him for so long.

I like RTD’s writing and I like most of his Doctor Who episodes. I don’t like it uncritically, though, and there are some choices that I wish he hadn’t made, but he achieved such an amazing comeback that I can forgive all my subsequent niggles. Rose turned Doctor Who into a ratings juggernaut, helped in no small part by the episodes that followed, of course. But I still regard Rose as a shockwave event in TV history. It’s a great episode.


Gods, this is such a problematic episode for me. Having been a lifelong Doctor Who fan, the new series came just when I had just started uni, didn’t have a TV licence, and was in a relationship with someone who I really didn’t know how they would react to my deep fan feelings. The reason that context matters is that the series returning was what I’d wanted since 1993, but I had no idea how I would see it and was dreading the conversation with my partner. I saw Rose while at my parents, and it was almost a relief (although one tinged with deep heartbreak) that I hated it so much. It seemed to be taking the piss out of everything I loved - the automatic were written off as a joke, and Rose was this oh so perfect, super-trendy popular girl (the absolute opposite of my favourite companion, Ace).

Coming back to it now, it’s not quite as bad as I remember it. I still really don’t like Rose as a character, and the episode plays too much towards jokes without having the camp that could have made it fun. But it’s fine. And I can see why it works as a first episode to introduce a new era of fans. It’s probably better than I give it credit for, (I suspect I’ll never forgive RTD for not bringing back McGann) but it really wasn’t for me.


Welcome ThetaSigma and thank you for your comments! Sorry you didn’t enjoy Rose, but I know from speaking to you on Mastodon that you did eventually learn to enjoy New Who… when do you think that first was?

Stick around for the audio and book clubs :smile:

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Welcome to the forum @ThetaSigma .

I remember appreciating Father’s Day, but Empty Child was probably the first time I really started to enjoy New Who.


Just realised I never shared one of my overriding thoughts about this story. I remember, on first watch, being a little perplexed about how they never showed anyone actually getting hurt or killed by the Autons. Bearing in mind Classic Who had never shied away from showing people getting mown down by alien weapons, it seemed odd and did make me worry that the new series was going to be slightly sanitised.

My worry didn’t last long because the following week, Cassandra exploded in front of our eyes but it did seem like a weird choice to begin with and makes those Auton attack scenes seem slightly out of kilter.


RTD remedies that in the novelization.

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Just bumping this thread to say Happy 19th Birthday to Rose (the episode not the character) which was broadcast today in 2005!

Who else is feeling really old!


Been there. Isn’t the actor who played young Amy the same age or older as Karen Gillan was when she started playing Amy now?

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I believe so.

That hits hard! It feels like yesterday Matt started.


I know, I know, I’m late to the party. Finally got around to watching this again (had to wait a couple weeks for it to come in at my library and then life got in the way). This is an excellent jumping on point designed for the not-we. Now, it’s got enough that we can be like Captain America and say “Hey, I get that reference”, but it’s specifically designed to ease new viewers into the world. Where Steven Moffat went for more fairy tale and quirky alien Doctor, RTD goes for realism. You get it from Rose’s view. You get all the explanations as if the viewer has never seen Doctor Who before. Because Rose has never seen Doctor Who, has never dipped into this world before.

While it has silly and/or light-hearted moments, it doesn’t really play them for laughs, everything’s played straight. Yes, the CGI has aged rather poorly, but I’d bet at the time it was awesome. I bet fans were ecstatic that the show actually had a budget worth something. Of all three of the RTD moms, I do like Jackie the best. She like an 80s teen aged 30 years. I don’t mind Mickey, I mean I don’t really like him, but I don’t hate him. He functions in his plot/character role. I think RTD strikes the right balance here between dark/serious drama and lighter family sci-fi.

A few other things to mention. I noticed that all through that opening montage, you get the focus drifting off of Rose and over to the mannequins. The Time War is just “The War”, and we get the first mention (to my knowledge) of The Shadow Proclamation. I also like the “Next Time…” trailer that showcases the setting and all the weird aliens. I still can’t really understand anything the Nestene says down in the bunker. I’m still not which version of the high street attack I prefer, this one or the one in Spearhead. Overall, it’s a great episode. Not without it’s faults, but a solid Doctor Who story and a great jumping on point. Personally, I think Rose works better with Nine than she does with Ten.

I also read the novel and enjoyed it. It allowed RTD to flesh out the world and characters better in ways that wouldn’t have worked on TV or at the very least ruined the pacing. The Auton attack is much wider spread and more violent than what we see on TV which works for what they’re going for. I think RTD was pulling his punches on violence especially in Series 1 because at that point it was still up in the air as to whether the show would succeed or not.

On a side note, as much as I’ve enjoyed the Big Finish Eccleston series, I do wish we’d move on and let at least Rose join him for a season. I know that they’ve talked about ruining the perfect arc of Series 1 with stuff set within it, but I almost think that setting so many stories before it also somewhat ruins it. It is possible to deal with the Ninth Doctor’s Time War brokenness with Rose present. Anyway, mini-rant over.


Not where I started but an excellent introduction nonetheless, I find it interesting they went with the Autons for their third outing as a season opener villain, but they do showcase the shows ability to take the ordinary and make it scary quite well, an excellent choice for the first foray into the 21st century. Making Rose the protagonist of the episode was an excellent choice to reintroduce the Doctor and the TARDIS to an outsider, all handled quite well, the extended scene where she does the whole run around the TARDIS to check its not a trick before showing us this brand new unique TARDIS interior, gone are the white roundels and gothic interior, now a truly living breathing ship. The plot itself is a bit basic but I think you need to start somewhat basic, get the essentials in early, really show the audience the average thing to expect. I rate it a 7/10 on its own merits, but as the start of the revival theres not much it could have done better.


Also, in watching it today, I noticed she said it was an “under-7s” course, which I took to mean that it had been at least ten years since she’d gotten it.


Does anyone read El Sandifer’s Tardis Eruditorum blog (or books)? The post for Rose is a very interesting, if rather long, analysis. Here’s the link: People Made of Smoke and Cities Made of Song (Rose) – Eruditorum Press

I read the first 7 volumes of TARDIS Eruditorum, I read those and some other books along with each Classic story I watched during my marathon. It was good in places but confusing in others, and some of the longer essays I skipped. @deltaandthebannermen isn’t a fan!

I have yet to read any for the modern show. I doubt I will now, as I have too much else on my plate.

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Just rewatched Rose & found that it held up very well. At the time it came out I’d only known Billie as a pop star who was married to DJ Chris Evans, so I was delighted to discover that she could act - both Rose & Jackie were instantly likeable, & Chris Eccleston was great as The Doctor - I particularly loved the way he dealt with Jackie’s unwanted advances! The one big negative however was Mickey - he seemed to have been deliberately written as such a dummy that Rose didn’t even notice when he had turned into one - that whole sequence really stretched credulity, even without the notorious burping bin - and he was so pathetic at the end that you wondered what Rose could ever have seen in him. The short running time did take some getting used to but as an introductory story with a familiar monster it still worked.