Rose has a lot to do in just 45 minutes. It has to introduce the new Doctor, and the new companion as well as trying to tell a story and to a point it does that. The story is told from the point of view of the companion Rose. She is a 21st Century woman with a dead end job and a dopey boyfriend as well as an irritating single mother and they all live on a council estate in London. The story sees the return of the Autons who appeared in Jon Pertwee’s first story ‘Spearhead From Space’ and then the following years ‘Terror of the Autons’. Their involvement is pretty limited as the story is all about (and rightly so) about the Doctor and Rose.
Christopher Eccleston is very good as the Doctor. There is an intensity that there hasn’t been in a previous Doctor. The outfit is very suited to his Doctor and its very much of its time. Had Colin Baker or Tom Baker worn that outfit then perhaps it wouldn’t have worked but for Eccleston it does. Billie Piper is surprisingly good. She does the girl next door act very well and is rightly sceptical of the Doctor and what he is. The bit where she meets Clive in his shed was nice scene and showed that she was developing well. Her reaction to stepping inside the TARDIS was well done. The character of Rose is one that is like Ace but in the 21st Century. Noel Clarke (Mickey) and Camille Coduri (Jackie) are characters that seem only there for comedic effect and only for short periods of time and that’s why I wasn’t bothered by them so much.
There are problems with the story and to be honest their more to do with production than acting or plot. The first being the picture that Clive shows Rose with the Doctor at the Kennedy assassination. When a real piece of history is used in a TV drama its important to try and make it look genuine. Unfortunately this just looks dreadful. If they couldn’t make it look right then they shouldn’t have bothered to include it. Then there is the fake Mickey. Even a simple person could see that Mickey was different. Even when the Doctor had pulled his head off and they were in the TARDIS, Rose still acted like he was real. That said the show did manage to do what they weren’t able to in ‘Spearhead From Space’ and that is getting shop window dummies to smash a shop window. The very next day I went to work and walking past window dummies almost wishing that they would come to live but I’ve had that wish for years.
As an opening episode it did what is was suppose to. It established a show that hasn’t been on the air for nearly 20 years to a 21st Century audience that is use to The X Factor, Eastenders and Big Brother and shows what all long term fans have always known. That Doctor Who is a fine piece of drama with excellent actors, writers, designers and when the money is spent and more importantly in the right places then its possible to make a Sci-Fi show one of the most popular shows on TV. Eccleston and Piper are very good together and with Russell T Davies at the helm the show can go places.