Fathers Day (2005)

We knew that Rose had a mum but nothing was ever mentioned of her father. Episode Eight rectifies that situation. Written by Paul Cornell this is more of a character piece than anything else. Yes there are monsters but this is more about the bond between Rose and the father she never knew. Whilst watching the first few minutes I think how mad the show is that this is the same show that saw stories like Frontier in Space and Dalek Invasion of Earth and here we are exploring a companion’s loss of a parent. It’s never been explored before but as this is a different era of Doctor, those new things will get explored and in a sensible and structured way. Rose initially wants to be there when her father dies, nothing more. After not doing anything the first time, the Doctor goes back a second time and Rose saves her fathers life much to the anger of the Doctor. This causes the Reapers to come to that particular time because of the paradox caused. Someone who was supposed to be dead now isn’t. It quite funny for Rose to discover that her lovely image of what her mum and dad are like being ripped to shreds by their arguing right in front of her. I liked how Jackie in 1987 is the same as we see in 2005. We do see a more toned down version in parts of Jackie, like when she is talking to Young Rose about her father and when 1987 Jackie realises that Rose is her daughter from the future. Quite a lovely moment.

I liked how the Doctor knew what needed to be done but hoped that it wouldn’t have to happen because it would mean that Pete would be killed just like he was meant to. It’s quite obvious and from that moment I knew that the emotional tension would be racked up over the course of the story. There‘s a nice moment when the Doctor is talking to the married couple and reassures them that their not insignificant and how he admires them for it. It’s one of those lovely moments. There are moments in this which are quite surprising. The grim nature of having someone knocked down by a car is not a nice thing and quite a brave thing to put on a prime time drama. Though it is something revisited in Turn Left. Pete knows that he has to die and the fact he is willing to do it lifts the character from being a cheeky Del Boy type of character to someone quite brave and noble. The moment when he gets knocked down is directed in a good way, its not shocking and you dont actually see anything but its still dramatic.

Christopher Eccleston takes a back seat in this episode as its all about Rose. Eccleston does the anger look very well and the moments where he has to tell Rose off show that this version of the Doctor is a bit more edgy that previous incarnations. Billie Piper does a very good job and carries this episode well. There are some iffy moments but nothing that gets in the way of a sterling performance. She had pretty much shrugged off the pop star label at this point and this episode shows what a good actress she is. Camille Coduri is good as mentioned showing the different sides to Jackie. Shaun Dingwall was very good as Pete and comes across as a nice guy that adds to the sadness that is felt when he dies at the end.

Overall this episode is good as a character episode. There’s not much in terms of alien threat and the reapers dont really shine for me as a good or interesting threat. They were there because of the paradox created by Rose. Father’s Day is an episode that has good points but will never come near the top of the favourites chart. In the Mighty 200 DWM survey of 2009, Fathers Day did come in at a respectable 49th just behind the David Tennant debut.

Pete Tyler died 7th November 1987. Two days before Part 2 of Delta and the Bannermen aired. Perhaps the first episode was too much and that added to his decision.

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