Series 1 of the revived Doctor Who was edgy, raw and quite dark at times; everything Doctor Who should be. For me, Series 1, beginning with ‘Rose’, was the closest to Classic Doctor Who we’ve had, and it worries me that it might be the closest we’re going to get. ‘Rose’ was simple, powerful, and most importantly, everything Doctor Who should be. Perhaps the current writers should rewatch Rose and realise the beauty of simplicity…
Now, before I go any further, I’d like to point out that when I talk about Rose, I talk about Series 1 Rose; normal, brave and the Doctor’s best friend. I say this because Series 2 Rose could be a bit arrogant and annoying; especially when she was whinging over the Doctor. Anyway, back to the story. What’s clever about ‘Rose’ is how, like An Unearthly Child back in 1963, the storyline coincides with the journey the viewers themselves are taken on. A normal girl with an ordinary job living a normal life, that’s Rose. There’s nothing special about her, she works in the city, she has a boyfriend and a mum that love her; the viewers can automatically relate.
When the Doctor comes in, we instantly fall in love with the character; whether it’s the first time watching or the first time in nine/sixteen years, we are taken under his wacky spell and want to find out more about what he’s up to; exactly the same as Rose. The Doctor feels very alien once more, rather like the Fourth; witty, funny, and in need of friends to make him see compassion. The small argument he and Rose have about the Doctor not even thinking about whether or not Mickey’s dead reminded me a bit of the Fourth and Sarah. Sarah would often complain to the Doctor about not thinking of certain people, so to capture that magic again was genius.
Another clever trick was to bring back the Nestene Consciousness along with the Autons. A familiar enemy helps viewers of the Classic show to reconnect with Doctor Who, as well as to introduce new viewers to the older stories. The thing that’s scary about the Autons is that something we see every day but think nothing of suddenly becomes deadly and dangerous. I for one am still subconsciously haunted by this episode as the other day I turned a corner in M&S only for the shopping dummy to make me jump; terrifying.
Now, when I watch the current stories, the plots are too complicated for a 45 minute show and the endings always end up way to rushed. Writers need to have another watch of ‘Rose’ because we don’t want our brains to hurt for three years straight, we want nice, easy episodes with a clever twist somewhere along the line that doesn’t leave us scratching our heads. We need better endings too. While the ending for Rose was not genius, it made sense and we understood. Stop waving the sonic screwdriver at nothing and get yourself some antiplastic!