‘ROSE TYLER: THE DIMENSION CANNON’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Rose Tyler Journeys To Parallel Universes with Jackie, Pete and Clive
I tried to come up with a parallel universe series with Rose Tyler as well as Russell T. Davies! 😀
I’m very pleased Big Finish are doing new series ‘Doctor Who’-related stuff. As well as spin-offs, they’ve done ‘The Tenth Doctor Adventures’ and ‘The Doctor Chronicles’. I’ve enjoyed listening to those audio releases. They’re a part of the ‘Doctor Who’ canon as well as the classic series audios. 😀
So when the announcement came that Big Finish were going to produce a new spin-off CD box set called ‘Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon’ starring Billie Piper, I was very excited. Rose Tyler was there at the beginning for me with ‘Doctor Who’ and I felt a sense of loyalty to purchase the box set.
The idea of a ‘Doctor Who’ spin-off series with Rose Tyler had been mooted as far back as in the 2000s when series showrunner Russell T. Davies attempted to devise it whilst we was making the series. It was called ‘Rose Tyler: Earth Defence’. Sadly, for whatever reason, the spin-off didn’t occur.
Thankfully, Big Finish have resurrected that idea and have now called it ‘Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon’. I was pleased that the new spin-off series would star Billie Piper back as Rose as well as Camille Coduri as Jackie, Shaun Dingwall as Pete and Mark Benton as Clive. It all looked very exciting.
‘Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon’ is a 5-disc CD box set. There are four episodes on each of the first four discs and there’s a behind-the-scenes documentary on Disc 5. The four episodes are as follows. They are ‘The Endless Night’, ‘The Flood’, ‘Ghost Machines’ and ‘The Last Party on Earth’. 😀
Just to put things in perspective, this spin-off series takes place between ‘Doomsday’ and ‘Partners In Crime’ from Rose’s point of view. This is about Rose trying to reach the Doctor’s universe when jumping across dimension to dimension. It leads to her reunion with the Doctor in ‘The Stolen Earth’.
1. ‘THE ENDLESS NIGHT’
The first episode of the series is ‘The Endless Night’ by Jonathan Morris. Jonny Morris has written plenty of ‘Doctor Who’ audios beforehand, so I knew we’d be in for a fantastic ride with this episode.
In the episode, Rose Tyler makes her first trip to jump into another dimension. Pete Tyler’s world is dying. The Torchwood institute has found a way for a chance to survive using their dimension canon.
This device punches a hole through dimension for someone to jump through. Rose volunteers herself for the first trip in order to find the Doctor. She soon ends up in a world where it snows a lot.
Trying to find out whether she’s in the right universe or not, Rose soon meets a parallel version of the man Clive as well as different versions of her parents. Will she survive as this world dies quickly?
I love hearing Billie Piper again as Rose in this audio series. I’ve heard Rose before in the Big Finish audios she did with David Tennant. It’s lovely she gets to be the main star of her own spin-off series.
Jonny Morris writes well for Rose. He’s clearly done his research in developing the journey she goes on with continuity references from ‘Doctor Who’ episodes as well as the characters surrounding her.
It’s intriguing how Rose tackles her first trip to jump across dimensions. She keeps in contact with Pete Tyler who is ‘control’ back in his universe as well as keeping her ‘dimension cannon’ disc on her.
Rose asks people about what’s going in this universe she’s in from who the Prime Minister is to checking whether her parents are together. The answers to her questions aren’t what she expected.
I liked it when Rose checked up and met Clive in this parallel universe. Do you remember him? He was the Doctor expert that Rose asked about when she was finding information about him in ‘Rose’.
Sadly, Clive isn’t the Doctor expert in this universe Rose finds herself in. But he is a UFO expert that keeps things in his shed. Unlike in the TV story, Rose recruits Clive in as her companion in the series.
It was great to hear Mark Benton as Clive in this spin-off series. He becomes a useful ally to Rose in her journeys across dimensions. The two work well together when worlds are beginning to collapse.
It’s interesting that Clive doesn’t have a wife and kids in the parallel universe Rose finds herself in. He actually has a cat named Benji. Clive gradually becomes accepting of what Rose says to him here.
Very soon, Rose and Clive begin to enquire the parallel versions of Pete Tyler and Jackie Prentice in this universe who never married each other. The character drama is so well-written for this episode.
It was amazing to hear Shaun Dingwall back as Pete Tyler. In this episode, Shaun plays two versions of Pete – the ‘control’ one from the Cybus universe and the one Rose meets in this parralel universe.
I enjoyed Camille Coduri as the parallel universe version of Jackie in this episode. Jackie comes across as a cold and downhearted person who had two failed marriages and broken up with Pete years ago.
It was tense when all four main characters came together before it gets reported on the news that the sun’s gone out. Jackie and Pete are dismissive of Clive whilst Rose is very caring about her friend.
It’s a challenge for Rose who has to keep her emotions in check when she can’t reveal too much about who she is to her parents who aren’t her parents. Sometimes it does all get too much for her.
It was pretty tense when Rose revealed who she is to her not-parents and the disc she has to jump across dimensions. Pete snatches that disc off Rose, threatening her to take him and Jackie with her.
When Rose refuses as well as ‘control’ Pete back in his universe, she gets locked up in the spare room with Clive who’s injured. It seems Rose won’t be able to escape out from this parallel universe.
Eventually parallel Jackie helps Rose to escape whilst parallel Pete’s asleep. Rose takes Clive with her back to her universe, much against ‘control’ Pete’s wishes, as she chooses him to be her companion.
‘The Endless Night’ is a great episode to begin the ‘Rose Tyler’ spin-off series. I love the performances of Billie Piper and the rest of the cast and the character drama featured throughout it.
‘The Endless Night’ rating – 9/10
2. ‘THE FLOOD’
The second episode of this series is called ‘The Flood’ by Lisa McMullin. This is the first time I’ve come across Lisa McMullin as a writer and this was her first script for Big Finish. She writes well here.
In the episode, Rose is joined by Clive as they visit another parallel universe. This time, the London they visit in this universe is affected by a heavy downpour of rain. Very soon, the city will be flooded.
Rose and Clive split up to find out more about their alternative lives as well as whether the Doctor is in this universe. Rose meets Rob Tyler and his dad Pete. Clive meets and falls in love with Caroline. 🙂
It was fun hearing how this parallel universe turned out for Rose. The equivalent of Rose in this universe is Rob Tyler, who happens to be gay and dating Mickey Smith. That’s just so surreal to hear.
Joe Jameson guest stars as Rob Tyler in the episode. I enjoyed how Rose and Rob met each other. Rose initially fancied Rob before discovering he was Pete Tyler’s son and she becomes shocked by it.
She explains what’s going on to Rob and the alternative version of Pete Tyler. They gradually accept Rose’s story and explain how they’re a part of an activist group trying to overthrow the government.
It was sad to hear that this universe’s version of Jackie Tyler got killed during what was supposed to be a peaceful protest. Eventually, Rob assists Rose to find out what’s going on with the government.
I enjoyed how Rose and Rob sparked off each other. There isn’t any antagonism between them. They seem to like each other. It’s like a brotherly-sisterly relationship as opposed to a romantic one.
Billie Piper gets to shine as Rose, especially when she uses her resources getting into parliament territory and meeting Julia Hills as Margot Kinnear the Prime Minister. She speaks her mind in this. 🙂
I find how Rose is becoming more Doctor-like when confronting people like Margot Kinnear. This happens when she bugs Kinner’s office as well as utilising witty remarks to counter her arguments. 🙂
I enjoyed how Mark Benton as Clive’s journey turned out in this episode. He discovers that his father Mr. Finch, played by Dan Starkey, never had kids. So, that means Clive never existed in this universe.
Eventually Clive goes to this UFO club where he meets Elli Garnett as Caroline. In our universe, Clive was married to Caroline in the TV episode ‘Rose’. Elli Garnett reprises her role as Caroline from TV. 🙂
It was interesting Clive and Caroline meeting like this. Clive never married and Caroline never married. Yet the two fall in love with each other, just as they were supposed to in our own universe.
I like how Clive reveals who he is to Caroline. Caroline isn’t sure whether to accept his words or not, yet she eventually does. Caroline requests that she accompanies him and Rose back to Pete’s world.
Clive admits to Caroline that meeting her was the best day of his life. This happens when the world is seemingly coming to an end and Prime Minister Margot Kinnear reveals the truth to the UK’s people.
It was sad when ‘control’ Pete refused to allow Caroline to join Rose and Clive back to the Cybus universe. It would be too much for three people to return as Rose had risked that with Clive already.
Shaun Dingwall once again plays two different versions of Pete Tyler in this episode. I get a sense that ‘control’ Pete from the Cybus universe is less active than parallel versions of his character so far.
It was a bittersweet goodbye between Clive and Caroline in those closing scenes between them. It was also a touching farewell for Rose with Rob and Pete, just as she’s about to return to her ‘home’.
The episode ends with Rose saying farewell to the gravestone of Jackie Tyler of this parallel universe before she and Clive return ‘home’. I liked Rose still has empathy for her mum in another universe. 🙂
Interesting to point out that Rob and Pete Tyler have a contact helping them in an operation they were conducting for their movement. That contact happens to be Donna Noble. A coincidence here?
I enjoyed ‘The Flood’ by Lisa McMullin. It features a nice interaction between Rose and her male counterpart Rob. I also like how Clive could’ve had a potential romance with an alternative Caroline.
‘The Flood’ rating – 9/10
3. ‘GHOST MACHINES’
The third episode of this series is called ‘Ghost Machines’ by AK Benedict. I’ve come across AK Benedict’s writing before since she penned ‘The Calendar Man’ for ‘The Eleventh Doctor Chronicles’.
In this episode, Pete of the Cybus universe joins Rose on an adventure to a parallel universe. Clive stays behind to do the ‘control’ work. He contacts with Rose and Pete via their communicator in this.
The parallel universe that Rose and Pete visit is an Earth totally dependent on technology. It’s also seems to be technology by Pete’s alternative self, Sir Peter Tyler, who sadly deceased quite recently.
Eventually, Pete and Rose get escorted by machines to the home of Sir Peter Tyler which happens to be a castle. There they meet the widow Jackie Tyler and an associate of the Tylers, Wallace Richards.
I was surprised that Jackie Tyler happened to know all about parallel dimensions as well as Wallace Richards. Jackie is also less argumentative and less difficult than other versions seen in ‘Doctor Who’.
The Jackie of this universe seems to be calmer and more knowing of what’s going on. This especially includes knowing what her husband’s business SoulTech was like. She can also be pretty resourceful.
I liked the scenes between Billie Piper as Rose and Shaun Dingwall as Pete where they talk about their universes and how similar and different they are. They also share over their relationships here.
It’s addressed how Rose never really was Pete’s daughter just as he wasn’t really her father. They just had to ‘make do’. The episode deals with whether Rose and Peter are father and daughter in this.
The emotional relationships between Rose, Pete and Jackie are very well-handled. Jackie isn’t disturbed that Rose is her daughter in a parallel universe. She wishes she had a daughter of her own.
I wish we got to have a scene where Jackie and Wallace showed the technology they had to observe other parallel universes to Rose and Pete. But how much were they telling the truth in this episode?
Camille Coduri delivers a great performance as this alternative Jackie who’s not like the ones we’ve seen on TV. She seems nicer, even though she seems to be having an affair with Wallace in this tale.
Shaun Dingwall himself plays three different characters in this audio episode. He’s playing Pete; Sir Peter Tyler and Machine Pete. It does seem quite confusing with so many varying layers in this story.
Billie Piper as ever excels as Rose in this episode. I found it moving when Rose reacted to how Sir Peter Tyler died in this universe, in much the same way her own dad Pete had died in ‘Father’s Day’.
Alistair Petrie guest stars as Wallace Richards in the episode. Wallace eventually turns out to be a villain in the episode. I’m not sure I understand his motivations when wanting to take over SoulTech.
Wallace was using Jackie in their love affair to do that. He also prompts Jackie to lie to Rose and Pete when they say they know the Doctor. I liked how Rose tests them to discover the real truth off them.
Claire Wyatt guest stars as Dr. Jean Regan, a SoulTech engineer who lets her curiosity get the better of her. Claire Wyatt also voiced Cee-Cee, Castle Tyler’s computer when Rose and Peter arrived there.
The machines in the story are voiced by Dan Starkey and Robert Whitelock. Mind you, it was difficult to distinguish the two and I often wondered if it was Shaun Dingwall’s voice as Pete in the machines.
Speaking of which, Sir Peter Tyler does get resurrected as Machine Pete when uploaded to SoulTech’s computer systems. There’s an emotional scene between Jackie and Machine Pete in this.
I like how Rose and Pete say goodbye to Jackie in this parallel universe. Jackie repeats what she said to Rose, wishing she was her daughter and wanting to go with her and Pete back to their universe. 🙂
Mark Benton as Clive is in a few scenes in the episode, especially when she calls Rose and Pete back to the Cybus universe. There’s a post-credits sequence where the SoulTech universe is soon to die.
‘Ghost Machines’ has been enjoyable episode to listen to. It’s quite complex in places and needs to be heard more than once, but is made up for with nice character drama between Rose, Pete and Jackie.
‘Ghost Machines’ rating – 8/10
4. ‘THE LAST PARTY ON EARTH’
Here we are on the fourth and final episode of ‘Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon’ called ‘The Last Party on Earth’. This episode is by Matt Fitton, who’s done quite a number of ‘Doctor Who’ audios. 🙂
In this audio episode, Camille Coduri as Jackie joins Billie Piper as Rose this year. This is real Jackie from our universe. Not any parallel universe versions. It’s the Jackie we have seen from the TV show.
I like the idea of Jackie joining Rose on an adventure to a parallel universe. Rose is pretty annoyed as it was unintended trip and Jackie just pressed the button. Jackie wanted to join Rose on a trip in this.
Since Pete and Clive have already been on trips to parallel universes with Rose already, she feels the right to accompany her daughter this time. I understand and appreciate how Jackie feels about that.
It still annoys Rose who wants to keep her mum safe and doesn’t find her the most reliable person in a dangerous situation. Mind you, as the episode unfolds, it might not be so dangerous as she’d think.
The parallel universe that Rose and Jackie visit is another one facing Armageddon. They end up in the Powell Estate. They find how things are similar yet so really different in what was their old home.
A lot of the people Rose and Jackie knew in the Powell Estate are different; missing or didn’t exist. They soon find that they never existed in this universe. Neither did Mickey nor Kevin Bacon himself.
Kevin Bacon starred in the film ‘Footloose’ apparently. I didn’t know that. Jackie knew and is worried about it. Anyway, the people Rose and Jackie meet in this universe differ to how they knew them. 😀
I like how Matt Fitton introduces characters that appeared in the ‘Rose’ Target novelization by Russell T. Davies in this audio episode. I have read/heard the book once, but I recall them quite well.
There’s Syrus Lowe as Patrice Okereke and Waleed Akhtar as Mook Jayasundera. These two were friends of Mickey’s in our universe with Sally and Big Bone Bill. They formed ‘the Bad Wolf band’ apparently. 🙂
If you recall, Patrice and Mook were gay and lovers in our universe according to the ‘Rose’ novelization. In the parallel universe Rose and Jackie visit, Patrice and Mook are not a couple. Hmm!
It was interesting to hear how Patrice and Mook were portrayed in audio drama form as opposed to reading in the ‘Rose’ novelization. It is a collaboration between Matt Fitton and RTD developing this.
As written by Matt Fitton, Rose ends up being the matchmaker between Patrice and Moon when they seem distant from each other. This is especially as the world comes to an end within eight days.
Jackie also gets to interact with Elizabeth Uter as Odessa Smith, who would’ve been Mickey’s mum in this parallel universe. Except she’s not! Mickey doesn’t exist. Yet Jackie knows Odessa rather well.
Also according to the ‘Rose’ novelization, Jackie and Odessa used to be members of the Wednesday Girls along with Sarah, Suzie and Bev in our universe. Intriguing how Jackie and Odessa interact here.
Odessa gradually gets to realise who Jackie is as there’s something more to her than she’s letting on. Jackie soon reveals to Odessa who she is and Odessa gradually believes she’s from another universe.
This is mirrored in Rose revealing to Patrice who she is as well as to Mook later on. Whilst Patrice is disbelieving, Mook becomes convinced. Mook’s more serious whereas Patrice is cocky and laid-back.
The episode also features Amerjit Deu as Roni Bandara, who is Mook’s granddad. He disapproves of Mook and Patrice being together and has a lot of interaction with Rose who checks up on him in this.
Shaun Dingwall makes a brief appearance as Pete Tyler at the beginning of the episode. There are mentions of the Doctor and a mention of Donna. Maybe Rose and Jackie are closer to ‘her universe’.
I like the interaction between Rose and Jackie in this episode. They sometimes bicker and spar off each other, but they clearly love each other as mother and daughter once they cope in this universe.
‘The Last Party on Earth’ is another enjoyable episode with intriguing character drama. I enjoyed how Rose and Jackie teamed up visiting this parallel universe and how they interacted with people. 🙂
‘The Last Party on Earth’ rating – 8/10
BONUS DISC – BEHIND-THE-SCENES
Disc 5 of the ‘Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon’ CD box set features a behind-the-scenes making-of documentary on the four-episode spin-off series. I enjoyed the documentary, finding it interesting how this spin-off series was made and I did enjoy hearing the cast and crew being interviewed for it.
The documentary begins with producer David Richardson and writer/script editor Matt Fitton explaining how this series came about and how Russell T. Davies became involved. It’s interesting that the series changed from being ‘Rose Tyler: Earth Defence’ into ‘Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon’ here.
There are then interviews with director Helen Goldwyn, Billie Piper, Camille Coduri, Shaun Dingwall and Mark Benton. I enjoyed hearing Billie, Camille, Shaun and Mark share how they’ve enjoyed coming back to do ‘Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon’ and sharing memories of doing the TV series.
The documentary then looks into the making of each of the four episodes. There’s a look into ‘The Endless Night’ featuring an interview with writer Jonathan Morris who shares his joy in writing the first episode of this series. There’s also an interview with Julia Hills who played Margot Kinner in this.
There’s then a look into ‘The Flood’, featuring interviews with writer Lisa McMullin, Elli Garnett and Joe Jameson. Then there’s a look into ‘Ghost Machines’, featuring interviews with Claire Wyatt, Rob Whitelock and Alistair Petrie. A shame that the episode’s writer AK Benedict did not get interviewed!
There’s also a look into ‘The Last Party on Earth’ featuring interviews with Waleed Akhtar, Syrus Lowe, Elizabeth Uter and Amerjit Deu. There are thoughts shared on the tone of the scripts by the actors in-between. The documentary concludes with the cast’s final thoughts, except Billie Piper’s. 😦
At the end of Disc 5, there is a suite of incidental music to enjoy!
‘Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon’ has been an excellent ‘Doctor Who’ spin-off series overall. I’m glad I’ve heard this audio spin-off by Big Finish, as Billie Piper as Rose Tyler was the first companion I saw in the TV series. It’s meant a great deal to hear these audio episodes with Billie back in the role.
I’m getting a sense that it’s not quite over and that there might be more to look forward to with this ‘Rose Tyler’ spin-off series. I don’t know if Big Finish are doing more of these, but it would be nice to hear with Billie Piper, Camille Coduri, Shaun Dingwall and Mark Benton back. What will occur next? 🙂
‘Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon’ rating – 9/10
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