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Rose and the Autons
I was a newcomer to ‘Doctor Who’ when it returned in 2005.
I saw the time traveller in his blue box through the original new series DVDs. The first DVD had the first three episodes of new series ‘Doctor Who’ starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler. This is a brilliant start to a new series for a young audience.
Back in 2005, ‘Doctor Who’ had just been revived. Now it has become more popular than ever thanks to its first series. The first three episodes are cherished and treasured for many years to come.
I found ‘Rose’ by Russell T. Davies to be a good start to the new series of ‘Doctor Who’. We meet Rose Tyler, the Doctor’s companion, for the first time and see the show through her eyes.
Rose drives the story forward, as she meets the Doctor when she gets attacked by living plastic shop-window dummies. She gets rescued by the Doctor and gets curious about who this man is.
This is a wonderful start to the series with some lovely performances by Billie Piper as Rose and Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. Chris Eccleston has a great introduction here and it’s well-written by Russell T. Davies.
Billie Piper is lovely as Rose Tyler in this episode. I like how Billie as Rose connects to the audience and how she gets introduced. I also liked how she meets the Doctor for the first time.
Rose gets curious about what’s going on with the Doctor and why living plastic creatures are attacking her. She becomes resourceful and brave when at a restaurant and when in the Nestene Consciousness’ lair.
Christopher Eccleston delivers a fantastic performance as the Doctor. He’s a joy to watch as he’s funny, clever and gets to show a vulnerable, brooding side to the Doctor since he hides a dark past.
I liked it when the Doctor met Rose for the first time. Despite sending her away, the Doctor clearly likes Rose and considers her a companion. He invites her to join him in the TARDIS at the end.
Camille Coduri guest stars as Jackie Tyler, Rose’s mum for the first time. Camile is really funny as Rose’s mum. She delivers the light relief in ‘Doctor Who’ and doesn’t know it when Rose meets the Doctor.
Noel Clarke guest stars as Mickey Smith for the first time. Mickey is Rose’s boyfriend. He seems to be tough outwardly, but inside he’s a coward and gets scared when thrown into the Doctor’s world.
In the episode, the monsters are the Autons – living plastic creatures animated by the Nestene Consciousness. They can take the form of anything that’s plastic such as shop-window dummies.
Mark Benton guest stars as Clive, an expert on the Doctor. Rose meets him after she visits his website about the Doctor. Clive tells Rose all he knows about the Doctor which was very intriguing.
I enjoyed seeing the familiar locations in Cardiff used as the backdrops of London. The Queen’s Arcade building where Jackie does some shopping in ‘London’ was familiar and thrilling to see.
‘Rose’ is a pretty great opening episode to watch in the new series of ‘Doctor Who’. Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper deliver excellent performances and the writing is so well-done by RTD.
The DVD/Blu-ray special features for this episode are as follows. There’s ‘Destroying the Lair’, a behind-the-scenes look on how the episode’s climax was done. There’s also an audio commentary on the episode with writer/executive producer Russell T. Davies, executive producer Julie Gardner and producer Phil Collinson. There are some BBC launch trailers and a storyboard for one of the BBC launch trailers. There’s also the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘Bringing Back The Doctor’.
‘Rose’ rating – 8/10
‘DOCTOR WHO – ROSE’
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Rose Tyler’s Journey Begins
This is something I thought would never happen with the new series of ‘Doctor Who’!
I was delighted and pleased to hear that BBC Books were releasing a brand-new range of Target novelizations for the new series of ‘Doctor Who’. I was over-the-moon and was really looking forward to reading these four brand-new Target novelizations of four ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the new series.
Beforehand, I’d been reading and listening to a lot of ‘Doctor Who’ Target novelizations/audiobooks for the classic series. I didn’t think it would happen with the new series to have Target novelizations/audiobooks for their TV stories. For the simple reason being that they didn’t need them.
The reason the Target novelizations were made back in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s was because of the limited availability of ‘Doctor Who’ stories being shown on TV with a lack of VHSs and DVDs. The new series of ‘Doctor Who’ doesn’t have that problem as we can watch the stories anytime anywhere.
But with the BBC audio division releasing audiobooks of Target novelizations for classic series stories and with reprints of Target novelizations of classic series stories for people to enjoy, the prospect of new series Target novelizations for ‘Doctor Who’ was inevitable. For me, it was a welcome one at that.
I’ve always wanted to find out more about my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the new series and dreamed that novelizations of those stories would be made. I even considered doing novelizations of those new series TV stories myself. Thankfully I don’t have to do that as it’s now definitely happening.
BBC Books decided to start off with novelizations of four ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the new series featuring each of the four new series Doctors that have already been on TV. This works well for me since it’s only fair that we have novelizations focusing on each of the four specific eras of the new TV series.
These four brand-new ‘Doctor Who’ novelizations include ‘Rose’ with the Ninth Doctor, ‘The Christmas Invasion’ with the Tenth Doctor, ‘The Day of the Doctor’ with the Eleventh Doctor and ‘Twice Upon A Time’ with the Twelfth Doctor. These are interesting choices, but they’re welcome ones at that here.
By the way, I had these four brand-new ‘Doctor Who’ novelizations of new series stories as well as the junior novelization for ‘City of Death’ by James Goss for my birthday in May 2018. I was happy to have these books as I knew I could take my time reading and listening to the novelizations/audiobooks of them.
What was even more exciting for ‘Doctor Who’ fans is that two of these novelizations would be done by the two showrunners of the new series. ‘Rose’ was novelized by Russell T. Davies and ‘The Day of the Doctor’ was novelized by Steven Moffat. The other two stories were done by other writers.
I was especially looking forward to reading the ‘Rose’ novelization by Russell T. Davies, since his era of ‘Doctor Who’ was the one I grew up with and is my overall favourite. I was looking forward to finding out how RTD expanded his story for the first new series TV episode and what changes he would make to it.
This isn’t the first time that Russell has written a ‘Doctor Who’ book before. Oh no! The first one he did was a ‘Virgin New Adventures’ novel called ‘Damaged Goods’ featuring the Seventh Doctor, published in 1996. That has become an audio drama. It’s nice this has come full circle for RTD the man!
This Target novelization is of course on the very first TV episode of the new series, shown when ‘Doctor Who’ was revived back in 2005. It was exciting to read this novelization of a TV episode that deemed whether the show was going to a hit or not with audiences new to the series when Mr. RTD revived it.
I was curious how RTD was going to embellish his first ‘Doctor Who’ TV episode into a novelization, considering it was 45 minutes long compared to a traditional four-part story from the classic series. But I did trust RTD with his writing and, as he is a ‘Doctor Who’ fan, he clearly relishes writing the book.
‘Rose’ the book is divided into 20 chapters with a prologue at the beginning. I found how each chapter focuses on each scene featured in the story. RTD uses the opportunity to enhance each scene with character development; introducing new characters and even foreshadowing other new series stories.
There is an audiobook provided for the ‘Rose’ novelization and it’s read by Camile Coduri who played Jackie Tyler in the series. I enjoyed Camile’s reading of the story and it was a pleasure to have the audiobook as a download via Audible. This is how I usually hear audiobooks in the background nowadays.
Camile has a fine, clear reading voice when she does ‘Doctor Who’ audiobooks and has done some before, even for the Ninth Doctor ‘New Series Adventures’ books. She’s good providing her Jackie Tyler voice for the ‘Rose’ novelization/audiobook, especially as she knows her character inside and out well.
I don’t think Camile provides good voices for Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor, Rose and even Mickey. But at least she gets the tone of what the characters sound like especially from working with the actors. I especially like the rounded Northern voice she provided for Clive in certain scenes of the tale.
So, how much is improved and what’s different in the Target novelization of ‘Rose’ compared to the TV story? Well, Russell T. Davies provides a lot of brand-new embellishments in the story that makes it so refreshing. It even makes me want to novelize ‘The Railway of Time’ the same way RTD novelized this.
The book begins with a prologue focusing on Wilson, the man that Rose was looking for at the beginning of the story when she went down to the basement of Henrik’s clothes shop. It depicts what happened to Wilson when he got killed off by the Autons and also depicts him as a less savoury character in the book.
A notable inclusion is the scene from the end of ‘The End of Time’ where Rose Tyler saw the Tenth Doctor before his regeneration. I like how RTD included that scene since it ties everything together with what occurs in his era for ‘Doctor Who’. I liked how the Tenth Doctor is put in shadow before Rose.
There’s more development given to Mickey’s character, especially with regards to his family. A history is given on what happened to his family, including his mother and father. There’s even an inclusion of Mickey’s grandmother from ‘Rise of the Cybermen’. I do like how Rose reacts to Mickey over his family.
The novelization introduces us to three of Mickey’s mate in the flat he lives in. These include Sally, Mook and Patrice. These characters were never featured in the TV story. I like how RTD expands on the scene where Rose visits Mickey at his flat and not just have her look up the Doctor on his computer.
These three characters in Mickey’s flat also form the Bad Wolf band. Ah, so there’s the ‘Bad Wolf’ reference featured in this ‘Doctor Who’ story. I did wonder why I didn’t hear a mention of ‘Bad Wolf’ in the TV story. Now I know. There wasn’t one. Thanks RTD for including it in this Target novelization.
A thing I’ve noticed about this novelization is RTD’s inclusion of homosexuality which wasn’t in the TV tale. This includes Sally who is a trans-woman and Mook and Patrice being gay and attracted to each other. This is something common in RTD’s writing, especially with ‘Torchwood’ and ‘Damaged Goods’.
The chapter where Clive shows Rose pictures of the Doctor includes other incarnations as well as Christopher Eccleston’s. This was never in the TV story and I like how RTD does it here in the novelization. These of course include images of the first twelve incarnations of the Doctor in the series.
The War Doctor isn’t included though, which is interesting. Most importantly however is the inclusion of Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, which at this point we’ve not seen yet on TV. RTD describes her as ‘a blond woman in braces running away from a giant frog in front of Buckingham Palace’. I’d like to see this. 😀
RTD also includes images of future Doctors we’ve not seen at all before. This includes ‘a tall, bald black woman wielding a flaming sword’ and a ‘young girl or boy in a hi-tech wheelchair with what looked like a robot dog at their side’. My goodness! Russell T. Davies is the man, isn’t he? He can predict the future!
Hey, wait a second! I’ve just realised something. ‘A tall, bald black woman’. The only woman I know of who fits that description is Josette Simon who played Sarana Teel in ‘The Sontaran Ordeal’. My goodness again! RTD knows who’s going to play the Fourteenth Doctor in the TV series! Josette Simon! 😀
Anyway, it was interesting to see Rose’s reactions to the images of the Doctor, but she’s clearly only interested in her Doctor – the Ninth. This, I can appreciate since she would only be interested in the one she met and would get confused by seeing the others. Clearly she isn’t taken with the Tenth at this point.
It was also nice to have some development for Clive’s character in the novelization. Apparently his father was present during the Shoreditch incident of 1963 in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’. It was interesting how Clive’s dad got killed by a Dalek and how Clive has done research on the Doctor since.
There’s a moment where Clive begs Rose to take him with her to see the Doctor since he knows she’ll be seeing him again. This freaks Rose out as she politely takes her leave of him. I’m glad that moment wasn’t included in the TV version of the story since that would’ve been quite disturbing to watch here.
Certain minor changes in the novelization include Clive having two sons called Ben and Michael, whereas in the TV version of the story, he had only one son. Jackie also walks in when the Doctor and Rose are in a compromising position after fighting an Auton arm. She get very upset about a broken coffee table.
There’s a variety of Autons featured in this novelization of the story compared to the TV version. For example, when the Doctor and Rose are looking for the Auton base under the London Eye, a group of Autons pose as statue people near the river. I wouldn’t consider statue people as plastic, but I’ll dig it.
More history is given about how the Time War rewrote the Nestene’s history from the Doctor to Rose. It was interesting to read and hear in the novelization/audiobook. It could explain a lot of things on why the Nestenes and the Autons invaded Earth in ‘Spearhead From Space’ and ‘Terror of the Autons’.
An interesting inclusion in the novelization is that Rose notices the cut that the Doctor gets when he smashed into the coffee table in the Tylers’ flat. By the time Rose sees the Doctor again with the first duplicate Mickey in the restaurant, the cut is gone. It’s been two weeks since the Doctor last saw Rose.
The scene where Rose and the Doctor find Mickey in the Auton base underneath the London Eye is handled differently in the novelization. It turns out that Mickey is actually an Auton duplicate when Rose reveals the Doctor’s plans to him. That duplicate gets melted and the real Mickey turns up again.
There’s more delved into the Auton invasion of Earth in the last number of chapters of the story. There are some gruesome moments where the Autons decapitate people as they can turn their hands into sharp blades as well as turning them into guns. Thank goodness that wasn’t included in the TV version!
It was also interesting to see the Auton invasion from three viewpoints in the city of London away from the Doctor, Rose and Mickey under the London Eye. These include Jackie Tyler, Clive and his family and the Bad Wolf band/Mickey’s mates. Seeing it from those perspectives were pretty engaging.
A big inclusion during the Auton invasion is the cameo appearance of Donna Noble as well as her granddad Wilfred Mott. I was pleased to find out what happened to Donna during the Auton invasion in ‘Rose’. And what does she do? Donna sleeps right through it with no knowledge of what happened that night. 😀
After the Auton invasion is over, Rose speaks to her mum Jackie on the phone instead of hanging up when she answers. I actually prefer this in the novelization since it would be strange for Rose not to talk to her mum to reassure her she’s alright. But I suppose episode timing prevented that from happening.
There’s an extra scene where the Doctor shows Rose and Mickey the view outside the TARDIS doors after they’ve dealt with the Auton invasion. Mickey is cowardly and afraid whilst Rose is in awe and delighted to see the view. She tells the Doctor she can feel the Earth tilt. This echoes the Doctor’s line from earlier.
The book ends with Rose being invited to join the Doctor to travel in the TARDIS. After the Doctor returns to tell Rose the TARDIS travels in time, she kisses Mickey and, being less dismissive of him, simply says “Thank you” before she runs off to ‘the rest of her life’. Great way to end the book, Russell!
Wow! I’ve said a lot, haven’t I? I know I’ve missed some things out but this is the best place to stop. Otherwise, ‘Rose’ the novelization is awesome! It’s a very fulfilling novelization of the first TV episode of the new series by Russell T. Davies and I’m extremely pleased that he has embellished the story to a tee.
I hope this isn’t the last time Russell T. Davies novelizes one of his ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the TV series since he clearly enjoyed embellishing it with great character development and story. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading/listening to it. I’d like to see how RTD novelizes ‘The End of Time’ someday. 🙂
‘Doctor Who – Rose’ rating – 9/10
‘REVENGE OF THE NESTENE’
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What Happened After ‘Rose’
‘Revenge of the Nestene’ or ‘Rose: The Sequel’ was first released as an audiobook, read by Jacob Dudman, who has participated in a number of ‘Doctor Who’ projects over the years, including ones by Big Finish. It was later published as a text story by Russell T. Davies on his Instagram page in 2020.
The story is framed as Chapter 21 of the Target novelization of ‘Rose’ by Russell T. Davies, which was released in 2018. I enjoyed the ‘Rose’ Target novelization very much and it’s very intriguing how RTD continues the novelization in this manner and depicts what happened to the Nestene Consciousness.
Apparently a little ‘nugget’ of the Nestene Consciousness survived the events of the London attack in ‘Rose’, taking the form of a clown. It enters Westminster and merges with someone who got killed in the attack. Once taking on that person’s form, the Nestene decides to take revenge on the Doctor. 😐
It’s strongly implied the Auton that the Nestene becomes at the end of the story is Boris Johnson, who later became the Prime Minister of the UK in 2019. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it does make you wonder especially in how Boris Johnson handles the coronavirus crisis. 😀
I enjoyed Jacob Dudman’s reading of the story. I’m glad I read the story first in text form in ‘Adventures in Lockdown’ before watching the video with Jacob Dudman on YouTube. The video could’ve done with some pictures and not just having Jacob Dudman reading it. I liked how the ‘Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon’ theme song was used at the beginning and at the end of the video here.
‘Revenge of the Nestene’ rating – 7/10
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