Oh yes, I’ve made it all the way back to where my love of Doctor Who began. I was 18, living away from home for the first time, and busy forging the friendships that would shape my adult life. Many of these precious people – one with whom I’ve now been running a website for fourteen years, one I lived with for seven years, one whose daughter I’m now godfather to – seemed incredibly excited about this old show coming back, so I found myself getting excited too. Thankfully, I loved the new episode as much as they did, and the new series has been a huge and important constant in all of our lives since.
Back then, my first experience was via a crappily-encoded leaked version that I’d downloaded from Kazaa or some shit. Today, I watched it upscaled on a Bluray (which, if you ask me, has got the dialogue way too low in the sound mix). Then, now, and all the many times I’ve rewatched it in between, Rose always has me hooked, tingly and very very happy. It’s an absolute masterpiece in how to introduce an outlandish concept to an extremely large and diverse audience – I even gave a presentation about it in my second year of uni. I was given a first for that component, but then I was aware that my lecturer was a massive Who fan.
Anyway, I’m waffling because I bloody love this episode, and I can’t express that enough. But you don’t really me to tell you how good or bad each episode of the new series is – we’ve all got our opinions, this is Doctor Who and we’re on the internet. Partly because of this, and partly because of the new necessity for me to write a post almost every night (I’m sticking to one post per *story*, so it’ll sometimes be every other night), the format of this blog needs to change slightly.
Basically, it’s now notes rather than articles – as well as the fact that I don’t have hours to spare every night, we’re now at a point where I’m rewatching Who, rather than discovering each story for the first time. You’ll still be getting a few hundred words per entry, but it’s now going to be things that I’d not noticed before, things that I’ve realised with hindsight, memories from the time, and any reappraisals of my opinions that take place. There may be exceptions if I feel like it at any point, but for now, here’s the tale of tonight’s rewatch of Rose, as it occurred to me:
* It’s a curious mixture of still feeling ultra modern – especially in the context of what I’ve been watching recently – and yet now being over a decade old, and so it’s no longer the present day. The production values and pace still stand up, but this isn’t our world, it’s one where the hairstyles and clothes are slightly different, where people watch 4:3 CRTs, own flip phones and have to go round somebody’s house to “use the computer”.
* Some of this dialogue is now totally iconic. “Nice to meet you Rose – RUN FOR YER LIFE”. The Doctor turning Jackie down. “Lots of planets have a north”. I love RTD’s writing so much, and every choice he makes here is spot on.
* The scene in the flat is the PERFECT introduction to a new Doctor. He establishes everything about his own personality and the show’s tone in a series of tiny moments, all while Rose isn’t paying him the slightest bit of attention.
* God, Mickey’s a complete tit here, isn’t he? My memory tells me that he got better as time went on, but I’d forgotten how pathetic and unlikable he is in this episode. I guess it was necessary that Rose’s boyfriend be someone that she’s quite right to leave behind.
* Also, how did she not notice he was made of shiny plastic straight away? This is the only bit of the episode that doesn’t quite stand up. I think they’d have got away with having him being eaten by a bin, were it not for the burp. Totally on board with all the other humour in the episode though.
* I had a huge grin on my face as Rose took in the TARDIS, even all this time later. It’s such a smart move to do absolutely everything from her point of view – not just waiting to show us the interior, but the fact that we don’t see the ship take off. We don’t find out that it travels until she walks out the door and she’s somewhere else. I hadn’t realised quite how much it breaks with convention until now, after watching 26 years’ worth of episodes where we’re almost always watching the process from the outside.
* God, I love Clive. The look on his face as he’s about to be shot has always stuck with me – so much is expressed in barely a second. “Oh my god, I was right. I knew it. Oh fuck.”
* The Next Time trailer is so crap, with its slow and baggy edits. It feels like an afterthought, and it nearly spoils the mood after Rose’s triumphant run towards the TARDIS, which should be the image we’re left with.