I remember watching this go out at the time, but to be honest I remember it being a bit more substantial than this. There’s a very lengthy recap and a full title sequence – which features the debut of David Tennant’s name but frustratingly no on-screen title – cutting in to the short running time. Obviously the whole point is to provide a five-minute glimpse of the new Doctor, so I guess that’s far less enthralling now that I’ve seen four years’ worth of him. But he is good here, even though his mannerisms combined with Eccleston’s leather jacket remind me of Richard Hammond.
Said mannerisms began to grate on me by the end of Tennant’s run, but there’s a certain freshness that remains in this early performance. We get a tender moment with the lovely reminder of how the Doctor and Rose first met, and then the pace picks up nicely when Tennant starts going a bit mental. But then it just ends, and it’s strangely unsatisfying now that it’s lost the novelty value. It doesn’t quite hang together, which I didn’t notice at the time.
There was a strange moment midway through when the theme tune started playing, and I thought it was over already. Turns out that the upscaled Bluray release I was watching contains the same slightly different rough cut – with different music cues and missing the Cloister Bell – that was accidentally released on the original DVD. They had NINE YEARS to fix this mistake.