on 15 August 2009
OK then, technically this should be titled series 27 but for whatever reason the BBC have decided to call it series 1. Apparently this is so that the younger viewers will not get confused???? This will probably confuse them even more because most of them will have already heard of Doctor Who anyway.
Rose - A delightful little episode introducing all the main characters and the general idea of the show. A bit like a 45-minute trailer for the rest of the series. Also my first ever episode of Doctor Who. Not bad, not bad at all.
The End of the World - An entertaining little "whodunnit" set on a spaceship in the year 5,000,000,000.
The Unquiet Dead - A bit slow, even for 45 minutes!
Aliens of London/World War Three - The first two-part story of the series. A bit silly with a rather run-of-the-mill plot.
Dalek - Much improved and in my opinion the best Dalek story since Genesis of the Daleks!!
The Long Game - A mediocore story which is saved by Simon Pegg.
Father's Day - Very sad and emotional whilst also original. The best standalone story of the series.
The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances - The scariest in the series and also the best story alongside Father's Day. Written by the brilliant Steven Moffat.
Boom Town - Return of the Slitheen. Boooo!!!
Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways - Return of the Daleks. Hurray!!!
A (as Christopher Eccleston's Doctor would say) fantastic collection of stories and extras in this boxset although I would never pay anything over £40 for it.
on 26 February 2010
After twenty years on Gallifrey - or in cyberspace (?) - the Doctor returns to Earth with a bang in the shape of the versatile Christopher Eccleston. Whilst it will always be arguable whether he or David Tennant is best suited to the part, there can surely be no doubt that he brought a new lease of life to the show. With his mixture of cocky humour and Time Lord fury, Eccleston portrays a Doctor that is both 'human' and terrifyingly alien. Billy Piper as Rose is the perfect partner, an everyday teenager who goes from London shopgirl to saviour of the world in a mere dozen episodes.
Although, arguably, some of the best Doctor Who episodes of all come in later series, for example, the grand finale of Series 4, this has much to do with how the Doctor Who team evolves and develops over the succeeding years. The writing and the acting of Series 1 is consistently good. 'Dalek', 'Father's Day' and the climax of the series are difficult to beat for sheer passion and excitement in anything which follows.
on 22 November 2005
No need to go into too much detail - this relaunch of Doctor Who was the best thing to happen to television in years. The original series managed it in 1963 and this new version has managed it in 2005 - it's well-written drama with a warmth, wit and imagination far in excess of any other sci-fi show. There are some rather dull people around who have bemoaned the progress the new series has made, who seem to think that genuine, emotional drama and proper, rounded characters have no place in sci-fi (indeed, some of them have contributed reviews to this site). But anyone who's still got a sense of fun in them, anyone who's after a wonderful ride through time and space, should hop aboard the TARDIS. You'll never regret it!
The DVD extras are great, too - particularly the audio commentaries from clearly enthusiastic cast and crew.
on 6 July 2014
When it was announced that the BBC were bringing back Doctor Who, back in 2003, I thought it would be a disaster & it was with some trepidation that I sat down to watch that first episode 18 months later... Thankfully, bar a few niggles, I was won over! Now, some 9 years on, I've re-watched the series & here is my assessment:-
Rose - A lightweight episode but it succeeds in introducing a whole new generation of children to Doctor Who. Both Eccleston & Piper make a fine first impression as The Doctor & Rose.
The End Of The World - I wasn't keen on this story on it's original transmission but I enjoyed it when viewing recently.
The Unquiet Dead - This was the story that originally won me over to the series & I still love it today! Simon Callow is excellent as Charles Dickens & it remains Mark Gatiss finest contribution to the show.
Aliens Of London/World War III - Some iffy humour but still entertaining 2-parter.
Dalek - Excellent episode from Shearman, as he gives the Dalek real menace & it's probably Eccleston's finest performance as The Doctor!
The Long Game - Not a favourite episode, though Simon Pegg is good value.
Father's Day - Billie Piper shines in an emotional episode from Paul Cornell.
The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances - Moffat's first script for Who & it remains one of his finest! A great idea, a new character in Captain Jack, some great lines & 'Everybody lives!'
Boom Town - The flimsiest episode of the series, with the first of many cop-out endings, which negates The Doctor having to make a difficult choice. Annette Badland puts in a fine performance though.
Bad Wolf/The Parting Of The Ways - A bold 2-parter from Davies, which remains the best season finale all these years later.
It was, of course, Eccleston's only series, so where does it leave him in the pantheon of Doctors?.. I thought he did a very good job, though he was far more comfortable with the dramatic than the comedic aspects of the show. A second series may have put him amongst the best but I remain happy with the one he did make. I certainly found it more enjoyable than the last couple of series!
on 19 January 2014
Doctor Who needs little introduction - a TV sci-fi series that started way back in the 1960's that ran more or less continuously until the late 1980's and was required Saturday night viewing for generations of British kids. It was notable for it's scary monster of the week theme, the changing title role, the Doctor's slightly ramshackle mode of conveyance and the variety of "Doctor's Companions". Sadly, it was also notable for it's limited budget, wobbly sets and man-in-a-rubber-suit aliens. However, despite its failings, it gained a special place in the nation's conciousness and is looked back on with fondness by many.
After a seventeen year break, the series restarted in 2005 with Christopher Ecclestone as the tenth Doctor, Billie Piper as his travelling companion Rose and Russell T Davies behind the typewriter to carry the Series through 13 episodes, to wit:
- "The End of the World"
- "The Unquiet Dead"
- "Aliens of London"
- "World War Three"
- "The Long Game"
- "Father's Day"
- "The Empty Child"
- "The Doctor Dances"
- "Boom Town"
- "Bad Wolf"
- "The Parting of the Ways"
This first of the "reimagined" series has some strong themes, largely based around the Doctor's somewhat patronising admiration for the terribly backward, parochial yet still wonderful people of Earth and his developing (but of course, chaste) relationship with Rose Tyler. It does struggle however, oh yes. The monsters are still mostly rubber suits (human-inhabited or not), most of the scrapes are solved (or at least mitigated) by means of the ubiquitous sonic screwdriver, and the elephant in the room is that all of those scrapes /could/ simply be sorted by the Doctor popping forward (or backward) in time a few more years. Also, while Ecclestone clearly wanted to develop an unique persona - slightly unhinged but terminally optimistic - his mad, bouncy grin simply annoys.
I suppose one can forgive, however. After nearly two decades away, some time would be needed to bed in and find feet. And there ARE some outstanding episodes, in particular "Dalek" and "The Empty Child"/"Doctor Dances". Also, several new and subsequently recurring characters make their entrances; Harriet Jones and Jack Harkness, to name but two, and there are some sweet cameos to spot as well. Interestingly, there is also the genesis of several recurring references and story arcs that make themselves felt in subsequent series, such as "Bad Wolf" and The Time War. Finally, we are also introduced to Mark Gatiss who is a huge asset to the franchise in his recurring and intermittent role as screenwriter ("The Unquiet Dead").
In the end, however, I felt that the series was a bit of a letdown - not half as good as I remembered it to have been when I watched it with my (then) pre-teen daughter. It is nevertheless good entertainment and essential viewing if for no other reason (and it's NOT the only reason) than to provide continuity into the next series.
The five discs come with a short "making of" documentary for each episode, plus various trailers commentaries and video diaries.
on 4 March 2009
When I first learned that they were bringing back Doctor Who I was both tremendously excited and very worried too. We have seen nervous TV bosses cancelling a show after a few episodes if it doesn't immediately grab the audience figures they are after, and I was certain that bringing back Doctor Who as it had been when it went off the air would spell certain doom. I was very dubious that the makers of this new series would be able to both please fans of the original whilst attracting the new generation at the same time. My first glimpse of Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor did not make me change my mind straight away either.
However, the storytelling is such an important part of the show. I wanted to know why the new Doctor looked like an ex-army recruit, and why would he use explosives to solve a problem (as in the first episode ROSE) when the old Doctor we knew and loved would have been appalled at the idea? But the whole thing comes clear in the storytelling. It made sense that in the years since we saw the Doctor last, his life has moved on. Things have happened in his universe that we are not party to. Christopher Eccleston's take on the Doctor was perfect considering the mind-boggling backstory that was created for this new series. It also makes sense that even the Doctor would be severely traumatised by his experiences fighting in a war that saw his entire race of Time Lords and his home planet Gallifrey destroyed.
Treating the characters and their world as real rather than two-dimensional beings is what makes them so completely believable. I think this new series was very very brave, but absolutely perfectly done. Anything less would have flopped massively, and in that case the show would have sunk out of sight and would have been unlikely ever to re-emerge. The backstory also gives a good foundation for stories that focus on the heart of the characters rather than the same story week after week; (alien invades, the Doctor steps in and saves us all, everyone applaud). Instead we see cracking good scripts and wonderful performances.
This series is a good buy all round. If you have been living on the moon recently and have somehow missed the new Doctor Who...start here! You can't go wrong!
We're on series 5 now, my kids love Matt Smith (acting the part of David Tennant), and David Tennant is of course beautiful... but I still think Christopher Eccleston is the best: funny, sad, kind, wacky, angry, messianic. I bought these one at a time as they came out, mainly because I kept having to miss episodes because they were too scary for my children.
The whole reinvented show was brilliant, still is of course, and the two episodes set in WW2 - the Empty Child and The Doctor Dances - remain favourites. I can't watch them that often though, as they are STILL to scary for my now-much-bigger kids. At the time, they wouldn't go into a room if there was a tiny picture of a gas mask visible. They won't watch Blink either, from series 2. Good old Stephen Moffat! Though of course these episodes have some frivolity with meeting Captain Jack for the first time.
I also really love the last episode, again really sad. I was biased in favour of Christopher Eccleston at start, one of my favourite actors, but apprehensive about Bille Piper. Of course I was wrong, and it's in this first series that in some ways the best story is Rose's transformation as it goes on. The dialogue in the cafe near the start of the last episode before she goes to save the world - "and I'm supposed sit here and eat chips??!!" - is one I've used with my Sunday School class. Then she goes on to be so cool in series 2.
If you haven't seen this series, then enjoy!
on 22 April 2006
I was born in 1984 so I'm of that generation who really missed-out on "Doctor Who". I had no Doctor to call my own when I grew up, and little knowledge of the series outside of the cult symbols of the Daleks and the TARDIS. (When I was still at senior school we had a Christmas quiz one time and one of the questions was to name any of the actors who had played the Doctor - no one could answer, which proves the point.) But then the new series came along, and I, like many other people, became a convert. I'm a big "Star Wars" fan and I love the "Harry Potter" books as much as the next person, but forget "Revenge of the Sith" and "Half-Blood Prince" - "Doctor Who" was *the* event of 2005, without a doubt.
So, what made it work? Well, it's simple really: well-written stories, excellent casting with some superb actors, special effects better than what's usually seen in any British TV series, and a show that was as much about the characters as it was about the monsters and the spaceships. Though its eccentricity when compared to the likes of "Star Wars" and other sci-fis threw me off to begin with, I soon settled in to the show's wit and charm, and I love its ability to never take itself too seriously, which is the downfall of a lot of modern fantasy stuff. Also, the fact that it was thoroughly entertaining and accessible for both children and adults was a real bonus, especially since so many things - even "Harry Potter" - seem to be getting to that level at the moment where they're too dark for younger audiences to enjoy. How wonderful it is to safely be able to sit back with either young kids or your grandparents and still feel comfortable about watching something together!
The show's power for me lays in its characters, though, and every week, though I loved the monsters and the fantastical adventures, I wanted just as much to see what the next development might be in the relationship between the Doctor and Rose, or to see how Mickey and Jackie were getting along without them, if we had an adventure that took us back to present-day Earth. It just made it all feel so much more realistic, though it's ironically choc-full of the impossible!
Billie Piper is an absolute revelation as Rose - I had my doubts at first, but from the moment you set eyes on her in part 1, you know she's a gifted actress. Put her together with Christopher Eccleston, one of the most talented and gritty actors in Britain today, and you've got an absolutely electric combination. Talent ahoy! They're both extremely capable of bringing every aspect of the scripts - from the dry humour to heart-wrenching emotion - to life, and are the driving force behind what proves to be a very energetic, intelligent and moving drama series. Though some episodes prove to be superior to others, there's never a terrible one, and this box set is well worth the investment if you have the cash. The extra featurettes give the enthusiastic Whovian something to get their teeth into, and I guarentee you will never find some more hilarious audio commentaries than you do along to some of these episodes, which, as well as revealing the actor's thoughts, also reveal some incredibly funny asides and memoirs of the on-set hiccups.
Though there are some fans of the classic "Doctor Who" who dismiss the new series (like any fan who treasures the originals, I guess), no one can deny that the new "Who" was a huge hit and that it's an incredibly well-made drama/sci-fi series. Now showing in its second season on BBC in the UK, the first shall always be remembered as the one that set the benchmark for the rest to follow, with a Doctor of the likes that we've never seen before (I personally don't think we'll ever see another Doctor as great as Chris Eccleston, but we all have our favourites, don't we?).
So, just sit back with the whole family, relax, jump behind the sofa if you have to, and enjoy what is the best of British family drama. Thank you Russell T Davies - we owe you one.
Growing up i found Doctor Who to be very dull, i never got in to it.
when this series was on TV i didnt bother with it as i remembered not being interested as a kid. Then after some persuasion to try it form work mates i gave it a try. I was instantly converted to a Doctor who addict desperate to see more and more.
Despite the doubts people had about him not having the humour or charm necessary to play the doctor Christopher Eccleston makes for a fantastic Time Lord. When faced with danger rather than getting scared or worried he becomes as excited.
Rose is brilliantly played by Billie Piper and provides an excellent counterpoint to the Doctor. Rather than being overawed by events around her and fearing the unknown Piper's Rose is confident and strong when faced with the unknown and is not frightened to disagree with the Doctor when she feels he is wrong (a good example is an argument over the morality of an alien race using human dead as vessels in the unquiet dead).
The two parter of The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances is genuinly chilling and scary. It combines easy humour and genuine suspense seemlessly blended together.
The running theme of the words Bad wolf appearing in each episode gives a great basis for you to theorise as to who is behind bad wolf and who is guiding the doctor and his companion through the series to the final showdown in the parting of the ways.
All in all i would recommend this to both fans of the Doctor and people who have never had an interest in his jaunts through time previously.
This series converted me to the genius of this program. Who knows it may do the same for you.
on 21 August 2013
I am obviously a bit strange as I am not one of the 'maturer' viewers of Doctor Who who think Tom Baker was the best Doctor ever (not his fault, I just hated the scripted knock knock joke humour).
When the new Doctor Who came into being, I was amazed.., by the quality of the series being shown but also by the quality of acting shown by Chris Eccleston. His introduction of the 'I'm the last Time Lord and I destroyed all the others' theme was brilliant. Others had shown the greater depth of the Doctor Who character, but none as well as him. I am only sorry he decided he couldn't work with the Doctor Who environment any longer than for one series.
The Box set delivers what you'd expect. I did hope for more of the specials released before the showing of the last two Bad Wolf /Dalek episodes (like the one they showed about the making of the Dalek 'Opera' special which I haven't been able to find anywhere) but such is life. It does include the normal confidential episodes.
Yes I admit it, I am an unashamed Doctor Who fan. Thank goodness its continuing to be made.