Overview: The Christopher Eccleston Era (2005)

ninth doctorRussell T. Davies would be the person who would save Doctor Who from disappearing altogether.  He’d had some clout thanks to the success of his program Queer as Folk. He brought in several people who’d worked on Big Finish and Doctor Who novels, such as Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss, and Rob Shearman. Rather than reboot the universe, he created the Ninth Doctor, having the Eighth Doctor regenerate off-screen. That Doctor would be Christopher Eccleston.

Oh, I did it again. I picked another stupid ape! I should’ve known. It’s not about showing you the universe, it never is. It’s about the universe doing something for you!–“Father’s Day”

About Christopher Eccleston

He was born into a working class family in Langworthy, Salford.  He had twin brothers who were eight years older than him He starred in Let Him Have It, earning his first breakthrough role in TV. When Eccleston became the Ninth Doctor, he was the first actor to play the role who was born after the series began in the 60’s.

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Ninth Doctor: Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways (dual review)

bad wolfWriter: Russell T. Davies

Director: Joe Ahearne

Producer: Phil Collinson

Companions: Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke)

Series: 1, ep. 12 and 13

Summary: The Doctor, Rose, and Captain Jack are transported by transmat beam to the Game Station, where they are thrown into various reality shows. Rose is playing The Weakest Link, The Doctor is on Big Brother, and Captain Jack is on What Not to Wear. The Game Station actually used to be Satellite Five. You play these games to win–or you die!

The Doctor and Jack then discover that the Daleks have taken over the Game Station. Can the Doctor save everyone? What is the mystery of Bad Wolf?

Review: This wasn’t a bad way to wrap up Eccleston’s sole season as the Ninth Doctor. The ending always seemed a bit deus ex machina to me. The first part of this story is a bit silly and tends to bog down my enjoyment of the finale. But the second part makes up for it.

Overall Review: 7/10

Continuity: The secret behind “Bad Wolf” is revealed in the final part of this story. This is also the start of the “Torchwood” arc, which runs through the Tenth Doctor’s first series. Rose makes Jack immortal in this story. Rose would later tell Sarah Jane she met the Dalek Emperor. In the audio story “Unregenerate”, we learn that the Sixth Doctor had left instructions for Mel, just as he had for Rose.  Mickey Smith said in “The Age of Steel” that he saved the world with a yellow truck, which he uses in the second part. This is yet another time the Doctor has had to sacrifice himself to save a companion, which he also did in “Planet of the Spiders” and “The Caves of Androzani”.

 

 

Ninth Doctor: Boom Town

boom town

Writer: Russell T. Davies

Director: Joe Ahearne

Producer: Phil Collinson

Companions: Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke)

Series: 1, episode 11

Summary: The Doctor learns that Margaret, one of the Slitheen that he thwarted earlier in the season, has now become mayor of Cardiff and has built a nuclear power plant with designs to kill everyone. She tries to play with the Doctor’s conscience by telling him if he returns her to her home world, she will be executed. Will the Doctor be as evil as those he wishes to thwart?

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Ninth Doctor: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (dual review)

empty childWriter: Steven Moffatt

Director: James Hawes

Producer: Phil Collinson

Companions: Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)

Summary: The Doctor spots a space capsule landing in 1940’s London. When they arrive, Rose spots a child on a rooftop. They separate to investigate, unbeknownst to the Doctor. Rose finds a rope and climbs it. The Doctor returns to find the TARDIS’s phone ringing for the first time (that’s never a good sign). That’s when he hears a mysterious child’s voice calling for its mother and meets a woman who tells him not to answer the phone.

Rose is caught in the middle of an air raid and meets Captain Jack Harkness, a con artist who is responsible for the space capsule’s landing.

The Doctor discovers that the woman is named Nancy and she is taking care of homeless children. He hears the child’s voice again and learns that it is a dead child with a gas mask. The child’s injuries and mask have become a plague that will soon infect everyone.

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Ninth Doctor: Father’s Day

fathers day

Writer: Paul Cornell

Director: Joe Ahearne

Producer: Phil Collinson

Companion: Rose Tyler (Billie Piper)

Series: 1, ep 8

Summary: Rose convinces the Doctor to take her back in time to see her father’s death. But what she really wishes to do is change history so her father doesn’t die. The Doctor is upset because now Rose has created a paradox. This disrupts her mother’s relationship with her mother completely because her mother thinks her father cheated on him and she is a child from another lover. It also attracts monsters who come to destroy the paradox.

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Ninth Doctor: The Long Game

long game

Writer: Russell T. Davies

Director: Brian Grant

Producer: Phil Collinson

Companions: Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), Adam Mitchell (Bruno Langley)

Series: 1, episode 7

Summary: The Doctor, Rose, and Adam (who joined them at the end of “Dalek”) arrive on Satellite 5, a space station that broadcasts news across the Human Empire. Adam attempts to send information from the future to his family in our time, jeopardizing the Doctor and Rose’s safety, as well as the stability of time. They discover that the station is actually run by a giant monster that is called the Jagafress (or Max if you’re Simon Pegg).

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Ninth Doctor: The Unquiet Dead

unquiet dead

Writer: Mark Gatiss

Director: Euros Lyn

Producer: Phil Collinson

Series: 1, ep. 3

Companion: Rose Tyler (Billie Piper)

Summary: The Doctor and Rose travel to 1869 Cardiff on Christmas Day. Charles Dickens is reciting his famous story A Christmas Carol. The local undertaker has a problem–the dead are rising. They have been possessed by spectral beings called the Ghelf, who reside in a time rift. But the rift is dying. A woman named Gwyneth who works with the undertaker can sense the future and communicate with the Ghelf. The Doctor conducts a séance and discovers the Ghelf are victims of the Time War, which is destroying the rift.

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Destiny of the Doctor: Night of the Whisper

night-of-the-whisper

Writers: Cavan Scott & Mark Wright

Director: John Ainsworth

Companions: Rose Tyler, Captain Jack Harkness

Running Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

(Note: This story is the only “Destiny in the Doctors” story that does not include appearances by any of the actors who play the companions. Instead, the whole thing is read by Nicholas Briggs. That’s why I didn’t include any names for the actors above.)

Summary: Captain Jack Harkness takes the Ninth Doctor and Rose to New Vegas, an outer space version of Las Vegas in the 23rd Century on a moon. Rose poses as a waitress and Jack poses as a reporter. The Ninth Doctor has discovered that a mysterious vigilante called the Whisper is on the loose, and has turned against the police. The Doctor works alongside the police to discover the Whisper’s true intentions.

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End of the World

casandra_7468

Writer: Russell T. Davies

Director: Euros Lyn

Producer: Phil Collinson

Companion: Rose Tyler (Billie Piper)

Series: 1, episode 2

Summary: For her first trip in the TARDIS, the Doctor decides to take Rose to the exact day the Earth’s sun expands and destroys the world.  They observe it onboard an orbiting space station, unaware that one of the guests, the last human, Cassandra O’Brien, is sabotaging the station.

Review: I thought this story was great and to me, it’s the one that really shows what the revival of Doctor Who had to offer. It’s a poignant story that has a premise that’s been done before, but is presented in a unique way. I found Cassandra to actually be a rather tragic villain, filled with hatred and vanity.  The voice given to her was just perfect. I also like the fact that this episode really began the arc and had effects on even the Tenth Doctor’s run, especially since Eccleston’s run was way too short.

Overall Rating: 10/10

Continuity: Cassandra O’ Brien and The Face of Boe made their first appearances in this story. This is also the first usage of Psychic Paper and Rose’s superphone.  The “Bad Wolf” arc words are first spoken in this story.

Trivia: Most of the budget for the first season went into this episode.