Rose (Doctor Who)

157 – "Rose"
Doctor Who episode
Rose (Doctor Who).jpg
The Doctor and Rose escape from the Autons
Writer Russell T Davies
Director Keith Boak
Script editor Elwen Rowlands
Producer Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Mal Young
Production code 1.1
Series Series 1
Length 45 minutes
Originally broadcast 26 March 2005
← Preceded by Followed by →
Doctor Who "The End of the World"

"Rose" is the first episode of Series One of the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who. Written by show runner Russell T Davies and directed by Keith Boak, the episode was first broadcast on 26 March 2005.

In the episode, Rose Tyler meets a mysterious stranger called the Doctor in the basement of the department store where she works while being attacked by shop window dummies called Autons. She then starts to investigate him and, in the process, uncovers an alien plot by the Nestene Consciousness to take over the Earth. Rose and the Doctor manage to beat the invasion together and she accepts his offer to travel through time and space with him in the TARDIS.

The episode marked the debut of Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor and Billie Piper as companion Rose Tyler. This episode was the first episode of a series of Doctor Who since 1989 and was also the first episode of Doctor Who since the television movie in 1996. The episode was seen by 10.81 million viewers in the United Kingdom and received generally positive reviews from critics.



Rose Tyler, a young woman of 19 accidentally trapped one evening in the London department store where she works, finds herself surrounded by plastic mannequins that have come to life in the basement. She is saved by a man who introduces himself as "the Doctor" and tells her to flee the building. He then blows up the transmitter that controlled the mannequins from the store's roof, ravaging the building in the process. The Doctor visits the now unemployed Rose the next day and rescues her from a second attack by a mannequin's arm she had taken home unknowingly, but refuses to give her more explanations.

Rose talks with her boyfriend, Mickey Smith, about her experience, and they find a conspiracy theory website that claims a man fitting the Doctor's description has appeared throughout history. Rose and Mickey visit Clive, the man who runs the website. While Rose is in Clive's house, Mickey is kidnapped by a wheelie bin and replaced with a plastic replicant. When the fake Mickey attempts to question Rose about the Doctor, the Doctor shows up and beheads the replicant. The Doctor takes Rose to his TARDIS, which is disguised as a 20th century police box, and attempts to use the fake Mickey's head to locate the controlling signal. The head melts, but Rose realises that the transmitter must be the London Eye. The Doctor explains to Rose that the fake Mickey was an Auton, controlled by the Nestene Consciousness, and that if he cannot stop it by using a vial of "anti-plastic" liquid, it will destroy all humans on Earth. He also explains to her that he is an alien.

The Nestene Consciousness has taken up residence beneath the London Eye. The Doctor tries to negotiate with it, but it gets angry when he identifies himself as a Time Lord, blaming him for the destruction of its home planet during "the time war." The Nestene Consciousness activates all the autons at the Queens Arcade, where several shoppers are shot dead, including Clive. The Doctor is overpowered by the Autons, but Rose rescues him and drops the "anti-plastic" into the vat where the Nestene Consciousness resided, killing it.

After fleeing the underground complex with Mickey, who was held hostage by the Nestene Consciousness, the Doctor offers Rose more adventures with him. Though Rose initially refuses as she is concerned about her mother and Mickey, she ends up joining the Doctor when he explains that the TARDIS can also travel in time as well as space.


This episode marked the first appearance of a re-designed Tardis control room.

The Doctor is travelling alone and already in his ninth incarnation as the story begins. His remarks about his appearance as he looks in the mirror in Rose's flat imply that the regeneration was a very recent one. Jon Pertwee's debut as the Third Doctor in Spearhead from Space also began with him already regenerated and without a companion.[1] This is the first (and only) occasion, however, in which the series does not explain the circumstances behind the regeneration.

The photographs in Clive's shed show that the Ninth Doctor has travelled to Krakatoa, the Kennedy assassination and Southampton on the eve of the Titanic's voyage. These adventures were never featured on screen and when they take place is not clear. The Doctor was present at Kennedy's assassination however in the novel Who Killed Kennedy and the Third Doctor mentions being at the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in Inferno.

The Doctor refers to an untelevised encounter with "the assembled hordes of Genghis Khan." He also encountered Kublai Khan in Marco Polo (1964),[2] and Batu and Möngke Khan in the spin-off novel Bunker Soldiers by Martin Day.[3] In the television movie, the Master tells Chang Lee that the Doctor was Genghis Khan.

As Rose enters the TARDIS, a coat stand can be seen by the side of the doors, a piece of furniture that graced the console room in the original series. The materialisation and dematerialisation of the TARDIS is accompanied by a flurry of wind, as it was in the 1996 television movie. The TARDIS console room and sonic screwdriver have also been redesigned.

This story also sees the first mention of The Shadow Proclamation, an intergalactic police force mentioned several times in the revived series and eventually seen in "The Stolen Earth" (2008).


The Autons appear in this episode as plastic mannequins. Although they are not named on screen as such, they are credited as "Autons" in the closing credits, and Robert Holmes is credited as their creator. The Nestene Consciousness, as the controller of the Autons, also appears in this episode and is named on screen. Both the Autons and the Nestene Consciousness first appeared in his serial Spearhead from Space (1970).[1] The Autons reappeared in Terror of the Autons (1971)[4] (also written by Holmes) as well as the spin-off novels Business Unusual by Gary Russell[5] and Synthespians by Craig Hinton,[6] though the Autons in this episode appear more mannequin-like, and the Nestene Consciousness, which can take any form it wishes, presents in a very different form.

The next episode, "The End of the World", establishes that "Rose" takes place in 2005.[7] Although "Rose" does not give details as to how the Nestene Consciousness came to be on Earth nor for how long it had been here, a trilogy of made-for-video films in the late 1990s produced by BBV entitled Auton, Auton 2: Sentinel and Auton 3 feature the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce battling the Consciousness. The first film takes place in the year 2001, while the second (and possibly the third) take place in 2003 or 2004. As with most licensed productions, the canonicity of these films is unclear.

The Doctor mentions that the Nestenes' protein planets were destroyed in a war, one that he also fought in. This is the first mention of the Time War, which would be one of the running threads throughout the series.

Fictional websites

Clive's "Who is Doctor Who?" fictional website actually exists and is maintained and updated by the BBC as if the events of the series were real. The site as published in the "real world" looks slightly different from that as seen in the episode, with a different coloured background and picture. On the published site, the caption beneath the Krakatoa drawing reads "DATELINE: 1880, Sumatra", contradicting the date of the actual eruption, Clive's dialogue in the episode and the date on the drawing itself.[8] A subsequent note on the site stated that Clive was killed in the shop dummy massacre. Although his death was not actually seen on screen, it was very strongly implied.

Rose searches for information about the Doctor at a search engine called While the site actually exists, it was created specifically for use in television programmes and films.

The BBC-produced website for the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce indicates that the events of this story occur contemporaneously with its original broadcast, on 26 March 2005. However, a poster seen in "Aliens of London" indicates that Rose has been missing since 6 March.[9][10]


A bespectacled man in a black jacket, waistcoat, and tie, pink shirt, and jeans, sitting with his back to a marble-effect wall.
Russell T Davies tried to revive the show since the late-90s and wrote the stories for eight of the 13 episode in the first series.

"Rose" was an in-house production by BBC Wales for BBC One, and produced in Cardiff, Wales over July and August 2004. Beginning with this episode, Doctor Who would be produced in widescreen for the first time, and returned to a 45-minute format for the first time since 1985. Officially, the BBC considers this episode to be "Series 1, Episode 1" as the corporation restarted the numbering of the programme from scratch. Some fans, however, consider this episode to be "Season 27, Episode 1" to reflect the prior history of the programme. The episode was storyboarded by artist Anthony Williams.[11]

Although this episode is set in London, Queens Arcade, where we see the Autons come to life, is actually in Cardiff.[12] Most of the Cardiff locations for this episode are a short walk from each other. Henrik's is actually the department store Howells,[13] the pizza restaurant is La Fosse, next to St David's Hall and the street where Rose joins the Doctor is St David's Market.

As the Nestene Consciousness unveils the TARDIS toward the end of the episode, and the Doctor confirms it as his ship, the animation of the Consciousness's "lips" combined with the sounds it makes have led some fans to believe that it is saying the words "Bad Wolf", a phrase that recurs throughout the rest of the 2005 series. However, this episode is not listed among the references on the BBC Bad Wolf website,[14] nor does the phrase occur in the shooting script. In addition, Russell T Davies notes in the DVD commentary that the Consciousness is given the line "Time Lord" purely for reasons of pacing and timing; he makes no mention of any other lines. See Story Arcs in Doctor Who.

For the first time, the names of two of the actors (Eccleston and Piper) preceded the series name in the opening titles. Also, for the first time in the regular series since the last episode of the Second Doctor story The Moonbase, the current Doctor's face was not used in the titles. Paul McGann's name (although not his face) did appear in the opening credits of the 1996 Doctor Who television movie, but only after the series title.

This is the only Ninth Doctor episode not to have a precredits sequence; the next episode which did not have such a sequence was the Tenth Doctor episode "Smith and Jones" (another season opener that introduced a companion).


Murray Gold produced a new arrangement of the Doctor Who theme based on a previous arrangement from 1963.

Murray Gold's new arrangement of the theme contains sounds and elements from the Delia Derbyshire arrangement of the theme introduced in 1963 and replaced in 1980 with an arrangement by Peter Howell, who had worked extensively on the series previously. The Derbyshire theme was last heard on television in 1983, over the end credits of the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors.[15] An early version of Gold's arrangement, which lacks the Derbyshire sound effects, can be heard on the official BBC trailer for the series.

The music played at the very beginning of the episode, while Rose's sped-up day was shown, is a running theme throughout the series, appearing also while the Doctor and Rose cross Westminster Bridge and in chords when the Doctor opens the trapdoor in this episode. It also appears at the start of "The Long Game,"[16] in "Previously" in "The Doctor Dances,"[17] several times during "Boom Town,"[18] and twice in "The Parting of the Ways."[19] In an interview in Doctor Who Magazine #363, composer Murray Gold said that it was influenced by "a tune by the Pixies called Cecilia Ann." A sidebar in that interview referred to it as the "Rose goes to work" music.

The music heard after the Doctor's speech about the "turn of the earth", as he walks towards the TARDIS, has a distinctive and eerie female vocal. On the DVD commentary of this episode, Russell T Davies and Phil Collinson jokingly call this voice "President Flavia", a reference to a Time Lady character from The Five Doctors.[15] Davies says that this voice is heard "whenever it gets too Time Lord-y". It was also heard during the course of Series 1 in "The End of the World",[7] "Boom Town,"[18] "Bad Wolf"[20] and "The Parting of the Ways."[19]

Much of the music heard in this episode was released in December 2006 as part of the soundtrack produced by Silva Screen. The vocal parts were sung by Melanie Pappenheim. The music named "Doomsday" in the soundtrack first plays here when Rose Tyler enters the TARDIS for the first time.

Cast notes

Christopher Eccleston is credited as "Doctor Who" in the end credits, the first time the character had been listed with that name since the end of Season 18.

Actor Mark Benton, who plays conspiracy theorist Clive, previously appeared as Ellis in the Big Finish Productions audio play Invaders from Mars,[21] starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor and featuring Simon Pegg — who plays the Editor in "The Long Game".[16] Benton also has a prominent role — as the Earthly representative of the Devil — in Russell T Davies' apocalyptic drama The Second Coming, which stars Christopher Eccleston as the Son of God.

Outside references

The opening montage of this episode features many contemporary advertisements and products. A poster on a route 14 bus advertises The Lion King musical. Large video screens in Piccadilly Circus advertise Samsung, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and TDK. Rose eats a packet of Walkers Ready Salted crisps and has a bottle of Oasis fruit juice, although efforts are made to hide the brand names as is often the convention with BBC programmes. A large banner promoting the Mayor of London is seen in Trafalgar Square. Henrick's is seen to sell ranges of Versace and D & G branded clothes.

The Doctor says that he can feel the ground beneath his feet spinning at "a thousand miles an hour". The figure of 1,041 miles an hour would be accurate at the equator. However, as the Earth spins at different speeds at different latitudes, for London it would actually be about 650 miles an hour.[22]

The book the Doctor says has a "sad ending" is The Lovely Bones.[23] He also sings the title line "Luck Be a Lady" from Guys and Dolls.


The new series was complemented by a 13-part documentary series, Doctor Who Confidential, which was broadcast on BBC Three at 7.45 PM, immediately after the Doctor Who episode on BBC One. This first episode of the revived series introduced the use of a "next time" teaser trailer, a practice not seen in the original series. These trailers feature in the majority of episodes from Series 1 onwards.

Unofficial overnight viewing figures from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board showed that the episode attracted an average of 9.9 million viewers — 43.2% of the available television audience — over the course of the evening. At its peak, it had 10.5 million viewers, a 44.3% share. In comparison, the last serial of the original series, Survival, had an average rating of 4.93 million viewers, the 30th anniversary charity special Dimensions in Time averaged 13.7 million viewers and the 1996 television movie had 9.08 million. "Rose" was competing with ITV's Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, which attracted an audience of up to 8.5 million. The final figure for the episode, including video recordings watched within a week of transmission, was 10.81 million, No. 3 for BBC One that week and No. 7 across all channels. In some regions, the first few minutes of the original BBC broadcast of this episode on March 26 were marred by the accidental mixing of a few seconds of sound from Graham Norton hosting Strictly Dance Fever.[24]

A French-language version of this series of Doctor Who has been produced. The dubbed version of the episode "Rose" was first broadcast in French on the French network France 4 on 5 November 2005 and on Canadian speciality science fiction channel Ztélé on 3 January 2006. The initial Canadian Broadcasting Corporation broadcast of the episode included specially taped introduction and end comments by Christopher Eccleston, tying in with a contest the CBC sponsored. Each episode of the 2005 series, plus "The Christmas Invasion", included such introductions (all by Eccleston except the Christmas episode which featured Billie Piper). The practice was dropped when the CBC began airing the 2006 series.

On 8 March 2005, Reuters reported that a copy of the episode had been leaked onto the Internet, and was being widely traded via the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol. The leaked episode did not contain the new arrangement of the theme tune by Murray Gold. The leak was ultimately traced to a third party company in Canada which had a legitimate preview copy. The employee responsible was fired by the company and the BBC considered further legal action.[25]

On 30 March, four days after this episode was originally broadcast in the UK, the BBC announced that another full series had been commissioned. On the same day, the BBC released a statement, apparently from Eccleston, saying that he would be leaving the role at Christmas, for fear of being typecast.[26] The BBC later revealed this was not an official statement from Eccleston, whom they had failed to contact before responding to press questions after the story broke.[27]


  1. ^ a b Spearhead from Space. Writer Robert Holmes, Director Derek Martinus, Producer Derrick Sherwin. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 3 January 1970–24 January 1970.
  2. ^ Marco Polo. Writer John Lucarotti, Directors Waris Hussein, John Crockett, Producers Verity Lambert, Mervyn Pinfield. Doctor Who. BBC, London. 22 February 1964–4 April 1964.
  3. ^ Day, Martin (February 2001). Bunker Soldiers. Past Doctor Adventures. BBC Books. ISBN 0-563-53819-8. 
  4. ^ Terror of the Autons. Writer Robert Holmes, Director Barry Letts (uncredited)], Producer Barry Letts. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 2 January 1971–23 January 1971.
  5. ^ Russell, Gary (September 1997). Business Unusual. Past Doctor Adventures. BBC Books. ISBN 0-563-40575-9. 
  6. ^ Hinton, Craig (July 2004). Synthespians. Past Doctor Adventures. BBC Books. ISBN 0563486171. 
  7. ^ a b "The End of the World". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Euros Lyn, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2005-04-02.
  8. ^ "Who is Doctor Who?". BBC. Retrieved 2006-11-16. 
  9. ^ "Aliens of London". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Keith Boak, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2005-04-16.
  10. ^ "Press Statement: UNIT's Position on the London Incident.". BBC. 2005-03-08. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
  11. ^ Anthony Williams interview
  12. ^ "Walesarts, Working Street, Cardiff". BBC. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  13. ^ "Walesarts, St Mary Street, Cardiff". BBC. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  14. ^ "Bad Wolf Sightings - who is bad wolf? what is bad wolf?". BBC. Retrieved 2006-11-16. 
  15. ^ a b The Five Doctors. Writer Terrance Dicks, Directors Peter Moffatt, John Nathan-Turner (uncredited), Producer John Nathan-Turner. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 23 November 1983.
  16. ^ a b "The Long Game". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Brian Grant, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2005-05-07.
  17. ^ "The Doctor Dances". Writer Steven Moffat, Director James Hawes, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2005-05-28.
  18. ^ a b "Boom Town". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Joe Ahearne, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2005-06-04.
  19. ^ a b "The Parting of the Ways". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Joe Ahearne, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2005-06-18.
  20. ^ "Bad Wolf". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Joe Ahearne, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2005-06-11.
  21. ^ "Invaders from Mars". Paul McGann, Mark Gatiss, Jacqueline Rayner. Big Finish audio plays. British Broadcasting Corporation. BBC7. 2005.
  22. ^ Goldacre, Ben (2005-03-31). "Spinning around". Bad Science. Guardian Unlimited.,12980,1448139,00.html. Retrieved 2006-11-16. 
  23. ^ Cameron Dixon. "Rose". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2007-02-04. 
  24. ^ "Doctor Who is Saturday night hit". BBC News. 2005-03-27. Retrieved 2006-11-16. 
  25. ^ "Dr Who Culprit Fired". 2005-03-24. Retrieved 2006-11-16. 
  26. ^ "Eccleston quits Doctor Who role". BBC News. 2005-03-31. Retrieved 2006-11-16. 
  27. ^ "BBC admits Dr Who actor blunder". BBC News. 2005-04-04. Retrieved 2006-11-16. 

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