Doctor Who (series 1)

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This article is about the 2005 series. For the 1963/64 season, see Doctor Who (season 1).
Doctor Who series 1
Doctor Who Series 1.jpg
DVD box
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 13
Broadcast
Original channel BBC One
Original run 26 March 2005 (2005-03-26) – 18 June 2005 (2005-06-18)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 4 July 2006 (2006-07-04)
Region 2 21 November 2005 (2005-11-21)
Region 4 8 December 2005 (2005-12-08)
Blu-ray Disc release
Region A 5 November 2013 (2013-11-05)
Region B 4 November 2013 (2013-11-04) (Region 2)
4 December 2013 (Region 4)
Series chronology
← Previous
Season 26 (series)
Doctor Who (special)
Next →
Series 2
List of Doctor Who serials

The new first series of British science fiction programme Doctor Who began on 26 March 2005 with the episode "Rose", which marked the end of the programme's 16-year absence from episodic television following its cancellation in 1989, and the first new televised Doctor Who story since the broadcast of the TV movie starring Paul McGann in 1996. The finale episode, "The Parting of the Ways", was broadcast on 18 June 2005. The show was revived by longtime Doctor Who fan Russell T Davies, who had been lobbying the BBC since the late 90s to bring the show back. The first series comprised 13 episodes, eight of which Davies wrote. Davies, Julie Gardner and Mal Young served as executive producers, Phil Collinson as producer.

The show depicts the adventures of a mysterious and eccentric Time Lord known as the Doctor, who travels through time and space in his time machine, the TARDIS, which normally appears from the exterior to be a blue 1950s British police box. With his companions, he explores time and space, faces a variety of foes and saves civilizations, helping people and righting wrongs. The first series features Christopher Eccleston as the ninth incarnation of the Doctor, his only series as the Doctor, accompanied by Billie Piper, as his first and main companion Rose Tyler, whom he plucks from obscurity on planet Earth, and to whom he grows increasingly attached. He also travels briefly with unruly boy-genius Adam Mitchell, played by Bruno Langley, and with 51st-century con man and former 'Time Agent' Captain Jack Harkness, portrayed by John Barrowman. Episodes in series one form a loose story arc, based upon the recurring phrase "Bad Wolf", the significance of which goes unexplained until the two-part series finale.

The series premiere was watched by 10.81 million viewers, and four days after the premiere aired, Doctor Who was renewed for a Christmas Special, as well as a second series. Series 1 was well received by both critics and fans, winning for the first time in Doctor Who's history a prestigious BAFTA Award. Most surprising was the approval from Michael Grade, who had previously forced an 18-month hiatus on the show in 1985, and had postponed Doctor Who out of personal dislike on several occasions. The show's popularity ultimately led to a resurgence in family-oriented Saturday night drama.

Series summary[edit]

The series introduces the newly-regenerated Ninth Doctor (Eccleston) sometime after his involvement in the Time War, which the Doctor claims wiped out all of the Time Lords (save himself) and the Daleks. The Doctor meets Rose Tyler (Piper), a young woman working in a department store in contemporary London. Rose is fascinated by the Doctor and joins him in adventures in space and time with his TARDIS, though her behavior worries her mother Jackie (Camille Coduri) and boyfriend Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke), particularly after one instance where she goes missing for twelve months. The Doctor and Rose's travels bring them to meet Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), a Time Agent from the 51st century who joins them as a companion. During their travels, they are unaware that the words "Bad Wolf" appear near them on their travels, such as graffiti written on walls. The Doctor becomes aware of the frequent reappearance of the word and suspects it is some sign of things to come that is following them.

In the final episodes, the Doctor, Rose, and Jack arrive on Satellite Five in Earth's far future, discovering that the development of humanity has been hindered by the Daleks. The Emperor Dalek explains it had survived the Time War, and has been creating new Daleks by harvesting humans, and now plans to convert the rest of humanity into Daleks. As the Dalek fleet prepares to attack Earth, the Doctor constructs a Delta Wave device that will destroy all lifeforms near Earth, including humans, believing that humanity will survive on via human colonies on other planets. He tricks Rose into the TARDIS and sends it back to the 21st century to protect her, while he and Jack organize human forces to protect the satellite until the Delta Wave can be triggered. In the attack, Jack is killed by the Daleks.

Rose is shocked that the Doctor had sent her back. However, when she sees the words "Bad Wolf" in graffiti all around where the TARDIS landed, she takes this as a sign, and tries to open the Heart of the TARDIS to return to help the Doctor. Jackie and Mickey, seeing her devotion to the Doctor, help her to do so, and she is suddenly infused with the energy from the TARDIS. The TARDIS returns to the future, and Rose, with her new god-like powers, vaporizes the Daleks, and brings Jack back to life. She also uses her powers to send the words "Bad Wolf" through space and time as "a message to lead myself here". With the threat neutralized, the Doctor absorbs the energy from Rose before it kills her, and they set course to leave the station, leaving Jack behind. En route, the Doctor reveals to Rose that the energy will kill him but as a Time Lord, he will be able to regenerate, and soon appears to her as the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant).

List of episodes[edit]

Unlike the previous incarnation of the series that ended in 1989, the plan with the new series was to have each episode as a standalone story, with no "serials". Of the thirteen episodes in Series 1, seven of them followed this format; the remaining six were grouped together into three two-part stories. Also, for the first time since The Gunfighters in Season 3, each episode was given an individual title, which was the case with the standalone and two-part stories.

Story No. Episode Title Directed by Written by UK viewers[1]
(million)
AI[2]
(%)
Original air date Production
code
157 1 "Rose" Keith Boak Russell T Davies 10.81 81 26 March 2005 (2005-03-26) 1.1
In the basement of the shop where she works, plastic mannequins begin to attack Rose Tyler. A mysterious man known as "the Doctor" rescues her and they flee the building, which he blows up. The next day Rose and her boyfriend, Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) visit the man named Clive (Mark Benton) who runs a conspiracy theory website about a man fitting the Doctor's description who has appeared throughout history. While Rose is talking to Clive, Mickey is kidnapped and replaced by a plastic duplicate. Rose meets the Doctor again where he reveals Mickey to be an Auton and he and Rose locate the Nestene Consciousness which controls the Autons: the London Eye. At this point, Autons come alive everywhere (mainly mannequins), and start killing other people. Rose saves the Doctor and many others the Autons had been killing and she decides to travel with the Doctor through time and space in his TARDIS.
158 2 "The End of the World" Euros Lyn Russell T Davies 7.97 79 2 April 2005 (2005-04-02) 1.2
The Doctor takes Rose to the year 5 billion where they land on a space station (Platform 1) which is orbiting the Earth and observing its destruction by the expanding Sun. Among the elite alien guests assembled to watch the phenomenon is Lady Cassandra (Zoë Wanamaker), who takes pride in being the last pure human, though she has received many operations that have altered her image. It is discovered that Cassandra, to receive money for her many operations, plans to let the guests die and then profit from the stock increases of their competitors. She releases discreet robotic spiders all over Platform 1, and they start interfering with the systems. She departs via teleportation and the spiders bring down the shields, causing harmful direct solar radiation to penetrate the station. The Doctor manages to reactivate the system and save Rose, after which he brings Cassandra back and she ruptures from the intense solar heat.
159 3 "The Unquiet Dead" Euros Lyn Mark Gatiss 8.86 80 9 April 2005 (2005-04-09) 1.3
The Doctor and Rose travel back to Cardiff in 1869, where a funeral parlour run by Gabriel Sneed (Alan David) with his clairvoyant servant girl Gwyneth (Eve Myles) contains corpses which have been animated by a mysterious blue vapour. Sneed and Gwyneth kidnap Rose and the Doctor teams up with Charles Dickens (Simon Callow) to track her down. In the funeral parlour the group is reunited and the Doctor determines that the blue vapour is the result of a being trying to cross a rift in spacetime the parlour is built on. They are revealed to be the Gelth, who animate bodies until they can build their own and are using Gwyneth as a bridge. As the Gelth respond negatively to gas, Gwyneth volunteers to ignite the gas which will kill all the Gelth, and the Doctor, Rose, and Dickens escape before the parlour is engulfed in flames.
160a 4 "Aliens of London" Keith Boak Russell T Davies 7.63 81 16 April 2005 (2005-04-16) 1.4
The Doctor takes Rose back to her home, but they arrive a year after she left. Her mother Jackie (Camille Coduri) is furious with the Doctor, and Mickey has been suspected of murdering Rose. Rose and the Doctor witness a spaceship crash into Big Ben and fall into the River Thames. The Doctor suspects this is a trick and discovers that the ship was launched from earth and the pilot is a pig modified by alien technology. The Prime Minister cannot be located and is replaced by Joseph Green (David Verrey), while Margaret Blaine (Annette Badland) and Oliver Charles, other high-ranking members of the government, are also called. The group is revealed to be Slitheen, an alien family who have compressed themselves into human "suits".
160b 5 "World War Three" Keith Boak Russell T Davies 7.98 82 23 April 2005 (2005-04-23) 1.5
The Doctor learns that the Slitheen are not invading Earth but rather raiding it for commercial gain. The Slitheeen claim there is a threat to national security and request that the United Nations release the nuclear activation code so they can strike down a dangerous ship hovering over London. The Doctor speculates they will fire at other countries and start World War III and sell the remaining radioactive weapons. The Doctor helps Mickey hack online to fire a non-nuclear missile at 10 Downing Street to destroy the Slitheen gathered there, and the Doctor, Rose, and MP Harriet Jones (Penelope Wilton) manage to hide in a reinforced cabinet and survive. Meanwhile, the Doctor has earned Jackie's trust and she allows Rose to continue travelling with him.
161 6 "Dalek" Joe Ahearne Robert Shearman 8.63 84 30 April 2005 (2005-04-30) 1.6
The TARDIS is drawn off course by a signal and Rose and the Doctor end up near Salt Lake City, Utah in 2012, in an underground bunker owned by Henry van Statten (Corey Johnson), a rich collector of alien artefacts. The Doctor encounters his one living exhibit which the Doctor is horrified to discover is a Dalek that survived the Time War, the last survivor of a race of genetically manipulated mutants bound on purging the universe of all non-Dalek life and the Doctor's greatest enemy. One of van Statten's technicians Adam Mitchell (Bruno Langley) leads Rose to the Dalek, but she takes pity on it and touches it, allowing it to absorb her DNA and become active. The Dalek kills many soldiers before catching up with Rose, Adam and The Doctor. Rose becomes trapped with the Dalek, but it spares her life as it has gained sympathy from Rose's DNA and destroys itself. As the Doctor and Rose leave, Adam boards the TARDIS to avoid the closure of van Statten's Vault.
162 7 "The Long Game" Brian Grant Russell T Davies 8.01 81 7 May 2005 (2005-05-07) 1.7
The Doctor, Rose, and Adam travel to the year 200,000 and land on the space station Satellite 5, which controls journalism. Ever since the satellite began broadcasting, something has held the human race's attitude and technology back. The Editor (Simon Pegg) invites the Doctor and Rose to the elite Floor 500 where he holds them captive, explaining that he and a creature known as the Jagrafess have made through Satellite 5 the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire a place where the news has installed fear in the human race, keeping them in a closed society. Meanwhile, Adam has installed a port in his head and is transmitting all the knowledge on Satellite 5 to his parent's answering machine at home. Meanwhile, Cathica (Christine Adams) (another journalist with an info spike linked to Adam's) redirects the heat to Floor 500, allowing Rose and the Doctor to escape, while the Editor and the Jagrafess are destroyed by the heat. The Doctor is furious at Adam and returns him to his house, destroying the answering machine and banishing Adam from the TARDIS.
163 8 "Father's Day" Joe Ahearne Paul Cornell 8.06 83 14 May 2005 (2005-05-14) 1.8
Rose asks the Doctor to take her back to the day her father Pete Tyler (Shaun Dingwall) died in a hit and run accident, but when she saves him she creates a paradox. The TARDIS appears to be an ordinary police box and flying creatures known as Reapers appear and attempt to treat the wound in time and space by consuming everyone in it. Everyone hides in a church while the Doctor tries to summon the TARDIS. Jackie accuses Pete of having another daughter, and to prove that Rose is the same as the baby Rose, he puts the baby in the older Rose's arms, causing a bigger paradox, and the Doctor is taken by the reapers. Pete realises he must die for everything to be repaired, and throws himself in front of the car which has been appearing and reappearing around the corner of the church, causing the Doctor to return.
164a 9 "The Empty Child" James Hawes Steven Moffat 7.11 84 21 May 2005 (2005-05-21) 1.9
Chasing a metal cylinder marked as "dangerous" through the Time Vortex, the Doctor and Rose land in London during The Blitz of World War II. Rose follows a young boy in a gas mask (Albert Valentine) who repeatedly asks if she is his mother; she climbs a rope which is attached to a barrage balloon that rises into the air. Meanwhile, the Doctor talks with a young woman named Nancy (Florence Hoath) who seems to know about the boy, whom she knows is connected to a bomb-like object which had fallen. Rose is rescued by a Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), a time agent-turned-con man who interests Rose in buying a valuable warship. Nancy directs the Doctor to a hospital where Dr Constantine (Richard Wilson) shows him patients with injuries and gas masks identical to the child's, who Nancy claims is her brother, Jamie. Rose and Jack arrive to save the Doctor as Constantine begins to transform like his patients had.
164b 10 "The Doctor Dances" James Hawes Steven Moffat 6.86 85 28 May 2005 (2005-05-28) 1.10
Jack explains that he sent the metal object through the time vortex to attract "Time Agents" to this time period, where he would have them pay for the object, but before they could receive it, a bomb would fall on it. Jack claims that it is a perfectly safe and "empty" old medical transport, but the Doctor is suspicious. At the site where the transport is held, the Doctor realises that it once contained nanogenes that are able to heal wounds and deduces that the nanogenes attempted to heal Jamie, but thought that all humans should have similar injuries and gas masks. Nancy claims it is all her fault as she is actually Jamie's mother, which she admits in front of the child. As they hug, the nanogenes identify Nancy's DNA as being his mother's and reverse Jamie's transformation so that they resemble each other; the rest is done to all the others who had been converted. Jack captures the bomb that would have fallen on the site and the Doctor and Rose rescue him before it explodes, inviting him on the TARDIS.
165 11 "Boom Town" Joe Ahearne Russell T Davies 7.68 82 4 June 2005 (2005-06-04) 1.11
The Doctor, Rose, and Jack visit Cardiff to refuel the TARDIS at the rift, and Mickey meets them there. They discover that the Slitheen impersonating Margaret Blaine is now the mayor of Cardiff and capture her, suspicious of what she has done. The Doctor sees that she has created a nuclear power plant designed to open the rift and destroy Earth, and a device she would use to flee. Margaret objects to being taken back to her home planet, as she is considered a criminal there. After several failed attempts in killing the Doctor, Margaret requests to be taken to another planet. Jack sees the opportunity to use Margaret's extrapolator to speed up recharging the TARDIS, but this proves to be a trap as it was meant to send the nearest alien power source to the rift. As an earthquake strikes Cardiff, Margaret looks into the heart of the TARDIS, which gave her a second chance at life, restoring her back into an egg.
166a 12 "Bad Wolf" Joe Ahearne Russell T Davies 6.81 85 11 June 2005 (2005-06-11) 1.12
The Doctor, Rose, and Jack wake up from amnesia into various reality television and game shows; the Doctor is in a Big Brother-like house, Rose is a contestant on The Weakest Link where those eliminated are thought to be disintegrated by the Anne Droid (Anne Robinson), and Jack is on a What Not to Wear-like show where two female robots (Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine) offer to give contestants a new image. The Doctor and Jack escape from their shows and find they are on Satellite 5 one hundred years later, where it is run by the Badwolf Corporation and known as the Game Station. The Doctor, Jack, and Big Brother contestant Lynda (Jo Joyner) find Rose as she is disintegrated on The Weakest Link and travel to Floor 500, where the Controller (Martha Cope) informs them that the contestants are not disintegrated but rather transmitted to a point in space. They learn that Rose has arrived on a ship containing Daleks and the Doctor vows to rescue her and destroy the Daleks, which prompt the fleet of 400,000 Daleks to begin invading Earth.
166b 13 "The Parting of the Ways" Joe Ahearne Russell T Davies 6.91 89 18 June 2005 (2005-06-18) 1.13
The Doctor and Jack take the TARDIS to Rose, where they bring her back to the Game Station after talking to the Dalek Emperor. The Doctor prepares to destroy the Daleks using a Delta Wave and asks Rose to hold something on the TARDIS console for him while he fetches something outside; while she is inside, he uses his sonic screwdriver to send her back home to safety. The Daleks invade the Game Station, killing Lynda and Jack among many others. As Rose regains her composure at home, she notices the words "Bad Wolf" around the area where the TARDIS has landed and realises it is a message. With the help of Jackie, Mickey, and a tow truck, she is able to pry open the heart of the TARDIS in hope that its telepathic circuits would see her desire to return to the Doctor. Rose becomes empowered by the Time Vortex and returns to the Doctor, where she uses the vortex's power to destroy all the Daleks, revive Jack (also making him immortal), and scatter the words "Bad Wolf" throughout time and space to lead herself here. To prevent the power from killing Rose, the Doctor absorbs it by kissing her; she wakes up in the TARDIS as the time energy is destroying the Doctor's cells, forcing him to regenerate into another incarnation (David Tennant).


Cast[edit]

Main cast[edit]

The production team was tasked with finding a suitable actor for the role of the Doctor. Most notably, they approached film stars Hugh Grant and Rowan Atkinson for the role.[citation needed] By the time Mal Young had suggested actor Christopher Eccleston to Davies, Eccleston was one of only three left in the running for the role: the other two candidates are rumoured in the industry to have been Alan Davies and Bill Nighy.[3] His involvement in the programme was announced on 20 March 2004 following months of speculation.[4] In the April 2004 issue of Doctor Who Magazine, Davies announced that Eccleston's Doctor would indeed be the Ninth Doctor, relegating Richard E. Grant's Shalka Doctor to non-official status. Russell T Davies revealed that Eccleston asked for the role in an e-mail.[5]

Eccleston's intent to leave was revealed on 30 March 2005, shortly after the broadcast of the first episode. Series one was Christopher Eccleston's only series in the role of the Doctor. The BBC released a statement, attributed to Eccleston, saying that he had decided to leave because he feared becoming typecast. On 4 April, the BBC revealed that Eccleston's "statement" was falsely attributed and released without his consent. The BBC admitted that they had broken an agreement made in January not to disclose publicly that he only intended to do one season.[6] In a 2010 interview, Eccleston revealed that he left the show because he "didn't enjoy the environment and the culture that [they], the cast and crew, had to work in", but that he was proud of having played the role.[7][8] Eccleston's contract was for a single year because at the time it was uncertain whether the show would continue beyond a single revival series.[9]

A woman in early 20s with blonde hair and brown eyes, smiling, wearing a white T-shirt, a black tank top and a pink scarf.
Billie Piper, who portrays Rose Tyler, was welcomed by fans.

After the announcement that the show would be returning, Davies revealed that the new companion would "probably" be called Rose Tyler in an edition of Doctor Who Magazine published in November 2003.[10] This name was confirmed in March 2004, and it was announced at the same time that former pop star Billie Piper was being considered for the role.[11] Piper was announced as portraying Rose Tyler on 24 May,[12][13] a character which fulfilled the role of permanent companion during the series, and was welcomed by fans of the show.[14] Actress Georgia Moffett, daughter of Fifth Doctor actor Peter Davison and who would later appear as the title role in the series 4 episode "The Doctor's Daughter", also auditioned for the role.[15][unreliable source?] The original conception of Tyler was slightly different. Paul Abbott was scheduled to write an episode for series one which would have revealed that Rose's entire life had been manipulated by the Doctor in order to mould her into an ideal companion. Davies eventually wrote "Boom Town" to replace it when Abbott, after months of development, realised he was too busy to work on the script.[16][17]

Recurring and guest cast[edit]

The character of Adam Mitchell was first conceived, along with Henry van Statten, during Davies' pitch to the BBC, in a story heavily based on Robert Shearman's audio play Jubilee called "Return of the Daleks". The production team had always intended for Adam to join the TARDIS after Rose developed a liking for him. To play this role, Bruno Langley was chosen, previously known for his role on Coronation Street as Todd Grimshaw. It was never intended for Adam to be a long-term companion, Davies wanted to show that not everyone is suitable to join the TARDIS crew and dubbed him "The Companion That Couldn't", he "always wanted to do a show with someone who was a rubbish companion".[18]

John Barrowman appears as Captain Jack Harkness, a character introduced in "The Empty Child", where he joined the TARDIS crew for the final five episodes of the series. In naming the character, Davies drew inspiration from the Marvel Comics character Agatha Harkness.[19] Jack's appearances were conceived with the intention of forming a character arc in which Jack is transformed from a coward to a hero,[20] and Barrowman consciously minded this in his portrayal of the character.[21] Following on that arc, the character's debut episode would leave his morality as ambiguous, publicity materials asking, "is he a force for good or ill?"[22] Barrowman himself was a key factor in the conception of Captain Jack. Barrowman says that at the time of his initial casting, Davies and co-executive producer, Julie Gardner had explained to him that they "basically wrote the character around [John]".[23] Davies had singled out Barrowman for the part. On meeting him, Barrowman tried out the character using his native Scottish accent, his normal American accent, and an English accent; Davies decided it "made it bigger if it was an American accent".[24] Barrowman recounts Davies as having been searching for an actor with a "matinée idol [quality]", telling him that "the only one in the whole of Britain who could do it was you".[23]

David Tennant had been offered the role of the Doctor when he was watching a pre-transmission copy of Casanova with Davies and Gardner. Tennant initially believed the offer was a joke, but after he realised they were serious, he accepted the role and first appeared in the series finale "The Parting of the Ways".[25] Tennant was announced as Eccleston's replacement on 16 April 2005.[26]

Other recurring characters for the series included Camille Coduri as Rose's mother Jackie Tyler, and Noel Clarke as Rose's boyfriend Mickey Smith.

Other actors and television presenters who appeared in the series included Mark Benton, Zoë Wanamaker, Simon Callow, Eve Myles, Penelope Wilton, Annette Badland, Matt Baker, Andrew Marr, Corey Johnson, Simon Pegg, Anna Maxwell-Martin, Tamsin Greig, Florence Hoath, Richard Wilson, Jo Joyner, Davina McCall, Paterson Joseph, Anne Robinson, Trinny Woodall, Susannah Constantine and Shaun Dingwall.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

During the late-90s, Davies, a lifelong Doctor Who fan, lobbied the BBC to revive the show from its hiatus and reached the discussion stages in late 1998 and early 2002.[27] His proposals would update the show to be better suited for a 21st-century audience, including the transition from videotape to film, doubling the length of each episode from twenty-five minutes to fifty, keeping the Doctor primarily on Earth in the style of the Third Doctor UNIT episodes, and removing "excess baggage" such as Gallifrey and the Time Lords.[27] His pitch competed against three others: Dan Freedman's fantasy retelling, Matthew Graham's Gothic-styled pitch, and Mark Gatiss' reboot, which would make the Doctor the audience surrogate character, instead of his companions.[28]

In August 2003, the BBC had resolved the issues regarding production rights that had surfaced as a result of the jointly produced Universal Studios–BBC–Fox 1996 Doctor Who film, leading the Controller of BBC One Lorraine Heggessey and Controller of Drama Commissioning Jane Tranter to approach Gardner and Davies to create a revival of the series to air in a primetime slot on Saturday nights, as part of the BBC's plan to devolve production to its regional bases. By mid-September, they accepted the deal to produce the series alongside Casanova.[29]

Following Scream of the Shalka, an animated episode which was shown on the Doctor Who website, the 'real' return of Doctor Who was announced on 26 September 2003 in a press release from the BBC.[31]

Davies voluntarily wrote a pitch for Doctor Who, this was the first time he did. Davies regularly opted to outline concepts of shows to commissioning executives and offer to write the pilot episode, because he felt that a pitch made him "feel like [he's] killing the work".[32] The fifteen-page pitch outlined a Doctor who was "your best friend; someone you want to be with all the time", the eighteen-year-old Rose Tyler as a "perfect match" for the new Doctor, avoidance of the forty-year back story "except for the good bits", the retention of the TARDIS, sonic screwdriver, and Daleks, removal of the Time Lords, and a greater focus on humanity.[32] His pitch was submitted for the first production meeting in December 2003, with a series of thirteen episodes obtained by pressure from BBC Worldwide and a workable budget from Julie Gardner.[32]

By early 2004, the show had settled into a regular production cycle. Davies, Gardner, and BBC Controller of Drama Mal Young took posts as executive producers, although Young vacated the role at the end of the series. Phil Collinson, an old colleague from Granada, took the role of producer.[33] Keith Boak, Euros Lyn, Joe Ahearne, Brian Grant and James Hawes directed the series. Davies' official role as head writer and executive producer, or "showrunner", consisted of laying a skeletal plot for the entire series, holding "tone meetings" to correctly identify the tone of an episode, often being described in one word—for example, the "tone word" for Moffat's "The Empty Child" was "romantic"—and overseeing all aspects of production.[33] During early production the word "Torchwood", an anagram of "Doctor Who", was used as a title ruse for the series while filming its first few episodes and on the daily rushes to ensure they were not intercepted.[34] The word "Torchwood" was later seeded in Doctor Who and became the name of the spin-off series Torchwood.[34]

Writing[edit]

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 scripts for eight of the 13 episodes in the first series.

Davies was assigned as head writer and executive producer for the series. The first series of Doctor Who featured eight scripts by Davies, the remainder being allocated to experienced drama writers and previous writers for the show's ancillary releases:[35] Steven Moffat penned a two-episode story, while Mark Gatiss, Robert Shearman, and Paul Cornell each wrote one script.[35] Davies also approached his old friend Paul Abbott and Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling to write for the series, but both declined due to existing commitments.[35] Shortly after securing writers for the show, Davies stated that he had no intention to approach writers for the old series; the only writer he would have wished to work with was Robert Holmes, who died in May 1986,[35] halfway through writing his contribution to The Trial of a Time Lord.[36]

Elwen Rowlands and Helen Raynor served as script editors for series one. They were hired simultaneous, marking the first time Doctor Who had female script editors. Rowlands left after the first series for Life on Mars.[37] Compared to the original series the role of the script editors was significantly diminished, with the head writer taking most of those responsibilities. Unlike the original series they do not have the power to commission scripts. Instead, they act as liaisons between the production staff and the screenwriter, before passing their joint work to the head writer for a "final polish". Raynor said that the job is not a creative one, "you are a part of it, but you aren't driving it."[37]

Under producer Davies, the new series had a faster pace than those of the classic series. Rather than four to six-part serials of 25-minute episodes, most of the Ninth Doctor's stories consisted of individual 45-minute episodes, with only three stories out of ten being two-parters. The thirteen episodes were, however, loosely connected in a series-long story arc which brought their disparate threads together in the series finale. Davies took cues from American fantasy television series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville, most notably Buffy's concepts of series-long story arcs and the "Big Bad".[38] Also, like the original series, stories often flowed directly into one another or were linked together in some way. Notably, in common only with seasons 7 and 26 of the original series, every story of the season takes place on or near Earth. This fact is directly addressed in the original novel The Monsters Inside, in which Rose and the Doctor joke about the fact that all their adventures to date have taken place on Earth or on neighbouring space stations.

The stories of series one varied quite significantly in tone, with the production team showcasing the various genres inhabited by Doctor Who over the years. Examples include the "pseudo-historical" story "The Unquiet Dead"; the far-future whodunnit of "The End of the World"; Earthbound alien invasion stories in "Rose" and "Aliens of London"/"World War Three"; "base under siege" in "Dalek" and horror in "The Empty Child". Even the spin-off media were represented, with "Dalek" taking elements from writer Rob Shearman's own audio play Jubilee and the emotional content of Paul Cornell's "Father's Day" drawing on the tone of Cornell's novels in the Virgin New Adventures line. Davies had asked both Shearman and Cornell to write their scripts with those respective styles in mind.[citation needed] The episode "Boom Town" included a reference to the novel The Monsters Inside, becoming the first episode to acknowledge (albeit in a subtle way) spin-off fiction.[citation needed]

Production blocks[edit]

Block[39] Title Directed by Written by Code
1 "Rose"
"Aliens of London"
"World War Three"
Keith Boak Russell T Davies 1.1
1.4
1.5
2 "The End of the World"
"The Unquiet Dead"
Euros Lyn Russell T Davies
Mark Gatiss
1.2
1.3
3 "Dalek"
"Father's Day"
Joe Ahearne Robert Shearman
Paul Cornell
1.6
1.8
4 "The Long Game" Brian Grant Russell T Davies 1.7
5 "The Empty Child"
"The Doctor Dances"
James Hawes Steven Moffat 1.9
1.10
6 "Boom Town"
"Bad Wolf"
"The Parting of the Ways"
Joe Ahearne Russell T Davies 1.11
1.12
1.13

Filming[edit]

Principal photography for the series began on 18 July 2004 on location in Cardiff for "Rose".[40] The series was filmed across South East Wales, most of which in or around Cardiff.[41] Each episode took about two weeks to film.[42] The start of filming created stress among the production team because of unseen circumstances: several scenes from the first block had to be re-shot because the original footage was unusable; the Slitheen prosthetics for "Aliens of London", "World War Three", and "Boom Town" were noticeably different from their computer-generated counterparts; and, most notably, the BBC came to a gridlock with the Terry Nation estate to secure the Daleks for the sixth episode of the series, to be written by Rob Shearman.[43] After the first production block, which Davies described as "hitting a brick wall", the show's production was markedly eased as the crew familiarised themselves.[43] Filming concluded on 23 March 2005.[44] David Tennant, who was cast as Eccleston's replacement,[26] recorded his appearance at the end of "The Parting of the Ways" on 21 April 2005.[44]

Release[edit]

Promotion[edit]

A geometrical symmetric lens shape with the words Doctor Who in all-caps flying trough green and red wormhole effect.
The title card for series 1 of Doctor Who features the new logo, which some fans disliked so much they sent hate mail to the production team.

The new logo was revealed on the BBC website on 18 October 2004.[45] The first official trailer was released as part of BBC One's Winter Highlights presentation on 2 December 2004 and subsequently posted on the Internet by the BBC.[46] A media blitz including billboards and posters across the UK started early March 2005. Television trailers started showing up on 5 March and radio advertisements started two weeks before the series premier and ran till the second episode aired. The official Doctor Who website was launched with exclusive content such as games and new Ninth Doctor information.[47]

Leak[edit]

A rough cut of the premiere was leaked onto the internet three weeks before the scheduled series premiere.[5][48] This attracted much media attention and discussion amongst fans, and caused interest in the show to skyrocket.[49] The BBC released a statement that the source of the leak appears to be connected to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which responded by stating that they "are looking into it. That's all I can say at this point because we don't know exactly what happened. It certainly wasn't done intentionally."[48] Asa Bailey, founder of the Viral Advertising Association, said that the BBC hired them for viral marketing strategies, and that he told them "they should release things before their time", to create a "cool factor". Both the BBC and CBC denied any involvement, but Bailey believes that to be disingenuous, saying that it is "the best viral advert they could have done".[49] 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.[50]

Broadcast[edit]

"Rose" finally saw transmission on schedule on 26 March 2005 at 7 pm on BBC One, the first regular episode of Doctor Who since Part Three of Survival on 6 December 1989. To complement the series, BBC Wales also produced Doctor Who Confidential, a 13-part documentary series with each episode broadcast on BBC Three immediately after the end of the weekly instalment on BBC One. The series aired for 13 consecutive weeks, airing its finale episode, "The Parting of the Ways", on 18 June 2005. Davies had requested that the two first episodes were broadcast back-to-back, but the request was given to the BBC just two weeks before transmission, at which point everything was already set.[51] In some regions, the first few minutes of the original BBC broadcast of "Rose" on 26 March were marred by the accidental mixing of a few seconds of sound from Graham Norton hosting Strictly Dance Fever.[52]

The Sci Fi Channel originally passed on the new series as it found it lacking and believed it did not fit in its schedule,[47] but the network later changed its mind. After it was announced that the first series would start in March 2006, Sci Fi Channel Executive Vice President Thomas Vitale called Doctor Who "a true sci-fi classic", with creative storytelling and colorful history, and was excited to add it to its line up. The network also took an option on the second series. Candace Carlisle from BBC Worldwide found The Sci Fi Channel the perfect home for Doctor Who.[53] Doctor Who finally debuted in the U.S. on the Sci Fi Channel on 17 March 2006 with the first two episodes airing back-to-back, one year after the Canadian and UK showings.[51][54] The series concluded its initial U.S. broadcast on 9 June 2006.[55]

DVD release[edit]

The series was first released in volumes; the first volume, containing the first three episodes, was released in Region 2 on 16 May 2005.[56] The second, with "Aliens of London", "World War Three", and "Dalek", followed on 13 June 2005.[57] "The Long Game", "Father's Day", "The Empty Child", and "The Doctor Dances" were released in the third volume on 1 August 2005[58] and the final three episodes were released in the fourth volume on 5 September 2005.[59]

The entire series was then released in a boxset on 21 November 2005 in Region 2. Aside from the 13 episodes it included commentaries on every episode, a video diary from Davies during the first week of filming, as well as other featurettes.[60] The boxset was released in Region 1 on 4 July 2006.[61][62]

Series Episode name Number and duration
of episodes
R2/B release date R4/B release date R1/A release date
1 Doctor Who: Volume 1
"Rose"
"The End of the World"
"The Unquiet Dead"
3 × 45 min. 16 May 2005 17 June 2005 7 November 2006
Doctor Who: Volume 2
"Aliens of London"/"World War Three"
"Dalek"
3 × 45 min. 13 June 2005 3 August 2005 7 November 2006
Doctor Who: Volume 3
"The Long Game"
"Father's Day"
"The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances"
4 × 45 min. 1 August 2005 31 August 2005 7 November 2006
Doctor Who: Volume 4
"Boom Town"
"Bad Wolf"/"The Parting of the Ways"
3 × 45 min. 5 September 2005 6 October 2005 7 November 2006
Doctor Who: The Complete First Series
Only available on Blu-ray as part of the Complete Series 1-7 All Blu-ray Giftset in the US and UK
Blu-ray available separately in Australia
13 × 45 min. 21 November 2005
4 November 2013 (Blu-ray)
8 December 2005 (DVD)
4 December 2013 (Blu-ray)
14 February 2006 (Canada),
4 July 2006 (US)[63][64]
5 November 2013 (Blu-ray)

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

Final ratings for the first series.

"Rose" received average overnight ratings of 9.9 million viewers, peaking at 10.5 million, respectively 43.2% and 44.3% of all viewers at that time. The final figure for the episode, including video recordings watched within a week of transmission, was 10.81 million, making it the third highest for BBC One that week and seventh across all channels. The opening episode was the highest rated episode of the first series.[52][65] The penultimate episode, "Bad Wolf", received the lowest viewers of the series with just 6.81 million viewers.[1] The series also garners the highest audience Appreciation Index of any non-soap drama on television.[66] Besides the second episode, "The End of the World", which garnered a 79% rating, the lowest of the series, all episodes received an AI above 80%. The series finale "The Parting of the Ways" was the highest rated episode with an AI of 89%.[2] The success of the launch saw the BBC's Head of Drama Jane Tranter confirming on 30 March that the series would return both for a Christmas Special in December 2005 and a full second series in 2006.[67]

The initial Sci Fi Channel broadcasts of series one attained an average Nielsen Rating of 1.3, representing 1.5 million viewers in total.[55] Although these ratings were less than those reached by Sci Fi's original series Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, they reflect a 44% increase in ratings and a 56% increase in viewership over the same timeslot in the second quarter of 2005, as well as increases of 56% and 57% in two key demographics.[55][68]

Critical reception[edit]

In April 2004, Michael Grade returned to the BBC, this time as the Chairman of the Board of Governors, although this position does not involve any commissioning or editorial responsibilities.[69] Although he had previously disliked the show and imposed an eighteen-month hiatus on it during the Sixth Doctor era, he eventually wrote an e-mail to the Director-General of the BBC Mark Thompson in June 2005, after the successful new first series, voicing approval for its popularity. He also declared, "[I] never dreamed I would ever write this. I must be going soft!"[70] The revival also impressed former Doctor Sylvester McCoy, who praised Eccleston and Piper as well as their characters, and the pacing of the first episode. His only criticism was about the new TARDIS interior, though he did comment that he was "also a bit dismayed that more wasn't made of the show's incidental music, which seemed fairly anonymous in the background".[71]

Robin Oliver of The Sydney Morning Herald praised Davies for taking "an adult approach to one of television's most famous characters" that children would appreciate, and that he reinvented it in a way that would be "competitive in a high-tech market". Oliver also wrote that older viewers would find Eccleston "easily the best time lord since Tom Baker".[72] Reviewing the first episode, The Stage's Harry Venning hailed it as a "fabulous, imaginative, funny and sometimes frightening reinvention" and particularly praised Rose for being an improvement upon previous female companions who were "fit only to scream or be captured". However, he found Eccleston to be "the show’s biggest disappointment" as he looked "uncomfortable playing fantasy".[73] Digital Spy's Dek Hogan found the final episode anticlimactic, but overall said that the series was "excellent Saturday night telly of the kind that many of us thought the BBC had forgotten how to make". He praised Eccleston's performance and named "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" as the best episodes.[74] Arnold T Blumburg of Now Playing gave the series a grade of A-, praising its variety. However, he was critical of Davies' "annoying tendency to play to the lowest common denominator with toilet humor", but felt that from "Dalek" on the series was more dramatic and sophisticated.[75]

DVD Talk's John Sinnott rated the first series four and a half out of five stars, writing that it "keeps a lot of the charm and excitement of the original (as well as the premise), while making the series easily accessible for new viewers". Sinnott praised the faster pace and the design changes that made it feel "fresh", as well as Eccleston's Doctor. However, he felt that Piper only did a "credible" job as Eccleston eclipsed her, and said that the writing was "uneven" with many of the episodes "just slightly flawed".[61] Looking back on the series in 2011, Stephen Kelly of The Guardian wrote, "Eccleston's Doctor may have had many faults – looking like an EastEnders extra and bellowing "FANTASTIC!" at every opportunity being two of them – but he was merely a reflection of a show that, at the time, still didn't know what it wanted to be. The first series of the revived Doctor Who – which featured farting aliens – was a world away from the intelligent, populist science-fiction we know it as now. But then, it is thanks to Eccleston that it got this far at all – a big, respectable name who laid the foundations for Tennant to swag away with the show."[76]

However, not everyone was pleased with the new production. Some fans criticised the new logo and perceived changes to the TARDIS model. According to various news sources, members of the production team even received hate mail and death threats.[77][78] "The Unquiet Dead" was criticised by parents, who felt that the episode was "too scary" for their young children; the BBC dismissed the complaints, saying that it had never been intended for the youngest of children.[79]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The BAFTA nominations, released on 27 March 2006, revealed that Doctor Who had been shortlisted in the "Drama Series" category. This is the highest-profile and most prestigious British television award for which the series has ever been nominated. Doctor Who was also nominated in several other categories in the BAFTA Craft Awards, including Writer (Russell T Davies), Director (Joe Ahearne), and Break-through Talent (production designer Edward Thomas). However, it did not win any of its categories at the Craft Awards.[citation needed] On 22 April 2006, the programme won five categories (out of fourteen nominations) at the lower-profile BAFTA Cymru awards, given to programmes made in Wales. It won Best Drama Series, Drama Director (James Hawes), Costume, Make-up and Photography Direction. Russell T Davies also won the Siân Phillips Award for Outstanding Contribution to Network Television.[80]

On 7 May 2006, the winners of the British Academy Television Awards were announced, and Doctor Who won both of the categories it was nominated for, the Best Drama Series and audience-voted Pioneer Award. Russell T Davies also won the Dennis Potter Award for Outstanding Writing for Television.[81] It is the only series in the show's history to win a BAFTA. Several episodes of the 2005 series of Doctor Who were nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: "Dalek", "Father's Day" and the double episode "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances". At a ceremony at the Worldcon (L.A. Con IV) in Los Angeles on 27 August 2006, the Hugo was awarded to "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances".[82] "Dalek" and "Father's Day" came in second and third places respectively.[83] Doctor Who was nominated in the Best Drama Series category at the 2006 Royal Television Society awards,[84] but lost to BBC Three's medical drama Bodies.[85] Doctor Who also received several nominations for the 2006 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards: the programme for Best Drama, Eccleston for Best Actor (David Tennant was also nominated for Secret Smile), Piper for Best Actress and Davies for Best Writer. However, it did not win any of these categories.[86] Piper won the Breakthrough Award For Rising British Talent at the 2006 South Bank Show awards for her role as Rose.[87]

In 2005, at the National Television Awards, Doctor Who won "Most Popular Drama", Christopher Eccleston won "Most Popular Actor" and Billie Piper won "Most Popular Actress".[88] A scene from "The Doctor Dances" won "Golden Moment" in the BBC's "2005 TV Moments" awards.[89] Doctor Who dominated all the categories in BBC.co.uk's online "Best of Drama" poll in both 2005. Eccleston for Best Actor with 59.42%,[90] Piper for Best Actress with a voting of 59.76%,[91] plus she won the Most Desirable Star with 26.47%.[92] 71.17% made the Doctor Who website the Best Drama Website.[93] With 8.63% the 1st Favourite Moment is when the Daleks returned in "Dalek".[94] Best Villain was won by all the Daleks with a voting of 46.40%.[95] The programme also won the Broadcast Magazine Award for Best Drama.[96] Eccleston was awarded the TV Quick and TV Choice award for Best Actor in 2005.[97]

Soundtrack[edit]

Selected pieces of score from this series (alongside material from Series 2 and "The Runaway Bride"), as composed by Murray Gold, were released on 4 December 2006 by Silva Screen Records

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Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]