Doctor Who: Children in Need

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"Doctor Who: Children in Need"
Doctor Who charity special
Children in Need Doctor Who.jpg
The Tenth Doctor, having just regenerated.
Cast
Production
Directed by Euros Lyn
Written by Russell T Davies
Script editor Unknown
Produced by Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Incidental music composer Murray Gold
Production code CIN
Series Specials (2005)
Length 7 minutes
Originally broadcast 18 November 2005
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
"The Parting of the Ways" "The Christmas Invasion"
List of Doctor Who serials

"Doctor Who: Children in Need", also known as "Born Again",[1] is a 7-minute mini-episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was broadcast on BBC One as part of the 2005 appeal for the children's charity Children in Need on 18 November 2005.

Plot[edit]

Following on directly from the end of "The Parting of the Ways", the newly regenerated Tenth Doctor sets the TARDIS coordinates for the planet Barcelona (Tuesday, 6 p.m., October 5006)—where his predecessor had been planning to take her just before he regenerated—while Rose watches him suspiciously. He delightedly examines his new appearance (noting he has a slight weakness in the dorsal tubercle, a full head of hair, sideburns, is slimmer, and has a mole between his shoulder blades), while asking her what she thinks of the way he looks.

Rose, confused and frightened, asks him who he is. When he tells her he is the Doctor, she does not believe him. Confused as to what she has just seen, she theorises that this stranger has replaced the Doctor by means of teleportation, or perhaps he is a Slitheen. She demands that he bring the Doctor back, and the Doctor tries to reassure her that it is him, telling her how they first met in the cellar at Henrik's, and the first word he ever said to her: "Run!"

Rose starts to believe him, and the Doctor leaps around the console happily, reminiscing about their other adventures, such as when they once had to hop for their lives. However, she is still unsettled, and asks him if he can change back to his previous self. A deflated Doctor replies that he cannot, and asks her if she wants to leave. When Rose hesitates in her answer, he resets the ship's coordinates for her council estate on Christmas Eve, offering her the choice to stay with her mother, Jackie Tyler, or continue her travels with him.

Suddenly, the Doctor suffers a form of seizure, expelling glowing energy from his mouth, and the TARDIS shudders as if in sympathetic response. The Doctor tells Rose the regeneration is going wrong and starts to act maniacally, throwing switches on the TARDIS console and ranting about increasing speed as the sounds of the Cloister Bell start ringing through the console room. As Rose hangs on to the console for dear life, the TARDIS heads for a crash landing on Christmas Eve...

Continuity[edit]

Rose refers to some of her previous adventures, mentioning nanogenes ("The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances"), the Gelth ("The Unquiet Dead") and the Slitheen ("Aliens of London"/"World War Three" and "Boom Town").

During the Doctor's initial spasms, Rose suggests they go back and get Captain Jack to help. The Doctor replies that Jack is too busy rebuilding the Earth (devastated in "The Parting of the Ways"), suggesting that he is aware—or at least may want Rose to believe—that Jack is alive. This could be a foreshadowing of the spin-off series Torchwood. According to his comments in "Utopia", the Doctor knew that Jack had become a fixed point in time thanks to Rose's actions in bringing him back from the dead, and fled because he was physically unable to bear being near him.

Post-regeneration instability has been present, to varying degrees, in every one of the Doctor's regenerations, from the Second Doctor's casual shrugging-off of his predecessor as someone else (The Power of the Daleks)[2] to the Sixth Doctor's psychopathic behaviour (The Twin Dilemma)[3] and the Eighth Doctor's amnesia (the 1996 Doctor Who television movie).[4] This behaviour seems to be common to Time Lords, as the Master exhibits the same manic instability at the end of "Utopia" when he regenerates,[5] a fact that was confirmed by Phil Collinson in the podcast for the show.

The low chiming sound that echoes through the console room near the end of the mini-episode is the sound of the TARDIS's Cloister Bell, first heard in Logopolis. Its ringing is supposed to signal "wild catastrophes and sudden calls to man the battle stations," as the Fourth Doctor put it. This episode contains no in-dialogue explanation for the sound effect. As the Cloister Bell chimes in the mini-episode, another, faster and higher-pitched ringing is also heard.

Production[edit]

The mini-episode was not broadcast with a title, but throughout the Children in Need appeal a preview banner for the segment called it The New Doctor. Russell T Davies joked in a Doctor Who Magazine article that it was called "Pudsey Cutaway"—after the Children in Need teddy-bear mascot and modifying "Dalek Cutaway", an alternative title for "Mission to the Unknown" (something of a one-off special itself, from the programme's earliest black-and-white era). The 2006 Doctor Who Magazine special Series Two Companion revealed that the title used on production papers was Doctor Who: Children in Need. The 2009 tie-in book Doctor Who: Companions And Allies attributes without source the title Born Again.[1] However, DWM's review of the book indicates this to have been an error and as of 2011 Companions and Allies remains the only officially licensed publication to use this title.

Other specially made episodes of Doctor Who include Dimensions in Time (also for Children in Need) and Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death (for Comic Relief), neither of which are usually considered canonical. The 20th-anniversary special, The Five Doctors (1983), was broadcast as part of that year's Children in Need night, but is considered canonical; the 2007 Children in Need mini-episode "Time Crash" is also considered canonical, as is the two-part mini-episode "Space / Time" produced for the 2011 edition of Comic Relief.

The mini-episode was written and recorded separately from both "The Parting of the Ways" and "The Christmas Invasion" and recorded after the latter had completed shooting. "The Christmas Invasion" does not reprise any of this episode (although the Doctor does mention having a mole between his shoulder blades in both the mini-episode and "The Christmas Invasion").[6] The online feed of the mini-episode ended with several pre-recorded inserts of Tennant and Piper appealing for donations to Children in Need. The appeals in which they both appear were light-hearted, with Piper claiming to be Tennant and vice versa in the first, and in the second the pair introducing themselves as Letitia Dean and Nicholas Lyndhurst. Russell T Davies stated in the book The Inside Story that he brokered an agreement with the BBC that there would be "... no banners along the bottom of the screen thanking people for sitting in bathtubs full of baked beans, and no Pudsey on the TARDIS console!"

The mini-episode ended with the text, "Doctor Who will return in THE CHRISTMAS INVASION", an announcement that also followed "The Parting of the Ways". It had no end credits, and so Tennant was neither listed as "Doctor Who" (as he had been in the credits of "The Parting of the Ways") nor as "The Doctor" (as he was in "The Christmas Invasion"). This special was never broadcast in Canada by the CBC which, at the time, were co-producers of the second series.

Broadcast and DVD release[edit]

According to the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB), the overnight ratings suggest that 10.7 million viewers were tuned into BBC One from 9.00pm to 9.15pm (a 45.1% audience share), the slot in which the mini-episode was broadcast in most regions. This represented the highest ratings that Children in Need had received in eight years.

The mini-episode was included on the Series 2 DVD box set.[7] The version of the special on the Region 2 DVD is slightly different: the opening montage to recap "The Parting of the Ways" has been changed, the Cloister Bell sound is missing, and there are variations in the incidental music throughout (including a rare use of part of the main theme as incidental, when the TARDIS changes course to Earth)[citation needed]. This was later revealed to have been a 'rough-cut' version that was used by mistake and should never have been released, and the later Region 1 release features the broadcast version[citation needed]. The Region 1 DVD release marked the first time the special was officially seen in North America as it was never broadcast by either the CBC nor Sci-Fy Channel[citation needed].

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tribe, Steve (2009). Doctor Who: Companions and Allies. BBC Books. ISBN 1-84607-749-4. 
  2. ^ David Whitaker, Dennis Spooner (uncredited) (writers), Christopher Barry (director), Innes Lloyd (producer) (5 November – 10 December 1966). The Power of the Daleks. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1. 
  3. ^ Anthony Steven (writer), Peter Moffatt (director), John Nathan-Turner (producer) (22–30 March 1984). The Twin Dilemma. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1. 
  4. ^ Matthew Jacobs (writer), Geoffrey Sax (director), Peter V. Ware, Matthew Jacobs (producers) (12 May 1996). Doctor Who. Doctor Who. WIC. CITV. 
  5. ^ Russell T Davies (writer), Graeme Harper (director), Phil Collinson (producer) (16 June 2007). "Utopia". Doctor Who. Series 3. Episode 11. BBC. BBC One. 
  6. ^ Russell T Davies (writer), James Hawes (director), Phil Collinson (producer) (25 December 2005). "The Christmas Invasion". Doctor Who. Series 2. Episode - 2005 Christmas Special. BBC. BBC One. 
  7. ^ "Series Two DVD Box". BBC. 31 August 2006. Archived from the original on 1 March 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 

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