DOCTOR WHO: SERIES 1 | TV REVIEW

RELEASED: March 26th 2005 – June 18th 2005
DISTRIBUTED BY: BBC
SHOWRUNNER: Russell T Davies
WRITTEN BY: Russell T Davies, Mark Gatiss, Robert Shearman, Paul Cornell & Steven Moffat
DIRECTED BY: Keith Boak, Euros Lyn, Joe Ahearne, Brian Grant & James Hawes
MUSIC BY: Murray Gold
STARRING:
Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper, Camille Coduri, Noel Clarke, Mark Benton, Alan David, Eve Myles, Simon Callow, Penelope Wilton, Annette Badland, Bruno Langley, Simon Pegg, John Barrowman & Nicholas Briggs

REVIEW: Yeesh, that trailer hasn’t aged well.

A similar thing could be said about the quality of some of the computer-generated imagery throughout the first season of the revived Doctor Who. For a show about transcending the boundaries of time and travelling anywhere and everywhere, it is amusing that some of the things on screen are well and truly shackled to the past.

Fortunately, that is perhaps one of the few problems with the revitalised first season of Doctor Who.

Having been cancelled in the eighties, Doctor Who returned to screens in 2005, helmed by writer Russell T Davies, almost a decade after the previous revival attempt in the 1996 TV Movie. This time, the show was back to it’s series routes, following the Doctor and his new companion, played by Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, gallivanting around time and space in the TARDIS.

This series of Doctor Who kicked things off by finding the Doctor in the days following the Last Great Time-War. Now the last of the time-lords, the Doctor has to contend with the fallout of a war which he brought to an end, including ‘ghosts’ in Victorian Britain, aliens infiltrating government, the literal end of the world, and the return of his classic foes, the Autons and the Daleks.

The reinvigorated series is much more drama-focused than it’s predecessor, due to the heavier focus on new companion Rose Tyler and her family. Delving into her personal life, her job, her family and boyfriend not only give the show greater stakes, but also allow it to explore the ramifications of becoming a time-traveler, which is a huge bonus for the first series of the revised show. This is evident throughout the series, as Rose and the Doctor repeatedly return to London and see her mother, Jackie, and boyfriend, Mickey. The friction that is created between them and the Doctor due to Rose’s frequent disappearances make for some great television, and mean that even in some of the weaker, goofier episodes, like World War Three have some grounding in the familiar, and character development that really makes this series stand out more than some of the later outings of Doctor Who.

This is helped tremendously by great performances not only from Eccleston and Piper, but also Coduri, Clarke, and the wealth of other guest stars who frequent the show.

The design department also does a top job, as while the CGI does feel dated, some of the appearances of the aliens are truly memorable, and help really hammer home the dramatic tension that comes from taking ‘ordinary shop-assistant’ Rose and plonking her into the middle of a cross-time jaunt.

The writing is also extremely tight. Throughout the series, the show drops hints not only to the overarching ‘Bad Wolf’ story-arc, but also seeds bits of information about the Doctor’s recent past; a mystery to both new and returning audiences, that is endlessly fascinating.

The way the Doctor and the characters he interacts with are depicted really makes them feel real and three-dimensional; they have thoughts, they have feelings, they can be happy or angry, they make mistakes. Even the side characters are given a chance to show us who they are, and it repeatedly makes for a very entertaining watch.

If this series hadn’t been of such a high quality, Doctor Who probably would have once more faded into obscurity. But in just one season, the writers manage to touch base on all the most important facets of the Doctor Who lore, whilst opening the show up for an unprecedented amount of new stories to tell, characters to reveal, and places to explore.

As the Ninth Doctor would say, it’s ‘Fantastic’.

All-in-all, I give Doctor Who: Series One:

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