The Parting of the Ways
First Broadcast June 18th, 2005 @ 7.00pm (6.91m viewers)
After reintroducing Doctor Who to a 21st Century audience the series deserved to go out with a bang. Of course, if the show had not found a significant audience this episode could have been a last hurrah. So what better solution than to deliver millions of Daleks, the biggest army ever seen on television, thanks to the miracle of computer technology, something the production team on ‘Day of the Daleks’ could certainly have done with. There is also a return of the Emperor Dalek, a position last held by their creator Davros in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’, a wonderful creation which combined model and puppet work through a green screen.
In his final appearance as the Doctor, Christopher Eccleston runs with the plot, taking the role of the swashbuckling hero rescuing Rose but also epitomising the hurt of a warrior who’s biggest battle now seems to have been in vain. The charismatic Captain Jack was brought in solely to be the gun-toting defender of the Game Station whilst the Doctor finds an alternative solution using his intelligence and sonic screwdriver. In the end, however, he cannot bring himself to push the button, declaring himself a coward, having been scarred by the experience of the Time War. Enter Rose Tyler. As with the first episode of the series, it is the companion who ultimately saves the day, such has been her journey with the Doctor that her desperation to help him leads to her inadvertently causing his regeneration.
Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)
Christopher Eccleston’s 13 episode run as the Time Lord had the task of introducing all the elements that made Doctor Who the iconic show it always was. Through new companion Rose Tyler, the viewer is introduced to the alien Time Lord, the TARDIS, the Daleks and finally the concept of regeneration, a deliberate tactic to connect the programme with a 21st Century audience. On the day of broadcast, it had supposedly been leaked that David Tennant was the new Doctor but somehow I had avoided that information and so when the Doctor regenerated it came as quite a shock. The process itself would also receive an update. Gone was the Time Lord static on the floor, always tricky for camera angles, just ask Nicola Bryant! Instead, an explosion of energy would tear out of the body, giving the transition a dramatic dynamism as the facial features of the new guy emerge, completing the reintroduction of Doctor Who and setting the show up for an exciting future, one many thought it didn’t have.
The final word has to belong to Christopher Eccleston. His reasons for leaving the show after only 13 episodes remain his prerogative but he has always spoken fondly of his time as the Doctor. Doctor Who fans should also be grateful for the legacy which he provided. By taking on the role Eccleston elevated the show, giving it credibility to critics whilst retaining the spirit of the original programme. This successful first series triumphantly returned Doctor Who to Saturday evening television and single-handedly revitalised the ailing phenomenon of family viewing.
Doctor Who – Christopher Eccleston
Rose Tyler – Billie Piper
Jack Harkness – John Barrowman
Male Programmer – Jo Stone Fewings
Lynda – Jo Joyner
Mickey – Noel Clarke
Rodrick Paterson – Joseph
Female Programmer – Nisha Nayar
Jackie – Camille Coduri
Voice of Anne Droid – Anne Robinson
Doctor Who – David Tennant
Writer – Russell T Davies
Producer – Phil Collinson
Director – Joe Ahearne
Also First Aired On This Day…
- The Savages : Episode 4
- Doctor Who Confidential : The Last Battle