Rose Tyler (Biller Piper) and The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) - Doctor Who 0 New Earth (c) BBC
Rose Tyler (Biller Piper) and The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) – Doctor Who 0 New Earth (c) BBC

New Earth

First Broadcast April 15th, 2013 @ 7.15pm (8.62m viewers)

‘New Earth’ begins David Tennant’s first full series as the Tenth Doctor and really gave viewers their first proper look at the new incarnation considering that during ‘The Christmas Invasion’ he is largely absent from the action. To showcase the new Doctor at the outset of his tenure a returning villain is employed. This is a strategy which has been used numerous times before, beginning with the fallout from the very first regeneration in 1966. On that occasion, the Daleks were put opposite the Second Doctor and since then the Rani battling the Seventh Doctor, the Autons against the Ninth Doctor and to a lesser extent the Cybermen facing the Sixth Doctor, all have utilised this strategy. This episode provides an entertaining reappearance from everyone’s favourite last human Cassandra marking Zoe Wanamaker’s final portrayal of the character.

Cassandra does a bit of body hopping - Doctor Who - New Earth (c) BBC
Cassandra does a bit of body hopping – Doctor Who – New Earth (c) BBC

The tone of this story is mixed with the comedy of body swapping and line’s such as Rose realising she’s a chav, a stark contrast to the dark underbelly of the hospital. Humans being bred to be sick so that the wealthy can enjoy uninterrupted health is as grim a concept as Doctor Who has ever presented, with a moral message concerning the validity of all life forms no matter how they came into existence and the horror of never experiencing physical contact. One particular life form immediately catches the attention, the catkind Sisters of Plentitude who are incredible achievements in prosthetic masks and certainly an improvement on the Cheetah people of ‘Survival’ in 1989.

Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) and Cassandra - Doctor Who - New Earth (c) BBC
Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) and Cassandra – Doctor Who – New Earth (c) BBC

‘New Earth’ sees Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler develop at a pace opposite the attractive new incarnation of the Time Lord, beginning her nauseating adoration for the Tenth Doctor which would continue for the remainder of the season and make Rose’s departure so devastating. This script also provides Piper with an opportunity to test her comedic skills, playing the Cassandra inhabited version of her character in addition to her normal mannerisms. It is those moments of self-deprecating humour which provide the memorable ‘laugh out loud’ lines of dialogue all perfectly delivered by Piper. When she was cast many questioned the choice of a former pop star now trying her hand at acting. But she never looked out of place opposite an actor of Christopher Ecclestone’s experience and this story goes to demonstrate what a talented performer she truly is, not just capable of drama but also the more difficult skills required for effective comedy.

Cast:

Doctor Who – David Tennant
Rose Tyler – Billie Piper
Jackie Tyler – Camille Coduri
Mickey Smith – Noel Clarke
Cassandra – Zoe Wanamaker
Chip – Sean Gallagher
Sister Jatt – Adjoa Andoh
Face of Boe – Struan Rodger
Matron Casp – Dona Croll
Novice Hame – Anna Hope

Crew:

Director – James Hawes
Writer – Russell T Davies

 

Also first aired On This Day…

  • The Faceless Ones : Episode Two
  • The Mutants : Episode Two
  • Doctor Who Confidential : New New Doctor

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