First Broadcast July 8th, 2006 @ 7.00pm (8.22m viewers)
To bring to an end the second series of the reborn version of Doctor Who a spectacular finale was devised featuring an epic battle between the two iconic monsters of the show, the Daleks and the Cybermen. In addition, David Tennant’s first series in the lead role of the enigmatic Time Lord would see him heartbreakingly separated from his companion Rose Tyler, providing a truly unforgettable moment in the modern show which cemented its place in the hearts of viewers.
Continuing from the previous week’s episode, the Cybermen have broken through into our universe and Daleks have emerged from the void. Unfortunately, the episode also leads with the deliberately misleading statement from Rose Tyler that “This is the story of how I died”. Whilst I had no specific desire to see Rose’s demise it feels as though a promise has been made only for that promise to then be broken, as if someone was sharing a fake spoiler, setting a high standard of expectations only for them not to be met.
Returning to our tale, the dialogue between the Daleks and the Cybermen is brutally cringeworthy, with voice artist Nick Briggs pulling a double shift, with the “pest control” and “you are better at dying” lines proving that perhaps it was wise that these two aliens shouldn’t communicate with each other. The Genesis Ark is an intriguing prospect, the week leading up to this episode was full of debate as to what would be contained inside it, but strangely despite it being of Gallifreyan origin it has four convenient controls for Daleks to operate it! The short battle between the Cult of Skaro and the Cybermen after the silver giants infiltrate the sphere room is a bit poor with both sides stood stationary and simply firing at their opponents. It is at this point that the episode descends into soap opera territory with the Jackie and Pete Tyler storyline being brought together. Whilst it is nice for Camille Coduri and Shaun Dingwall to have a deserved moment to shine, it does bring the action to a grinding halt when all the younger viewers just want to see is the Daleks and the Cybermen fight each other! Fortunately, we return to the action quickly as the Genesis Ark is revealed to be a prison ship containing millions of Daleks resulting in a spectacular CGI heavy sequence before the episode’s final resolution.
The ultimate defeat of the Daleks and the Cybermen, again delayed by more emotional scenes featuring the Tyler family, is pretty good, making logical sense if you accept the science of ‘void stuff’. With both enemies defeated and ‘sent to hell’ it is then time for Rose Tyler to bid farewell also. The sequence of her holding on for dear life, having moved from the magnetic clamps despite the breach remaining open and therefore not requiring her input, suffers from poor continuity as her position whilst holding the handle adjusts depending on the camera angle. Worst still is to follow as dramatically she loses her grip, glancing back at the Doctor as she plummets towards the void. Incredibly and with flawless timing Pete Tyler appears in perfect position to catch and save her. The execution may be clumsy at best but the reality is clear, Rose is gone. And so the heartbreak begins.
David Tennant is simply incredible. Whilst Billie Piper becomes hysterically tearful, Tennant says nothing. Walking away from the wall it may appear as if he is doing little but he is acting his socks off, the subtlety of his despair doesn’t shout or demand attention yet it breaks your heart. And then we come to Bad Wolf Bay…
Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)
Readers of SFX magazine voted this scene as the greatest moment in science fiction of all time in 2014. Whilst this is possibly a little surprising given some of the iconic moments throughout the history of the genre, it is without doubt the crucial point which cemented a connection between this new version of Doctor Who and the audience. Although the Doctor reveals that Rose is listed on the official list of the dead it feels like a bit of a cop-out and totally unnecessary given the emotion on display. Both actors are phenomenal with their performances and it is them who captivate the viewers before reducing them to tears. Finally, the Doctor cruelly is prevented from finishing his sentence as the tears roll down the cheeks of the Time Lord and those watching at home.
But, wiping our eyes, there is no time to dwell on the past as a Bride is now on board the TARDIS! The adventure continues…
David Tennant … The Doctor
Billie Piper … Rose Tyler
Camille Coduri … Jackie Tyler
Noel Clarke … Mickey Smith
Shaun Dingwall … Pete Tyler
Andrew Hayden-Smith … Jake Simmonds
Tracy Ann Oberman … Yvonne Hartman
Raji James … Dr. Rajesh Singh
Paul Kasey … Cyber Leader
Nicholas Briggs … Dalek / Cybermen (voice)
Writer … Russell T Davies
Director … Graeme Harper
Also First Aired On This Day…
- Doctor Who Confidential : Finale
- Torchwood : Children of Earth : Day Three
- Torchwood : Miracle Day : The New World