Billie Piper as Rose, Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness in “The Empty Child” courtesy BBC One
As we celebrate Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary with a new companion, new monsters and the return of old enemies. As we wait for the return of the eleventh Doctor on March 30th I’m flashing back to the “fantastic” rebirth of the Time Lord.
The Time Lord’s television adventures ended in 1989 except for a Fox movie in 1996 and I had stopped watching with the end of the Peter Davison era until hope arrived in 2005.
Christopher Eccleston (Shallow Grave, 28 Days Later, The Others) clad in black leather and uttering “fantastic” was an exciting modern jolt of cool energy under the guidance of producer Russell Davies during The First Series. The Ninth Doctor was joined by Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) and later the omnisexual alien rogue Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) for a series of adventures with a haunting image in each episode. The new series began with an unlikely old enemy – the Autons – but ended with a bang – Daleks! Harkness would rejoin the series and lead his own series, Torchwood.
My favorite episodes were definitely the creepy The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances set in World War II. I saw a kid dressed as one of the gas masked children from the episode at Fan Expo Vancouver. I asked the kid if he was paying homage to the Doctor and he replied, “are you my mummy?” and I slowly backed away! Still chilling and thrilling!
The first season featured the debut of the Slitheen, a guest appearance by Charles Dickens in The Unquiet Dead and actor Simon Pegg in The Long Game.
Eccleston left after only one season but went to several films. He will play Malekith, leader of the Dark Elves in Thor: The Dark World this November.
Doctor Who returns March 30th.