This week, the BBC put out a YouTube video compilation of Rose Tyler's best moments in her 2-season run on Doctor Who. You could say it's about time since she was the first companion to the Doctor when the show came back in 2005 under showrunner Russell T. Davies. There was a lot riding on Doctor Who's return in 2005. No one was certain it would be a success. The show had become something of an embarrassment by the time it was cancelled in 1989 by the suits at the BBC and a running joke for most people. British television went through the 1990s with hardly any decent Science Fiction at all. It became mostly reality shows like Big Brother and cop shows about hunting serial killers, and the costume dramas co-produced with PBS for export to the US and abroad.
Meanwhile, US shows like The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were becoming popular, including amongst audiences in the UK. There was a moment when TV executives started talking about finding "the British Buffy" to greenlight, but their inherent snobbery kept any decent attempts from getting made, considering the massive pool of Science Fiction and Fantasy writing talent in the UK in the form of smart, genre-savvy book authors. It took Davies becoming a hot TV writer and showrunner with hit shows like Queer as Folk (the original British version) to revive Doctor Who because he was a fan and he believed there was a hunger for the show if done right.
And to get Doctor Who right, Davies knew the show would need a companion who was relatable to a young and female audience to serve as their point of view. Rose Tyler became the audience's gateway into the world of the show, a South London Council Estate girl working in a shop whose eyes are opened by her encounter with a time-traveling alien. Billie Piper had been a teen pop star whose career was effectively over by the time she was cast as Rose Tyler and everyone thought this was going to be a disaster. Nobody expected her to be able to act or be so likable that she was one of the reasons the show became a worldwide hit, especially once David Tennant came along as the 10th Doctor. They became the dream team leading the show, with the 10th Doctor as the Internet's Geek Boyfriend and Rose Tyler as their surrogate. Piper has become one of the UK's most popular actresses with a hit show We Hate Suzy, but has said she would love to return as Rose again as a guest star if Davies' new season would have her.
Meanwhile, we'll wait for the 13th series of Doctor Who to show up this Autumn.