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Doctor Who Ninth Doctor & Rose Video: Captain Jack & Mickey Who?

Time for another Doctor Who "best of" compilation video. This time, it's the Best of the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper). This was long overdue. The first season of the revived show is where it all started, the root of its current success. The video is also conspicuous for what it leaves out, or rather who it leaves out, but that's probably just as well.

Doctor Who: Best of 9th Doctor and Rose Cuts Captain Jack and Mickey
"Doctor Who" series one, image: BBC

New showrunner Russell T. Davies was rebooting the show for a whole new generation of kids who grew up without Doctor Who or truly imaginative Science Fiction. The 1990s were a drought for imagination in British television, mired in the emergence of reality TV shows like Big Brother and TV drama was increasingly dominated by cop shows where they hunted serial killers. The popularity of The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer was attracting younger viewers hungry for genres beyond cops. The BBC wanted to have a "British Buffy", but the corporation executives were often too snobbish to truly commit to any pitches brought to them by reputable Science Fiction and Fantasy authors, of which there was always a huge community in London and the UK. The UK in the 1990s saw a renaissance for pop music, art, and fiction in the whole "Cool Britannia" wave, but it sucked for Science Fiction and imaginative TV drama. It took the clout Davies earned from Queer as Folk (the original British version that he created) becoming the top-rated show in the UK and making him the hottest showrunner in the country that afforded him the chance to revive Doctor Who when he could write his own ticket.

You can see that in how Davies designed Rose Tyler as the audience stand-in as she starts out a shopgirl living in a South London council estate with no real sense of prospects or the world beyond the dull social realities of grey London. The Doctor bursting into her life with alien invasions, possessed department store dummies, a journey to the far future to witness the end of Earth, then to the past to meet Charles Dickens (Simon Callow) expanded her horizons, and also opened British TV up to Science Fiction and fantasy again after the failed, tepid attempts of the 1990s, all of them now mercifully forgotten. Davies also introduced the theme that ordinary people matter, that they can affect the world and the future, as when Rose's father Pete (Shaun Dingwall) sacrifices himself to save not just her but the entire world and timeline.

There are two glaring omissions from the compilation video: Noel Clarke as Rose's hapless boyfriend Mickey Smith and John Barrowman as galaxy omnisexual con man Captain Jack Harkness, who was so popular he went on to lead spinoff show Torchwood. The reasons are obvious and reported elsewhere – Clark has been accused by multiple women for being a sex pest and harasser for years, and Barrowman for onset antics involving unzipping his trousers. To watch this video makes it feel like they're not part of Doctor Who at all, though they're still very present in the episodes themselves. But the compilation video makes that point that it was always really about The Doctor and Rose.

Doctor Who is streaming on iPlayer in the UK and HBO Max in the US.

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Adi TantimedhAbout Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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