Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who: Rose Prequel And Sequel

Today we got a watch-along with Russell T Davies of his first TV episode of Doctor Who, Rose. With Twitter guest stars including Mark Benton and Graham Norton. But better than that, we got both a prequel and a sequel. The prequel was a final page of a non-existent prequel novelisation to Rose, written by Russell for the 50th anniversary but dropped when it contradicted the events of Steven Moffat's The Night Of The Doctor and The Day Of The Doctor. And we also got a short story sequel to Rose, written by Davies and audio recorded for YouTube. And you are going to get Ten Thoughts covering both…

doctor who rose prequel sequel

1. Living Statues

Days before, the Nestene had posted sentries along the Embankment in the form of living statues, those strange humans who decide to earn a living by dressing up as clowns, robots or statues and then standing perfectly still waiting for people to throw money at them

Steven Moffat gets to make actual statues very scary courtesy of Blink, Russell T Davies wants to do it to living statues, and yes there are always plenty down the South Bank of the Thames, adjacent to the London Eye. Not that there's much of that left. They'll have a year to repair it before the Doctor returns with Rose and that pig in the Slitheen ship crashes into the Thames.

2. Clean Up Job

It turned around to look at the remnants of London in every direction. Fires burned and bodies lay in the streets, victims of the glorious invasion. The immediate area remained flooded, overwhelmed by the tsunami resulting from the Eye's collapse. The streets of Westminster had become a stinking swamp. The clown stood tall upon the rubber overlooking floating cars and fallen buses and weeping survivors as it formulated

Actually they have a lot to tidy up in that time, don't they? And one fallen London, told in a story amidst the ruins of another. It is very, very quiet out there.

3. Of Plastic Mice And Plastic Men

An alliance, a combination of the Doctor's greatest enemies perhaps even the mighty empires of Daleks and Cybermen combined to rid the universe of this pestilence an excellent plan…

So the Nestene plans revenge, could it have been behind Torchwood's joining together of Daleks and Cybermen? Or was that a sta of what would come later with the Pandorica, Nestene recreating Amy's childhood books as a trap for the Doctor, with Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Judoon and more? But how would any of this be achieved? We'll get to that, but first…

4. Bullet Time

In Rose we learned that the Autons were victims of the Time War, and in both we get repeating details. From the prequel:

His creaking wooden platform shivers with ice, a mile high, atop fragments of Morbius's Red Capitol, its vile towers fused into the black, friable spires of Yarvelling's Church. And yet the Doctor can see glimpses of Earth. The planet had been replicated a million times, to become the bullets fired into the Nightmare Child's skull, and now splinters of human society have gouged themselves into the wasteland below – relics of Mumbai, shards of Manhattan, a satire of Old London Town.

And the sequel

a tumble of planets fell out of a rip in space like stray bullets from some epic offstage gunfight. Copies of planets stolen from different seconds of their existence, a hundred orange worlds known as Gallifrey, a thousand black cinders once called Skaro, a dozen small blue and green planets which the Nestene recognized from an old campaign, Earth

5. From The Nightmare Child To The Timeless Child

Surrounded by brightness, the Doctor sees the sky above parting to reveal, just as Bettan and the Deathsmiths of Goth had predicted, the final event.

The Nightmare Child was also one of the reference namedrops from Russell T Davies… the Doctor telling Davros 'I saw your command ship fly into the jaws of the Nightmare Child…I tried to save you…" and then in The End Of Time, "You weren't there, in the final days of the War. You never saw what was born. If the Time Lock's broken, then everything's coming through. Not just the Daleks, but the Skaro Degradations, the Horde of Travesties, the Nightmare Child, the Could-Have-Been King with his army of Meanwhiles and Never-Weres. The War turned into hell!" It was planned to be the ultimate in Daleks and the child of the Dalek Emperor – would it really have a skull?

Bettan was a young female Thal soldier affiliated with the ruling Thal council at the time of the creation of the Daleks, and seen in The Genesis Of The Daleks. The Deathsmiths of Goth were weapon designers from the 1980 Doctor Who Marvel UK comic Black Legacy, by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Used by the Time Lords to create The Moment.

Yarvelling was a humanoid Dalek who designed the first Dalek casings from the TV21 Dalek comic books from the 60s. Morbius was the Time Lord from The Brain Of Morbius who revealed the Doctor's lives before the incarnation commonly referred to as The First Doctor, now revealed to be so much more.

6. From Moment To Moment

And there's more.

In front of him, at the edge of the platform, a brass handle, mounted in a simple oak casement; the only remaining extrusion of the Moment into this world, the rest of its vast bulk hidden, chained to an N-form, churning behind the dimensional wall. Screaming to be used.

The Moment was something thrown away in The End Of Time, Davies' final episode, with the Time Lords saying that the Doctor possessed the Moment, and would use it to destroy Time Lords and Daleks alike. It was then picked up by Moffat for The Day of The Doctor. But here is it used by Davies, written before seeing that episode, as a weapon of the Time Lords, in a very different way. But also giving us dimensional rips. Doesn't look like Billie piper here though.

7. Master Of None

We also get a new conceptualisation as to what happened with the Master during the Time War, before Utopia, who we thought had run from the Time War but looks to have been weaponised.

Around him, the console room buckles, warps, shudders, still suffering from the High Council's resurrection of the Master, long ago. It aches for a new shape. 'Me too,' mutters the Doctor with a grim smile, though he knows regeneration is impossible. The Moment has fixed his existence, and this life is his last.

8. The Age Of The Doctor

He wonders what age he's finally reached. The Time War used years as ammunition; at the Battle of Rodan's Wedding alone, he'd aged to five million and then regressed to a mewling babe, merely from shrapnel. Now, the ache in his bones feels… one thousand years old? Well. Call it nine hundred. Sounds better.

The Doctor has previously described himself as over a thousand years old but in the 2005 series he said he was under a thousand years old. Davies fixes the gap.

9. Regeneration Game

Of course. She tricked him, right at the end. Her final kiss was not a goodbye; she imprinted the Restoration within him. His lifecycle has been reset, the new man lurching outwards to be born. So this is the meaning of her final song: a whole new body to expiate the guilt. He might even pass the Restoration to another, one day.

The Doctor's life cycle was reset… he always had another thirteen lives from Nine onwards. That was Davies' conception of him that is. No need for those events in The Time Of The Doctor, even before the reveals of the Timeless Children. But also that The Ninth Doctor should never have seen the Time War. Not with his eyes. Something Moffat managed to work in as well.

10. Common People

It could plasticize itself into a new albeit hollow shape…

Its single eye staring furious fixed on the clock tower, the palace seemed to be calling to the Nestene summoning it to the halls of power here, the creature would find its own kind surely…

This time its revenge would be brilliant and ruthless and subtler than anyone could guess even if it took 15 years or more.

A body on the floor crushed by a concrete beam and yet the clown felt something in the substrata ascent a shiver a lingering promise from the human's form, reeking of things which the Nestene recognized, ambition lust greed joy how the clown grinned…

He had power, this man he had authority,  he had the potential to go so much further. The Auton smiled at himself, loving this new self the suit, the body, the face, the blonde hair. Oh this was going to be fun

The Nestene consciousness found the dead body of Boris Johnson in the Houses Of Parliament – he was MP from 2001 to 2008 – and replicated his form, to rise to power over the fifteen years since 2005, first Mayor of London, where he oversaw the Torchwood One tower, then as Foreign Secretary, and now Prime Minister, after seeing off Theresa May Harriet Jones. So the Nestene are also behind Brexit. And the current response to the coronavirus…

And rather reminiscent of former Doctor Who writer/showrunner Douglas Adams, and his short story Young Zaphod Plays It Safe, putting a very dangerous artificial lifeform on Earth, who slips past people's internal signals of danger, and becoming the politician Ronald Reagan.

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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