Sue: I love this version of the theme music.
Me: Yeah, nothing encapsulates the mystery and otherworldliness of Doctor Who quite like a brass ****ing band.
Sue: Don’t be daft, Neil. It’s meaty. It’s music that says: “Come on! Let’s have an adventure!”
Me: I had a trumpet when I was at school, and yet I never tried to play the Doctor Who theme on it.
Sue: Why not?
Me: Because it was a trumpet.
Sue: Oh, do shut up. This is brilliant. It takes me right back.
It takes Sue all the way back to Saturday March 26th 2005 – the last time she saw this episode. For some inexplicable reason, she didn’t watch it over and over again on an endless loop like some people I could mention.
Me: Do you remember the first time?
Sue: I remember you were an over-excited child for about a month. You were unbearable, frankly. Actually, it wasn’t a month, it was more like a year. Do you remember that time you made me pull over on the way to work so you could photograph a billboard on the side of the road? That was a bit much.
I remind her that we watched the leaked version of Rose a couple of weeks earlier.
Sue: Did I watch this episode twice, then?
Me: Well, you were in the same room as me when the BBC broadcast it, so yes. Although we were living in a caravan at the time so you didn’t really have a choice.
Sue: And how many times did you watch the other version before it was on TV?
Me: Oh, not that many. About a dozen.
The series begins in Earth’s orbit.
Me: Do you get this reference to Spearhead from Space, Sue?
Me: Definitive proof that the last four years were a complete waste of time.
There are probably more edits in the first 90 seconds of Rose than there are in the whole of The Keys of Marinus.
Sue: This is wonderful. It’s pacey and exciting and modern. And I love the music. Russell T Davies is really good at setting things up with quirky musical montages like this. He does exactly the same thing in Cucumber. Oh yes, the Autons are in this one, aren’t they? You see, there’s nothing wrong with my memory; I just remember the stuff I like.
In the department store where she works, Rose Tyler heads to the basement to collect some lottery money.
Sue: Did you still hate Billie Piper at this point, Neil?
Me: I never hated Billie Piper.
Sue: Don’t make me laugh. You went mental when they cast her. I didn’t hear the end of it. How long did it take before you changed your mind?
Me: Shut up.
Sue: Do we ever find out what happened to Wilson? The suspense is ****ing killing me.
Rose explores the basement.
Me: Do you remember what went wrong here?
Sue: Yes, the Autons have invaded the shop.
Me: No, I mean, can you remember what went wrong when they broadcast this episode?
Sue: Oh yes, Graham Norton. You had a fit. I think you threatened to phone the BBC and complain. Or did I imagine that? Actually, you probably wanted me to do it for you and I refused.
Me: Anyway, there’s no point moaning about it now – it’s not as if anything like that will ever happen again. That would be insane.
Rose is surrounded by Autons.
Sue: This is proper scary. It was a great idea to bring back the Autons. If you know what the Autons are, it’s really exciting. And if you don’t know what the Autons are, well, then it’s strange and exciting. It’s win-win.
The Doctor grabs Rose’s hand and tells her to run.
Sue: Bloody hell, even the monsters can run! They never managed that in the old series. Come on, Neil, cheer up! This is brilliant.
Me: What do you think of Christopher Eccleston?
Sue: What kind of stupid question is that? He’s brilliant, obviously.
Me: What about his clothes? Doesn’t it bother you that this is the first time you could cosplay a Doctor by accident? You know, after wandering into a branch of TK Maxx.
Sue: It suits him. He’s the Hard Guy Doctor, after all. It shows that he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He’s rugged. Like a builder.
Me: Colin Baker says he wishes he’d worn an outfit like that when he was playing the Doctor. He reckons it would have made all the difference.
Sue: To be fair, a black bin bag would have made all the difference to Colin.
The biggest surprise so far is that Sue thinks Keith Boak is a bona fide genius. Yes, I know!
Sue: The direction is superb. There are some really clever transitions, especially with the alarm clock. And it’s moving like nobody’s business. I love it.
The Doctor turns up at Rose’s council flat on the Powell Estate.
Sue: He’s only just noticed his big ears. Does that mean he’s just regenerated? It’s a shame we never got to see that.
Me: We do get to see that. In eight and a half years. Although we were expecting Paul McGann, not John Hurt, to start sprouting big ears. It’s funny how things turn out.
Sue: Oh yeah… He’s just had an adventure with Matt Smith and David Tennant, hasn’t he? It’s hard to get your head around that, isn’t it? It puts a whole new spin on things. Does he remember any of that?
Sue: Because if he did then he’d know that Rose was important because he’d just seen her. Well, someone who looked like her. Does that make sense?
Me: God no. It’s probably best if you don’t think about it too much.
Sue nearly jumps out of her skin when an Auton’s disembodied arm attacks the Doctor and Rose, and then she laughs like a drain when Jackie Tyler’s hair dryer drowns out the unfolding chaos.
Sue: I don’t care what anybody says: Russell T Davies is a ****ing genius.
Rose wants to know what the hell is going on, but the Doctor fobs her off.
Sue: I don’t remember this Doctor being as jokey as this. Did he tone it down for the other episodes, because he’s acting like he’s coked-up or something. He doesn’t even walk like a Doctor. He’s strutting!
The Doctor’s mood takes a serious turn.
Sue: Ah, this is the Doctor I remember. This is Eccleston at his best. They were lucky to get him, you know.
Rose decides to track the Doctor down and her research leads her to the world’s worst web designer (aka Clive).
Me: They missed a trick here. They should have included a scene where Clive showed Rose pictures of all the other Doctors. That would have been nice.
Sue: Yeah, it would have been nice for you, but for someone who hadn’t seen Doctor Who before, it would have done their head in. Although I wouldn’t believe a word this man says anyway, because he can’t Photoshop for shit!
Me: Some fans think this proves the Doctor hasn’t regenerated recently, because he’s been to all those other places, like the Titanic and Krakatoa.
Sue: Well, they’re ****ing idiots. He’s a time traveller. He goes there later. Obviously.
Meanwhile, Rose’s boyfriend, Mickey Smith, is wrestling with a wheelie bin.
Sue: This is all right. I don’t know why you’re looking at me like that, Neil. Have you actually seen Doctor Who before?
The bin swallows Mickey… then burps.
Sue: Come on, Neil! It’s funny!
We’re probably going to have to get used to this over the next 13 weeks, but the only time Sue shows any disdain for the episode is when Rose fails to notice that her boyfriend is now even less realistic than usual.
Sue: She’s a bit thick. There she is talking about finishing her A-Levels and yet she doesn’t seem to realise that her boyfriend has just injected several gallons of botox into his face. What’s that all about?
When the Doctor rescues Rose from Auton-Mickey, the impostor’s hands suddenly transform into… wait for it… giant spatulas.
Sue: He’s got the perfect hands for making butter.
Rose enters the TARDIS for the first time. We both agree that it’s beautifully done.
Sue: Ooh, I just got goosebumps.
The Doctor tells Rose that the assembled hordes of Genghis Khan couldn’t get inside his blue box even if they tried (and they have).
Sue: Was that a reference to Marco Polo? Was that for the fans?
Marco Polo is still fresh in Sue’s mind because she only watched it a few weeks ago. And if you don’t believe me, please buy our new book.
Me: So what do you think of the new console room?
Sue: I love it. It’s very organic.
Me: Really? I thought you’d miss all the wood.
Sue: It makes the TARDIS feel more alive. And a bit more scary, too. Plus I’ve touched it in real life, which is nice.
The Doctor tells Rose why his TARDIS looks like a police telephone box. “It’s a disguise!” he declares, proudly.
Sue: I love how he doesn’t realise how bloody stupid that sounds. This is a lot funnier than I remember.
Me: Oh, just in case you’re interested, this is the point where I realised I was completely wrong about Billie Piper. Happy now?
The Doctor has just the thing he needs to stop the Autons: ANTI-PLASTIC!
Sue: (Laughing) That should be really stupid but it’s brilliant. The dialogue in this scene is completely bonkers but I like they way the programme doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s fun!
The Doctor and Rose clasp hands and race across Westminster Bridge. We turn to each other and smile.
Sue: It feels very confident for a first episode. I feels… joyous.
Deep beneath the London Eye, Rose is reunited with her boyfriend, who isn’t dead after all.
Sue: Why is Mickey just sitting there? He isn’t even tied up! What a clown!
The Auton’s invasion begins.
Me: Do you get this reference to Spearhead from Space, Sue?
Sue: Actually, I do remember the body-popping aliens, yes. And is it just me or are these little kiddie Autons a bit close to the bone?
An Auton kills Clive.
Sue: Poor Clive. He’ll never get to travel in the TARDIS, now. He could have been Christopher Eccleston’s Bernard Cribbins.
Me: They used the original sound effect for the Auton’s hand gun. HOW BRILLIANT IS THAT? That’s what I remember thinking the first time I saw this.
Sue: You must have been so relieved at this point, Neil. I mean, look at it! This must have been a dream come true for you. Just imagine how you’d have felt if this had turned out to be shit.
The Doctor is restrained by two Autons as he tires to negotiate with the Nestene Consciousness.
Sue: Actually, he can’t be that hard if he can’t get out of this. I’m surprised he hasn’t tried nutting them yet.
Rose takes the initiative and saves the day. She got the bronze, you know.
Sue: Come on, Rose! She’s basically a cockney Buffy. And there’s nowt wrong with that.
The Auton invasion has been foiled, but at what cost?
Sue: It looks to me like thousands of people have died. What the hell were UNIT doing when all this was going on? Why didn’t the Doctor ring them up and warn them? Has he lost their number?
The Doctor offers Rose the opportunity to go anywhere in the universe with him, but she turns him down to look after what Sue calls “the piano on her back”.
Sue: (Singing) Hey Mickey, you’re so shite, you’re so shite you blow my mind. Hey Mickey!
The TARDIS dematerialises. However, a few seconds later, it returns.
Me: The Doctor has 400 adventures and goes through 17 companions in that gap.
Sue: He probably took a trip on the Titanic while he was thinking about which chat-up line to try on Rose next.
The Doctor forgot to tell Rose that the TARDIS can travel in time as well, which finally seals the deal, and the episode concludes with Rose racing into the TARDIS for a trip of a lifetime.
Sue: What took her so long? He had me at “Run”.
Sue: This is the easiest score I’ve ever had to give:
Me: Are you serious?
Sue: Of course I am. That was proper Doctor Who. It had everything: comedy, suspense, adventure, drama. What more do you want?
Me: But the bin –
Sue: It’s for kids!
Me: Yeah, but the bin –
Sue: Look, I have a soft spot for that episode. It was the first episode of Doctor Who that was made for me, if you know what I mean.
Me: No, not really. And you didn’t react like this the first time you saw it. You would have struggled to give five or six out of 10 in 2005. So what happened?
Sue: I don’t know. Maybe the last four years weren’t a complete waste of time, after all.