The Children in Need Special, sometimes titled Born Again, was a Doctor Who mini-episode consisting of a short scene produced for the Children in Need campaign in 2005. It was written by Russell T Davies, directed by Euros Lyn and featured David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler.
It was set immediately between the episodes The Parting of the Ways and The Christmas Invasion, during the TARDIS trip from 200,100 to Christmas 2006. It chronicled the very first moments of the relationship between Rose Tyler and the Tenth Doctor.
From a production standpoint, it was notable for a number of reasons. It was the first episode of Doctor Who to have no on-screen titles or credits, other than those for the two actors involved. It was also the first Doctor Who segment filmed for a charity event that could be said to be a part of the regular programme's continuity. And it was the only time an incoming Doctor had been given a second "regeneration scene" prior to embarking upon his first full episode. It established an annual pattern of the BBC Wales version of Doctor Who participating in Children in Need. And it was the first of a long line of minisodes and episode prequels that would be produced with increasing frequency over the years. That it was directed by Euros Lyn would later allow for some directorial symmetry, in that Lyn also directed Tennant's last full scene in The End of Time.
The Ninth Doctor has just regenerated into his next incarnation. But will Rose trust the Doctor now that he has a brand new face?
Inside the TARDIS, the Ninth Doctor has just said good-bye to Rose and regenerated into his tenth incarnation. After finishing setting course for the planet Barcelona in 5006, he asks a shocked Rose what he looks like — before he reconsiders and inspects himself.
"No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, don't tell me...let's see. Two legs, two arms, two hands...slight weakness in the dorsal tubercle. Hair! I'm not bald! Ooh, big hair...Sideburns! I've got sideburns! Or really bad skin. Bit thinner — that's weird, give me time, I'll get used to it...I have got a mole. I can feel it..."
Rose, however, is unsure of who the Doctor is now, due to his regeneration, and can't bring herself to accept that he has changed into a new person. She questions the Doctor, thinking he might be any of the number of aliens they have encountered on their journeys, saying that he could even be a Slitheen in a human suit, and demands that he "send the Doctor back right now!" He allays her doubts by telling her the first thing his last incarnation told her: "Run!" Happy with the breakthrough, the Doctor starts excitedly reminiscing about their other adventures together. Rose now accepts that the Doctor is himself, but wonders if the Doctor can change back into his old self. The Doctor asks if Rose wants him to, which she does. Deflated and saddened, he tells her, much to her displeasure, that he cannot.
The Doctor worries that Rose may want to go home, instead of continuing her travels with him, and plots a course for the Powell Estate at Christmas 2006, rather than going to the planet Barcelona as his ninth incarnation had initially suggested. Rose, still a bit cautious about it all, asks the Doctor if she is really going home, and the Doctor answers that it is up to her.
"Back to your mum. It's all waiting. Fish and chips, sausage and mash, beans on toast... No, Christmas - Turkey! Although, having met your mother, nutloaf would be more appropriate."
Rose can not help but smile a little at the Doctor's joke, which cheers him up a bit. However he experiences painful spasms and realises his regeneration has started to go wrong and he begins to act slightly crazed, and bursts of regeneration energy start flowing from his mouth while the TARDIS shudders, as if in sympathetic response. Rose asks the Doctor to return them to Satellite 5 to retrieve Jack Harkness to see if he could help out with the Doctor's current problem, but he dismisses the idea and says that Jack is busy rebuilding the human race after the Daleks' attack. The Doctor irrationally sets the TARDIS on high speed, and in a brief moment of clarity, tells Rose that the regeneration means he can't control himself and that she must hold on to something, before he becomes completely maniacal again and shouts that he is going to break the time limit, overhearing Rose's protests and pleas for him to stop. With the Cloister Bell warning of imminent danger, the Doctor laughs madly at the chaos going on inside the console room as the TARDIS spins wildly in the Time Vortex and heads for Christmas Eve at the Powell Estate.
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- Rose suggests that the new Doctor appeared through a teleport, transmat or body swap.
- Rose mentions nanogenes and the Gelth.
- Rose asks whether the new Doctor is in fact a Slitheen in disguise.
- Rose and the Doctor mention Captain Jack.
- In an attempt to break the time limit, the Doctor sends the TARDIS flying into the time vortex at such reckless speeds that the Cloister Bell begins to sound.
- This is a short scene for the charity Children in Need.
- In addition to the broadcast, this story was available for viewing on the BBC's website until 25 November 2005, when the link was removed (the episode is still available on YouTube.)
- This story is the first televised episode since The Edge of Destruction to be set entirely within the TARDIS. It would later be followed by Time Crash, Amy's Choice, Space, Time, Bad Night, Good Night, First Night, Last Night, Death is the Only Answer, Good as Gold and Clara and the TARDIS. The web-released Strax Field Report series, not considered a valid source by this wiki, are also set within the TARDIS.
- The pre-credits sequence for the mini-episode was a montage of the climactic scenes of TV: The Parting of the Ways.
- Post-regeneration instability has been present, to varying degrees, in every one of the Doctor's regenerations.
- The online feed of the mini-episode ended with several pre-recorded inserts of Tennant and Piper appealing for donations to Children in Need. The appeals in which they both appear are flippant in tone, with Piper claiming to be Tennant and vice versa in the first, and in the second the pair introducing themselves as Letitia Dean and Nicholas Lyndhurst.
- At 7 minutes long the Children in Need Special set the record for the shortest "single episode" of Doctor Who to that date. Since then, shorter minisodes have since been produced, such as 2013's Rain Gods.
- The mini-episode aired the same day the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released. The film features another character transforming into Tennant as villain Barty Crouch Jr.
- The title sequence has been modified since The Parting of the Ways. In addition to replacing Christopher Eccleston's name with David Tennant's, the first half of the title sequence has been recoloured from purple to blue. This change remains for the rest of Series 2 before reverting to its original colours.
- Midway through the minisode, when the Doctor sets course to the Powell estate on Christmas Eve, the closing theme for Series 2-3 makes its debut, as its last few seconds are used as part of the incidental score.
- There are at least two different versions of this story that have been released - one with sound effects added post-production and alternative background music tracks, and a rough cut that remains largely unmodified from its studio filming, without the added effects. The completed version was released for the official Children In Need event, while the rough cut was accidentally released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK.
- The 2005 Children in Need broadcast also featured appearances by two future companion actresses: Catherine Tate and Jenna Coleman.
- The title Children in Need Special is the one that has been accepted by most resources and, most significantly, is the title used by BBC Video for its DVD release of the story.
- Russell T Davies joked that the title was the Pudsey Cutaway, a reference to both Dalek Cutaway, an alternative name of Mission to the Unknown, and Pudsey the bear, the Children in Need mascot.
- According to the 2009 book Doctor Who: Companions and Allies this episode is titled Born Again, but a review of the book in DWM 409 disputes the accuracy of this claim. Later Doctor Who Adventures would consistently refer to the episode as Born Again in a number of issues and on a poster of all the special episodes. The 2013 BBC Books publication Who-ology: The Official Miscellany also uses the Born Again title. Not counting a similar controversy involving the 1996 TV movie, this is the first televised story since the 1970s to spark debate over its official title, with official BBC sources at odds with each other.
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- The lighting changes significantly from shot to shot. A prominent example is after the Doctor reassures Rose about his identity by recalling their first encounter and starts hopping, the intense blue glow of the console is gone.
- This story directly connects the final moments of TV: The Parting of the Ways with the teaser of TV: The Christmas Invasion.
- The Doctor asks Rose what he looks like, then re-iterates the word "No" about 10 times. This was a characteristic associated with the Eighth Doctor (TV: Doctor Who and various novels).
- Rose suggests that the new Doctor appeared through a teleport (TV: The End of the World, Boom Town) or transmat. (TV: Bad Wolf)
- Rose tells the Doctor that she has seen Gelth, (TV: The Unquiet Dead) Nanogenes, (TV: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances) and Slitheen. (TV: Aliens of London/World War Three, Boom Town)
- At one point, Rose believes the new Doctor could be a Slitheen. Although Slitheen in Series 1 were only shown to inhabit large skin-suits, they are shown to have slimline suits in PROSE: The Monsters Inside and TV: The Lost Boy. Her scepticism here is justified, as she has previously witnessed a Slitheen impostor the Ninth Doctor himself in COMIC: Doctormania.
- Rose's suspicion that this new Doctor may be an impostor recalls similar suspicions on the part of Ben Jackson and, to a lesser extent, Polly Wright, regarding the identity of the newly regenerated Second Doctor in TV: The Power of the Daleks.
- The Doctor asks Rose if she wants to go home. The First Doctor asked the same question to Vicki in TV: The Time Meddler.
- The Doctor's manic behaviour towards the end of the story recalls similar, though much more violent, "fits" displayed by the Sixth Doctor in TV: The Twin Dilemma.
- As the Doctor sends the TARDIS rushing faster and faster, the Cloister Bell sounds. (TV: Logopolis, et. al)
- This was released as an extra on the series 2 box set by Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment. For viewers in North America, this was the special's debut as it was not broadcast outside of the UK.
- The Region 2 DVD release accidentally contains a rough-cut version of the special instead of the final version. The Region 1 DVD release contained the correct version.