Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.



You may wish to consult Rose (disambiguation) for other, similarly-named pages.

Rose was the first episode of series 1 of Doctor Who.

The first story to be produced by BBC Wales, it was both the first new episode of Doctor Who since the 1996 telemovie and the first story to be part of a regularly airing programme since Survival in 1989. It also introduced recurring supporting cast Camille Coduri as Jackie Tyler and Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith.

An immediate success, the episode set a record 10.81 million BBC One rating that bested the previous record-holder, Robot, and remained the most watched first episode for any new incarnation of the Doctor (not outdone by The Christmas Invasion, The Eleventh Hour, or Deep Breath) until it was finally toppled in 2018 by The Woman Who Fell to Earth.[1]

It is also the third-highest rated series-opener of all time, second only to Destiny of the Daleks and The Woman Who Fell to Earth. Due to the fact that ITV were on strike at the top of season 17, however, Destiny's numbers are often discounted. Rose is certainly the top-rating series opener when Doctor Who actually had competition from another broadcaster.

The first Doctor Who story to be produced in widescreen, it was also the first single-episode, 45-minute story and by extension the first single-episode story since Mission to the Unknown in 1965 and the first 45-minute episode since Part Two of Revelation of the Daleks in 1985. Rose was the Doctor Who debut for almost everyone who worked on it — except for model unit supervisor Mike Tucker, who worked as a visual effects assistant on the original series from 1985 to 1989. Though it was not the Doctor Who debut for visual effects company, The Mill — that had actually come on The Curse of Fatal Death — it did feature the premiere of their title sequence. (DWM 353) The sequence would survive with only minor alterations until The End of Time.

Narratively, it portrayed the Nestene Consciousness and Autons for the first time on television since Terror of the Autons in 1971. It also introduced a new recurring element in the form of the Shadow Proclamation, contained the first reference to the Last Great Time War, and introduced elements about Rose's character that would be directly referenced in later episodes.

Unusually, the introduction of the Ninth Doctor in no way explained how this incarnation had come to be, and failed to explain much of anything about who the Doctor was. Indeed, Rose started a mild story arc surrounding the mystery — from Rose's perspective — about the Doctor's identity. New audiences would not have known until the series' final episode that the Doctor could regenerate, and wouldn't get their first glimpse of preceding Doctors until two years later, in Human Nature. As for the Ninth Doctor's origins, varying sources gave different claims, with many spin-offs showing, or more accurately, alluding to the Eight Doctor's participation in the Time War leading to his regeneration into the Ninth Doctor; however, this was seemingly retconned eight years later in 2013 with The Day of the Doctor, the introduction of the War Doctor, however it has been somewhat addressed in-universe that the Doctor has multiple ninth incarnations.

Various stories were written to coincide with this story. PROSE: UNIT's Position on The London Incident and Operation Mannequin were two narratives published on the U.N.I.T. website in 2005 to accompany the televsion story, and in 2018, Russell T Davies wrote a novelisation of the story. Later, as the global Doctor Who: Lockdown! watch-along event created by Doctor Who Magazine's Emily Cook continued with a watch-along of this story on 26 March 2020, Davies returned to the writing stool to create new content, both releasing a previously withheld 2013 short story Doctor Who and the Time War, which depicted an alternate account to the origin of this incarnation of the Doctor than what was later revealed, and a sequel entitled Revenge of the Nestene, which Russell T Davies placed as Chapter 21 of his 2018 novelisation.


Rose Tyler believes she is living another day of her "ordinary" life, but after being threatened by Autons (living plastic) controlled by the Nestene Consciousness, she meets the Ninth Doctor.


Rose Tyler wakes up one morning, gets ready for work, and kisses her mother Jackie goodbye. She gets the bus to Henrik's, the department store where she works. In the evening, as the store nears closing time, Rose is about to walk home when she is stopped by a security guard who is holding the lottery winnings for Wilson, the chief electrician. She goes to the basement in search of him, but Wilson is nowhere to be found. She enters a large storage room and is disturbed to see a group of moving shop window mannequins that soon surround her and raise their arms to kill her. All of a sudden, a man takes hold of her hand and tells her to "run!"

She quickly obliges, and they both run to a lift whilst being pursued by the mannequins. Before the doors can close, one of the Autons reaches for them, but the man quickly pulls its arm off before it can do them any harm. On the way up, he informs Rose that Wilson's dead. When they arrive at ground level, the man holds up a bomb and tells Rose that he plans to destroy a relay device to stop the Autons. He offers a quick introduction — he is the Doctor — and tells her to run for her life.

Rose heeds his advice, and runs from the vicinity, carrying the plastic arm with her. Once she's at a safe distance, she watches in shock as Henrik's explodes in a huge ball of flame. Rose then flees away past a strange blue box. She returns home, and her boyfriend Mickey Smith comes in to check she's okay. He eventually leaves to watch football, and is asked to take the arm with him. He throws the plastic piece into one of the bins outside.

The next morning, Rose awakens, before realising that she no longer has a job to go to. Walking around the house, she suddenly hears a scratching noise from the cat flap. She assumes her mother hasn't screwed it shut, and that it's a stray cat.

She opens it up to find the Doctor; he tells her he's been tracing a signal from the plastic arm. Rose invites him in. While Rose is making the coffee, he explores the room, and looks in the mirror and is stunned by the size of his ears, implying he has recently regenerated. He peers behind the sofa and is attacked by the arm. Rose notices the strangulation, but ignores it, thinking it a jest — that is until it lets go and flies towards her. Thankfully, the Doctor manages to deactivate the Auton arm with his sonic screwdriver, though not after much damage has occurred. He throws the piece at her, and hastily rushes out.

Rose runs down the stairs to chase after him, demanding to know what's going on. He tells her that the living plastic is here to start a war that would overthrow and destroy the human race so that they can claim the Earth as their own. The Doctor then departs in a mysterious blue box in the car park, ordering her to forget about him. Rose turns away for a second; when she looks back, both he and the box are gone.

Rose cannot let go, and decides to use Mickey's computer. She tries different keywords on search-wise.net, (just "doctor" makes medical results, and "doctor living plastic" makes art results) eventually settling on "doctor blue box". She follows a link to whoisdoctorwho.co.uk, a website owned by a conspiracy theorist named Clive. Mickey drives her to the man's house, where she is invited in by his son. Out in his shed, Clive shows her images from many points in Earth's past, including the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the sinking of the Titanic and the explosion of Krakatoa. All the pictures he shows her feature the Doctor. He goes through the facts: "the Doctor is a legend woven throughout history; when disaster comes, he's there." Clive states that he believes the Doctor is an immortal alien. He tells her he is dangerous, and that he has only one constant companion: death.

Meanwhile, Mickey is keeping an eye on the house from his car. He suddenly gets distracted by a bin wheeling forwards on its own. He gets out of the car and opens the bin, expecting to see someone playing a joke. He surprisingly finds it completely empty. As he tries to close the lid, he finds that it's stuck to his hands. The plastic merely stretches as he tries to pull away. After a few attempts at breaking free, the bin suddenly tosses him into the air and swallows him whole.

Sometime later, Rose returns to the car, convinced that she's wasted her time, that this man really is just a conspiracy nutter. They decide to go for pizza. What she doesn't realise is that her Mickey has been swapped, replaced by a shiny, plastic duplicate...

The two arrive at the restaurant and plastic Mickey starts to grill Rose about the Doctor. Rose is disturbed by Mickey's speech patterns, speaking as if he is somehow malfunctioning. They are interrupted twice by the offer of champagne. Mickey finally looks up, only to find the Doctor holding the bottle. The Doctor fires the cork at Mickey's forehead, but it moulds into his plastic skull, and simply makes its way down to his mouth, where he spits it out. His hands morph into paddles, and he begins attacking all those around him. There is a brief struggle until the Doctor pulls his head off, but it simply tells him not to expect it to stop him (causing a man at the next table to scream in horror). Rose hits the fire alarm, and, while the others evacuate, the Doctor and Rose are chased out of the building by a now-headless Mickey, who flips over tables in the process.

They escape to the back courtyard, and the Doctor enters his little blue box. With nowhere to go, Rose follows him inside at the last second. The second she enters, though, she rushes back outside, thinking she has just gone mad. The inside of the box is bigger than the outside! The Doctor explains that his blue box is called the TARDIS, and that both it and he are alien. Though Rose is convinced that the headless dummy will follow them inside, the Doctor reassures her by stating that the assembled hordes of Genghis Khan couldn't get through that door... and according to him, they've tried.

As the Doctor wires Mickey's head to the console, Rose wonders if the real Mickey is dead; the Doctor didn't even consider this. The couple's conversation is cut short when Rose points out that the head is melting; he had hoped to use it to track down the Nestene Consciousness — the entity controlling the Autons. He still manages to follow a trace of the signal, but the head is completely melted before they can find the precise location of the Consciousness. They land somewhere nearby their destination, by the edge of the River Thames. Rose is shocked to learn that they have moved.

The Doctor explains that he needs to find a transmitter of some kind, very big and round. He figures it must be "completely invisible", but Rose identifies it instantly: the London Eye would be the perfect transmitter for the Nestene. The two run together across Westminster Bridge, and Rose quickly finds an entrance to an underground base beneath the Eye.

Rose immediately notices Mickey when they enter and runs down to him; the Doctor rolls his eyes. The Doctor tries to reason with the Nestene, but the Consciousness has two of its Autons capture him when it detects the presence of the TARDIS, which it identifies as terrifyingly superior technology. They discover a vial of anti-plastic in his pocket — which he had intended to use only as a last resort.

The Nestene Consciousness negotiates with the Doctor.

The Nestene confronts his Time Lord enemy about its lost planet. He responds, "I couldn't save your world. I couldn't save any of them!" Terrified, it decides to start the invasion ahead of schedule, sending a signal to activate the Autons.

Rose calls her mother to get her to go home to safety. Jackie doesn't hear, though, and continues into the Queen's Arcade mall for some late-night shopping. Much to her surprise, the shop-window dummies come to life, breaking through the windows as the bemused shoppers stare at them. Clive, who remarks that everything he read about was true, is confronted by an Auton who detaches its hand and presumably shoots him dead in front of his wife and son. Panic ensues as the Autons start blasting and shoppers scatter in all directions.

Below the London Eye, Rose decides to take some initiative. She breaks free one of the chains on the wall with an axe, and swings down to the Autons, both freeing the Doctor and pushing the Autons, along with the anti-plastic, into the vat containing the Nestene Consciousness. The vial leaks and the Nestene Consciousness dies in pain.

Back in the mall, Jackie runs outside to behold utter chaos: Autons are everywhere, bodies litter the ground, people run in all directions and a double-decker bus at the end of the street has crashed into a post-box and burst into flames. A black cab goes past honking its horn, only to get its rear windscreen shattered by a bullet. Jackie takes cover behind the car, as three bride Autons crash through the window behind her. Suddenly, when they are just about to shoot her dead, the transmitter shuts down and all the Autons return to lifeless mannequins again. Underneath the London Eye, the Nestene's base starts to collapse and explode. The Doctor, Mickey and Rose board the TARDIS and, just in time, escape a huge explosion. Jackie looks around at the chaos, as shell-shocked survivors struggle to come to terms with what has happened.

With the Earth saved, the Doctor suggests Rose join him on his adventures; they can go anywhere in the whole universe. Mickey, however, is not invited. Rose, much to his disappointment, refuses. He bids her farewell and leaves. Rose almost instantly regrets her decision but carries on getting a terrified Mickey back home.

As she leaves, though, she hears the TARDIS reappear in front of her. The Doctor emerges to tell Rose that the TARDIS can also travel in time. Without much thought, she kisses her boyfriend goodbye and runs straight into the TARDIS, to start her adventures in time and space.



General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.


The Doctor[]

  • The Doctor has been to several major events in his ninth incarnation, including the launching of the Titanic in 1912, the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, and the eruption of the volcano at Krakatoa in 1883.
  • The Doctor reads the novel The Lovely Bones in Jackie's flat by flipping through it.
  • The Doctor often says, "Fantastic!"
  • The Doctor finds out what his current face looks like for the first time by looking in a mirror.

Foods and beverages[]

  • Mickey offers to make Rose a cup of tea.
  • Rose offers to make the Doctor a cup of coffee which she is preparing in the kitchen when he is attacked by the Auton arm.
  • Rose and Mickey's Auton double go out for pizza.


  • Rose's friend Suki says there are jobs going at the local hospital.
  • Jackie's friend Arianna successfully sued the council.
  • Rose thinks the dummies are a practical joke set up by Derek.
  • Jackie's friend Bev phones to make sure Rose is okay.
  • Jackie's friend Debbie knows someone from the Mirror.



  • The Nestene Consciousness used warp shunt technology to get to Earth.

Story notes[]

  • This is the first story featuring the new TARDIS console room, which has a far more organic appearance than its predecessors. Initially questioned by fans, the later mini-episode Time Crash would confirm this as a new "desktop theme" for the TARDIS interior, which the Fifth Doctor called "coral".
  • The sonic screwdriver makes a reappearance on screen in a new shape, but with the same sound effect. The screwdriver was first introduced in TV: Fury from the Deep and destroyed in TV: The Visitation, then reappeared in TV: Doctor Who. From this episode onwards, it becomes an established tool within the series.
  • A copy of this story was available to download on the Internet on various peer-to-peer (p2p) networks several weeks before it was released. The preview version was near-identical to the broadcast version, with the exception of the title sequence and ending credits using the version of the title theme used between 1967 and 1980 (presumably as a placeholder) rather than the new arrangement by Murray Gold. In 2005, the illegal distribution of TV series episodes via p2p was nowhere near as widespread as it became with the later rise of torrents; Rose was one of the first major TV productions to be "leaked" in this fashion.
    • Similarly, on 8 March 2005, Reuters reported that a copy of the episode (which also didn't contain the new theme tune's arrangement) had been leaked onto the Internet, and was being widely traded via the BitTorrent file sharing protocol. The leak was ultimately traced to a third party company in Canada which had a legitimate preview copy. The employee responsible was fired by the company and the BBC considered further legal action.
  • The word "Auton" is not used in the dialogue of the story nor does it appear in the shooting script as published in 2005, but does appear in the episode credits.
  • The surname Finch was used for Clive and his wife in the production notes, but not in the on-screen version.
  • For this, the first episode, the opening credits follow the UK standard of "title sequence, then programme." The rest of this season and the next three would include a cold opening before the main title sequence of each episode, as had previously been done in TV: Castrovalva, TV: The Five Doctors, and TV: Time and the Rani.
  • There were problems during the first broadcast of this episode in the UK which meant that sound from a BBC Three program, Strictly Dance Fever hosted by Graham Norton, was heard over the scene in which Rose first encounters the Autons.
  • As part of the launch of the new series, the BBC screened the documentary Doctor Who: A New Dimension on BBC One — coincidentally narrated by David Tennant, the future Tenth Doctor.
  • Following this episode, Doctor Who Confidential Episode 1 was broadcast on BBC 3.
  • The reference to the Doctor having a Northern accent relates to the media attention generated around Christopher Eccleston — who had always retained his native Lancashire accent — not conforming to people's perception of what the Doctor should be like. It also references the fact the different actors who had previously played the Doctor had, themselves, differing accents, most notably Sylvester McCoy, whose Doctor spoke with a light Scottish accent, which would crop up again when Peter Capaldi took on the role.
  • In the scene where the Doctor is in Rose's flat, the original script called for the Doctor to stick his entire head in the cat flap. When it arrived, however, it was far too small.
  • The episode in early drafts had "Auton bin men", which would explain why Mickey could appear in the Nestene Consciousness's lair after being eaten alive by the plastic trash-bin.
  • Rose's comment about the Doctor sounding like he was from the north marks the second time Earth geography has been applied to the Doctor's demeanour (previously, he was referred to as being from England in the TV movie).
  • Similarly, Rose and the Doctor's exchange regarding his accent also echoes a similar discussion between the Fourth Doctor and fellow Time Lord Second Drax in TV: The Armageddon Factor regarding the latter's affected Cockney accent.
  • A special effects milestone occurs when the Doctor is shown standing in the door of the TARDIS and the interior is clearly visible behind him. In the original series, the interior of the TARDIS was usually shown as a dark void whenever a head-on view of the open doors — a rarity — occurred (though this has previously been done in the pilot version of the first episode of the original series; however curiously enough not in its broadcast version). For the first time, elements of the exterior of the TARDIS — specifically the inside of the doors and the POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX lettering along the roofline — are visible from the console room.
  • Between the final scene and the closing credits, the episode incorporates a "Next Time..." trailer for the next episode. This is the first time this device has been used in Doctor Who. This becomes a regular feature, omitted only on rare occasions, or occasionally moved to the end of the closing credits. It also introduces a trend which remained through the RTD era of the show that the trailer would be proceeded by the 2005 Doctor Who logo swiping across the screen from right to left. It was also rare that this feature would happen before the credits rather than the trailer.
  • Actor Nicholas Briggs makes his debut on the revived series, providing the voice of the Nestene Consciousness. He would go to be the show's designated voice actor, remaining the Daleks' and Cybermen's voice actor (as of 2022). Rose is far from Briggs' first Doctor Who-related work, as he had been an active participant in independent, unofficial, and licensed spin-off productions dating back to the 1980s, most notably hosting the Myth Makers interview video series, writing and directing films for BBV Productions and Reeltime Pictures, and as producer of the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio dramas, a project that had its roots in Audio Visuals, a series of fan-made Doctor Who audio adventures in which Briggs himself played the Doctor. In 2009, Briggs would have his first official on-screen appearance in a Who franchise production with a supporting role in Torchwood: Children of Earth.
  • Russell T Davies becomes the first author of original Doctor Who spin-off fiction to write for the official TV series. A decade earlier, he wrote the Seventh Doctor novel Damaged Goods for the Virgin New Adventures line of novels. Numerous other writers of licensed spin-off fiction and Big Finish Productions audio dramas would go on to write for the revival, including Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss (who would also guest star in three episodes), Steven Moffat (who would ultimately succeed Davies as lead writer in 2009), Robert Shearman, and Gareth Roberts.
  • This is the first episode of Doctor Who to use the name of a companion in its title.
  • The scene in which Rose wanders through the basement of the department store alone was the first scene Billie Piper shot as Rose Tyler (per Project Who).
  • Clive's website, Who is Doctor Who?, marks the first time a character has directly referred to the Doctor by the name "Doctor Who" on screen since WOTAN in TV: The War Machines. Clive's use is clearly meant in the form of a question, with "Doctor Who" being more or less a nickname.
  • The original preview trailers for Series 1 include a scene where the Ninth Doctor is narrowly outrunning a fireball behind him down a concrete tunnel. This is likely set moments after he set off the explosives he laid in Henrik's, and details his escape from the doomed building.
  • Executive producer Russell T Davies stated that he chose to have Christopher Eccleston depict a new incarnation of the Doctor so he could have a fresh start for both the new viewers and the narratives he wanted to implant in the series, and because Eccleston was a good friend of his who wanted to help Doctor Who gain momentum to become successful again.
  • Paul McGann, who portrayed the Eighth Doctor in the telemovie, said that he would have returned to the series if given the chance, but Russell T Davies did not want to depict a regeneration with first-time viewers tuning in, who would be unable to identify why the Doctor changed appearances. Eventually, he was given a chance to reprise the Eighth Doctor in 2013 for the mini-episode TV: The Night of the Doctor, which dealt with the lingering mystery of his regeneration.
  • This story seemingly implied that the Ninth Doctor had recently undergone regeneration from a past incarnation, when he commented about the features of his face while looking at a mirror in Rose's flat. The logical assumption at the time of his debut among viewers was that he had regenerated from the Eighth Doctor. However, this was disproven in 2013 when Steven Moffat conceived a new incarnation to retroactively insert between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors. The so-called War Doctor, played by John Hurt, did not call himself the Doctor until the end of his life and was an honorary, unnumbered inclusion among the other incarnations who carried the title fully throughout their lives. The War Doctor was cemented as the Ninth Doctor's predecessor when he regenerated into him near the end of TV: The Day of the Doctor. Additionally, in a retrospective on the new series in DWM 485, Russell T Davies stated the intention of the scene was merely him noticing the features, rather like being disappointed with "buck teeth" or similar un-aesthetically pleasing traits. He notes the Doctor in the episode is "in command" rather than post-regenerative, and he included the references to Krakatoa and Titanic to suggest this incarnation has a life before this episode.
    • The original assumption about the Ninth Doctor emerging from the regeneration of the Eighth Doctor would later be maintained in Russell's short story Doctor Who and the Time War, written before, but ultimately released after, Moffat introduced the War Doctor and The Night of the Doctor.
  • This is the only episode introducing a new Doctor in the revived series to not run longer than average.
  • This was the first episode since Part Two of 1985's TV: Revelation of the Daleks to run for approximately 45 minutes.
  • This is the first TV story since TV: Mission to the Unknown to consist of a single standard-length episode. This would become the standard for the revived series.
  • This is also the first story since TV: Logopolis, to credit its leading cast member as 'Doctor Who' and not 'The Doctor', but this credit would be reverted during David Tennant's tenure, at his request.
  • This is the first TV story to include a creator credit for a creature or character. In this case, Robert Holmes was credited as the creator of the Autons.
  • During writing, Russell T Davies had trouble coming up with how Mickey was supposed to be captured by the Nestene Consciousness while waiting for Rose in the car, and finally realised he could be lured by a plastic wheelie bin. He commented that such instances of the ordinary being made scary made the series unique.
  • Russell T Davies had to take out "oblique" references to the Autons being like terrorists, as the Eye was once a target of a terrorist attack.
  • The entrance of the Doctor was something much debated; Jane Tranter and other members of the production team wanted it to be more dramatic, but the scene was never reshot. Russell T Davies remarked that it reflects Rose's point of view, whereas a more dramatic entrance would reflect the audience's excitement at the Doctor coming back.
  • The scene in which the Auton arm attacks in the Tylers' flat was originally much longer, but was revised.
  • The episode originally underran by several minutes, and a scene with the Doctor and Rose walking was added a month or so later.
  • Russell T Davies wanted the Doctor to realise that Rose has something to offer to his cause. Their holding hands while running was meant to signify that they were a team, despite him not asking her yet, and they were not to question their relationship.
  • The episode was intended to be presented from Rose's point-of-view. For audience identification purposes, Russell T Davies wanted the alien menace to be easily mistaken as human, so that it was possible for Rose to mistake the aliens for humans. Davies felt that there was no need to create a new monster, as the Autons met these criteria.
  • The Auton sequences were difficult to film because the costumes were uncomfortable for the actors; which meant that frequent breaks from filming were needed.
  • Computer-generated imagery was used in post-production to cover up the zipper on the back of the necks of the Auton costumes.
  • Russell T Davies wanted to recreate the scene of the Autons breaking out of shop windows from their first appearance in Spearhead from Space, although he had the budget to actually smash the glass instead of just cutting around it like in Spearhead.
  • Russell T Davies offered Edgar Wright the opportunity to direct the episode, but Wright was forced to decline, as he was still working on Shaun of the Dead.
  • The pizza restaurant is La Fosse. It took the production team a while to find a restaurant that would require minimal set dressing but would be willing to close for a day.
  • The production team sought to film the Cardiff scenes in secrecy, but the day before they began the Cardiff Council issued a press release naming the streets where they would be filming.
  • The area underneath the London Eye where the Doctor and Rose confront the Nestene Consciousness was filmed in an unused paper mill in Grangetown, Cardiff. It underwent steam cleaning because there were such high health and safety concerns. They were only permitted to film for three days, which required that some of the sequence be cut: originally, there was to be another Auton Mickey involved.
  • In the original script, Rose's first experience of seeing the TARDIS interior was shared with the audience. Keith Boak, however, wanted her to exit and run around the TARDIS before entering again, at which point the interior would be revealed to the audience. This change was eventually embraced by the executive producers. Russell T Davies remarked that he originally wanted to take Rose and the audience inside the TARDIS in all one shot, but this was not a feasible with the budget. This effect would later be accomplished in The Snowmen.
  • The episode name was gradually shortened; in Davies' pitch it had been called Rose meets the Doctor, and the journey begins, on his contract Rose Meets the Doctor and finally Rose.
  • Noel Clarke isn't too fond of this episode: "It wasn't played straight - some of it was played for laughs. I have no excuses, but I do have reasons: I had no rehearsal time, so I didn't really know the tone of what we were doing. I'd never met Chris before, or Billie or Camille. I didn't realise at the time, but my head wasn't where it should have been".
  • Steven Moffat stated in 2013 that he believed that the Ninth Doctor is newly-regenerated here, as evidenced by his reaction to looking in the mirror. Russell T Davies disagrees: "No, I don't think he'd just regenerated. If you have certain physical features like big ears or buck teeth, you look at them and sigh every time you look in the mirror. And I think if you'd had eight different faces, even if you'd been in the current form for a hundred years, you'd still mutter at them. So it was meant as a nod to the fact he'd once had other faces. But I wrote the Titanic stuff and Krakatoa assuming that the Ninth Doctor had been around for a while. He doesn't act very post-regeneration, does he? He appears in command, waving a bomb. This is a man who knows himself, and has known himself for a while".
  • On March 26 2020, the fifteenth anniversary of the episode, a collective fan "Watch-along" was held on Twitter. Russell T Davies participated and released a prequel and sequel to the episode. The prequel was entitled "Doctor Who and the Time War", an unused story intended for Doctor Who Magazine but declined for contradicting The Day of the Doctor. The story concerns the Eighth Doctor's regeneration into the Ninth Doctor after the events of the Time War. The sequel was entitled "Revenge of the Nestene" it was released in audio form akin to the Big Finish range and serves as a continuation of the novelisation and concerns the survival of one Auton after the events of the episode. The infamous Graham Norton interruption was also recreated.
  • This is the first television story to be recorded on the digital betacam format.
  • Russell T Davies revealed in The Writer's Tale that Mackenzie Crook was almost cast as Clive Finch.


  • 10.81 million, with a 43.2% audience share.[1]

Myths and rumours[]

  • It is often speculated that the Nestene Consciousness can be heard to utter the words "Bad Wolf". (The subtitles and DVD commentary for the episode state that it says "Time Lord". This can be heard more clearly on the Bluray release of series 1.)
  • Due to the widescreen format introduced with this episode, it was often erroneously stated that this episode and those that followed were filmed in high-definition. In fact, the first high-definition Doctor Who episode wasn't produced until Planet of the Dead in 2009. The spinoff series Torchwood, however, had always been produced in high definition. In 2010, the first standard-definition Doctor Who episode to be professionally upscaled to HD, The Next Doctor, was released on Blu-ray; this opened the door for Rose and other episodes of the first four series to undergo similar conversion in 2013.
  • Was produced as a pilot before leading into production of a full series. The episode was always part of a 13-episode production block - with exceptions, the BBC seldom produces "pilot episodes" in the American sense of the word.

Filming locations[]

  • Howells, Cardiff (Henrik's)
  • Queens Arcade, Cardiff (shopping centre)
  • Working Street, Cardiff (shopping centre)
  • St Mary's Market, Cardiff (alleyway where Rose agrees to travel with the Doctor)
  • Cardiff Royal Infirmary (restaurant yard)
  • Disused paper mill, Grangetown, Cardiff (Nestene lair)
  • Trafalgar Square, London
  • Victoria Embankment, London
  • London Eye, London
  • Westminster Bridge, London
  • Brandon Estate, Kennington, London (Powell Estate)
  • Lydstep Flats, Gabalfa, Cardiff (Powell Estate)
  • University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff (Henrik's basement)
  • Unit Q2, Newport (studio filming)
  • Skinner Street, Newport (scene with the Doctor and the bomb)
  • Culverhouse Cross Studio 1, Cardiff (insert shot) (all TCH 48)

Production errors[]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • In the opening titles, when the TARDIS moves screen-left out of the time vortex for the first time (while the vortex is blue, a second or two before the bullet-time freeze transition from blue to red), it doesn't pass through anything but simply vanishes. This error remains part of the title sequence throughout the Russell T Davies era, and becomes more obvious once production of the show moved to HD in Planet of the Dead.
  • As Rose opens the door to the room in the basement where she first encounters the Autons and the Doctor, before switching the lights on, the cameraman's shadow can be seen falling on some boxes.
  • The BBC news report incorrectly spells Henrik's as Henrick's.
  • In the news report, it shows the time as 20:45, two minutes pass by and it still says 20:45.
  • If one looks carefully, the eyeholes in the faces of the Auton costumes are visible.
  • When the Doctor pulls off the Auton's arm, the sleeve vanishes. There's no sound of it ripping and it wasn't on the arm when it got pulled off.
  • When the Auton's arm gets pulled off, it's obviously its right arm. But when Rose carries it home, it is now a left arm, which turns back into a right arm when she gets home.
  • While Rose is making coffee, the milk is in her right hand. It cuts to the Doctor shuffling cards, then cuts back and we see that now she has a teaspoon in her right hand. Again, it cuts back to him trying to shuffle them, and the milk is back in her right hand.
  • While Mickey is trying to escape from the bin, he turns around 180 degrees, twisting the strands of plastic attached to his hands. It cuts to another angle and the strands are un-twisted.
  • When Rose sets off the fire alarm in the restaurant, the glass cover doesn't break.
  • When Rose first enters the TARDIS, there is only one handrail near the door. Then as she exits the TARDIS there is a handrail on both sides of the entrance.
  • As the Doctor and Rose run across Westminster Bridge, two buses pass by on their right. Another shot shows them from the other side of the road, and the buses have disappeared.
  • After the Nestene identifies the TARDIS, one can see a microphone above the Doctor's head.
  • When the three Auton brides close in on Jackie, their hands fall off one-by-one, but as the second one falls off, the third one has already fallen off, and in the next shot it falls again.
  • The TARDIS interior background painted in behind the Doctor in the first shot of the final scene where he's offering to take Rose with him is jittery and rough, with a noticeable black spot appearing above his left shoulder. It is also noticeable above his right shoulder as he steps back into the TARDIS to close the door and disappear. This is most noticeable on the Bluray release, and is also visible in the recap of the episode seen at the beginning of Aliens of London.


Home video releases[]

DVD releases[]

  • This story was released on a DVD along with The End of the World and The Unquiet Dead as Doctor Who - Series 1: Volume 1. However, in Portugal and Russia Series 1: Volume 1 also included the contents of Series 1: Volume 2.
  • This story was also released as part of the series 1 DVD box set, Doctor Who - The Complete First Series.
  • This story was also released with Issue 1 of the Doctor Who DVD Files.

Blu-ray releases[]

  • This story was released in The Complete Series One Blu-ray set in November 2013 along with the rest of the series. This release was initially bundled with the first seven series of the revived Doctor Who.
  • In 2017, a Complete Series One Blu-ray steelbook was released as a limited edition.

Other releases[]

  • Series 1: Volume 1 was also the first to be released in the UMD format for PlayStation Portable.
  • This story is available for streaming via Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. It can also be purchased on iTunes.
  • In 2015, it was released by BBC Worldwide on BitTorrent and iTunes in the A Decade of the Doctor bundle, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the new series. It included introductions by Peter Capaldi, Earth Conquest: The World Tour and an episode guide.


DVD releases[]

Series 1: Volume 1[]

UMD releases[]

Series 1: Volume 1[]

External links[]