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Series 1

Episode 1

First Transmitted

26 March 2005

Final Ratings






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Regular Cast

Christopher Eccleston (The Doctor), Billie Piper (Rose)

Guest Cast

Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith), Mark Benton (Clive), Elli Garnett (Caroline), Adam McCoy (Clive’s Son), Alan Ruscoe, Paul Kasey, David Sant, Elizabeth Fost, Helen Otway (Autons), Nicholas Briggs (Nestene Voice).


Written by Russell T. Davies
Directed by Keith Boak
Produced by Julie Garner and Phil Colinson


When Rose Tyler meets a mysterious stranger called The Doctor, her life will never be the same again. Soon, she realises that her mum, her boyfriend, and the whole of Planet Earth are in danger.

The only hope for salvation lies inside a strange blue box..


Rose Tyler wakes up one morning at 7 AM, gets ready for work, and kisses her mother Jackie goodbye. She gets the bus to Henrik’s, the department store in central London where she works. In the evening, as the store nears closing time, Rose is about to head home when she is stopped at the door by a security guard who is holding the lottery winnings for Wilson, the chief electrician. She takes the lift down to the basement in search of him, but Wilson is nowhere to be found. Entering a large storage room to investigate a noise, Rose soon finds herself trapped when the door closes and locks on its own, and is disturbed to see a group of moving shop-window mannequins that quickly 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 the mannequins are living plastic and that Wilson is dead. When they arrive at ground level, the man holds up a bomb and tells Rose that he plans to destroy a relay device on the roof to stop the creatures. 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 returns home, running past a strange blue box, and her boyfriend Mickey Smith comes in to check on her. He eventually leaves to watch football at the pub, and is asked to take the arm with him. He throws the piece of plastic into one of the bins outside.

Rose wakes up at the same time the next morning, before realising that she no longer has a job to go to. Mooching around the flat while bickering with her mother, she suddenly hears a scratching noise from the cat flap, which Jackie still hasn’t nailed down, and assumes it’s a stray cat. She opens it up to find The Doctor, who tells her he’s been tracing a signal from the plastic arm. Demanding answers, Rose invites him inside. While she makes them both coffee in the kitchen, The Doctor explores the flat and is stunned by the size of his ears when he looks in the mirror, implying he has recently regenerated. Investigating a noise from behind the sofa, he is suddenly attacked by the plastic arm. Rose believes The Doctor’s strangulation to be in jest — that is, until the arm lets go of him and flies towards her instead. Thankfully, The Doctor manages to deactivate the Auton arm with his sonic screwdriver, though not after Jackie’s coffee table has been smashed in the struggle. He takes the arm off her, and hastily rushes out.

Rose chases after him outside, demanding to know what’s going on. The Doctor 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. He then departs in a mysterious blue box in the estate car park, ordering her to forget about him. Rose turns away for a second; when she looks back, both The Doctor and the box have gone.

Rose cannot let go, and decides to use Mickey’s computer to find out more about The Doctor. She tries several different keywords on, (just the word “doctor” brings up medical results, and “doctor living plastic” produces art results) eventually settling on “doctor blue box”. She follows a link to, a website owned by a conspiracy theorist named Clive. Mickey drives her to the man’s house in the suburbs, 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 eruption of Krakatoa – all the pictures he shows her feature The Doctor. Clive goes through the facts: “The Doctor is a legend woven throughout history; when disaster comes, he’s there.” He believes The Doctor is an immortal alien, tells Rose he is dangerous, and that he has only one constant companion: death.

Meanwhile, Mickey is waiting in his car outside when he suddenly gets distracted by a plastic wheelie bin moving forwards on its own. He gets out of the car and opens the bin, expecting to find someone playing a practical joke, only to find it completely empty. As he tries to close the lid, he finds that the plastic is stuck to his hands, and merely stretches as he tries to pull away. After a few attempts at breaking free, the bin suddenly tosses Mickey into the air and swallows him whole. Not long after, Rose returns to the car, convinced that she’s wasted her time and that Clive really is just a conspiracy nut. She and Mickey decide to go out for a pizza, but what Rose doesn’t realise is that her boyfriend has been swapped; replaced by a shiny, plastic duplicate…

As the two of them dine at the restaurant, the plastic Mickey begins grilling Rose about The Doctor. She is disturbed by her boyfriend’s odd speech patterns, speaking as if he is somehow malfunctioning. After being interrupted twice by the offer of champagne, Mickey finally looks up from the table, only to find The Doctor standing there holding the bottle. He fires the cork at Mickey’s forehead, but it is simply absorbed into his plastic skull, and Mickey spits it out. His hands morph into paddles, and he begins attacking all those around him. The Doctor briefly struggles with the duplicate and manages to pull its head off, but this barely slow the plastic Mickey down at all. Rose hits the fire alarm, and, while the other patrons evacuate, she and the Doctor 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 calmly enters his little blue box. With nowhere to go, Rose follows him inside at the last second, only to rush back out again at the sight of interior. As the headless Mickey breaks its way into the courtyard, Rose runs back into the box – which is bigger on the inside. The Doctor explains that his blue box is called the TARDIS, that it’s impregnable from outside forces like the plastic duplicate, and that both it and he are alien. As he wires Mickey’s head into the central console, Rose wonders if her real boyfriend is dead; something The Doctor didn’t even consider. Their conversation is cut short, however, when Rose points out that the head is melting, much to The Doctor’s dismay; he had hoped to use it to track down the Nestene Consciousness — the entity controlling the Autons. Activating the TARDIS controls, 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.

The box lands somewhere nearby, at the edge of the River Thames, and Rose is shocked to learn that they have moved. The Doctor explains that the Nestene plans to use Earth’s polluted atmosphere as a food source after losing its own planet in a war, and will need an activation signal for its invasion plans; 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. Hand in hand, the two of them run across Westminster Bridge together, and Rose quickly spots an entrance to an underground base beneath the Eye.

Entering the Nestene lair, Rose immediately notices Mickey and runs down to him; her boyfriend has been kept alive after being duplicated to maintain the copy. The Doctor, meanwhile, tries to reason with the Nestene, but the Consciousness has two of its Auton guards 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 The Doctor’s pocket — which he had intended to use only as a last resort. The Nestene confronts its Time Lord enemy about its lost planet, and he can only respond, “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, but Jackie can’t hear her through the bad reception, 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 is also shopping there with his family, remarks that everything he read about was true, before he is confronted by an Auton who detaches its hand and shoots him dead in front of his wife and son.

Panic ensues as the Autons start blasting, and shoppers scatter in all directions. Jackie runs outside to behold utter chaos: Autons are everywhere, bodies litter the ground, and a double-decker bus has crashed into a post-box at the end of the street and burst into flames. She takes cover behind a car, just as three bride mannequins smash their way out of the shop window behind her and raise their arms to shoot her dead.

Below the London Eye, Rose finally decides to take some initiative. She breaks free one of the chains on the wall with an axe, and swings down to the Autons, freeing The Doctor and pushing the mannequins, along with the anti-plastic, into the vat containing the Nestene Consciousness. The vial leaks the solution onto the Nestene, and the alien dies in agony. Back outside, all the Autons return to lifeless mannequins again as the transmission from the London Eye is stopped, while underground, the Nestene base starts to collapse and explode. The Doctor, Mickey and Rose board the TARDIS and, just in time, escape the destruction. 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 thanks Rose for her help and suggests she join him on his adventures; the TARDIS can go anywhere in the whole universe. Mickey, however, is not invited. Rose, much to his disappointment, refuses, feeling responsible for her mum and her boyfriend. The Doctor bids her farewell and leaves, dematerialising the box before her eyes. But as Rose prepares to help a terrified Mickey back home, she hears the TARDIS reappear behind her. The Doctor emerges once more, and tells 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.


  • The Doctor is travelling alone and already in his ninth incarnation as the story begins, although his remarks about his appearance as he looks in the mirror in Rose’s flat imply that the regeneration was a very recent one. Jon Pertwee’s debut as the Third Doctor in Spearhead from Space also began with him already regenerated and without a companion.
  • This is the first (and only) occasion, however, in which the series does not explain the circumstances behind the regeneration.
  • The photographs in Clive’s shed show that the Ninth Doctor has travelled to Krakatoa, the Kennedy assassination and Southampton on the eve of the Titanic’s voyage. These adventures were never featured on screen and when they take place is not clear. The Doctor was present at Kennedy’s assassination however in the novel Who Killed Kennedy and the Third Doctor mentions being at the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in Inferno.
  • The Doctor refers to an untelevised encounter with, “the assembled hordes of Genghis Khan.” He also encountered Kublai Khan in Marco Polo (1964), and Batu and Möngke Khan in the spin-off novel Bunker Soldiers by Martin Day. In The TV Movie, The Master tells Chang Lee that The Doctor was Genghis Khan.
  • As Rose enters the TARDIS, a coat stand can be seen by the side of the doors, a piece of furniture that graced the console room in the original series.
  • The materialisation and dematerialisation of the TARDIS is accompanied by a flurry of wind, as it was in the The TV Movie. The TARDIS console room and sonic screwdriver have also been redesigned.
  • This story also sees the first mention of the Shadow Proclamation, an intergalactic police force mentioned several times in the revived series and eventually seen in “The Stolen Earth” (2008).

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