Fantastic! Former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has unveiled short story Rose: The Prequel ahead of the fan collective rewatch of the first NuWho episode.
Available to read now in full a BBC Doctor Who blog post and below, the introduction to the episode depicts a brand new Doctor Who regeneration, with Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor transforming directly into Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth (skipping over John Hurt’s War Doctor).
Intended to appear in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine for the show’s 50th anniversary in 2013, the story was dropped at the request of then-Who-showrunner Steven Moffat. Why? As the story would completely miss out The War Doctor, a key character in special episode The Day of The Doctor.
“How could [I] have known?” Davies explains. “That the Day of the Doctor would have an extra Doctor, a War Doctor?”
He added: “Steven didn’t even tell us about Night of the Doctor, he kept that regeneration a complete surprise! He just said, sorry, can you lay off that whole area?”
So what actually happens in Rose: The Prequel? The surreal story follows the end of the Time War, with the Eighth Doctor (having lived through several million years) seemingly killed by a solidifying time lock. But just when all hope seems lost, the Doctor is rescued by an old friend…
Rose: The Prequel also solves a huge Doctor Who plot hole: how could the Ninth Doctor only be 900 years old? In one of many very trippy sections to the story, the Doctor ponders on what age he’s reached after the fighting.
“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,” Davies writes. “Now, the ache in his bones feels… one thousand years old? Well. Call it nine hundred. Sounds better.”
The prose even ends on what Davies imagined the Ninth Doctor’s first word would be: “Blimey!”
Overall, it’s a real gem for fans of the show.
And Whovians are set for an even bigger treat today, with Davies promising a “sequel” to Rose to drop on his Instagram account at 7.45pm (after the Rose re-watch concludes).
It’s not currently clear what this sequel will feature, but watchalong organiser Emily Cook previously revealed on Twitter it will feature brand new Doctor Who material penned by Davies.
We’ve already got our fingers crossed for another cameo comeback akin to Steven Moffat’s The Day of the Doctor introduction. Before the communal rewatch of the anniversary episode, the former writer shared a new Doctor Who scene featuring Drax, coronavirus riffs and even a dig at Sacha Dhawan’s new Master.
To follow along with the fan rewatch of Rose on Thursday, simply start watching the episode at 7pm (it’s available to stream on both BBC iPlayer and Netflix) and use the Twitter hashtag #TripOfALifetime.
Find out how to join in with the Rose rewatch here.
Want something else to watch? Check out our TV guide or list of what’s best on Disney+ this week.