Story 177


Series 2 – Episodes 12 & 13

“This is the story of how I died” – Rose

On contemporary Earth, the Doctor and Rose discover a population unfazed by the sporadic appearance of ghosts. The Doctor tracks the apparitions’ source to Torchwood Tower in London, and realises that they are, in fact, Cybermen. They are crossing over from an alternate Earth through a breach in the Void generated by a Dalek-controlled Void ship, which then releases millions of Daleks. A global battle ensues. The Doctor is able to send the alien invaders – bar a faction of four Daleks – back through the breach, but at a terrible cost. Rose vanishes into the Void to the parallel Earth, where she will remain for ever, separated from the Doctor.

First UK transmissions
Saturday 1 July 2006
Saturday 8 July 2006

November 2005–April 2006. Main locations: Brandon Estate, Kennington, London; Tredegar House, Newport; St Nicholas, near Cardiff; Brackla bunkers, Bridgend; Southerndown beach, Ogmore Vale, near Bridgend. Studios: Unit Q2, Newport; HTV and Enfys Studios, Cardiff.

The Doctor – David Tennant
Rose Tyler – Billie Piper
Jackie Tyler – Camille Coduri
Mickey Smith – Noel Clarke
Pete Tyler – Sean Dingwall
Yvonne Hartman – Tracy Ann Oberman
Dr Rajesh Singh – Raji James
Adeola – Freema Agyeman
Gareth – Hadley Fraser
Matt – Oliver Mellor
Jake Simmonds – Andrew Hayden-Smith
Peggy Mitchell – Barbara Windsor
Indian newsreader – Hajaz Akram
French newsreader – Anthony Debaeck
Japanese newsreader – Takako Akashi
Weatherman – Paul Fields
Police Commissioner – David Warwick
Eileen – Rachel Webster
Japanese girl – Kyoko Morita
Housewife – Maddi Cryer
As themselves: Derek Acorah, Alistair Appleton, Trisha Goddard
Cyber Leader – Paul Kasey
Dalek & Cybermen voices – Nicholas Briggs
Dalek operators – Barnaby Edwards, Nicholas Pegg, Stuart Crossman, Anthony Spargo, Dan Barratt, David Hankinson
Donna Noble – Catherine Tate

Writer – Russell T Davies
Director – Graeme Harper
Designer – Edward Thomas
Incidental music – Murray Gold
Producer – Phil Collinson
Executive producers – Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner

RT review by Mark Braxton
(filed 1 July 2016)
Sometimes it’s possible to get good vibes about a story from the word go. Opening with a zoom into planet Earth onto a road that could be yours or mine, this two-part finale ends Season 2 with a breathtaking epic that is nevertheless intensely personal.

And it’s that juxtaposition of the cosmic with the parochial, the vast with the tiny – something that Tom Baker recognised as being integral to Doctor Who’s success – that makes this story so successful.

Since Doctor Who’s 2005 relaunch, Russell T Davies has revealed his inner fanboy with continual glee. But Daleks v Cybermen! Back in the days of Classic Who, this was the kind of scenario young fans would draw in quiet periods at school, using red and yellow felt tips for the explosions. But then, on 1 July 2006, there it actually was, happening before our very eyes, like some TV Action strip or Letraset landscape come to life.

However, it’s not the weight of numbers of the programme’s most popular foes, but the immediacy of the domestic setting, that ensnares the imagination. As Jon Pertwee once said, there’s nothing as scary as coming home to find a Yeti on your loo in Tooting Bec. Only now, there’s a Cyberman smashing down your front door!

But to remember the adventure only as a giant laser show, or for those competing cries of “Delete!” and “Exterminate!”, would be doing it a huge disservice. After all, it’s not the prospect of armour-geddon that grabs us by the scruff, but by those first, haunted, words of Rose Tyler…

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These are not gilded, writerly words (“For the first 19 years of my life, nothing happened. Nothing at all”), but the thoughts of a council-estate shopgirl whose whole world has been turned upside down. It’s their very ordinariness that is so affecting.

A playground at sunrise… warmth and smiles… the Doctor and Rose run around after each other and complete each other’s sentences, just as they did at the start of the season. We know it can’t last… and it doesn’t.

Tennant and Piper are immense here – better every time I watch it, seemingly – but more about their chemistry anon.

The thrills are stacked high: a multi-species fight to the death; scientists baffled by an extraterrestrial object (very Stargate); evocative terms like “Genesis” and “Ark” that plunder Who lore; another little prologue for Torchwood; a crazy family reunion that’s both Hollywood and moving; and a glimpse of future companion Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman lasting mere minutes as the Torchwood lackey Adeola). Murray Gold is on playful form, spinning between Bondy trumpet blares and subtle emoti-motifs, while the FX team throws everything at the screen (some of the CGI does look a little rough-around-the-edges now, sadly).

Humour, too. I loved Dalek Sec crying “Elevate!” like Captain Flack from Trumpton. And I decided I loved Russell T Davies eternally with the Doctor’s rallying cry of “Shiver and Shake”. With that ultra-niche reference he spoke to a fellow comics enthusiast.

But back to Rose’s demise. Not a physical death at all, it turns out, but an emotional one, an apparently unalterable severance from her beloved Doctor. Their respective sadnesses are utterly in character, the demonstrative Rose inconsolable and slapping the dividing wall; the Doctor, quiet with despair, shedding a single tear. It’s a scene that will return to haunt us with Rory and Amy on opposite sides of the Tardis door in The Girl Who Waited.

Not content with that, Davies torments us further with their ghosted reunion on Bad Wolf Bay – standing right next to each other yet worlds apart.

And another sentence replete with run-of-the-mill richness: “I can’t of think what to say”. Imagine having only two minutes to say everything you want to say to the person you love. It’s impossible to think of that idea without tearing up.

Since its 2005 return, Doctor Who has always found ways to think big. But how often does it deliver on this scale – yet with such devastating intimacy?


RT Archive

For the first of the two-part 2006 finale, RT featured Billie Piper on the cover and interviewed Billie about her imminent departure from Doctor Who. (Part one) (Part two)

We carefully kept secret from readers the return of the Daleks in episode 12, while preparing twin covers for episode 13 that tied in with the World Cup Final.
RT Dalek cover
RT Cyberman cover

We also released a special Dalek poster and Cybermen poster.

Also for the finale Doctor Who Watch went on set with David Tennant for a backstage tour. (Part one) (Part two)

David Tennant and Billie Piper – rare RT photos from 2006


Explore the Radio Times Doctor Who Story Guide