The one sentence in the English language designed to set a Dr. Who fan’s heart beating wildly is “David Tennant and Billie Piper are back as The Doctor and Rose.” Although I’ve been a fan of the Doctor since Tom Baker wrapped the scarf around his throat, and am a huge fan of Jon Pertwee’s run, I firmly believe that the Doctor and Rose were the power couple of the series. The interplay and dynamic between Tennant and Piper were fantastic and ten years later people are still talking about them
At this point I’ve probably confused many Who fans. With Christmas approaching the big news is supposed to be about Capaldi leaving the series and Jodie Whittaker taking over, so the news that Tennant and Piper are back is both incongruous and seems inaccurate. Once a Doctor regenerates, he’s gone. Is this a show taking place on the alternate earth? And of course, the next questions are: When will it premier and where can I stream it?
Answering the questions in order: No; it’s already out; and you can’t.
This new 3 episode series will not be broadcast or be available for video streaming. It is available for purchase from Big Finish. To those Dr. Who fans living in a closet, Big Finish produces authorized Dr. Who audio plays, and has been doing that for probably 16 years. Tom Baker, Peter Davidson, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, John Hurt and yes, David Tennant have all worked for Big Finish extending their original runs as The Doctor. And the companions are there as well.
Before he was The Doctor, David Tennant would ask Nick Briggs (known also as the voice or Daleks) for work on Big Finish productions. Now, the shoe is on the other foot, and Briggs is doing the asking. As Briggs explained, getting Tennant and Piper was as easy as booking them. While Piper had mentioned that she’d love to a do a Big Finish production, and Tennant is always up to re-enter the TARDIS, scheduling for two such busy actors was challenging. But, it did come together, and three new adventures are now available on CD or by download.
Big Finish’s goal was to mirror the Russell T. Davies style. You can judge for yourself whether they nailed it, and there are some very Davies-esque lines delivered with impeccable style by Tennant. “I’m good but not that good…Well, I am that good.” In discussing the first episode, Infamy of the Zaross Tennant said he could have imagined Davies telling this particular tale. Without giving away any spoilers, it involves a unique alien invasion, and Jackie Tyler is caught up in the middle of it.
While we don’t know where in the chronology it fits, based upon Jackie and Rose’s behavior it must be pretty late in the run. While on holiday visiting a friend in Norridge, Jackie finds herself in the middle of an invasion by the Zaross. Her first reaction is to call her daughter, Rose. “Hello Rose, it’s your mum, sorry to call, I know you’re busy fighting evil lobsters or something, but if get this message if you could pop around to Marge’s in Norridge, you know Karen’s mum, I’d really appreciate that. We’ve sought of been invaded. All right, great. Love you, speak soon, bye.”
The Rose in this episode is strong, confident and ready to break out the hapless citizens who’ve been captured. Writer Joh Dorney brings in all the qualities of Rose that we’ve loved and missed.
The second episode, The Sword of the Chevalier sees the Doctor and Rose traveling to England in the early 19th Century to see Herschel’s telescope, only to come face to face to face with a triple entity looking to harvest humans for slaves.
The final episode, Cold Vengeance brings the Doctor and Rose into conflict with the Martian Ice Warriors. The Doctor and Rose must race against time and a single-minded enemy to save a human planet from destruction.
What was it like to be reunited after 10 years? Tennant is still bemused by the celebrity and staying power of his run as The Doctor. “It doesn’t feel like it’s a decade ago.” When he first started as The Doctor he was a little nervous, but Billie Piper was so generous and friendly, that it eased the way. He said that he would take any chance to work with Billie again.
As for Piper, she didn’t realize the impact of her work while she was doing the series. But, now that she has children she can see it differently. “I’ve had more fun with Dr. Who now than before because I’ve got children of my own.” She is also continually surprised by the impact it has had on children who have grown up with the show. She’s met a number of “Roses” named after her character.
Camille Coduri, who plays Jackie Tyler also had great fun returning. She absolutely loves Jackie. The interest in Jackie’s character comes from the fact that she is so ordinary and is driven by a fierce love and pride for her daughter. Coduri said that being involved with Doctor Who was a whirlwind experience and one of the most exciting times of her life. She’s still both thrilled and flabbergasted by the size and impact of the show. She never imagined that it would capture the heart of a nation.
For this Dr. Who fan, listening to these three episodes was fun, and recaptured the excitment of the Tennant and Piper run. It was great to “see” Jackie again, and in all it was like visiting some old and beloved friends. To quote The Doctor from Infamy of the Zaross, “I’ve got the TARDIS, I’ve got you. What more does a wandering Time Lord need?” How about Big Finishes’ new Doctor Who adventures?