Rose: Can you change back?
The Doctor: Do you want me to?
The Doctor: Oh…
Rose: Can you?
The Doctor: No.
Doctor Who Season: Scene between S27 and S28.
Story Number: n/a though between 166 and 167.
About five minutes of new Doctor Who from 2005…
So, as this blog is trying to review (for 2011 at least, reviewing weekly) “all of the television programme Doctor Who”, this week it’s including this Doctor Who scene. (This blog is going to ignore distracting ideas of “canon” and “continuity” and just talk about Doctor Who as a continuing television programme for this review.)
So yes this scene is part of “the television programme Doctor Who”. The question “what constitutes the television programme Doctor Who” has a simple (and incomplete) answer and a more complex answer. The simple answer is – the BBC episodes broadcast (broadly) weekly in seasons, in the years before (“Classic Doctor Who”) and after (“21st Century Doctor Who”) the 1996 TV Movie, plus: the 1996 TV Movie. That’s the television programme Doctor Who.
The more complex answer is that there’s also the Specials (usually at Christmas) of the 21st Century – and there’s other “stuff” which mainly revolves around two BBC television events – Children in Need and Red Nose Day. (Actually the Moffat era has made the extra “stuff” even more complex but we’ll mention this at the end of this review.)
Before the 21st Century – three things were broadcast as part of these two different events over the years on a sliding scale of “yes this is very much Doctor Who” to “hold on, this isn’t actually proper Doctor Who is it?”.
The Five Doctors was broadcast as part of the BBC Children in Need event of 1983 (“yes this is very much Doctor Who”), Dimensions in Time as part of the BBC Children in Need event of 1993, (halfway along the sliding scale), and Moffat’s The Curse of Fatal Death as part of Red Nose Day in 1999 (“hold on, this isn’t actually proper Doctor Who is it?”.)
This televisual history is mentioned to give this 2005 scene some context – even though it lasts just a few minutes, it’s part of a long tradition of “extra” Doctor Who. The title of it – Born Again – actually is from a BBC Book (RTD provided this title for the book when asked), though before that it was colloquially referred to as “Pudsey Cutaway”, just as Mission to the Unknown has the alternative title of “Dalek Cutaway”.
There’s almost 8 minutes of the actual scene – with 2 minutes of that a recap of The Parting of the Ways. It fits in between that story and the upcoming Christmas Special without providing anything essential in terms of the ongoing narrative. It joins the gap between the Doctor beaming in a spritely manner and staggering about in a (traditional since the 1900s) just-regenerated erratic state though. Before that Rose’s hesitant questions emphasise that although Rose vaguely accepts this is “the Doctor” she isn’t quite convinced he’s the Doctor as such – this is the status quo of the first act of The Christmas Invasion, with scenes which provide the same idea. In that next story there’s also the Doctor excitedly asking what his new visage is like.
After this scene, the deluge of “extra” Doctor Who “stuff” for television in the 21st Century: 2007 and for BBC Children in Need again there was new Doctor Who – Time Crash. Also there was semi-theatrical Doctor Who for the Proms in 2008 and 2010 which this blog deems outside its review remit.
Between this review and the start of the new season this Easter, (over the next seven days) the blog will review various other “extra” Doctor Who scenes of the Moffat era…