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Retrospective: Series 2 (2006)

As we countdown to Series 7, guest contributor David Selby looks back, continuing with Tennant’s debut series.

After becoming a fan during Series 1, finding out that Doctor Who was returning for another series after The Christmas Invasion was a great surprise. But this year was also a special year for Doctor Who; as it suddenly began something which has helped it from 2006 right through to now: merchandising.

Being just six-years-old at the time, I was out collecting all of the action figures and sticker books, along with the first album, and that’s for me when Doctor Who became my ‘hobby’. This became the start of an adventure which Doctor Who was taking, as during Series 2 the Doctor started going to new planets and time periods, instead of being bound to the solar system. And now everybody knew about Doctor Who. Doctor Who was here, and Doctor Who was staying.

New Earth

New Earth was an interesting episode, which like The End of the World, Gridlock and Utopia had me fascinated. Seeing how the human race had evolved in the future was a strange concept, but the most intriguing aspect of the story was Cassandra. In The End of the World, Cassandra was just a silly monster who provided nothing more than a quick giggle at Rose’s Michael Jackson joke. However, in this episode, Cassandra became an interesting character, and better than that had a beautiful send off, which was even more moving accompanied by Murray Gold’s beautiful score.

Tooth and Claw

Series 1 had ghosts and Charles Dickens, and so Series 2 continued with Queen Victoria and the werewolf! This episode saw legend mix with alien and provided plenty of thrills and edge-of-seat moments. I also particularly liked Rose’s persistent attempts to get Queen Victoria to say that she was not amused!

School Reunion

The first Series 2 episode to make it onto my favourite episode list! School Reunion introduced Sarah Jane Smith into the modern world of Doctor Who, which resulted in her then starring in The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End, The End of Time and most importantly her own spin-off show, The Sarah Jane Adventures. Sarah Jane and Rose made an interesting and humorous episode together, whilst Toby Whithouse did a great job on the plot. The episode had a lovely ending, which now has many fans (including myself) left very emotional due to her tragic death in 2011. Elizabeth Sladen will be remembered for this fantastic episode.

The Girl in the Fireplace

This episode made it into my top 5 episodes and still remains on the list, and more importantly in my heart. This episode had a great pace and was truly heart-breaking, which wasn’t just because of the sad ending but also because of those small but precious moments.

Rise of the Cybermen

Tom McRae is most recently known for The Girl Who Waited, yet this episode was his first masterpiece. By this time, the Doctor had explored different periods of history, had been billions of years in the future and on a variety of different spaceships. But the whole concept of parallel universes was completely new to the show. The parallel world was a captivating idea; mainly because of the Tyler’s new lifestyle. Though it was humorous to see Rose as a dog, the episode was also sad as we were informed near the end that Pete and Jackie were, in fact, not a happy couple at all.

The Age of Steel

The Age of Steel was without a doubt the Cybermen at their scariest. Scenes like Ricky’s death where the Cybermen just stare coldly at Mickey are good examples of this, the way their cold, emotionless eyes stare into your soul. The Cybermen were definitely due a return – and what better way than by starting all over again?

The Idiot’s Lantern

The first time this was broadcast I was on holiday but when I came back this episode had a surprisingly good effect on me. Unlike many, I found The Idiot’s Lantern to be a well written, entertaining episode, which gave us an insight into moral issues such as domestic abuse and divorce, whilst at the same time the relationship between the Doctor and Rose began to develop. If you have decided to skip this episode I would recommend watching it again!

The Impossible Planet

I find The Impossible Planet a hard episode to watch. Not because of bad writing or anything like that (the writing was excellent), but because of how scary it is. When I watched this for the first time as a 6-year-old, the scene with Toby standing outside with the eyes and the smile didn’t really bother me, but these days it scares me witless. What makes the scene so scary was the combination; Will Thorp’s evil smile, Murray Gold’s dark music composition, the special FX which make the scene so much darker, and more than anything the writing, “he bathes in the black sun… he is awake.” Sends shivers down my spine.

The Satan Pit

I found The Satan Pit to be a ‘big’ episode; the scale seemed to be larger than its predecessor, and also had quite a long ending. It’s also the only time I’ve ever completed an episode and thought, “It didn’t explain anything, but it doesn’t actually matter”.

Love and Monsters

Oh no, here he comes; the dreaded Slitheen relative. Even I’ll admit that as soon as the Abzorbaloff came along the episode was pretty bad. But before that, the it is actually (in my opinion) very good, the way all the members of LINDA are slowly picked off and the story of the organisation. The Jackie Tyler scene with Rose on the phone was also very emotional, and gave us an idea of what life back at home is like. I always felt very sorry for Jackie!

Fear Her

I won’t deny that Fear Her was one of the weaker episodes of Russell T. Davies’ era, but it still deserves some credit. The Olympic scene at the end is fun, and it shows us life in the TARDIS before the heart-breaking departure in the next story.

Army of Ghosts

Army of Ghosts was a great start to the final story with Rose Tyler. The ending was a nice surprise but my only criticism would be that if they hadn’t shown the Cybermen in the trailers, then both The Daleks and Cybermen would have been a surprise.

Doomsday

Doomsday made it onto my favourites list and was one of my top rated finales as well. Usually I like a happy ending, but occasionally a bit of heartbreak makes the story excellent (In the words of Sally Sparrow, “Sad is happy for deep people.”) Unlike about half the fandom, I loved the Doctor/Rose love story and enjoyed this episode thoroughly. Whilst the wall and beach scene were very sad, I found one of the emotional scenes to be when the Doctor places the void transport device over Rose’s neck. To watch him go through the grief of knowing that he is going to lose the woman he loves is like watching the Ninth Doctor after the Time War. Yet somehow, that’s what I loved about this episode.

All things considered, Series 2 was once again an excellent series with very different stories and (in my opinion) one of the best Doctor/companion dynamics – a series which will be greatly remembered.

Note: Christmas specials and one-off episodes will have their own separate article.

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