a real world point of view
|Children in Need Special (Born Again)|
|Main setting:||The TARDIS|
|Writer:||Russell T Davies|
|Premiere broadcast:||18 November 2005|
|Premiere network:||BBC One|
|Format:||1x7 minute mini-episode|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Parting of the Ways||The Christmas Invasion|
|The Christmas Invasion||New Earth|
The Children in Need Special, also known as Born Again, was a Doctor Who mini-episode consisting of a short scene produced for the Children in Need campaign in 2005. It was set immediately between the episodes The Parting of the Ways and The Christmas Invasion, during the TARDIS trip from 200,100 to Christmas 2006. It chronicled the very first moments of the relationship between Rose Tyler and the Doctor's tenth persona.
From a production standpoint, it was notable for a number of reasons. It was the only episode of Doctor Who to have no on-screen titles or credits, other than those for the two actors involved. It was also the first Doctor Who segment filmed for a charity event that could be said to be a part of the regular programme's continuity. And it was the only time an incoming Doctor had been given a second "regeneration scene" prior to embarking upon his first full episode. It also established an annual pattern of the BBC Wales version of Doctor Who participating in Children in Need. That it was directed by Euros Lyn would later allow for some directorial symmetry, in that Lyn also directed Tennant's last full scene in The End of Time.
Inside the TARDIS, the Ninth Doctor has said good-bye to Rose and regenerates into his tenth incarnation. After finishing setting course for the planet Barcelona in 5006, he asks Rose what he looks like - before he reconsiders and inspects himself.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, don't tell me...let's see. Two legs, two arms, two hands...slight weakness in the dorsal tubercle. Hair! I'm not bald! Ooh, big hair...Sideburns! I've got sideburns! Really light skin. Bit thinner - that's weird, give me time, I'll get used to it...I have got a mole. I can feel it...Rose, however, is unsure of who the Doctor is now, due to his regeneration, and can't bring herself to accept that he has changed into a new person. She questions the Doctor, thinking he might be any of the number of aliens they have encountered on their journeys. He allays her doubts by telling her the first thing his last incarnation told her: "Run!" Rose now accepts that the Doctor is himself, but wonders if the Doctor can change back into his old self. The Doctor asks if Rose wants him to, which she does. He tells her, much to her displeasure, that he cannot.
The Doctor worries that Rose may want to go home, instead of continuing her travels with him, and plots a course for the Powell Estate at Christmas 2006, rather than going to the planet Barcelona as his ninth incarnation had initially suggested. However, as he sets the course, the Doctor's regeneration goes wrong and he begins to spasm and act slightly crazed. Rose asks the Doctor to return them to Satellite 5 to retrieve Jack Harkness to see if he could help out with the Doctor's current problem, but he dismisses the idea and says that Jack is busy rebuilding the human race after the Daleks' attack. The Doctor irrationally sets the TARDIS on high speed, and in a brief moment of clarity, tells Rose that the regeneration this time means he can't control himself and to hold on to something. With the Cloister Bell warning of imminent danger, the Doctor laughs madly at the chaos going on inside the console room as the TARDIS spins wildly in the Time Vortex and heads for Christmas Eve at the Powell Estate.
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- Rose mentions nanogenes and the Gelth.
- Rose asks whether the new Doctor is in fact a Slitheen in disguise.
- The Doctor mentions Captain Jack.
Story notes Edit
- This is a short scene for the charity Children in Need.
- In addition to the broadcast, this story was available for viewing on the BBC's website until 25 November 2005, when the link was removed (the episode is still available on YouTube.)
- This story, along with The Edge of Destruction, Time Crash, Amy's Choice, Space, Time, Bad Night, Good Night, First Night and Last Night are the only TV stories to be set entirely in the TARDIS.
- The pre-credits sequence for the mini-episode was a montage of the climactic scenes of TV: The Parting of the Ways.
- Post-regeneration instability has been present, to varying degrees, in every one of the Doctor's regenerations.
- The online feed of the mini-episode ended with several pre-recorded inserts of Tennant and Piper appealing for donations to Children in Need. The appeals in which they both appear are flippant in tone, with Piper claiming to be Tennant and vice versa in the first, and in the second the pair introducing themselves as Letitia Dean and Nicholas Lyndhurst.
- At 7 minutes long the Children in Need Special holds the record for the shortest 'single episode' of Doctor Who ever, just beating TV: Time Crash, which was 8 minutes long. However, the 2009 Comic Relief mini-episode based on The Sarah Jane Adventures, From Raxacoricofallapatorius With Love, is the shortest of all at just over five minutes. In 2009, the series Tonight's the Night broadcast a 3-minute mini-episode based on Doctor Who. However the actors break character and it isn't considered canonical. Another 3-minute mini-episode, A Ghost Story for Christmas, was produced for the Internet in 2009 but does not feature the Doctor in an active role.The 2009 BBC Christmas idents lasted for one 30 second long ident & three 5 second ones. These are not considered canon.
- The mini-episode aired the same day the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released. The film features another character transforming into Tennant as villain Barty Crouch Jr.
Title controversy Edit
- The title Children in Need Special is the one that has been accepted by most resources and, most significantly, is the title used by BBC Video for its DVD release of the story.
- Russell T Davies joked that the title was the Pudsey Cutaway, a reference to both Dalek Cutaway, an alternate name of Mission to the Unknown, and Pudsey the bear, the Children in Need mascot.
- According to the 2009 book Doctor Who: Companions and Allies this episode is titled Born Again, but it has never been used elsewhere, and a review of the book in DWM 409 disputes the accuracy of this claim.
- Doctor Who Adventures refers to the episode as Born Again in a number of issues and on a poster of all the special episodes.
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Filming locations Edit
The entire episode was shot on the TARDIS set at Upper Boat.
Production errors Edit
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- This story directly connects the final moments of TV: The Parting of the Ways with the teaser of TV: The Christmas Invasion.
- The Doctor asks Rose what he looks like, then re-iterates the word 'No' about 10 times. This was a characteristic associated with the Eighth Doctor (Doctor Who (1996) and various novels).
- Rose tells the Doctor that she has seen Gelth, (TV: The Unquiet Dead) Nanogenes, (TV: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances) and Slitheen. (TV: Aliens of London/World War Three, Boom Town)
- At one point, Rose believes the new Doctor could be a Slitheen. Although Slitheen in Series 1 were only shown to inhabit large skin-suits, they are shown to have slimline suits in PROSE: The Monsters Inside and TV: The Lost Boy.
- Rose's suspicion that this new Doctor may be an impostor recalls similar suspicions on the part of Ben Jackson and, to a lesser extent, Polly Wright, regarding the identity of the newly regenerated Second Doctor in TV: The Power of the Daleks.
- The Doctor's manic behaviour towards the end of the story recalls similar, though much more violent, "fits" displayed by the Sixth Doctor in TV: The Twin Dilemma. Such behaviour would later be displayed the Master following his regeneration in TV: Utopia.
- The Cloister Bell, an invention of Christopher H. Bidmead for the story Logopolis, is heard here for the first time in a BBC Wales production. However, RTD's role in bringing back the Cloister Bell is unclear; the script specifies only that "an alarm sounds". (DWMSE 14) Given the relatively localised threat ultimately seen in The Christmas Invasion, it's unclear why the Cloister Bell would've sounded, since the Fourth Doctor says it's supposed to sound "only in the gravest emergencies".
DVD releases Edit
- This was released as an extra on the series 2 box set. For viewers in North America, this was the special's debut as it was not broadcast outside of the UK.
- The Region 2 DVD release accidentally contains a rough-cut version of the special instead of the final version. The Region 1 DVD release contained the correct version.
- Detailed synopsis of Children in Need Special at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Children in Need Special at The Whoniverse