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Children in Need Special (TV story)

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Children in Need Special
Children-in-need-special
Doctor: Tenth Doctor
Companion(s): Rose
Main setting: The TARDIS
Key crew
Writer: Russell T Davies
Director: Euros Lyn
Producer: Phil Collinson
Release details
Season/series: Series 2
Premiere broadcast: 18 November 2005
Premiere network: BBC One
Format: 1x7 minute mini-episode
Production code: CIN
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Doctor Who television stories
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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 incarnation.

From a production standpoint, it was notable for a number of reasons. It was the first 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 established an annual pattern of the BBC Wales version of Doctor Who participating in Children in Need. And it was the first of a long line of minisodes and episode prequels that would be produced with increasing frequency over the years. 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.

Synopsis

The Ninth Doctor has just regenerated into his next incarnation. But will Rose trust the Doctor now that he has a brand new face?

Plot

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 a shocked 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 bad 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, saying that he could even be a Slitheen in a human suit, and demands that he "send the Doctor back right now!" He allays her doubts by telling her the first thing his last incarnation told her: "Run!" After which he starts happily reminiscing about their other adventures together. 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. Deflated and saddened, 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. Rose, still a bit cautious about it all, asks the Doctor if she is really going home, and the Doctor answers that it will up to her.

"Back to your mum. It's all waiting. Fish and chips, sausage and mash, beans on toast... No, Christmas - Turkey! Although, having met your mother, nutloaf would be more appropriate."

Rose can not help but smile a little at the Doctor's joke, which cheers him up a bit, but just then his regeneration starts to go wrong and he begins to spasm and act slightly crazed, and bursts of regeneration energy starts flowing from his mouth while the TARDIS shudders, as if in sympathetic response. 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 that she must hold on to something, before he becomes completely maniacal again and shouts that he is going to break the time limit, overhearing Rose's protests and pleas for him to stop. 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.

Cast

Crew

to be added

References

Story notes

  • 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 is the first televised episode since The Edge of Destruction to be set entirely within the TARDIS. It would later be followed by Time Crash, Amy's Choice, Space, Time, Bad Night, Good Night, First Night, Last Night, Death is the Only Answer, Good as Gold and Clara and the TARDIS. The web-released Strax Field Report series, not considered canon by this wiki, are also set within 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 set the record for the shortest "single episode" of Doctor Who to that date. Since then, shorter minisodes have since been produced, such as 2013's Rain Gods.
  • 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.
  • The title sequence has been modified since The Parting of the Ways. In addition to replacing Christopher Eccleston's name with David Tennant's, the first half of the title sequence has been recoloured from purple to blue. This change remains for the rest of Series 2 before reverting to its original colours.
  • Midway through the minisode, when the Doctor sets course to the Powell estate on Christmas Eve, the closing theme for Series 2-3 makes its debut, as its last few seconds of are used as part of the incidental score.

Title controversy

The script specifies the story is untitled with the words, "after the logo, no episode title". (DWMSE 14) RTD's deliberate choice has led to some debate over what to call the adventure.

  • 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 a review of the book in DWM 409 disputes the accuracy of this claim. Later, Doctor Who Adventures would consistently refer to the episode as Born Again in a number of issues and on a poster of all the special episodes. And the 2013 BBC Books publication Who-ology: The Official Miscellany also uses the Born Again title. Not counting a similar controversy involving the 1996 TV movie, this is the first televised story since the 1970s to spark debate over its official title, with official BBC sources at odds with each other.

Ratings

to be added

Filming locations

The entire episode was shot on the TARDIS set at Upper Boat Studios.

Production errors

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

to be added

Continuity

DVD releases

  • 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.

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