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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
New Who impresses ex-Doctor McCoy
By Sylvester McCoy
Doctor Who, 1987-1989

Sylvester McCoy
Sylvester McCoy played Doctor Who from 1987 until 1989
Actor Sylvester McCoy, who played Doctor Who before the show was axed in 1989, gives his verdict on the first episode of the sci-fi show's new series.

It was great to sit down and watch the new Doctor Who from the very first moment, knowing I was not in it.

When I was the Doctor, I was the one hiding behind the sofa as soon as that exciting 1960s theme tune started.

The episode began by zooming into our universe, down to Europe, Britain and London, into the bedroom of Billie Piper's character Rose before she rushed off to her department store job.

We were given several glimpses of her day, which wonderfully conveyed a sense that life was passing her by, without a single word being said.

After saving Rose's life the Doctor blew up the department store in spectacular fashion - it was a pretty good beginning
Sylvester McCoy

The adventures started when Rose went into the shop basement, wandering along famous dark Doctor Who corridors which I always found myself running up and down.

When shop dummies suddenly came to life, it was a fitting homage to old Doctor Who stories (1970s episodes Spearhead from Space and Terror of the Autons) as well as introducing a new and exciting Who.

Just as Rose was about to be chopped to death by hard plastic hands, another alien came to pull her away. The Doctor had made his entrance.

After saving her life he blew up the department store in spectacular fashion. It was a pretty good beginning.

Christopher Eccleston as Doctor Who
Christopher Eccleston was quite alien as the Doctor - he looked wonderful
Sylvester McCoy
Christopher Eccleston was quite alien as the Doctor. He looked wonderful.

He had this manic grin which worried me. We were not sure if he was on the edge of insanity or not, which was rather good. He just ran into danger with such gusto, he galloped at it joyfully.

Billie Piper was just quite fantastic, she really was wonderful in the role. The relationship between the two of them was quite extraordinary.

In a way this Doctor was not the brightest brain in the universe - he's a bit like an Oxford don in that he's full of brains but with not much nous.

There was a great scene when he was searching for a giant round object and Rose had to point out that he was standing right in front of the London Eye.

He seemed to need Rose more than any other Doctor needed his companion, because she could really help him out.

I was not so sure about the new Tardis, however. I loved the one they made for the 1996 Doctor Who movie, a fantastic Jules Verne-type of creation.

The inside of this one looked more organic, like a skull or a brain held together by a bony structure. I'll have to see whether it grows on me.

I was also a bit dismayed that more wasn't made of the show's incidental music, which seemed fairly anonymous in the background.

Noel Clarke in Doctor Who
It had a great pace, it moved really quickly and was witty
Sylvester McCoy

I previously took part in an internet Doctor Who adventure - 2001's Death Comes to Time - which used classical music brilliantly and showed how closely you could incorporate music into the story.

However, I was pleased to hear the Doctor explain about the speed of the earth's turn and the pollutants which made our planet so attractive to the aliens.

That educational element would have kept Doctor Who's original BBC commissioners happy in 1963.

There was also a great scene in a restaurant, after Rose's boyfriend had been turned into plastic.

The Doctor pulled his head off and his hands suddenly changed into hammers, demolishing furniture like some wild cartoon character. It was terrifically done and great fun.

Overall I was left feeling very positive about the new series. It had a great pace, it moved really quickly and was witty.

Billie Piper in Doctor Who
I have been captivated by both the new Doctor and his assistant, Rose
Sylvester McCoy
Before I saw the episode I didn't think I would catch the new series, as I am working in the theatre all the time and watching television can be difficult.

But I have been captivated by both the new Doctor and his assistant, Rose. I want to learn more about them as the series progresses.

The Doctor also provided us with a marvellous new chat-up line: "It also travels through time."

Try that out on a Friday night and, my God, things will happen.

Your comments

The new Dr Who was great, Chris Eccleston is an excellent choice and Billy looks great of course.
Steve Lloyd, Wirral, UK

Superb, a polished performance compared to the old days, although the early series were good in their time. Christopher Eccleston is a more believable Dr Who than some in the past. Roll on the next episode.
Tony Preston, Stourbridge, West Midlands.

Loved it from start to finish. Not long enough for me really. I can see why some diehard fans may not be wholly pleased with it, but I don't think it would have stood a chance without fully modernising the Doctor and the special effects etc. - simply the best thing the BBC has done, for me at least, for many a year.
Jonathan Ellis, Cirencester, UK

I was worried that the new series would be an over-hyped damp squib. How wrong I was - absolutely superb - witty, funny, scary, and finally the visual effects have caught up with the writer's intentions. Piper is great, and Eccleston may well turn out to be the best Doctor ever. Every planet has a North.. Not bad, not bad at all...
Jeepee, Altrincham, Cheshire

I hope the new series will get over here to the States before I'm to old to enjoy it. I'm 60. Larry Walton
Larry Walton, Rancho Cordova, California USA

It was brilliant. A perfect blend of old and new styles and elements. It deserves to achieve a massive success and a whole new generation of fans, and I predict it will achieve this effortlessly. All in all, a stunning series is under way.
Ade, Geelong, Australia

I really enjoyed this show! Despite me thinking, oh I won't watch that rubbish! I only vaguely remember watching Dr Who growing up and being too frightened to watch! I had too look away at some points during this one too! Well done to Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper they were great!
Susan O'Sullivan, High Wycombe, Bucks

Unsure about the new doctor, and the first storyline left a lot to be desired. Verdict still out.
Allan Young, Kilwinning, Scotland

None yet, hopefully we will get to see the new Doctor this side of the pond.
Adrian Morgan, Levittown, Pennsylvania, USA

I have waited a long time for Dr Who to return to our TV (along with millions of others) and it was worth it. No other show on UK TV can deliver this kind of thing and nothing has ever come close to replacing Dr Who. I loved every moment of the first episode and I will certainly tune in every Saturday without fail. There is a sense of the old Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee magic about this new Doctor along with a spanking new twist. The BBC must be congratulated for regenerating an institution and bringing back a classic sci-fi icon.
Billy, West End, Glasgow

Great start to the new series. Really enjoyed the two lead characters. Slightly worried as I've just had a wheelie bin delivered...
David, Cirencester

The new Dr Who is fab, brill, wonderful. Set new standards for style. What a script - thank you Russell T Davies - I didn't think you could improve on the wonderful Casanova - but by God you can. Eccleston is scarily on the borders of insanity. I can't take my eyes of Piper. Wonderful casting. Bring it on Beeb - I'd pay my licence fee for just this.
Tim Robinson, Ripon, UK

As a long time fan of Doctor Who I was pleased with the style of the latest adventures of the Doctor and his very capable companion Rose. I began watching the Doctor when I was a boy and I must say that the possibilities for this show and the concepts that it can present are awesome! This Doctor will be a force to be reckoned with once he gets his legs and Rose will be a very important person in the whole process. The new show has to start somewhere and this beginning was totally modern and totally spectacular, get ready for a great ride!
Jesus Ronquillo, Chicago,IL,USA

I saw it and I loved it. This is everything this show should be. The Doctor and his assistant having the most dangerous adventure and loving every moment of it. This is what the show was in 1963 and this is what the show is in 2005. Well done!
Jimmie Meader, Chicago, Illinois USA

Terrific start, despite the stupid 50-minute running time (what, no cliffhangers?). The script has always been the most important part of Doctor Who, and this one shone brightly, unlike that witless, soulless excuse for an American telemovie from 1996. Who knew Billie Piper would be this good! And Eccleston was always my choice for the next Doctor - he was brilliant. There were problems - perhaps it was a little too cartoonish in places, and the wheelie bin burp came straight out of a bad Hollywood kiddies movie - but overall, I was very impressed, and I look forward to the new episodes.
PhilipG, Canterbury, Kent

I loved it, and I especially loved Graham Norton's impromptu audio cameo when the Autons were after Rose - best bit of the show - who'd have thought Norton's voice could fit a bad guy so succinctly! Will he be making an appearance in the remaining shows; I can't wait to see what he says next!! Maybe "Exterminate, Exterminate!"
Boxtoth, Sheffield, UK

The computer effects were a bit silly, but the rest of the show was great! - cinematic at times... Christopher makes a fantastic Dr and Billy has the makings of a good assistant. Can't wait till next week! P.S.: I grew up with Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker as Dr Who...
Urd, UK

Very exciting! Was consistently racy, which drew me into the mood and style. The casting of the doctor and rose is perfect - they look great as a pair. Good work.
Paul, London

Outstanding! Eccleston captured the humour and eccentricities of the character brilliantly. Detractors should take a long hard look at the original series. I'm now looking forward to the rest of the season.
J Sharman, Portsmouth

I was disappointed - the first story was mere fan fiction at best. I hope it gets better.
Joy Acharjee, London, England

I thought it was a surprisingly effective first episode, especially as half of it was handed over to introducing new characters. Eccleston I knew could act and was good as the Doctor, but Billy really surprised as an effective and likable assistant (unlike some I could mention). The effects and acting was of a high standard and time will tell if the stories are suitably engaging, early signs show lots of promise...
Mike, Leics.

Billie Piper was great and belonged to the tradition of Dr Who sidekicks... and Christopher Eccleston himself would have made a good assistant - but as the Doctor? No! This Salford lad was just totally wrong and as for his explanation re the accent... yuk! About as tacky as the wheelie bin sequence (which was unbelievably tacky in all senses!) Perhaps someone was scared the Doctor wouldn't seem cool enough for a modern audience, but I think it misses the point... I remember William Hartnell as the original Doctor and, frankly, he wasn't all that cool back then... but he was "right"...! A Salford Doctor Who? Please... get real! And as for the plot this week... tacked together from other people's rejects? So thin you could see through it all the way to the scriptwriter's ill-deserved paycheck...
Michael P, Manchester, UK

All in all a good start for the 'New Doctor Who'. Eccleston and Piper are a good combination. The script for this first episode was in danger of 'coming off the rails' with too much 'tongue in cheek' humour. The magic of Doctor Who is to keep a sense of mystery and leave something for the viewer's imagination.
Al, London, UK

For such a long-delayed programme, bogged-down with exposition, I thought it was excellent. It will take a few episodes to find its feet. Surprisingly laugh-out-loud funny too.
Murray, Edinburgh

Well done indeed. Lots of proper drama intermingled with just the right amount of science, history and comedy. Now, where I can get one of those gobbling wheelie bins from?
Harry "The Doctor" Hayfield, Ffos-y-ffin, Wales

As far as characterisation goes Christopher Eccleston was definitely a good choice for playing the Doctor and Billie Piper was good as Rose....the only thing that bothered me was the special effects, I just felt they were just not up to mark, some of the scenes could have created more impact...I mean just take the mannequins for example, they could have made them scary as hell, instead I found myself laughing at most of the "scary" scenes out loud. I think people who watched DW in their childhood like myself can forgive these effects as DW was known for having poor ones...I just can't see it pulling in younger viewers who expect a more sophisticated look to their shows. I know it was only the first episode and we can't expect it to be brilliant from the off! I personally found it good - just good.
Maz, Glasgow, UK



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