Doctor Who News Billie Piper brought heart to Doctor Who in 2005

Published on October 1st, 2013 | by Nick Kitchen

Billie Piper: “Is this ever going to pay off?”

While one would expect an interview with former (and soon to be again) Doctor Who companion, Billie Piper, this soon to the 50th Anniversary special to be about her return as the titular Rose Tyler, she focused mostly on the early days of shooting the first series of the 2005 revival.

Chatting to The Guardian Weekend magazine, she recalled:

At first, I didn’t know whether the show as going to be a success or die a death. It was such a hard shoot – nine months, with pretty much everyone using CGI for the first time. There were times when I thought, ‘Is this ever going to pay off?’

But it did. I remember being in a London hotel for the launch of the first episode. There was a buzz; it was thrilling. I called a friend and said, ‘I’m going to remember this feeling for the rest of my life.’

As we all know, it more than paid off and helped launch the acting career of the then teen pop singer, as well as re-launch Doctor Who for a new generation. She also seems to be aware of the divisive nature of her character, Rose, as she noted that “loads seem hacked off” about her casting.

She certainly won a number of the skeptics over with her portrayal, but there remains a sector of fandom who were glad to see her go at the end of Series two (and series 4 and the Tennant Specials if you’re counting her brief reprisals).

So, what say you? Did Piper win you over as Rose or are you still “hacked off?”

(Via TV3)


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About the Author


“That’s bacon! Are you trying to poison me?” And from that line on, I’ve been unable to stop watching, reading, musing about the Doctor. As a recent transplant to the Whoniverse, I’ve been trying to soak up as much Who-related knowledge as possible. That journey has taken me from the Tenth Planet to the Fields of Trenzalore and gently set me at the edge of my seat for what’s next. It’s an honor to be here and I plan to bring a unique perspective. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey alongside me.

14 Responses to Billie Piper: “Is this ever going to pay off?”

  1. avatar Mary says:

    I adore Rose, including all her flaws that I’ve heard others moan about on and on and on. I find those flaws (including her naiveté, jealously, occasional snippy behavior to Jackie and Mickey, etc.) are actually quite realistic to someone who was swept away at 19 by someone as overwhelmingly charismatic and exciting as the Doctor. Who wouldn’t fall in love in that situation? I think some people don’t like her because they are reminded of themselves at 19 and cringe inside a bit! Plus, Billie just seems a lovely person and she acted the heck out of that role. Even though I’m much older than Rose, I still identified with her and she was a huge reason I fell in love with the show.

  2. avatar Hunith says:

    Rose is my favourite companion – because she looms large as a round, fleshed-out and perfectly believable character, flaws and all. She’s a classic everyman figure who helped an audience unfamiliar with the classics to get to know the Doctor, and to understand what the show is about. A perfectly normal girl, she did not only possess such human virtues like compassion, courage, and an acute sense of justice, but showed us, as Bad Wolf, that even a simple human being can make a difference and challenge those who do wrong in this world, because it is the right thing to do. Travelling with her, we could see that social status isn’t what defines a person, and learn that if only we manage, like the Doctor, to look past what society makes people out to be, we might be surprised what we find. She was loyal, kind, observant, and loved life, and that’s why I love her.

  3. avatar Grant says:

    I thought Rose was a great companion, but it was annoying that – after making it so excessively clear in “Doomsday” that they’d never be able to meet again, that she just jumps over in “Journey’s End” for a little reunion and the gift of her own David Tennant to call her own. That ruined one of the best companion exits ever IMO.

  4. avatar Christine says:

    I didn’t like Rose at all until Dalek. Then she suddenly convinced me, being kind and compassionate to the pathetic dalek. Before she was just this rather dumb blonde (and as I am blond myself, this is permitted) with no education. But her actions in Dalek were so identifiable, that this lack of education didn’t matter any more. I will welcome her back on the 23rd!

  5. avatar iank says:

    She was great in series 1, a total whiny pain in the butt from the moment they decided the Doctor/Rose thing was going to be a lurve story. Overrated.

  6. avatar Ranger says:

    I was one of those who hated the “stunt” casting of Billie. Then I watched Rose. I was totally won over and thought she was a great companion because (apart from Ace) she was the first companion who was believable as being the girl next door, scared and courageous at the same time, flawed but able to rise above her faults. I agree with Grant that bringing her back after Doomsday ruined a great ending.

    The thought occurs to me that if she’s back for the 50th, then is the Doctor David Tennant playing her human one in the parallel universe and not the real Doctor after all?

    • I expect it’ll be Doctor 10 and Rose pulled from their own timeline pre-Doomsday :)

  7. avatar gomro says:

    Piper’s take on Rose was perfect, just as Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor was perfect. If either of them had fumbled the ball, the show would have failed, and we would never have had Ten or Eleven. Or Notta Doc, but he’s a whole different ball of timey wimey wax.

  8. avatar DE says:

    It is wonderful to read the comments above. Several of you have nailed the description of Rose perfectly! It’s nice to be in the company of others who appreciate the depth of her character. I have read scathing comments in other places, describing her as pathetic, whiny, and a host of other negative attributes. I’ve never understood those descriptions. Her character was beautifully portrayed as an ordinary person placed in extraordinary circumstances and rising to each occasion with a lovely mixture of courage and compassion. As Bad Wolf, she saved the Doctor’s very life, for crying out loud! Her love for him and devotion to him were beautiful, IMHO. Yeah, I have a pretty serious girl crush on her, I’ll admit. I can’t wait to see her and Ten again in the 50th. What beautiful pair they make!

  9. avatar djpixc says:

    i really didn’t know if she was a good idea, she did win a lot of people over and showed her skills, but she’ll never be better than sarah jane, donna or k-9 as far as companions go, definitely be great to have her back though

  10. avatar Nicole says:

    I think people only like her because she’s not super skinny, she’s a pleasantly plump and for the most part really pretty. And people like to see that all pretty movie stars don’t have to be stick thin. Other than that, I can’t imagine why anyone would like her. She’s a whiner, she’s selfish, and she’s just immature and possessive of the doctor. When she was companion, I felt like he belonged to HER and no one else, not even the viewers. The doctor is supposed to be for the entire universe…and I felt like she only let the universe borrow him. Amy also loved the doctor with all her heart, but understood she couldn’t be there for his whole life. I never got any chemistry between Rose and the doctor, and it always made me feel really uncomfortable when they tried to force it. I just always felt disappointed that the doctor was still putting up with her. And when they made them in love, I literally threw up. Ok, not literally, but close.

  11. avatar Nicole says:

    I was going to comment and say that I hated more Rose’s character and as a love interest more than I hated billie piper playing rose….If that makes any sense….But then I realized how much Billie Piper bugs me. It’s like she can’t even close her mouth because she’s received too many lip injections. And then she like doesn’t move her lips when she talk all the time, its like her face is frozen with her lips slightly parted. Gah! It just bugs me. Shes the most over rated character or all time. And then I thought it was super mean of the doctor to bring her up to every other companion after that…I mean, fine to mourn her, but he made them all(Martha, a littke bit of donna) make them feel like they weren’t good enough. That just made him look like an ass. I think Donna was the best companion. It was all about adventure with them, all about saving who they could, and she had her own big personality, but trusted him completely.

  12. avatar Mark T says:

    When Billie was first cast I wondered what the heck the new Doctor Who was going to be like. She was a child pop star wasn’t she? Is the new show going to be THAT shallow? Of course Russell T Davies knew exactly what he was doing and in conjunction with a superb score from Murray Gold, Billie exceeded all expectations with flying colours – never more so than in the episode ‘Father’s Day’. I can’t praise Billie enough, she was totally adorable and the perfect age for Rose Tyler.

  13. avatar Owen S says:

    I have to say that I hated Billie Piper when she was a pop-artist. Her music was incredibly repetitive, cheesy and just… well, awful. When she was cast for the Doctor Who revival, I was pretty skeptical, but she won me over in the first episode. Whether or not Rose is to everyone’s taste is regardless to the fact that she is a big part of Who history. She was the first companion to have a life outside of the TARDIS. (with the exception of Sarah-Jane, but even she was limited up until 2006, when she returned) She came complete with a family, a job and a boyfriend, two of which have never even been seen from past companions. (again, with an exception of Sarah-Jane post-2006.)

    Without Billie Piper’s Rose, there wouldn’t be this new type of companion that actually had a life before and after the Doctor. The whole idea was derived by Russell T. Davies and he chose Billie Piper to portray the first companion that was ‘real’ in that sense. Billie portrayed Rose beautifully and her connection to The Doctor was something that we haven’t seen before or after her. There was reciprocated love there. Not even The Eleventh Doctor and River Song have a bond like that. Rose was the first in a long line of new-age companions that weren’t just bimbos who ran away from their nonexistent lives and saw the universe. They were real, hard-working people that either couldn’t catch a break, didn’t feel like they belonged or just kept searching for something more.

    Rose, as a person, grew during her time with The Doctor. She grew up, she finally felt like her life had meaning and she was helped to feel comfortable moving on with her own life, instead of being stuck at home and repeating the same boring routine day in, day out. We saw her life at home, which was contrasted by her adventures with The Doctor.

    We also owe her thanks for helping build up the Doctor that we have today. She was the one who taught him not to use weapons. She taught him to believe in something. She taught him to show his real emotions. She saved his life on numerous occasions… and come on…


    If that’s not an amazing character… someone who went from Rose Tyler: your average, everyday, chavette shop-girl from The Powell Estate, to being Dame Rose Tyler: Defender of the Earth, Bad Wolf and The Doctor’s epic love… I don’t know what you are thinking.

    I’m glad she’s back, even if she’s not the Rose Tyler we all know and love. She’s the Bad Wolf. She’s still the one that saved The Doctor out of pure, selfless love. She’s amazing. Period.

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