So onto my #47….Probably a shock to many simply being so far down the line, as it appears to be the most popular Christopher Eccleston with the majority (not with me, but that’s another story…um, episode), but still certainly warrants inclusion in the top 50. Given his short time in the role, and the time given to establishing the new series’ format, it takes half of the 2005 series to accept Eccleston in the role, by which time we all knew he was going…in at #47, it’s The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances.
Before The Eleventh Hour, and the Pandorica, and The Impossible Astronaut, here is Moffat’s first turn at writing officially for the new series, after the world (and me, too) said he should be writing for the show if it ever came back when he did the The Curse Of The Fatal Death for 1999’s Comic Relief. And he definitely brings it all to the table, everyday things made creepy, memorable setting, and great characters, perhaps most notably a brilliantly short, but memorable piece from Richard Wilson, and the debut of a certain Captain Jack Harkness.
Witness John Barrowman’s most reserved acting turn here, though his flirting with Rose and the Doctor is a real treat, and Moffat’s clever writing makes him an instantly likable companion, more so than the selfish Rose. Though his conservatively safe writing means the invisible enemy kills no one by the story’s end, and the empty child, and everyone else returns to normal, well, I suppose it hadn’t been done before.
Compare this to the series in 2011, Moffat clearly was testing the water, and barely dips his toe here, almost frightened to be too daring….How times change. But overall, even nearly eight years later, the gas-masked zombie child, chanting ‘Are you my mummy?’ still raises chills, and made the arguably first iconic moment of the new series. Certainly for my then 7 year old daughter, it secured the show as must see TV at that time. — Andy
Thus endeth 50 for 50 Week 1. 50 for 50 begins weekly revelations January 9th. What terrifying turn could #46 hold in store?