It's not the episode itself, it's the trailer. We all knew the show was coming back and roughly when, but we hadn't seen a frame yet (unless you'd been impatient enough to download the early copy leaked on those naughty torrent sites).
This made it all real.
There was the new Doctor - Christopher Eccleston. Christopher. Bloody. Eccleston, a proper heavyweight actor. The new TARDIS. The new companion. And an irresistible invitation. It's still pretty much as excited as anything on TV has ever got me. This was Doctor Who, my favourite show since childhood, back with the budget to make it look as magnificent as it had always deserved to, back as a proper flagship show. I could even forget that I knew the tunnel where Eccleston was filmed running from a fireball so well and lose myself in the excitement.
Everything about this trailer is long gone. Eccleston only lasted a year, the TARDIS set departed with David Tennant. Billie Piper's performance was so good no-one mentioned that brief pop career by the end of the first season, she's matured into a fine award winning actor but happy to return to celebrate special occasions for the show. The show's moved studios twice, the one I used to walk past on the way to work having been a warehouse and now offices. Even the underpass is long gone, blocked up and filled in as part of a redevelopment of the area around the station. Only the show is still here, and that's as it should be. Change and development's always been part of Doctor Who's DNA and ten years on we're five Doctors (yes the War Doctor counts!), two showrunners, three TARDIS sets and a daft number of title sequences and rearrangements of the theme down. Only Murray Gold's music remains after ten years. Younger generations have their Doctors, their memories and all the monsters they can handle. It's the natural reference point for when anyone in Britain talks about SF and it's bigger around the world than it's ever been. And all thanks to Russell T Davies, Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. Back then we were grateful beyond words, delighted that we'd have one last season to reward our patience over a decade and a half with just one new episode (but shitloads of books and audios). Despite the talent we weren't sure whether it'd be any good. The trailer was the first sign that not only would it be good, it'd be good beyond our wildest dreams. Did I want to go with him? More than ever. I still do. And when they promised the trip of a lifetime?It's been all that and more.
2005? Tell you what. I bet we're going to have a really great year.
Oh, and spoilers... we got all this next...