“Doctor Who”: Russell T. Davies’ Road to “Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon” Began as “New Who” Spinoff

Big Finish Productions’ Doctor Who audio drama spinoff Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon just came out and received strong reviews. Rose (Billie Piper) is still a popular companion and her creator, Russell T. Davies, helped develop the spinoff audio series.

There’s an hour-long cast and writers making-of interview on the series boxset which works like a Criterion Collection-style commentary. It’s an in-depth look at how Big Finish developed the show, and useful for anyone who wants to learn the process of how a show is written and made.

The biggest revelation? Davies pretty much created the story years ago… just not as an audio drama.

“Doctor Who”: Russell T. Davies Really Created “Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon” After All

The Origin of “Doctor Who” Spinoff “Rose Tyler: Earth Defence”

When Billie Piper left Doctor Who in 2006, Davies pitched a spin-off special called Rose Tyler: Earth Defence.

“It was actually commissioned by the controller of BBC One and budgeted,” Davies told Doctor Who Magazine at the time.

The spinoff would have featured Rose on her alternate Earth working with her mother Jackie and that world’s version of Pete Tyler in their version of Torchwood.

“It was going to be fantastic. We’d have had a lovely budget and done brilliant things with it, maybe one Bank Holiday special a year.”

Davies changed his mind when they filmed Piper’s final appearance as Rose Tyler in the season finale.

“It spoils Doctor Who if we can see Rose… if we see as a concrete fact that her life continues to be as exciting without the Doctor.”

The Road to “The Dimension Cannon”

Big Finish knew about Rose Tyler: Earth Defence and asked Davies for permission to develop it as an audio series. The timing was good since Billie Piper had agreed to play Rose again in new Big Finish audio stories with David Tennant as the 10th Doctor. Davies happily gave him his blessing.

Then they hit a creative snag.

The writers and producers found that the stories they came up with were too similar to the Torchwood and UNIT spinoffs… but then Davies made a suggestion. Why not have the stories about Rose crossing dimensions to alternate Earths in search of the Doctor? This would take place before the finale of series 3 of the new show, where Rose finally finds the right Earth and find the Doctor at last.

This means Davies pretty much created Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon after all. He gave the writers the pitch and they ran with it. His influence is so strong that the four episodes all have a character-driven and diverse, inclusive storylines that feel like he was stll showrunner.

Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon will probably return for future stories.

Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon is available now at £24.99 on CD or £19.99 on download. Don’t forget that every CD purchase from bigfinish.com unlocks a download exclusive via the Big Finish app and the Big Finish website.