Doctor Who: The Newbies Guide
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Rise of the Cybermen
This is the fifth episode in Series Two, and it introduces the New Series version of the Cybermen.
Where does this fit?
This happens in sequence with the rest of Series Two.
The characters listed below are the series regulars, important recurring characters, and real life historical characters. If a character's appearance is a major spoiler, then their details will be hidden in spoiler tags. In general, recurring characters are not listed here on their first appearance unless they become a series regular during the story, or they are a real life historical character.
Rose Tyler is a 19-year old girl from London 2005. Before meeting the Doctor, Rose lived with her mother, Jackie Tyler, on a council estate and had a boyfriend called Mickey Smith. Her father, Pete Tyler, died when she was a baby. In Rose (New Series Series 1), she worked in Henrik's department store when the ninth Doctor was investigating Auton activity in the store, and she saw him blow it up. Rose then helped the Doctor defeat the Nestene Consciousness's attempt to take over the world, and he offered her a chance to travel in the TARDIS. In The End of the World (New Series Series 1), the Doctor took her to the far future to see the day the Earth is destroyed. During this trip, he upgraded her mobile phone, tying it into the TARDIS, so that she can call home no matter where or when she is. Rose took some time to get over the Doctor's regeneration from his ninth to his tenth incarnation in The Parting of the Ways (New Series Series 1), the 2005 Children in Need Special, and The Christmas Invasion.
Mickey Smith is Rose Tyler's boyfriend. In Rose (New Series Series 1), he was captured by the Nestene, and witnessed the Doctor and Rose defeating the Nestene, saw the inside of the TARDIS, and was there when Rose departed with the Doctor. Because he had trouble adapting to what had happened, the Doctor took a dislike to him. During the year since Rose went missing, Mickey did a lot of research into the Doctor and his impact on human history. He met the Doctor and Rose again in Aliens of London/World War Three (New Series Series 1). In that story, he helped the Doctor and Rose defeat some aliens called the Slitheen. He gained the Doctor's respect and was willing to wait for Rose's return. In Boom Town (New Series Series 1), he and Rose effectively split up. Although Mickey was still hopelessly in love with Rose, he knew that the Doctor would always come first for her. Unfortunately for him, Rose didn't really take in what he was saying about how he wanted her to come back for him. In School Reunion (New Series Series 2), Mickey asked the Doctor if he could join him in the TARDIS.
Recurring and Historical Characters
The Cybermen were once "humans" from Earth's twin planet Mondas who had augmented themselves with cybernetics in order to survive when their planet was thrust out of its orbit. The process removed their emotions, and they became motivated entirely by survival - aiming to convert humans into Cybermen in order to keep their race alive. The Doctor first encountered them in The Tenth Planet (Classic Series Season 4). He has fought against the Cybermen on numerous occasions since then. The fifth Doctor saw the Cybermens' origins in Spare Parts (Big Finish audio play).. The Cybermen seen here are from an alternative universe, and despite the similarities have no connection to the original Cybermen.
Pete Tyler is Rose Tyler's father, who died in a car crash when she was still a baby. In Father's Day (New Series Series 1), Rose went back to meet him on the day he died. She discovered that he was a "Del Boy" character, always coming up with hopeless schemes to get rich quick, and that his marriage to her mother Jackie was not as happy as she had been led to believe.
Jackie Tyler is Rose Tyler's mother, and has become familiar with the Doctor's lifestyle since first meeting him in Rose (New Series Series 1). The "real" version of Jackie is a single mum living on a council estate. The alternative version of Jackie seen here is not too different in personality from the one we are familiar with.
The following stories and other resources are not necessary in order to follow the plot (we've summed up the essential bits for you). But being familiar with them will probably enhance your enjoyment of this story.
Rose's relationship with her father was first explored in Father's Day (New Series Series 1).