A pure romantic interlude and a chance to show off the full power of the TARDIS. That it can create rooms according to the needs of the crew we know of old. But it creating a world or a piece of a world from The Doctor’s memory is a stretch of its power. But not a huge one. I wanted Rose to see Gallifrey, basically. And this was the only way she could. The cave on
Cúl nuts will feature more than once in future stories. This is their first mention. The word is pronounced something like the footballer Harry Kewell. It is similar to the Irish word cú meaning hound. But that is a coincidence.
Memento Mori lilies are also going to feature again. That they are the ‘national flower’ of Gallifrey is one of those pieces of information I found somewhere but can’t recall exactly where. Some people have questioned where Rose, with her limited formal education would know what the phrase means. But it has been used in popular culture quite often, including the titles of an episode of The X Files and Buffy. So it is possible that a girl like her would have a vague idea of what it meant.
This is the story, though, in which this Doctor DOES, at last, say the immortal words. He does it at the end of a long, solemn piece of dialogue that could only work on paper. No actor would want to have to remember so much.
And note, that on this occasion SHE does not respond to him. A contrast to Doomsday, in which Rose manages to say it, but The Doctor can’t.
It is also the first time they spend the night together in something approximating a bed. But in a purely platonic way. The Doctor sets the bar for their love affair, telling her that he has only ever made love to one woman before and that his legally married wife, and that he will not cross that line with her until they, too, can be married. That, though, is still a VERY long way off.
The interlude fills in a few more details of his life, and reveals something that some Doctor Who fans might not believe, but which I think is true. He WAS happiest when he lived an ordinary life with a wife and child and a job. The wandering life came after that life fell apart for him and the adventures are a small compensation for what he believes to be important. And yes, this contradicts his claims not to do domestic. But that is the point. Those protests against the ordinary, the mundane, were a front, simply because that is exactly what he craves and can never have.