1. “And Incidentally, A Happy Christmas To All Of You At Home!”
Warning: Thar be spoilers.
“This is Doctor Who Meets Christmas Carol Meets Jaws” – Steven Moffat.
This is probably the most Christmassy Doctor Who ever. Even more than when the First Doctor broke the fourth wall to his Christmas greeting to viewers. A deliberate reworking of Dicken’s Christmas Carol – after all, we all know how much of a fan of Dickens the Doctor is – in order to rewrite a particularly belligerent old man into the kind of person who will do what the Doctor wants him to do. Steven Moffat rewriting the theme of his classic short story Continuity Errors from Decalog 3 (which he already mined for the library planet in Silence In The Library). It involved the Doctor going back in time repeatedly to make an obstinate librarian the sort of person who would lend him a book from the restricted category…
2. To Boldly Go Where No Roman Has Gone Before
We star off with a Galaxy Class starship crashing onto a planet and a command deck that does look very Star Trek Next Generationy indeed. They’ve even got a Geordi LaForge. Although, in a typically Doctor Whoy twist, instead of sorting out the dilithium crystals, the Doctor gets the crew to sing “Silent Night”. After all, silence will fall… and it is, kind of.
3. Flying Fish, Crystal Fog And Energy Pulsing Towers
Doctor Who does this rarely – physically creating a whole world on screen. And it’s always special. In this case a Dickensian Londonesque world with a steampunk tower pulsing energy into the sky and a basement freezing people below. Oh yes and flying fish suspended in a crystalline fog that might swallow you whole. It’s just Christmas isn’t it? So of course has the Doctor fighting sharks, riding one like a reindeer and Face Spiders plucked straight from Father Dougal’s imagination.
4. Well I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day?
He’s back in the scarf! A touch of Torchwood: To The Last Man here, a day release every year from being frozen to live in adventure and excitement, or just plain Christmas. And boy doesn’t Katherine Jenkins have a smashing pair of lungs on her?
5. Gambon’s Cornered
But it was his show really wasn’t? A man divorced from humanity with only a spark left, with the Doctor blowing and blowing on that spark in his own past – until it goes out. And who could convince such a transformation in a personality when confronted with the very thing he’s been remembering, but couldn’t see the disparity between.
6. The Ghosts Of People Not Yet Dead Singing Carols
Okay, yes, that was spooky. Well done.
7. Blinovitch Limitation Effect Limited
It is a little known corollory of the Blinovitch Limitation Effect that it is suspended on any planet that celebrates something equivalent to Christmas. Something due to the orbiting of continued goodwill around a planetary mass buoyed by increased amounts of mince pies. Otherwise Christmas Carol probably couldn’t have happened in the first place.
8. As Far As I Can Tell, Any Attempt To Put Amy Back In The Policewoman Uniform And Rory In The Roman Armour Goes Down Well.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Especially if it’s chilly.
9. It Never Snows Properly In Doctor Who
Remember the first Christmas Special? It was ash from a burning up Sycorax space ship. Then the TARDIS does a pulse to make it snow. And now it’s locked clouds being opened by music. Can;t it just ever bloody well snow?
10. America! The TARDIS Out of The Lodger! River!
Ah yes the trailer for next year’s demi-series. Lots of shots of America from their Utah shoot, we get SS and English guard baddies, a naked River Song, the Presidential Doctor asking for a Fez (BTW did you note Fez hats in Sardick’s photos, and in one of the Merry Christmas welcomes?), Amy and River counting with marks on their skin, Ood, astronauts, TARDIS corridors, oversized children’s masks of children’s faces, a monster in a suit out of focus and… this…