“Christmas time, Doctor Who and wine!”
How many sleeps till Christmas? So the countdown begins, but are you counting down to your Christmas dinner or the Doctor Who Christmas special. For me it’s a bit of both, however it’s not Christmas without the usual alien invasion and festive fun that the Doctor brings. With a brilliant amount of festive adventures to choose from, I am struggling to pick a favourite, but one does stand out. The Runaway Bride isn’t exactly festive but it is very fun and brought a lot of joy on Christmas Day.
The Runaway Bride is Donna Noble’s first appearance in Doctor Who, played by the brilliant Catherine Tate. She was first introduced at the end of series two, just after the heartbreaking scene at Bad Wolf Bay. A bride mysteriously appears in the Tardis and, as ever, it is up to the Doctor to discover how she got there and why. Donna is transported to the Tardis on Christmas Eve, her wedding day. This is one of the tenuous links that make the episode Christmasy, “”How come you’re getting married on Christmas Eve?” “Can’t bear it. I hate Christmas”" (The Doctor and Donna, Christmas special series three). The only other link that really makes this episode festive, is the Empress of the Racnoss, has a star shaped spaceship. When the spaceship descends on London a little girl says, “It’s Christmas”. Again it’s quite a small link to the time of year and in theory this episode could have featured at any point of time.
In comparison to maybe a slightly more festive episode, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe, is very Christmasy. We have a two different Christmases visited by the Doctor, around the same family. We have the whole family feeling that Christmas brings and the episode is mainly based around bringing a family back together. This episode has more Christmas in it than the Runaway Bride, but for me, the Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe didn’t have me laughing as much as the Runaway Bride did. In the Runaway Bride, we did have the sad moment for example, when Donna picks up Rose’s jacket when she’s in the Tardis, “”She’s gone.” “Gone where.” “I lost her”" (Donna and the Doctor). But other than those few occasions where we are reminded of what the Doctor has just lost, it’s a pretty fun episode.
As a lover of 11, I feel like I can’t discuss Christmas episodes without mentioning The Time of the Doctor. I am still a little bit scared from that episode. Both me and my sister sat there on Christmas Day crying and my mum said, “it’s Christmas, you’re not meant to be crying!” For me that basically sums up that Christmas special. It had that beautiful Christmas feel to it with the snow and beauty of Trenzalore, but having Amy Pond appear at the end with the beautiful, “Raggedy man, goodnight” (Amy Pond) it broke my heart. It is a massive contrast to the Runaway Bride, with its full on alien invasion, star spaceship Christmas to the sadness, for me, of watching a beloved character regenerate, just puts them on opposite ends of the scale.
Comparing the Runaway Bride to David Tennant’s first Christmas special, the Christmas Invasion, again is quite hard to do due to the lacking part of the Doctor. However we do have another lap over of characters, with the return of the pilot fish robot Santas. This time they are under the control of the Emperor of the Racknos. She uses them to bring Donna to her in the underground Torchwood bunker. Most memorably from the scene between the Doctor and Donna in the taxi, “”listen to me. You’ve got to jump!” “I’m not jumping on the motorway” whatever that thing is, it needs you. And whatever it needs you for, it’s not good! Now, come on!” “I’m in my wedding dress!” “Yes, you look lovely. Come one!” (The Doctor and Donna). For me the children in the back of the car that are cheering on the Doctor, kind of make the scene. If I was in their position, I would probably have done the same. When I was sat there on Christmas day first watching this episode, I cheered a little bit when Donna finally made the jump and landed safely in the Tardis.
At the end of the episode we see the Doctor say good bye to Donna. In the typical Doctor and Donna style, it is very untraditional, “”Doctor! Doctor!” “Blimey, you can shout.” “Am I ever going to see you again?” “If I’m lucky”" (Donna and the Doctor). So it all comes together in true Christmas spirit, with a happy ending, Donna deciding to go and see the world, inspired by the Doctor and his life and the Doctor back to the same old life in the Tardis.
Jumping forward slightly to an unrelated note of this years Christmas special, with the few trailers that have been released for Peter Capaldi’s first Christmas special, I think it’s going to be a good one, and possibly the most festive one yet, with an appearance made by Santa himself, played by the brilliant Nick Frost. I don’t really know what this episode will be like, other than what we have seen in the teaser trailers. I like to be surprised when I comes to Who, and especially at Christmas, so I’m avoiding the synopsis that has been released. However from the trailers with Clara and Santa on the roof, it is shaping up to be a good episode, full of the festive fun of Christmas and the usual brilliance of Doctor Who. I am excited to see if Santa is going to help the Doctor or not, could Santa be the bad guy? Who knows, we shall have to wait to unwrap that one on Christmas Day.
The Runaway Bride, although not really very Christmasy, is one of my favourite Christmas specials, purely because I think of it with fond memories and a smile. A smile for both what we see in the episode and the fun we know that is to come for the Doctor and Donna. The Runaway Bride is so much fun and it shows the dynamic between the Doctor and Donna straight away and what their friendship will grow to be, and did grow to be.
Well Merry Christmas to all you Whovians. I hope you all have a good Christmas and a prosperous new year.
Written by Beth Willicome