Archive for ‘WhovianNetters’
December 24th, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

It is a most beloved tradition, the annual Doctor Who Christmas episode. Starting with Ten, with alien remote controlled Christmas trees and “pilot fish” that piont to something bigger, like say, the Sycorax, and David Tennents debut. Of course what is a Doctor Who Christmas episode without rigged and dangerous Christmas decorations? What Whovian will look at their Christmas tree the same ever again? Nobody does killer Christmas like Doctor Who!

Even when Rose is home for Christmas, she still can’t get away from adventure – much to Mickey’s chagrin who just wants to spend time with her – There is no Christmas vacation for the Doctor and his companions. Can a still regenerating Doctor save the world? Of course. Nothing like fighting aliens on Christmas day. All in the work of a Time Lord! Luckily the Doctor is still regenerating and when he gets his hand cut off it grows back (and of course his cut off hand comes to great use later on).

The next year we were introduced to Donna via the Christmas episode, though she wouldn’t become a companion for another season. Who can forget Donna trying to jump from the moving car to the flying TARDIS as she screams about her wedding dress and the Doctor says, “Yes, you look lovely, now jump!” Never without humor or positivity, the Doctor, even during a crisis. Something we could all learn.

Donna continues to call Ten a martian, to which he responds, “I’m…I’m…I’m not from Mars,” Donna is pure Earthling, constantly calling the Doctor a Martian. She doesn’t yet seem to have an understanding that there’s more out there then Mars. She falls into the Martian cliché right away instantly associating “alien” with “Mars” but as we see in coming seasons, she very much grows out of that and becomes The Most Important Woman in the Universe. Donna really does come a long way!

A Christmas wedding should be magical and romantic and full of holiday spirit – but not for Donna Noble, no no, Donna Noble spends her Christmas wedding not getting married but instead fighting aliens and consequently meeting The Doctor (lucky girl!) Of course, despite Donna’s poor broken heart, her not getting married to Lance turns out to be a very good thing!

The Racnoss ship even looks like a Christmas star, glittering and shining in the sky above London, as if it could just fit on top of a spacey Christmas tree. Though unfortunately, the pretty star in the sky is not a Christmas tree topper. Imagine living in London.

Christmas night and you’re on the town with your best mates, celebrating (perhaps a little too much even) when you look up at the sky and see a giant sparkling silver star hanging above you. Has the City of London actually put this together? How did they pull this off? It’s beautiful and puts you in the Christmas spirit. Then suddenly each point of the star begins firing off electric beams and London is in chaos. The Thames ends up drained and you wake up with a hang over. What a Christmas! And all the while you have no idea of the Doctor’s involvment.

This is how the Doctor works, largely behind the scenes for most of humanity. Only a few select people ever get to experience what the Doctor does. He is very much like Santa! Only without delivering presents all around the world and a less round belly. An alien fighting Santa!

Sometimes it’s not just humanity who needs saving. Sometimes the Doctor does too. Sometimes the Doctor is more broken then we – or even himself – thinks he is, and he needs someone like Donna to step in and show him the way. Donna shows him reason and stops him from going too far; one reason why he always needs a companion. We see the Doctors less forgiving side, which, lets be honest, is kind of scary. But Donna had the strength – or the gumption? – to stand up to him and bring him down a few notches.

What we see in a Doctor Who Christmas episode is everything we expect to see: Action, adventure, snark left and right, and all the Christmasy feels they can pack into one episode. We’re a pretty lucky fandom us Whovians. Because even after the regular series is over, we still get that one last Christmas episode squeezed in, and it’s usually used for important happenings such as regenerations and a change of companion.

What will this years Christmas episode hold in store for us being Capaldi’s first Christmas as the Doctor? We can only wait impatiently to find out! From this Whovian to every Whovian out there: Merry Christmas and may you’re Christmas tree not to try to kill you.

Written by Becca Christian

December 24th, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Last year we witnessed the fall of the Eleventh, the clock struck Twelve and Matt Smith sported more looks in one episode than ever before.

Simultaneously the least and most Christmassy of all the Doctor Who Christmas specials, ‘The Time of the Doctor’ is perhaps one of my all-time favourite ‘event’ episodes.

Yes, on Christmas Day 2013, Whovians watched with baited breath as the clock slowly counted down to Twelve – what we saw was, perhaps, one of the most moving regeneration episodes ever to be part of Doctor Who canon.

While the story initially takes a little time to get going, I believe this is deliberately paced to allow the audience an opportunity to drink in both Clara and the Doctor as they go about their lives independently. When the two meet again we have a lot of wonderful gags from Moffat centred around the Doctor’s nakedness – who can forget the moment the Doctor reveals to Clara that her family can’t see his clothes? Brilliant!

While the story ramps up shortly after this domestic interlude, we’re still given ample time to savour the story which is being laid out in front of us; indeed, Moffat and director Jamie Payne do a truly stellar job in adding variety of pacing to the episode, something episodes prior to this had struggled with, either going for glacial or warp-speed in terms of their storytelling speed.

With the introduction of Tasha Lem and the wonderfully bonkers Papal Mainframe we’re given some of the most inventive and original story telling in a very long time making ‘Time of the Doctor’ one of most dazzlingly enjoyable episodes of recent years. Tasha is an interesting, engaging and strong female character who gives as good as she gets – a truly wonderful addition to the roster of new Doctor Who characters.

One of the most impressive balances the episode manages to strike is between heart and humour. Some episodes are moving, some are funny; excellent episodes can do both without it being a distraction from the narrative – the sight gag of “the old key in the quiff routine” is utterly hilarious and the emotional roller coaster that is Handles’ saga are just two examples of how one episode can really keep an audience guessing while still managing to tell a rollicking good story.

When the Doctor lands on Trenzalore the audience know some serious business is about to go down; what many Whovians didn’t expect was a centuries long conflict which would test not only the Doctor, but the limits of modern day prosthetics. With the passing of time we get to see the Doctor in varying stages of old age. These work incredibly well and add to Matt Smith’s masterful performance without masking the actor behind a rubber mask – my one criticism with this is that the first iteration of the ‘aged’ Doctor looks a little false. That said it can’t be easy to age up an actor whose face is a cartoony contradiction of old and young.

Moffat again deploys his clever ‘timey wimey’ technique to show us Clara in the present day and the Doctor as he grows old protecting Christmas on Trenzalore – the fact that the Doctor tries to send Clara back home in a similar manner to how he tried to save Rose in ‘The Parting of the Ways’ was a nice moment of Nu-Who being self-referential which wasn’t so on the nose as other examples have been. The fact that these trips are almost instantaneous for Clara is perhaps one of the most poignant uses of time travel in the programme to date and allow the audience to see a nice reversal of the Doctor’s usual perspective – that of seeing his companions grow old – another example of how ‘The Time of the Doctor’ tugs at the heart strings in more ways than would be immediately obvious.

The montage of the Doctor protecting Christmas is incredibly well done and shows just how brilliantly Matt Smith works with younger actors – the town of Christmas truly comes to life and the original fairy tale tone of Smith’s first series makes a welcome return in his swan song. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was Moffat’s intention all along, given that he seems to be a fan of having arcs come full circle (eventually!).

Perhaps one of the most moving moments of the episode which had this writer sobbing into his cold turkey sandwich was the death of Handles. Any fan worth his salt will tell you that, while he was short lived on screen, he’s actually the oldest serving companion the Doctor ever had – making his heart-wrenching final moments all the more powerful. Who would have thought that the disembodied head of cyberman reminding the Doctor to patch the phone line back through the console would have thousands in tears?! Wonderful work from all involved, especially Kayvan Novak who voiced Handles with a gravitas otherwise unseen in the line of cyborg friends.

As if that weren’t bad enough, fans also had to say goodbye to the eleventh Doctor – a man many had fallen in loved in spite of their initial reservations. Smith had proved himself to be a truly remarkable Doctor, old and young, funny and sad, wise yet foolish – in short, he had played the Doctor in the most truly timeless way we’ve ever seen, harkening back to the golden years of Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker.

We all loved his daft face with his big chin and we all must have shed a tear when he gave his final speech – the speech that, while sentimental, wasn’t half so cloying or whiney as Tennant’s “I don’t want to go” moment.

In short, ‘The Time of the Doctor’ was an episode of the most brilliant contradictions – which, I suppose, is the most fitting swan song Smith could have hoped for.

Written by Christie Inman-Hall

December 23rd, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

This is a very exciting Christmas episode for me this year as it is my first Christmas since I became officially canon. My debut into the Whoniverse was in my beloved Doctor, Peter Capaldi’s first comic in Doctor Who Magazine. Thanks to pencil artist Martin Geraghty, in issue 479 I appear all superheroed up with a swish utility belt and my ubiquitous iPad in part three of The Eye of Torment. In Part four it may seem like I’ve become an alien but really I did a very clever thing with my well hidden Vortex Manipulator and deftly escaped to continue my exciting adventures as Madame H.

I shall be slightly off screen on Christmas Day but if you look very carefully in the corner of the TV you might just spot me eating a tangerine or two. I have rewatched all of the Christmas specials so I can write this article, I am able to be strong for Rose this time and not blub all over the place and I’m a lot more accepting of Donna but I did love the Doctor remembering Rose at the party.

*Twiddles with my Vortex Manipulator* Let’s take a trip together back through the vortex to the Christmas Invasion and my excitedness for A Song For Ten which is barn storming!!

To be totally honest I have post MOOC brain so my essay writing capabilities have gone on holiday as I used them all on my literature course.

(From this point on read my words as fast as you can for the full effect of a Tiggery me) So I am flying by the seat of my Christmas pants and jumping into Jackie Tyler’s front room with my love for David Tennant’s brilliant entrance and his beautiful sexy wink to darling Rose. Then I am jumping onto the roof of the taxi containing a runaway bride and hitching a lift on a spare Segway into an adventure with the very hissy spider lady with an extremely cool live action costume. Ooooh floating about in midair being half a spider.

Whoo it’s snowing and look it’s a woven and inflatable TARDIS, I saw how the basket part was made on How It’s Made, a very stylish programme. Having a Frozen sing song with the two Doctors, weellll one Doctor and someone who thinks he’s a Doctor. Well hello there hoody Master, I love your hoody and red dog collar combo and all these clone Masters in everybody else’s clothes. Nice bit of flirting between the Master and the Doctor and Wilf is way cool. But oh no here come the tears, awwww I don’t want you to go either Mr Tennant.

It’s Matt Smithmas!! Time for Carolly warollies and naughty and nice Amy and Rory having fun with their costumes and a Star Wars/Trekky typical scifi spaceship. AAAAwwwwweeesooommme Shark!! A fabulously acted performance of young Kazran and an unusual story of locking up a woman and only letting her out for you to play with but it’s twisted into some sort of romantic fairytale.

Where’s Aslan? Oh Aslan’s not in this one and the wardrobe’s a TARDIS and there is a cute little boy with adorable bottle top glasses and his pretty sister and a wonderful enchanted bedroom with the most best toys. A floating parcel in the snow looks so magical and it’s all enchanted and fairytale but then it’s a bit Stiltony with all the mum saves the day but squee it’s Xander as the Dad.

Ooooh now it’s Jenna and Victorian Clara who I wish we could have had more of. I love her most as the barmaid with her beautiful red outfit and she cheered up the Doctor. Heelarious Strax is Heelarious with the memory worm encounter and Punch snogged the Doctor. I adore Jenny and all the Paternoster Gang.

Now it’s time to say goodbye to Matt Smith as the Doctor but not before he gets a few more hundred years in with plenty of room for extra stories hiding in books and fanfics. Tasha Lem a very stylish lady with cool eye makeup and lovely sparkly purplyness and oh what a woman our beloved Clara is, persuading the Time Lords to continue the legend therefore enabling us to unwrap a brand new Doctor in the fantastic form of Peter Capaldi.

(Aaaaannnd breath!) When you have certain monsters in your head it can be hard to keep the door shut on the cynical creeptures but I am trying my very best to let my inner child escape and bounce round the house and flap my hands and enjoy the search for the best brand of mince pies. Since we got the Christmas Doctor Who tradition it makes Christmas extra special and I’m very exciting to see wonderful Mr Capaldi in his most sexy hoody and I adore dreams and anything about the psychology of dreams and Santa’s here and slimey wimey monster creatures. Exciting!!

Thank You Santas Davies and Moffat for bringing us a marvellous present to enjoy each year. Merry Christmas Everyone and Lots of Love and Sparkles for a truly fantabulous 2015.

Written by Helen Beeston

December 17th, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

If you hadn’t noticed, it is nearly Christmas, which means only one thing and I am not talking about presents, but it is a treat as it is just about time for the annual Christmas special of Doctor Who. I am sure you are all gagging for some Doctor Who action (Atlantis does its best, but nothing can quite fill the void – apart from Daleks and Cybermen) after the epic finale to Series 8, in which the Master had a sex change, as Missy was short for the Mistress, making her the crazed Time Lord all a long! But we are here to think about Christmas and put Missy in the past, like she is some sort of Charles Dickens ghost.

There have been quite a few good ones and a few not so good ones when it comes to Doctor Who Christmas specials, but it is always hard to follow on from a finale, while attempting to maintain some sort of Christmas spirit. Killer Christmas Trees, Sinister Santas, Bomb Baubles, Terror Toys and Scary Snowmen (however, the scariest snow of all is yellow snow) are exactly what we want from a Christmas special of Doctor Who. My favourite ever Christmas episode has too be the first in this new wave of Doctors, as in 2005, the ninth Doctor became the tenth and Slade some Sycorax (did you see what I did there) with a Satsuma (at least it wasn’t a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, as there would still be segments flying down to Earth). Of course when I talk about Sycorax, I am referring to the alien race and not the character from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ (but you all knew that anyway), as Sycorax was an unseen character in the play, who was a powerful witch and the mother of Caliban. The fact that the tenth Doctor takes the Satsuma out of the dressing gown shows it is 2005 and not 2014, as if you were in a sword battle with an alien on Christmas Day these days (stop singing Take That), you would take the Satsuma out of the onesie that you would be wearing (and it would most likely be a reindeer onesie).

Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle and simply Nick Frost (Santa has had more names than the Doctor has had faces!), will join forces with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor on the 25th December this year in an episode being called ‘Last Christmas’. This could be in reference to George Michael crashing into a Snappy Snaps in the episode, but is more likely to suggest the departure of someone (possibly Clara) to follow on from the death of Danny Pink. In this episode, Santa lands on Clara’s roof and if Clara is living on a council estate, Clintons might argue Santa has been there the whole time as her neighbour. It is apt that the actor Nick Frost is playing Santa in this adventure, as apart from the look (which by the way is perfect for this role); he has the most appropriate name as Nick Frost is the combination of Saint Nicholas and Jack Frost. However, there seems to be a Frosty relationship between the Doctor and Santa Claus. ‘There’s a long-standing beef’, explains Nick Frost when describing the cold shoulder the Doctor and Santa seem to be giving each other (I thought people fight over the turkey at Christmas, not the beef). The actual ‘beef’ in this episode really gets going when the group of heroes all arrive at an Arctic base near the North Pole, which is under attack from ferocious creatures called Sleepers (not students) and Dream Crabs (I prefer dreams to crabs)!

Santa seems to have the attributes of a Time Lord, as he seems to have the ability to travel in space and time as he gets through all the houses in one night. The Doctor and Santa should compare notes between the TARDIS and Santa’s sleigh. Also, like the Doctor, Santa has companions helping him on the way as Elvis can be seen as the token companion figure the Doctor desires on his travels (the only difference is Santa is not usually seen kissing his Elvis, but might be seen smoking if it is at Lawrence Lllelwyn-Bowen’s Winter Wonderland attempt). One of the Elvis in this episode is portrayed by Dan Starkey (I wonder where we have seen him before? – he gets used more by Moffat than an old Christmas jumper), which is probably because Warwick Davis is too busy in Panto at this time of the year. Also, even though the Doctor doesn’t have a big bushy beard and Santa does, I would have thought Peter Capaldi was becoming accustomed to small, furry creatures, after starring in the Paddington movie as Mr Curry (however, Capaldi will not be returning to The Musketeers as the villain Cardinal Richelieu, as he is a bit busy saving the universe).

Overall, it would not be the same each Christmas without a bit of Doctor Who on the telly a few hours after the Queen’s speech. The Christmas specials have left us with lasting memories and at times the Doctor with lasting lipstick (I wouldn’t mind meeting Clara under the mistletoe, less so Davros!), as who can forget the famous Tennant-Kylie kiss (there is a programme on 10:40pm ITV1 on the 23rd December 2014 called ‘Kylie: Kiss Me Once’, which pretty much describes that episode). But let us not get distracted by the One Direction song (Kiss You), as there are more Killer Christmas Trees than kisses (a weird version of the ‘Annie’ song that is – instead of kisses, we get Killer Christmas Trees, not as catchy, but definitely a hard knock life!) However, there is one final salient point I want to make and that is Doctor Who at Christmas is part of the bill (no, not formally in EastEnders), which means the writers better keep on writing Christmas episodes for the foreseeable future!

Merry Christmas – don’t make it your last, but do make it last!

Written by Richard Lewis

December 15th, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Well, it’s that time of the year, where we make ourselves sick eating Christmas food whilst watching the Doctor Who Christmas special. When I was asked to write about a Doctor Who special, I was spoilt for choice. Killer Clauses, troublesome Christmas trees and dangerous space sharks – the possibilities are endless.

Christmas 2005 saw the arrival of the tenth Doctor played by David Tennant. Although taking a nap for half of the episode, this episode was a great Christmas special and a great introduction for the new Doctor who would soon become famous for his iconic trench coat and converse. His appearance is highlighted towards the end of episode after a good old cup of tea, where he – of course – saves the planet. Although the hero of the hour, we learn that although he wears a new face, the anger from the ninth regeneration of the Doctor is very much alive as he denies the Sycorax a “second chance.” This episode was a great start to the tenth Doctor’s adventure, but sadly an end for the the big ears that was nine.

Not only were we introduced to the new regeneration of the Doctor, we were introduced to killer Christmas trees – much to Jackie Tyler’s horror. Luckily, The Doctor wakes up from his nap ready to stop it with his trusted screwdriver informing his friends that his energy from his regeneration was attracting unwanted attention. Not only did we have murderous Christmas trees, we also had dodgy Santas. Armed with their weapons of mass destruction – a trombone – the not so jolly Santa Clauses attacked Rose and Mickey. It was clear by this point that something was definitely out to get The Doctor and unfortunately the Christmas spirit was something they were using to their advantage.

By the end of the episode, the tenth Doctor sends the Sycorax back taking their word that they will never return. However, Prime Minister Harriet Jones, refuses to take their word and gives the order for their spacecraft to be destroyed. Although a few moments ago we saw a more comical and charismatic side to The Doctor, we see his anger towards Harriet Jones as he ensures her her career will come to an end with six words. The episode comes to a close with The Doctor in his famous trench coat and converse eating a Christmas dinner with Rose, Jackie and Mickey. The very end of the episode shows The Doctor and Rose planning their route into the snowy sky – ending the episode in the true Christmas spirit!

So from I and the rest of the WhovianNet team, we wish you a merry Christmas and most probably a heart breaking Doctor Who Christmas special!

Written by Sophie Reynolds

December 12th, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

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

December 11th, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

There are a few things that I can declare my undying love for. One being Doctor Who, obviously, and the other is Christmas. I love Christmas. It’s my favorite time of the year because of family, cheerfulness, and fun. But most importantly, Doctor Who Christmas specials! A Doctor Who special on Christmas has become a recent yearly event for die hard fans but it has also solidified itself into many households’ holiday traditions. Even casual viewers of the show will tune in to see what The Doctor is up to on Christmas day. And with good reason too. The Christmas specials are unique in that we get a little story in-between series. It’s just enough for us to get our fix before launching a full, long winding adventure with The Doctor. And it’s a festive part of the day.

There have been many wonderful Christmas episodes to grace our screens over the past few years. But my favorite of them all has to be “A Christmas Carol” from 2010. A main reason is the fact that “A Christmas Carol” is one of the few specials without a lot of other important Doctor Who things occurring in the background. The episode doesn’t need to focus on introducing a new Doctor (“The Christmas Invasion”, 2005) or a new companion (“The Runaway Bride”, 2006, “The Snowmen”, 2012). It also doesn’t deal with the sadness of saying goodbye to a Doctor (“The End of Time”, 2009, “The Time of the Doctor”, 2013). “A Christmas Carol” allows the viewer to become engrossed in the story alone. And as enjoyable as these other specials are, the major changes in the show as a whole can be a bit distracting and take away from the episode.

But “A Christmas Carol” is ultimately my favorite Christmas special because of the story. It’s a clever spin on Charles Dickens’ classic tale accomplished in only the way Doctor Who can, with timey-wimey tricks and empathy. The Doctor must save Amy and Rory along with a ship full of innocent passengers by making a man a better person. Kazran is the sole savior of the doomed but is unwilling to help. He is an old, bitter man who has so much, yet he hasn’t had the easiest life. The Doctor realizes that the only way to save everyone is by saving Kazran, going backwards in his timeline to show him a better path. The story is captivating. Although viewers are familiar with the concept of going through his life and seeing how he has affected those around him, Kazran’s past is changed right before his eyes. It’s a bit extreme even for The Doctor, as he is usually pretty adamant about not interfering with one’s own timeline. But for the sake of Amy, Rory, their fellow passengers, and for the people on the planet below, the idea works. It’s touching to watch an older Kazran reflect on his memories with The Doctor and Abigail as it’s happening in his past. And it’s even sadder to see how the harsh realities of life can easily lead him down the darker path.

But Kazran isn’t used as a prop to be manipulated into simply getting what others want. It is all a learning experience. He is exposed to the wonder of meeting The Doctor as a child and grew up with him. He experienced love and loss. The Doctor not only gave him a chance to redeem himself in order to save the lives of those on the ship, he also presented a way for Kazran to deal with his demons. That is perhaps the happiest outcome of the story in the end. Everyone was given the chance to learn more about themselves and the meaning of humanity. It’s a true Christmas message.

In the end, “A Christmas Carol” is heartwarming. It is exactly what you want from a Christmas story for the devoted Whovian and casual viewers alike. It’s simple, yet interesting enough to keep your attention. It is a truly festive occasion with snowy scenery, Christmas dinners, sleigh rides, and cherished relationships. I’ll always look forward to watching this episode every Christmas and am glad to have Doctor Who as a part of my yuletide tradition.

Written by Beth Willicome

December 8th, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

A Christmas Carol…no, stop singing. Please stop, it’s horrible; I meant the story. Is there any story more well-known than ‘A Christmas Carol’? Is there a story that has been updated and rejuvenated more than that beautiful tale by Charles Dickens? Probably not and Doctor Who’s version of A Christmas Carol might just be the best adaptation, in my opinion. So, without further ado, here is my review of ‘A Christmas Carol’ written by Steven Moffat (the episode was written by him, not my review. If he says any different, I’ll deny it!)

This story is my favourite Christmas Special solely because it is the most Christmassy. This story’s whole plot revolves around Christmas. With the other Christmas Specials, it seemed to me that they were just episodes that happened to be set around Christmas time. Their plots could have been easily taken from that setting and placed into a different one with just a few minor adjustments. If you tried to take this story out of its context, it would probably resemble a badly edited picture with all of the background still attached from the original…the point is, it’s Christmassy. Even ‘The Unquiet Dead’, which is not technically a Christmas Special but is set around Christmas and actually features Charles Dickens, has nothing on this episode in terms of Christmas spirit.

Another thing I liked about this episode was the acknowledgment by The Doctor that he was using the plot of A Christmas Carol to aid him in his plan. There have been so many adaptations that just use the plot without a character even mentioning the similarities but in this story, the Doctor has a wonderful epiphany moment and realises that’s how he’ll get Kazran to turn nice.

Aesthetically, the story was beautiful. Sardick Town seemed to have a Terry Pratchett flair to it. The sort-of-almost-steampunk-ish buildings and costumes were brilliant and worked well with the story. They really seemed to say ‘A Christmas Carol in Space’. The special effects were stunning as well. The opening shot of Sardick’s house and the clouds swirling around the top of it was absolutely gorgeous and the way the hologram of Amy and Rory and the rest of the passengers looked was quite eerie which worked well in this story.

Speaking of the story, I was so glad that Steven Moffat utilised time travel for this story in an interesting way. He could have just had the Doctor go backwards and forwards in time and show Kazran his life but he was creative with it. The manipulation of the whole ‘fixed points can’t be changed but everything else is in flux’ idea in order to in turn manipulate Kazran’s life was ingenious and having the present Kazran as the Ghost of Christmas Future was a very Doctor Who and indeed Steven Moffat way of interpreting the story. Michael Gambon was detestable as both of his characters (and I mean that in the best way possible. The way he played both Kazran and Elliot Sardick was fantastic. They were so horrible.) And I think it goes without saying that Katherine Jenkins did wonderfully in the episode both on the acting and singing fronts. While I loved Amy and Rory, I thought the decision to use them sparsely in this episode was a good one. It allowed for more time to focus on Kazran and Abigail’s relationship and gave Amy more gravitas when she appeared as the Ghost of Christmas Present.

If there was one word I would use to describe this episode, it would be ‘beautiful’. It was visually stunning and the plot was wonderfully optimistic and full of Christmas cheer. In my opinion, this is the best Christmas Special that Doctor Who has ever produced (although, with Santa in ‘Last Christmas’, I don’t know how I’ll feel come Boxing Day). I believe this episode is worthy of a 10/10.

Thank you for reading, and Merry Christmas!

Written by Joshua Gardiner

November 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Well wasn’t that an exciting episode, folks? Dark Water has certainly given us a lot to think about, especially in regards to what the future of Doctor Who might hold. In some ways though, nothing has changed a bit: there are infinite possibilities of where the show can go from here. I can think of nothing better to do than discuss them all right now…ok, I’m being told by our editor that I should definitely not do that. So fine, we’ll stick to some of the more plausible ones.

There has been a great deal of debate as to whether or not Clara will be leaving after this season. Jenna Coleman is keeping her lips sealed on the matter, so we won’t know for sure until next week, and if not then, Christmas. Personally, while I think this is possible, which is why I’ll be discussing it below, nothing that has come before indicates that it’s what we’re getting. It’s no secret that the decision to make Clara a teacher at Coal Hill School and then introduce Danny Pink as her love interest, coupled with an older Doctor, even, was done in an attempt to replicate the structure of the first season of Classic Who. There are so many arguments for or against Steven Moffat, but there is no denying that he is a true fan, through and through, and I highly doubt he would pass up this writing opportunity, especially after such a set up. My money is on us seeing the Doctor, Clara, Danny, and a student, most likely Courtney or Maebh, in the Tardis for Series 9.

But, contrary to what I like to shout loudly at parties, I’m not psychic. So what else could we be seeing? There’s a chance that one or both of our Coal Hill teachers could not be returning. If Danny truly remains in the land of the dead, it could provide a new level of character development for Clara, having to live with this terrible loss. Depending on where the Doctor ends up with the return of his arch foe, it very well may be that the Doctor and Clara will need each other more than ever. Or maybe Danny does come out of this ok, but Clara hands in her Tardis key(if there are any left!), finally having to go the way of Martha Jones and get out when she can.

Now picture for a minute a third option: Moffat pulls a switcheroo on us. After so often being put first by the man she loves, Clara takes the reigns and puts Danny first for once, exchanging her life for his. A distraught Danny thinks long and hard on how he can move on, and decides that what Clara would have wanted would be for the Doctor to keep having a companion; someone there to keep him in check and save him from himself. The Doctor initially refuses, still distraught himself, but can’t deny Danny’s argument. He opens the door for Danny, but tells him he’s there strictly on a temporary basis, until he finds someone else. Danny says that’s fine, but in Clara’s memory he’s not going to pull a single punch with the Doctor. We spend Series 9 seeing the two former-soldiers slowly soften to each other, maybe with the addition of a third team member to balance things out a bit, with them ultimately developing a begrudging respect for one another, if not a proper friendship. A little out there as far as predictions go, but it feels very Moffat to me, and really, what would the BBC be to do if Jenna Coleman wanted to leave this season and Samuel Anderson didn’t? If we don’t get our Barbara-Ian-Susan parallel for Series 9, I would find this to be a chilling and massively compelling runner-up.

My final idea is perhaps the most radical. Something that Moffat has proven in recent years is that he is very plugged in to the Doctor Who fandom. He reads message boards and the comments on interviews; he pays attention to how we react to things. If there’s an idea we push for that has the potential to get tied up in political red tape, he’ll try a compromise. A female Doctor still a little too out there for some people? Why look at that, a female Master! (My ego is telling me to refer you lovely people to my past article on everyone’s favorite psychotic Time Lord. No, not the Doctor!) Maybe we could be seeing that attitude towards fan input twofold in this finale. It has long been said that the Doctor should have a non-human companion; something not seen since the days of Classic Who. Maybe a human-adjacent companion would do? We see the dead are being downloaded into Cyberman bodies. What if Danny lives on as one of them? His flesh expired, Clara sees this option as the only way to save her beloved. Would Danny object? Would Clara let him? And what would the Doctor have to say about all this? It would make for a shocking twist that may even rival that of Missy’s identity, and could make for a brilliant, unique dynamic for Series 9 that would do justice to Moffat’s writing and the legacy of Doctor Who itself.

November 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

With it being Halloween yesterday, I thought I would get all spooky on you Whovian Netter readers and discuss scary episodes of Doctor Woo, I mean Who! This read will definitely have you hiding behind the sofas – so if of a nervous disposition, you better get into position and jump behind that sofa of yours as if a Dalek has just appeared on your silver screen. Speaking of scary sights, nude pictures of the 11th Doctor Matt Smith were linked online – we got to see if the Doctor has two of anything else, apart from hearts! But, if you prefer top see the former Time Lord clothed (with his sonic screwdriver tucked away), don’t look online for ‘Matt Smith images’ and just wait for Terminator: Genisys to come out in the cinemas next year.

One of the scariest episodes of Doctor Who over the last few years has to be ‘Blink’, as Stone Angels and Easter Eggs are a deadly combination. The Weeping Angels made their Doctor Who debuts in this adventure and have been recurring villains ever since. ‘Blink’ was a David Tennant episode (even though he mainly featured on a TV screen), but it was Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor who encountered the Weeping Angels more often than not (they are probably after Adrian from Coal Hill School now – watch out for moving statues in the area of Shoreditch). The Weeping Angels seem most likely to be ‘real’ out of all the Doctor Who villains and monsters, which is what makes them that much more terrifying! When you see a statue of Horatio Nelson in Central London (Trafalgar Square) you think that you should not blink (and that there might be some Zygons near by) and the Weeping Angels have made graveyards and Churches places where you are now even more fearful. When it came to the Angels, you had to keep your eyes on the prize, otherwise you will be sent back in time to Hull (and that’s the last place in the universe you would want to be sent – those Weeping Angels are pure evil). Kathy Nightingale was transported to Hull in 1920 from London in 2007, as a result of not staring out those Angels, but apparently had a good life, despite those cruel Angels feeding on her potential energy.

The recent episode of Doctor Who (Series 8: Episode 8) called ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’ also provided the viewers with some scary moments as there was a killer Mummy which would even make Imhotep quake in his bandagers. The Doctor even referred back to one of his previous scary storylines when he asked the train killer “Are you my Mummy?” – which is an allusion to the World War II gasmask child from Series One with the 9th Doctor. Frank Skinner would most definitely like to put this particular menacing Mummy into Room 101, while at times, it was like watching a football match with it being Orient 1-0 Foxes (that would be Leyton Orient 1-0 Leicester City). The singer Foxes made her acting debut in this adventure, but it was ultimate Whovian ‘fan girl’ Frank Skinner who got the biggest shock when his character turned down the opportunity to be a full time companion. Series 8: Episode 7 had killer bacteria spiders in it, so that episode sent everyone scared of spiders (or the Moon – but that would just be Wallace and Gromit) leaping behind the sofa. However, if other people’s sofas are anything like mine there would be more spiders back there then on screen!

Overall, each series of Doctor Who provides at least one ‘scary’ episode or even a terrifying two-parter. Steven Moffat was the king at providing the darker Doctor tales when Russell T Davies was still in the head writer hotseat. But, Moffat is now the main man and all the episodes have those darker undertones to them – even Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is a harder Time Lord to travel with, as Clara Oswald has found out this series. Capaldi plays a villain in ‘The Musketeers’, while political witch-doctor Malcolm Tucker was hardly child-friendly. Also, those eyebrows and Scottish accent are pretty damn scary!

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