Doctor Who News dw-s7-e0-xmasgall10

Published on December 25th, 2011 | by Christian Cawley

A Christmas to Remember!

Well, just wow! If you’re unfortunate enough not to have seen this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special yet, I envy you – 60 minutes of time travelling, wintry, heart-rending entertainment that pulls heart-strings as much as it twists and turns, presenting yet another cracking tale that will be hard to forget.

As ever, we’ll have a full review over the next day or so, but in the meantime we’d just like to remind you all that it’s Christmas and while this doesn’t mean that you should be unnecessarily charitable if you didn’t enjoy The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe, it does mean that if you didn’t ‘get it’ then you’re an unfeeling old Cyberman who couldn’t even raise a smile at the mention of Androzani Major.

You fiend.

But regardless, you should appreciate what we’ve just seen as that is the last bit of live-action, non-videogame Doctor Who we’ll get for the best part of a year… So savour the Christmas vintage!


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

21 Responses to A Christmas to Remember!

  1. avatar Krumstets says:

    The Doctor Who Christmas specials have, so far, been anodyne and completely forgettable.

    This was no different.

    The middle of the show sagged like an old octogenarian monarchs breasts.

    And had about as much to say about life as a battered copy of Peoples Friend.

    No, Mr Moffat, this is not an excuse to write effortless sentimental drivel.

    Please,please try to stop this condescending bullshit every Christmas.

    We deserve something much, much better.

  2. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    Wow, sounds like Krumstets is one of those people who didn’t raise a smile at the mention of Androzani Major then? C’mon, lighten up Krumstets. At least it wasn’t The Next Doctor! :)

    • avatar Spacedog2k5 says:

      I’m w/Krumstets on this one. And, yeah, FrancoPabloDiablo, it WASN’T “The Next Doctor” – that was at least better written!

  3. avatar Andrew says:

    It was fine, good fun entertainment. Xmas specials are never more than just Who’ed up fairy tails. For flip sakes Krumstets, don’t take it so seriously mate and you might enjoy it more.

    I vote that Bill Bailey becomes the new companion. He’s be like Abslom Daak and Lemmy Kilmister cross over!

    • avatar Krumstets says:

      So much was made of Bill Bailey’s appearance in this episode , I thought he would be in it a bit more than he was.
      I’m sorry if I sound so caustic but it just gets me that we can have so many brilliant episodes through the year and at Christmas we get this.
      I just don’t think these storylines sit well with Doctor Who.
      I do try not to take it too seriously, but hey…

      • avatar Andrew says:

        That’s the way, watch it a couple time over your holidays and you might learn to love it. I maintain. I like how Steven Moffat much like Robert Holmes takes a twist on an old classic novel or fairy tail. Far better than ripping off a movie like The Poseidon Adventure (Voyage of the Damned) or King Kong (The Next Doctor).

  4. avatar A. Brown says:

    This was all very lovely and emotive and sentimental – but when are we going to get some thrilling, edge of seat drama and monsters and villains that are BAD! The Moffett era is so ‘Doctor Who Soft’! Only the Time of Angels has really given the Doctor a credible adversary where he had to really think hard of ways to escape and fight something that is really nasty! Even the Silence are just parasites who do ‘really bad’ things like help the human race into space exploration because they need a space suit (they couldn’t just buy one from some other humanoid culture, obviously!)! In the long term for humanity, that’s not too bad, surely!

  5. avatar Mr Brak says:

    Sentiment is good but it’s no replacement for drama. There really wasn’t any of the latter in this. I still maintain that Matt Smith is excellent but the writing is all over the place (and it has been all season) and, to make matters worse, the BLOODY PONDS! I was hoping the idea of the Doctor going ‘underground’ would last a tad longer than the gap between the season finale and the Christmas Special.

    And I LOVE Christmas so it can’t be that I’m an old misery :-)

  6. avatar TonyS says:

    I’m not sure whether I enjoyed the episode or not. I may have to watch it a couple more times. It did strike me that Doctor Who Christmas Specials are rather like the secular view of Christmas itself- that they are for children. As I haven’t been a child for such a long time I am probably not the most competent arbiter. It did strike me as a grand triumph of style over content. As for bringing the Ponds back- that was almost inevtiable as we know they are in part of the next season. If the concept of the Doctor fading into the shadows was to have been manifested by having him do nothing and letting the guets stars save the day, the sooner it is dropped the better. At least the Moff didn’t try to rewrite another childhood favourite.

  7. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    Krumstets, I think you might just be my new hero! (just accidentally mistyped that last word as ‘Hoer,’ so glad that I checked before sending).

    Don’t see why anyone should have to like it just ‘cos it’s Xmas or that they’re somehow mean-spirited for not liking it. We can only give our genuine personal views, after all. It is also possible to love Crimbo and Who while not necessarily liking the Who special.

    I thought it started well but then the pace really dragged once they arrived in Winterland. It ended with the usual hippy-dippy ‘love conquers all/parent-child bond’ fixation familiar from Night Terrors, Closing Time,……

    What happened to the Dr using his ingenuity to defeat a tangible menace?

    I love Matt Smith, but I can’t work out if his Dr is meant to be as annoying as he was when, for example, showing them around the house, or if that’s accidental.

    It was better than last year’s special and well-acted, though.

  8. avatar Rick Lundeen says:

    Over all, I’d rank this one in the middle of the road compared to other xmas specials. I’d put it well below the best such as Christmas Invasion and Christmas Carol, also under End of time and Runaway Bride but I’d rank it over the lackluster VOTD and Next Doctor.

    The thing that saves it is once again, Matt Smith. No other Doctor operates better alone than him. Although I’m hot and cold when it comes to the Ponds, I thought the end was maybe the best thing about the special.

  9. avatar TonyS says:

    Okay I’ve watched it again. Let’s concentrate on the positive. The acting is uniformly excellent- with especial plaudits to Claire Skinner and the ever-reliable Matt Smith. Holly Earl and Maurice Cole are also good. It does evoke an atmosphere of Christmas. The “Andozani Major” reference was a welcome nod to the past. Incidentally, I was told there might be a second Peter Davison reference. I couldn’t see it. But despite all that, it feels a little… inconsequential. Now I think this was deliberate on the part of The Grand Moff. I would have preferred a story somewhere in there. Bill Bailey, Arabella Weir and Paul Bazeley were underused.

    Not a disastrous story. But somewhat disappointing. I agree with Rick Lundeen- the end was probably the best part of it.

  10. avatar John Harley says:

    As a story for Christmas it was okay but as Dr.Who it wasn’t okay! I can’t see any of the great Doctors like Tom Baker or Jon Pertwee appearing in this! This just proves what I’ve said for a long time that Moffat cannot write good Who! (His RTD efforts like Empty Child must have had alot of work done to them) the sooner the arrogant one is replaced the better it will be for the programme alas it will be too late for me!

  11. avatar Bob James says:

    That was just brilliant. BRILLIANT. Everything as near perfect as I’ve ever seen it, and Matt Smith just proceeding from strength to strength. One of the Grand Moff’s absolute best. And is it just me, or are the folks responsible for the show’s great production values just getting better and better at putting the money up on our screens? The episode just looked more cinematic than ever. It has definitely got me stoked for the coming season!

  12. avatar Bob James says:

    Just actually read the comments made before the one I just made above. You folks really just need to find another show to watch and follow. A lot of you are starting to sound like the folks who were bitching back in the eighties. At least they had something to bitch about some of the time. The word “ungrateful” does come to mind. Just my own opinion mind you, but my heart does go out to you sad, sad people.

  13. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    Very condescending, Bob. People are entitled to their opinions.

    Would you rather the people who just don’t like something lie and say that they think it’s all brilliant instead?

    What’s the point of a forum/comments section otherwise? People should be free to say what they like/don’t like about something without others taking umbrage at it.

    You enjoyed it; good for you and no-one’s saying you shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy it. So why suggest that others shouldn’t be allowed to say/feel the opposite?It needn’t affect your enjoyment.

    Nothing sad about it, and I won’t be finding another show to follow as I still love most of it.

  14. avatar ChrisL says:

    I love Doctor Who!
    I have loved Doctor Who for five decades now and despite the occasional bad episode I suspect I will continue to love it for the foreseeable future.

    However, contrary to the wishes of certain people on here, I also reserve the right to say when I don’t enjoy a particular episode.
    This Christmas Special was most definitely one of those!

    It was beautifully filmed and looked spectacular – the production team certainly pulled out all the stops with this one – and Matt Smith was his usual wonderful self. Unfortunately the actual story was awful. It started off well enough with some great lines and a couple of laughs, but once Cyril had ascended to the top of the tower the plot descended into a cringe-worthy mess.

    I would have to say it rivalled “The Next Doctor” as the ‘Worst Doctor Who Christmas Special’ to date.

    I’d looked forward to this for so long and yet came away feeling let down and disappointed, especially after last year’s magnificent episode.
    “A Christmas Carol” was easily one of the best Doctor Who episodes ever ( never mind just the best Christmas episode) which could be why I felt SO let down by this year’s crass effort!

    So yeah, it looked spectacular but the plot was abysmal – weak, predictable and bordering on embarrassing.

  15. avatar Bob James says:

    Sorry if I offended you, castellanspandrell, but I was just responding to some opinions with a point of view. Yes, obviously, you and everyone/anyone else are free to express your opinions and points of view, entitled to them, in fact. I’m free to find those opinions and points of view as indicative of sad, sad people. Doctor Who has come so far, and just to have it now, so well made and looked after is something I will never take for granted. RTD was right not “get in bed” so to speak with the fans, and Steven Mofatt, while being a bit more accessible is right to stick to his guns as well. He’s in charge of making the show, he and his team. Anyone who doesn’t like this reality can wait it out and get the job and make the show themselves. And there is exactly what irks me. People disrespecting the man and his hard work because it’s not to their taste. To say it’s not for me, or I didn’t care for it is one thing. The “He can’t write Doctor Who”, or “This is not Doctor Who” is the bullshit line. Doctor Who IS what Mofatt says it is, until he isn’t making it anymore. I am not addressing this opinion to you as an individual, because I don’t know how you feel in general about it. But the tenor of the criticism, not the criticism or personal opinions in and of themselves are what irritates me. It slightly reminds me of the abuse and insult that was cast upon JNT back in the day; if one can’t express an opinion with out “it sucked, so it’s bad, hence because I didn’t like it, it’s not Doctor Who” being the best description of their opinion, then that’s unfortunate. Hence the “sad, sad people” statement. If that’s condescending, than I guess I’m the incarnation of condescending, which is me being condescending because I know I’m not. No ill will here, friend, to you or anyone else, just some irritation, which I am entitled to, just like anyone elses opinion or point of view.

  16. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    Fair enough, Bob and thanks for replying. I jumped the gun a bit in taking it as a personal affront and yes, of course you’re entitled to express your point of view.

    Am getting touchy when it comes to defending my opinion of the Xmas specials, which I haven’t generally enjoyed. The only ones I’ve really liked: Christmas Invasion, End of Time, Next Dr – yet the latter one has tended to take a pasting from fellow fans.

    I agree with you on one score; I don’t generally like people just saying ‘it’s rubbish’ or similar – I want to know why they think it is. The same goes for ‘it’s great’, etc.

  17. avatar Bob James says:

    Yes, I too am a great believer in intelligent, rational criticism. It’s often how some interesting ideas get exchanged, and one can even learn something. I have great sympathy too, for old school Who fans who struggle with the new show not being “like” the old one. It is a whole new game, and even with the nods to continuity, it is quite different from the classic show. I remember speaking to Terrance Dicks a few years ago at a convention, and when I asked him why he hadn’t written anything for the new show, or if he’d like to, he replied that he wouldn’t know how to. Peter Davison spoke well at a convention I also attended to the effect that the classic show was very much “of its time”. Most of the “This is not Doctor Who” umbrage seems to fall along these lines. It’s the same character, revisited for a whole new time. One can express any opinion without insult or offense to any other party involved, quite intently and firmly. I find people “sad” who can’t do so without respect and without making it personal. I have a good friend, who was a great fan of the classic show, and really got excited about its return in 2005, who has since decried that “This isn’t Doctor Who anymore”, and stopped watching. Everyone has a point of view. The people who make Doctor Who work very hard to produce what we experience now, as the makers of the classic show did then; They certainly deserve better than to have someones “point of view” aimed at them like a weapon. “Thanks, but not for me, I prefer another” would suffice. Or as you so well pointed out, offer a constructive approach as to why one found something lacking. No one ever has any excuse to lack tact or class. We all love this show for our own reasons, and should appreciate that it’s here and thriving, instead of getting the axe.

  18. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    Yes, I tend to mentally file some of the specials under ‘Who Stories I just don’t like.’ Wanting them to cancel the Xmas specials – as some fans do- is another thing. I actually hope they don’t cancel them, despite what I see as a low strike rate.Wouldn’t want to deprive others – especially children such as my nephew – from enjoying them – and as I said, they’re no different from other stories I just don’t ‘get’. And they always provide something to look forward to on Xmas day and the possibility that I just might like the story.

    I’ve accepted the series since 2005 as a continuation of ‘the classic series’, and I think it’s bettered the older series in many ways, not just in the oft-mentioned modern FX. But I do agree with some who say that (some of) the Xmas specials just don’t feel like Who. They tend to act and feel as separate from the standard series.

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