Well, here we go again – it’s Christmas and it’s the Doctor Who Special. However, this year, on the ‘scale of special’ ranging from 0 to 5, this one is likely to end up ranking around 7 (probably at about the same time as the internet catches fire at 6.30 after this episode has aired).
Unless you’ve living under a stone for the past year (and even if you’re not a fan) you won’t fail to have had it rammed down your throat that this one is a ‘special’ special. Why? ‘…let me count the ways…’
- It’s Peter Capaldi’s last outing as the Doctor and therefore it’s the one when he regenerates into the next Doctor
- The next Doctor gets a gender switch too (first announced on 16 July 2017)
- There’s the ‘first’ Doctor in this episode as well
- The Doctor’s most recent companion makes a re-appearance (last seen heading off with her muse, Heather in the series 10 finalé, back in July)
- It’s Steven Moffat’s final episode as showrunner and chief script-writer
- Rumour is that the music maestro Murray Gold is also moving on
As previously mentioned, the internet will almost certainly go into overdrive immediately afterwards, analysing the episode the death, and making all sorts of predictions about how the series will play out when it returns. It’s worth saying that any other show that lost so many of its key people, would probably not survive, but the unique nature of Who, is such that I think it’s going to get a shot-in-the-arm just when it needs it most.
As an extra bonus for me this year, I dropped in on Jo (another Whovian) to watch it in the company of a like-minded fan! Well, was the episode any good? In a word (or six): Yes, It was all very watchable! I won’t reveal the plot in detail here (in case you’ve yet to see it), but here are a few bits and bobs to temp you…
- A good coherent story, with a subtle Christmas feel
- It’s serious and humorous in about equal measure
- There’s a great interplay between the two Doctors
- Look out for an important reference that links to a future key character who starred alongside the second and third Doctor
- There’s also a (very) brief re-appearance of a previous companion (No, not Bill Potts!)
- …and an old foe who’s switched sides
- Stand by for a superb re-generation scene preceded by some good advice for us all
- Finally, there’s a very interesting cliff-hanger for the TARDIS itself
If you’re still with me, the new series (series 11) starts in the Autumn of 2018.