Review: The Christmas Invasion

Last Alteration: Wednesday 28 September 2005

The Christmas Invasion

Dr Who always features prominently at Christmas for me. Whether it's with new books, DVDs, or crazy action figures, I always get new things Who related. Christmas without the Doctor is like Sooty without Sweep.

This year we all got a big one hour long present of adventure courtesy of BBC Wales and sitting down to this feast on Christmas Eve took me back many years to that broadcast of K-9 and Company. This is as good as it gets.

OK so forget being a fan for a moment. You sit down to watch a Christmas episode of Dr Who with the entire family. What do you want? Probably a fun packed bit of rubbish that you never have to watch again. And this episode delivered on that front in spades.

From the moment the episode started with swirling snow and that ever so catchy jingle version of the music at the beginning of Rose I knew we were going to get a festive treat of Who. However, in the back of my mind were several issues that spelled trouble for this show and I knew ultimately that the word turkey would spring to mind.

The music was just the start. I really am a little fed up with the brashness of the music since the programme returned and the tendency for the music to precede the action to the point that the audience knows what's going to happen by sound alone. It may suit that guy who didn't win Dr Who Mastermind but those of us who can see the telly don't need the over helpful operatics.

This was a story about the Doctor's regeneration set at Christmas with a huge casual audience. That was always a bad idea. Regeneration is a strange thing and before the story started I felt that it may be handled best in a special but one hour doesn't quite provide enough drama to deal with the issues and this left me feeling that the episode was in 3 parts: Part 1) Regeneration - get used to it Rose, Part 2) It's Christmas and we're all going to die!, Part 3) Regeneration - Rose, are you used to it yet? Strange pacing - even worse than The Doctor Dances when the story stopped a full ten minutes before they bothered to put the credits up on screen. This story was exactly 45 minutes long if you take away the regeneration stuff which just seemed like padding at the beginning and the end.

There were some great moments for this new Doctor though and Tennant did a wonderful job (best bit: Rose - "If you're the Doctor why do you sound like you're from north of the border? Doctor - "Lots of planets have a north of the border" - Classic). Billie was on her usual fine form but what the youngsters made of this new Doctor is anyone's guess.

The real problem with this new episode is that it's only worthy of watching it once and as a fan I know I'll watch it and analyse it many times for years to come. I'm fed up of wasting my life with computer generated reindeers and robotic zombie Santas. The Mill must have been having a laugh. And then the ending, with the real Father Christmas: I hate to be churlish but Santa isn't real and his turning up at the end has bastardised 42 years of classic television. Sydney Newman deserved better than this! Dr Who died last Saturday night and I for one will not be watching the new series next spring.

Mind you the viewing figures were good but then again Coronation Street's Pantomime did Alright too!

John, 25th December 2005

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