Doctor Who – A Christmas Carol
So as per tradition since its revival in 2005, this christmas day featured a Doctor Who christmas special. But it was different from the others, possibly because it was penned by new executive producer, Steven Moffat, who took over after Russell T Davies (along with David Tennant who played the 10th Doctor) left in the 2009 Christmas special.
So with a new head writer and a new Doctor, series 5 launched in 2010. It was different from what most had expected, but I can personally say it had the best penultimate series finale as of yet. And then, some months later when December rolls around, we got Doctor Who ‘A Christmas Carol’, which is, obviously, a Doctor Who take on the much-loved Dickens story of the same name.
So I’m going to tell you a secret… Well, it’s not that much of a secret really, but I was never the biggest fan of Matt Smith as The Doctor. I loved David Tennant as the Doctor. He just had such raw power and emotion, he played the part perfectly… But then he left. And I wasnt like the masses of Tennant obsessed fans who didn’t like Smith before he even appeared in an episode. He was alright in my books… But never anything more. He just seemed… Zaney. And he seemed more at home on the Sarah Jane Adventures than he did in Doctor Who (he seems to be an actor that works well with children…) and I think that’s why I found it hard to like him. All that darkness and mystery seemed to vanish, it was hard to take him seriously (which was a shame, because he showed some seriousness and emotion in Episode 2, but it slowly started sliding away).
But after watching the christmas special… My faith has been somewhat restored. Matt Smith, what ever he’s decided to do differently, really stepped up his game. He still got the wacky side of him, but he just seems more at home as The Doctor in this episode than some of the others. This is actually my second favourite christmas special, falling short of ‘The End of Time’ (Christmas/New Year 2009).
I think the most prominent factor of this christmas special is that it is really Christmassy. When RTD (Russell T Davies) was penning Doctor Who, he always seemed to miss the major aspects of Christmas from the christmas Specials. This was somewhat later on, as Voyage of the Damned had quite a few references to christmas, but the others had hardly any apart from a tiny bit of non-snow at the end and a reference to Christmas Dinner. Oh… And the fact that it is set at Christmas (not that you would realise with our clear, sunny christmas days that we have here in England…)
Lets look at this seriously. The Christmas Invasion was a little C, but christmas didn’t really come into it all that often. The robots are dressed as Santa’s and attack using a christmas tree… And that’s about it. Oh, and Rose and Mickey get attacked whilst doing Christmas Shopping, but in all seriousness, you could take out all the christmas references and it would still be the same story…
The Runaway Bride was even worse with this. It had a few Santa Robots and a ship that looked like a Christmas Star (or as Donna points out in ‘Turn Left’ a Web). Luckily, Voyage of the damned is a bit more Christmassy… But even still the plot isn’t all that centered around Christmas, and would still be very feasible if you took out the christmas references. Luckily, as Voyage of the Damned is set on a space ship, you don’t really realise that it was filmed in the middle of summer.
Next up is ‘The Next Doctor’. This time they make it seem more Christmassy by having it snow throughout the show. But once again, if you took out the references to Christmas, it would still be the same basic story. This is, unfortunately, true for ‘The End of Time’ as well, as we once again return to the sunny days of Christmas time England.
It seems that Steven Moffat knows how to write a Christmas Special, as it is, truly, a Christmas Special. Just a jolly, if somewhat dark, Christmas Tale to get you in the festive mood… And I will look forward to many more Christmas Specials as long as Steven Moffat rides the helm.