So it’s come to this. We at KN have long wondered when it would be that we wrote our preview of David Tennant’s final story. It all seemed so far away, but at the same time; we saw it lurking over us- A bit like how the Tenth Doctor sees his death.
There’s something unique going on here. For once, the Doctor knows when he is going to die, just as we usually do. By removing the dramatic irony in the plot, we’re left wondering along with the Doctor, who’s always at about the same point as us. However, we haven’t seen the episode yet, and have largely avoided spoilers, so nothing too bad will be popping up, but we do know a couple of things that we’re about to indulge with you...
For starters, the Master is back. Yes, John Simm is returning in the role of the psychotic Time Lord and this time he’s even more insane than ever. Just to prove it, he’s gone and died his hair blonde, started wearing a hoodie and, oh yeah, he’s now sporting a rather fetching red dog collar. He’s absolutely barking, (Pun intended) but he’s still very much the twisted genius he always was, and so you can expect him and the darker side of the Doctor we saw at the end of The Waters of Mars who was more than happy to twist the rope time into all sorts of irreversible knots, and cut holes out of the fabric of reality if that is how he so likes.
So what does this mean? The Master and a Master-like Doctor fighting for total control over the universe? The Doctor said in the last special, “It’s taken me this long to realise, but the laws of time are mine, and they are going to obey me”, but with another Tiem Lord around to also have some rights over time, can the Doctor remain the manage to see the wrongs of his ways without handing eternity to the Master? And with him bearing more and more of a mental resemblance to his nemesis by the second, how long is it before Russell T Davis does the impossible and makes Tennant’s Doctor a genuinely unlikeable character, as he hinted at towards the end of Waters of Mars?
The Doctor’s got a new companion in the form of Donnas’ grandfather, Wilf. Wilfred Mott first made his appearance in Voyage of the Damned, the 2007 Christmas special, but within two years he’s gone from being a cameo part to a full-blown lead character, who’s set to make his first voyage in the TARDIS (Which, he exclaims, “He thought would have been cleaner”) while Donna herself is set to re-appear, too, although how we do not know, as if she gets one word of the Doctor, then her mind will explode.
There’s the small matter of The Gate, a machine somewhere in the middle of London which contains the secrets to eternal life. Exactly what it is, we do not know, but an army chap named Joshua Naismith played by David Harewood, who we rated so highly back when he was applying his natural acting talents to the role of Friar Tuck in Robin Hood in the spring, is in full control of the situation, and he seems precisely the kind of guy we want to going téte-a-téte with the Doctor on Christmas Day.
Oh yeah, Christmas! As ever, the story is Christmassy. We see this as being a bit Voyage of the Damned- Not particularly Christmassy, (At least not as heavy on Santa and snow as, say, the Christmas Invasion or the Next Doctor) but then why should the Baby Jesus get in the way of a good story? This isn’t Doctor Who Christmas, its Doctor Who at Christmas. After all, five or six years ago, whoever would have thought the biggest thing on TV on the 25th December in a few years time would be a new episode of some crusty old relic of a show that was only famous at the time for its wobbly sets and monsters that couldn’t walk up stairs? Just be thankful that Doctor Who has nailed the Turkey-time slot down, and we’re not getting an episode of Merlin where it’s St Nick that’s lying on the bed dying of a magical curse instead of a random pick from the young wizard’s friends.
The end of an era is coming at 6PM on Christmas Day. Stop counting the Brussell Sprouts, nobody cares who gets the most Turkey, just settle down, switch on the TV, and tuck into this feast of a story on BBC One...
Part 2 shall be broadcast on Friday 1st January 2010. KN’s preview of the episode shall be out during next week.