When they announced that this year’s Christmas Doctor Who would be based on the Charles Dickens novel, I thought that sounded quite interesting, particularly as I knew they would be incorporating time travel and that’s my favourite bit. Then they made a big deal of announcing the name, drum roll please, A Christmas Carol. I felt a bit deflated. That’s not very creative at all, is it? Naming the story after the very book you are borrowing from.
Turns out, they saved all the creativity for the episode itself – from seemingly flying fish, to frozen loan guarantees, to a shark with half a screwdriver in it. The whole thing was an intense break from reality for the entire hour. Of course, Doctor Who is not supposed to be reality at all, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it quite so fanciful.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. There is nothing better than to sit back and relax after a nice Christmas dinner, and drift off into a snowy world of time travel and spaceships.
There were plenty of bits that didn’t really make much sense – like why the boy’s father didn’t notice that his son disappeared every Christmas Eve and returned with a tan and a New York accent, or why they chose to return only every Christmas Eve, or why they never discussed letting Abigail out for more than a day at a time. It particularly didn’t make much sense that he wouldn’t share with the Doctor the reason he suddenly decided to leave her in there, as the Doctor was the one that made everything so much fun anyway, but even these little things didn’t really matter.
This certainly wasn’t the strongest episode of the new Doctor Who era, but it was certainly not the worst either. There was nowhere near enough Rory, and only enough Amy for her to be irritating (my guess is she didn’t need a script, as she only shouted “Doctor!” every few seconds). There was lots of Matt Smith and I thought he did a fantastic job, very very funny. The Marilyn Monroe bit was a particular highlight, along with his “two chances” to get the screwdriver from the shark. I still miss David Tennant every time the opening credits roll, but Matt can take this Doctor places that David wouldn’t be able to. And vice versa, I suppose.
I was slightly annoyed that the minute Katherine Jenkins was unfrozen, she was warbling away (to calm down the shark, oddly), but as Lukeh said in our sort of live comments, if you’re hiring someone with a voice like that, you’re going to use it.
After the episode finished, there was a short montage of what is coming up in the new series. It all looks very good, I can’t wait for it to begin. My only concern is that there is a lot of River Song. I hope they aren’t going to over-use her, because I only just came around to liking her at the end of series 5. I don’t want to have to go back to how things were before. I trust in Mr Moffat though, he has not let us down yet.