BBC iPlayer: Doctor Who (2010) A Christmas Carol

on Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Words: Alicia McBride

'Doctor Who' (2010) Christmas Special: 'A Christmas Carol'

SYNOPSIS: "Festive edition of the time-travelling drama. The Doctor has one hour to save a crashing spaceship and a miser's soul - but what lurks in the fog?" (

After what felt like an interminably long wait the TARDIS came crashing back into our lives on Christmas Day, delivering (for me, anyway) the greatest present of all. It’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder and this may have contributed to the dialogue seeming funnier, the delivery faster and the emotion more affecting than ever but it is just as likely that Steven Moffat and Matt Smith were on top form.

At a time of year when allusions to Dickens’ 'A Christmas Carol' are rife, 'Doctor Who' managed to do something a little more interesting and unique with the story. The Scrooge-like figure, Kazran (the impressive Michael Gambon), refuses to let a spaceship containing the honeymooning Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) land, meaning that they’ll all die. In a bid to save them the Doctor has to try and change his mind but realising he can’t, decides to change his whole personality instead.

Making a great case for nurture vs. nature, The Doctor returns to Kazran’s childhood and befriends him to stop him becoming so emotionally hardened. This is all going swimmingly until they are interrupted by a flying shark, who then ingests half of the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. Yes, really. Said shark will later pull a sleigh across the night sky in a bizarre homage to Rudolph. Again....yes, really.

Those who are clued up about their Dickens (or are partial to 'The Muppet Christmas Carol') will know the great redemptive power of loving a beautiful woman - enter one Katherine Jenkins. Naturally her vocal prowess becomes integral to the storyline, otherwise they could have given the part to someone who can actually act, but that aside she does makes a very pretty, doomed love interest in a moving storyline that left Kazran and the Doctor speculating about broken hearts and viewers crying into the remains of their Christmas dinner. 'Abigail’s Song', written especially for the episode, really is beautiful and haunting.

But it was not all doom and gloom; true to form the episode was also fit to burst with incredibly witty lines delivered with dazzling speed by Smith and some truly mindbending time travel that it’s probably better not to think about too much for fear of warping your mind. It also transpires that Amy and Rory enjoy a spot of role play when on holiday, meaning she has donned her sexy police outfit once again, hurrah.

If that wasn’t enough of a treat, the preview for the upcoming second series promises plenty of excitement and drama. And Stetsons. Stetsons are cool.

Watch until 7:59PM, Sunday 2 Jan 2011. UK users only.

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