Like all Doctor Who fans the BlogtorWho team have been debating and speculating about potential stories that may work well as the Christmas Special 2017. So proud are we of the idea that we thought we’d share it with you dear reader. Firstly, a disclaimer…
This story idea does not come from a source. It has merely come from debates between BlogtorWho writers.
This is NOT a plot synopsis! We haven’t spoiled you!
In keeping with another Doctor Who Christmas Special written by Steven Moffat, ‘A Christmas Carol’, we propose a homage to the classic Christmas movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.
A Perfect tribute to Peter Capaldi
Firstly, this choice of inspiration would be a fitting tribute to Peter Capaldi. Way back in 1995 Peter Capaldi won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. This was for the 23 minute film ‘Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life’ which Capaldi wrote and directed. Richard E Grant (Dr Simeon in ‘The Snowmen’) starred as Franz Kafka who is attempting to write his story ‘The Metamorphosis’. ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ proves influential particularly in the closing moments. As with the original the short movie also shifts from despair to a message of hope. Kafka’s neighbours even sing Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, which is also used in the conclusion of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’. Carrying these themes over into Doctor Who would therefore be a wonderful blend of just two of Peter Capaldi’s great career achievements.
It’s a Wonderful Life
For those unfamiliar with the story, firstly where have you been? It’s a film which has been around for 70 years! Anyway, James Stewart stars as George Bailey. It is Christmas Eve 1945. George is feeling suicidal and wishes that he’d never been born. A cheery setup, I know. An angel, amusingly called Clarence, is sent from Heaven to show George what life would be like if he had never existed. In an uplifting finale George Bailey realises how many lives he has changed for the better and begs for his life back. The realisation of how his life has made the lives of those around him better causes George to gain a refreshed zest for life. It does however take seeing an alternative reality to trigger this epiphany.
The Turn Left comparison
Doctor Who fans may recall a televised story which explored what Earth would be like without The Doctor. ‘Turn Left’ was the ‘Doctor-lite’ episode in 2008’s Series 4 with Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble taking centre stage. In this alternate reality The Tenth Doctor is killed during the events of ‘The Runaway Bride’. Martha Jones, Sarah Jane Smith, Luke, Clyde and Maria are all lost during the Judoon’s transportation of the Royal Hope Hospital to the Moon. The spaceship Titanic crashes into Buckingham Palace. Sixty million Americans are turned into Adipose. Finally the Torchwood team is also lost trying to thwart the Sontarans use of ATMOS. It’s pretty grim stuff. As The Master once said, “A cosmos without The Doctor scarcely bares thinking about”.
It’s a Wonderful Regeneration
So, back to the Twelfth Doctor’s impending regeneration. What we can deduce thus far is that the Twelfth Doctor is refusing to regenerate. He also finds himself in Antarctica, where his First incarnation is on the verge of his own regeneration. Neither Time Lord appears to be enthusiastic about the process. With the First Doctor about to experience his first regeneration, the much more experienced Twelfth Doctor can take the role of Clarence the ghost. He can present the benefits of regeneration and the alternative reality that would exist if The Doctor was not to regenerate. This would give us more of the powerful scenes seen in ‘Turn Left’. Simultaneously the Twelfth Doctor will come to terms with his own regeneration ready for his Thirteenth incarnation. Alternatively, a returning Clara Oswald could take the role of Clarence the ghost guiding both incarnations through their regenerations.
Other Doctors, Flashbacks and Clara Oswald
This story idea also has the scope for a number of possibilities in terms of flashbacks and alternate realities. The inclusion of David Bradley to play the First Doctor suggests a direction into fan-friendly material so featuring even more flashbacks may also appeal to this target audience. This could also explain a returning Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald who can feature in flashback or alternative reality sequences. Of course the splinters of Clara ‘The Impossible Girl’ exist throughout The Doctor’s timeline. Perhaps we could again be treated to Clara encountering different incarnations of the Time Lord as in ‘The Name of the Doctor’. Those sequences were pretty exciting after all. With Mark Gatiss announced as featuring perhaps he may don the frilly shirt of the Third Doctor, for instance?
Also not to be forgotten in all this is that the Christmas Special is Steven Moffat’s final script for the show. As well as casting the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors Moffat had previously written for Doctors Nine and Ten. Over his tenure he has also brought back the Eighth Doctor for a regeneration. Moffat also introduced viewers to a previously unknown incarnation, the War Doctor. Plus there was the Curator but we won’t attempt to tackle that continuity mine field. Anyway, Steven Moffat deserves some reflective and emotional flashback sequences. ‘It’s a Wonderful Regeneration’ can therefore be a powerful tribute to all that has gone before. Multiple Doctors. Multiple regenerations. A tribute to lead actor, lead writer but also the very process which has allowed the show to continue for 54 years. Expect tears.