Release Date: Jan 24
Only The End of Time Part 1 (review HERE) so far can claim to be a proper “story” whereas the other specials are, for want of a better word, fluff. Enjoyable and extremely well~made fluff, yes. But still fluff. This year’s tale (a re~bumbling on the Dickens story, in case the title or the numerous times it was mentioned pre~broadcast didn’t indicate) continued the rather jokey way in which writer and trouser~wearing Scotsman Steven Moffat plays with time.
Now, I’m just going to come out and say it now. I don’t like time~travel being used so flippantly and so cheaply. For me, this year’s finale was rendered almost comedy~sketch~laughable by the way in which The Doctor jumped back and forth (needlessly it has to be said) trying to save the day. He does again here. Jumping forward in time to find out the code to open a door which will allow you to alter time and save 4,000 or so people when you could have just as easily have stopped the ship leaving int he first place (which amounts to the same thing as what he’s doing anyway) does leave me a bit subdued. Let’s not even mention Blinovitch Limitation Effect or The Reapers…
Anyway, a small point. But a salient one. We could argue about “timey~wimey” events until the phrase has lost all meaning, so let’s not bother. The notion of dilemma (the 4,000 people about to die) was also removed through The Doctor’s, for want of a better phrase, fannying around marrying actresses in the 1950s. If he doesn’t care, why should we? And we don’t really. It’s the relationships on the ground that prove to be so fascinating or, as our Hungarian friends would say, lenyűgöző.
Although we have acting heavyweight Michael “So he’s in the Harry Potter films but that doesn’t make him a bad person, OK?” Gambon performing an old, but lurvable bastid stoutly, he’s supported by a remarkable cast. In the boys corner are Matt Smith lookalike Danny Horn and young Arthur Darvill impersonator Laurence Belcher (pictured above) both playing the younger version of Gambon’s character, Kazran “The Anagram” Sardick. The latter in particular is worthy of a mention as he really steals the show, quite a feat given he gets quite a bit to work with.
The production is glorious and sumptuous in equal measure; the sets are gorgeous and certainly some of the finest seen in the show. Can’t say the same for the bland and lens~flared spaceship, however, but you can’t have everything. Murray Gold’s score is suitably seasonal, ranging from the heart~warming choral work, through the action pieces with Clive the Shark (oh yeah, there’s a shark in the story – I forgot to mention that) to the chilling Abigail’s Song sung by Jenkins; truly beautiful.
Despite my own slight disappointment of the episode itself, the extras certainly make A Christmas Carol a worthwhile purchase – three hours on one disc for about a tenner ain’t bad at all. And, for those who care about such things, the “Next Time” trailer makes a return to the Doctor Who DVD with that groin~grabbingly good Series 6 teaser – worth the price alone.