Doctor Who Christmas Special 2011: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe

That actor in the middle is a bit wooden

Originally written for TV Pixie

Stop crying. No, stop it. You can’t keep letting Steven Moffat emotionally blackmail you like this.

He’s always ruining the festive season with his heart-rending, poetic fables about forests with souls, brave widows, possibly deceased fighter pilots and adorable children who look like a 1940s version of The Milky Bar Kid. It’s just not on.

In this festive special, the Doctor has a career change and becomes ‘The Caretaker’, custodian of the rambling country house that Madge (Outnumbered’s Claire Skinner- clearly typecast as a mum) and her young family are evacuated to during the war.

As The Caretaker, Matt Smith can really let rip as a crazed, madcap Willy Wonka figure, presenting Madge’s children with rooms full of hyperactive chairs, lemonade taps- not to mention a hazardous dimensional rift leading to a dangerous (but pleasingly Narnia-like) alien world. A world that Cyril, the more inquisitive of the two children, inevitably strays into via a portal wrapped up inside a Christmas parcel.

The Doc really should be forced to start filling in risk assessments before he can hang out with kids. And possibly a CRB check or two. Read more of this post

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Doctor Who: Series 6, Episode 13- The Wedding of River Song

Originally written for TV Pixie

If you thought the wedding was odd, you should have seen the reception

If you heard that all of history was happening at once, what would you expect to see?  A chaotic maelstrom of whirling energies as the Universe is born and subsequently dies? Continents whizzing around like boats at a regatta, merrily bumping coastlines? A bone whirling up into the air to become a spaceship?

Or would it be Churchill living in a Roman palace while steampunk cars attached to hot air balloons wafted overhead dodging pterodactyls?

If you chose option 2, chances are you’re either a) unfamiliar with the concept of history, or b) Steven Moffat, who doesn’t shy away from showmanship even if it is at the expense of sanity or logic. The BBC interviewing Charles Dickens? A steam train running through the Great Pyramid? It’s all very silly, but we can forgive him anything: after all, he did dress Amy in a badass, Dana Scully power suit and gave her a machine gun. Read more of this post

Doctor Who: Series 6, Episode 12- Closing Time

Originally written for TV Pixie

200 years have passed for the Doctor since the events of last week’s ‘The God Complex’, which saw Rory and Amy so abruptly written out. No emotionally devastating farewell scene for them: instead they get a nice new car and a house, as if travelling with the Doctor is some kind of game show they’ve just won.

In the intervening 200 years, the Doc seems to have made absolutely no new friends whatsoever. At least, that’s the only conceivable explanation as to why he’s decided to spend his last night in the Universe in Colchester with Craig ‘James Corden’ Owens and a squalling baby named Stormageddon: Dark Lord of All (according to him). Or Alfie (according to his parents).

We first discovered the Doctor could ‘speak baby’ when he was chatting away to Melody Pond in A Good Man Goes To War. They should really explore the concept further: possibly by having the Doc uncover a Stewie from Family Guy-style psychobaby bent on world domination. As baddies go, that’d make an interesting change from Cybermen: that creepy ‘Baby MD’ from the Double Velvet adverts could take the lead role. Read more of this post

Doctor Who: Series Six, Episode 11- The God Complex

Never agree to go for dinner at Rod Hull's house

It’s hard to think of something creepier than an abandoned hotel.

In fact, the only thing creepier than an abandoned hotel is an abandoned hotel full of clowns and ventriloquist dummies where a murderous minotaur stalks shape shifting corridors, waiting to drain people of their life force (just imagine the Tripadvisor reviews for that one).

The only thing creepier than that is Adrian Chiles’ face: although it’d be quite hard to set an episode of Doctor Who in it.

Yep, writer Toby Whithouse set the fear-o-meter to maximum when he planned this haunting episode. Yet again, the TARDIS ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time: drawn to a largely imaginary hotel in the depths of space containing a harried group of survivors trapped in what – for all intents and purposes – is a living nightmare.

The survivors in question are possibly the best non-companion characters (other than River) that we’ve encountered this series. Top of the pile was Rita: the witty, feisty and brave Muslim doctor. A real doctor, that is, as opposed to ‘Mr Who’. He doesn’t even have a PhD. Read more of this post

Doctor Who: Series 6, Episode 10- The Girl Who Waited

Originally written for ace tellysite TV Pixie

Every straight man and gay lady's fantasy: two Amy Ponds

The Doctor doesn’t have a job.

He’s effectively a student on an extended gap ‘yaah’, gallivanting through time in his over-privileged bow-tie and post-ironic hipster tweed jacket, which possibly explains why his timekeeping is so very, very bad: he needs more structure in his life. Regular appraisals, that kind of thing.

Being a timelord and all, you’d think he could correct any tardiness with his… er… Tardis. But that doesn’t seem to be the case as he’s left Amy Pond waiting more times than an overpriced British train franchise.

In the inaugural Matt Smith-as-Doctor episode ‘The Eleventh Hour’, he pops away for ‘five minutes’ when Amy is about eight years old and when he nips back she’s in her mid-to-late twenties.

Almost 20 years… a long five minutes by anyone’s standards. Almost as long as five minutes spent watching Emmerdale.

As if that weren’t enough, in Saturday’s episode: ‘The Girl Who Waited’ – (see, Amy even has her own epithet based on being kept hanging around) – the Doc does it again. This time, it’s not 20 years, oh no. It’s 36. And Amy isn’t left on Earth to carry on her normal life. Oh no. She’s trapped in a murderous quarantine facility on a planet at the far end of the Universe.

Understandably, when Rory and the Doctor catch up with her she’s a bit bitter. Very bitter, in fact. More bitter than a lemon stuffed with Haribo Tangfastics. What was supposed to be a holiday on a tourist planet turned into decades spent hiding in an engine room trapped in a lonely, artificially speeded up time stream. Read more of this post

Doctor Who: Series 6, Episode 9- Night Terrors

Originally written for TV Pixie

The Doctor with 3 Adrian Chileses

Let’s be clear right from the start: Night Terrors was good. It was polished: entertaining and creepy. Haunted dolls, childish giggles in the shadows, something nasty in the wardrobe, a small child who wasn’t what he seemed: it was the very embodiment of the traditional, kid-scaring stand alone Doctor Who episode.

So much so that it felt a bit formulaic; or possibly like a patchwork quilt drawing together elements from previous episodes. The doll’s house with its ornate furnishings and Louis XIV-y vibe brought to mind the sumptuous Girl in the Fireplace with its wig-wearing clockwork people who were (improbably) stalking Madame de Pompadour. Creepy dolls with smooth, blank faces? Check.

Not to mention the fact that the concept of a scared little child-alien has already been covered (albeit quite badly) in the Olympic-themed Tennant era episode Fear Her. Although like some kind of malevolent Rolf Harris, that particular alien chose to imprison things that alarmed it inside drawings rather than a charity shop wardrobe.

Even the London council estate setting in Night Terrors seemed rather familiar after countless Rose Tyler era episodes set in ‘EastendersLand’, as Amy described it: making it sound like some kind of theme park featuring a ride called Oblivion where you have to drink yourself into a state of near-catatonia in the Old Vic. Read more of this post

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