Doctor Who and the End of Time (part two)

Part one of David Tennant’s final adventure was mainly made up of the Master eating, laughing and leading the Doctor in the mother of all run arounds interspersed with cut aways to the Timelords providing narration and promises of something truly impressive.

For the most part, the second installment was more of the same.

While the Master took a back seat to the main plot and the Doctor seemed to take up more screen time it was Timothy Dalton’s truly insane performance in a bathrobe that threatened to overtake the entire program. Almost every review I’ve read has talked about the uneven feeling of the episode, the cobbled together plot and the need for Tennant’s death scene to be about 20 minutes shorter than it was.

As for my own observations, I’ll try to make this review brief.

When Doctor Who returned, there was a lot of exposition regarding something called a Time War which presumably cleaned the slate of all the classic Doctor Who monsters as they battled the Doctor’s people, the Time Lords. It left a war-torn intergalactic ghetto in which the Doctor roamed about trying his best to assist those left in the wake of the war find their way toward bettering themselves. As the only Time Lord in existence, the Doctor had a bit of an identity crisis. After the War Games introduced the Time Lords in 1968, the Doctor has been defined by his interactions with the godlike beings. Be it as their agent, rebel or President, the Doctor found meaning in relation to these powerful beings who could control time yet chose to remain passive. With no more Time Lords, what was the Doctor? He had no one to rebel against, stand up to in court or defend in their hour of need. It was a brilliant maneuver of the new series and gave it a unique identity. It also paved the way for new monsters.

In the subsequent seasons we have seen that the Daleks found a way out of the Time War and a new race of Cybermen created from a parallel reality. The Master somehow found a way out before the Time War broke out by hiding inside of a cover persona Dr. Yana. He has since taken every effort to make life Hell for what he views as the Doctor’s pet race of humanity. First he led tricked the last vestiges of the human race into thinking they were headed for Utopia when in fact they were vivisected into little balls of hate that were used to assault contemporary Earth. So evil was the Master that he tricked death itself and ‘refused’ to regenerate after the Doctor had forgiven him.

The resurgence of classic monsters has made the Time War useless in many respects. When it was first brought up it was envisioned as an epic war that destroyed all the baddies of old with only the Doctor managing to escape. Since then, almost all of the classic monsters have returned. It seems that everyone survived, so what’s the tragedy?

Meanwhile the Doctor has become more human than ever in his latest incarnation and has professed something close to love for his one time companion Rose. Unable to live with her, he has watched from afar and become lovesick and emotionally distraught, often leading him to extreme acts of compassion at one moment violence and destruction at another. Tethered to human behavior by a series of companions, he has tried to temper this attitude but in the past year he has traveled alone.

In his most recent adventure, it occurred to him that as the only Time Lord in the universe, there were no longer any rules that prevented him from perverting history to his liking. Shocked and disturbed by this revelation, he was visited by an Ood who alerted him that his song was coming to an end. Given a vision of the Master’s return and a warning that the End of Time was approaching, the Doctor launched himself into the fray once again, but this time overwrought with knowledge of his own demise.

Using alien technology, the Master has transformed the entire human population into iterations of himself. While a race of megalomaniacal geniuses may sound menacing, the program shows them as rather polite and obedient soldiers (and completely unlike the Master except in appearance). The sole purpose of a planet of Masters is apparently to track down the source of the drumming that the Master has heard in his head since a child when he stared into the vortex and ‘went mad.’ Why he would want to do this and how is rather ropey.

The Doctor manages to escape the Master’s clutches in perhaps the biggest plot contrivance I’ve ever  seen in any of RTD’s scripts. In a previous adventure former companion Donna had somehow obtained the knowledge of the Doctor and was about to go critical mass before the Doctor fixed her so that she never remembered any of it. The catch was that if she ever started to remember her head would explode and  therefore die. As we see Donna in an alley confronted by an army of apparently cannibalistic Master clones she starts to remember what she was meant to forget. Rather than explode, though, she fires off some kind of energy wave that momentarily disrupts the Master’s control allowing the Doctor and Wilf to escape.

… handy, eh?

Facing an entire planet of Masters takes a back seat as the Lord President of Timelords consults his council of extras and the crazy doodler with henna tattoos for a route out of extinction.

Apparently the Time Lords have been stuck in something called a Time Lock during the Time War. This is odd since we were told several times (even in this story) that they were dead. The Master and Doctor are somehow viewed as terribly important to Time Lord history and this episode is perhaps why. By use of a diamond and a drum machine crossed with a time machine, the Lord President creates a tether from the Time Locked Gallifrey to contemporary Earth. While Donna’s grandada Wilf thinks this is great news, the Doctor explains that the Time Lords have been driven mad by war and are the worst evil ever. Dutifully, the Master plays along even though he has always hated his people and opens a gateway for the Lord President and his posse to cross. Why they just stand in the magical door frame after passing through the gate I don’t understand.

As all of this comes to a head, the Doctor continues to have a crisis of what to do as he has been told all paths lead to his death. Despite the fact that every other version of the Doctor up until this point has proven so brave that he would gladly lay down his life for another, this Doctor is desperately looking for a loophole that will allow him to survive all of this. Meanwhile Wilf has been visited by a mysterious woman who has urged him to arm the Doctor for his final moments with an old service revolver that Wilf retained from his time in the military. Who is she? No idea.

After an embarrassingly poor looking battle against all of the nuclear arsenals of the world on board a goofy mining craft designed for scavenging space debris, the Doctor simply jumps from a spaceship in mid-flight into the lab where the Master is bringing the Time Lords to Earth through a magical gate. No kidding. As the program entered the realm of Looney Tunes logic, it also madly tugged at the heart strings of the audience as a bloody and beaten Doctor whirled from the Master to the Lord President with the hand gun ready to kill someone but unsure who.

It’s also interesting to note that the Lord President was revealed to be Rassilon, the father of the Time Lord race… but I’ll just let that lie. So powerful is Rassilon that he simply returns the human race to normalcy with his magical gauntlet, wrapping up that plot thread neatly.

Timothy Dalton armed with the Power Glove of Rassilon

But the Master has super lightning!

But the Doctor can reflect the Master's magic lightning!

In a clever moment, the Doctor fires his gun not at either man but at the magical diamond machine keeping the gateway open, damning the Time Lords to the Time Locked Gallifrey forever or whenever another writer decides to revive them again. In the last moments, the Master lets loose with some of his dark force lightning and does battle with Lord President Timothy Dalton’s goofy power glove and become wrapped up in a ball of blinding light. After an exhausting series of awful scenes, the Doctor is hysterical with emotion thinking that he has somehow evaded his death only to hear four knocks that have been hinted at for several episodes as marking his final moments.

I have to admit that there was a massive plot point that I never caught involving a two man glass cabinet hooked up to a nuclear reactor that involved the buddy system. No idea. Unfortunately this plot thread proved to be the most important one. Wilf had locked himself in one side, requiring the Doctor to enter the other part and press a button so that Wilf could be free. Unfortunately, the radiation had spiked and would flood the chamber as soon as the Doctor did this.

After all my negative comments of the episode, the next moment was by far the worst in my opinion and in keeping with my judgement that this IS NOT THE DOCTOR.

Rather than boldly and silently sacrifice himself for Wilf and regenerate, instead the Doctor has a hissy fit that he doesn’t wanna die and is far too important to die. After making Wilf feel sufficiently awkward, the Doctor presses the switch and is bombarded with radiation. Rather than simply dying there and then, the Doctor goes on to perform a series of acts in which he visits a former friend, does something nice then pouts from a distance. I had never seen a ‘pouting montage’ before. Thanks, RTD. It had to be the most prolonged and obnoxious sequence that Russell T Davies had ever written and cheapened a moment that should have been poignant and meaningful for fans of this era.

After once again establishing like a petulant child that he didn’t wanna die, the Doctor erupts in silly regeneration flames that have somehow become linked to the moment in the new show and we are given the first glimpse of Doctor No. 11.

As I was writing this, I found myself summarizing a number of ideas that this era of Doctor Who had put forth that are in themselves not bad. Having a Doctor who has become more human and manic is interesting in itself, but in the end this Doctor was just so very selfish and obnoxious in his attitude that only by forcing the other characters to champion him as their savior or plotting the stories to make him into a hero would work. I know that Doctor No. 10 is very popular and that David Tennant has the biggest following since Doctor No. 4 Tom Baker but again in my opinion he was given terrible material to work with and a head writer who failed to understand what he had created.

The tenth Doctor saw himself as a godlike being also capable of damming entire races to extinction and having a pint of bitter at the local pub with the punters. If the program had explored that idea and showed how flawed and dangerous that approach was (as hinted at in Fear Her, Waters of Mars and the Doctor’s speech to Wilf in this very episode), it could have have been a sophisticated and complex tale. Instead, we are expected to accept that the Doctor is a Christ-like wizard with puppy dog eyes and a magic wand who refuses to pay the piper for his actions.

I keep saying this, but the tenth Doctor is a missed opportunity in terms of the character and actor. In re-reading my articles on his second series, I recognized Tennant’s strengths and the importance of a good companion for him to work off of (in my opinion this was Freema Ageyman). The longer that Tennant and Davies collaborated on Doctor Who the more melodramatic, childish and obnoxious it became.  Tennant ranted and raved more and his eyes and teeth threatened to pop out of his skull with each moment of over-acting. There was always potential for a good and in some cases amazing story that got side-lined by RTD’s insistence on using his bad ideas and worse ‘human interest’ angles.

In any case, the book has closed on this chapter and another is on its way in the Spring.

Doctor No. 10 gives way to No. 11

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Doctor Who and the End of Time (part one)

Doctor Who and the End of Time (part one)

David Tennant as Doctor Who

I’m still fighting a nasty cold but I wanted to write this while the viewing was still fresh in my mind. I apologize if my stream of consciousness gets muddy.

I had intended to review two regeneration stories from the Classic Doctor Who to show how difficult they are to construct. As examples I had chosen Planet of the Spiders (Doctor No. 3, Jon Pertwee) and Logopolis (Doctor No. 4, Tom Baker) as they not only served as the final adventure for that Doctor but also closed the book on a specific period of the program.

Doctor Who - Jon Pertwee

In Pertwee’s case, the old regime led by producer Barry Letts was on the way out and incoming series producer Phillip Hinchcliffe was on his way in. The story reflected a lot of the ideas regarding Eastern philosophy that Letts held dear and a humbling of one of the most powerful and massive egos the Doctor has exuded in Doctor No. 3. It has it’s problems (goofy special effects, goofier spiders) but it encapsulates so much of what the team was shooting for in those final episodes.

Doctor Who - Tom Baker

Logopolis is another story entirely and I must confess I have never fully understood what the point of the story is. I grasp the plot, but as a final adventure of the most beloved version of the Doctor played by Tom Baker it makes so very little sense. A runaround of complex mathematical ideas and the Master’s chicanery, it’s not exactly one of the better stories of the Classic Doctor Who series aside from that final moment where we see not only the Doctor but in my opinion the actor Tom Baker himself realize that the ride he has been on for the past 7 years has come to a stop. It’s a classic moment interrupted by obnoxious flashbacks to previous villains, but it still makes the grade for me.

I had decided to leave out Caves of Androzani as it hits all the right marks and has enough love going for it.

Doctor Who - Christopher Eccleston

I will give another feather for RTD’s cap that aside from writing a good introduction to the series for new viewers (no mean feat!), he also included the Daleks in a regeneration story for Doctor No. 9. Of course they had nothing to do with that Doctor’s regeneration, but never mind. Despite its numerous problems, Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways is actually a very good regeneration story. RTD’s script tied up several ideas, had the Doctor who had previously found himself frozen with inaction finally possessed of the kind of self-confidence the viewers had been waiting for and deliver the kind of threat to the largest army of Daleks ever visualized on screen.

Sure, it had all these out of place references to reality programs that RTD thought was funny, and the regeneration itself was a mess… and don’t get me started on the reveal behind what Bad Wolf means… but never mind. I rarely give the guy any acclaim.

So given the fact that I have established that final stories in which not only the Doctor but the production staff are leaving are difficult yet RTD has managed to compose at least one regeneration story that I liked… I sat down to watch End of Time part one on BBC America. Before I begin with the official review, let me just say how lucky modern fans are that they are getting the opportunity to see new Doctor Who one day after the UK audience. That is so very cool. Imagine being a fan in the olden days and having to wait at least a year to see the new series and when it arrived there you were watching Colin Baker wondering what had happened. It’s also wonderful that modern fans get the chance to experience the one-week wait for the next part.

However, the new episode is such a sordid mess that it almost feels cruel that after waiting so long for the stars to align so that fans of this cult series can see a new episode so soon that they are given a half-baked mixture of ideas that fail to combine into a single story.

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Doctor Who and the Waters of Mars

Doctor Who
2009 Special 2, ‘The Waters of Mars’
By Phil Ford and Russell T Davies

With The Waters of Mars raking in 9.1 million viewers, 88% of the total viewing figures on a Sunday night it would seem that this episode was a roaring success. For those living in the US, the special will premiere on BBC America (hopefully unedited) on 18 December. As such, if you are American and wish to remain in the dark on this one (and have avoided any spoilers up until now), read no further.

SPOILERS AHOY…

waters of mars
This could be the first time that a Doctor Who script bears recognition of head series writer Russell T Davies (RTD) as a contributer to a script. As head writer RTD has treated authors of the new series badly, in my opinion, demanding that they meet his demands as you would treat a flatmate filling a shopping list such as ‘Queen Victoria, Werewolf, and kung-fu monks.’ If the script left out any of his odd ideas it was either scrapped or rewritten. I believe this may be why Stephen Fry (rumored to contribute a script from series 1) has been noticeably absent and despite news that star David Tennant refused to work with her, the real reason why Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has not submitted a script for consideration. If I were either Rowling or Fry and there was the possibility that my script would be rewritten by RTD… I’d rather not participate.

Former Coronation Street and Bad Girls scribe Phil Ford also acted as head writer for the Sarah Jane Smith Adventures during its second season, so he and RTD have a bit of a history. The reason that I bring any of this up is that it’s unclear to me what parts of the script were submitted by Ford and what was written or rewritten by RTD… not that it really matters in the end.

What Ford brought to the screen I’m not sure as so many of RTD’s old ideas rear their ugly heads from the Doctor as a miraculous figure, a supporting cast of models and monsters without a backstory.

The story is in many ways an homage to the classic series as it involves a base under siege (something that the classic program presented ad nauseum) and an adventure set on another planet. It is very unclear to me what RTD’s relationship is to the classic series as he has openly attacked fans in interviews as being thick and unable to appreciate his stories yet he has also forced several classic monsters (such as the obscure Macra) and ideas (including U.N.I.T.) into the new program that it would seem he is struggling to attract an audience that he has already shunned. In any case, the special effects are passable but noticeably cheap.

The opening shot of the Mars base (named Bowie Base One) looked like a process shot right out of the 1960’s… and not in a good way. The monsters were a noble attempt in some ways to present what I have often applauded the new series for, introducing new ideas, but they are very goofy and make very little sense. Many classic monsters are also goofy and nonsensical, but their shortcomings are usually not stressed by the script that they first appear in. Much like emotional Cybermen in Earthshock, we are presented with ‘patient’ monsters who are presented as eager runners in one scene and casual strollers in another. Their main threat also seems to be their ability to spray water everywhere and overcome the atmospheric integrity of the base. Was this a thinly veiled message to the space program that ‘air tight does not equal water tight’? And does it? I’m still not sure.

A monster that multiplies its threat via infection is already a very dated concept and will most likely be viewed in the future as we view the ‘red menace’ plot ideas from the 1950’s are today. Additionally, the script is full of flowery prose that attempts to make something as pedestrian as water terrifying, with Tennant delivering the icey line ‘water can wait’ as if I should shudder the next time I visit the tap. The monsters themselves seem to be able to sprint quite well when we first see them yet the script reminds us moodily that ‘water is patient.’ Presumably water is also inconsistent and far from patient, it just cooperates with the demands of the script.

The name-drop of the Ice Warriors was intended, I am sure, to sate viewers of the classic series who had heard rumblings of the Martians returning for over two years now, but it was a hollow reference. The fact that the classic villains had unearthed something that they didn’t understand is only worth presenting if the writer understands what it was. The monster ends up being yet another mysterious threat that the Doctor dispatches (see Impossible Planet/Satan Pit, The Idiot’s Lantern, Midnight and more) and that is a sign of very bad writing. It transforms imaginative and intelligent science fiction into sub-standard children’s fantasy.

doctorwho_watersofmars

The super soaker... of death!

RTD and Ford present the viewer with a moral dilemma in that the Doctor has arrived at what he defines as a ‘fixed point’ in time, meaning that whatever happens has cemented in place as a necessary event. It also seems to imply lots of death. The fact that the previous ‘fixed point’ was the destruction of Pompeii (name-dropped in this story) and that the Doctor openly interfered with that event is very puzzling. I’m guessing that the rules are clear to the Doctor but not to the writers. Again, this is a very interesting idea and cements into a place a kind of ‘prime directive’ that the Doctor must abide by… in addition to a very compelling turn of events… but I’ll get to that in a moment.

The cast is made up of the usual bizarre mix of skilled TV actors and plank-like pretty faces. Honestly, what is the deal with the robot controller guy and renowned model-who-thinks-she-can-act Gemma Chan? However we do have Peter O’Brien and Lindsay Duncan who attempt (along with Tennant’s help) to do the ‘heavy lifting’ of the episode. They are so good that it almost works. However, the familiar gremlins of poor writing and an atrocious score team up with the aforementioned lousy supporting cast to undo what could be a stand -out episode.

DoctorWho_TheWatersofMars

Guys, it's just a light rain.

One of the other major culprits to this episode’s success is the insistence on presenting online news feeds to convey events. Not only does this show zero belief in Tennant’s acting ability and the audience’s intelligence but it also breaks up any kind of suspense that the story is attempting to present. After the Doctor’s face whitens as he realizes when and where he is I can figure out that something bads is going to happen. The inclusion of the first ‘news flash’ moment is unwanted… several additional such moments are positively obnoxious and belabor the point. Director Grahame Harper has given Whovians several stand-out episodes both in the new and classic series but faced with an inferior script and an apparent lack of budget (we saw lots of black empty hallways and the same gasworks from Voyage of the Damned), the end result is very uneven. The inclusion of ‘funny robot’ Gadget was not only stupid but entirely unnecessary as it added nothing to the plot. I have nothing against quirky characters but they need to be given space to develop. Gadget was a one-off joke, and a poor one at that.

I will say that having the Doctor suddenly realize that he need not obey the laws of time as he is the only surviving Timelord was a very provocative idea. I had often explained to friends that the ‘laws of time’ are more like laws of traffic than observed laws of science… but apparently I was wrong. Despite the Doctor’s burst of egotism and downright hubris he cannot change what has occurred in the timeline. Unfortunately, the Doctor’s ‘realization’ is accompanied by an embarrassing performance from Tennant and over the top music, even by Murray Gold’s usual obnoxious standard. It was a valiant attempt at introducing something new to the program as well as furthering Doctor No. 10’s journey but in the end it got lost in translation due to the low expectations that the program has on the audience’s ability to comprehend basic ideas.

The plot-thread of preserving Adelaide Brooke’s influence over space travel could have been an interesting one if the script did not hammer it home every chance that it got. In itself it’s a great idea but the execution treats the viewer as if s/he has some kind of short-term memory disorder. To prove my point, the program re-enacts a flash-back rather than relying on the acting ability of Tennant and Duncan. The short sequence of the child actress seeing a Dalek is completely unnecessary unless it used the murderous pepper pots in some way. Having the Doctor not only cite her as significant to the whole if creation including a chance encounter with a Dalek, but profess love to Adelaide Brooke was entirely over-the-top. The only real pay-off to this plot is that Adelaide kills herself in the end to ‘preserve the timeline’ however that makes no sense as she was regaled as a hero for making a noble sacrifice in space. Putting a ray gun to her head in her home on Earth is not exactly going to inspire anyone to do much of anything useful… and exactly how did the populace react to three people spontaneously travelling from Mars to Earth?

Instead of Adelaide, why not instead have space exploration start due to Ed Gold’s noble sacrifice made while exploding the escape craft while he was still on board? That would also fit in with Adelaide’s argument that the Doctor doesn’t get to decide who ‘the little people’ are. It would also justify Gold’s begrudging statements of envy during the episode, giving a reason behind his statement that his boss never let him live up to his full potential.

So in the end, this was an improvement on the previous special ‘Planet of the Dead’ but that doesn’t make it a stunner. There are several great ideas in this one but they fail to live up to their potential, making this yet another adventure that misses the mark..

Merry Christmas, Doctor

David Morrisey as 'The Other Doctor'

David Morrisey as 'The Other Doctor'

I was working on a review of the 2009 Easter Special and I realized that I never got around to reviewing the 2008 Christmas Special. So I ask that you excuse the lateness of this review.

On the off chance that you have not seen the episode yet, read no further because plot details will be revealed.

Yes, this is a SPOILER WARNING.

The build-up to this special was especially intense as the title ‘The Next Doctor,’ hinted at some big changes ahead for the show. With a relatively major star cast as the ‘Other Doctor,’ and Tennant’s recent announcement of departure, it was on everyone’s mind that this may indeed be a regeneration story. As it turns out, that was not the case, making the title completely nonsensical if you think about it. I mean, Morrisey’s character wasn’t a Doctor at all, so why the title?

In any case, the predictably routine opening sees the Doctor basking in the magic of a BBC period set, just gushing over the whimsical splendor of things that we humans take for granted. This bliss is cut short as he hears a cry for help. He dashes off (complete with overly dramatic fanfare courtesy of Murray Gold’s orchestra) to meet the fright-wig wearing Rosaita who strangely has the exact same accent as Rose and Martha and Donna. So even though the story takes place in a different time, the females have the same accent. Just an odd observation. The episode then introduces the one positive thing it has to offer, the guest star David Morrisey.

As readers may have noticed and been kind to agree to disagree with me in places, I have a very specific idea of what makes a ‘proper’ Doctor. In this respect, Morrisey hits all the right buttons for me. Noble, classy, intelligent, brave and mature this character is also dressed in a period costume, a nod to both William Hartnell’s era and the more recent Paul McGann. I understand that all of this pretense was no doubt directed at fans like myself. Fair enough. Even Tennant seems taken with him and immediately figures that this guy is some future version of himself and tries his best to politely find out how he ‘died’ leading to an 11th incarnation, but this just confuses Morrisey’s character.

Nevertheless, the pair of adventurers decide to team up to defeat the menace posed by the Cybermen. I should note that this particular attack of the Cybermen has to be its single goofiest attempt at conquest. Monsters that look like muppets with Cybermen heads attached are meant to be menacing and even roar (just like Cybermen roar) yet I couldn’t help but bust a gut every time they showed up.

Davids Morrisey and Tennant share the spotlight

Davids Morrisey and Tennant share the spotlight

This character who so brazenly enters the world of Doctor is later revealed to be Jackson Lake, a normal human who was exposed to a data storage device. The device was loaded with all of the information on the Doctor and it ‘went off’ in Morrisey’s face, causing him to ‘download’ all of the information and somehow think that he was the Doctor. The flashback to this moment featuring vintage footage of each Doctor from the old program is both heartwarming and annoying. It’s nice to see the old faces but I have to repeat myself by saying that this version of Doctor Who has so little in common with the classic series that trying to link the two never feels right to me.

Nevertheless, the devious villainess Miss Hartegan played with gusto by Dervla Kirwan (of Randal and Hopkirk, Deceased), adds a certain element of classic Who to the program. Hartegan is working with the Cybermen in a rather classic misunderstanding that has been played out in most every Cybermen story. Hartegan thinks that she can use the Cybermen to further her own goals while the Cybermen are in fact using her for theirs. Unfortunately RTD establishes this “I’m terribly evil” character type and stops right there, leaving Kirwan little to do other than strut theatrically about in her red frock and spout hastily-written feminist dogma around. The fact that she is placed in the center of ‘the Cyber King’ is both silly and nonsensical. The episode has spent the entire episode establishing how strong-willed Miss Hartegan is, so why do the Cybermen think they can control her? Is this some kind of misogynystic statement of the series? Probably not.

There is a last minute inclusion of child labor that is unintentionally hilarious as the cast of as grade school production of Oliver! is paraded through town to a factory where the Cybermen are doing something… terribly unexplained. The children are ‘enslaved’ for all of 5 minutes tops before Jackson Lake and the Doctor liberate them, yet the audience is somehow expected to well up with emotion about this. It’s the one major failing of the Special and for me… that’s pretty good.

A light-hearted special with some dodgy special effects and a series of excessively long dramatic moments centered on the Doctor’s hair and a young ashen-faced child actor’s long eyelashes, this could be the best holiday special the new series has to offer.

Don’t worry, I’m about to finish ‘Planet of the Dead’ and get back to my normal cranky self.

Doctor Who- Planet of the Dead trailer

The official trailer for the Easter 2009 Doctor Who special has finally been released… start salivating…

who-easterFilmed in Dubai, the latest special introduces new companion Lady Christina de Souza (played by the Bionic Woman’s Michele Ryan) and two new alien races.

The new special will air on BBC2 in the U.K. on the 11th of April. No news on as stateside screening so get hunting for those torrents!

This will be the first of 4 specials as the 10th Doctor’s era comes to a close.

Star David Tennant stated that he has spoken to his replacement, the youngest actor cast to play the central role, Matt Smith, and that he had no words of advice for his successor.

“We did chat on the phone. And we may well again, I suppose. But there’s nothing to say. He’ll do it his own way.

“He’s too good and too interesting an actor to want to know from anyone else how to do it.

“He’s quite a natty dresser, is Matt. They may have to tone him down, actually. He’s quite wacky. In a very stylish way, of course. He makes me feel old.”

Tennant said that he doesn’t expect any fancy gifts, but wouldn’t mind a souvenir from the show.  “A sonic screwdriver would be nice. But there’s only two. And they’re worth a fortune.”

Honestly, Tennant has gotten so intimate with the prop… who else would want it?

doctor_who___david_tennant_by_jennicat5

Ergh…

Doctor Who-2008 Christmas Special

So much for my career as a mystic!

Despite my prediction that big changes are on their way for next year with a new producer and new Doctor, it appears that Tennant is still the reigning timelord of the season.

(guest star David Morrissey – the ‘other Doctor’ and David Tennant pictured)

A recent post to a Doctor Who entry on my blog alerted me to the fact that this year’s Christmas Special is already in production and filming in Gloucester. A mixture of a period piece and alien invasion story, this year’s holiday special will feature the dreaded robotic Cybermen in a Victorian England setting.

(on the spot footage)

It bears mention that next year will be a year of specials rather than a full 13 episodes. It has also been mentioned that Tennant may not be in all four of these specials. Could this Christmas Special be a tale from the Doctor‘s past?

And just why is David Morrissey‘s character refered to as ‘the other Doctor?’ Is this the face of the 11th Doctor?

We’ll have to wait and see.