Doctor Who – The Christmas Invasion

Reinstated from Scary Rob’s Doctor Who Blog

Sometimes Doctor Who ends up with a strange tension between the quality of the script and the quality of production and as a writer I tend to focus too hard on the former. The production values lately have been excellent and The Christmas Invasion has carried the baton of visual presentation with aplomb. I know everyone involved works hard on the show and they all help to make a stonking production. Can I lay into the script now?

No, it wasn’t that bad. It was just a typical RTD episode – a collection of good ideas strung together by no plot. The man himself said he didn’t want to write a Christmas romp like The Feast of Steven from back in the Hartnell days but that’s what he delivered. Okay, so the Christmas bit was over and done with in favour of the real story by about half way through but the meat of the plot just didn’t appear quickly enough. And the Doctor’s sudden, save-the-day appearance at the end made the resolution feel awfully rushed to me, making it hard to take the story seriously as a genuine-spirited Doctor Who episode. The worst of it comes with the Christmas tree scene. Murray Gold merrily took all the menace out of a brilliant idea with that comical sped-up refrain of ‘Jingle Bells’ before Russell T Davies finally killed it with the Doctor suddenly waking up on Rose’s command to blow away the threat with his sonic screwdriver. Talk about uninventive. This is precisely why the production team did away with the damn thing in 1983 – ‘the Doctor zaps it with his sonic screwdriver’ is too easy a solution to any threat. And the way in which the Doctor woke up in that scene was just too damn contrived for words.

All this is not to say I didn’t enjoy the episode immensely; I just think it could have been so much better. Yet some really wonderful things came out of it. This next statement really deserves the bold, italic capitals as far as I’m concerned: DAVID TENNANT IS THE DOCTOR. There, that’s out of my system for the next five minutes… Yeah, Christopher Eccleston was pretty good but the character he was playing didn’t feel like the Doctor. Tennant, on the other hand, is everything I could want the Doctor to be: he seems to possess Paul McGann’s energy with Sylvester McCoy’s brooding guile. Tennant stamped his mark on the Doctor quickly, finding his feet in the space of that first Children in Need sketch where Eccleston took five episodes to get into the swing of his character. I love the new Doctor. Heck, I love him carnally!

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~ by Scary Rob on 19 April, 2006.

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