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Sunday, 26 December 2010

Doctor Who - A Christmas Carol (with S6 Trailer)

Christmas comes but once a year. Which is a good job because I don't think I could take a whole series of what we had yesterday. I mean that in the nicest way possible. It was perfect Christmas Afternoon Telly. It was sentimental, exciting, silly, big and noisy and musical and funny. I sat there in near silence watching it without moving...

Doctor Who's take on A Christmas Carol was a real treat. I know there were some who knew more than others about what to expect and how things would turn out, but even the most spoiled of fans must have had a surprise or two as the - frankly insane - story unfolded over the course of one of the best hours the DW production team have given us in ages, in my opinion.

Scrooge became Sardick and the whole Christmas Carol ending was reached in style, at speed and with such charm that I found myself smiling to myself and whispering "this is what they do best". It had all you could ever ask for in a massive, effects-heavy fantasy Christmas Special: flying fish, a massive, helpful shark and a bunch of Christmas Carols shamelessly wedged in, just to cheer us all the hell up. And it worked! This was massively effective, smile-inducing stuff.

I have a feeling, though, that the stuff that worked best for me on an icy Christmas night was the stuff the more die-hard (or purist) fans would undoubtedly hate. The whole Hollywood Pool Party bit where the Doctor is hurried into firstly, performing a duet with "Frank" and then marrying Marilyn... just because! - I could give you a list of names as long as my arm of people who I reckon huffed audibly at that little bit... I know many who would  hate those little touches, but at Christmas, that was perfect. And it was played for the laugh, rather than for the controversy it would cause, probably, among "us". There honestly wasn't a single minute of the Special that lost me. I was enthralled, like a little kid, at the "Doctor in the Video" time-travel trick; more of THAT sort of timey-wimey please! It was great!

The cast - all of them - shone. Even though Arthur and Karen got less airtime than a CGI fish, they lit the screen up and left me in no doubt whatsoever that the TARDIS has never had such a watchable crew. Matt, Gambon and Katherine Jenkins were perfect - not even the accents messed anything up - as was each incarnation of Kazran's youngest selves. Plot-wise, it made sense - clever and interesting - but was a little thin. This one was about one thing and one thing only: Kazran's love for a secretive woman he should never have had the chance to fall for. It brought a tear to my gravy-glazed Christmas eye. Lovely, heart-warming and, at times, disturbing and powerful stuff.

And if the trailer shown at the end (below) is anything to go by, we're in for an even more interesting and rip-roaringly adventurous - and secretive - outing come 2011.