Rating the Doctor Who Christmas Specials


A feature by DARKNITE

Every Christmas a tradition has developed among us fanboys and fangirls, watching the Doctor Who Christmas special. Since 2005 we have thrilled to the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors on their adventures during the most wonderful time of the year. As we prepare for Doctor Who: The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe here is a look back at the previous Doctor Who specials.

The Christmas Invasion: It all started here for everyone’s beloved Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. At the end of the first season we saw the first regeneration of the revamped series and we barely had time to get over the loss of Christopher Eccelston, when the Earth needed the Doctor once more who is still recovering from the previous events. This special sees Rose handling most of the action alongside her boyfriend Mickey as the Sycorax invade the planet. When the Doctor finally recovers (thanks to some tea) he puts all doubts to rest as to his ability to handle the task at hand. With a thrilling duel on top of a space ship and the Prime Minister brought down there is never a dull moment in the first Christmas special which set a high bar for the others to follow. 10/10

The Tenth Doctor readies for his adventures

The Runaway Bride: The dramatic tearjerker which was the finale of season 2 came to an abrupt end when somehow Catherine Tate appeared on the TARDIS in a wedding dress. As the Doctor tries to get to the bottom of things, he discovers that this newcomer, Donna Noble is a bridezilla who desperately needs to get back to her ceremony. Before long, it is discovered that her fiancee is not all that he seems to be and that Torchwood is involved with a deeper conspiracy involving a spiderlike race called the Racnoss. In order to save the world from the Racnoss the Doctor must resort to a morally questionable solution, which reaffirmed why the Time Lord needs a companion. The wonderful chemistry between Tennant and Tate had yet to develop and she comes off as very grating in this special, but despite it’s flaws the TARDIS in a car chase is pure entertainment. 8/10

Voyage of the Damned: The setting alone confirms why Doctor Who is the most imaginative show on television: the Titanic in space being taken over by robot angels. In a take on the Poseidon Adventure, the Doctor must lead a band of survivors including a potential new companion played by Kylie Minogue, to safety. Despite the imagination in the episode’s concept, the villain’s plan is rather dull and Kylie Minogue’s inclusion is simply there a a bit of stunt casting, nevertheless the episode remains entertaining, and is worth watching just to hear the Doctor shout: “Allonsy Alonzo!” while saving the planet. 7/10

The Next Doctor: The Doctor shows up at an ideal location, a Victorian Christmas, and immediately meets a man calling himself; the Doctor. This man uses a regular screwdriver as a sonic screwdriver and even has a companion named Rose. Before he can get to the bottom of things, the Doctor discovers an invasion of Cybermen in progress. The mystery of the mysterious man is rather predictable and the Cybermen prove to just a stand in for any generic Who villain that could have been used. This proves to easily be the least entertaining of all the specials. 5/10

The End of Time Parts 1&2: Before you say anything, I am aware that the second part is technically a New Years special, but you can’t have one of these specials without the other. While knowing the four knocks serving as an omen to his end are imminent the Doctor is aided by his old friend Wilfred as his most dangerous enemy; The Master returns and the truth behind why the Doctor destroyed his own people is revealed. Being the end of Tennant’s run on the show this special spared no expense and went for broke in terms of action, story, and emotion. When all the universe ending craziness is over, all that’s left is for the Tenth Doctor to bid farewell to those whom he had called friends during his tenure. This special had no shortage of the craziness that highlighted Russell T Davies’ stint as the show’s head writer, but it remained highly entertaining throughout from the ominous opening to the tearjerking farewell where the Tenth Doctor finally experiences the snow he has yearned to see every Christmas. 8/10

The Doctor must stop the End of Time

A Christmas Carol: Easily the most Christmas-y of all the Christmas specials. The Eleventh Doctor’s companions are trapped on a damaged ship hurdling towards a planet, who’s skies are controlled by a bitter old man who does not care to save them. Resorting to the tactics of Charles Dickens, rather than defeating the man as he had so many other of his foes, he opts to change the man for the better. Featuring a compelling performance by the legendary actor Michael Gambon, this episode is a tearjerker about love and redemption, and what it means to be half way out of the dark. 10/10

Can time be rewritten to change a man?