So what did you think of it? I'd find it hard not to enjoy Doctor Who I have to say as it's woven into the very fibre of my being and I've avidly followed the renegade Time Lord's adventures my whole life. Hell, I even got close to writing for it at one time when I was asked by John Nathan-Turner to produce a script for the second Colin Baker season. It didn't happen sadly - the politics surrounding Baker's tenure made it almost impossible - but I still hold out hope that one day I'll get the chance again. I do treasure the memories of many visits to the BBC production office in the early 1980s and watching episodes from Peter Davison's Timeflight and Baker's Vengeance on Varos being filmed. However, back to the present and Russell T Davies' 2008 Christmas Special - The Next Doctor.
On the whole, a very enjoyable script and some great performances by David Morrissey and Dervla Kirwan. And who couldn't have loved a giant mechanical Cyberman stomping over London in 1851? (Loved the line 'Nice year. Bit dull.' What? No Great Exhibition?) Brilliant, camp, classic Doctor Who fun. The teaser trailer (basically the pre-credits sequence) was an excellent set-up as we were left wondering just who (no pun intended) this mad man and his spunky companion Rosita (Velile Tshabalala) were. The Cybermen were, if anything, background characters to Kirwan's fanatical women's-libber and I'm afraid that I still don't quite get why the Cyber-leader had a transparent brain case or what, indeed, the Cybershades were (A primitive conversion? Why? And what for?).
Tennant showed yet again what a tough act he's going to be to follow, hamming it up excellently as 'John Smith' to Morrissey's amnesiac Doctor. And, as with all of Davies' episodes there were a fair few laughs too. The diehard fans even got a treat with a few references to past episodes and a flashback that included all nine previous Doctors.
There is just one more point I'd like to make and it's this ... was this episode Russell T's homage to The Wizard of Oz? Think about it ... we had Tin Men and a wicked witch (Kirwan's Miss Hartigan). We had a chap with no brain - Morrissey's Doctor with no memory - and a man who is often accused of being heartless - Tennant's Doctor (remember the brilliant script from this year's Fires of Pompeii episode where Donna has to beg the Doctor to save the family?). We had Morrissey's Professor Marvel type character (and even a balloon), a spirited heroine in Rosita and even the Cybershades looked a bit like flying monkeys. And the scene where Morrissey's memory is restored was very similar to the Wizard's bestowing of gifts ('the bravery was you all along!) and, let's be honest, a little man looking much more powerful by hiding behind technology is a lot like Hartigan inside her giant robot!
Okay, okay. It's tenuous in the extreme but I did wonder whether it was in the back of Mr Davies' mind as he tapped away at his keyboard. Anyway, enough with this psychobabble. It was great fun and I enjoyed watching it again this morning. Let's hope that the rest of Tennant's final year is just as good, eh?