Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Next Doctor B
I’ve taken on the challenge of doing a spoiler free review of this Doctor Who Christmas special as a courtesy to those which have yet to see it, although, I must say, what with all the rumours regarding the identity of the Eleventh Doctor, and the title of this episode being what it is… well, this is a bit difficult.
What I will say is that all is not as it seems, although most hardcore viewers will figure that out for themselves. I will also say that David Morrissey does do a brilliant job as the next Doctor and he and David Tenant are very well matched together. Another performance worth mentioning is Dervla Kirwan who plays the devilish Miss Hartigan with great relish.
I for one thoroughly enjoyed the Voyage of the Damned, so I’m not sure I was ready for another full on Christmas episode, plus I haven’t been too impressed with the Cybermen of late. This episode was Christmassy without the in-your-faceness of earlier episodes like The Christmas Invasion. This world was perfect Dickens “A Cybermen Carol.” Unfortunately, the Cybermen were still not quite as well utilized as I’d like (they need to be more menacing!!) and frankly the Cybershades were pretty naff (though oddly reminiscent of No-Face from Spirited Away).
Watching The Next Doctor, some viewers may feel that this is a fairly standard episode until… well, about the last ten minutes. It is at that point that Russell T. Davis and crew ratchet it up a few notches by including a pretty impressive Iron Giant which reminds you that this is not just your run of the mill episode.
For all its cheesiness (yes, there is an Oliver Twist-type scene) this episode works. True, the Cybermen could’ve had more to do, but unlike other episodes, I didn’t feel like they’d overstayed their welcome. And frankly, between Tenant, Morrissey and Kirwan, there was plenty to enjoy.
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