DVD Review: Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol


ON planets the universe over, civilisations celebrate the midpoint of winter, the point when they are halfway out of the darkness and cold, a festival known on many human colonies as Christmas. Arriving on an unnamed world covered by deep mists filled with flying fish, the Doctor (Matt Smith) needs to clear the icy fog to save a stricken space liner plummeting groundwards. With 4,000 passengers onboard, including the Doctor’s honeymooning companions Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), the only man who can save them is lonely millionaire miser Kazran Sardick (Michael Gambon), ruler of Sardicktown and sole controller of a weather-manipulating antennae…

But with the selfish and soulless Sardick refusing to act, the Doctor is forced to travel back into Kazran’s timeline to manipulate his past, reawakening his love of life and also introducing him to the beautiful Abigail (Katherine Jenkins), just one of the many cryogenically-frozen people stored as “collateral” beneath the city…

The Doctor travels through time to celebrate successive Christmas Eves in the company of Kazran and Abigail, hoping to inspire his later self to save the space liner before it’s too late…

Continuing with the fairytale themes established in the last series, this latest Christmas special is more fantasy than science fiction, but this fits in perfectly with both the festive feel and Dickens-inspired narrative.

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Smith pretty much carries the whole episode, with Gillan and Darvill relegated to very small appearances, and it’s tantamount to how he has made the role of the Doctor his own that you barely notice. The supporting cast are first-rate, and there’s definitely an acting future ahead of Katherine Jenkins if she decides to give up on the singing.

All in all one of the most successful Who Christmas specials, it bodes well for the forthcoming series.

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