Matt watches the Christmas Specials #1: The Christmas Invasion

3 Dec

Title: The Christmas Invasion
Written by: Russell T Davies
Year: 2005

It’s Christmas 2005! The Ninth Doctor has regenerated! Doctor Who has just finished it’s first revived series! Santa-Claus is shooting at people! Killer Christmas trees! Superheated infusions of free radicals and tannins!  More see than can ever be seen! More to do than can- no, sorry that’s the Lion King… 

The Christmas Invasion was a first for Doctor Who in many respects. It was the first time the show had done a dedicated Christmas special, it was the first (but certainly not the last) time we’d hear that ominous word Torchwood, it was the first time a new generation of viewers had regeneration explained to them,  it was the first time we the extended theme of the Tennant era was used, it was the first proper story (of many, not including the Children in Need short preceding it) to star David Tennant as the Doctor, and it was the first time since the gunfighters that the show had a song specially written for an episode. Okay, so that last one was a second-first, but still – you get the picture.

The episode kicks off with a bang – quite literally – with the TARDIS crash landing back on earth after the ninth Doctor’s tumultuous regeneration. Immediately we are reintroduced to the loveable Tyler clan and the scene has been set for a festive spectacle. However, all is not well on our timelord’s favourite planet – largely due to his own energy-leaking self. There are pilot fish on the way to turn the hero into a space battery of some kind and bigger fish who want the whole planet.

With the Doctor spending most of this episode in bed, besides an epically cool scene in which he sits bolt upright and sonics a killer Christmas tree, there is still plenty in this episode to keep you happy. Harriet Jones, who is now Prime Minister (yes I know you know who she is), is on hand to face down the fearsome Sycorax while the Doctor dozes and UNIT also make a welcome return to the show after last appearing in Aliens of London.

What the Christmas Invasion excels at is exactly what any post-regeneration story should do – it reassures us that the Doctor is still the Doctor, and gives us a good old romp while it’s at it. In this case, a good old Christmas romp. The episode is peppered with great moments including references to A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Lion King and the well known “yes, we know who you are”. Also worth noting is the brilliant “Song for Ten” by Murray Gold, which made it onto the Original Series 1/2 Soundtrack.

The whole cast are on top form but, being the man of the hour, kudos must go to David Tennant for absolutely siezing the role – and making it his own. From the moment he steps out of that Police Box, we know the Doctor is in.

Favourite moment: A dramatic reveal unfolds as the characters all realise the Sycorax leader is suddenly talking English. This can only mean one thing; as everyone turns slowly around to face the TARDIS, the doors swing open… and the Doctor is back!

The Christmas Invasion is a great piece of Who and definitely worth a repeat viewing – so why not join me and watch all of the previous Christmas specials before The Doctor, the Widow and The Wardrobe this year starting with this?

8/10

Links:

Doctor Who official website page

TARDIS Index File entry

All photos taken from the BBC show Doctor Who

Next reviewed episode: http://youtu.be/2_He_esJqWg

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4 Responses to “Matt watches the Christmas Specials #1: The Christmas Invasion”

  1. Adam December 3, 2011 at 12:16 #

    You’ve inspired me Matt. Im going to watch all the Christmas specials now, keep writing reviews and I’ll comment and let you know my thoughts. X

    • gravityshmavity December 3, 2011 at 15:08 #

      Glad to hear it!
      I’m going to review one every four days leading up to Christmas so I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in retrospect… 🙂

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