Who's Better, Who's Best

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Christmas Review #12 of 12

Who’d have guessed that my 12th and final Christmas review would have been the Doctor Who, Christmas day extravaganza, “The Runaway Bride“? And it’s the twelfth day after Christmas too, genius eh?! After just two installments of a Christmas Day DW special and following the success of “The Christmas Invasion” in 2005, it would now seem that the good Doctor is becoming a fixture in the BBC1 schedules. It comes with plenty of extras too: last year we were treated to an extra, interactive, red-button episode after the main event, while this year we had a one-hour installment of Doctor Who Confidential that focussed on the series’ music and behind the scenes activity at the recent Children In Need concert, which itself was available in full on the red button. BBC Wales, you’re spoiling us!

To the story itself. By 7pm on a Christmas afternoon most of the adults will be suitably sozzled while the kids will be in serious need of a little sit down and some quiet time. What better occasion to switch on the TV and tune in to an hour of pure silliness. With the tear still not dry on his cheek after losing Rose, the Doctor is face-to-face with the incredibly angry and upset Donna who thinks she has just been kidnapped from her wedding. A contrived plot about “huon” particles and giant spiders gives us the opportunity to once again meet the evil santas and deadly Christmas trees, encounter another Torchwood facility, witness an amazing chase scene between a london cab and the TARDIS, and see the relationship between the Doctor and Donna grow to mutual respect and allow the healing process to begin. All this and it introduced the most terrifying of scary monsters.
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Visually, it was superb. Sarah Parish as the empress of Racnoss gave a sterling, OTT performance in the most sensational of prosthetic get-ups. The realisation of the chase scene (except for a single, two-second cutaway) was also brilliant. Catherine Tate‘s “stunt casting” has been the subject of some heated debate, for much of the story it seemed caricature rather than character but as the plot moved along the better she got, although I’m pleased she lasted just the one story (and got her name in the titles to boot). David Tennant gave his best performance so far, he seemed to very slightly take his foot off the gas and it was a touch less manic and a little slower and it resulted in a much more enjoyable character. After all of that, we also got the teaser trailer for season three… how am I going to wait?

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  1. January 3rd, 2008

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