6 years

Review: Doctor Who, The Time of the Doctor

Matt Smith's last outing as the Doctor proves to be an epically emotional instalment of our beloved Doctor Who

A review of The Time of the Doctor

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t is sad to say that all the dust has settled now on the Christmas and New Year television schedules. In amongst the repeats of classic films and old television comedy Christmas specials there were some original dramas. What was my top choice? The Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Time of the Doctor.

This year was a special episode, because it was the last episode of Matt Smith’s incarnation of the Doctor; it was known that Matt Smith would be regenerating into Peter Capaldi. How could they possibly follow on from the epic 50th anniversary episode in November? I was very keen to see what would happen.

The Doctor Who Christmas episode must have references towards Christmas in it. This year was no exception. The companion, Clara (Jenna Coleman) was attempting to cook Christmas dinner for her family and needed to find someone to pose as a boyfriend. I’m sure many an adult has had to prove to their parents at Christmas time that they haven’t been left on the shelf for yet another year! Unfortunately the Doctor is in the middle of being attacked by Cybermen, but somehow finds the time to go to Clara.

This episode was attempting to tie up any loose ends from Matt Smith’s era as the Doctor. We had the mystery of Trenzalore, the crack in the wall was back and Silence has fallen. A town called Christmas on the planet Trenzalore is the setting. The Doctor is trying to answer a distress signal from a planet that is cloaked and can’t be seen. This planet could be Gallifrey, the Doctor’s home planet which had been destroyed in the Time War centuries before.

Or had it? As Doctor Who history had changed in the 50th anniversary episode in November. The Doctor is granted permission to go to Trenzalore by a High Priestess of the Church of the Mainframe, who will keep the stale mate between the forces of the Cybermen, Daleks and other enemies of the Doctor who want to destroy the cloaked planet (Gallifrey) and stop the Time Lords returning.

The episode is fast paced in some places and in others slow. For most of the episode the Doctor spends some three centuries in the town called Christmas on the planet of Trenzalore. He sends Clara away to save her. There are battles fought between the Daleks and other enemies. The lead up to the final showdown reveals that the Time Lords had been asking a question through the crack in the wall: Doctor Who? Trying to prompt the Doctor into speaking his real name so that the Time Lords would know that it was safe to come through from their alternative universe. The Doctor kept silent during the centuries.

The final battle sees the Doctor old and dying. In theory it should have been his death. For it had been told before that Trenzalore was the Doctor’s final resting place. However, in true Doctor Who fashion there was a twist; Clara spoke to the crack in the wall to get the Time Lords to help, and following this we have to say goodbye to the Doctor as Matt Smith.

Reading the reactions to Peter Capaldi turning into the Doctor, it seems that the fangirls who loved the young David Tennant and Matt Smith think that Peter Capaldi is too old. I say fine; like those eras of Doctor Who and don’t embrace the programme as a whole with all its history and future. I experienced the fangirls when I went to watch the 50th anniversary episode in the cinema (they are very unique, is all I can say!).

I think the casting of an older actor will be good for the programme, and there is still room for speculation on how many lives the Doctor has now with the intervention of the Time lords in giving him regeneration energy. I look forward to the next series, which is speculated to hit our screens September 2014. In the meantime happy watching of Doctor Who box sets!


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