In the 60-minute special, the Twelfth Doctor joins forces with the first ever Doctor David Bradley and his former Companion, Bill Pearl Mackie for an unforgettable adventure which looks to deliver an uplifting holiday story about the power of hope — especially in the darkest hours. The new incarnation might be tremendously exciting to anticipate — never more so than here, of course — but the old one is, insofar as the series and the fiction is concerned, properly dead. That was announced in the aftermath of the big finale for season 11 a little bit earlier this month. They want it to matter rather than it being an also-ran. Here he did the same thing ahead of a certain change that might leave viewers wondering if this is still going to be the same programme; it is, Moffat tells us, very much so. Otherwise, we hope you have some old episodes stored away that you can watch this time with all of your friends and loved ones.
Make no mistake, this is a twelfth Doctor story with a guest cast that includes the first Doctor, not a first Doctor story that happens to have the twelfth in it. Gaunt, lizard-like and with frou-frou hair. Where, when and how can you catch the latest Doctor Who Christmas special? I doubt Capaldi will portray his Doctor as a venomous dowager unlike Ernest Thesiger in that 1935 black comedy but I live in hope of a degree of archness. The bad news here is clearly that there is no special today; however, the good news on the other side of this is that there is something coming up in a week. Was anyone else put in mind of Doctor Pretorius from Bride of Frankenstein? And — after a rather protracted regeneration — in pounces Peter Capaldi. After 44 episodes spread across four years, magnificent Matt Smith discards his bowtie and lets it drop, poignantly, to the floor of the Tardis.
Moffat also uses the Testimony to address his own past — not the only time he does so during the episode. This episode is almost painfully self-appropriate. This was the perfect opportunity for a writer who revels in holding a mirror up to the characters and series and reflecting them back upon themselves, to devote an entire episode to such an enterprise and not have it feel unwarranted. The recognition of life, death and regeneration run through Twice Upon a Time like a rash. . Which is, of course, where we came in. Even in the heat of the showrunning handover, the appropriateness of every beat of this story prevails.
It is such an incredible shame, then, that in spite of performances from all concerned — not just the actors, but the director, the production designer, everybody — that are treating the material with every ounce of respect and enthusiasm they can muster, Twice Upon a Time feels ultimately somewhat tired, and perhaps an episode too many. And like the War Doctor in The Day of the Doctor, the guest Doctor comes with a little baggage but ultimately proves to be there for a reason. Share right now in the comments. Instead, they want to actually do a Christmas Special when they have something substantial to put out there. For now, all we know is that he is using a Scottish accent, or at least the hint of one, and his Doctor is adapting to new kidneys — not new teeth like David Tennant or hair Matt Smith. The Capaldi Doctor has senior concerns.
Related News — Are you bummed that there is no Doctor Who Christmas Special this year? A Doctor who thought he was done with changing before he even got to be this Doctor, and who therefore no longer wants to continue. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . . . .
. . . . . . .