A Christmas Carol
24 August 2013 at 14:33 #16608Craig @craigEmperor
The 2010 Christmas special. Amy and Rory, along with 4000 others, are trapped onboard a crashing spaceship on Christmas Eve. The only way the Doctor can save them is to steal a trick from Dickens and attempt to soften the heart of the Scrooge-like Kazran Sardick, the richest man in Sardicktown.24 August 2013 at 20:22 #16634
And Doctor Who doesn’t just jump the shark, it harnesses it to a sledge and flies off with it. 🙂
Seriously, I love this: probably the best of the Christmas Specials to date. It follows the plot of A Christmas Carol quite closely, but justifies it; that’s the Doctor’s plan. To follow the plot of A Christmas Carol and so redeem Kazran Sardick, turning him from a heartless miser into someone who would save the lives of 4,003 members of the ‘surplus population’.
It helps that Sardick is played by Michael Gambon, that Katherine Jenkin’s voice is so good you could believe she can charm sharks, and that the lad playing Young Kazran (Laurence Belcher) can actually act.
Running Moffat themes: time can be changed. I do wonder if we’re watching a possible plot for the 50th here; the Doctor leaps into Kazran’s timestream and changes his past. We can see it changing; the adoption of the bow tie, the period when the portrait is of Abigail – and finally, the moment where Kazran becomes so different that the cloud-controlling machine is no longer isomorphed to his control.
Presumably that’s exactly the way the GI and Clara changed the Doctor’s past.
A frequent comment within the special: “halfway out of the dark”. Is that Kazran, or the Doctor? Who is halfway out of the dark?
And there’s the cheeky joke that will fly straight over the kids’ heads: “why are you dressed like that?” and “Honeymoon Suite?”
Then there’s the final song – both looking forward to the Silence, and looking forward to River Song.
When you’re alone, silence is all you know.
When you’re alone, silence is all you know
Let in the noise and let it grow.
When you’re alone, silence is all you see
When you’re alone, silence is all you’ll be
Give me your hand and come to me.
When you are here, music is all around.
When you are near, music is all around.
Open your eyes, don’t make a sound.
Let in the shadow, let in the shadow,
Let in the light of your bright shadow.24 August 2013 at 20:31 #16635
Rather unusually, the complete Confidential is available on the DVD (available from the BBC shop and Amazon) – but for those who haven’t bought it:
Part 325 August 2013 at 00:39 #16637IAmNotAFishIAmAFreeMan @pedant
I like this episod enot just becuase it is a pretty decent riff on a well-known tale, but becuase it was the first Christmas special where the idea of Christmas was rather the point of the episode. Much as I liked the previous one s- including Voyage of the Damn (so sue me) – they only really happened at Christmas. It was nice to get it is as a character.25 August 2013 at 05:28 #16638janetteB @janetteb
A Christmas Carol was everything a Christmas special should be. As @pendant says it really makes the season itself the point of the story. It plays upon the ideas that Dickens is promoting in his story of the same name of what Christmas should be, one magical time of year where we remember our humanity and put compassion and altruism before mercenary self interest, and as @bluesqueakpip points out it has Michael Gambon in it. It also highlights the importance of nurturning affection and fantasy in childhood and how those values inform us as healthy adults. Karzen is a broken human in the beginning because he was emotionally starved in childhood. This also ties with what Phillip Pullman was saying about the importance of fairy stories in the Guardian article the toher day. Thus far Moffat has used the Christmas specials to put the series heart on its’ sleave, because at Christmas time one is permitted a little emotional indulgence and now I know what I will be watching tonight. 🙂
Janette25 August 2013 at 12:45 #16640PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
I think everyone has covered most of what I was going to say. This and Snowmen are probably my favourites out of all the Christmas Specials (although I have no problem saying I enjoyed the others as well). Again, like the finale, I think it deliberately sets out to signal that we are in a new era. A return to contemporary Earth in peril was never going to be on the Cards (I’m not forgetting Next Doctor wasn’t in the mould, but I wish I could forget the big stompy Cyberman).
The dialogue crackles, you have great guests and a really Doctor heavy which Matt more than steps up for. It looks stunning and the music really matches the feel of the episode.
Can I just say as well:
Kazran: I’ve never kissed anyone before. What do I do?
The Doctor: Well. Try and be all nervous and rubbish and a bit shaky.
The Doctor: Because you’re going to be like that anyway. Might as well make it part of the plan and then it’ll feel on purpose.
Possibly the best advice any young chap could receive at that point?25 August 2013 at 13:00 #16642Anonymous @
I’d have to just echo the general view that this is probably only trumped by The Snowmen as the best Christmas special — and the The Snowmen only wins I think cos it had an arc story, the emergence of a Big Bad, a new companion and the mighty Paternosters firing on all cylinders. Carol manages solely on a cracking story and some fine performances alone.
And poor Murray Gold gets constant hell for his music (and I personally think he’s produced some really memorable and really wonderful stuff and this is one of the highpoints. I freely admit that the song had me wiping away a manly tear at the end of the episode.
The other thing I remember was rather a lot of negativity on the Graun boards over this episode and once again thinking ‘eh, were we actually watching the same programme?’25 August 2013 at 13:50 #16645
@jimthefish – there was a lot of negativity over on the blog, with even the mighty @htpbdet disliking the episode. Given that there’s only 200 odd comments, however, it appears that most of us were under the table wondering why the bottle was empty. 🙂
But I think @htpbdet‘s main blog critique is quite right – this episode breaks continuity in several ways. However, I’d see regard that differently (surprise!) – I think, given the way that developed, that the breaking of continuity was a ‘feature’ rather than a ‘bug’.
Another point that seems to have been changed with Amy’s reboot of the universe – no Blinovitch limitation effect. We saw it in The Big Bang (the two sonic screwdrivers spark). And we never see it again – post reboot, Kazran hugs young Kazran and Amys, Rorys and Doctors interact in ‘Space’ and ‘Time’.25 August 2013 at 13:56 #16646
For those who don’t have the DVD, the Comic Relief Specials (penned by Mr Moffat, and taking place between the Christmas Special and The Impossible Astronaut).
‘Time’25 August 2013 at 15:11 #16651janetteB @janetteb
Many thanks @bluesqueakpip. Another fun little gem that I hadn’t seen before.
Janette24 November 2022 at 01:28 #73777Rewvian @rewvian
I lost my original post but I’ll just try to summarize. Essentially this episode is about the Doctor traveling between different points in an old man’s life in an attempt to make him a better person. In the process he inadvertantly makes the man into a Scrooge type, which likely always happened. The old man is also in control of the skies via a machine his abusive father made, and is responsible for the lives of over 4000 people on a ship that is crashing because its pilots can’t see through the heavy fog.
The episode features no monster, but does have fish and a shark that can swim in the fog.
The Moffat years have a lot of pay-attention-or-you’ll-miss-it moments for jokes. There is a whole scene where the Doctor says he is a mature and responsible adult and shows the young boy his psychic paper, to which he replies it’s all wavy lines. “Finally, a lie too big!”, responds the Doctor. There is a mention about creatures called Face Spiders with the face of a baby and the legs of a spider, which hang out in closets and in mattresses. And then there’s my personal favorite scene:
Amy: So do you have a plan?
Amy: Are you lying?
Amy: Don’t treat me like I’m an idiot!
Rory: Is he lying?
Amy: *sweetly* No.
It is also pretty much confirmed that the Doctor was responsible for paying off the old roommate in The Lodger, as all of the old man’s servants win the lottery at the same time, in a similar turn of good fortune.
In the end it is the singing of a frozen woman named Abigail that saves the day, as she is able to soothe the fog shark and somehow act as a connection between the land and the air to save the crashing ship. It was fun seeing the Doctor decide to spend several Christmases with young boy/young man and Abigail, and there was even a Shark-led carriage ride.
The episode was more fun than anything.24 November 2022 at 11:48 #73781Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent
I’m not a fan of Dickens or ‘Victorian’ episodes particularly, but this one grew on me. Michael Gambon was excellent as the inhuman ice-cold Sardick. And the singer who charmed the shark was sweet.
And it was a nice reversal when it turned out that Sardick’s reason for keeping Abigail frozen was not some perverse sadistic impulse, but to extend her limited run-time. And the reason hew was such a bastard to everyone else was sadness at losing her – which is not an excuse, but is somewhat of an explanation.
So not a great episode, but a very pleasant, sweet and sad one.24 November 2022 at 13:36 #73782Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent
So I just re-watched it. Just have a couple of things to add – the spaceship is, I think, the ugliest ever.
As Rewvian said, there are flashes of Moff humour.
If I saw a policewoman looking like Amy I’d burgle something just so she had to arrest me… 🙂
The ‘science’ part – resonating the ice crystals – was pretty thin but at least entirely consistent. And like all the Moff’s plots, the careful attention to detail showed – the fact that the weather machine was keyed to Sardick’s personality so wouldn’t respond after the Doctor had ‘changed’ him was a nice touch, and it gave the perfect excuse for thawing out Abigail for her last day ever.
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