The Christmas Invasion

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  • #26977
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    It may be Easter, but for our Russell T. Davies retrospective it is most certainly Christmas. And what do we get for a/in the present? Doctor (supposedly) Sexy! In those jimjams? Really? Still, this skinny bloke kind of has potential, accent’s a bit weird though. I won’t judge him just yet. 😉

    It’s a corker of an episode, even if it IS Doctor light. The whole of mankind falls under the shadow of the alien race The Sycorax. Rose needs the Doctor’s help, but can she trust this man with a new face. Is he really The Doctor? Is he HER Doctor?

    #26985
    The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman

    I didn’t see this when it was first aired. I forgot that it was on and when I realised it was I had already missed the first half, so I didn’t bother to watch the rest. My philosophy is that if you’re going to watch something, watch the whole thing, there’s no point in only watching part of something.
    Anyway back the episode, I quite liked it when I first saw it. This was just after I had watched the rest of series 2 and at that point I still liked the tenth doctor so I was disappointed that he was unconscious for most of the episode but the last 10 minutes when he was awake were fantastic, again I liked the tenth doctor when I was 11, now I just yell out a variation of Obi Wan’s “you were the chosen one” speech from Revenge of the Sith whenever he’s onscreen. I found the humour that makes up the most of the rest of the episode forced even back then. The running gag about Harriet Jones was cute the first time they did it but it got irritating quickly. I guess this is what happens when you model your series after Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    I guess it’s one of the better Christmas specials, but that’s really not saying much.

    #26986
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    There’s also a bridging mini-sode, written for the 2005 Children In Need telethon. It basically just explains regeneration in more detail, and establishes that ‘the new bloke’ really is The Doctor.

    #27011
    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Doesn’t London have beautifully graffitied bins?

    Loving the Pilot Fish (brilliant tuba-gun!) and the Xmas tree.

    The Sycorax are obviously huge Queen fans…

    Nice continuity with the scaffolding on  the repaired Big Ben.

    The Sycorax ship is wonderfully bizarre.

    Anyone know what wiped out a third of Torchwood just before this story?

    Nice horrific deaths – Not enough of those in Who anymore…

    Why is there no food in the TARDIS (or is Jackie just being ‘a mum’?)?

    This is the best advert for tea since ‘The Awakening’…

    Not ginger.

    In the Whoniverse, Arthur Dent is a real person.

    If  Howard the greengrocer wasn’t so ‘friendly’ with Jackie, there’d have been no satsuma (or indeed dressing gown) and the Doctor would have been cleft in twain. Thankfully he was, so the Sycorax was plunged into the Eastenders title sequence.

    Harriet’s decision is a bit like the sinking of the Belgrano…

    Isn’t the 6 word destruction a satire on Tony Blair (or was it somebody else?)?
    zYawn!

    I bet the clean up bill for all that foul ash will eat into Jackie’s extra £18 a week. Plus she’s got all those Xmas tree shaped gaps in her walls which will cost a lot to repair. What a short Golden Age!

    #27020
    janetteB @janetteb

    The first of the Christmas Specials and it’s little wonder that on the strength of this the BBC decided to make it a “tradition”. Keeping the Doctor stricken in bed for most of the episode was sheer genius. It left the viewer wondering just who this new Doctor was going to be and when Doctor 10 leaps out of the Tradis he more than compensates for his absence. In jsut a few minutes he has established himself as the Doctor and won our hearts.

    In this household this is one of the most re-watched stories from the RTD years and certainly our favourite is his stories. It has all the best elements of his run, Micky and Jackie, Christmas, Harriot Jones, a moral dilemma, and that annoying damn Slade song. (I had to include it in my Christmas music mix after it become so reminiscent of Dr Who). The aliens are a little “kiddy” but then it is Christmas and they are only there for the main character drama to kick off from.

    The Satsuma did cause some confusion here though. In Australia the fruit is called a mandarin. Took us several years to work out just what it was that he had in his pocket.

    Cheers

    Janette

    #27032
    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    I think looking at this with fresh eyes, I can’t help but admire it, even though for “introducing the Doctor” stories it’s been well and truly supplanted by The Eleventh Hour for me.

    When he brought the Doctor back in Rose, Russell obviously referenced Spearhead from Space, with the Autons and their attack on London shoppers. Here he does so again, because Pertwee spent the first couple of episodes in bed in that with someone (in that case the Brig) trying to work out whether this was the same Doctor he knew.

    Here Rose and her family are the route to ask just Who is this Doctor, and will he be any good? I think for the first regeneration of the new series it was exactly the right thing to do. Keeping it lighthearted in threat initially (Robot Santas and Christmas Trees) while Rose works through her fears and doubts. Having another person in the mix who approaches the question from a different standpoint (Harriet Jones) just adds to the mix.

    There are a lot of small details of continuation (which @wolfweed has mentioned) to keep you occupied. The plot about a probe to Mars being intercepted at Christmas obviously referenced the loss of “Beagle 2” which had been scheduled to land on Mars two years before on a Christmas Day. Damned aliens. 😉

    I think Billie Piper and support do an awful lot here, but you are aware that we’re treading water. Hats of to her though for her attempt to sound commanding as she confronts the Sycorax and rapidly loses the plot. Basically we need the Doctor.

    And here he is. It’s a bravura performance and a whirlwind of words. When I first saw it I though – “bloody hell, the Doctors turned into Lord Flashheart!”. Here is your Doctor: funny, with an easy charm, able to talk the back legs of a Betelgeusian mega-donkey before convincing it to crawl down to the shops to pick up a packet of fags.

    Is that the sort of man I am now? Am I rude? Rude and not ginger?

    Yep – for the perfect combinations of Rude and Ginger we had to wait for Donna and Amy. 😀

    I literally do not know who I am. It’s all untested. Am I funny? Am I sarcastic? Sexy? Right old misery? Life and soul? Right-handed, left-handed? A gambler, a fighter, a coward, a traitor, a liar, a nervous wreck? I mean judging by the evidence I’ve certainly got a gob.

    It’s the steel as he dispatches the leader after the sword fight, and his confrontation with Harriet that tend to linger through the fun though.

    @wolfweed

    Isn’t the 6 word destruction a satire on Tony Blair (or was it somebody else?)?

    After the Belgrano-a-like actions, we’re back to dear Margaret. I think it was Alan Clarks diaries which revealed “Don’t you think she looks tired” was the method backbench MPs sounded each other out about whether she could survive at the end of her tenure. I have a feeling it may have cropped up since then though.

    Must mention Murray Gold who we hear at the end doing “Song for Ten”. Apparently that was a last minute thing, but I love the slightly Phil Spector-ish feel of that as 10 selects his new threads.

    #27034
    The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman

    @phaseshift It’s a shame that the version of Song for 10 on the soundtrack album is a diffrent version.

    #27059
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Okay, so – I’ve drunk slightly too much and am definitely on a chocolate high. About the right state for watching a Doctor Who Christmas Special.

    It’s worth remembering that – as @janetteb says – this is the story that started the whole ‘traditional Doctor Who Christmas Special’ thing. It worked so well as a Christmas Special that – so RTD says – the BBC execs were happily referring to it as ‘traditional’ when they were planning their 2006 Christmas. They were quite shocked to discover that Christmas episodes had never been a Doctor Who tradition – the only previous one had been back in 1966.

    The graffiti does have a bit of an ‘art department’ look about it, doesn’t it? The Powell Estate probably has a Banksy somewhere. 😉

    Does Russell T. Davies actually like Christmas? Killer Santas, Christmas tree drones. ‘Snow’ that turns out to be cremation ash. To be followed by evil bridegrooms, crashing spaceships for the insurance… compare them with Moffat’s Christmas episodes.

    The first use of the Tower of London as a UNIT headquarters. And a lovely little joke that ‘Martians look completely different’.

    I agree that Billie Piper and her support cast are basically having to carry the show. She’s the continuity; while everyone’s getting used to the new guy, Rose and family are subtly reassuring everyone that we are still in the same show. That’s probably why they also decided to ask Penelope Wilton to reprise her role and included UNIT from the BG series. All little hints that this is still the same programme; the Doctor is regenerating, just like he always did. The kids would remember Rose and Harriet Jones, their parents UNIT and the previous regenerations.

    A vial of blood on a space probe? A vial of actual blood? To Mars? Couldn’t RTD have made it cell classification data or something? Space scientists would go ballistic at the thought of possibly contaminating any Martian life forms – probes are sent out as sterile as possible.

    Oh, well, it’s the British Rocket Group. Probably by the time they’d survived the mutating plant-person, the weird industrial waste and the 100,000 year old genetic experiments, they were getting a bit casual about cross contamination. 😈

    The Sycorax spaceship looks like a giant hollowed out asteroid. Make air-tight, fit propulsion. Mind you, you’d need a decent forcefield to fly it into atmosphere without bits burning off. 😉

    That’s another thing RTD is very fond of – the impossible moral dilemma. In fact, his Ninth Doctor starts his entire tenure in the after effects of an impossible moral dilemma – kill billions of children or let the entire universe be destroyed.

    We saw the new guy’s steel earlier than the sword fight, though. When he despatches the buzz-saw Christmas tree and talks about the pilot fish – that steel core is very visible. You could see what Tennant would later develop into the Time Lord Victorious…

    Another little bit of continuity with the BG series – the Doctor has always been good at sword fighting. Did he pick it up on Earth or is it a Time Lord sport? Certainly the Master is also a good swordsman…

    Mandarins are a different fruit to Satsumas. 🙂

    Yeah, the destruction of the Sycorax ship does have a strong resemblance to the propaganda version of the Belgrano’s sinking [To be fair, this was back in 2005, and the full intelligence details hadn’t been released]. Politics aside, I’d say this is another example of RTD’s rather bleak view of humans – that even perfectly decent people can turn into monsters at the drop of a hat. Or the threat of an invasion.

    But I do think it’s rather hypocritical of a guy who’s committed genocide to complain about someone blowing up one starship. 😉

    Ah, Song for Ten. I do like the album version. I think there’s about four different versions of the vocals and of course, the orchestral theme from it appears in several episodes.

    #27264
    thegirlinthewind @thegirlinthewind

    This episode was one of my favorites for Tennant. From the moment he says, ” I don’t know! See that’s the thing. I’m the Doctor. But beyond that I just don’t know. I literally do not know who I am. It’s all untested. Am I funny? Am I sarcastic? Sexy? Right old misery? Life and Soul? Right- Handed? Left- Handed? A gambler, a fighter, a coward, a traitor, a liar, a nervous wreck?” He had won my heart. What I liked about Ten in this episode is that he acknowledges that he was rude to Rose right away. That is a quality needed to be on my favorite Doctor list, the ability to admit you have done wrong.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by  thegirlinthewind. Reason: Misspelling
    #37148
    Havoc @havoc

    Wow.  the last 10 minutes when he was awake were fantastic, again I liked the4 tenth doctor when I was 11, now I just yell out a variation of Obi Wan’s “you were the chosen one” speech from Revenge of the Sith whenever he’s onscreen. I found the humour that makes up the most of the rest of the episode forced even back then. The running gag about Harriet Jones was cute the first time they did it but it got irritating quickly. I guess this is what happens when you model your series after Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    The Krynoid Man” Claims Dr Who is based on Buffy, which I think is supposed to be derogatory. Here’s what he said-scroll Up to read it in full)

    Nnnnah. You don’t get to make derogatory statements about The. Best. Doctor’s debut.  Or Buffy. Not while you’re someone who was 11 quite recently. And ESPECIALLY Not when you quote Revenge Of The Clones or whichever rubbish film Lucas Put Out (pun intended) in your short and entitled life.

     

    Now For My Theory: Well, I need theories, On what happened to people unable to make it to a roof?  Prisoners & The very Elderly & young, and the lame…

     

    Yes the Blood Magic stopped Type A from jumping But how Badly do people think they Hurt themselves Trying To climb?

    Avoc

     

    IF your Uncle Jack helped you off an elephant, would you help your uncle jack off an elephant?

    #37158
    Arbutus @arbutus

    @havoc     You don’t get to make derogatory statements about The. Best. Doctor’s debut.  Or Buffy. Not while you’re someone who was 11 quite recently. And ESPECIALLY Not when you quote Revenge Of The Clones or whichever rubbish film Lucas Put Out (pun intended) in your short and entitled life.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure we are allowed to hold whatever views we like as to the quality of an episode, or a Doctor, or any other TV show or film, regardless of our age. And we are welcome to share those views in a courteous manner, and others are welcome to respectfully disagree.

    #37162
    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @thekrynoidman

    Cherish this moment, my young friend. Your casual (but honestly expressed) thoughts on this episode have enraged a passing verifiable idiot to the extent he just had to sign in to challenge you in the most inept way possible. I get three a month now, but it did take me a large amount of time to accrue the first.

    Consider his prose. Consider his form. Consider his ill-considered ad-homs.

    This, @thekrynoidman, is not JUST an idiot. This is an organically produced, full fat, extra caffeinated heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots.

    I particularly liked:

    Not while you’re someone who was 11 quite recently

    As written by someone who is eleven now. Or whose IQ can be represented by those numbers.

    Bless.

    Cry @havoc, and let slip the dogs of idiocy, to be sure.

    #37165

    @havoc

    Are you a professional moron, or just a gifted amateur?

    #37166
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @pedant

    I was going for ‘drunk’, myself. On his Mum’s sherry.

    #37168

    @bluesqueakpip

    Yeah, I’d go for that.

    Although having looked an @thekrynoidman‘s reference to Buffy, its snark does make it appear he is suffering a loss entirely of his own making (as @purofilion will attest). Youngsters, eh?

    Now, let’s get back to pointing at the troll and laughing.

    Or discussing Doctor Who, if you want to be blue boringer about it.

    #37169
    Arbutus @arbutus

    Yes, well, I thought about trying to be funny. But in the end, I knew that @pedant and @phaseshift would do much better job of it than I could, so I settled for earnest and slightly sarcastic. Well done, y’all, as always!

    #37174
    The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman

    @havoc Yes I was 11, 9 years ago when series 2 started. 9 years isn’t recent. And so what if was 11, are 11 year olds not allowed to have an opinion. Also just because you think Tennant is the best doesn’t make it a fact.

    And ESPECIALLY Not when you quote Revenge Of The Clones or whichever rubbish film Lucas Put Out (pun intended) in your short and entitled life.

    Revenge of the Clones?? Now I know you’re just trolling.

    #37175
    The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman

    @pedant It’s not that I think Buffy is bad, I used to love it when I was 5, I’m just not a fan of the way Joss Whedon always has his characters have something clever or witty to say, which is something modern Who as adopted. I really liked Avengers Assemble and Serenity though, and Toy Story is a masterpiece.

    #37194

    @thekrynoidman

    That’s OK, as noted all are entitled to their view.

    This is going to sound awfully patronising but I have been around the block too many times to really give that much of a toss.

    You are in that age group when you Know Everything – not in any way a barb – it is an unavoidable part of growing up that between (roughly) 18 and (roughly) 23 people Know Everything. Then we being to grasp the limits of our understanding (note that I do not say knowledge). Then over the next few years we develop and, somewhere between (roughly) 28 and (roughly) 32 we reach the point of having a decent grasp of the limitations of our understanding, so can finally discern the best question to ask and can therefore have sensible discussion with scientists, artists,  philosophers(1) and tradesmen. Failure to grasp this at the time is why (I now realise) I was overly ambitious in my post-graduate work.

    But don’t worry – as I said this is completely unavoidable, everybody goes through it, barring impairment, and most come out the other side with the beginnings of that all-important human trait, wisdom.

    In particular, once you get there, you will be able to review this sentence:

    I’m just not a fan of the way Joss Whedon always has his characters have something clever or witty to say

    and realise just how much you would like to take it back. To help you along that path, I invite you to consider its opposite.

    Go about it in the right way and you will enjoy every moment. Either way, storytelling is way too important for me to not poke youthful absolutism with a stick.

    None of that, of course, alters the fact that @havoc is a thundering bellend.

     

     

     

    (1) With the exception of deconstructionists who are, without exception, complete twats.

    #37198
    Anonymous @

    @thekrynoidman – I finally understand your name now. Of course it is classic Who. Nice!

    I don’t have any words of wisdom like @pedant, but I was surprised by the same line.

    I’m just not a fan of the way Joss Whedon always has his characters have something clever or witty to say, which is something modern Who as adopted.

    I think you agree the characters in Doctor Who have always been witty, especially the Doctor. You are probably right the AG companions have more witty lines though? Although that depends on which ones, I think. Zoe had witty lines for a BG companion.

    But I think you are meaning witty lines like Geronimo (Amy in AotD) and “I’m the Doctor” (Clara). That is definitely AG Who.

    I like action heroes so that doesn’t bother me, but I can see you point (if I guessed your meaning right). I hope so, or I’m just agreeing with my own point. XD

    Anyway always interesting Krynoidman.

    #37200
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    I’m just not a fan of the way Joss Whedon always has his characters have something clever or witty to say

    @thekrynoidman — I know it can sometimes seem like that but the humour is not the point, I think. It’s about injecting character into even the innocuous line. Otherwise what you get, especially in genre shows, is just flat exposition. Old Who is full of examples of especially the companions becoming cyphers to feed along exposition lines. I think Whedon and Moffat and RTD realised that drama is to a large extent character and not just plot. It’s not funny just for the sake of it. It’s funny to a) disguise the mechanics of the narrative and b) to tell us something either new or reinforce something we already new about who is saying it.

    Also don’t let the trolls bug you. Although you seem to have netted a particular doozy example of the breed there.

    #37202
    Whisht @whisht

    @thekrynoidman pedant may be right, may be wrong but please don’t get annoyed or worse leave if what he said came across as a whole bunch of patronising twaddle.

    Keep voicing opinions – it is after all what everyone else is doing.

    On a separate but related note generally, it struck me that only the trolls that come here occasionally, ever use the “I saw Hartnell at the start and now standards.. blah blah absolutist blah”

    The people here who have seen it from the start tend to merely say how happy they are it’s still around and never use it as a badge of “my opinion is better than yours”.

    Which is one reason I like it here and a good way to spot a variety of troll.

    #37204
    The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman

    @pedant You don’t come across as patronising, you seem more like you’re just trying to offer some helpful advice.

    #37208

    @thekrynoidman

    Damn. I must be losing my touch 😉

    #51669
    winston @winston

    Having finished Parting of the Ways I had to watch 10s first outing again although I watch it every Christmas. It is not very Christmassy but then neither am I and it has a killer Xmas tree which I can happily say I don’t have.

    We are holding our breath as we watch our old friends Rose ,Jackie ,Mickey and Harriet Jones fight aliens without the Doctor. When is he going to wake up and what will he be like when he does? Well he does have a gob and he is not ginger but he is pretty sexy and he has a fightin’ hand. He is the defender of Earthand tells us , after the great satsuma throw that  ends the battle “No second chances ,that’s the kind of man I am” (paraphrasing)

    Finally he chooses his clothes and I love the long coat and the great hair and my crush on the 10th Doctor starts and continues to this day.On to Xmas dinner with the family and then the adventure begins. One of my faves and a Christmas tradition in my house.

    #52104
    Pharell, Man! @pharellman

    I wonder if they will use someday this trick with hand in another after-regeneration episode…

    #53106
    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    This is quite a strange mix – perhaps because it’s the Christmas special.  But how dark a version of Christmas can you get – with malevolent murderous Santas and a Xmas tree transformed into a weapon.  And then to top it all, the ultimate cliche of Xmas-set family drama, ‘quick, come outside, it’s snowing!’, which is always used to create a sense of seasonal magic actually invokes something horror as it turns out it is not snow but ash.  I was reminded of the film Lore, where as WWII comes to an end, ash from burned incriminating Nazi documents falls like snow on the heroine (evoking, darker still, the stories told by people living in towns near concentration camps about the human ash from the ovens falling from the sky).

    I felt Harriet Smith was dealt with rather too summarily.  I’d have liked her as PM to be developed over a longer period, rather than to be despatched so brutally by the Doc.  Her rationale for going for the Torchwood option (is this the first reference to Torchwood? I can’t remember…) is convincing enough, but I was still somewhat dissatisfied – I remember being really pleased to see her again and then dismayed when she took that final decision.

    The Doc is either comatose in this or pretty full-on – but that works fine.  We need that period of the new incumbent establishing his personality, mannerisms, etc.  What I’d forgotten, and which did set something of the tone for Ten’s tenure, was how often his sexiness is mentioned.  OK, he is very lovely, but it seems a bit heavy handed, in retrospect, as if it was already determined that his relationships with companions would be complicated by attraction in a way that they hadn’t previously, and from which Eleven and Twelve have had to backtrack.

    Oh, and BTW, when he says, ‘Did you miss me?’, anyone else think of Moriarty?

     

    #53118
    winston @winston

    @cathannabel     I saw them in the other order so when I heard Moriarty ask “Did you miss me?” I thought of the 10th Doctor.

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