The Next Doctor
2 August 2014 at 17:00 #29520Craig @craigEmperor
A Christmas special. The Doctor arrives in Victorian London at Christmas but the snow isn’t the only thing descending. Familiar silver enemies from an alternate reality are amassing in numbers. The Cybermen are on the move, and the only one who can stop them is the Doctor… and, erm, the other Doctor?2 August 2014 at 21:43 #29530The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!3 August 2014 at 13:54 #29540PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
My least favourite Chrimble special so far. I’m probably pre-empting things by saying that the close of the Tennant era (as presented by the specials) struggled as far as I’m concerned. He hadn’t announced his departure yet, but after the “show to end all shows” of the finale in the fourth series, joking with a fake regeneration, and then announcing a special called The Next Doctor, I’m sure many were guessing.
Rewatching this, I can see why Russell himself thinks he botched the ending. He was going for spectacle and eye-candy, revisiting the idea of a giant stompy robot demolishing London with a woman trapped, ensnared in it (from his New Adventure Novel). Personally, I can’t help but think there was a little “that’ll do” about the production that came from the basic script.
Unlike @thekrynoidman, I don’t think It’s not entirely without merit though. I think David Morrissey and Velile Tshabalala as Jackson & Rosita are good value. The clips of previous Doctors was actually the first time that had been done so – huzzah for that (and enshrining the Eighth Doctor – you cannot imagine, after the joy of Night of the Doctor, the amount of comment whinges went on about that one at the time).
Dervla Kirwan is always good value, and makes the most of her early scenes, but the final possession is lost in amongst the dreadfulness. I like how her story has hints at a dark past, but those are secrets that really can’t be explored, so they can’t go anywhere with it.
The child actors look and sound like they’ve stepped out a school production of Oliver. It’s all a bit rosy cheeked to really do justice to that idea of the darker side to “good old” Victorian values.
The Cybershades – what the hell were they all about? I haven’t a clue, to be frank. It’s all a bit aimless. I don’t think that the episode being bookended by the Doctor on a downer helps. While I’m sure the Doctor’s “they break my hearts” line was a standout for some, it made me want to shake him.
The standout scene for me is the funeral, with Miss Hartigan vivid in red, and the Ghostly Cybermen striding about in the snow. It looks beautiful and even at conventional DVD levels looks HD (when it isn’t). Really eyecatching and a foretelling to the “Dark fairytale” approach to production in the Eleven years.3 August 2014 at 15:01 #29542wolfweed @wolfweed
Imagine the fun antics to be had if you got a Cyber-Shade for a pet!!! I would enter mine in artistic grooming contests…
It’s interesting to listen to Ten-nant explain that Morrissey is either the next one, the one after, the one after that, or just one that’s somewhere after… It hints at the possibility of a fresh regeneration cycle.
The graveyard scene is the highlight of the show – Mass Murder – Cyber style!
The War Doctor doesn’t show up on the info stamp. He’s kept that well hidden…
The plot with the fugue state is brilliant. It’s with the intro of the ultra-cute son where it starts to collapse for me.
And the moral of the story is ‘Don’t be a man-hater’… (Otherwise the Doctor will nudge you into suicide)
I presume that Rosita is going to give up her profession (to nanny Frederick, probably)?
Some people died, but apart from that, they all lived happily ever after.4 August 2014 at 00:08 #29554Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip
I remember this being fun at the time, but it doesn’t stand up very well to a rewatch. I’d agree with @phaseshift that David Morrissey and Velile Tshabalala give very good performances, and Dervla Kirwin makes the most of the early scenes, before the script goes a bit pear shaped. The Cyberpunk Cyberman was quite good value, though. I like cyberpunk. 🙂
@wolfweed – I think the Tennant Doctor actually only goes ‘the next one or the one after that’, which at the time RTD was writing this was correct. Even with the extra regeneration, there were at least two Doctors left – and if they hadn’t decided to count the extra in, maybe three.
Re: the Info Stamp – yeah, and it’s a Dalek data base, as well. Oops. 🙂
There are, of course, several ways round this. Possibly the Daleks also regarded the War Doctor as Top Secret. Or, this was a identification database and The War Doctor was known to be time locked; so not included. Or, every Dalek had the War Doctor burned into their memory as ‘The’ Doctor; the database was to aid in identifying other incarnations of The War Doctor.
The most likely explanation is that The Moment had got at the database. 😉
The child actors look and sound like they’ve stepped out a school production of Oliver.
Phaseshift – We’re not allowed to starve child actors, okay? Adult actors can and do go on crash diets to look appropriately poverty-stricken, but you can’t do that to the kids – there are Rules. You just have to do the best you can with artistically placed ‘dirt’ make-up and costume. Which probably were recycled from a stage production of Oliver!; no costume hire company worth its salt would throw away perfectly re-usable ‘Victorian Urchin’ costumes. 😀
The Cybershades come under the heading of ‘special effects disaster’ as far as I’m concerned; they simply don’t work. They just look like actors inside some kind of extra-furry rug. With a cyberman mask. Still, we’ve never seen them since (for which we can all feel profoundly grateful – the cybermat Mark III and the cybermites are much better).
I agree that the cemetery scene is the highlight of the show – beautifully shot, with contrasting white, scarlet, and Cybermen looming out of snow.
Wolfweed – she’s being offered a job as Jackson’s Companion. 😉 The only respectable way of doing that in Victorian England is for her to be Frederick’s nursemaid.4 August 2014 at 23:31 #29565PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
Phaseshift – We’re not allowed to starve child actors, okay? Adult actors can and do go on crash diets to look appropriately poverty-stricken, but you can’t do that to the kids – there are Rules. You just have to do the best you can with artistically placed ‘dirt’ make-up and costume. Which probably were recycled from a stage production of Oliver!; no costume hire company worth its salt would throw away perfectly re-usable ‘Victorian Urchin’ costumes.
It’s ‘elf and safety gorn MAAAAAAD. Surely we wouldn’t miss a couple of them? 😀 They really do have that carefully applied look of poverty and grime though don’t they? A layer of foundation would have made them look pale and ill.
On the giant stompy Cyberking, It doesn’t work for me. I’m not sure why because normally I love steampunk, but somehow it just seems a bit…. well, cack in the absence of a better expression.
Actually that picture you posted of the Cybershades is the best thing about them. Well done!5 August 2014 at 00:05 #29568Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip
They really do have that carefully applied look of poverty and grime though don’t they?
@phaseshift – agreed. I don’t know whether they just had too many kids and not enough make up artists, or the kids were getting the less experienced make-up artists, but there was an awful lot of the ‘artistically applied dirt’ look.
Plus the poor little lad playing Frederick looked like his mascara had run. 😉5 August 2014 at 05:21 #29570janetteB @janetteb
I have not had time to catch up on any Who this week so tomorrow it is a choice of The Next Doctor or C.B. I know I should watch the later and the memory of the giant stompy robot makes that considerably easier. However after five minutes of C.B. even giant stompy robots might become appealing.
As I don’t think I will fit in both I will comment on this from memory. It was not the worst of the Christmas specials, after all it did not have Kylie in it, but it gave the Titanic story some stiff competition for that claim. Christmas specials are meant to be watched in a kind of winey, puddingy haze. The problem was that by the time we got to see them in Oz the Christmas day haze had worn off so the workhouse kids looked like badly made up extras, the sets like the christmas cards already beginning to gather dust, and the overall feel felt like it was going stale.
It started promisingly. The rapport between Tennant and Morrissey was good. Jackson Lake was an interesting and sympathetic character and his Tardis and sonic were lovely. The graveyard scene was beautifully acted and shot. After that scene things really began to fall apart and the silliness set in.
Nearly always in Who is is possible to imagine that the events depicted could really have taken place, or at least until AG Who. Even the dinosaurs in London were kind of explained by the evacuation of the city. There were “emergencies” but the outside world was kept in the dark as to the cause and of couse most of those stories which did impact on human history were set in either present, future or in an alternative present or future. Donna might have missed the alien attack on London and various other such incursions but surely she learnt in history about the gaint stompy robot destroying half of London. Everyone would have known about it. There would have been Hollywood films made about it, numerous books, comics and stories written about it. The Giant Stompy Robot stomps all over history and the credibility of Dr Who. S.M. attempts to paper over that in one of the recent series, (I don’t recall when now), for which I was very grateful.
Bit of a rant there. Sorry but G.S.R. was for me a massive let down and The Next Doctor is not a story I enjoy re-watching. So now off to watch a little C.B.
Janette5 August 2014 at 08:33 #29572Nick @nick
I actually rewatched this a couple of months ago as BBC World Entertainment (or whatever they call it) showed it a few months ago (for the first time locally in Dubai). Definitely a tale of two halves – first half is great. The second half is amongst the worst Who ever (I’m probably only slightly exaggerating my opinion). It was also the first time AG Who put off my Brother’s kids (who are both slap in the middle of the target age group). In many ways, this story combines both the best and worst of the RTD era for me.
The only thing the that slightly puts me off the first half is the lack of social realism. I am minded to think that we really ought to show the past warts and all, complete with smoking, alcoholism, racism, starvation, extreme poverty and disease rather than the Walt Disney version. Of course a U rated Christmas show might not be the best place to do this, but I think Victorian London could have been portrayed better than it was.
I have to agree with you here. The GSR, as you call it, stomping all over London type story – and AG Who has had several different versions (especially in RTD’s era) – are almost always my least favourite to watch. I am pre-disposed to view the spectacle of an open Alien Invasion as likely to have such a significant impact on global society, that it becomes impossible for me to suspend the critical part of my brain (what’s left of it anyway). Its best left to Independence Day type films. Generally Who stories have been at their best when suspense/horror are the more important story elements than pure spectacle.
I actually think that TV as a whole is too safe now, but that’s a different story.5 August 2014 at 16:38 #29578CraigNixon @craignixon
Worst Christmas special of AG Who? Naahh – for me thats the Matt Smith Narnia tree people thing (forget the name)
Definately the third quarter where it fell down for me, ending was meh but I like the idea of giant stompy robots dagnabbit.
(Watched waaaay to much Transformers, Robotech and Zoids when I was younger. Then there’s all the anime!)
But yes, it felt like a different script writer in the second half. A lot more stilted – if it was real life, a lot more “uh, erm,ahh” would have been said.
Cybershade – I feel sorry for the cybermen, a Dalek is a Dalek- Iconic. Cybermen are like the Gobots. Pale imitations.5 August 2014 at 18:04 #29581Arbutus @arbutus
I actually think that most of this is pretty fun. The pre-credit scenes are lovely: the Doctor’s total pleasure at finding himself a proper Christmas, his glee at hearing his name being called, his complete shock at meeting another Doctor. The idea that the Doctor might be meeting his future self was great, and I thought it played out well. I loved the Doctor’s initial uncertainty, because the “Next Doctor” behaved exactly as the Tenth Doctor would have expected himself to behave! Fearlessness and a bit of bombast; a gutsy companion; the mutual laughter shared with Ten after their brief adventure.
And then the odd little moments where Ten realizes that this isn’t quite right. “The Doctor” doesn’t recognize his predecessor. There are missing memories. The sonic screwdriver isn’t sonic. The Doctor begins to learn that some things are a mystery even to “the Doctor”. Finally, after the discovery of the Cyberman in the closet (which I thought was really well done in terms of pacing), the Doctor thinks to check his successor’s heart beats. And certain things become more clear.
The villainess of the piece is properly wicked, and as others have said, the funeral scene was really well done. I loved the emotional impact of this very strong woman all in vivid red, facing down a bunch of dark-suited men, and there was this sense that they were helpless before her, that their power over women was really dependent upon the women playing by the rules! This is an example of how good a villain can be with a little extra characterization, I wish that we could have had a little more of Miss Hartigan’s backstory.
David Morrissey is great. He plays it exactly right, seriously but with a touch of swashbuckle, and his moments of tragedy are never overdone. I enjoyed the relationship between the Doctor and Jackson Lake. The Doctor is very gentle and kind with him, right from the start, even before he is sure what is going on. He continually watches him with the greatest look of sympathy and understanding. And Jackson actually turns out to be very brave, very Doctor-like. He repays the Doctor’s sympathy later on with his own, which I thought was nicely done. I actually found the Doctor’s explanation for his lack of companions rather poignant, and certainly right in step with where Ten found himself at this point in his incarnation.
However, they lost me with the climax. I found the giant cyber-monster ludicrous, and the congratulatory hero-worship tone is tough to take. And as others have said, history would not have forgotten a thirty-foot Cyberman in Victorian London.
Highlights for me:
“You ask a lot of questions.” “I’m a companion!”
The TARDIS!!!! An absolutely great moment to see that balloon where we are expecting to see something more… TARDIS-like. The Doctor’s reaction was great.
This, after Rosita pops Miss Hartigan one in the face: “Can I say I completely disapprove!”
Did the Doctor say “Avanti” instead of “Allons-y”?
“That was designated… a lie.” And the Cyber response to Miss Hartigan’s passionate talk of a new Cyber race? “Diagnosis… system failure.”
“Come on, Jackson. You know me!” before swinging around on a rope to rescue the little boy. (I have a weakness for rope-swinging!)
When the Doctor reminds Jackson that he now has a reason to live, Jackson replies, “And you haven’t?” Their eyes hold for a moment, and Jackson’s expression is suddenly one of understanding. Very understated. Morrissey is very good.
While Jackson’s “yay, doctor” speech is pretty OTT, I must admit that Morrissey delivers it really well.
Jackson’s reaction to the TARDIS is really, really delightful.
Overall, not bad in my view. I’m inclined to agree with the comments regarding Victorian authenticity, but it didn’t bother me as much as the giant robot. Perhaps if they had avoided that expense, they could have afforded a little more accuracy in their application of dirt? 🙂18 August 2014 at 17:30 #29802Anthony68 @anthony68
lands his TARDIS in London on Christmas Eve, 1851. Overhearing cries for help, he encounters a man calling himself “The Doctor” and his companion Rosita, attempting to capture a Cybershade.
The Cybershade escapes the trio. The Doctor, in talking to the man, comes to believe he may be a future incarnation of himself, who is suffering from amnesia. The man, dubbed the Next Doctor, takes the Doctor to a nearby house of a recently deceased reverend, believing him tied to a series of disappearances around London and the Cybershade. Inside, they discover a pair of Cybermen data-storage infostamps, which the Next Doctor recalls holding the night that he lost his memories. The two are attacked by Cybermen and the Doctor attempts to fight them off with a cutlass, but the Next Doctor kills them using electrical discharge from the infostamps.
The two Doctors regroup with Rosita at the Next Doctor’s base, where the Next Doctor claims his “TARDIS” is located. The Doctor is surprised to find that “TARDIS” is a gas balloon – “Tethered Aerial Release Developed In Style”, and comes to realise that the Next Doctor is really a human, Jackson Lake, the supposed first missing person. The Doctor suspects that Jackson had encountered the Cybermen and used the infostamps, containing knowledge of the Doctor, to ward them off after they killed his wife, with the side effect of infusing his mind with knowledge of the Doctor. As Jackson contemplates this revelation, the Doctor and Rosita set off to try to find the source of the Cybermen, while the Doctor theorises that they have somehow managed to escape the Void using a Dimension Vault stolen from the Daleks (episode: “Doomsday”).http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2011/301/f/0/dwe___cybermen_dimension_vault_by_mclatchyt-d4e876r.jpg
The Doctor and Rosita enter an underground complex to find numerous children, pulled from workhouses around the city, at work under Cybermen guard. They encounter the bitter Miss Mercy Hartigan, the Cybermen’s human ally that has brought the children to them for labour. The Doctor attempts to use a modified infostamp to overload the Cybermen’s systems, but they instead repair it and identify the Doctor as their long-time foe, and prepare to “delete” him and Rosita. Jackson suddenly arrives, armed with several more infostamps which he uses to distract the Cybermen long enough for the three to escape. The Cybermen turn on Miss Hartigan, converting her into the controller for the “Cyberking”, a giant mechanical Cyberman powered by the energy generated by the children. She originally tries to protest, saying that the Cybermen promised her she would never be converted, but the Cyberleader claims “That was designated a lie.”
Jackson explains to the Doctor how he has started recovering his memories, and remembers encountering the Cybermen on moving into his new home. The Doctor considers that Jackson’s home may be close to the Cybermens’ base, and discovers a second entrance there. Within the complex, as the Cyberking starts to rise to the city, the three rescue the children, including Jackson’s son, who was abducted in the initial attack and caused Jackson’s fugue state. As the Cyberking starts to lay waste to the city, the Doctor uses Jackson’s balloon to rise near the level of the Cyberking’s control room in the machine’s head, and tries to reason with Miss Hartigan, offering to take her and the Cybermen to a new planet. When she refuses, the Doctor uses the infostamps to sever her connection to the Cyberking, exposing her to the raw emotion of what she has done. Enraged by the actions the Cybermen forced her to undertake, the emotional feedback destroys both the Cybermen and Miss Hartigan. As the Cyberking starts to topple, the Doctor uses the Dimensional Vault to draw both it and the remnants of the Cybermen into the Time Vortex, saving London. The crowds of people below, rallied by a speech by Jackson, cheer and applaud the Doctor.
In the aftermath, Jackson thanks the Doctor for what he has done and is allowed to see the interior of the true TARDIS, much to his pleasure. He then offers the Doctor a place at Christmas dinner. However, the Doctor initially refuses, but is convinced to stay as Jackson now says it is a demand. Before they depart, Jackson enquires after the Doctor’s many companions, and the Doctor replies that in the end, “…they break my heart,” they move on, and he is left alone. The pair then head off for a Christmas dinner in honour of those they have lost.
I like the part where Miss Hartigan has een “open” mind and sees what she done…:)28 May 2016 at 04:57 #52582winston @winston
I dusted this one off for a rewatch today and I still like most of it. I remember the first time I watched thinking that David Morrissey would make a wonderful Doctor. Loved his “sonic ” screwdriver and his “TARDIS”. The scene in the real TARDIS when Jackson has his mind blown is pretty cute.” Nonsense” he says, “wonderful nonsense”. That is how I feel about the TARDIS. I am not crazy about the giant cyber robot but I have seen crazier things in my time with the Doctor so I guess I’ll let it go…. since it was Christmas. It was a hot and humid day here in Ontario so a snowy Victorian London was like a splash of cool water. If it is this hot tommorow maybe I’ll watch the one about the cold and snowy Ood planet (can’t remember the name) with the Doctor Donna.
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