The Runaway Bride
24 May 2014 at 12:05 #27737Craig @craigEmperor
It may not quite be Christmas, but it IS a Bank Holiday weekend! Bride-to-be Donna vanishes as she walks down the aisle. To her complete astonishment – and the Doctor’s – she appears in the TARDIS. Investigating how she came to be there, they uncover a terrifying enemy. How far will the Doctor go to save Earth from the latest alien threat? Actually quite far, as it turns out. I think he may still be a bit angry about Rose.24 May 2014 at 12:43 #27747The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman
I think this is the best Christmas special. Tate and Tennant are a hilarious double act, it’s no surprise she was brought back as a proper companion. The actual plot is a bit naff, just an excuse for the two of them to get into funny situations, which in this case doesn’t bother me.
I don’t like Lance’s rant at the end where he makes several pop culture references that are now incredibly dated. I’ve mentioned how much this irritates me before, so I won’t go into any more detail.24 May 2014 at 13:34 #27749janetteB @janetteb
Apart from the claim that this is “the best Christmas special” I agree with everything @The Krynoid Man said. I only dispute that this is the best Christmas Special because I am rather partial to the Christmas specials. It is certainly “one of the best”. There are some wonderful, though mostly silly, moments in it. I enjoy the sheer absurdity of the Tardis on the motorway scene and unlike those familair with the Catherine Tate Show, I quite liked Donna. She was a refreshing chance to love lorn Rose. I agree though that the shouty Donna of RB would have quickly become tiresome as a long term companion. She moderated that abrasiveness perfectly when she returned as companion.
I also agree re’ Lance’s rant. His character was too inconsistent to be credible. The “monster of the week” story line was the weakest part, a shaky frame upon which to hang the narrative. As usual RTD makes excellent use of contemporary locations, one of his strengths as a writer. Another of his great strengths, the creation of characters with in depth backgrounds, also features. We not only get Donna but also her social life and family, (minus her wonderful grandfather who came in later following the death of the actor playing her father and how fortunate that they didn’t simply choose to replace the actor and gave us Bernard Cribbons as ‘Gramps” instead.)
My partner’s comment on this was “a bit of overacting from the spider.”
Janette24 May 2014 at 15:56 #2775025 May 2014 at 02:11 #27759Anonymous @
I like this special. I like all the specials, although various people, since S Moffat, haven’t enjoyed the ‘cryptic’ quality: “fish flying through the air and “armoured trees?” said the Ilion Family.
In this I enjoyed the silly gags: the kids egging Donna on to jump, Donna, sopping wet in her wilting wedding dress, lying flat on her back in the belly of HC Clements, Lance about to axe the Racnoss Queen and then laughing crazily like a 50s horror film.
As for Lance’s rant about ‘texting, Pringles, X-Factor and split ends’, I think it is relevant and adults and a lot of kids get that -if it’s not Jen and Brangelina then, equally, it’s something else, but Davies authorial and production view/ opinions about pop culture is still clear throughout this episode and many others. I too thought Donna was waaay over the top with her “wha? wha?” as she reanimates in the TARDIS but then as she talks to the Doctor about ‘really needing someone to help him stop’, that germination of compassion instilled in her later when she talks to the captive Oods in latter episodes, is very evident.
Here, Donna’s rage and shrieking balance Tennant’s scientific rambling and his very visible separateness at the bar when Donna is ‘rocking it’ with Lance at the reception. The quick flashback to Rose is so appropriate there. I for one love his back and forth from “come on, just JUMP”; ” shazaam, wham go the endorphins and you’re like a microwave” followed by “yes you look lovely Donna, but jump, please” along with other quiet, gentle and sure elements of calmness which this Doctor projects so well spinning back and forth sometimes like a mad top! At the very end when he says “her name is Rose” and his voice cracks ever so slightly-brings on a sudden attack of sinus.
Though there are still many relatives and friends of mine who truly despised Donna, I think she’s great: & her family too, as mentioned by @janetteb above. Getting to know Donna’s personality later and realising that many of her negative traits and feelings about herself emerge from her upbringing by mum is already collecting in this episode, which, I gather, wasn’t going to indicate Donna as a future companion at that point? That happened a little later I think?
Anyway, I noticed how, even in a year, Tennant had aged considerably from his introduction: punishing schedule and all that.
I also loved how Donna said “she’d walk in the dust” and travel… but then remembering what she actually said when she re-met the Doctor a year or more later…how very true for many of us with a grand dream ..a point to ponder. 🙂 “Be magnificent” said the Doctor .
Kindest, purofilion25 May 2014 at 02:35 #27760janetteB @janetteb
The tragedy of Donna’s character is that we get to w itness her “being magnificent”. She develops so much as a character only to be dumped back to the limited, frustrated, R.B. Donna. I could almost hate RTD for what he does to her.
Janette25 May 2014 at 05:15 #27765Arbutus @arbutus
Yay, Donna! I will admit that she was a bit over the top here at times, which was definitely smoothed out later when she returned as a full time companion. But as @purofilion says, even here, one can see the more vulnerable side as well, and the sensitivity that she displayed later on. I love her, she is my favourite of the AG companions to date, and I certainly thought she had the best rapport with Ten. I loved the moment when he had finally had enough of her, and snapped, through gritted teeth, “Right! Chiswick!” In other words, “You are so out of my TARDIS!”
I also adored the moment when they were segwaying down the corridor, and Donna looked around and suddenly got a massive fit of giggles. The Doctor, after a moment, saw the humour and shared it with her. Lance was clearly not getting the joke, and we could already see the seed of the friendship that the Doctor and Donna would share.
The TARDIS car chase scene was terrific fun, as was the wedding party scene. Another little glimpse of the Donna that the Doctor would learn to love comes when she broke down in hysterics to shut everyone up, and secretly caught the Doctor’s eye with a little wink. Did I mention that I love Donna? She’s exactly the companion I would want to be if I could travel with the Doctor: gutsy, funny, smart, and down-to-earth.25 May 2014 at 12:58 #27771PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
I think it was @janetteb who said the pre-expectations or familiarity with comedy performers can have a detrimental effect on your enjoyment of them in Who, and I’d agree. I approached this originally with some trepidation based on her own sketch show (some of which was good, some of which made my ears bleed).
At first we seemed to be in full “ear-bleeding” territory, but what’s interesting is that I could live with that quite easily. In many ways the early scenes are a good shake up for the programme after the very settled companionship that Rose had latterly provided. Tennants mixture of curiosity and growing exasperation is key to this for me.
What really impresses though are some of the later scenes. As a pointer to what Donna was to become, I think this is the actor informing the writer about how to take a character. You look at Tennant and Tate on top of the roof as they are both a bit dejected, the relationship as they begin to work together, her talking down the Doctor, and a great bit of downplaying as she invites him to dinner at the end, and it screams “this works” at you. I’m not surprised RTD said he felt like doing cartwheels when she said yes to series 4. Donna worked.
The story works – lots of fun for Christmas, with hints at darkness. Sarah Parish obviously going for broke as the Empress. I love the flashback scenes as Donna pursues Lance with her exuberance bordering on mania. Don Gilet as Lance really conveys complete overwhelmed terror well in that.
Oh – and doesn’t that madcap chase between the Taxi and TARDIS bring out your inner child to punch the air? It’s really ambitious, and they pull it off magnificently.
And just who is this Mr. Saxon fellow?!25 May 2014 at 15:32 #27773Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip
My partner’s comment on this was “a bit of overacting from the spider.”
I don’t think Sarah Parish could’ve done anything else. Between that script and that costume, any actor worth their salt would’ve gone “Pass the mustard, I have scenery to chew.” 🙂25 May 2014 at 15:56 #27774Anonymous @
@bluesqueakpip — tend to agree. I’m still inclined to think it was a bit of a waste of Parish’s quite considerable talent though.26 May 2014 at 00:09 #27792ScaryB @scaryb
Really enjoyed coming back to this, especially since I missed it when it was broadcast. What a great chemistry Tate and Tennant had, right from the start. Yes Donna’s a bit “shouty” but you also see a much more vulnerable side as she listens to the cruel betrayal by the man she was going to marry. She obv has a reputation as a fun-loving prankster, but her reaction there (and elsewhere) suggests that she partly uses this as a protection, so she doesn’t have to show the other side to the world. But she’s sparky, sharp and obv resilient.
And as others have mentioned, she was such a contrast to Rose. I also love Tennant’s portrayal, especially when he goes dark thinking about Rose, and particularly when he becomes very dark Timelordy in killing all the baby raconosses. It’s the Empress’s “My children” that gets to Donna, but it doesn’t reach Ten. He’s given her her chance and the offer isn’t coming again.
I don’t mind the contemporary references – it’s one of the pros and cons of being a TV series, and DW has always done it. Especially AG, when they’ve had a great knack of paralleling actual events – the Olympics, the World Cup, Easter etc. In many ways it’s one of the defining things of great TV – it’s of the moment, ephemeral.26 May 2014 at 00:26 #27795Anonymous @
Ah @scaryb you hit the proverbial nail there with the defining elements of TV -ephemeral indeed. All TV is, isn’t it? Some of it is better because of it (propter hoc) but others not so. Maybe Davies manages to pull it off more than most. Kindest, purofilion.26 May 2014 at 13:18 #27804Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip
Catherine Tate was great in this, and equally great when she had to tone it down later as a long-running companion. She and David Tennant had a great chemistry together. This is an excellent story, all told (though every time I watch an RTD Christmas Special, I wonder why on earth he hates Christmas so much…)
Most of what I’d like to say has been said, so I’ll just add a couple of things. This is one of the stories where you can see RTD’s ‘greatest good of the greatest number’ morality in full flow. It’s kind of like he found his solution to the ‘monster of the week’ problem – and then later had people point out that he’d just had the Doctor kill 2.47 billion baby spiders… sentient baby spiders, who hadn’t actually done anything wrong.
He sorts it out a bit in Partners in Crime and Turn Left, both of which we’ll see later. Moffat adds to it: the War Doctor who thinks he’s killed 2.47 billion of his own people’s children isn’t going to shrink at killing the children of the Racnoss. ‘The Doctor’ is going to have to learn to change his mind about that.
In the meantime, The Day of The Doctor adds to that scene in The Runaway Bride. As he makes his decision and carries it out, David Tennant gives a great performance of terrible isolation; Moffat’s later script gives you the reason The Doctor is both so terrible and so isolated.
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