The Christmas InvasionBookmark and Share

Monday, 26 December 2005 - Reviewed by James Main

That was the most spectacularly executed transition from one doctor to another - RTD in his brilliant understanding of Doctor Who used Rose not only to express the viewpoint and feelings of the audience but to direct it and give it a big shove. Rose's distress at losing 'her doctor', suspicion, feelings of being abandoned and cheated with something less that what she had are familiar to any one who saw 'their' doctor go away and be replaced by some weirdo imposter. Billie Piper's role (and that of all the other returning cast members) was to nudge the audience into accepting the new doctor and to sanction our approval when it came... not that we needed any help!

David Tennant is truly wonderful and clearly has a very good idea of what the Doctor should be like without trotting out an imitation of anything that has gone before (a frequent mistake or anyone after Tom Baker). He also comes across as though he is having a whale of a time which makes everything he does all the more watchable. Personally I am over the moon- my kind of Doctor is back... he's witty, quick, fun, has masses of gravitas and huge piercing eyes (and isn't telling everyone to shut-up nor is he wearing a self-consciously modern or macho leather coat).

So much of the special harked back to those parts of the series that made it wonderful...

...a flawed friend in Harriet Jones making the same mistakes that the Brigadier would made every four weeks. Though with RTD's writing and Penelope Wilton's endearing performance the character is so much more understandable - making her divergence from the Doctor's moral stance even more troubling. And what a brilliant and almost chilling demonstration of the power of rumour in the Doctor's 'don't you think she looks tired' term-ending technique - this is great pen vs sword stuff for kids wilst being anything but patronising to adults.

We had the wonderful wierdness of a skinny bloke in jim-jams crossing broad-swords with a caped fleshy fiend miles above London - but played with the same conviction and professionalism that the series started with -before pantomime and camp took over. Great quirky ideas like bood-control and pilot fish designed to enthuse children about biology and the idea that a monster could even be your own race 'defending' itself against a retreating ship.

Mind-expanding, cheerful, fun but without farting or burping (and hopefully none heading our way) and the cybermen, baroque androids and K9 are coming.