Christmas Day was not always this way. In the deep and distant past, there was little mention of Doctor Who on our screens but these days, you can't move!
1pm Dr Who confidential, then watch the concert on digital till 3.30. Take half an hour for Christmas dinner. 4pm - Jo Whiley and David Tennant on Radio 1 (Doctor Who is now the epitome of cool!) and then 7pm - the grand arrival of the most hyped Doctor Who episode ever. Then on to the web to listen to the podcast. From 1-9pm total Doctor Who!
What followed was an hour of fast frenetic entertainment gushing with excellent dialogue, smashing and stunning special effects, plenty of festive frolics, and of course, it was a lot of fun. Credit must be given to Russell T Davies who must have been itching to write this episode since Doctor Who hit the screens. What would happen if a runaway bride turned up in the Tardis and didn't want to be with the Doctor at all was the starting premise but some of the fantastic lines which followed were wonderful and so funny. I liked how she referred to the Doctor as a martian and her angry volatile reactions were fuelled by her being taking away at her proudest moment ... and the Doctor, heartbroken after losing Rose, almost powerless.
The amazing Tardis chase sequence on the motorway was simply stunning and had something of the Harry Potters about it. How J K Rowling must regret not taking up the offer to write a script for Doctor Who, especially now Who tops the annual charts. The Tardis shooting up into the air at the finale was also magical and loved the bit when the snow shower came on. I would like to see more of that kind of special effects done with the Tardis. Maybe it is just something they keep up their sleeves for Christmas after the spectacular crash-landing at the opening of last year's Christmas Invasion.
The Emperor of Racnoss was a rather horrible enemy and while there was some surprise twists and turns, especially with Donna's fiancee, the special effects were again excellent and Sarah Parish was suitabily villainous for the part.
There were so many great lines it is difficult to know where to start. I loved the comments from Donna that she missed the Sycorax last Christmas because she had a hangover, and she was on Spain on holiday during the Cybermen and Dalek invasions. It was just hilariously written right down to the Doctor's pockets being bigger on the inside than the out. Just first class.
The programme also had the underlying sense of loss the Doctor felt for Rose and there were some amazing occasions when it really brought things home, even during the chase sequence when Donna asked the Doctor if she could trust him, and then that final parting scene when Donna asked Rose's name and the look on the Doctor's face. It was also beautiful and pulled at the heart-strings.
Catherine Tate really added great personality and attitude to the part and she has to be commended for being perhaps the funniest and most enjoyable companion ever. The scenes between the Doctor and Donna were terrific and there was real dynamism between the two of them who played off each other wonderfully well.
I loved the final Tardis sequence as it shot up into the sky and of course the snow effect which was simply - Wow! It is everything Doctor Who should be. Even the sequence when Donna realised that the wedding reception carried on without her, and Donna's description about how she got together with her fiancee, which had more than a few white lies thrown in, added to the depth and feeling for the charactor of Donna who of course, you didn't like at first, but she quickly grew on you. I loved her fiancee's comments about how bored he was with her talk about the X Factor and such like! Just brilliant. The well-crafted dialogue was a dream come true and kept you giggling throughout. The range of expressions on the shocked Doctor's face at times was a real picture - it almost reminded you of the days of Pat Troughton and Tom Baker who had mystified expressions down to a tee.
The musical score throughout was as expected marvellous. I thought the music in particular to match the Tardis chase sequence was particularly good. And those flashbacks to Rose during the wedding reception were certainly pulling at those heartstrings again.
Donna's summation that the Doctor needs someone was an interesting moment at the end and certainly leaves you hanging on for the next season.
The season 3 preview looked exciting and Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones looks every part a spectacular addition to the cast. I thought from the brief clips she looked wonderful. With the Face of Boe making his final arrival, and a Dalek making an appearance right in the final clip, it certainly left you gasping for more.
Overall, a terrific day of entertainment for a Doctor Who fan like myself and a rip-roaring adventure full of dazzling brilliance which captured the essence of everything Doctor Who is about ... and perhaps makes the show now a staple diet of the Christmas tv schedules.