THE CHRISTMAS INVASION

Merry Christmas!

This seasonal update comes in two parts. The first part is an audio commentary that we’ve recorded to accompany the 2005 Children in Need Special (aka The Pudsey Cutaway) which acts as a prelude to the 2005 Christmas Special (which follows as a traditional blog).

You can skip the audio commentary if you like, but if you want to sync it to the visuals (it’s an extra on the Season 2 DVD box set) the first image you should see when the audio begins to play is the Dalek fleet from The Parting of the Ways. You can also download the audio file here (right-click and choose Save As).

Right, now that you’ve finished listening to that nonsense…

 

The Christmas Invasion

As the TARDIS hurtles towards Earth on Christmas Eve, Mickey Smith and Jackie Tyler can hear its engines grinding.

The Christmas InvasionMe: They must have super-hearing.
Sue: I thought the TARDIS was telepathic? So their brains must be tuned to it somehow. Don’t you know anything, Neil?
Me: I’m surprised they can hear anything over Murray Gold’s music.
Sue: Stop moaning, Neil. It’s Christmas.

The TARDIS crash lands on the Powell Estate.

Sue: (Laughing) That looked amazing. We hadn’t seen the TARDIS do that before, had we? It’s brilliant.

The Doctor stumbles out of the TARDIS and collapses. Rose tells her mother that the man lying on the pavement is the Doctor. “Doctor?” asks Jackie. “Doctor Who?”

Sue: I bet the Moff loved that.

The Doctor recuperates in Jackie’s flat.

Sue: So who undressed him, then? And what’s Jackie doing with a pair of men’s pyjamas, anyway?

Her second question will be answered in due course, and as for the first:

The Christmas InvasionSue: Jackie can’t have undressed him if she doesn’t know whether he’s got an extra willy or not. Because you know she would have checked.
Me: It must have been Mickey then. Because this is a children’s television programme and I don’t want to think about the alternative, thank you very much.

As Mickey and Rose go Christmas shopping in weather so mild it could be December 2015, they come under attack from a gang of malevolent Santa Clauses.

Sue: I’d forgotten the Autons were in this.

One of the Santas aims a weaponised tuba at Mickey and fires. Yes, really.

Sue: Santa should have said “You’ve been a very naughty boy” just before he shot him. This is pretty scary, though. I mean, Father Christmas is terrifying at the best of times, so this almost makes sense.

Rose and Mickey run for their lives.

Sue: This is ridiculous.
Me: So why are you biting your nails, then?
Sue: I don’t know. I can’t help myself.

Another seasonal surprise is waiting for Rose in Jackie’s flat.

Sue: Yes, this is definitely ridiculous. I mean, this is an awful lot of trouble to go to kidnap someone.
Me: How long did it take these aliens to work out that the best way to kidnap the Doctor would be to deliver a remote-controlled Christmas tree with razor-sharp branches to the flat, instead of, you know, just kidnapping him? And how long has the Doctor been in bed for these aliens to come up with this idea, let alone implement it?
Sue: It is very funny, though. And Jackie’s reaction is priceless.

The Doctor pulls himself together and banishes the killer tree with his sonic screwdriver, but this rare moment of lucidity doesn’t last.

The Christmas InvasionSue: The Doctors aren’t usually this bad when they regenerate, are they?
Me: Are you joking? Peter Davison’s Doctor spent two episodes in a box!
Sue: Yeah, but he never had the sweats. They usually suffer from mental problems, but this looks more physical. All that sweat, dripping from David’s chest…
Me: Do you need a tissue, Sue? You’re drooling again.

While the Doctor sleeps off his post-regenerative trauma, a British scientist named Daniel Llewellyn is showing his space probe of to the nation.

Sue: He can’t wait to get this press conference over with so he can get back the massive line of coke he’s got racked up back at Mission Control. I mean, look at him! Calm down!

But Llewellyn’s probe is rudely interrupted by something else. Something monstrous.

Sue: Am I supposed to know what that is? Because I don’t.

Meanwhile at the Tower of London…

Sue: It’s UNIT. Are you impressed that I know that, Neil?
Me: Not really. We saw UNIT in the Tower of London only a few weeks ago. In the Zygon two-parter.
Sue: I don’t know why they bother. Their heating bills must be massive.

Even though Llewellyn’s probe was heading for Mars, UNIT’s Major Blake knows that the aliens who intercepted it don’t hail from the Red Planet.

Me: And that’s because aliens from Mars are called… Go on, Sue.
Sue: What?
Me: What are aliens from Mars called? Come on, you know this!
Sue: Martians.

The Christmas InvasionThese particular aliens are called the Sycorax, and they’ve got some demands they want to broadcast.

Sue: (Singing) Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality…

Harriet Jones, who is now the Prime Minister of Great Britain thanks to her handling of the Slitheen crisis, could do with Torchwood’s help right now.

Me: Sadly, it’s basketball night at the Hub and Ianto’s just ordered pizza, so you can’t rely on them. Sorry.

And then, on Christmas morning, huge swathes of the population begin walking inexplicably towards the rooftops, as if in a trance.

Sue: Is this where David Tennant got the idea for Jessica Jones from?
Me: David Tennant didn’t write Jessica Jones, but yes, I can see where you’re coming from. Although the comic Alias had been around for a while when this was made.
Sue: It’s a good job that everyone who’s possessed had their clothes on. If this was Jessica Jones, you’d see naked people, or people crawling up flights of stairs with no legs. This looks great, though.

The Christmas InvasionShe’s pointing at the rows of blank-faced people who are now lined-up rooftops across the globe, as their loved ones look on helplessly.

Sue: You’d think they’d make more of an effort to drag them back from the edge, wouldn’t you? If you were up on that roof, Neil, I’d pull you back and break your kneecaps.
Me: Thanks.
Sue: Don’t mention it. It would be my pleasure.

Harriet Jones decides to address the nation; the Queen’s speech having been cancelled because the Royal Family are teetering on the edge of oblivion.

Sue: So it’s not all bad news, then.

Harriet admits that she doesn’t know what to do.

Me: Her spin doctors must be on the roof.

And then she begs the Doctor for help.

Sue: Imagine sitting at home watching this after your Christmas dinner. You’d call for the men in white coats to drag her away. When it comes to political credibility, this is even worse than doing it with a dead pig.

Rose cries her eyes out.

Sue: Pull yourself together! He isn’t dying, he’s just regenerating.
Me: But she doesn’t know that. She hasn’t seen the classic series.
Sue: Well, he should have left her some instructions, then. They never leave their companions instructions, do they? Idiots.

And then the Gherkin explodes.

Sue: Well, that’s thousands of people scarred for life by shrapnel.
Me: Merry Christmas!

The Christmas InvasionAnd then the Sycorax mothership glides over London in a Christmas Day homage to Independence Day.

Sue: Wow. Look at that. It’s ruined the EastEnders title sequence, but that’s really impressive.
Me: I don’t think modern Doctor Who has ever looked better than this. I’d actually forgotten just how good this is.
Sue: It’s incredible. It’s properly epic.

Jackie and Rose evacuate their flat and carry the Doctor to the TARDIS.

Sue: Don’t forget the Christmas presents!

Meanwhile the Sycoraxs’ transmissions are still being translated at UNIT HQ.

Sue: Now they’re saying “Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?”

Harriet Jones, her assistant Alex, Major Baker and Daniel Llewellyn are all teleported to the Sycorax ship, where they are immediately intimidated by an aggressive warrior leader.

Sue: Oh dear. It’s all gone a bit Star Trek, now.

The Christmas InvasionMajor Baker and Daniel Llewellyn are cruelly whipped to death and then the Sycorax demand that half the Earth’s population be sold into slavery, if they don’t want a third of the population to die.

Sue: In other words, half the population will end up down a mine. It’s always fucking mining in Doctor Who.
Me: With any luck, the Sycorax haven’t discovered fracking yet.
Sue: I bet they have, only they aren’t evil enough to actually do it.
Me and Sue: BLOODY TORIES!

Jackie leaves the safety of the TARDIS just as the Sycorax teleport it aboard their ship.

Sue: I bet she’s kicking herself for going back for those sausage rolls.

A spilled flask of tea causes the Doctor to stir from his coma.

Sue: He must be half-human if a nice cup of tea can wake him up.
Me: You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you?

The Sycorax leader launches into a vicious rant, which Alex helpfully translates for us.

Sue: This is annoying. I wish I could understand him. Why are they doing this?

They’re doing this because when the Sycorax leader begins speaking perfect English, the penny finally drops.

Sue: Oh that’s very clever. I should have known that. What a fabulous moment.

The Christmas InvasionThe Doctor throws open the TARDIS doors and asks if anyone missed him.

Sue: Yes! Me! Me! I did!
Me: I am still here, you know.

But before the Doctor can tackle the Sycorax, he has to get something important out of the way. Is he ginger?

Sue: He’s talking to Rose as if this is their first conversation. Shouldn’t they have done this already, in the other episode? Otherwise what was the point?
Me: Try telling that to all those children in need, Sue.
Sue: They could have spent those extra-five minutes explaining where all those Santa Clauses came from instead.

The Doctor wants to know what kind of man he is. Is he funny? Is he sarcastic? Is he sexy?

Sue: Yes, that’s it. You can stop now.

Is he a right old misery? The life and soul? Right-handed? Left-handed?

Sue: Sexy. Definitely sexy.

The Christmas InvasionIs he a gambler? A fighter? A coward? A traitor? A liar? A nervous wreck?

Sue: Let’s just go with sexy.
Me: I can’t believe he left out ‘unbearably smug’.

I got a punch on the arm for that.

Sue: You’re just jealous.

The Doctor ridicules the Sycoraxs’ blood magic, claiming that it’s impossible to hypnotise somebody to death.

Sue: You try telling that to the Master.

Cue epic sword fight.

Sue: David Tennant should have done the whole series in his pyjamas.

The Sycorax leader removes the Doctor’s right hand with his blade.

Sue: Is this the bit where he tells him he’s his dad?

The Christmas InvasionBut the Doctor is still in the first 15 hours of his regeneration, and everyone knows that means only one thing…

Sue: Oh, look at that. That’s handy.
Me: I’ll let you have that because this is our last blog.

The Doctor defeats the Sycorax leader, and he promises to spare his life if he agrees to bugger off.

Sue: That wasn’t a fair fight. Not if the Doctor can re-grow missing limbs like that. That doesn’t seem fair.

However, the Sycorax leader can’t be trusted, and the Doctor has to kill him with a satsuma.

Sue: I hope he doesn’t land on someone’s Christmas dinner. That would put a downer on things.
Me: Especially if they’d just spent several hours getting Uncle Albert down off the roof.

Back on terra firma, the Doctor and Rose celebrate their victory.

Sue: And only two people had to die. The planet got off lightly, I guess.

But Harriet Jones doesn’t agree, and Torchwood are finally ready to act.

Me: They’ve finished their pizza and they’re all ears.

The Christmas InvasionHarriet Jones gives the order.

Sue: I’ve gone right off her. You wouldn’t catch Jeremy Corbyn doing this.

Torchwood destroys the Sycorax ship as it tries to leave.

Sue: Yeah, thanks for that Captain Jack, you prat.
Me: To be fair, I don’t think the Welsh branch of Torchwood had a weapon like that. It was probably Yvonne Hartman who pushed the button.
Sue: Who?
Me: Ray ‘bloody’ Purchase’s wife.
Sue: Oh yeah. Her.

The Doctor is furious, and he threatens to bring down Harriet’s government with six words.

Sue: Shouldn’t it be “Don’t you think she looks crazy?” Especially after her funny turn on television earlier. This is an excellent scene, though. I don’t remember David Tennant ever being this hard.
Me: Of course you don’t, Sue.

And then, with the TARDIS safely back on the Powell Estate…

Me: This song was written especially for this episode.
Sue: Was it? I was going to say it sounded like a Bay City Rollers B-side.

The Doctor picks out something to wear from the TARDIS’ wardrobe room.

Sue: Look at all those dresses hanging from that rail. Is that in case he regenerates into a woman?
Me: Stop it.
Sue: You know it’s going to happen sooner or later, Neil. It’s just a matter of time.
Me: Stop it.
Sue: Miranda would be good.
Me: STOP IT!

The Christmas InvasionThe 10th (technically the 11th) Doctor checks himself out in a mirror.

Sue: I’d be chuffed if I were him. I’d be thinking, “I’d better take care of this one. You never know when I might look like Jon Pertwee again.”

While the Doctor enjoys Christmas dinner with the Tylers, Harriet Jones is fighting for her political life.

Sue: I don’t care what you say, this isn’t the Doctor’s fault. She went on national television and begged a doctor for help. What did she think was going to happen?

The Doctor tells Rose that the snow falling outside is actually the Sycorax spaceship burning up in the atmosphere.

Me: Who wants a dead alien fight? It’s a bit like a snowball fight, only warmer.
Sue: Stop it, Neil. This is really sad.
Me: Yes, it is. Sorry. Merry Christmas, by the way.

As Rose prepares to join the Doctor on a new series of adventures, Jackie doesn’t understand why anyone would want to explore the cosmos in a time machine.

Sue: Well, he didn’t invite you, pet, so stop bumping your gums. You have to feel sorry for Mickey, though. You can tell that he wants to go with them, bless him.

The Doctor points to the night sky and asks Rose where they should go next.

The Christmas InvasionMe: (As Rose) Hang on a minute, I’ve got some dead alien in my eye…
Sue: Stop it, Neil!

Cue credits, but not before we’re treated to a spectacular trailer for the next series.

Me: Ah, those were the days…
Sue: This makes me want to watch them again. Look, there’s K9!
Me: We could blog them on the anniversary of the date they were first broadcast.
Sue: Okay, then.
Me: Yeah, the twentieth anniversary.

 

The Score

9/10

Me: Only nine?
Sue: David wasn’t in it enough for me. Apart from that, it was perfect.

 

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