Doctor Who 25/12/08 – The Next Doctor

“I’m The Doctor, simply The Doctor. The one, the only and the best”

Oh Russell T Davies, you magnificent troll! I have a love/hate relationship with RTD, it’s hard to hate the person who brought back Doctor Who and made it what it is today (which is awesome), but there are moments when his sentimental fanwankery and “Doctor > Jesus” writing style reaches points of utter ridiculousness (and not in a good way). My feelings on the topic  have never been in greater conflict than when watching “The Next Doctor”. First aired on Christmas 2008, it was the first of the specials that saw David Tennant end his time as The Doctor. There was much speculation as to whether or not we would see the 11th Doctor, at that point Matt Smith hadn’t been announced, and David Morrisey was being presented as “The Next Doctor”. In this episode we learn that the man who could have been Doctor Number 11, was in fact an ordinary man who had been brainwashed into thinking he was the Time Lord, and that we probably wouldn’t see 11 until a year later.

Now, I can probably say that David Morrisey is my favourite Doctor. While he was only “The Doctor” very briefly, the small time he had in the role showed an interpretation of the character that I haven’t seen, sort of like a mixture between the 9th and 6th, and I was incredibly disappointed when it was revealed that he was just an ordinary man. His first line is one of the greatest things The Doctor has ever said, and would make a far better catchphrase than “What? What? WHAT?”. The way he introduces himself with such confidence is similar to Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor calling the Atraxi back to Earth only to verbally bitchslap them and send them running.

If the rest of the episode had been the David Morrisey Doctor maintaining that confidence, I would be happy, but sadly once he finds out his true identity the plot descends into a fairly average Cyberman plot, which climaxes in a ridiculous scene with a giant Cyberman stomping around victorian London like a steampunk megazord. While the plot is pretty unremarkable, there are some other good parts besides David Morriseys performance, the confirmation of the 1996 TV Movie as canon was a nice touch, as well as, um, the hot air balloon?

Anyway, I guess it was an ok Christmas watch, but it’s a shame that it wasn’t better considering this was the beginning of the end for the 10th Doctor. Also, it would have been much more memorable as well as groundbreaking to see the new doctor on screen before we see the previous one regenerate, but alas, this is Russel T Davies, and while the man can make one hell of a cliff hanger, the resolutions almost always fall flat.

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