Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol ★★★★½

RTD’s Christmas specials tended towards big, shiny ideas with little concern to plotting or characterisation or whether or not his ideas were any good. Sometimes the ideas were brilliant - The Next Doctor - and sometimes staggeringly terrible - also The Next Doctor. It rather suggests that RTD’s favourite idea of Christmas viewing falls somewhere between corny old disaster movies, big budget guff and that horrible overwrought Eastenders/ Corrie sentimental angst. Watching an RTD Christmas special was rather like being plunged into the arena of the unwell and hungover/ bad case of indigestion without having to really overdo it

In short, all RTD’s Christmas specials, aside from possibly the first one, are a pile of old toss

Moffat however tends to suggest his favourite Christmas viewings are old classics: Dickens, a murder mystery, a comedy special. His specials don’t work so well when he has to fit conventional drama and Doctor Who style shenanigans to the Christmas baubles. When they work for me are with this and Wardrobe - stories where the threat/ foe level are slim to minimum and all the good bits are character based 

This, for me, is close to perfection. It’s got heart, it’s got gags, it’s got Smith working against children - always his finest fools - and some wonderful setpieces. It also has bonkers and ridiculous ideas being bashed together with abandon. More Doctor Who should be lik this, with flying sharks and assorted nonsense, and less should have giant Cyber Kings (whatever they are) stomping around London for the lolz

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