I had high hopes for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, I really did. A Doctor’s last hurrah is supposed to be epic, but I did not feel this epicness. I know, that really isn’t a word but you get my drift. The show had its good points but I think they tried too hard to drive their message of equality home to the viewer. When inserting messages into a show, it should flow naturally. There are many episodes in the past that illustrate a message without it feeling forced. As a woman I applaud the message they wanted to convey but still don’t want to feel like I am being force fed a particular viewpoint when watching something that is supposed to be entertaining.
As a Doctor Who fan, I am also annoyed at how they portrayed the character of the First Doctor. I had high hopes for this as well. A rare multi Doctor episode featuring the Doctor’s original self. Obviously not the original actor as William Hartnell passed away back in the 1970s. David Bradley certainly had the look down and a few of the mannerisms, but the dialog delivery seemed a bit stilted as if he were a Mondasian Cyberman. They also ruined the character by making him sound like a sexist twat which is sure to drive away any younger generation fan from looking up the adventures of the First Doctor. Granted not all of the episodes from the 60’s were shining gems, but there were some really good ones that are still watchable today despite the low budget look. Yes, the First Doctor was a bit old fashioned and grandfatherly in the original First Doctor adventures but he would never have spoken to his female companions in the way he did in this Christmas episode, especially Polly who would have told the old man what he could go do with himself. I know they wanted to showcase outdated idea but they didn’t have to ruin a character to do it. If anything, they could have used Mark Gatiss’s character to make the point since his character really didn’t do much throughout the whole episode.
The WWI British army captain, played by Mark Gatiss, was pointless up until the end. I’ve always enjoyed watching Gatiss on screen as much as I enjoy his writing, but his character felt like an afterthought through much of the episode until they finally reveal his significance in the end scene on the battlefield. Pearl Mackie’s “Bill” also had a pointless feel as the only thing she seemed to do was constantly trying to convince the Doctor that she really was the embodiment of Bill’s memories.
The only bright spot was Peter Capaldi’s performance despite the shoddy writing. Not always easy working with sub par material but he was classic Twelfth Doctor to the end. I shall miss seeing him as my favorite Time Lord but looking forward to what the Thirteenth will be like.