Having thoroughly enjoyed the return of the 5th Doctor in ‘Time Crash’, I celebrated the almost-New-Year by watching the 7th and 8th Doctors in ‘The TV Movie‘. I can’t help but appreciate the camp humour and Hollywood-style entertainment delivered in this extended slice of fun. I know, from the audio adventures, that Paul McGann certainly has what it takes to make a great Time Lord.
I watched the full uncut version on this occasion, for the first time since the original release in 1996. The full cut contains some more bullets and a morbid final scream from the dying 7th Doctor, on the operating table, but I fail to understand what all the fuss was about and why the TV censors chose to enforce the changes. The TV Movie contains many of the elements of the series to come – like the Doctor’s encouragable name dropping, the moments of passionate romance, and even the hand-in-hand run with Grace that mirrors the 9th Doctor and Rose running across the bridge in ‘Rose‘. The Master continues to use and dispose of anyone assisting – or obstructing – him with customary indifference… Mrs Saxon should feel relieved she didn’t go the way of Bruce’s wife.
Certain elements necessitate the interests of a fan boy to make any sense… You can forgive the half-human element if you accept the line when the Doctor tells Grace he could choose to change his species upon regeneration and that the 7th Doctor had drifted far enough from humanity to want to make an enforced return to something less otherworldly. It was he who chose to give up his Time Lord existence within the pages of ‘Human Nature‘, while the 8th Doctor would later become completely human in the New Adventure novels of the BBC. On the other hand, parts make complete sense and don’t need excuse now that Russell has delivered three seasons. The TARDIS restoring Chang Lee and Grace to life closely resembles the restoration of Captain Jack by ‘Bad Wolf’ Rose and the miraculous return of the Doctor in ‘Last of the Time Lords‘ – so, why not… Nothing out of the ordinary there.
Flawed at heart and a failed pilot, The TV Movie nevertheless delivers a hefty dose of high entertainment, complete with a breathtaking TARDIS makeover and a fine new Doctor. I can but hope that Russell T Davies will do the right thing and give us a televised glimpse of the 8th Doctor and the role he played in the Time War. I’m sure Paul McGann would relish finally having the chance to tread the boards as the Time Lord again and get the chance, at last, to continue the tradition of taking part in the regeneration sequence. No need for Chris to participate – now that we have a recognizable regeneration special effect, we just need the 8th Doctor to make some great sacrifice and suffer a mortal injury… then mid-regeneration, cut back to the 10th Doctor recounting the tale to Donna (or Martha… or whoever!).
Well, that was a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas Special. I guessed the conclusion the moment the Captain started acting oddly, but that didn’t stop me smiling, cringing and, very nearly, crying at various points along the way. I loved the Titanic, I liked the historian, and I would never fault Kylie… I wouldn’t dream of it. Astrid proved a vital, funny and attractive companion, filled with wonder and capable of holding her own.
OK… it wasn’t perfect – I recognised some of the corridors from the ‘Utopia‘ episode (and I’m sure they were used before that) and elements of the bridge, like the wheel, probably came from the Valiant (as seen in the last couple of episodes). I’m sure all the selfless people sacrificing themselves for the common good, while the arrogant, selfish twit coming up flush meant to make a point (which might well carry on into Season Four); but, it maybe drove the point too far in the one direction. I could have done with a little more lift at Christmas time. Yes, Astrid ascended as stardust into the great black void of space… but, somehow I didn’t
Anyway – I enjoyed it. I liked it a lot. ‘Voyage of the Damned‘ worked better for me than ‘The Runaway Bride‘ – and equaled the success, for me, of ‘The Christmas Invasion‘. The bit that raised it above the other three – aside from Astrid’s outfit – for me? The funky new rendition of the theme tune! Wow! Whatever Murray Gold did, and whether this will survive to the series, I loved it… Someone put it online as a mp3, quick!
A name that cried anagram before I knew her surname, Astrid Peth proves a goldmine of possibilities, including:
A Third Step
Has Pet Dirt
Tsar Hid Pet
He Dips Tart
At Depth Sir
I’m not entirely convined this range offers any clues to the story of the Voyage of the Damned, but you never can tell.
Oh, I almost forgot:
Pad Her Tits
Though I’m sure that isn’t necessary, as Kylie’s figure is nigh on perfect, right?
Astrid, Estrid, Æstriðr or Ástríðr is a given name of North Germanic origin. It comes from Old Norse Ásfríðr (Divine Beauty), from áss (god) + fríðr (beautiful).
Names derived from Astrid include the name Astrida, which is a somewhat common name for girls in the country of Latvia. The name Astrida may have originated when the city of Butare in Rwanda was renamed by its Belgian colonial rulers in honor of Queen Astrid, or by following an Eastern European regional convention of adding the letter ‘a’ to the end of a name to denote the name as being that of a female.
Borrowed from Wikipedia – and no doubt the root of the name has something to do with the presence of The Host (golden angels) aboard the distressed Titanic. Just convenient that Astrid happens to be an anagram of TARDIS as well…
Am I excited or what?! Don’t let me down, Russell…
“I’m the Doctor. I’m a Timelord. I’m nine hundred and three years old. And I’m the man who’s going to save all your lives, and all six billion people on the planet below. You got a problem with that?”
Don’t you just love the end of that trailer – available on the 14th day of the Doctor Who website advent calendar – and, no doubt, glimpsed amidst the BBC TV schedule.
The Host look heartless and indifferent to destruction; the Starship Titanic looks floaty and unsinkable; and Astrid looks like Kylie in appropriately kinky gear and boots. What more could you hope from early Christmas evening?
(Just dropped to less than 10 days to go, just as I posted this…)