Day 353: All You Need Is Love And Monsters

Beatles Vans and Christmas Doctor Who titbits…

December 19 main

Admittedly today’s Beatles Vans really should have been accompanied by Thunderbird 4 photo (a yellow submarine), but I’ve already done that (here). Plus I received an unexpected email from BBC publicity yesterday saying that spoiler-free online previews of the Doctor Who special were fine to post from today.

Well, I’m hardly going to pass up on that opportunity, especially as it’s likely to get the charity challenge a few extra hits, and, hey, you never know, maybe a bit more sponsorship. So if you are a Doctor Who fan lured here by some link somewhere, I’ve reposted my “Top Doctor Who Posts Of The Year” infographic at the bottom of this page to give you an idea what I’ve been doing all year, so please consider bunging a fiver towards Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Before getting on with my Who Christmas thoughts, here’s a closer look at the Beatles Vans, on loan from Will Guyatt and really rather fab. Geddit? Fab?

December 19 close-up beatles vans

Also fab is Doctor Who “Last Christmas”. Regular readers of this blog will know how much I loathe reviewing episodes form the BBC preview site because of the low quality, but honestly, after 10 minutes of “Last Christmas” some kind of festive magic occurred. The pixellated pictures seemed to fade and I truly felt like I was watching on Christmas night. For me, it was the perfect blueprint for a Doctor Who Christmas special – very, very Christmassy but a great classic Doctor Who story to boot.

And – crucially – it has real heart. I’ve always been impressed by Steven Moffat’s plotting, ideas and dialogue, but thought that Russell T Davies had the edge when it came to emotional scenes. But not here. There are scenes that are packed with emotion, without spilling over into gloopy sentimentality. The relationship between the Doctor and Clara is especially sweet with a wonderful pay-off.

7507074-low_res-I’d go as far to sat it’s my Capaldi Doctor Who story yet, and possibly my favourite Christmas special. It’s both gloriously silly and incredibly creepy; at times I was thinking, “This is going out at 6.15pm???” Father Christmas is Father Christmas through and through, and Nick Frost gets some great lines. Whether he’s real or not…? Well, that’s all part of the fun.

Here are a few non-spoilery teasers in good old SFX-style:

• There’s the return of an old favourite from previous Christmas specials, and it’s more prominent than ever

• There’s an absolutely glorious song and dance routine (I’m not joking, but neither does that quite mean what you might think it means)

• At least two plot elements scream: “This is not the last you’ll be seeing of this…”

• Nathan McMullen from Misfits makes a brilliant elf but Dan Starkey’s teeth are off-putting because you keep thinking, “Don’t they belong to Strax?”

• If you’re thinking something reminds you of something then somebody in the episode does to, though the Doctor doesn’t because he’s never heard of it and think it’s racist

• There’s a shot of The Tower Of Westminster (aka, Big Ben to non-pedants) that’s the stuff of Christmas legend

• It’s very, very twisty turny…

• It features a particular thing regularly used in film and TV (a production thing, not a script thing) that usually prompts critics to write, “God the [redacted] was awful!” But not here. It’s very good indeed

• The Doctor calls somebody unexpected sexy

• And if you haven’t heard already, the title of the next episode is revealed

These things are all relative. I loved it; some heartless Scrooges will not doubt hate it. I can only say that personally I was totally won over by it; it hit all the right notes for me, and I cannot wait to see it in high definition on Christmas Day (when, maybe, the thing that I thought looked really good may not look quite as good… but hopefully not).


See you tomorrow!

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3 thoughts on “Day 353: All You Need Is Love And Monsters

  1. Thanks for the review of Last Christmas.

    “These things are all relative. I loved it; some heartless Scrooges will not doubt hate it. I can only say that personally I was totally won over by it”

    If the opinion of the episode is supposed to be “relative”, then why should those who “hate” it be called “heartless Scrooges”? Aren’t people allowed to have a contrasting opinion or something?
    Of course, the word “hate” itself is extremely strong. But still, if “hating” this episode means someone gets called a “heartless Scrooge”, then expressing opinions is the biggest crime on Earth.

    From a personal experience, I usually end up getting “underwhelmed” when I watch an episode which has received excellent reviews – perhaps due to my own sky high expectations (Death in Heaven is one such example). So, if I end up saying that “Last Christmas” didn’t quite live upto my expectations, and it was disappointing, would you call me a “heartless Scrooge” simply because I dared to express my opinion?

  2. Lisa Wood says:

    Think Divya needs to take a ‘chill-pill’! Think most people got your drift Dave but there’s always a couple of people out there who are gonna take an innocent remark to heart and have a whinge. Next you’ll be blamed for ruining someone’s Xmas for sharing that you quite like Brussels sprouts………you do like them don’t you cos otherwise MY Xmas is destroyed!! 😉 ps keep up the good work

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