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219 of 225 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Final 5 4 10
After the tragic events at the end of series 4, the tenth Doctor chooses to travel alone and over the course of his final year in the role this equates to 5 longer than usual "special" episodes for David Tennant leading up to the very impressive arrival of Matt Smith at the end of THE END OF TIME PART TWO on 1 1 10 (which might be significant to any numerologists out...
Published on 22 Jan 2010 by Emanon

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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The greatest doctor, but not his finest hour...
For me, David Tennant is the greatest Doctor we have seen since Tom Baker. David is for 21st century Who, what Tom was to the 20th. The strength of David's performance has carried these specials, and made every one absolutely worth watching.

At the same time, I've become increasingly frustrated with Russell T. Davies' (RTD) writing for the series. Not that I am...
Published on 21 Mar 2010 by K9


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219 of 225 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Final 5 4 10, 22 Jan 2010
This review is from: Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD] (DVD)
After the tragic events at the end of series 4, the tenth Doctor chooses to travel alone and over the course of his final year in the role this equates to 5 longer than usual "special" episodes for David Tennant leading up to the very impressive arrival of Matt Smith at the end of THE END OF TIME PART TWO on 1 1 10 (which might be significant to any numerologists out there...).

First up is the 2008 Christmas special THE NEXT DOCTOR in which the whole idea that this Doctor might not be forever is addressed. David Morrissey guest stars when the Doctor meets a figure not unlike himself having adventures during a Victorian Christmastime and a comic tragedy unfolds that mixes Dickensian imagery with Cyberpunk as the Cybermen return with the help of Dervla Kirwan in a plot involving the kidnapping of street urchins to help create their Cyberking where only the Doctor(s) and a very different type of TARDIS can save the day.

By Easter, the Doctor has taken to riding buses around London, but even a simple bus journey can't be uneventful as before you know it he's been transported to THE PLANET OF THE DEAD with only Michelle Ryan's cat-burglar and a busload of passengers (as well as Lee Evans and UNIT) to help get him home. The stakes are high as a race of planet-eating flying manta rays are getting ever closer...

The darkest, scariest moment happens fifty years in the future when THE WATERS OF MARS are threatening to overrun Lindsay Duncan and her crew on Bowie Base One. The fact that they're all already doomed adds a dark edge to the story, but when the Doctor himself decides that he won't put up with that any more things take an even darker turn.

Back to Earth at Christmas again (via the planet of the Ood) for this Doctor's final battle. THE END OF TIME PART ONE is a curiously dark piece for Christmas Day when John Simm's Master is resurrected and attempts to hijack the Immortality Gate project with dire consequences for the whole of mankind. Bernard Cribbins, Catherine Tate and (briefly) June Whitfield are all that the Doctor can rely on as an even scarier menace than the Master - headed up by Timothy Dalton! - plans its own resurrection.

THE END OF TIME PART TWO follows on quite naturally, and the universe must be saved (again) but only at great personal cost to the Doctor. It's no secret that the events of this epic story lead to the end of the line for this particular version of the Doctor, but it's a terrific ride and makes for a rather spectacular sendoff. Bernard Cribbins makes one amazing octogenerian action hero, and John Simm & Timothy Dalton are impressive foes, but the episode really, truthfully belongs to David Tennant.

Quite right too.

With his regeneration fast approaching he does (rather self-indulgently you might think) get to revisit all his best friends, but, you know I think he deserves that at the end of four truly amazing years.

Full length episodes of DOCTOR WHO CONFIDENTIAL are included for each episode, as well as the Doctor Who proms, a selection of deleted scenes and there's a slew of extras for the final episodes including David Tennant's video diaries, a Comic-Con appearance, and the BBC Christmas idents that were so very popular at the time. There are also main cast (David Tennant and Catherine Tate/ David Tennant and John Simm) and director (Euros Lyn) commentaries on the last two episodes which are a lot of fun, there's a rather nice accompanying booklet with a lovely little piece written by David Tennant himself to top off a rather nicely put together set.
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David, Russell and everyone else...THANK YOU. FOR EVERYTHING, 7 Feb 2010
By 
R. Wood "ryecroftwood2" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD] (DVD)
Once upon a time, I was NOT a Doctor Who fan. In the old days of Who, I avoided it like the plague. I hated the effects, the writing, the acting blah-blah-blah. And it took Russell T Davies and his vision of a new Doctor Who to make me interested. Then Christopher Eccleston regenerated into David Tennant...and the rest was history.

In my opinion, the quality of the stories really took off when Tennant came on board and had peaked at Series 4 (which remains my favourite series of Doctor Who bar none). And then after an amazing five year run, after so many painful departures...the man himself David Tennant declared that he was finally leaving.

It shocked me to the core, along with everyone else. For me (and millions more), he was MY Doctor. He made me a fan, and the fact that Russell T Davies was also calling it a day was heartbreaking.

So this boxset, containing the final five specials of the Davies era, marks the end of a truly wonderful era. Taking place after the monumentally superb Series 4, the premise here is the Tenth Doctor (after vanquishing greatest enemies Davros and the Daleks and saying goodbye to his best friend Donna Noble) is once again on his own. After losing so much, the Doctor decides its best to remain on his own and not to endanger anyone else and risk his heart being broken again.

These five specials (spanning from Christmas 2008 to New Year's Day 2010) feature David Tennant and a delightful all-star guest cast. Here he has a different companion for the duration of each adventure, resulting in some terrific, classic episodes, all running for an hour except the BIG FINALE, which runs for a stonking seventy-five minutes. Overall, it's most befitting for David's last run, and as the end draws nearer, his performances excel to the point where he reaches the height of his greatness, going out in a true blaze of glory that honours his Doctor and everything he's given us.

The fact that the man's regeneration was inevitable and obvious is immediately touched upon right from the word `go' with "The Next Doctor", which sees No. 10 confront his first omen of what lies ahead. The realisation that one day, he himself will have to go. Even though things don't turn out to be as they seem at first glance, it's nevertheless a premonition that sets the scene nicely for this final story arc.

All the specials are made so because of Davies (who wrote three of the specials himself and co-wrote two of them with Gareth Roberts and Phil Ford), the re-emergence of the Cybermen, terrifying new creatures, the final darkest days of the Time War and of course, the excellent assortment of guest stars on hand. You can expect nothing but first-class performances from the likes of David Morrissey, Michelle Ryan, Lindsey Duncan, and Timothy Dalton (SERIOUSLY!). They're all given wonderfully three-dimensional characters to act out, share plenty of the spotlight with David and help to make the specials essential viewing with their presence. And of course, it's great to see the return of old favourites like Bernard Cribbins (Wilfred Mott), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) and the godlike John Simm reprising his role as the Master.

The 2008 Christmas Special "The Next Doctor" is helped because of the refreshing change of festive scenery (Victorian London). David Morrissey's `Next Doctor' and the tragic mystery surrounding him drives the episode, as does the fascinating development of the Cybermen and Dervla Kirwan simply steals every scene she's in as the charismatic rogue Miss Hartigan. Until "The End Of Time", I found this to be the best Christmas Special ever done, due to the drama, great humour, excitement and heart to be found. It's certainly still got that after repeat viewing.

The 2009 Easter Special "Planet of the Dead" is another hugely enjoyable romp of an episode with Michelle Ryan's Lady Christina being a perfect match for the Tenth Doctor. Her experience as the Bionic Woman does the character justice, making her sharp, charismatic, sexy and witty. Michelle's chemistry with David is a treat to behold, and Lee Evans will truly have you in hysterics. "Planet of the Dead" really is so much fun to watch, but after this, fun time is over. Watch the ending to see what I mean.

To me, it`s "The Waters of Mars" November 2009 Special that is the true highlight of boxset. Davies really changes gears with this episode and his writing and produces what is truly one of the darkest, most terrifying and most psychological stories ever in Who. It touches upon so many adult themes, all of which are executed brilliantly. Lindsey Duncan as Captain Adelaide Brooke comes across as the Tenth Doctor's most strong-willed companion ever with her portrayal and the consequences of what happens here changes everything forever, tarnishing the Doctor and making us all realise just how much he needs a companion. "The Waters of Mars" is a true classic and one that should be watched more than any other episode here.

Finally, "The End of Time" two-part finale can be labelled epic, thanks to everything coming full circle with regards to the haunting prophecy, the Master's return, Wilfred (Bernard Cribbins) proving himself to be the ideal companion for the Tenth Doctor's last hurrah and of course all loose ends regarding the Time War, other sub-plots and David going out with redemption and as a true hero. Seeing the Doctor saying goodbye to all his loved ones and deliver his very last line will reduce you to tears and simply cannot be missed.

For extras, you can expect fantastic Confidential pieces, deleted scenes, audio commentaries for "The End of Time", David's Video Diaries of his final days, the Christmas Idents and the wonderful Doctor Who: At The Proms concert special. All of which help round up things in a very nice bow indeed.

Russell, David, everyone...THANK YOU. For everything.

Buy now.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The greatest doctor, but not his finest hour..., 21 Mar 2010
This review is from: Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD] (DVD)
For me, David Tennant is the greatest Doctor we have seen since Tom Baker. David is for 21st century Who, what Tom was to the 20th. The strength of David's performance has carried these specials, and made every one absolutely worth watching.

At the same time, I've become increasingly frustrated with Russell T. Davies' (RTD) writing for the series. Not that I am one of these people that appear to have an irrational hatred of a man I have never met:far from it, I love the fact he brought the series back, and he has given us some great stories (The Christmas Invasion, Tooth and Claw, Turn Left and Midnight to name but a few).

Increasingly however, RTD seemed to have simply run out of fresh ideas, and was not able to produce a series finale that had a satisfactory resolution. Thus for series 1 we had Daleks trying to take over the world, series 2: Daleks & Cyberman trying to take over the world; series 3: the Master had a go; Series 4 the Daleks again and the Specials the Master had another go. Similarly, we had alien invasion of contemporary earth for Christmas special 1 (a classic), alien invasion of contemporary earth for Christmas special 2, destruction attempt of earth for Christmas special 3, then an alien invasion of Victorian earth, and for the last Master tries to take over - you guessed it - contemporary earth. With its infinite format, don't you think Who deserved some originality? I do!

So to the stories:

The Next Doctor - I was really thrilled at this one... at first. The Doctor seemed to be having a ball, for once we get a Christmas special away from contemporary earth, and the premise seemed good. However, like most RTD specials the storyline seemed to have been set up for the pre-publicity gossip (i.e. is David Morrisey the next Doctor?)and subsequent viewing figures. However, this as a basis for a good story, just doesn't simply work, and you feel so let down as there's no explanation for Miss Hartinger's motivations or why the Cyberman would go along with it; and the Doctor destroying the plot from a hot air balloon was just plain ludicrous. 6/10 - great promise, but awful resolution.

The Planet of the Dead - A landmark episode as the first story to be broadcast in High Definition. Not a landmark story though - it looks beautiful but I lost interest rapidly. David Tennant is great as usual, but the plight of those on the bus and monsters that look as though they came from the Slyvester McCoy era did not really grip my attention. Perhaps too much was trying to be achieved in one go, or we just didn't know enough about the characters on the bus to feel involved in their plight? 5/10

The Waters of Mars - the classic of these specials. This story really had a "classic Who" base under siege story. For the first time, shown on a Sunday instead of a Saturday, for once we see a different side to Doctor's character. Here he relishes the fact he is more than a mere mortal and has the capability to change future events as a Time Lord - almost like a God. The Doctor himself is scary, and it is made even more so by the sacrifice that comes at the end of story by someone who realises that her timeline cannot be changed. 10/10

The End of Time. Both David Tennant and Bernard Cribbins carry a very poor story to wind-up the 10th Doctor's era. Bernard Cribbins is an amazing man, now 80 and running around like someone half his age on screen, and with a real zest for life still. Not only that he gives an excellent and moving performance throughout! I hoped that RTD would not use his "let's throw as many elements in the mix as possible for a finale but not worry about tying them up" again but I was disappointed. The Time Lords return as evil psychopaths who want to .. take over the earth (groans), and now Rassilon is alive and well apparently. How did the Time lords manage this miraculous feat of returning after the Time War? Well it's obvious... they seeded a banging noise in the universe which allowed them to re-appear !

David Tennant plays the regeneration scene very well, but I can't help thinking the line "I don't want to go" was greatly out of chracter for the Doctor (too egotistical and wimpy). However, on the plus side: whilst many have criticised RTD's self-congratulatory visit of old companions , I think for once he showed originality for the regeneration sequence.

So for the discs/extras:

- It is rather cheeky to say the least, that for this release that the BBC has decided to master these @1080/60i on Blu-Ray rather than 1080/50i for the UK market. Many have complained at seeing a slightly jerky picture, and odd colours. Why isn't the BBC mastering in the UK for the UK market?

- DT's Video Diary - a nice, personal look at his last year on the show.

- Doctor Who Confidentials - for once, not cut down- except for the one for The Next Doctor - which has some small edits.

- Commentaries - only 1 for The End of Time. Why or why, given podcasts had been recorded for the other stories?

- BBC Christmas idents. Christmas 2009 will go down as the Christmas of David Tennant, so nice to include these. Though like many, I cannot understand why they didn't also include David Tennant announcing his last show on New Year's Day?

- Doctor Who @ the Proms. Given this was filmed in HD and recorded in surround sound, the decision here to present on the Blu-Ray in SD/ Stereo is a huge wasted opportunity.

So: should you buy this set? For a fan of the 10th Doctor, then absolutely: though the extras are not up to their usual standards for the reasons outlined above. For the "casual fan" then there are many other stories from David Tennant's era that stand out much better than those on offer here. Hence my 3* rating.
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102 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Special Features, 31 Dec 2009
By 
Tijs Hegemann "thijshegemann" (Brüggen) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD] (DVD)
Special Features

The Next Doctor
Doctor Who at the proms
The next Doctor confidential
New special moving menus

Planet of the Dead
Planet of the Dead Confidential
New special moving menus

The Waters of Mars
Waters of Mars confidential

The End of Time: Part One
Xmas confidential
David Tennant video diary - the final days
BBC idents
Audio commentary on feature

The End of Time: Part Two
New Year confidential
Russell T Davies intro to deleted scenes & deleted scenes
Doctor Who at comic-con 2009
Audio commentary on feature
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Next Doctor... and the next!, 10 Jan 2010
By 
J. Palmer "The Big Bear" (Devon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD] (DVD)
I've watched a lot of Doctor Who - "my" Doctor was William Hartnell and I started watching the series just after the first story. I've watched a lot...
Where does it say that EVERY story must be tense, exciting, original and scary? Just check out the original series for some wonderful clunkers! These specials should be taken for what they are: Popular family-oriented science fiction adventure. It's designed to appeal to the masses - it wouldn't be Doctor Who if it didn't - so why read more into it than that? OK some of the plots are wafer thin and some of the designs are ludicrous - what were they thinking of when they brought us the Cybershades? - but the whole is greater than the parts and the series marches on.
How would I rate these specials if pressed in a convention bar? Well, "The Next Doctor" was a bit of a disappointment as I just don't like huge robots, especially Cyberman ones! "Planet of the Dead" was better, despite the flying bus, "Waters of Mars" was actually quite good, but what happened to the Doctor towards the end? He's never gone quite so far out before, possibly the nearest the character has ever come to this was in the Tom Baker scene from "Genesis of the Daleks", where the Doctor debates the moral rights of the Daleks to exist at all. The final two-parter veered between daft and magnificent. If a casual viewer had tuned in for these, they would be left dazzled and mystified in turn. The Master Race? Too silly! The ACTUAL knocking four times - too brilliant for words! After saving the human race, the Doctor gives his life to save one old man? Fantastic! But would he have done this if he did not know the prophecy of his death? Probably! Some continuity strangeness was evident - unless old Rassilon has messed with time to live on - but overall a good way for David Tennant to bow out. I will watch these again and probably enjoy them more each time. Nostalgia grows like that!
So on with the new and apart from looking young enough to be my grandson, I have hopes that Matt Smith will carry on the good work. He's got a great team behind him after all!
And I've watched a LOT of Doctor Who!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine End To A Fine Era, 18 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. I. Clarke "wellerard_21" (Leeds UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD] (DVD)
Christopher Ecclestone left the audience wanting more having relaunched the show, David Tennant gave a defining performance and a fine era.

These last specials were a mini series in themselves, and link nicely, with the Doctor left alone to face his demons, and face them he does.

The Next Doctor is a fun Christmas romp, with some impressive looking scenes, and the teasing idea of a peek into the future, which is ultimately revealed to be folse. David Morissey puts in a sterling, warm performance and Dervla Kirwan is icy cool in the villainess role. The only trouble is that the Cybermen suffer from what they often suffered from in the original; they were badly used, and the attempt to update the Cybermats just doesn't quite work.

Planet Of The Dead, again, thanks to its' location work looks spectacular, and works well as a sort of mid season adventure. Lots of nods here to past ideas and references in the Who mkythology; the replacement for Ace was originally intended to be an aristocratic cat burglar, which Michelle Ryan does well. Her leaving in the flying bus has more than shade of Iris Wildthyme to it. Lee Evans is obviously enjoying himself too.

Waters Of Mars is, for me a classic. A base under seige story with a twist, the Doctor knows what is supposed to happen. Lynsay Duncan and the rest ratchet up the tension in this wonderfully. The idea of the Doctor, knowing his own mortality is nearly up (a Time Lord only has 13 lives) and getting drunk on the power that he can have is a wonderful sinister ending, especially when time shows him who is really in control.

The End Of Time works on a gloriously silly grand stage; The Master having a cult, and the Master race themselves being very grand and positively daft ideas, althought it does really give John Simm a wonderful second bite of the cherry at the character and he takes it with relish. Bernard Cribbins, as ever, is superb, and Timothy Dalton as Rassilon (how did they get him back from the long dead?!) plays the part with relish. It only loses a star for what has to tbe the most drawn out regeneration of the show's history. In the usual scheme of things, he would have saved Wilf, fallen out of the booth, collapsed, regenerated. Here he does a very over done curtain call, but with two nice touches; the farewell in the mind to Rose, as well as the line, 'I don't want to go', makes a stark change as he nears the end of his lives when compared to the resignation of his predecessors. This is hardly Ecclestone's last grin!

A fine end to a fine tenure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great end for Mr Tennent - over 5 discs?, 9 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD] (DVD)
There is no doubt about the quality of the special episodes that constituted series 5. Highlights are definitely the spooky, revealing 'Waters on Mars' and shocking 'The End of Time'.

My only issue is why these five 1 hour long episodes are spread over 5 discs? The previous 4 series contained three 45 min episodes per disc, 5 discs seems like overkill, particularly having the final two part episode split over two discs.

Overall though, a worthwhile purchase.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The End Complete, 3 Dec 2010
By 
ratmonkey (Hardy Country) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD] (DVD)
This is a mixed bag, containing one of the very best episodes written for the show, two ok romps and the hyperbolically silly finale which ends superbly but does take its time to get there. David Tennant's stay in the iconic role defined the brand for this era, so much so that he became a sort of ambassador for the BBC. His presence was felt strongly by the entire nation. The show during his tenure (no pun intended) went from strength to strength, soared in the ratings and became one of the most popular programmes again, cemented by its inclusion in the primetime slot of early evening Christmas Day for annual 'Specials'. Despite what your personal view of the show or Tennant's Doctor is, the fact remains that Doctor Who with David Tennant as the Time Lord did astonishingly well. However, his last few adventures varied wildly in quality and tone.

The first here is the Christmas Special, 'The Next Doctor', from 2008. It was the fourth Christmas Special since the show returned and the fourth featuring David Tennant and the Tenth Doctor (seems strange that, at time of writing - Xmas 2010 - , we're coming towards the sixth series since the show returned and the sixth Christmas Special, but only the first to feature a different Doctor). By then the annual crimbo hour of Who was almost expected and the quality of them had lulled slightly, but they are always great fun to watch and superb Christmas evening viewing. 'The Next Doctor' was very Christmassy, set in Victorian London with all the faux cockerney 'ow's yer faava' that it entails. It is a slight tale, with an overly complicated narrative concerning a plot devised between a megalomaniac anti-heroine (scene-stealingly played, in a deliberately over-the-top manner, by Dervla Kirwan) and some crafty Cybermen that managed to just squeeze out of the split in the void (it does seem increasingly easily done!) to put the cast of Oliver to work in a steampunk version of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory in order to create a giant Bender from Futurama. For some reason. Oh and there are actors in ape-suits with cyber-masks on. For some other reason. Yes it is truly ridiculous but I enjoyed it, especially David Morrissey's turn as 'a' Doctor. It was not award-winning but it was fun on a Christmas tea-time. Out of that context, it is rather below average.

The Easter Special followed with 'Planet of the Dead'. A great title that evoked images of ancient tombs and artifacts and a Lovecraftian alien menace, almost a sci-fi Indiana Jones. What we got was a knackered London Bus that could fly, Lee Evans and a climax that never came. And a walking fly. Michelle Ryan was ok but the character was more interesting than her performance exuded. Lee Evans was welsh. And David Tennant went through the motions. The effects were pretty decent and it wasn't bad but it was a bit nothing. All talk and no trousers. The 'prophecy' at the end was exciting but only made you wish that 'Planet of The Dead' was over so you could get on with finding out how the Tenth Doctor dies.

'Waters of Mars' came as a breath of fresh air (or water) after the two preceding mediocre instalments. It is nothing other than a stunning acheivement. Base under siege Who (or any drama really) is a recipe for tense viewing. The threat, the Flood (nothing to do with Take That), was excellently realised and completely terrifying. The direction was spot on and well paced and the acting calibre was on the button. David Tennant had to raise his game with Lindsay Duncan on the payroll and he struck a perfect balance between jokey and shouty, overdoing neither and completely understanding the place that his character had reached by the end. And it was a dark place. And it was a dark ending but an ending we have never seen before in the show's history with the possible exception of 'Earthshock'. Barn-storming stuff that raised the game considerable and made everyone very keen to watch the two-part finale that was to follow at Christmas and New Year respectively.

When it did finally appear, the finale, 'The End of Time' was a bit of a damp squib, sadly. The first part, broadcast on Christmas Day 2009, was anticipated with slavering delight after the perfection of 'Waters of Mars'. John Simm was back as the Master (how, we didn't care it was just very cool - especially with bleached hair), the Time Lords were hinted at and Donna Noble was to return. Sounded promising. The Master was reanimated by a spell and now had the ability to 'zap' things with his hands together with having an x-ray skull (?), Donna was back for a few slight scenes and when the Time Lords did return, they were 'lever-pulled' back very quickly after a few talky scenes in a dark room. To be fair, the Time Lords' return as the cliffhanger was pretty spectacular but the dross that came before was literally enough to make your head spin. And the culmination of the plot was the Master turning everyone in the world into himself. Very silly.

Part Two was better only because of the end and the Tenth Doctor's wondeful demise. The tieing up of the story was the usual race-against-time shenanigans. The explanantion of the Mater#s drumming noise was trite and seemed handy, rather than creatively woven into the plot, as did the Whitepoint star ridiculousness. It was bad writing really as these things should have been forshadowed earlier, but not by 2 series. The Time Lord forced evolution was interesting and the use of the Doctor's race as baddies was always the way the show should have gone; it worked brilliantly and Timothy Dalton's Rassilon was fantastic. But it all ended with an easy to guess sacrifice from the Master and the Time Lords disappearing back up their rift, if you will, which was lazy. The inclusion of a CGI Gallifrey over Earth was unecessary too and added nothing to the tension, especially with the bad extra-acting as the planet's inhabitants, 'once again!', take to the streets to gasp and point.

But after the Time Lords had slipped away and the Doctor realised he was still alive the denouement, of not only the story but of what felt like the entire series since it returned, was magical. His heroic death to save the excellent Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott was apt and perfect. The character's almost child-like way of dealing with the fact was also interesting as it showed a selfish side, only to form the realisation that it was the right thing to do and his fate was sealed. Many balked about the time it took for the Tenth Doctor to finally regenerate but I liked the way it was done, by visiting all of his companions and comrades and helping them out in some way one last time. And then seeing Rose, which was not overdone and it was actually quite nice to see a pre-Who Rose. And the regeneration itself was, again, narratively sensible. This Doctor HAD to go with a bang. As the energy spewed from David Tennant's Doctor and the TARDIS began to demolish itself in response to the overwhelming power, the nation also felt a little bit of loss. Our Doctor was leaving, his TARDIS was dying. Was the new bloke going to be any good? Can I enjoy a different console room? Etc etc etc.... It was sad. But it was also exciting. And Matt Smith's first minute or so in the Tenth's burning ship perfectly introduced us to him, together with a catchphrase.

A fitting tribute and ascendency for the Doctors and the show. The specials as a whole are great, but individually some are of less quality than others. But it's worth the money alone for 'Waters Of Mars' and the regeneration.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good to have Who on Blu-ray ... but, 12 Feb 2010
By 
Graham Cripps (Germany) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD] (DVD)
It is excellent to finally have Dr Who available on Blu-ray. That is the best thing about this, the picture quality is absolutely superb!

That said the story is average, not really very imaginative, but it works. As the second of the David Tennant specials it is a little bit disappointing, I had higher expectations from all the specials, and they have all failed somewhat to deliver. I was expecting at least one to come up to the standards of 'The Hollow Child', 'The Impossible Planet', 'Girl in the Fireplace' or the absolutely brilliant 'Blink', but sadly none of them have. After having seen all the specials, all of which were written by Russel T Davis, none of who's stories I have ever been very impressed by, I am left with the uncomfortable feeling that Mr Davis is trying to tell us something, but I don' t know what it is, or why. The lady passenger at the end tells the Doctor "He will knock four times", then in the last special there is the four drum beats and Bernard Cribbins also knocks four times, but so what! The "Bad Wolf" message that ran throughout the first series was sort of OK and just about worked, but all these messages and links are a bit naff now and in the specials they defiantly distract from the individual plots.

All the actors put in fine performances, David Tennant is as usual brilliant as the Doctor and Michelle Ryan is quite wonderful as Lady Christina, OK her character is a bit of a Laura Croft copy, but so what. Seeing nice sights is what Blu-ray is all about, and she is certainly nice to look at. The one character who is a bit borderline is Lee Evans, who is a bit too silly. Dr Who went though a period in the Eighties where under the directorship of J N Turner it got very light entertainment and lost a lot of its believability and magic with a succession of silly characters and stupid monsters. The production staff need to careful with characters like Malcolm he is just about OK, but any more like him would undermine the credibility of the show.

The biggest disappointment however has to be the monsters. They look like exactly what they are, a couple of blokes in boiler suits wearing plastic fly heads. Many years ago there was a film called "The Dark Crystal", the insect like monsters in it were quite superb, at the time I thought wow, this would really work in Dr Who. But sadly the production team, for whatever reason, could not make that extra effort and make the costumes really dramatic and insect like. If you are going to do insects the do them properly, these are a cop out and an opportunity has been missed here, today the expectation for monsters on Who has to produce better efforts than this They are almost as bad as the legendary Myrka from the JNT era (sorry guys, but for a Dr Who special this is just not good enough).

One of the reasons given for Dr Who not to have been available in HD, up till now, was that the cost of the CGI special effects would be too high. If this is true then what about "Blink", my personal absolute favorite from the new series. As far as I can see it contains no CGI effects at all so, as it is such a classic, why does the BBC not release it on Blu-ray? I am sure it would be far more popular that this average story. Surely it cannot be that the BBC have been so naive as not to video it in HD in the first place, but having already lost 108 episodes from the original series stranger things have happened!

So of the three stories on Blu-ray so far (You cannot count 'The Next Doctor' as it is upscaled) this is rather sadly the best of the three. The other two just confuse, Dr Who should entertain, with fantasy worlds, inhabited with amazing but believable monsters. It is not about figuring out what knocking four times means, and if the Doctor saves someones life, they should not after arriving home shoot themselves dead for the sake of history, what the hell was that all about? This Blu-ray is worth getting, but the other specials, well I would rather wait and see what the BBC decide to do next. Maybe they will bring out Blink - but I doubt it.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous end to a wonderful Doctor..., 6 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. C. J. Iredale "juxtapose" (London Town) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD] (DVD)
Opinion is strange; if one is to be open-minded, one should take on board everyone's opinion, no matter where one sits in an argument. That said, some will take a contrary view to anything, sometimes for valid reasons and sometimes to be different. Some works of art are recognised classics and standards, but some will still be in the 0.1% who will dislike for a variety of reasons. In it's own little way, current Doctor Who is a really nice example of this.

The BBC, in both a cost cutting exercise and a means to give the leads of the show (T. Davies, Tennant) more time for external pursuits, decided to not do a full season in 2009, but to do a series of one-offs, and these are presented here. They vary in quality, but are on the whole pretty good.

The Next Doctor (typical Russell T Davies appetite whetter of a name if ever I heard one) is an enjoyable romp with a wonderful performance by David Morrissey, a man who thinks he's the Doctor. But of course, he isn't. The Cybermen are back (not one of my faves, with their slow deliberate stomping) and a new off shoot, the Cybershades (who are frankly, a bit naff, wearing a shaggy black outfit for no adequately explained reason) a stereotypical pantomime villainess and a strange huge steam powered Cyberman towering over a Victorian Cardiff. Good fun non the less, and satisfying as a Christmas Special.

Planet of the Dead was next and was less amusing, due to it's contrived plot, poor casting of a very average actress indeed (putting her in a black cat suit is not making her performance any more credible either), and a bit of a waste of a foreign location. The best bit? The end, with the prophecy of the Doctor's impending doom.

The Waters of Mars was a very typical `Base under siege', not dissimilar to several Patrick Troughton stories in the late 60s. As usual, there was hype generated by Russell T. Davies along the lines of `this is the most frightening story ever, etc'. It wasn't. But it was very enjoyable and touched on areas of the Doctor's personality that had not been touched before; the power he has at his disposal and how he uses it. It tantalisingly lead us to the final two-parter.

The End of Time seems, as my original point suggests, to have got some peoples' knickers in a right old twist. I thought it mostly excellent; John Simm was his usual fabulous, Bernard Cribbins was touching, funny and showed what a great actor he is and it tied up all lose ends of the characters of the first 4 series (possibly too well?), thus leading the way for the future. A criticism would be that Russell T. Davies, when given more time (for this story, 135 mins), he doesn't involve sub-plots or do anything more than we would normally have. Planet of the Dead is a good example of this, and is a consideration for this tale. And hinting Timothy Dalton was in fact Rassilon was questionable, as he was supposed to be dead and gone eons before the Time War. Where did the Master go at the end? Why wasn't that addressed? Who was `The Woman'? To say the usual characters were all finally put to bed, there were some big gaps in the tale, but overall, fantastic stuff, worthy of the hype, and a fitting end to Tennant's Doctor.

There are those amongst us (stand up and be counted) who seem to absolutely hate it. Those strange, backward individuals that seem to think the original series (I omit to use the word classic, as that does a disservice to both the original series and the current one) was consistently fantastic and the current one is some sort of travesty and all involved removed immediately, due to some stories being poor. Isn't that exactly what the original series was? Ropey stories, ill-conceived plots, poor acting, dreadful production values? I'm sorry, but the current series is embraced by the masses, and for good reason. The original limping-dog of a series was removed for equally good reasons. And if you think the current series has some poorer stories and this is a reason for disliking it, take a look at the mid to late 80s out put! One is really on very shaky ground to come up with a coherent argument on why Russell T. Davies' efforts are worth of one star. I can accept you have an opinion, but I think this release worthy of great praise (while acknowledging it's faults), and I can look forward to Matt Smith's Doctor and Steven Moffat's time at the helm. A fitting end and a taster of the next beginning; long may it continue and long may it be as popular as it is.
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