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5.0 out of 5 stars 'The Cyber King will rise!' - The Cybermen Christmas Invasion of Victorian London, 14 Nov 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Next Doctor, 2008 Christmas Special [DVD] (DVD)
This story really got me excited when I saw the `Coming Soon' trailer for it at the end of 'Journey's End'. Simply because the Cybermen were going to be in it, and I love the Cybermen. A Cybermen story at Christmas time was a bonus. I always wanted there to be a big Doctor Who monster appearing in a Christmas special and the Cybermen look terrific when marching in the snow with their stomping boots. A Cybermen Christmas special sounds fantastic. They should do a Dalek Christmas special sometime as I always want to see Daleks around Christmas time. I'm thinking of writing one myself with the Daleks this forthcoming Christmas in my spare time.

Of course it wasn't long after this story's trailer that the announcement of David Tennant's departure as the Doctor was made. I was really saddened to hear David Tennant leaving as he's one of my favourite Doctors from the new series. Not long after this, Russell T. Davies announced that he was stepping down from the role of Head Writer of the new series and that Steven Moffatt was to take over. It put me to realisation that the golden years of the Tenth Doctor were starting to come to an end.

Which takes me now to talking about the story's title - `The Next Doctor'. I'm sure many were speculating was this meant, considering David Tennant was leaving. I managed to watch a preview for this story that was shown on Children In Need night back in November 2008. It was the opening teaser sequence of the story and it had the Doctor arriving in Victorian London, 1851, to find someone in trouble calling out for him. Immediately he runs to the rescue, only to find it's not he who's been summoned. It's another Doctor. And this Doctor is David Morrisey (who I've seen in `Our Mutual Friend' with Paul McGann). I was excited and keen to find out more what happens in this episode. I was convinced that David Morrisey was going to take up the role of the Doctor from David Tennant and was pleased about it. Questions were making me wonder where this story was going to go. But I would have to patient and find out what would happen on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day 2008 was a very thrilling fun-packed day. Not only did I enjoy opening my presents and watching `The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian', but I also enjoyed watching `The Next Doctor' and `Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death' following this as it really made my Christmas.

And it turns out David Morrisey isn't the Doctor at all. Aww shucks! That's cheating that is from Russell T. Davies from the title. It shouldn't' be called `The Next Doctor' at all. Should have been `The Cybermen Christmas Invasion' instead. That's some cheap trick for getting the audience to watch your episode isn't it Russell?! Though that didn't make the episode bad, and Steven Moffatt's worse with his episode titling e.g. `Let's Kill Hitler' when it's not about Hitler at all.

David Morrisey's character happens to be Jackson Lake who was once a husband now a widow who came to London with his wife and son to become a teacher. Except when they arrived the Cybermen attacked and killed his wife and took away his son. And Jackson lost his memories when accessing a cyber infostamp containing information and statistics about a certain Time Lord - the Doctor. All that information went instead Jackson's head and he became the Doctor thinking he was and acted like him. He soon rescues and gains a new companion Rosita (played by Velile Tshabalala) and together they fight against the Cybermen and uncover what they're up to with the murders of certain people. They even have a TARDIS, which is in actual fact a hot air balloon (that made me guessing till I saw it)

The `real' Doctor notices the clues about Jackson's identity and gradually over the story works it out before telling him who he is and what happened to him. Jackson suffered a `feud' state where he wanted to become someone else because he lost so much including his wife and child. When Jackson gradually realises who he is and what's happened to him, he becomes devastated and upset. I really like David Morrisey in this who's such a brilliant actor. It's such a shame he isn't actually the future new Doctor as it would have been great to have seen him having adventures with his companion Rosita. It's fair to say he's the Doctor who would have been rather than will be.

Another special guest star in this story is Dervla Kirwan (who I've seen in `Goodnight Sweetheart) playing Miss Hartigan who's working with the Cybermen. She's a matron of certain children charities which she despises and feels overlooked by her male superiors. Dervla plays the part with such relish and cool precision as when she does horrible things such as electrocuting men of charity under cyber control. She has that smile where she's really enjoying herself. It's a chilling performance and Dervla looks really sexy in her red dress. Pretty soon she pays the price when she's chosen to become the Cyber-King and is connected to the throne and wears that headgear. She finds it glorious however when she becomes Cyber-King and destroys the Cyber Leader who protest against her.

The Cybermen are also great to watch in this one. I really enjoyed seeing them marching in the snow when they attacked at the funeral in the cemetery and killed various Victorian gentlemen as well as the vicar. It was quite a chilling and thrilling sequence to watch. I liked the Cyber Leader with his black forehead and showing the brain inside his head. I wasn't so sure about the Cyber Shades as they seemed rather feral and wondered why Cybermen would use them since they are without emotion. I much prefer Cybermats any day. And the actual Cyber King was a bit disappointing when I saw it rise up from the Thames and it marched across London. It didn't look like a proper giant Cyberman, but I suppose in Victorian conditions the Cyberman had to do with what resources they got. And I'm sure it did scare kids when they saw it on television that Christmas Day as it does have a horrific look about it with its red eyes. It reminds me of those Megazords in the 'Power Rangers' series.

The final confrontation between the Doctor in the TARDIS (hot air balloon) against Miss Haritgan and her cyber consorts in the Cyber-King was truly a spectacular sequence. And after the Doctor's managed to defeated them, I found it very touching when Jackson spoke out loud to everyone in London about the Doctor and how he saved them and everyone cheers saying `Bravo' as he's in the hot air balloon. The Doctor deserves his praise since he's saved so many lives in his life-time.

The Doctor and Jackson say goodbye to each other towards the end. The Doctor allows Jackson to go inside his TARDIS to have a look around, and Jackson offers the Doctor to join him, Rosita and his lost-but-found son for a special Christmas dinner. Initially the Doctor refuses at first, but eventually changes his mind when Jackson offers it a second time. The story ends on an uplifting note as the Doctor takes part in the celebrations on Christmas Day with Jackson Lake in Victorian England, and that's exactly how Christmas should be shouldn't it?

On this DVD, there's a very special one-hour programme of `Doctor Who at the Proms' which was performed back in July 2008 following the end of Series 4. I managed to watch this a week after `The Next Doctor' was shown on New Year's Day. This is a concert featuring all the music from the new series of `Doctor Who' from the first four seasons composed by Murray Gold, and it is hosted by Freema Agyeman (who played Martha Jones) as well as guest host Catherine Tate (Donna Noble). There's also appearances from Davros (Julian Bleach) and the Daleks; Cybermen; Sontarans; Judoon and Ood as they interact with members of the audience during the concert.

The programme of music is as follows. Firstly there's `All The Strange, Strange Creatures'. Then there's a suite of music featuring `The Doctor Forever'; `Rose's Theme' and `Martha vs. the Master'. There's also `Davros and the Daleks'. Then there's a companion suite featuring Donna, `The Girl in the Fireplace' and Astrid Peth. Then there's the classical musical themes `This is Gallifrey' and `Doomsday'. Then to finish off there's `The Doctor's theme'; `Song of Freedom' and the actual `Doctor Who' theme to close off the concert.

During the concert there's a special mini-adventure with the Tenth Doctor and a Graske (played by Jimmy Vee) called `Music of the Spheres' written specifically for this concert by Russell T. Davies. It has the Doctor interacting with the audience through a space portal, and is very funny and amusing to watch. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

All the music for this concert can be found on many Doctor Who albums from Series 1 to 4 including ''Doctor Who: Series 1 & 2'; 'Doctor Who: Series 3' and 'Doctor Who: Series 4'. This special feature is great to watch and is a brilliant way of celebrating the Tenth Doctor era as a whole before it starts to come to an end.

So this Christmas Doctor Who DVD is great to have and is fun to watch. With Cybermen and Victorian London in the mix, you can't go wrong. I was very pleased to be watching a Doctor Who Christmas story in a Victorian setting. It's well directed by Andy Goddard as well as well written by Russell T. Davies, and has some brilliant performances from a brilliant pair of actors - David Tennant and David Morrisey. It's also a great adventure with the Cybermen at Christmas. This is a great way to enjoy Christmas. Watch this as well as `Wallace and Gromit' to make your Christmas complete.

The next story for the Tenth Doctor is 'The Sontaran Games'.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Nov 2013 00:17:24 GMT
Timelord007 says:
Exellent in depth review Tim you really get to the core of the episode good,episode this was.

There a 6 minutes episode as a prelude to "Day of the Doctor" called Night Of The Doctor starring a past Doctor it's on "You Tube" Tim & it's ace.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2013 07:14:37 GMT
Tim Bradley says:
I've seen it and I went 'wow!'. I couldn't believe it. That makes it his second official visual appearance in 'Doctor Who'. Amazing!

Glad you enjoyed this review. People criticise this episode for some reason, but I really enjoyed it. Tim.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Nov 2013 20:39:11 GMT
Timelord007 says:
Dunno why it's great episode.
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