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228 of 234 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Final 5 4 10, 22 Jan. 2010
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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)
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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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Feb 2010 11:23:21 GMT
R. Wood says:
Absolutely superb review. Points out the most important bits and really entices customers and Doctor Who fans like myself. Wonderfully written.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Feb 2010 15:10:35 GMT
Emanon says:
Many thanks for the kind words, they are much appreciated (especially coming from a fellow reviewer). My main concern (generally) is to enthuse, whilst trying not to include too many "spoilers", so I hope that I succeeded with that at least.

Personally, I think I use the word "dark" in close proximity to itself too much in this piece (although that is what it is... so I left it in) and am also glad of an opportunity to clarify the fact that the commentaries are with the main cast AND the director TOGETHER, rather than being on separate tracks, which you might infer from my clumsy wording.

I'm never fond of editing these things after publishing unless there's an almighty error in there which is pointed out to me, or a reissue which is significantly different from the original, but that's just me. I think it wouldn't be fair on anyone who's already found the review "helpful" for me to change it after the fact.

Once again, thanks for the kind comment.

Posted on 19 Feb 2010 13:05:26 GMT
great review and i have to agree about the waters of mars, in my opinion probably the best episode of all the revamped series an absolute cracker of a story brilliantly acted all round

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2010 07:31:29 GMT
Emanon says:
Your comment about the review is much appreciated. Thank you.

Posted on 23 Apr 2010 20:44:23 BDT
R. Pievaitis says:
cracking review,concise,helpful and non-spoilerish !i like your style.
richard p.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 May 2010 10:46:35 BDT
Emanon says:
Thank you for the very kind feedback. I tend towards the "spoilers in reviews = bad" belief in general, especially if you're buying for yourself, having had too many twists in movies spoiled over the years by someone who's already seen it not realising quite how irritating it can be. That said, lots of people, especially it seems those who enjoy "soaps" on TV seem to get a lot of pleasure from actually knowing what's going to happen. I prefer my drama to surprise me myself, but I guess it takes all sorts...

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Mar 2011 12:38:07 GMT
A Gwilliam says:
Hi I was just wondering if you could help! my daughter has the series boxsets 1 to 5...are these specials already on these dvd sets?

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Mar 2011 16:52:24 GMT
Emanon says:
As far as I remember, the Series 1 box set is "Rose" - "The Parting of the Ways" (Christopher Eccleston); the Series 2 box set is "The Christmas Invasion" - "Doomsday"; the Series 3 box set is "The Runaway Bride" - "Last of the Time Lords"; the Series 4 box set is "Voyage of the Damned" - "Journey's End" (David Tennant's last complete series); and then the Series 5 box set starts with Matt Smith's debut "The Eleventh Hour".

So... the 5 "special" episodes included here are not enclosed in any of those sets as they snugly fit between "Journey's End" and "The Eleventh Hour" unless there is some other box set that I don't know about.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Mar 2011 11:06:35 BDT
A Gwilliam says:
Hi, thankyou very much, sorry for the late reply I didnt tick the email notification :/ and as its my daughters birthday tomorrow its now too late but it will make a great easter gift! thanks :)

Posted on 10 Apr 2013 15:37:11 BDT
Guy Thomas says:
30 Mills chase
barnk park
RG12 9RE
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