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Doctor Who - The Christmas Invasion, on BBC One (UK) / Sci Fi (USA)
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Caution: spoilers!

This is the first Christmas special of the revived Doctor Who series. It first aired in the UK on Christmas 2005, but I must have first seen it when it aired on Sci-Fi Channel in 2006. (Apparently in September, though I don't remember not having seen it around Christmas. But then, I know better than to trust my memory.) And for some reason, I didn't write a review, the first time I saw it. But I'm doing so nearly a decade later, watching the special on DVD on July 25, 2015. I remembered liking it quite a lot, but I think I must have liked it better this time. Anyway... series one had ended with the ninth Doctor regenerating. A little over a month before this special aired in 2005, there was a minisode called Children in Need, which shows the immediate aftermath of the series one finale.

When the special begins, Jackie and Mickey both hear the familiar sound of the tardis appearing, and they each drop what they're doing and run off in search of it. But it doesn't just appear in place as it normally does; it's spinning out of control and knocking about, until it finally lands. The new Doctor emerges and greets the two of them, before collapsing. Then Rose comes out and tells them who he is, which of course is hard to believe. But they take him back to Jackie's flat, where he'll spend much of the special unconscious. Meanwhile, Rose and Mickey go out shopping, as she needs to buy Jackie a Christmas present. They get attacked by what appear to be musicians dressed as Santa Claus, and Rose figures they must be after the Doctor, so she and Mickey head back to the flat... where they all get attacked by a fake Christmas tree. (These are the kinds of things that I probably found cheesy, when I first watched the movie, but less so now. Though I should also say that this time, the tree put me vaguely in mind of Treevenge.) Anyway, Rose manages to wake the Doctor up long enough for him to save them, and begin to impart some information, before falling unconscious again.

Meanwhile, we learn that Harriet Jones, an MP whom the Doctor and Rose had met in a couple episodes of series one, is now the Prime Minister. And there's a space probe that's supposed to soon broadcast video from Mars. However, contact is briefly lost when the probe is taken into a spacecraft orbiting Mars, which turns out to belong to aliens called the Sycorax. Jones goes to UNIT to try to figure out what to do, and she instructs a major there to contact Torchwood and have them prepare to act. (Torchwood is a word that had been heard very subtly in one episode of series one, but we wouldn't really know exactly what it was until the end of series two.) Anyway, the Sycorax make threats against the Earth, and seem to be prepared to kill a third of the world's population if humanity doesn't comply with their demands. But Jones isn't willing to do that. She and a few of her people get teleported onto the Sycorax ship, and soon thereafter, the same thing happens to the tardis. Rose and Mickey had taken the unconscious Doctor into the tardis, to hide, but the two of them left the tardis after it was teleported onto the ship, not realizing until it was too late where they were. Rose tries to invoke the Shadow Proclamation (a term first heard in the pilot of series one, though at this point we still don't know exactly what it is), but the Sycorax just laugh at her. But it's not much longer before the Doctor finally recovers, exits the tardis, saves the day, and makes a reference to Arthur Dent. He also spends some time trying to figure out what kind of person he is, now that his regeneration is complete. And I must say, he's pretty cool. (I remember really liking the tenth Doctor ever since I first saw this special, and just got to like him more and more over the next few series, to the point that I had forgotten how fantastic the ninth doctor was. Rewatching series one and rediscovering how much I liked him, I was disappointed that he only appeared in one series of the show... But rewatching this special, I rediscovered how much I liked the tenth doctor, not that I'd ever really forgotten that.)

We do learn a bit about Torchwood by the end of the special. And what it does, on the Prime Minister's orders, makes the Doctor very angry. But... never mind that, the Earth has once again been saved. And this time, humanity knows there are aliens. It's bloody ridiculous that they didn't know that already, considering how many times aliens have come to Earth, and how many times the Earth has been so close to invasion or destruction, but somehow the authorities always managed to cover it up... until now. So from now on, everything will be different. But then again, some things never change. Our heroes have a fun Christmas dinner together, and then Rose and the Doctor once again leave Jackie and Mickey behind, while they go off to have more adventures in time and space.


specials index
Christmas TV movies index

Doctor Who Christmas & New Year's Specials
BBC; Tardis Data Core; Wikipedia

10th Doctor: The Christmas Invasion * The Runaway Bride * Voyage of the Damned * The Next Doctor * The End of Time, parts 1 & 2
11th Doctor: A Christmas Carol * The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe * The Snowmen * The Time of the Doctor
12th Doctor: Last Christmas * The Husbands of River Song * The Return of Doctor Mysterio * Twice Upon a Time
13th Doctor: Resolution * Revolution of the Daleks