Doctor Who - The Time of the Doctor & Other Eleventh Doctor Christmas Specials DVD|
Orbiting a quiet backwater planet the massed forces of the universes deadliest species gather drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out to the stars. And amongst them - the Doctor. Rescuing Clara from a family Christmas dinner the Time Lord and his best friend must learn what this enigmatic signal means for his own fate and that of the universe. Episodes Comprise: The Time of the Doctor and Other Eleventh Doctor Christmas Specials (2013 Christmas Special) A Christmas Carol (2010 Christmas Special) The Doctor the Widow and the Wardrobe (2011 Christmas Special) The Snowmen (2012 Christmas Special) Special Features: Farewell to Matt Smith Behind the Scenes Tales of the TARDISfrom£5.79 | RRP:
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The 2013 Christmas special of the long-running sci-fi show featuring the final appearance of the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), who passes the reins over to the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi). Jenna-Louise Coleman also stars as Clara Oswald, the Eleventh Doctor's companion who is wrenched from a family Christmas to help the Doctor decode an ominous message echoing in the stars. With enemies including the Cybermen, Daleks and Weeping Angels circling, it looks set to be an extremely perilous Christmas for the Doctor and company. Also included are the other Eleventh Doctor Christmas specials: 'A Christmas Carol' (2010), 'The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe' (2011) and 'The Snowmen' (2012).
Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 or region free DVD player in order to play Orbiting a quiet backwater planet the massed forces of the universe’s deadliest species gather drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out to the stars And amongst them – the Doctor Rescuing Clara from a family Christmas dinner the Time Lord and his best friend must learn what this enigmatic signal means for his own fate and that of the universe
Average Rating for Doctor Who - The Time of the Doctor & Other Eleventh Doctor Christmas Specials - 5 out of 5
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Doctor Who - The Time of the Doctor & Other Eleventh Doctor Christmas SpecialsGeorge Orton
"I will not forget one line of this. Not one day, I swear. I will always remember... when the Doctor... was me."
That line might only be spoken towards the very end of "Time of the Doctor", but in true Doctor Who style, it reverberates back in time to sum up the entire episode - if not Matt Smith's entire tenure as the hero of the BBC's flagship fantasy drama. Because this climactic episode (which recently aired as the 2013 Christmas special) is in many ways a love-letter to the actor's entire performance as the Eleventh Doctor over the past few years, giving him an epic and emotional send-off while also setting the stage for his successor to take over.
Taking place over several hundred years - all crammed into just an hour of real viewing time - the plot of "Time of the Doctor" involves our hero being called to a backwater planet and being asked to act as the saviour of a town called Christmas, facing off against an army of evil aliens and bad guys that are bent on its destruction. This allows the story to serve as a microcosm for the series as a whole (after all, "crazy man in a blue box visits an alien planet to save it from evil" is pretty much the blueprint for all Doctor who sagas) while also paying off specific plot threads from the show that have been left dangling for years - including some key issues surrounding the Doctor's ability to regenerate, and the fate of his Timelord brethren. As such, it's an enjoyable yarn for both newcomers and long-time fans alike, providing a fitting swansong for Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and neatly laying the groundwork for the Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, to take centre stage.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Because the biggest draw of this episode isn't in seeing the new star of Doctor Who make his first speaking appearance in the role (as exciting as that may be) - it's in getting a showcase of just how brilliant Smith has been as the character. He's required to stretch himself as an actor quite a bit here, as the script features the Doctor reflecting on his own mortality in an unusually sombre and wistful way, as well as ageing through several hundred years as his residency on planet Trenzalore plays out. And while Smith might be aided by excellent makeup to help him look older, it's in the subtle little acting touches - the uncertain way he walks, the halting way in which he speaks - that the actor really completes the illusion, giving a real bittersweet quality to the final scenes of the episode (including one surprise cameo that will leave not a dry eye in the house).
As well as being a superb acting showcase for Smith, we also get callbacks to a number of previous Smith stories under showrunner Steven Moffat - often to explain or resolve plot points that weren't fully clear at the time - and we're treated to a host of curtain calls for characters that have been important in Smith's run as the Doctor, including the Moffat-created Weeping Angels and The Silence, alongside established old villains like the Daleks and the Cybermen. (The only glaring omission is Alex Kingston as River Song, who remains absent throughout but whose spirit is captured by a new feisty female character introduced in this episode.)
When the story finally gets around to Smith's final scene as the Doctor - and that line I mentioned at the top of this review - you'll find yourself wishing that the actor could stay around for one more series, or even one more episode, such is the quality of his performance. But then that split-second regeneration scene kicks in, and you remember that you're not only witnessing the 'death' of one Doctor, but the birth of another - and Capaldi is clearly going to give us lots to look forward to.
In summary then, this is a wonderful capstone to Matt Smith's tenure as the star of Doctor who, which tells a story with a fittingly timeless quality to mark the end of his era and the beginning of another. I can't wait to see where the show goes next.
Oh, and one final comment - in my review of the previous Doctor Who special, "Day of the Doctor", I bemoaned the lack of special features on that set. Well this DVD certainly doesn't have that problem, as along with the usual making-ofs and featurettes, the BBC have seen fit to include not just one but all three of the other Matt Smith Christmas specials in this boxset too! A great bonus and a nice little reward for the fans who would otherwise end up buying this set for one single episode.
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