Voyage of the Damned
The Doctor: Titanic. Um…
Production Code: 4.X.
Doctor Who Season: Between S29 and S30 (Christmas Special).
Story Number: 188.
The Poseidon Adventure in space…
This is the Christmas Special before RTD’s fourth full season (and David Tennant’s third full season in the role of the Doctor). As well as preceding the season, like some other Christmas Specials it can also be thought of as part of the season that comes next (indeed the three Tenth Doctor season DVD boxsets each begin with a Christmas Special).
This really is the start of season, when the season together with The Five Specials is considered as one long narrative with an arc. Writing this in 2012 with knowledge of the themes of the last eighteen episodes of the Tenth Doctor, (the rage of The Waters of Mars, the idea of choosing who lives and who dies, the denouement of The End of Time) season to come, it’s actually much more interesting than on first watch.
However – even with these arc-relevant scenes (which are really at the end of the 72 minutes) giving extra zing, there’s still the fairly tedious rest of the story to wade through. Why is it so tedious? It’s possible that there is one odd thing adding to the atmosphere of blah. Ever since Doctor Who returned to television screens in 2005, it seemed to be the rule that (Time Lords aside) human-looking characters in outer space, were, well, human. And aliens were very alien-looking.
This is the first Doctor Who story to break this rule. A suspension of disbelief too far? Human-looking aliens who’ve decided the Titanic is something to base a spaceship on. Silly but not in a good way.
Landing on Earth and Wilf talking about how Earth-people are used to all this Christmas nonsense, that adds to the dreariness (though Wilf himself is great).
Still the moment that the Doctor clicks his finger to be held aloft by the Host like some sort of god is a great scene, it’s just greater once you’ve watched the next eighteen episodes!
UPDATED VERSION 2012