And so a fine Christmas tradition is upheld again. I’m sure traditions used to take longer to establish back in what I’m told younger people call â€œthe dayâ€, but in the early 21st century, things move much faster. Last year’s second Christmas special was widely greeted as being, well, traditional, and this year’s can only have made that tradition even more traditional.
People who watched the end of the last series and indeed the Children in Need mini-episode will recall that the Tardis suffered a slight collision with the front end of a ship bearing the name Titanic. People who didn’t watch either of those probably won’t be reading this either, so we’ll ignore them from now on.
After quickly repairing the damage, the Doctor moves the Tardis to the ship and slips out to have a look around. He soon learns that the Titanic isn’t the Titanic, but in fact an alien space liner based, thanks to minimal research, on the most famous ship on Earth. And as you might expect, calling your ship Titanic is asking for trouble. And of course, trouble does tend to follow the Doctor around…
The Doctor takes the opportunity to wear his dinner jacket, befriend a waitress named Astrid (the much-hyped Kylie Minogue) and take a trip down to the planet below, which is, of course, Earth. The shore party includes the traditional mixed bag of passengers â€“ the loud obnoxious businessman, the slightly overweight couple, a small red alien and the Doctor and Astrid. Their guide gives them some delightful definitively wrong information about Earth in general, and Christmas in particular. And so they arrive in a deserted London, where they learn that after the rather unpleasant alien activities of the last two Christmasses everyone has left London in case something nasty happens again. Astrid is really excited about her first visit to another planet, but the visit is cut short when everyone is teleported back to the Titanic, where things aren’t going quite according to plan.
This time, it’s not an iceberg that gets the Titanic into trouble, but meteors. Well, actually it’s the little matter of the Captain (played by Geoffrey Palmer) turning off the shields and magnetising the hull to attract the meteors that causes the trouble. And as you might expect, it’s big trouble. For a start, the engines are failing, and the ship is going to crash on the planet below, which would be a Bad Thing. An Even Worse Thing is that if the ship crashes, its nuclear storm engines will destroy all life on Earth. Oh, and as if all that wasn’t enough to be getting on with, the useful robots (all nicely done up as angels) have a new program. They’re going to kill everyone who survived the meteor impacts.
The rest of the story is pretty much a disaster movie in space, featuring more than a little of the Poseidon Adventure. Lots of chasing, exploding, heroic sacrifices and villainy. Just the thing for a Christmas special, really.
High spots include the Doctor introducing himself properly for once
I’m the Doctor. I’m 903 years old. I’m a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey…
Some quite outrageous flirting:
Astrid: You don’t look bad for 903
Doctor: You should see me in the mornings
And so much more. If you missed it, catch one of the repeats, or buy the DVD as soon as it comes out. Or download it if that’s your thing.
And at the end, when evil has been defeated with the usual high body count, the Doctor once more sets off alone to face his next adventure. Which, judging by the Series four preview that was shown immediately after the show, should be a lot of fun. Woo Who!
 Hi Alex!
 Do you have a good excuse?
 Didn’t you know they came in six packs?
 Well, Cardiff, actually…