To quote Pratchett, Every year, at Christmas, we are reminded a saviour is born to us, and his name is Bond, James Bond.  Well, that was the case.  For the last few years there has been a new Christmas special on the block, and it’s heralded by Doctor Who.

This year the Doctor was summoned by a message to an unknown world.  Gallifrey? no Trenzalore.  On the plains of Trenzalore, the Obvious Question will be asked, Doctor who?  The Silence will fall and the Doctor has to die.  The alternative is that the Doctor will say his secret name and Gallifrey of the Time Lords will return to this universe.

Nearly all of the big bads of New Who have besieged the planet: we see Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Weeping Angels, and the Silents.  Apparently the Ice Warriors and the Silurians didn’t get the invitation.  If Gallifrey returns the Time War will begin again and the fabric of the Universe will be endangered.  (How the Time War threatens the fabric of Time and Space has not been explained yet.)  The Church of the Papal Mainframe have shielded the planet so none of the big bads can get in.  Unfortunately they are on the outside too and inevitably vulnerable to a hostile takeover by the Daleks.  All the other big bads are reduced to cameo appearances.

BTW what’s the back story to the Doctor’s companion, Handles the Cyberman Head?

The Church of the Papal Mainframe are chosen to be the allies of the Doctor.  The alternative would be the Shadow Proclamation.  While they should have the most to lose from the return of Gallifrey, the last appearance of the Shadow Proclamation showed them to be fussy and ineffectual.  Instead the Doctor is fighting alongside the Church’s soldiers and the Silents.

The Doctor remains trapped by the siege on Trenzalore without access to the TARDIS for several hundred years.  He is the protector of the old-fashioned village of Christmas which lies within the truth field of Time Lords meaning no one can lie, and the Doctor is compelled to reveal his name to guarantee their return.  Sunrise is immediately followed by sunset in the village of Christmas so it is always night.  The axial tilt of the planet must be really interesting.

It’s revealed early on in the adventure that the Doctor cannot regenerate again, the regeneration of the War Doctor and the aborted regeneration that affected Donna Noble in Journey’s End have filled out the count of all the Doctor’s regenerations.  Instead the Doctor has aged so he looks like the first Doctor.  His energies have become stretched and thin.

The Time Lords asked the question.  In the end Clara Oswin Oswald appeal to them, the higher authority, to save the Doctor.  They cannot return at this time, through the crack in the universe, without the threat of a new phase in the Time War.  Instead they decide to be creative and give the Doctor future regenerations.  We don’t see these events from the Time Lords’ perspective.  They seem to act quickly to seal the crack in the universe and give the Doctor the regeneration energy he needed to defeat the Daleks.  We don’t see the decision-making or the debate among the Time Lords.  That could be interesting to explore at some later stage.  Instead the Doctor remains their agent in the Universe — again!  Perhaps he can bring around the circumstances to end the Time War and return his people to this Universe.

The new Doctor played by Peter Capaldi is revealed.  From what I’ve seen he looks less shouty than David Tennant or Matt Smith.  He looks like he is going to be the same energy and bounciness to the role.  Perhaps we will see a more measured performance, a Jon Pertwee Doctor perhaps.

The adventure felt slow and muddled to me.  With the introduction of a new Doctor it ends on a high note.

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