22 December 2017

As we write our spoiler-free preview for Peter Capaldi's final outing as The Doctor, we are reminded of a particular verse from 'Beauty And The Beast';

Tale as old as time,
Tune as old as song,
Bitter-sweet and strange,
Finding you can change,
Learning you were wrong.

This is a show that has been around for over 50 years, and whilst many of us think we know it inside out, now and again a writer comes along and adds a new slant on things, that allows us to understand and appreciate it in a whole new light. This episode is bitter-sweet, its strange, and if you would allow us to follow this comparison through to conclusion, it's about finding you can change and indeed learning you were wrong.

Everything begins with a poignant "previously" recap, with some on-screen text stating "709 episodes ago". We see The 1st Doctor in scenes from The Tenth Planet, and William Hartnell's Doctor morph into that of David Bradley's, and at no point after this moment do we ever question that Bradley's Doctor IS The 1st Doctor. It's loyally executed and cleverly explains why Bradley doesn't look exactly like Hartnell, and even hammers a nail into a question that arose from 'The Brain Of Morbius', regarding the Doctor's past regenerations.

Mark Gatiss, provides a third male lead in the story as 'The Captain', who is, by far, our favourite of all of Mark's characters in the show to date - yes - even more than Gantok! His character is layered and without stereotype, and will have you reaching for the hankies by the end. We cannot give away much regarding his role, but the setting is incredibly important and leads to a memorable close.

We mentioned about this being a strange story, but this is no bad thing. It is strange in the fact we don't really have a villain; it's more a beautiful character piece, that affords us an interesting, well-paced send-off for Capaldi's Doctor. It brings The 1st Doctor back to life in all the ways we knew, but gives us something new, and Bradley's performance is just fantastic! Capaldi and Bradley spark off each other incredibly well, and there are some truly laugh-out-loud moments during the episode - some of which include Pearl Mackie's Bill and The 1st Doctor. Bill is a very modern woman, and The 1st Doctor...isn't.


There are little 'timey-wimey' moments that Steven Moffat has peppered throughout the story, that hardcore fans will recognise and love, without alienating or distracting from the story. Steven has to be commended for this beautiful tale; for it IS beautiful, in so many ways. It rounds off his tenure as head writer and showrunner, perfectly, and sets him up to be remembered as one of the most important guiding forces in the shows entire, long history.

If recent rumours are to be believed that the show's composer, Murray Gold, will indeed be stepping down after this Christmas special, then there are most definitely hints of this in the score. Look out for new versions of some of his most memorable compositions, including a slightly melancholic rendition of the 'Doomsday' theme from the end of Series 2. It feels like Murray is saying goodbye to us throughout the episode, and it's heart-breaking. It's no secret that we're huge fans of his work; you only have to look back through our many reviews and previews to see how much we mention him, but then, his music has become an important part of the show - a constant that helps you feel that little bit more emotion in pivotal scenes. For this we salute you Murray, and thank you for all you have done.

Whilst we are saying our goodbyes, we have to pay tribute to Peter Capaldi for his tremendous portrayal of The Doctor. Series 10 was hands-down the best to feature his Doctor, and he takes all of the gravitas and hard work gained throughout the momentum of Series 10, and literally goes out in a blaze of glory in 'Twice Upon A Time'. We always wondered just how amazing a fourth series with Capaldi could be, but, alas, it wasn't meant to be. That being said, there is someone new, exciting and totally right for the job, and she's about to take the show in a new, exciting direction! Welcome aboard, Jodie!



5 Things To Look Out For:

1)  3 perspectives.
2)  "Smacked Bottom".
3)  An old friend in a tower.
4)  "So that's what it means to be a Doctor of war!"
5)  A gift that, if you're a regular viewer, will give you a lump in your throat.

+  11.X: Twice Upon A Time airs Christmas Day at 5:30pm on BBC One.

[Source: DWO]

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