Kicking off this rundown of Christmas stories I haven’t reviewed already is the very first one (which makes sense as I’ll be putting the reviews up in Doctor order…), though it’s oddly a single episode in the middle of a larger serial. Thankfully it’s also completely standalone, the six episodes before it and the five that air after it make up the real meat of “Daleks’ Master Plan”, this is merely a comedic interlude because the episode happened to end up airing on Christmas Day. Is it still funny, even though it now only exists as a soundtrack and some still photos? Let’s find out!
Arriving in present day (1960s) England, the Doctor and his companions are arrested. Escaping in the TARDIS, they find themselves on a film set before celebrating Christmas in the TARDIS.
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Sara Kingdom is interested in the idea of a comedic interlude, Steven on the other hand is not.
Honestly I have no idea how to review this. It’s 20-odd minutes of intentional absurd faffing about and then a nice Christmas message. Basically The Doctor, Steven and Sara (that’s Sara Kingdom, who by virtue of the Master Plan storyline is travelling with The Doctor and Steven at this point) arrive in then-modern day London, which leads to The Doctor being arrested because he’s “messing about” in a Police telephone box, leading to Steven to pretend to be a special agent of sorts to bluff his way in to get The Doctor out. Plenty of comedy policemen antics ensue as everyone runs out of the police station and back into the TARDIS.
The TARDIS then arrives in a 1920s movie studio, leading to Steven getting mistaken for an actor and then later chased about the set, including a Scooby Doo-style running in and out of several doors in a corridor scene, while The Doctor meets Charlie Chaplain and Bing Crosby, and has a bit of a crazy time with some “Arabs”. Oh and Sara just sort of… wonders around a bit between sets. They all meet back at the TARDIS and decide to… have a Christmas feast, complete with The Doctor giving a toast to “those of you at home”, breaking the fourth wall entirely. It’s harmless, really, but there are issues, especially in watching it in 2020…
I’ll be honest with you: I don’t have a full idea of what’s going on in this literal screen grab!
It’s not really in the spirit to knock a one-off piece of fluff, so I won’t be harsh, especially as my main criticism is based solely on it having been deleted from the archives (which isn’t the original story’s fault!) but it’s hard to find a comedic chase funny through still photos, let’s put it that way. The mid-60s pantomime comedy isn’t exactly my cup of tea either, so… I can’t say I actually enjoyed watching it, beyond the novelty.
“It’s okay, my dear. They’ll be going back to the Daleks’ Master Plan next week.”
As you can probably imagine, there isn’t much to talk about here, beyond being sandwiched in the middle of the Daleks Master Plan, which I guess when I get round to reviewing it I’ll have to split in half…
The Tenth Doctor arrives at a 1920’s set to meet Charlie Chaplin but encounters “Archie Maplin” instead, due to a sudden copyright problem, in the comic story “Silver Scream”.
“I suppose you think you’re funny, hmm?”
I don’t want to be too harsh on a silly one-off 20-minute episode that no longer exists, but I can safely say that this, my second time watching it ever, will most likely be my last, unless it bizarrely gets animated if/when the animation teams tackle Master Plan. Historically significant (within Doctor Who circles)? Yes. Actually fun to “watch”? No… not really.