Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol – TV Review

Monday night saw Mild Concern sitting amongst children and stars at the premiere of this years Doctor Who Christmas special A Christmas Carol.

I’ll try not to give anything away in reviewing this brilliant episode of Who, though I’d say it is a slightly more low key affair than in previous years. I don’t think a single thing exploded and after last years epic mess a quieter, better crafted story was a welcome relief.

The first half of the episode was pure comedy as Matt Smith expertly delivered Stephen Moffat’s witty dialogue so naturally it was like he was an actor or something. Karen Gillan was sadly in a smaller role than usual but during her brief appearances was in her police uniform keeping the grown up men plenty happy.

Supporting Smith were guest actors Michael Gambon and Kathryn Jenkins who brough different qualities to the show. Gambon was a total powerhouse, playing both the good and evil of the episode and clearly revelling in the fun of being in Doctor Who. Jenkins however shows much lighter acting talent, mostly just looking pretty and doing the occasional song, thereby demonstrating what really got her the job.

What really came across watching Who on the big screen is just how cinematic the show has become. Toby Haynes did a wonderful job of directing, as the TV budget was well and truly stretched to create some stunning shots. The CGI is at its peak here too making for a perfect storm of good TV.

So the writing was great, the acting was (mostly) great and the directing too was… great, but what of the story? I’m glad you asked, the story is really Christmassy and imaginative as we get a truly Who version of a classic tale complete with snow, carols, sharks and time travel.

After the screening Caitlin Moran, everyone’s favourite TV critic, chaired a Q&A with Smith, Moffat and Jenkins which brought no real insights beyond Jenkins being nervous and Gambon having plenty of anecdotes. The main highlight came when “superfan” Karen Gillan asked the panel about their favourite types of fish before shouting out “I like blowfish” for no good reason.

You had to be there really… and you weren’t. Ha!

Tune in on Christmas Day and enjoy a family friendly Christmas treat.