Doctor Who: The Next Doctor (2008) (DVD)
Christmas Eve, 1851, and the Cybermen stalk the snow of Victorian LondonWhen the Doctor arrives and starts to investigate a spate of mysterious deaths, he's surprised to meet another Doctor and soon, the two must combine forces to defeat the ruthless Miss Hartigan. But are two Doctors enough to stop the rise of the CyberKing?
Broadcast under intense speculation as to whether it would lead to David Morrissey taking over the title role (he didn't), Doctor Who: The Next Doctor
actually turned out to be a really enjoyable 2008 Christmas special for the show, crammed with action and ideas. The premise of The Next Doctor
, that there are two Doctors on the go, is set up early, as David Tennant’s Doctor encounters Morrissey’s character wielding a screwdriver, talking of the TARDIS, and fighting foes. This allows Tennant to slip into the role of the assistant, and his double act with Morrissey is excellent, with the latter making the most of a meaty, evolving role.
Also winning the acting plaudits though is the villain of the piece, played by Dervla Kirwan. She’s scene-stealingly good here, and next to her, the returning Cybermen look surprisingly tame, even considering the surprises that the episode throws up as it enters its final act. The Next Doctor isn’t a perfect episode by any means, and the terrific Christmas Invasion is surely the best Yuletide installment to date. But it’s an entertaining, busy, and ambitious hour, and worth seeing for Morrissey and Kirwan alone. --Jon Foster