‘THE NEXT DOCTOR’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
“The CyberKing Will Rise!” – The Cybermen Christmas Invasion of Victorian London
This story got me excited when I saw the ‘coming soon’ trailer for it at the end of ‘Journey’s End’.
This is simply because the Cybermen were going to be in it! I love the Cybermen! A Cybermen story at Christmas time was a bonus. I always wanted there to be a big ‘Doctor Who’ monster appearing in a Christmas Special. The Cybermen also look terrific when marching in the snow with their stomping.
A Cybermen Christmas Special sounds fantastic. They should do a Dalek Christmas Special sometime as I’ve always want to see Daleks around Christmas time. I’ve written a Dalek Christmas Special myself, featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy which I hope to add to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ soon.
Of course, it wasn’t long after this story’s trailer that the announcement of David Tennant’s departure as the Doctor came. I was really saddened to hear David Tennant was leaving, as he’s one of my favourite Doctors from the new series. He really made me fall in love with ‘Doctor Who’ then.
Not long after that, Russell T. Davies had announced that he was stepping down from the role of head writer of the new series of ‘Doctor Who’ and that Steven Moffat was going to take over. It put me to the realisation that the golden years of the Tenth Doctor era were starting to come to an end.
This leads me onto talking about this Christmas Special’s title – ‘The Next Doctor’. I’m sure many were speculating whas this meant, considering David Tennant was leaving. I managed to watch a preview for this episode when it was shown during ‘Children In Need’ night back in November 2008.
It was the opening teaser of the episode and it had the Doctor arriving in Victorian London, 1851, to find someone in trouble calling out for him. Immediately he runs to the rescue, only to find it’s not he who’s been summoned. It’s another Doctor. And this Doctor happens to be…Mr. David Morrisey.
I’ve seen David Morrisey in ‘Our Mutual Friend’ with Paul McGann. I was excited and keen to find out what would happen in this episode. I was convinced David Morrisey was going to take up the role of the Doctor from David Tennant. Questions did make me wonder where this story was going to go.
Christmas Day 2008 was a very thrilling fun-packed day. Not only did I enjoy opening my presents and watched ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’, but I also enjoyed seeing ‘The Next Doctor’ and ‘Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death’ following it, which really made my Christmas.
And it turned out David Morrisey wasn’t the Doctor at all. Aww, shucks! That’s cheating from Russell T. Davies, wasn’t it? It shouldn’t have been called ‘The Next Doctor’! It should have been ‘The Cybermen Christmas Invasion’ instead. That’s a cheap trick to watch your episode isn’t it, Russell?! 😀
David Morrisey happens to be Jackson Lake, a former husband now widower. He came to London with his wife and son to become a teacher. Except when they arrived, the Cybermen attacked and killed his wife before taking away his son. Jackson lost his memories when he accessed a Cyber Infostamp.
This contained information and statistics about a certain Time Lord called the Doctor. All that information went inside Jackson’s head and he became the Doctor, thinking that he was and acted like him. He soon rescues and gains a new companion, Velile Tshabalala as Rostia, to fight the Cybermen.
They uncover what the Cybermen are up to with the murders of certain people. Jackson even has a TARDIS, which is in actual fact a hot air balloon. The ‘real’ Doctor notices the clues about Jackson’s identity. He gradually works it out in the story before he tells Jackson who he is and what happened.
Jackson suffered a ‘feud’ state where he wanted to become someone else because he had lost so much including his wife and child. When Jackson gradually realises what happened to him and who he is, he becomes devastated and upset. I like David Morrisey in this as he’s such a brilliant actor.
It’s such a shame that David Morrisey wasn’t really the future new Doctor, as it would’ve been great to see him having adventures with his companion Rosita. It’s fair to say he is the Doctor who would have been rather than will be. But who knows? Big Finish might resurrect Jackson Lake in the audios. 😀
Another special guest star is Dervla Kirwan (who I’ve seen in ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’) as Miss Hartigan. She works with the Cybermen and is a matron of certain children charities, which she despises and feels overlooked by her male superiors. Dervla plays the part with relish and precision.
Miss Hartigan has that smile where she’s really enjoying herself. It’s a chilling performance and Dervla really looks sexy in her red dress. Soon, she pays the price when she gets chosen to become the CyberKing and is connected to the throne, wearing that headgear. She finds it ‘glorious’ however.
The Cybermen are also great to watch in this. I really enjoyed seeing them marching in the snow when they attacked the funeral in the cemetery and killed various Victorian gentlemen as well as the vicar. It was quite a chilling and thrilling sequence to watch. I also liked the Cyber Leader in this one.
I wasn’t sure about the Cybershades as they seemed rather feral and I wondered why the Cybermen would use them, since they are without emotion. I prefer Cybermats any day. The actual CyberKing was a little disappointing when I saw it rise up from the Thames and it soon marched across London.
The CyberKing didn’t look like a proper giant Cyberman, but I suppose in Victorian conditions the Cyberman had to do with what resources they got. I’m sure it did scare kids when they saw it on TV, as it does have a horrific look about it. It also reminded me of the Megazords from ‘Power Rangers’. 😀
The final confrontation with the Doctor in the hot air balloon TARDIS against Miss Haritgan and her Cyber consorts in the CyberKing was truly spectacular. After the Doctor defeats them, I found it touching how Jackson spoke out to everyone in London, talking about the Doctor and how he saved them.
Everyone cheers “Bravo!” to the Doctor when he’s in the hot air balloon. I literally had tears in my eyes when I re-watched that scene in the episode for this review. The Doctor deserves his praise, since he has saved so many lives in his life-time whilst in the TARDIS and he has never been thanked.
At the end, the Doctor and Jackson say goodbye to each other. The Doctor allows Jackson to go inside his TARDIS to have a look around. Jackson offers the Doctor to join him, Rosita and his lost-but-found son for Christmas dinner. The Doctor initially refuses, but eventually changes his mind. 🙂
The story ends on an uplifting note as the Doctor takes part in the celebrations on Christmas Day with Jackson Lake in Victorian England. That’s exactly how Christmas should be, shouldn’t it? And that’s why I believe ‘The Next Doctor’ is one of the best ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Specials ever made.
The DVD special features are as follows. On ‘The Next Doctor’ DVD and Disc 1 of ‘The Complete Specials’, there’s ‘Doctor Who at the Proms’, which is a concert performed in July 2008. It features music from the first four seasons of new series ‘Doctor Who’ and is hosted by Freema Agyeman. It also features a special mini-adventure called ‘Music of the Spheres’, starring David Tennant’s Doctor.
On Disc 1 of ‘The Complete Specials’, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ making-of documentary on ‘The Next Doctor’. This includes behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including David Tennant, David Morrisey, Dervla Kirwan; writer/executive producer Russell T. Davies; etc.
‘The Next Doctor’ has been great and fun to watch. With Cybermen and Victorian London in the mix, you can’t go wrong. I was very pleased to watch this ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special back in 2008. It was well-directed by Andy Goddard as well as well-written by the man, Mr. Russell T. Davies, himself.
The episode has some brilliant performances from a brilliant pair of actors including David Tennant and David Morrisey. It’s also a great adventure with the Cybermen for Christmas. I highly recommend seeing ‘The Next Doctor’ and ‘Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death’ together.
‘The Next Doctor’ rating – 10/10
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