‘THE RUNAWAY BRIDE’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Donna Noble and the Empress of the Racnoss for Christmas with the Tenth Doctor
‘The Runaway Bride’ is one of the most memorable, exciting and funny ‘Doctor Who’ episodes!
This is the second proper ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas special starring David Tennant as the Doctor. It also stars Catherine Tate as Donna Noble with the return of the killer Robot Santas, an exciting car chase and also Sarah Parish as the rather monstrous and deadly spider-like Empress of the Racnoss.
Transmitted on the 25th December 2006 on TV, this story follows the tragic end of ‘Doomsday’ where the Doctor lost Rose Tyler to a parallel universe following the Dalek/Cybermen battle at Canary Wharf. With little time to grieve, the Doctor soon finds a bride standing in the console room.
The Doctor gets curious on how she got in his TARDIS and the bride – Donna Noble – is convinced the Doctor kidnapped her. Determined to get rid of her, the Doctor tries to get Donna back to her church in time for the wedding. But they get delayed by those Robot Santas from ‘The Christmas Invasion’.
I really like Catherine Tate as Donna Noble. Catherine is well known for comedy and to have her appear as a companion in a ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special is a treat. Here she plays someone who doesn’t want to be in the TARDIS, since all she wants is to just get married at the church in Chiswick.
Donna is rather ‘ditsy and gobby’ who loves the endless trivia like watching the X-Factor and finding out the best top Pringle. Donna can be quite rough and common on the face of it and has the tendency to go “Oy!” a lot. But underneath, Donna is a very compassionate and endearing character.
The Doctor gradually likens to Donna and eventually she does to him. It’s no surprise that Donna soon came back as a proper ‘Doctor Who’ companion in the 2008 series with David Tennant, especially as Catherine had enjoyed playing Donna a lot that she’d wanted to come back for Series 4.
I love Donna’s scenes with the Doctor when they are running around London’s streets (filmed in Cardiff) and they’re trying to get back to the wedding. I love and found it funny when Donna ridicules the Doctor for assuming she’s got a mobile, as she does not have any ‘pockets’ in her wedding dress.
The moments where Donna and the Doctor try to get a taxi and people think Donna is drunk for being in her wedding dress were funny. Also when they get into the taxi and the two find they have no money and have to get out of the taxi again. It’s brilliantly funny stuff with the Doctor and Donna.
I like it when Donna shows concern for the Doctor when asking who it was he lost and the Doctor is reluctant to tell her. He does tell Donna it was Rose at the end of the episode. The moment where the Doctor tells Donna to trust her when about to jump out of the taxi into the TARDIS was touching.
David Tennant is brilliant as the Doctor. He’s funny and clever especially when he works things out with his usual maniac enthusiasm. I love the moment when he uses the sonic screwdriver to boost the sound speakers to destroy the Robot Santas. I did laugh when the Doctor got slapped by Donna.
The Doctor gets on well with Donna eventually. The scene where they watch the Earth being formed and he’s excited was a joy to watch. The Doctor’s sadness over Rose gets explored and is well-acted during the wedding reception with the song ‘Love Don’t Roam’ being performed in the background.
Another superb guest star is Sarah Parish as the Empress of the Racnoss. Sarah seems to relish playing an evil giant spider. It sounds frightening when she speaks and mocks Donna the bride and her would-be husband. How they did the make-up and the special effects for her is very spectacular.
The guest cast also includes Jacqueline King as Sylvia Noble, Donna’s mum; the late Howard Attfield as Geoff Noble, Donna’s dad and Don Gilét (from ‘EastEnders’) as Lance Bennett, Donna’s fiancée. Just to say, there is a certain shock twist going on with Lance’s character in his connection to Donna.
I have to say, I really enjoyed that car chase scene with the Doctor and Donna, and to have the kids in the car calling out to them and the thrilling music in the background was pretty exciting. This scene got previewed for the ‘Children in Need’ music concert in Cardiff in 2006 (more on this later).
The story ends with the Doctor and Donna saying goodbye to each other. The Doctor asks Donna to come and join him on his travels in the TARDIS. But Donna refuses. She’s not ready for it yet and finds the whole idea of travelling scary. At the time, I honestly thought it was a shame she said “No”.
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On ‘The Runaway Bride’ DVD, there’s an exciting ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ Christmas Special called ‘Music and Monsters’. This is a one hour documentary looking at the ‘Doctor Who Celebration’ charity concert for ‘Children in Need’ in 2006.
On Disc 1 of ‘The Complete Series 3’ of ‘Doctor Who’, the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ Christmas Special called ‘Music and Monsters’ can also be found on there. There’s also a commentary with David Tennant and executive producer Julie Gardner. There’s also Freema Agyeman’s Studio Tour; David Tennant’s Video Diary; Series 3 Outtakes and Deleted Scenes and Network Teaser Trailers.
‘The Runaway Bride’ is a funny, fast-paced and enjoyable Christmas Special from ‘Doctor Who’. You may criticise Catherine Tate, but for me, she’s truly wonderful and a very good actress. She gets on well with David’s Doctor and he shines all the way throughout this episode following Rose’s departure.
I recommend this Christmas Special to anyone with the yuletide spirit!
‘The Runaway Bride’ rating – 8/10
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I had my doubts about Catherine Tate but she was brilliant & made Donna Noble a great character, David Tennant makes playing the Doctor effortlessly easy, he can combine humour, emotion & sadness & makes the Tenth Doctor so damm likeable & i love that scene when he destroys the baby Racnoss the rain pouring down his emotionless face & later Donna telling him to find someone because he needs somebody to stop him going down a dark path sometimes & then the Doctor chokes up when he says “her name was rose”
Definitely a 8/10.
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Yeah I’m sure many had doubts about Catherine Tate in whether she’d be good as a ‘Doctor Who’ companion in Donna. But I enjoyed her very much in this Christmas Special as well as later on in Series 4.
David Tennant is the best actor to play the Doctor in my humble opinion. He’s clearly into the show and loves it so much as he’s spread that love in his performance over the years.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this episode, Simon.
Great review Tim.
I’m sorry to be commenting here so close to the premiere of ‘Flux’, but I thought I might as well.
I thought watch this special again yesterday. It was just as good as the first time I watched it. Donna Noble is a very well-written and performed character. I actually found her to be even more bolshy than Tegan. Despite that, I actually consider her to be one of the best ‘Doctor Who’ companions from watching her here and in series 4. The Racnoss was incredibly menacing and the scene where the Doctor defeated her was great to watch.
Let’s hope ‘Flux’ starts off good.
Take care, WF92.
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Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Runaway Bride’. I’ll be sharing my review on the first episode of ‘Flux’ later in the week. 🙂
Yes, this Christmas Special is still pretty good and features a good debut of Catherine Tate as Donna Noble. David Tennant is equally great as the Tenth Doctor. The Racnoss are quite interesting and intimidating villains for this episode. Amazing David Tennant and Catherine Tate reunited in Series 4 as well as the Big Finish audios. The Racnoss also appeared in ‘Empire of the Racnoss’ with the Fifth Doctor.
Many thanks for your comments.
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