TV REVIEW: Doctor Who: The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe

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What’s It About?
After a chance meeting before World War Two, The Doctor finds himself wanting to pay back the woman who helped him find his TARDIS. During the war, the Doctor prepares a surprise for her and her two children, planning to take them into a magical wintry world.
Review It

As we saw last year, the annual Christmas Invasion has past and Steven Moffat is taking the Time Lord into Christmas past via some classic stories. While these parodies are clear, it’s also clear that the Doctor is deliberately making references – in this case to help show a family a wonderful Christmas during the time of the Second World War. Most of the action this year actually happens pre-title as we join the intrepid traveller at the end of an adventure. The episode which follows, while sedater has a nice pace to it and never gets dull.

It never seems to stop amazing me how Moffat can take a simple, everyday element and create a fantastic (and almost believable) fantastical idea for Doctor Who. Take for example, the planet in this episode – it just happens to be a perpetual winter wonderland where Christmas-Tree-like foliage grows and who’s seeds happen to form like silver baubles. Magical.

The small cast (four principals and an equal number of supporting players – not counting the final scene) keeps the feeling of family throughout and the absence of a true villain while still maintaining a palpable threat feels somehow more Christmasy than many previous Specials. Both children hold their parts well, and hats off to the costume department who have provided young Cyril make his eyes appear gynormous and for me, helped sell the “classic” fantasy of the story somehow.

There are some marvellous scenes in this episode – two of note are the scene in which The Doctor shows the Arwell family how he has “repaired” the defective rooms (he can pop round and repair my gaff anytime!) and sceondly – the very last scene of the show. Which actually made a tear pop out of my eye. Something that hasn’t happened to anything on the TV screen since Yoda died.

And the niggles?

Weeeeeell, there’re a few elements that don’t really make sense this episode (like Madge managing to drive a future walker after having a single flying lesson on Earth!) but I don’t care. So there . Ya-boo-sucks.

In summary:

A Christmas tale of family, loss and love. Wonderful setting, magical Doctor and a couple of really moving points towards the end.

Rate It: 3.5 / 5. Not the best Who ever, but marvellous Christmas TV and anything that ACTUALLY manages to force even a single tear out of me on the box is surely worth a watch.
Dry Slaps: 0
Reviewer: WedgeDoc

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One comment

  1. Totally agree with your comment in your ratings. There were large parts of this episode that were a bit naff (with the exception of a couple of lines from the Harvest Rangers, essentially the whole of the middle 20 minutes was awfully slow), but the comedy at the end and the coda with the Ponds were magnificent. Top Christmas TV to appeal to viewers of all ages, whether loyal fans or once-a-year casuals.

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2011/12/26/doctor-who-christmas-special-the-doctor-the-widow-and-the-wardrobe-review/

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