Doctor Who Trailer: 2017 Christmas Special

A new trailer for the Doctor Who Christmas Special, titled "Twice Upon a Time" by the way, has come out, so avert your eyes if you don't want any spoilers. For the rest of you, let's look at it together and enjoy a second-by-second analysis.

00-10: I seem to have been correct that the ending of Series 10, where the 12th Doctor meets the 1st, takes place towards the tail end of The Tenth Planet, the Doctor's first meeting with the Cybermen. The reprise here is straight out of that serial, Hartnell morphing into David Bradley as we break the fourth wall and enter the old episode, coming out into a colorful (and more real?) world. It's creepy and weird, but a nice tribute to the original actor and series. I predict they'll use these events to motivate the Doctor's sudden fatigue and need to regenerate, which happens at the end of the serial. Just so happens, while I've seen The Tenth Planet (and listened to Part 4 on audio), I still haven't taken the new DVD with an animated Part 4 out of its case, so that'll make PERFECT viewing over the Holidays before the special hits.

11-15: Footage from "The Doctor Falls".

16-18: Lily Travers is playing Polly, so I guess they didn't go entirely for "An Adventure in Time and Space" alumni. In the biopic where Bradley originally played Hartnell, Polly (or rather, Anneke Wills) was only briefly seen and had no lines, incarnated by day player Ellie Spicer who really has no speaking role experience. No word on whether Ben will be part of the cast or who will play him. Note that they've retconned a tell-tale glow on the first Doctor's regeneration, which isn't quite how it played originally. On the face at the exact moment, yes, but not on the hand, etc.

19-20: Footage from "The Doctor Falls".

21: We're not in the Arctic any more...

22-23: Two soldiers in No Man's Land frozen in time as they fire on one another.

24-26: That one is played by Doctor Who writer Toby Whithouse (also showrunner of Being Human), so I'm guessing he won't get much in the way of acting. It's a cute joke given who plays his opponent. Being trapped inside a single moment also helps explain why no one noticed this adventure interrupting The Tenth Planet.

27-34: Mark Gatiss is the other soldier, and since he does have acting experience, he's allowed to unfreeze and have lines. I don't know how I feel about his casting since he's already appeared on the show (as Professor Lazarus, not the program's best hour), but then, so has Bradley, and so had Capaldi. He also wrote a number of shows, and of course, is Moffat's writing partner on Sherlock.

35: Capaldi in the original TARDIS (you're allowed to squee now).

36-37: Can't tell where Bradley is standing with that weird pink glow... man, I might give a finger to see a modern take on Vortis though.

38-40: Gatiss doing the unflappable Brit officer. Roundels! Podcasting friend Nathaniel Wayne has wondered if Gatiss is playing the Brigadier. Hadn't occurred to me and it's not in the bubbly performance. Just, no.

41: TARDIS spinning into space. Standard.

42-45: Lots of sparky explosions. Doesn't tell us anything, but it's not all WWI locations. The first might be, but the second looks like it has a Grecian column in the foreground. Well obviously, they take Captain Gatiss somewhere since he's in the TARDIS too.

46: Bradley in Capaldi's TARDIS... how is this all going to work, travel-wise?

47-48: Chain action, but it seems to still be in a Grecian setting, with stone figures in relief behind the Doctors. Any truth to the rumor the Weeping Angels will be in this? Because it might fit both that look and time-warping shenanigans. Then again, it's the kind of thing you expect to pop out and scare you at the end of the trailer. But I haven't gotten there.

49-50: The heroes' advantage is that "there's two of us", which continues the friendlier attitude Moffat's brought to multi-Doctor stories. Back in the day, they always seemed to irritate one another (and there's psychological truth to that), but in Time Crash and The Day of the Doctor, it was more about nostalgia and liking your former self (albeit with caveats). With two of the most irrascible Doctors teaming up, one wonders if the sparks will first fly.

51-57: Bill returns, but the announcement's been made, she won't stay on as Jodie Whitacker's companion. This is pretty typical of the end of a modern Doctor's reign. No Clara here, but she's been rumored to appear as well. Both Bill and Clara have a way to travel space-time without the Doctor's help. Hopefully, Moffat doesn't get too indulgent with his farewells. We don't need to see the Ponds as well, for example. I would rather have the companions' exit be their true exits, especially when they were moving and well done. It feels like a cheat and ruins what you felt in that previous story a little bit.

What's NOT in the trailer? Who the Doctors have to face. And of course, no Whitaker Doctor. I don't want even a hint of it until it actually happens, so that's fine. All in all, it's really just a presentation of the two-Doctor idea, with a couple of guest stars thrown in, and what looks to be a timey-wimey finish for the Moffat era, which of course, makes perfect sense.

What did you think of the trailer? Are you stoked for "Twice Upon a Time"?


Anonymous said...

Curiosity piqued. Trailer successful.

I have not forgotten that, in Moffat's first episode as a showrunner, he was careful to show us all the Doctors who'd preceded Matt Smith. I love that Moffat celebrates the Doctor's history, generally without getting mired in the nostalgia.

Doctors Two and Three didn't get along, that's for sure. But I'm trying to remember back to "The Five Doctors" and "The Two Doctors", and I don't recall too much friction between the various Doctors other than the Troughton-Pertwee pairing. Even in "The Day of the Doctor", Ten and Eleven sniped at each other a bit, but it was more good-natured ribbing.

Siskoid said...

That's because they split them up until the end, but Five definitely didn't like being around himself and there's a reprise of the Pertwee/Troughton annoyance.

The Two Doctors wasn't so antagonistic, but again, not much interaction between the Doctors. In The Day of the Doctor, it was more amusing and jovial, though the War Doctor basically acted the part of the irritated Doctor.

Tim Wallace said...

Maybe I have the Master on my mind after "The Doctor Falls", and this hit me more reading your breakdown than watching the preview itself, but...just a thought...wasn't the Master's TARDIS a Greek column at one point?

Anonymous said...

It was! This being the BBC, I imagine they just grabbed a random prop from the set of "I Clavdivs".

Jeff R. said...

World War 1 is too early for the Brigadier, but could work for the Brigadad...

LondonKdS said...

Someone on my own post about the trailer suggested that Gatiss's character looks a bit like Gilbert Mackenzie-Trench, a Scottish architect who was an army officer during WWI but went on to design the police box.


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