"I'm the Doctor. I'm a Time Lord. I'm from the planet Gallifrey, in the constellation of Kasterborus. I'm 903 years old and I'm the man who's going to save your lives and all 6 billion people on the planet below. You got a problem with that?"
What a grand speech, and the perfect response from the Doctor (Tennant) when he's asked by a particularly arsey character: "Who put you in charge? And who the hell are you anyway?" Because as we all know by now (or should, because he's been on telly for almost 45 years) the Doctor is the man who always takes charge and always saves the day. And in this 2007 Christmas special, we have a doozy of a day that needs saving. The TARDIS has crashed into the Titanic — not the Earthbound ocean-going vessel that carelessy hit a chunk of ice and sank in 1912, but a space-going vessel from the planet Stowe that's orbiting the Earth so its passengers can witness the strange human custom of Christmas. So the Doc dons his bowtie and joins the party, befriending waitress Astrid (Minogue) in the process. But this turns out to be no pleasure cruise as meteors hit the ship and send it hurtling towards the Earth. So our hero has to lead a ragtag group of survivors to safety, in the vein of The Poseidon Adventure and other great disaster films of the 70s. Oh, and he also has to stop the now-out-of-control spaceship crashing into the Earth and wiping out all life. Can he do this and still get to snog the lovely Astrid?
Of course he can — he's the Doctor, we know he can do almost anything. It's how he does it that provides all the fun. And this is probably the most fun of the three Doctor Who Christmas specials so far (isn't it funny how this has become a tradition after just three of them?) Tennant still impresses greatly in the role of the Time Lord, and is clearly enjoying himself. Kylie also impresses and is not as awful in the role as many critics made out when the show aired in the UK on Christmas day. In fact, I reckon she'd make a much better companion for the Doctor than Catherine Tate. The special does have its faults, though. There are moments (and quite a few of them) where the dialogue is drowned out by the incidental music. And I, along with many others, am getting sick of the killer robots every year — in this instance, the Hosts. Please, Russell, can you give them a rest next Christmas? And then there's Midshipman Frame (Tovey) who's gutshot early in the episode but still manages to help the Doctor save the ship. Hmmm. But minor niggles aside, it's a damn fine hour or so of Who.
EXTRAS ** Sadly, no commentaries or deleted scenes. But we do get the Children in Need short, which also stars Peter Davison as the Doctor, that bridged the end of Season 3 and the Christmas special. And there's the Christmas Confidiential, the behind-the-scenes look at the show which aired on BBC3.