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Reviews & Ratings for
"Doctor Who" The Next Doctor (2008)

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35 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Christmas Special 2008: Solid special that entertains even as it gets silly

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
25 December 2008

The Doctor arrives in Victorian London just in time to meet two very familiar creatures that he did not expect to ever see. The first is some form of creature that is instantly recognisable as being, at very least, some derivative of a cyberman. The second is the man who is chasing the cyberman creature whose memory is blocked for some reason but whose name is The Doctor, who has a Tardis and has a feisty female assistant helping him out. Naturally, the Doctor (the other one) is curious about all of it.

Last year the Doctor Who Christmas special offered much and had lots of noise but was essentially a noisy and rushed version of the Poseidon Adventure that was too full of sacrificial "disaster movie" death to be much fun and too lacking in heart to really engage. As a result I was concerned about yet another special that just seemed to offer easy spectacle to distract you away from the fact that you saw all the "big" movies about three years ago on DVD or Sky. The Next Doctor offered more though because it was talked p for potentially being a handover to a new doctor, or that it had former doctors in it or several other theories. It plays with the audience in this regard early on as the suggestion is that the Next Doctor may either be another time lord or potentially a future version of the Doctor himself. While this concerned me in regards fitting in with the series, it did interest me.

The plot is simple but it helps that there are several threads that are developed across it as it did make it more interesting and engaging. I wasn't ever gripped but it did have a solid pace to it that made it easy to enjoy. The spectacle is there as well and, being Christmas, I didn't really feel inclined to make a big deal out of the logic of the cyberman ship or whatever it was – I can understand why some would have been annoyed by it but for me I was enjoying the special so wasn't in the mood to pick on it. The reason I was enjoying it was that the pace to it also gave some quieter moments and some comic moments that both the "doctors" were able to deliver quite well. I thought Tennant was on good form as he slightly toned down the "OH OF COURSE" delivery while also keeping the essence of "his" doctor. Morrissey has an interesting character throughout and his performance adds much more than another female assistant would have done. Speaking of which – was the casting of Tshabalala as Rosita a plot to make Agyeman seem like a better actress by way of comparison? If so then it worked. If not then I'm afraid I cannot see why she was cast. Kirwan is enjoyable as the main human villain whether it is at her most confident or most frightened. The extras run on command and the cybermen march on cue.

The Next Doctor did not hold the revelations that it was marketed to perhaps have maybe, but it was still enjoyable. The device of the other Doctor makes the plot engaging and I was interested even as the running and explosions started and, as it got silly, I still hadn't stopped enjoying it. A solid Christmas special that did what it was expected to do.

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Morrisey showed potential in a anti-climatic special

Author: Robert McElwaine from Clydebank, Scotland
10 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just before It was revealed that Matt Smith was to step in to David Tennants shoes and replace him as the eleventh actor to play the Doctor. Many names were bandied about as to who that person might be. Writer/Exectutive producer Russel T. Davies took advantage of this speculation and penned "The Next Doctor" which would be 2008's Christmas special. The story revolves around the Doctor arriving in nineteenth century London on Christmas Eve where he meets a strange man who goes by the same title. He looks totally dissimilar in physical appearance, wears different clothes but there are subtle similarities. The eccentric behaviour, as well as the Victorian wardrobe which the Time Lord would conceivably wear, he apparently has a sonic screw driver and has a female companion, a young twenty something who goes by the name of Rosita. Most eerie is that he also refers to himself as being a Time Lord.

So far everything sounds quite promising and so you would think but while the stories premise is fairly good. The end result while not awful (as with with much of RTD's work on the he show) is a bit of a let down. Good concept, so-so execution.

The performances though aren't part of the problem. David Tennant is a normal, reliable as ever while guest actor Neil Morrisey (who was one of those rumoured to be taking over) makes an instant impression as the pseudo-doctor of the title. He breathes a lot of energy in to the part and show's much of the enthusiasm that Tennant himself has displayed through out his tenure, as well as the requisite passion that you would expect the heroic lead to have. Velile Tshabalalaas as Rosita makes a decent feisty assistant who manages to gel well with her two male counterparts. Even if at times she verges on being a tad OTT in moments where she is called upon to show annoyance, anger or hostility which undermines some of the more dramatic moments. Also my hat has to go off to Dervla Kirwan who is quite excellent as the human villain of the piece, Mercy Hartigan, a detestable, vile woman who Kirwan plays with the right touch of dry, cool menace and venom, allowing to, bring to life a memorably chilling villainess.

But these can't entirely compensate for some of the problems which arise in the script. Again we see the return of the alternative version of the excellent Cybermen which were introduced in 2006's "Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel". Although I can't say that I hate this new version they're not a patch on the original monsters which were previously seen in the classic series. Then there's the thought that rather than have the Cybermen relegated to be being convenient villains rather than the main source of the story. Why not introduce a new threat which may have complimented the story then there's the newly introduced Cyber-dog creatures used by the Cybermen who just look like they were inspired by an old "Tom and Jerry" cartoon. Not forgetting that part of the plot relies on young urchins being exploited as a means of slave labour. Which isn't the most innovative of plot devices.

Some of the humour at times although appropriate in practically any "Doctor Who" comes dangerously close to being too cartoonish at times. Not to mention slapstick. And the specials show stopping climax which revolves around the rise of "The Cyber-king" is somewhat ludicrous given the amount of witnesses who witness the terrifying event and yet no-one in the future seems to have heard anything about (with the possible exception of "Torchwood" which even then did not exist at the time where everything takes place). Never the less there are some rather novel ideas thrown in which include the explanation as to who "The New Doctor" really is and why he believes himself to be the ancient Time Lord of legend and an interesting (if a bit hackneyed) inclusion of a weather balloon. Davies also manages to keep things rolling along at a fairly even pace and there are still some genuinely exciting and fun moments to be enjoyed. One of which is a defining moment towards the end where Tennants Doctor is forced to confront Miss Hartigan and the Cybermen more or less face to face offering them an alternative to the cruel madness that they have in mind. It makes for what is a genuinely compassionate moment which you would expect from the noble time traveller.

Tag on an nicely placed coda where the false Doctor finally invites his new friend to Christmas dinner and "The Next Doctor" makes for a solid if under whelming end to the year which was 2008. It's just a shame that David Morrisey won't be taking over from Tennant as the new Doctor as he had the potential to be something great. But here's to Matt Smith and what he may bring to his tenure.

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20 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

I'm Seeing A Pattern Here ...

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
24 June 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

... And that is the DOCTOR WHO specials are festive frivolity lacking in hard drama and substance .

I'm sure everyone was looking forward to this Christmas special especially when it was announced beforehand that David Tennant would be leaving the show . Somewhat intriguingly the underrated David Morrisey was one of the bookies favourite to succeed Tennant in the title role and with a title of The Next Doctor this special must be a type of turning point for the series right ? . Add to this the return of the legendary Cybermen and what could go wrong ? Quite a few things actually

First of all was RTD's script which is just basically a runaround with several aspects involving an ice maiden villainess , modified Cybermen , a Cyber-king and children from the work house . But none of this really jells . In many ways the plotting resembles that of a Hollywood blockbuster with spectacle overkill replacing everything else . A giant Cyberman stomping across Victorian London might be a good concept on paper but on screen it can be surprisingly dull

There's also an aspect of cheating too when it's revealed that Morrisey's " Doctor " isn't in fact a future incarnation of the timelord but is something entirely different . It's interesting to note how perceived fan wisdom preferred the " doctor " performance of Morrisey but I disagree since he just comes across as an equally irritating version of Tennant's mockney geezer which I dislike . Morrisey performance improves when his character realises he's a mere mortal human

DOCTOR WHO Christmas specials have quickly become national institutions since December 2005 but while they are welcome , and not to mention are massive rating success , they lack substance and I hope the next special the intriguingly named Planet Of The Dead will live up to the title of special

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Doctors Who

Author: jc-osms from United Kingdom
21 April 2014

Somehow I'd missed this old Christmas episode of David Tennant's "Dr Who", but even watching it in mid-April, found it to be one of the best of the whole new-Doctor episodes I've seen.

Cleverly riffing off the ever-attendant speculation on who will be the new Doctor, Russell T Davies cheekily casts one of the then prime contenders for Tennant's trainers, David Morrissey, opposite the incumbent, intriguingly as an apparently till-now unknown Victorian incarnation of our favourite Gallifreyan time-lord, complete with his own Martha-like companion, sonic screwdriver and even his own TARDIS.

Davies spins out the confusion just long enough before he gives us the crafty explanation leaving room for a big (and I mean big) finish where our Doctor naturally saves the day in a massive C-Gen set-piece against the backdrop of London itself.

There are some great in-house jokes, none more so than Morrissey's Doctor's explanation of the acronym of his own TARDIS and yet it's his Heath Robinson-type contraption that saves the day rather than Tennent's own.

This episode cries out not be taken too seriously as every serious Dickensian reference is riposted with light-hearted sideways nods at more contemporary action characters as the Doctor makes a Superman-type rescue of a young boy and of course that whole over-the-top "Transformers"-style climax as the gigantor Cyber-King is brought back down to earth, almost literally.

Morrissey's great as the deluded Jackson Lake, Tennant as usual is too-cool-for-school, gently bursting Morrissey's bubble, while Dervla Kirwan makes for a great villainess. I enjoyed that Tennant flew solo on this occasion, his between-partners status causing some considered reflections on the transient nature of all his past fellow-travellers.

This was classic Who, one of the best I've seen and also offers a tantalising look at an alternative future Doctor who didn't quite get the nod, but would surely have done well in the part in an alternative future.

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The Doctor takes on the Cyber work house

Author: Paul Evans from Swansea, United Kingdom
29 August 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's Christmas Eve 1851, and the Doctor lands, with no companion, he encounters Rosita, searching for her Doctor, who turns out to be David Morrissey. The Doctor thinks he's his future self, but certain things don't quite make sense, a pocket watch may hold the key. New Doctor explains the Cybermen are at work in the area, aided by local Miss Hartigan. At the funeral of the local Reverend Miss Hartigan turns up wearing a bold red dress, and a Cyber attack takes place on the gathered guests, killing some and rounding up select members. They then round the children into the workhouse, with one aim, re birth of the Cyber king.

There are quite a few surprises in store, the Cybermen pop up in some unexpected ways.

I think the scene when Miss Hartigan attends the funeral in that red dress is one of the most visual I can think of in the show's history, it looks so good.

The episode rather a fun romp. Dervla Kirwan is rather brilliant as Miss Hartigan. I must applaud David Morrisey, no wonder he was touted to play the Doctor, he was so brilliant, I loved his performance. A slight tease as Morrisey was tipped to take over the reigns of the TARDIS at the time. A Christmasy Oliver feel, the Children, the Workhouse etc. Not so sure about the Cyber King, it's a little bit over the top. Overall it's fun and quite heart warming. 7/10

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David Morrisey: The Best Doctor We Never Had.

Author: Dr Moo from United Kingdom
10 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's Christmas in Victorian London and The 10th Doctor shows up there currently companionless which will be important. On arriving he hears a woman screaming for The Doctor but when he gets there he meets what seems to be the product of a future regeneration (complete with a companion named Rosita -- Very subtle, Mr Davies!) but this new Doctor has no memory of anything from before he recently got attacked by Cybermen. This is an interesting idea that RTD wastes no time playing around with.

The titular character is, of course, not an incarnation of The Doctor but is in fact a human named Jackson Lake who got attacked by a group of Cybermen and, through an astoundingly unlikely series of events came to believe he was a newly regenerated Doctor. David Morrisey plays the role and does a pretty good job of it too. It allows for a nice role-reversal as David Tennant's Tenth Doctor is relegated to companion to Lake's apparent Doctor and RTD uses this concept to its full potential, taking advantage of the current absence of a companion, and you'll really wish Morrisey could be The Doctor at some point in the future -- although that's pretty much impossible now.

The weak point of the episode lands in the tricky balancing act of maintaining Lake's story at the same time as that of the villain, Mercy Hartigan, who is working with the Cybermen to awaken their king that they may conquer the universe. Hartigan is played by Dervla Kirwan who does her best with what she has to work with but sadly her character is wasted. What starts as a cruel and calculated menacing figure when she turns up at a funeral and deadpans that several invitees are to die doesn't take long to descend into pantomime territory as she ends up piloting a giant Cyberman that threatens to crush London.

The giant Cyberman is the Cyberking and it is a poorly realised monster. It is effectively an oversized steampunk Cyberman and the production team seem very self-aware of the ridiculousness of it as we only get to see it properly a couple of times as The Doctor's main confrontation with it is actually with its pilot Miss Hartigan. Tennant and Kirwan both deliver a great performance here but the situation is a little daft and it falls to the two actors to make it work. Thankfully they do exactly that with ease and the end result is a very memorable confrontation as the villain is, upon her defeat, ultimately a victim of her own actions but her demise is still very unpleasant, especially for a Christmas Special.

This is not quite an excellent episode but still very good and, most importantly for a Christmas Special, lots of fun. Davids Tennant and Morrisey are both excellent together and if you ignore the poor production of the Cyberking at the end you'll find an episode that is extremely creative and manages to pull off a bizarre set of ideas with a surprising level of success. 8/10

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Adequate but not my Favourite Christmas Special

Author: gpeevers from Canada
30 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The "Next Doctor" while perhaps an adequate episode, is for me the least effective and the least memorable of the "Doctor Who" Christmas specials.

The story has a familiar Christmas setting with shades of Dickens, from the Victorian setting to the orphans and the work houses, but it doesn't really seem to have the essence of the Christmas Spirit.

The performances overall are OK, David Morrisey is good as the next doctor but David Tennant is a little too subdued in my opinion.

The baddies for this episode just aren't inspired, we have seen plenty of Cyberrmen by now and the new Cyber creatures really do look just like guys in suits (harkening back to the classic series). Perhaps the biggest flaw lies in the lead antagonist Miss Hartigan. Her motivations while possibly working well to define the character do very little for the story.

As with most of the specials that would make up the following season I really felt the lack of a companion affected the formula and chemistry of the show, there were some strong guest stars who sometimes filled the companion role to a lesser or greater degree but it wasn't enough.

The "Next Doctor" seems to have all of the necessary ingredients to create a compelling episode but they just don't add up to what they could have.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Tennant/Morrisey flashback

Author: dramachat from Canada
11 September 2013

If you were a fan of Tennant before Doctor Who and one of Morrisey before The Walking Dead, then this episode is a dream. As an adversarial pair in Black Pool, these two actors chewed up the scenery and gave an audience something spectacular. In this episode they truly work off that chemistry as eventual allies, and the performance is one based on familiarity and trust. That permeates the episode. RTD gives enough cheek (Rosetta), sentiment (the son) and emotional foreshadowing (the next Doctor) to create a fully satisfying episode. To look back and see The Governor in such a sympathetic role speaks volumes to his talent.As to Tennant - well, if you're a fan, you know his work here, there, and recently on Broad Church speaks for itself. Wonderful episode.

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6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

doctor who presents "hard times"

Author: invisibleskidmark from United Kingdom
9 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

this is a good episode and i enjoyed it but the dialogue was poor yet again by Russel t Davis and the direction was sloppy at times. this is essentially hard times but with a few twists; instead of a business man it's a cyberking and the setting is Victorian Britain, there's a labour force a lot like hard times and the new doctor is being hunted down by cybermen, a lot like gradgrind Jr. being hunted down by the business man. the performances are exceptional, considering the rushed and badly plotted script. David tenant plays his part to a tee and despite the previous comment it was consistent with his other performances and not over the top. morissey stood out and plays turmoil really well and his character resembles the turmoil of Louisa from hard times.

if you like doctor who then this is a good story but if you don't and are just passionate about the art of film then avoid at all costs as this wasn't the serial's best. also in my opinion the best scripts of the series are written by Steven moffat even though some of his plots are flawed.

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8 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2008 ****1/2 out of *****

Author: Welshfilmfan from Cardiff, Wales
25 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This Doctor Who episode was featured as the main programme of the evening on Christmas Day 2008, I have to admit I'm not really a Dr Who Fanatic as I've only dipped in and out of the Current Series although I have found David Tennant The Best 'Doctor' of all time a huge improvement on Christopher Eccleston who made the character Too cocky and unlikeable.

The Story starts as The Doctor (David Tennant) arrives in London during the Christmas of 1851.... He soon becomes puzzled as there seems to be another 'Doctor' (David Morrissey) along with his companion Rosita (Velile Tshabalala)

Soon enough The Cybermen are on their tail along with a mysterious lady, Mercy Harttigan (Dervla Kirwan) and both men have to work together to defeat Evil and save the World.

Pretty Good Christmas Fare - One of the better episodes

****1/2 out of *****

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