Doctor Who (2005– )
8.2/10
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The Twelfth Doctor, still refusing to change, goes on a last adventure with the First Doctor.

Director:

Rachel Talalay

Writers:

Steven Moffat, Kit Pedler (written by: "The Tenth Planet") | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Capaldi ... The Doctor
David Bradley ... The Doctor
Pearl Mackie ... Bill
Mark Gatiss ... The Captain
Jenna Coleman ... Clara
Matt Lucas ... Nardole
Nikki Amuka-Bird ... Helen Clay
Toby Whithouse ... German Soldier
Lily Travers ... Polly
Jared Garfield ... Ben
Nicholas Briggs ... Daleks (voice)
William Hartnell ... The Doctor (archive footage)
Anneke Wills ... Polly (archive footage)
Michael Craze ... Ben (archive footage)
Jodie Whittaker ... The Doctor
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Storyline

The magical final chapter of the Twelfth Doctor's (Peter Capaldi) journey sees the Time Lord team up with his former self, the first ever Doctor (David Bradley)'and a returning Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), for one last adventure. The two Doctors find each other in an Arctic snowscape, refusing to face regeneration. Enchanted glass-like entities, who steal their victims from frozen time, and a World War I captain destined to die on the battlefield, but taken from the trenches to play his part in the Doctor's story. A tale about the power of hope in humanity's darkest hours, Twice Upon A Time marks the end of an era. But as the Doctor must face his past to decide his future, his journey is only just beginning.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

25 December 2017 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Studios Wales See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As was done when Russell T. Davies handed off the series to Steven Moffat, the incoming show runner, Chris Chibnall, wrote all the dialogue for the incoming Doctor, Jodie Whittaker. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the episode, when the archive footage from "The Tenth Planet" (1966) is playing, it says "709 episodes previously" when in fact there are almost a hundred lost episodes from the classic series, but the episodes that are lost did actually air on television. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Thirteenth Doctor: Oh, brilliant!
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Connections

References Dad's Army (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fitting bridge between Steven Moffat and Chris Chibnall's respective era's.
26 December 2017 | by The-Last-PrydonianSee all my reviews

Continuing where The Doctor Falls left off, the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) arrives at the South Pole where he comes face to face with his crotchety first incarnation, (David Bradley) who like himself is close to the brink of regenerating. Together they encounter glass-like entities, who have been snatching people from various time zones. One such victim is an unnamed world War One captain (Mark Gatiss) who fate will have it, was spirited away before he was too be killed in the line of duty. Together the two Time Lord personae's attempt to return the soldier to his own timeline, while attempting to uncover the entities plot which reveals a couple of unexpected twists.

Marking something of a watershed moment in the history of the series both classic and new, Twice Upon a Time not only marks the second time that another actor has portrayed William Hartnell's antiquated, irascible first Doctor, (Richard Hurdnall took on the mantle in the 20th Anniversary Special; The Five Doctors in 1983) but that a woman has inherited the role. While the story proves to be the second best of Capaldi's Christmas specials, with it being pipped to the post by 2014's Last Christmas, it still proves to be an emotional and engaging send off for Capaldi if a somewhat flawed one.

To get down to it's merits, Bradley is of-course the ideal choice to play the original Doctor (he had played William Hartnell in the television bio-pic; An Adventure in Time and Space in 2013) who William Hartnell I suppose effectively brought to life. I say suppose as I can't say I was ever a fan of his pro-type so to speak. I just never warmed to the character greatly who's successor, the late great Patrick Troughton sublimely perfected as a total differentation. Never the less, Bradley delivers a wonderful rendering of the role, choosing wisely not to attempt to impersonate Hartnell but channel the essence of the character. Peter Capaldi is quite simply awe inspiring, giving one of the best performance in the role if not the best, and one that he certainly owes to the series not least of all himself. Like previous regeneration episodes, (even the dreadful The End O Time Part's One and Two) it is is as reflective and emotional as is it should be.

Pearl Mackie makes a return as former companion, Bill Potts who had just recently made her departure from the TARDIS at the end of Series 10. It's not the first time companions have briefly reprised their roles, and it has proven to have become something of a trend which has been guilty of being contrived in the past. It's pulled off quite effectively here as it's woven in to the plot. Mackie defies the naysayers who predicted she would be irritating and obnoxious as she comes in to her own, and proves them wrong. Her quiet little moments with the Twelfth Doctor, who remains irresolute as she attempts to convince him that she is the genuine article, is wonderfully realized through their nuanced performances.

Mark Gatiss makes a welcome guest cast member, although of-course not for the first time (he played Prof. Charles Lazarus in 2007's; The Lazarus Experiment) as the rather a-typical World War One Captain who has the very British reserve, and stiff upper lip challenged by the extraordinary predicament he finds himself in.

The story itself while efficient enough is somewhat unremarkable given that it's not the most innovative of concepts, as it planely borrows from the movie ,Avatar. It's something of a potential pitfall with multi-doctor stories that requires them being brought together by a means that could come over as forced. It does however act as a neat conceit for Capaldi's Doctor to reflect over his era as it reaches it's end. The main theme of the story is that of closure, and looking back on the past as a means to confront a future of uncertainty. It's hammered home in a myriad of ways that offer not only nostalgia which works considerably more well than David Tennant's swansong, which suffered from Russell T. Davies self-indulgence.

With Rachel Talalay directing again she seamlessly uses BBC archive footage from the The Tenth Planet, which was William Hartnell's final story, and competently melds in in to the Christmas Special with it's vintage black and white monochrome fading in to colour beautifully. She also brilliantly brings the South Pole to life, and alien antagonists, The Testimony are given an eerily ethereal quality that compliments the more haunting tone of the episode. And with it's plot dealing with the Doctor's refusal to regenerate and to preserve the man that he currently he is, they offer a possible respite to his struggle before he reaches his catharsis. It elevates towards it's pinnacle with Capaldi's passionate final speech, which after the dust settles and we are faced with the rather stunning features of Jodie Whittaker before the credits finally role, we are left to muse what the future has in store with Chris Chibnall taking over the reigns from Steven Moffat. If anything, Twice Upon a Time makes for a successful bridge between both men's respective eras ,and while not exactly perfect it's one that won't necessarily be forgotten too soon.


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