I’m in an abusive relationship. For the last two years on Christmas day after the food, wine and good times I’ve been beaten in the most humiliating way possible and I can’t bring myself to stop going back, again and again.
Okay so I’m being a little overly dramatic… it is just Doctor Who after all. But still, as a life long fan of Doctor Who, I can remember that things used to be so much better. It all started after the fantastic, if not somewhat disappointing, end to Matt Smiths first season. As the credits ended on The Big Bang, a message appeared on screen: ‘The Doctor will be back in A Christmas Carol’. It all seemed so good on paper, a Doctor Who retelling of the classic Charles Dickens’ Christmas tale. Sir Michael Gambon would play Scrooge, The Doctor would be all three of the Ghosts and Katherine Jenkins would play Abigail, a character who doesn’t exist in the original.
However, somewhere between the ‘Idea’ of the episode, flying fish and a spaceship that seemed to be taking an awfully long time to crash, it all just fell flat. I began lying to myself. ‘It wasn’t that bad’ I’d say, the problem was that the year before the Christmas special was so good it would be hard to top. After all who could think that having everyone on Earth turn into the Master would be topped only seconds later when it turned out that the Time Lords were returning? And so I continued with this lie inside me, insisting everything was okay. I was in denial and I didn’t want to talk about it.
Then came last year’s Christmas episode, The Doctor the Widow and the Wardrobe. Another adaptation of a classic Christmas offering, I’m sure you can guess which one. Last Christmas I spent the evening at my best friend Davina’s with a few bottles of wine, champagne and lots of chocolate. Before the episode began I warned her that talking would not be tolerated during Doctor Who. However, half an hour in I was breaking my own rule, the TV had been turned down and we were chatting away. The denial had again set in, it wasn’t bad, I was just being mean making my friend watch something she wasn’t interested in on Christmas day.
But in the cold harsh light of Boxing Day, sat at home watching it on Sky Plus the words came shouting out of my mouth, ‘This is Shit!’. I immediately wanted to take it back, but it was too late, I’d said it now, it was out there and I had to accept it. I still sat through the whole thing but it was the only time I did until I wrote this. I had to re-watch it, it’s like going back to the scene of the crime, but I told myself if you could sit through six episodes of The War Games to get to the four that are good you can do this.
It was then that I realized that Doctor Who at Christmas was no longer about the excitement of escaping the Titanic with Kylie or running around London in a wedding dress with Cathrine Tate. It was about absorbing a forest with Claire Skinner. Sorry Claire, you were actually marvellous it’s just that the episode wasn’t.
So having accepted that, I watched the trailer for this year’s Christmas special with my boyfriend who is almost as geeky about Doctor Who as me. It looked good, Madame Vastra, Jenny and Commander Strax are all back along with Jenna Louise Coleman’s new companion. While facing off against a rather evil looking Richard E Grant (The original Ninth Doctor) and some fierce Snowmen. I’m allowing myself to be excited again, but I’m being very reserved and not allowing the excitement to show because I don’t want to be upset again, just in case it does turn out to be another disappointment.