Merry Christmas! Doctor Who is finally back on our screens after a year-long hiatus. Steven Moffat’s superhero adventure wraps up witty festive fun in a story that has a lot of brains… literally!
Last year, Illumination Entertainment announced that a brand new, CG adaptation of Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas was in the works for the end of 2017. Anyone who knows me will know that The Grinch is something I absolutely love, which is why this announcement left me both excited and anxious – I’m always happy to see the character and the story getting some more love, but could a new film really live up to my memories of the Jim Carrey and Boris Karloff originals? A lot of it, of course, would come down to who would be playing the title role…
Well, guess what, it’s now official: Benedict Cumberbatch is The Grinch. Suffering snorkel blatz!
This article was originally published in the 2011-2012 academic year.
Now, a couple of issues back I stated that one of these days I ought to write an article about how irritating I find the Call of Duty videogame franchise, and with the recent release of Modern Warfare 3, I think it’s about time for me to fulfil that promise. However, before I get bombarded by angry letters telling me how wrong I am and that Call of Duty is the most awesome thing to have graced the planet since cheese and ham toasties, I should make myself clear. When I say I find the franchise irritating, I am being controversial for the sake of being controversial. My issue does not lie with the games themselves (indeed, on the occasions I have played them, they’ve been reasonably fun) – instead it’s something that extends to pretty much everything at this time of year.
Yes, it may not be December yet, but it’s time to unwrap the Christmas articles. But this isn’t going to be your traditional article about the commercialisation of Christmas (which, ironically, is anything but traditional) – rather, this is an observation of how predictable and downright boring the cavalcade of gift ideas always is. To refer back to Call of Duty, it’s a given that every single November there’ll be a new game in the series and that it’ll sell by the bucket load and that it’ll be voted Game of the Year by an endless wave of opinion polls. This annual release tactic also applies to more or less every sports game franchise in existence – again, I’m not doubting their quality, and in these cases it’s actually a tad understandable to have numerous updated instalments so as to keep up with the most current teams – but it cannot be denied that, at the end of the day, it’s a big money spinner meant to make you splash out more of your hard-earned cash year upon year. Heck, some people were so desperate to play Modern Warfare 3 that they paid $1725 for it on Ebay just to get it a measly couple of days early.
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t that excited about this year’s Christmas special. You’d think after arguably the best series of Doctor Who in the last ten years I’d be absolutely itching for another dose of time-travelling goodness, but it seemed everything about it was conspiring against me. Not only does it see the return of River Song – a character who was great at first but has long since had her time – but it also has one of the most ridiculous titles I’ve ever seen for a Doctor Who episode. I mean, I get it, but it’s not awfully festive, is it? But then again, neither was Voyage of the Damned, I suppose. Regardless, there’s undeniably something intriguing about the idea of Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston squaring off on screen, and if Russell T Davies is a firm believer in this “sex storm” of a pairing, well, who am I to judge?
So, now that The Husbands of River Song has aired, did it make for a welcome festive treat? Or does it follow in the footsteps of Christmas turkeys from years gone by like The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe?
The last decade has given us not only countless episodes of new Doctor Who, but also ten (soon to be eleven) Christmas specials. Nowadays it just wouldn’t seem right to have a Christmas Day go by without a seasonal story of Doctor Who on BBC One, providing the perfect visual dessert after a belly full of roast turkey and all the trimmings. There’s been a real mixture of wintry tales over the years too – from Doctor debuts to emotional regenerations and everything in between, the Doctor Who Christmas specials have had it all. So, before we meet The Husbands of River Song and say goodbye to 2015, let’s look back at the episodes of Christmas past that have made for the happiest holidays of all…