Doctor Who – Twice Upon a time

Doctor Who – Twice Upon a time
28 Dec 17

I waited a few days before posting this so that you all had a chance to see the Doctor Who Christmas special, plus there are so many reveals online you can’t miss it at this point. So please consider this review full of spoilers.


I have always had a modicum of anticipation and anxiety when it comes to the Doctor’s regenerations, all the way back to Tom Baker in the 80’s. I’ve never really properly gotten over a regeneration to this day. One because you spend so much time with a Doctor and invest so much in them, so to lose them is a loss but there is always the excitement of what their replacement will bring.

This was ever more the keener this year as we were all aware that with the parting of the amazing Peter Capaldi times really were changing with the introduction of Jodie Whittaker, the 13th and first ever female Doctor. Now we shouldn’t really be surprised by this, although it seemed that many were shocked at the decision I think it’s a bold and amazing move. And anyway, Time Lord’s aren’t generally gender specific. Steven Moffat had already introduced us to this with the Master’s regeneration into Missy and the merciful regeneration that occurred in the episode Hell Bent. Time Lord’s can be men or women. Get over it. Okay the Doctor has been a white man for the last fifty odd years but change is good and funny as this sketch proves.

The episode itself was genius. Twice Upon a Time saw the 12th Doctor in the South Pole refusing to regenerate and in turn comes across the original (you might say) version of himself who was trying to do the same. Obviously Capaldi’s portrayal of the Doctor has been second to none and it was great to see an older Doctor again after his previous younger incarnations. But David Bradley as the 1st Doctor was a triumph. There is also the fact that Doctor Who has never shied away from the fact that it is just a TV show as we witness the 1st Doctor. The first scene indicating that it was 709 episodes ago and the morph from William Hartnell to Bradley is awesome.

So the problem. The 12th is just done. He doesn’t want to change any more. The 1st is done to. He is afraid and wonders if there is any point of living another life in another incarnation. As the two Doctors meet they are interrupted by The Captain who has also just landed in the South Pole moments after being face to face with a German enemy in a trench in World War One via a detour of Testimony, what looks to be an alien race that plucks the soon to be dead, extracts their memories so that they might live on. But the meeting of the Doctor’s 1st and current version of himself disrupts the timeline and things go very wrong from there.

Suspecting alien medling the two Doctor’s take the Captain under their wing and face the enemy head on whose only intention is to return the war hero back to the point in which he was destined to die. In turn they offer a trade. The Captain in exchange for the Doctor’s last and dearest friend, Bill Potts. But as you will remember Bill was last seen after being turned into a Cyberman and then being rescued by Heather ‘The Pilot‘ from the first episode of series 10. The 12th Doctor not knowing this is obviously suspicious that his friend who he believed to be dead is standing in front of him.

The two Doctor’s work together in light of their differences, mainly those of a politically correct nature. Some of Bradley’s lines and Capaldi’s reactions are gold. As they try and work out What Testimony is they visit the biggest database in the universe which turns out to be Rusty, the Dalek almost turned good in the episode ‘Into the Dalek‘ who has spent billions of years trying to destroy his fellow race.

On discovering what Testimony is up to and that Bill is actually just a glass avatar of their order the 12th realises that it is not an evil plan after all and that he actually doesn’t know what to do about that. What he does know is that for time to be rebooted, the Captain needs to be returned to the WWI trenches to meet his unenviable fate. But on thinking about it the Doctor has a better plan. He alters the timeline slightly by a mater of hours to the time of the Christmas Truce, a ceasefire between British and German forces giving them just enough time to save the Captain and his potential victim but also learning that he is a descendant of the Lethbridge-Stewart family who the Doctor watches over in his future incarnations.

Once all has been made right the 1st Doctor knows what he must do and wonders what the 12th will do too. Only to find out that he will find out the long way round.

Bill and a surprise appearance from Nardole is only topped with a gift from Testimony where the 12th Doctors memories of Clara Oswald are restored after losing them in a final effort to save her after she died in ‘Face the Raven‘.

So, time for 12 to go. A heartfelt and emotional speech is given to the outgoing Doctor but in the end he lets it go and regenerates into the 13th incarnation of the Time Lord.

We now have Jodie Whittaker who after a single uttering of ‘Awww brilliant’ sends the TARDIS to destruction and she is thrown into the the scenery below. Having watched this scene many times and if you go back and look at it again, doesn’t it seem that the TARDIS is purposely trying to eject her?

These regens are hard and always make you think. I am sure for me and many others a female Doctor holds amazing possibilities and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

Never tell anyone your name.


Paul Wright


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