It may not be part of the official canon, but British television viewers got a little extra Doctor Who last night at the series offered a “mini episode” for the charity telethon “Children in Need.” But you’re probably wondering what we thought of it, aren’t you?
What, No Story?
Unlike the previous Who episodes for Children In Need, this year’s installment is a little meta… and more than a little disappointing. No story? Just a plug for an auction of the Doctor’s clothes? Whatever happened to the playfulness of the “Space”/”Time” minisodes of last year, or 2007’s “Time Crash” (Both, interestingly enough, written by Steven Moffat; clearly, he likes supporting CiN)? Well, that’s arguably still here, just in a very different format…
The Doctor Is As Real As You Want Him To Be
Something I genuinely loved about this minisode was its conviction to the show’s internal reality; it’s not Matt Smith auctioning off a costume, it’s the Doctor auctioning off his clothes (which are replaced, wonderfully, by a hologram of more clothes, which is a great idea as well as a set-up for the closing gag), some of which have a surprisingly elaborate backstory… or just exist to raise weird canonical questions for the completely anal (Three boots? You just know that that’s going to end up in some slash-fic somewhere down the line, don’t you?). Who has always been a kids’ show, and the fact that this meta mini-episode allows young kids to continue to believe that the Doctor is, in fact, real is something to be applauded.
Just How In Canon Is This Episode…?
This is, theoretically, an entirely throwaway mini-episode that’ll never be mentioned again (It’s not appearing on the Season 6 DVDs, I don’t think), but I wonder if it’ll be used as an excuse to change the look of the character when he appears again in season seven? The second half of S6 saw a slight change to his look with the addition of the trenchcoat, and considering he’ll be, theoretically, undercover for part of S7, maybe a whole new wardrobe would fit right in – meaning that this episode could become a canonical explanation for those fans who need every single change to recorded and explained… Stranger things have happened…
Everyone Wants To See The Doctor Naked
You have to love the fact that there’s an implication that everyone at home is pressing the red button to strip the Doctor, don’t you? I can’t work out if that’s some implicit admission of Matt Smith’s sex symbol status despite the opening implying that the Doctor is deeply uncool, or just a suggestion that everyone would like to zap off someone else’s clothes if they had the chance. Or, of course, both.
And, Oh Yeah, That Trailer…
I’ll admit, I am very very excited about the upcoming Christmas Special, but the trailer did make me think two things in particular. Firstly, WWII again? I wonder if this era is a particular favorite of Moffat’s, or if I’m just hyper-sensitive to it being used for some reason (When the trailer started, I had a “Not this time again” reaction, but it’s only really been used for Let’s Kill Hitler and Victory of the Daleks…). Secondly, this is quite clearly ripping off The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Down to the title!)… Considering last year’s special taking “inspiration” from A Christmas Carol, I wonder if all of Moffat’s Christmas specials will be lifting concepts from classic children’s literature…?