In looking over the vast expanse which forms the landscape of the Tour, and minding the end of year crush to come, the Tour honchos noticed two Christmas specials which have yet to receive the nu-Who nouveau Modern Re-Capitulation treatment, and these will form the last two such stories going out to the end of 2016.
The first of these happens to be out least favorite special each time we’ve ranked the Christmas spectaculars. Of course YMMV but after a spectacular debut story in The Christmas Invasion and a more comedic escapade in The Runaway Bride, you can almost feel the straining sense in RTD to always go bigger so why not try a Doctor Who take on a disaster film in the mode of ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ or ‘The Towering Inferno’ with Voyage of the Damned.
Our ‘objections’ to Voyage of the Damned are more about tone than execution. This was the first of the specials to be only peripherally about Christmas. Fair enough, and it’s a struggle that Steven Moffat has wrestled with too. The Christmassy iconography is there, but once the disaster begins that’s all but gone. The tropiness of the disaster film format is hued to well enough and moves along, but the denouement of the villain and the motivations for everything wrought is a bit of a shrug.
The best part of Voyage of the Damned remains Kylie Minogue as Astrid Peth. She was the first of the specials guest stars whose character was all-in for the adventure and would have made an interesting companion. That she inevitably couldn’t only added to the Tennant Doctors pathos and would be repeated later on.
One more story remains for the bods down in Modern Re-Capitulation. No guesses as to what it might be.