Twice Upon A Time:
The 2017 Christmas Special that also marked the swansong for Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor.
As shown at the end of the 2017 season finale The Doctor Falls, the Twelfth Doctor has an adventure here with the First Doctor with David Bradley in place of the late William Hartnell and Bradley had previously played Hartnell including him portraying the First Doctor in An Adventure In Space and Time.
It seems that for the benefit of viewers who are not well versed into classic Who the caption stated 709 episodes ago when showing footage of the Hartnell swansong The Tenth Planet that begins Twice Upon A Time.
Akin to The Five Doctors starting off with a clip of Hartnell from Dalek Invasion of Earth before seeing the First Doctor in the form of Richard Hurndall, The Tenth Planet footage of Hartnell as the First Doctor in Twice Upon A Time had him morphed into new filmed scenes of Bradley as the same Doctor.
The First Doctor companions in The Tenth Planet were Ben and Polly and for the new scenes Ben is played by Jared Garfield in place of the late Michael Craze and Polly by Lily Travers in place of the still alive Anneke Wills.
I however was surprised just how brief the appearances were of the new actors playing Ben and Polly.
After Bradley part in the episode is over we revert back to The Tenth Planet with Hartnell regenerating into Patrick Troughton.
The title sequence presented the names of Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie (both as usual), David Bradley (perhaps not surprising) and Mark Gatiss (definitely surprising).
Gatiss is credited for playing The Captain and his real identity I will get into later on.
Gatiss is both a writer and actor on Doctor Who and he is not the only Doctor Who writer to appear here as it also featured Toby Whithouse as he appears in Doctor Who for the first time in his acting capacity.
As expected Pearl Mackie is back as Bill but it turns out to be a duplicate made by the Testimony or as this Bill has said she is a memory.
Quite amusing when the First Doctor walked into the Twelfth Doctor’s TARDIS.
When we later saw the inside of the First Doctor’s TARDIS, this Doctor revealed that brandy is hidden in one of the roundels. This definitely not something that would able to be shown when Hartnell was the First Doctor during the 1960s due to a different attitude about the presentation of alcohol and what shows it can be shown or not shown.
The word snap was said when the First Doctor realises that he and Twelfth Doctor are one and the same person. Snap was also said by the Second Doctor in The Two Doctors upon knowing that he and the Sixth Doctor are one and the same person.
Amusing on the First Doctor discovering the sonic screwdriver from the Twelfth Doctor. It seems to confirm if such a confirmation was needed that it was always the Second Doctor who invented the sonic screwdriver when it made its debut in the Second Doctor story Fury From The Deep.
Can only imagine the image of Hartnell using the sonic screwdriver.
Fan moment on seeing images of the other Doctor courtesy of the Testimony.
The Twelfth Doctor called the First, among many things, Mr Pastry.
Mr Pastry was a children’s show character played by Richard Hearne and Hearne had been considered for the Fourth Doctor. Hearne had wanted to be to play the Fourth Doctor like Mr Pastry an idea that did not fit in well with then producer Barry Letts and the Fourth Doctor ultimately went to Tom Baker.
When the First Doctor was wearing the sonic sunglasses he asked what is history browser. Imagine if Hartnell had gotten to say those two words.
When the Captain got attacked by that creature the Twelfth told him to take deep breaths. No doubt to bookend the Capaldi era as it began with Deep Breath.
A certain language used by Bill when talking to the Twelfth Doctor did fit in well with the First Doctor leading him to warn her of giving her a smack bottom if she continues to use that language. A great emulation here from Bradley of what Hartnell was like as the First Doctor.
Surprise seeing Rusty from Into The Dalek turning up here. Never occur to me the possibility of him returning.
The Captain reveals his name as Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart. It wasn’t stated as such in the episode itself but is confirmed elsewhere that he the Brigadier’s paternal grandfather.
No doubt Gatiss feels so honoured to play this character.
As well as Bill the memory also appearing to the Twelfth Doctor are as memories Clara and Nardole as they say goodbye to this Doctor.
It seems that Jenna Coleman barely had time to make a brief reprisal as Clara due to her commitments on her title role as Victoria.
In fact she is in two Christmas Specials shown in Christmas 2017, Twice Upon A Time and the first Victoria Christmas Special Comfort and Joy.
Jenna Coleman as Clara seeing off the Twelfth Doctor continues the trend of a numbered NuWho Doctor being seen off by his first companion following Billie Piper as Rose for the Ninth Doctor in The Parting of the Ways (although this was because she was still the incumbent companion), Rose again for the Tenth Doctor in The End of Time and my wife Karen Gillan as Amy Pond for the Eleventh Doctor in The Time of the Doctor.
Very good regeneration in which Peter Capaldi turned into Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker.
In his last moments the Heaven Sent music was played even though Heaven Sent & Twice Upon A Time are not narratively connected notwithstanding the Doctor saying he hadn’t seen Rusty for a million years.
It is rather akin to the Eleventh Doctor swansong The Time of the Doctor playing the Long Song from earlier Eleventh Doctor episode Rings of Akhaten although these two episodes weren’t narratively connected.
The Time of the Doctor had a cameo by my wife Karen Gillan as Amy and Heaven Sent would later aired on my wife Karen’s birthday on November 28 2015.
Although she will not have it for long Jodie Whittaker sure does look handsome in her predecessor’s outfit.
Very good her first line of “Oh brilliant.”
In fact the BBC did not waste time in posting the regeneration on Youtube:
Brilliant indeed especially with the first clear sight of her face.
Thrilling cliffhanger as the new Doctor got thrown out of the TARDIS in midair. Be a shame if this was the end of this Doctor just as she got started.
In fact the Thirteenth Doctor made her debut in this the thirteenth Christmas Special. Very good symmetry.