Doctor Who Christmas Special: Voyage of the Damned

Christmas usually means crackers, turkey (those few not culled due to bird flu), presents and relatives both unwanted and desired, but it has also come to mean something else- that a Doctor Who Christmas Special will be aired. In 2005, I thought little of David Tennant’s introduction to the role (despite liking him now), and in 2006 Catherine Tate’s inclusion meant that I didn’t bother to watch at all, but happily 2007 had something better to offer.

Recap
Thanks to a little accident with the shields, the Doctor has just crashed into the Titanic- not the sailing ship of days past, but a spaceship from the planet Sto, carrying visitors who wish to sample the Earth tradition of Christmas. Now a stowaway on board, the Doctor decides that there is no harm in having his usual nose around, but as so often seems to happen around him, things take a turn for the worst when the mechanical Host that work aboard the ship start to malfunction.

Alien and Planet Guide

  • Sto: an advanced civilisation seemingly comprising both people who look exactly like humans and more exotic types such as a short, spiky red alien named Bannakaffalatta. Up until recently, cyborgs have been seen as second class citizens, although unbeknownst to most, Max Capricorn, CEO of a rich but now failing company, is actually a cyborg.

Technology Guide

  • Titanic: cruise spaceship run by Max Capricorn. Powered by a nuclear storm drive.

·         The Host: mechanical angels designed to serve as helpdesks aboard the Titanic, they are later reprogrammed to kill all those aboard the ship using their haloes. They have flight capabilities but are susceptible to EMPs, and are obligated to answer three questions when security protocol one is invoked.

·         Teleport bands: allow the wearer to be teleported; their molecular patterns can also be restored if the user gets into an accident whilst a teleport protocol is being run.

Episode Thoughts
For a Christmas special, this episode wasn’t as bad as I feared- the misinterpretations of Earth culture were amusing, and it started well, but there were also parts where I could predict exactly what was going to happen, and for the most part I found the Host awkward and grating rather than scary. Overall, then, something of a hit and miss episode, but enjoyable enough.

Nitpickers’ Corner

  • To be honest, Max Capricorn didn’t seem like the smartest of millionaires- not only was his plan overly elaborate, but he couldn’t even get himself decent cybernetic enhancements for his money. And didn’t anyone wonder how he could live so long unless he was a cyborg?
  • The Host having a security protocol that anyone could use seems a bit of an oversight, although obviously necessary for the plot.
  • Why was the nuclear storm drive just open like that? Shouldn’t something that dangerous be shielded away?

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