Now it has to be said, that the involvement of Doctor Who with Children in Need, the BBC‘s annual fund raising telethon has been a bit mixed. Whilst the Twentieth Anniversary special, The Five Doctors, was broadcast as part of the evening back in 1983, we also have the Doctor Who/Eastenders disaster that was Dimensions in Time… So tonight, Russell T continued the association, and provided new seven minute episode of Doctor Who. (But with only about three-and-a-half minutes of actual new stuff…)
So how was it? I’m glad to say that there is no comparison between tonights scene and Dimensions in Time – indeed there was no special Children in Need type crossover at all – this was just straight Doctor Who, complete with a recap of the last episode.
It picks up from the cliffhanger at the end of the last series. First off we have the new Doctor discovering that he is thinner before, and that he has more hair and sideburns! However Rose is not so sure, initially convinced that the Doctor has been kidnapped and substituted with an imposter. She’s not sure about the new look, even asking if he can change back. Eventually the Doctor offers to take her home, and sets the controls for a Christmas visit to Earth. However, then things start to go wrong. More of the time energy that caused the regeneration appears, and the Doctor starts exhibiting a split personality, one saying that the regeneration has gone wrong, the other taking the TARDIS faster and faster, heading towards a crash landing on Christmas Eve…
As I said, this was massively better than Dimensions in Time. Whereas that was trying to cram in as many people as possible, this was basically a compressed two handed character episode, we had a touching moment where the Doctor convinces Rose that he isn’t an imposter by reminding her of when they first met, funny moments with the Doctor checking out his new body, and when he decides to take Rose home. You also get a brief flavour of the new Doctor, before the split personality takes over. All in all a great introduction to the special Christmas episode, that goes out on Christmas Day itself.
If you missed it, or even if you didn’t, the mini-episode is available online at the Children in Need web site. Also included are a set of snippets with Tennant and Piper giving out the phone number for Children in Need, under various names, rarely their own! The website also gives you a chance to donate to the appeal online, of course the whole reason that this mini-episode was produced.