Poor old Tenth Doctor does go through an awful lot of feelings: all by his lonesome after memory wiping his best pal and saying bye to his lady love as she disappears into a different universe with a dude who looks just like him.
Thank goodness he makes a new friend in ‘The Next Doctor’, and what a nice friend it is: it’s the Doctor, with David Morrissey’s face!
It’s kind of like ‘The Two Doctors’, except there’s significantly less cannibalism and that it isn’t actually at all: it becomes quite clear quite quickly that there’s something decidedly off about this new Doctor. His memories seem to be a bit patchy in places and while his sonic screwdriver technically makes a sound when you bang it on something, it’s kinda just a screwdriver. At least it probably does work on wood though.
I do wonder if the episode suffers ever so slightly from the benefit of hindsight spoiling the twist: we know now that the Doctor doesn’t regenerate into David Morrissey, which rather does away with a portion of the surprise. That being said, I rather wish we’d spent a bit more time with this Doctor as a Doctor in himself. His unconventional TARDIS (and what he’d reasoned the acronym stood for makes about as much sense as the original) is a fanciful hot air balloon. How awesome is that?
2008’s special is also significant inasmuch as it’s the front bookend of a series of specials leading to Ten’s regeneration, and ‘The Next Doctor’ gives us the beginnings of his increasing anxiety over his impending death, which would come to pass the following Christmas. But in the meantime, it’s the closest we have to a multi-Doctor dynamic until the 50th anniversary five years later and Russell T Davies has a lot of fun with the concept.
Oh, and there’s the wonderful Dervla Kirwan as a very naughty lady with a team of very naughty Cybermen, but the funny thing is that even though I literally just watched the episode, I have once again forgotten absolutely everything else about it. Apart from the Cyber King, which I am once again actively trying to forget. Where’s a crack in time and space when you need one, eh?
There’s also a creature that kind of looks like it has a Cyberman and a Wookiee for parents. And the almost-but-not-quite-the-Doctor’s companion, Rosita (most coincidental name ever).
What’s your favourite moment in ‘The Next Doctor’? Let us know below…