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Glass Avatars from the future don’t care about Data Privacy Agreements while the first and then-latest Doctor do Timelord Kegels to keep their respective regeneration at bay

Still doing his Timelord Kegels, The Twelfth Doctor is adamant he’ll hold back his regeneration mid-stream for at least one more episode. In fact, he’s contemplating never regenerating again. Stumbling out onto the Antarctic snow while no one’s watching, just for drama, he encounters not-William-Hartnell, aka the other curmudgeonly grey-haired Doctor we know and love, himself also picturing Rassilon on a rainy day.

And Mark Gatiss as well, of course, because this is the end of the Doctor Who era in which you couldn’t swing a cat out of its timeline a split-second before it dies without hitting Mark Gatiss. It appears someone has frozen time and caused some sort of IT error that has placed all of it in jeopardy. Bill also happens to be there, trying to prove to Twelve she’s the real deal, as transparently as possible.

Glass avatars from the distant future, you see, freeze time whenever literally any person anywhere is about to die, and in blatant disregard of GDPR regulations grab a copy of them to store in some sort of columbarium. And that’s actually a decent blurb to encapsulate this, the very last episode featuring Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. So… BSCOW and Twelfth Doctor over.

WHOA! This is the second time we’re reviewing this episode on Who Back When. Yep, totes, yup, that’s right, if you haven’t already, do have a listen to the instant(ish) reaction review that Leon recorded with Flapjack shortly after this episode aired as well, for a fully rounded experience: B041 Twice Upon A Time – The 2017 Christmas Special

Here's what we think of N144 Twice Upon A Time — The 2017 Christmas Special (re-review)

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken


Drew | @drewbackwhen


Marie | @hammashandjelly


Here's what we think of N144 Twice Upon A Time — The 2017 Christmas Special (re-review)

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken


Drew | @drewbackwhen


Marie | @hammashandjelly


Here's what you think 7 Responses to “N144 Twice Upon A Time — The 2017 Christmas Special (re-review)”
  1. Tracey from America | @yecartniatnouf

    Just a quick reminder which I suspect you’ll need at the start of this episode but probably won’t actually see until the end-
    Much like River and the Doctor, the Captain and the Brandy are meeting out of order. You’re very welcome it’s no trouble at all.

  2. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club


    • The politically incorrect First Doctor and Bill’s reactions.
    • Gatiss and the Christmas Truce stuff was kind of nice.
    • Some incredible writing with Twelve’s final speech.


    • It’s a wee bit unmemorable for a multi-Doctor regeneration story. And where’s my invading Racnoss or Cyber King to hurl Quality Street wrappers at? Rusty’s cameo doesn’t count – and why does it eject it’s gun. It makes no sense. That’s going to be a pain to fix.
    • After the last episode of being a Cyberman punchbag, why is the Doctor not crawling around with massive internal bleeding. None of the original Doctors could ‘refuse to regenerate’ and fart around for a final adventure. Though that would have made the 1996 TV Movie way better.
    • Every reference to the Brigadier just rubs salt into the wound that Nicolas Courtney wasn’t brought back for even a cameo before he died. Grr.
    • Did we really need the Clara cameo? (Really Marie, really?).

    Summary: Meh.

    Rating: 2.6/5 glass death-obsessed alien librarian things photocopying people, or something. And was that not actually Bill? Is Bill dead? I thought she was an alien ghost puddle person.

  3. Daniel McGinley

    The final story of Capaldi and of New Who before it…changed [sad face] and it’s a multi-doctor one [happy face]! The interplay between one and twelve was delightful. I recalled the episode ripping Hartnell to shreds but it handled the inappropriate social mores reasonably respectfully.

    Some thoughts:

    Testimony can teleport anywhere in space and time but need a mechanical winch to pick up the Tardis?

    Totally thought it would be Susan in the chamber. But of course Moffat can’t let a companion go….

    How will Rusty reattach his gun/arm?

    Surely the Matrix is more powerful than the Dalek hive mind.

    The doctors acknowledge that the whole thing happened as they mucked up the timeline but it’s ok to drop Gatiss off at a slightly different point in time?

    Awesome recreation of the Tenth Planet, previously only seen in tele-snaps.

    The World war ONE spoiler was poignant.

    Can we stop the irritating Christmas musical cues please?

    The previous Doctors montage was total fan w**k indulgence but loved it!

    The nerd in me wanted to see Latimer saving Hutchinson on the battlefield [Family of Blood].

    Great Lines: ‘You may be A doctor, but I am THE Doctor”, ‘I Assumed I’d get younger!, ‘A Jolly good smacked bottom’

    Capaldi squeezes in two final brilliant monologues. The battlefield one had me in tears and I loved the regeneration speech (obviously been prepared for some time as part was used in Hell Bent).

    Was teased but could have done with at least one Hartnell HMMM.

    When trying to review the actual story I realised there wasn’t one. But it looked great and the chemistry and dialogue were excellent. I don’t let you go: 4.2/5

  4. Kieren Evans | @kjevans2

    Hi folks

    Hmm, so this one…Plot is sort of dull for me. And so much fan service…nah not for me. Gatiss as the Brig’s grandad…eye roll. Also is this Moffat recycling series 6? The Teselecta is a very similar idea. I’m surprised River didn’t pop up at the end.

    David Bradley was really good casting in An Adventure in Space and Time as William Hartnell. But one of my issues with this one is that he’s playing it (to me at least) as him being Hartnell being the Doctor. Now that’s not quite the same and comes across a bit weird. The classic gang will have or will be soon covering another First Doctor recreation and sort of prefer it in that one. That one doesn’t do a Hartnell impression as such and I just get it more.

    Also, nah. I strongly dislike the characterisation. To me, Moffat took every off-comment from Hartnell’s run (134 episodes, 29 serials) and distilled them down to 1 hour. It doesn’t feel right at all. He wasn’t that dismissive in his run.

    I just feel that the Doctor regenerating in the snow or the Tardis at the end of the previous one is what I’d prefer. For me just feels pointless but not terrible 2.5/5


  5. Jethro Roose | @jethro_roose


    Finally plucked up the courage to submit a review.

    It goes thusly;

    Twice upon a time is bollocks, but it is GLORIOUS bollocks.

    Capaldi’s valedictory speech is possibly the greatest soliloquy in all of Doctor Who for ever and ever amen.

    Delighted to have discovered you guys and thanks for the awesomeness and keeping me sane and entertained during the last couple of ‘interesting’ years.

    Rating 4.6

    Ad multos annos!



    Ps, hope to visit ‘the other place’ at some point this year

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