The new series DVDs get off to a start with the release of the Christmas special, The Runaway Bride which sees David Tennant joined in the Tardis by Catherine Tate’s Donna.
Breaking with last year’s schedule the special has been granted a separate release from the third series episodes. In a canny piece of marketing this disc has been scheduled for release just days after after the new series gets underway virtually guaranteeing it’ll shift by the truckload and dominate that week’s DVD release charts.
Another departure is the inclusion of the Music and Monsters Doctor Who Confidential Special which goes behind the scenes of Doctor Who: A Celebration concert which aired on the BBC ‘red button’ service over Christmas.
Russell T Davies has created a story which moves at a pace too fast for the viewer to focus on the absence of Billie Piper’s Rose. The decision to include a one-off ‘companion’ and to introduce Martha in the third series ensures the viewer isn’t spending the whole adventure comparing the two.
By the time Smith & Jones airs in a couple of weeks sufficient time should have passed between the two to allow Freema Agyeman to avoid being subjected to pointless comparisons.
Like any story which relies in part on a big surprise or reveal the story does suffer slightly from a repeat viewing especially the revelation that Lance isn’t all he seems to be however the realisation of the Empress of Racnoss remains as impressive as ever.
The story has a few oddities – it’s not at all clear how the Torchwood owned H.C. Clements has become infiltrated by the Empress when Torchwood still exists and the decision to have the Racnoss vessel destroyed by tanks firing shells over London’s rooftops and street instead of deploying a couple of jet fighters with guided rockets makes little sense!
But as always these are little niggles which only fans spot and don’t really detract from the overall enjoyment of the story.
David Tennant’s performance feels more restrained than in series two and is all the better for it. Tennant’s mastery of the role and success in carrying the episode meant a conscious effort was required to remember it was only a year ago that his Doctor spent much of The Christmas Invasion out of commission.
Tate does a magnificent job of creating a character who has to be so disengaged and ignorant of the world that she managed to miss two alien invasions but at the same time sympathetic and likable enough not to detract from the story and Christmas setting.
Although some will no doubt have preferred the disc to contain the full concert, Music and Monsters makes for a nice inclusion and significantly increases the disc’s ‘value for money’ quota and brings the running time into line with the later Series Three discs which have the same RRP.
Doctor Who: The Runaway Bride is released on DVD on April 2nd by 2|Entertain and can be pre-ordered from BBC Shop.com