Twice Upon a Time (Doctor Who)

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276 – "Twice Upon a Time"
Doctor Who episode
Twice Upon a Time (Doctor Who).jpg
Promotional image for the episode
Cast
Others
Production
Directed by Rachel Talalay
Written by Steven Moffat
Produced by Peter Bennett
Executive producer(s) Steven Moffat
Brian Minchin
Incidental music composer Murray Gold
Length 60 minutes
Originally broadcast 25 December 2017
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
"The Doctor Falls" "The Woman Who Fell to Earth"
Doctor Who episodes (2005–present)

"Twice Upon a Time" is an episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay, and was broadcast as the thirteenth Christmas special on 25 December 2017 on BBC One. It features the final regular appearance of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, the first official appearance of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor, and guest-stars David Bradley as the First Doctor, having previously portrayed original First Doctor actor William Hartnell in the 2013 docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time. Pearl Mackie guest stars as the Twelfth Doctor's former companion Bill Potts, while his other companions make guest appearances – Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald and Matt Lucas as Nardole.

This episode is a continuation of events after "The Doctor Falls", addressing the cliffhanger that it ended on, and takes place during the final story of the First Doctor; footage from the 1966 serial The Tenth Planet, is used in the special. "Twice Upon a Time" is Capaldi's fourth and final Christmas special as the Twelfth Doctor, and the last Doctor Who story to be written and produced by Moffat, who had served as the show's executive producer and chief writer since taking over from Russell T Davies in 2010. After the special's broadcast, Moffat was succeeded as chief executive and showrunner by Chris Chibnall.

Since its broadcast, the special has received generally positive reviews from critics.

Plot[edit]

Synopsis[edit]

Wandering back to his TARDIS through the South Pole after leaving his companions behind, the First Doctor refuses to regenerate. He encounters the Twelfth Doctor outside his own TARDIS in a similar state of mind. The pair are soon approached by a confused and injured First World War British captain, displaced from December 1914 while in a gun-point stalemate with a German soldier. All three are then forcibly taken into a large spaceship. Inside, they meet with Bill Potts; the Twelfth Doctor, however, doubts she is the real Bill. Upon encountering the ship's glass-like holographic pilot, they are offered freedom in exchange for allowing the ship to return the Captain to the moment of his death. Refusing to allow the Captain to die, they escape and take the First Doctor's TARDIS to the planet Villengard.

Alone, the Twelfth Doctor meets with the rogue Dalek Rusty, who has taken refuge from other Daleks hunting it. Given access to the Dalek Hivemind, the Doctor learns that the pilot and its ship, known as Testimony, were created on New Earth, designed to extract people from their timelines at the moment of their death, and archive their memories into glass avatars. "Bill" is one such avatar, created from her memories. Seeing no evil to fight, the Doctors agree to return the Captain to his timeline. Upon arrival, the Captain asks the Doctors to keep an eye on his family, introducing himself as Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart, a surname shared by the Doctor's frequent ally and lifelong friend the Brigadier. As time resumes, the Doctors watch as soldiers on both sides begin singing "Silent Night". The Twelfth Doctor explains to the First that he deliberately shifted the Captain's timeline to the start of the Christmas truce, to ensure his life would be spared.

With the Captain saved, the First Doctor informs the Twelfth that he is prepared to regenerate and says his goodbyes before returning to his TARDIS. Now alone with Bill's avatar, the Twelfth Doctor adamantly contends she is not really Bill, but she argues that memories are what define a person. Bill's avatar restores the Doctor's memories of Clara Oswald before they are joined by Nardole's avatar. The Doctor, however, refuses to give the avatars testimony of his life. They respect his wish to be alone and leave after he embraces them both. The Doctor then returns to the TARDIS and decides to regenerate, but not before relaying advice to his next incarnation.

After the Thirteenth Doctor examines her reflection, the TARDIS suffers multiple failures. Tumbling out of the turning ship, the Doctor watches the console room explode, and the TARDIS dematerialises while she plummets towards the Earth below.

Continuity[edit]

"Twice Upon a Time" takes place towards the end of the First Doctor's final serial, The Tenth Planet (first broadcast in October 1966), some of which is shown at the start of the special. During the last episode's final moments, the Doctor leaves his companions Ben and Polly and returns to the TARDIS; they find him collapsed in the console room, where he undergoes his first regeneration. Derek Martinus, the episode's director, reportedly cut a line from the original script which suggested that the Doctor was refusing to give in to the regeneration process. Steven Moffat's 2017 story creates an extended narrative around that part of the story, in which the First Doctor delays his regeneration and encounters his future self — the Twelfth Doctor — in the snowy wasteland.[1][2]

When Testimony shows the First Doctor images of his future incarnations, clips from both the classic series and the revival are used, including the Third Doctor from Invasion of the Dinosaurs (1974); the Fifth Doctor from Arc of Infinity (1983); the Seventh Doctor from The Happiness Patrol (1988); the Eighth Doctor from "The Night of the Doctor" (2013); the Ninth Doctor from "The Parting of the Ways" (2005); and the Tenth Doctor from "The Waters of Mars" (2009).[3]

Testimony also lists several of the Doctor's future titles: "The Shadow of the Valeyard" (from The Trial of a Time Lord, said to be a distillation of the Doctor's darker side), "the Oncoming Storm" ("The Parting of the Ways"), "the Imp of the Pandorica" (a reference to the Eleventh Doctor story "The Pandorica Opens"), "the Beast of Trenzalore" ("The Time of the Doctor"), "the Butcher of Skull Moon" and "the Doctor of War" ("Hell Bent"). "The Destroyer of Skaro" refers to the destruction of the planet in Remembrance of the Daleks (1988), although Skaro was later restored and rebuilt; as explained in "Asylum of the Daleks" (2012) and shown in "The Magician's Apprentice" (2015).[3]

The Weapons Factories of Villengard were originally mentioned in "The Doctor Dances" (Steven Moffat's first Doctor Who story), where the Ninth Doctor implied that he was responsible for their destruction.[4][5]

Outside references[edit]

The Doctor addresses his original incarnation as "Mary Berry", "Corporal Jones", and "Mr. Pastry".[6] Mr. Pastry was a children's show character played by actor Richard Hearne,[7] who was once considered for the role of the Fourth Doctor. Hearne, however, wanted to play the Doctor as a version of Mr. Pastry, so he was passed over in favour of Tom Baker.[6]

The Doctor paraphrases philosopher Bertrand Russell when he advises his future self that "hate is always foolish and love is always wise".[8]

Production[edit]

Cast notes[edit]

Peter Capaldi reprised his role as the Twelfth Doctor. On 30 January 2017, he confirmed that the tenth series would be his last, and that he was set to leave after the 2017 Christmas special.[9] The episode also sees the introduction of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor, whose casting was announced on 16 July 2017.[10][11]

David Bradley appears in the episode as the First Doctor, having previously portrayed William Hartnell in the docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time.[12][13][14] This makes him the third actor to play the role in the television programme, after William Hartnell and Richard Hurndall (in 1983's The Five Doctors) since the premiere of Doctor Who in 1963.[15] Bradley previously played Solomon in the 2012 episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship".

The first trailer for the episode was shown during the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, revealing the return of Polly, a companion from the end of William Hartnell's tenure as the First Doctor, portrayed by Lily Travers,[16] and Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts. Also confirmed were appearances by Toby Whithouse, writer of seven episodes between 2006 and 2017,[17] and Mark Gatiss, also writer of nine episodes between 2005 and 2017, marking his fourth acting appearance in the series, playing a character credited as The Captain.[18][19] In an interview following the episode's broadcast, Gatiss said he cried at the thought of playing the Brigadier's grandfather when he finished reading the script.[20] However, the Haisman Literary Estate asserted their control of the backstory of the Brigadier, stating that Archibald was actually the Brigadier's great-uncle who appeared in Night of the Intelligence.[21][22] They later compromised in What's Past is Prologue by implying that Archibald may secretly be the biological father of the Brigadier's father, thereby allowing for either interpretation.[23][24]

It was later confirmed that Ben Jackson, a companion of the First and Second Doctors, who served alongside Polly, would also feature in the episode and that he would be played by the former Hollyoaks cast member Jared Garfield.[25] Hartnell, Anneke Wills and Michael Craze appeared as the First Doctor, Polly and Ben respectively through archive footage,[26] as also did Patrick Troughton as the freshly regenerated Second Doctor. Nikki Amuka-Bird voices the "Glass Woman"[27]

As with the last change of showrunners, Chibnall wrote the final moments of the episode, so as to allow him to write Whittaker's first lines on the show. This happened in the 2010 special The End of Time, when Moffat took over for Russell T. Davies in the final moments of the episode, writing Matt Smith's first words as the Eleventh Doctor.[28]

The episode includes a cameo appearance of Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, as the Doctor's memories of Clara, lost during "Hell Bent", are restored. The scene was the last to be filmed for the episode and while Coleman was willing to come back to film, timing between the filming of this special and her work in Victoria was difficult to arrange. Moffat said "How many times have I killed that girl off and she was right there in my last shot! It's absolutely extraordinary. The unkillable Coleman!"[29]

Filming[edit]

The episode was written by Steven Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay,[30] who wrote and directed the two-part finale of the tenth series, "World Enough and Time" / "The Doctor Falls", respectively.[31][32] In January 2016, Moffat announced that he would step down as the programme's showrunner after the tenth series, to be replaced by Chris Chibnall beginning with the eleventh series in 2018, but a 2017 Christmas special was not mentioned in the plans at that time.[33] The change in showrunners almost caused the annual episode to be cancelled, as Moffat planned to leave after the tenth series finale and Chibnall did not want to begin his run with a Christmas special. When he learned of Chibnall's plans, Moffat elected to stay long enough to produce one final episode, as he was concerned that the show would lose the coveted 25 December slot in the future if it missed a year. As a result, he had to rewrite his plans for the tenth series finale to allow Capaldi to appear in one more episode.[34]

Near the end of the special, the two Doctors part company and return to their respective TARDISes to undergo regeneration. The First Doctor's regeneration is shown, using original footage from "The Tenth Planet". Although the last episode of the 1966 story is one of the missing episodes of Doctor Who, the regeneration sequence was preserved when it was used in a 1973 edition of the children’s magazine programme Blue Peter.[1][35]

The final scene of "The Doctor Falls" involving David Bradley was filmed as part of the filming of "Twice Upon a Time" in June 2017.[36] Production for "Twice Upon a Time" started on 12 June 2017, and concluded on 10 July 2017.[37][38][39] However, the final scene of the episode, in which Whittaker makes her debut as the Doctor, was not filmed until 19 July.[40] The episode had been reportedly titled "The Doctors", before it was announced at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con that it would officially be titled "Twice Upon a Time".[41][19]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

The episode was watched by 5.70 million viewers overnight, making it the second lowest overnight viewership for a Christmas special, but was the fifth most watched programme of the day across all channels.[42] The episode received 7.92 million views overall, and it received an Appreciation Index of 81.[43][44] In the United States "Twice Upon a Time" was watched by 2.2 million viewers on BBC America.[45]

Cinemas[edit]

"Twice Upon a Time" was released in cinemas in multiple countries, including Brazil on 25 December, Australia and Denmark on 26 December, and the United States and Canada on 27–28 December. The cinema release includes two bonus features: a behind-the-scenes view of the episode, and a special celebrating the tenure of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor and Steven Moffat as showrunner and lead writer.[46][47]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Rotten Tomatoes (Average Score)6.69[48]
Rotten Tomatoes (Tomatometer)86%[48]
Review scores
SourceRating
The A.V. ClubA-[49]
Entertainment WeeklyA[50]
IndieWireC+[51]
IGN9.5[52]
New York Magazine5/5 stars[53]
Radio Times3/5 stars[54]
Daily Mirror4/5 stars[55]
The Telegraph2/5 stars[56]

The episode received generally positive reviews.[57] It currently holds a score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 6.69. The site's consensus reads "Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time pays gratifying homage to the outgoing doctor while marking a thoughtful, warm and funny passing of the torch to a new era in the franchise."[48]

The episode is a finalist in the category of "Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form" for the 2018 Hugo Awards.[58]

Commercial releases[edit]

Home media[edit]

The episode was released on DVD and Blu-ray in Region 2 on 22 January 2018,[59] in Region 4 on 7 February 2018,[60] and in Region 1 on 13 February 2018.[16]

It was also announced as the first episode of either version of Doctor Who to be released on the Ultra HD Blu-ray format, with a planned Region A release on 25 September 2018.[61]

In print[edit]

Twice Upon a Time
Doctor Who Twice Upon a Time Novelisation.jpg
Author Paul Cornell
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Publisher BBC Books
Publication date
5 April 2018
Pages 224
ISBN 978-1785943300

A novelisation of the story, written by Paul Cornell, was released in paperback and digital formats on 5 April 2018 as part of the Target Collection.[62][63]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dillon-Trenchard, Peter (25 December 2017). "Doctor Who: geeky spots & references in Twice Upon A Time". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on 26 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  2. ^ Martin, Daniel (25 December 2017). "Doctor Who Christmas special 2017: Twice Upon a Time". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Doctor Who: Easter Eggs and References in Twice Upon a Time". Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  4. ^ "19 things we learned from the set of the Doctor Who Christmas special". Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  5. ^ "There's a subtle callback to Steven Moffat's very first Doctor Who story in the Christmas special". Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Doctor Who: Easter Eggs and References in Twice Upon a Time". Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  7. ^ "BBC – Archive – The Changing Face of Doctor Who – Nearly Who". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  8. ^ Wollaston, Sam (2017-12-27). "Doctor Who Christmas special review – time, gentlemen. Now it's Jodie's turn". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  9. ^ "Peter Capaldi announces he will stand down as Doctor Who at the end of the year". BBC. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Doctor Who: New actor to be revealed after Wimbledon". BBC. 14 July 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
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  12. ^ "Series 10, Doctor Who – The Doctor Falls: The Fact File – BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  13. ^ "First look pictures of the First and Twelfth Doctors together in the Doctor Who Christmas special". The Telegraph. 1 July 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  14. ^ Gill, James (1 July 2017). "New Doctor Who Christmas special pictures tease history-making reunion for Peter Capaldi's Doctor". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  15. ^ Martin, Dan (1 July 2017). "Doctor Who recap: series 36 finale – The Doctor Falls". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Doctor Who Christmas special set for February DVD and Blu-ray release". Amazon. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  17. ^ McEwan, Cameron K (24 July 2017). "Doctor Who 2017 Christmas Special: 'Twice Upon a Time' Trailer Breakdown". doctorwho.tv. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Bill returns and the Doctors unite in new Doctor Who Christmas special pictures". RadioTimes. 24 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  19. ^ a b "The 2017 Doctor Who Christmas special will be called..." Radio Times. 23 July 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  20. ^ Caron, Nathalie. "Mark Gatiss' Doctor Who role in Christmas special was a classic Easter egg". Syfy Wire. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  21. ^ Frankham-Allen, Andy [@FrankhamAllen] (2017-12-26). "It's a complicated issue, for various legal reasons, but the official stance of Haisman/Lincoln is that he's the brother of the Brig's grandfather. And as owners of the LS copyright (and derivative works), they reserve the right to make that decision" (Tweet). Retrieved 2018-01-02 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ Frankham-Allen, Andy (2017). Lethbridge-Stewart : Night of the Intelligence. [S.l.]: Candy Jar Books. ISBN 9780995743632. OCLC 987359707.
  23. ^ Frankham-Allen, Andy [@FrankhamAllen] (2017-12-29). "Indeed. After the last few days, I suggested a new compromise to the Haisman Estate and they agreed to it. So, currently, it's just an implication. Now fans can accept whichever, and both could well be right" (Tweet). Retrieved 2018-01-02 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ McIntee, David A (2017). What's Past is Prologue. Candy Jar Books.
  25. ^ Fullerton, Huw (24 August 2017). "Hollyoaks star Jared Garfield to play classic Doctor Who companion in Christmas special". radiotimes.com. Radio Times. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  26. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (3 December 2017). "Steven Moffat unveils his final Doctor Who episode – and reveals why Carey Mulligan said no to the Tardis". radiotimes.com. Radio Times. Retrieved 5 December 2017. in this Christmas special when it starts we have Hartnell and the original companions
  27. ^ Marcus (28 November 2017). "Twice Upon A Time – New Image and Synopsis". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  28. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (23 March 2017). "Doctor Who: Steven Moffat confirms that Chris Chibnall will write the new Doctor's first words".
  29. ^ "Doctor Who Christmas cameo was "difficult to arrange"". 25 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  30. ^ Marcus (28 May 2017). "Rachel Talalay Directing Christmas Episode". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  31. ^ "Original Mondasian Cybermen return to Doctor Who!". BBC. 6 March 2017. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  32. ^ Rawden, Jessica (3 June 2016). "When Steven Moffat's Final Doctor Who Episode Will Air". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  33. ^ Ben Dowell. "Steven Moffat quits Doctor Who to be replaced by Chris Chibnall in 2018". RadioTimes.
  34. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (2 August 2017). "Steven Moffat reveals how Doctor Who's Christmas specials almost disappeared forever". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  35. ^ "Twice Upon a Time, Doctor Who – Twice Upon a Time: The Fact File – BBC One". BBC. Archived from the original on 26 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  36. ^ "Steven Moffat & Rachel Talalay – The Aftershow – Doctor Who: The Fan Show". BBC. 1 July 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  37. ^ "Countdown to the Thirteenth Doctor". Doctor Who Magazine. No. 514. 29 June 2017. p. 4.
  38. ^ Cannon, Nick (11 April 2017). "Doctor Who's Peter Capaldi lifts off with new companion Bill: 'Their adventures spin out of control'". What's on TV. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  39. ^ Allen, Ben (11 July 2017). "Peter Capaldi says goodbye to fans on his final day of Doctor Who filming". Radio Times. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  40. ^ Kibble-White, Graham (August 2017). "The XIII Chromosome". Doctor Who Magazine. No. 516 (October 2017 ed.). Tunbridge Wells, Kent, United Kingdom: Panini Comics. p. 15.
  41. ^ Marcus (10 July 2017). "Doctor Who at San Diego Comic-Con". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  42. ^ DWTV (2017-12-26). "Christmas Day 2017 Ratings Top 10 | Doctor Who TV". Doctor Who TV. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  43. ^ Marcus (3 January 2018). "Twice Upon A Time: Official Rating". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  44. ^ Marcus (3 January 2018). "Twice Upon a Time – Audience Appreciation:81". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  45. ^ "Farewell to Twelfth Doctor on BBC AMERICA Brings Record-Setting Viewership and Social Engagement on Christmas Day". BBCW Press Room. 4 January 2018. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  46. ^ Foster, Chuck (14 November 2017). "Australian cinema outing for Twice Upon a Time". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  47. ^ Foster, Chuck (27 November 2017). "Twice Upon a Time to show in Canadian Cinemas". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  48. ^ a b c "Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time (2017 Christmas Special)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  49. ^ Siede, Caroline. "A poignant Doctor Who Christmas special says goodbye 12, hello 13, hello love". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  50. ^ Schwartz, Dana (December 25, 2017). "Doctor Who recap: 'Twice Upon a Time'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
  51. ^ Welsh, Kaite (December 25, 2017). "'Doctor Who' Review: Peter Capaldi Takes Too Long to Say Goodbye In Emotional Christmas Special". IndieWire. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
  52. ^ Scott, Collura (December 26, 2017). "Doctor Who: "Twice Upon a Time" Review". IGN. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  53. ^ Ruediger, Ross (December 26, 2017). "Doctor Who Christmas Special Recap: Postscript". New York Magazine. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  54. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (December 26, 2017). "Doctor Who Christmas special review: Twice upon a Time offers a warm embracing hug of nostalgia but is less than gripping". Radio Times. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  55. ^ Jackson, Daniel (25 December 2017). "Doctor Who Series 10 Episode 13 Twice Upon A Time review: A very special Christmas adventure that rounds off Capaldi's Doctor perfectly". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  56. ^ Hogan, Michael (2017-12-25). "Doctor Who, Twice Upon a Time, review: cue Jodie Whittaker, but only after a raft of self-indulgence". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  57. ^ newsintimeandspace.net. "Doctor Who News – Twice Upon A Time – Press Reaction". m.doctorwhonews.net. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  58. ^ "2018/1943 Hugo Award Finalists Announced". thehugoawards.org. 1 April 2018.
  59. ^ "Doctor Who Christmas Special 2017 – Twice Upon A Time". Amazon. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  60. ^ "Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time (DVD)". EzyDVD. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  61. ^ "'Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time' Headed for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray". High-Def Digest. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  62. ^ "Steven Moffat and Russell T Davies are writing special Doctor Who novels". Radio Times. 15 November 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  63. ^ "Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time (Target Collection)". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 6 April 2018.

External links[edit]