Forced to regenerate by absorbing the power of the time vortex before it kills Rose, the Doctor isn’t feeling so well himself. Rose is shocked by what’s happened, accusing the new Doctor of being a Gelth, a Slitheen, or some other manner of impostor. Even after he recalls a moment that only he and Rose were there to witness, the Doctor can’t convince her that he’s the same person in a new body, and guesses that she wants to go home. But even after he sets the TARDIS on a course back to Earth to return Rose on Christmas Eve, the Doctor coughs up more of the time vortex energy – his ordeal isn’t over, and he says something is going wrong with his regeneration. When the chiming of the TARDIS’ cloister bell begins to fill the console room, it’s yet another signal that something has gone horribly wrong…
written by Russell T. Davies
directed by Euros Lyn
music by Murray Gold
Guest Cast: none
Notes: This untitled special was originally transmitted as part of the annual Children In Need appeal, with no credits for anyone other than the show’s two stars. A lengthy “recap” trailer covering events in The Parting Of The Ways was edited together, but due to overruns of various live performances during the broadcast, it was edited down at the last minute. This was also the first Doctor Who television production since 1964’s Edge Of Destruction to feature no one other than the show’s current regular cast, and to take place entirely inside the TARDIS. (The 1996 TV movie is not counted in this statistic because of its rather unique nature.)
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: It’s almost unfair to critique a three-minute sketch assembled to benefit the Children In Need charity, but there is a lot of material packed into this short space of time. Despite all the crises that the TARDIS saw during the ninth Doctor’s brief reign, even that bit of business in Cardiff, it’s interesting to note that the cloister bell never once sounded until now (this rather arcane “red alert” sounded by the TARDIS in times of extreme danger first appeared in Logopolis and was last heard in the 1996 TV movie). The Doctor’s immediate post-regeneration behavior fits with what’s been seen before, and whether deliberately or not, seems to most strongly echo Tom Baker’s zany performance in Robot, what with the hopping gag and the Doctor’s bizarre comments about his own new face. We’ll see what happens when the TARDIS does arrive on Christmas Eve and the story picks up at a slightly less frantic pace.