The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without the annual Doctor Who Christmas special.
Of course, we don’t usually get to see it here in the States until sometime closer to summer. But it’s the thought that counts, and a new trailer for the holiday romp has hit the Web.
Usually, the special bridges the gap between seasons (or series, as they’re called across the pond) but in 2009 there will be no traditional “season” of Doctor Who, just four specials in addition to the one at Christmas. This was a concession to series star David Tennant, who wanted to do more stage work with the Royal Shakespeare Company. But at the end of the specials Tennant, in time-honored Time Lord tradition, will surrender the role of the Doctor to a new, as-yet-unnamed, actor.
Despite the giant letters in the trailer that proclaim “Return of the Cybermen,” the title is actually “The Next Doctor.” The plot may — or may not — be based on a story called “The One Doctor,” which was produced as a full-cast Doctor Who audiobook by Big Finish Productions. In it, the Doctor meets another man calling himself the Doctor who gallivants around the cosmos saving planets only to turn around and rob them blind.
Big Finish’s original audio adventures on CD, along with a healthy run of original novels, kept Who alive during the 16 years the show was off the air by recruiting the original TV stars. Many of their scripts have been adapted into episodes of the relaunched TV series: “Jubilee” became “Dalek,” “Spare Parts” became “Rise of the Cybermen” — both of which reintroduced classic villains — and “The Fires of Vulcan” shares its setting, if not plot, with last season’s “The Fires of Pompeii.”