DOCTOR WHO: Looking back at THE NEXT DOCTOR - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Christopher Morley goes up, up and away...

It proved something of a grim Christmas for the Tenth Doctor as he arrived in Victorian London just in time for the 2008 festive special The Next Doctor.

If you were paying attention during The Monster Of Peladon, you'll recognise the carol heard when the Doctor steps from the TARDIS as God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, a melody to which his Third self set a Venusian lullaby to put Aggedor to sleep! The first line is also used in The Daemons, while the original carol can also be heard in part of The Unquiet Dead as well as being played by the musically-inclined Robot Santas in both The Christmas Invasion & The Runaway Bride.
Klokleda partha mennin klatch
Haroon, haroon, haroon
Klokleda shunna teerenach
Haroon, haroon, haroon
Haroon, haroon, haroon
Haroon, haroon, haroon
Haroon, haroon, haroon....................
But moving on to a song of a different kind - the one belonging to the Tenth Doctor. His would end soon, as foreseen by Ood Sigma, could it be at the metallic hands of the Cyber-King?...

...If so all was taken care of, or so it seemed, as another 'Doctor' was on the scene- could it really be a future incarnation?

He has a companion, the lovely Rosita, a screwdriver, regular without even a hint of sonic & a TARDIS of his own.

This model is slightly different from the Type 40/police box we're used to seeing, though. Its a hot air balloon, & TARDIS is said to stand for Tethered Aerial Release Developed In Style- on which count it succeeds. But the roots of the man who designed it are far closer to Earth than those of the ' true' Doctor. Having absorbed information from an infostamp on the Time Lord, Jackson Lake has come to believe that he's the Doctor- all the data the Cybermen have on their greatest foe to date beamed straight into his mind. His fob watch is what gives him away, in a neat reversal of the Doctor's own use of a Chameleon Arch to cause himself to believe he's human- hiding his true nature in a similar timepiece ( Human Nature/The Family Of Blood). As 'John Smith' soon discovers, though, the truth will out..........

But we're getting ahead of ourselves, there's a mystery to be solved in Victorian London. Murders & child abductions have become regular fare for the City dwellers of the time- who's behind them? Its the Cybermen, or more accurately a band of Cyber- survivors from the parallel universe of 'Rise Of The Cybermen/The Age Of Steel. Their first victim is the local vicar, the Reverend Aubrey Fairchild, seeing his funeral as an ideal opportunity to gather all the workhouse managers together, turn them into Cyber-slaves by means of earpieces to act as foremen & steal the children in their 'care' to use as a workforce for the construction of the Cyber-King.

In theory they shouldn't be here at all- the Doctor thought he'd cast them into the Void at the conclusion of the Battle of Canary Wharf, the epic battle between them & the Daleks. It would seem that the very walls of the universe were weakened by Dalek efforts to invade Earth. Of course, that event served as a reunion with an old foe thought long dead- Davros. The Doctor previously alluding to having seen his demise during the Time War.

It appears the Cybermen have become feminists, promising Miss Hartigan ( their human ally) freedom from male oppression. Only they didn't tell her the whole truth. She will indeed be free, but free of the anger she feels as a woman in a man's world- she is to become the Cyber-King! Clearly she's a woman of great intellect, her mind too strong to surrender fully to the process of conversion but smart enough to exercise her will. As proved when she turns her fury on the Cyber-Leader...meanwhile Mr Lake is recovering the last of his memories. The Cybermen took his son, who is among the kids forced into helping construct their King..........

The Doctor takes to the air in the balloon TARDIS, offering Hartigan a deal. He can take her to other worlds where she & her Cybermen can live in peace. Refusing, she scoffs at the the Time Lord's failure to finish her off with a barrage of infostamps. He wasn't aiming to kill her, though. Arguably what follows is a fate worse than death- the Doctor revealing he's severed her connection to her former allies. The realisation of what she has allowed herself to become threatens to send her insane & destroy the Cyber-King, toppling it & laying waste to the city.

Before that can be allowed to pass, though, the Dimension Vault is put to good use in sending Hartigan & the Cyber-King into the Time Vortex- the seemingly endless swirling corner of space seen in the Doctor Who title sequence, most implicitly perhaps in 2005's Series One of New-Who & beyond.

With all the nasty business taken care of, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a good old slap-up dinner & a bit of a do. The Doctor allows himself to celebrate with Jackson & his new ' family' of sorts- he has his son back & there's a hint that things might develop between he & his lady ' companion'. God bless us, everyone!

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