After the epic events of the season finale two-parter ‘The World Enough and Time,’ and ‘The Doctor Falls,’ the Doctor was all alone in the TARDIS damaged and dying. For the first time in his life, he is desperate to stop the regeneration process which his body is craving to begin. This isn’t like when the Tenth Doctor used up a regeneration healing himself while keeping the same body thanks to his spare hand. Twelve wants to either keep living in this body or just finally die. Even though this would be the first regeneration of the second cycle granted to him by the Time Lords, it doesn’t matter to him. He’s sick and tired of it all and is ready to kick off this mortal coil.
The TARDIS lands and the Doctor doesn’t care where. Finding himself on a frost covered world, he thrusts his hands into the snow to extinguish the regeneration energy as he cries out into the raging storm. Only he doesn’t expect to hear a voice call back. When this mysterious person shows himself, the Doctor sees a face he hasn’t seen in a very long time. His own. His first. And we find we are in for a real treat this Christmas. The Twelfth Doctor is teaming up with the First Doctor on an adventure.
And here I am stuck in September with Christmas nowhere near.
So all we can do until then is talk about it. The name of the episode is Twice Upon a Time. What’s going to happen? Although I don’t know the entire plot summary, it is going to take place during the events of the First Doctor story The Tenth Planet. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s one of the most important stories in the history of the show. Not only is it the introduction of the Cybermen, it is also the First Doctor’s regeneration story. This means we will have a Double Doctor Regeneration. With this also being producer Steven Moffat’s final episode, it looks like he’s going big before he goes home. And with David Bradley (Mr. Finch from the Harry Potter movies) as the First Doctor (the original actor, William Hartnell passed away in 1975) this is shaping up to be an epic final outing for Peter Capaldi’s Doctor.
If you haven’t seen the trailer for it yet, here it is…
As we can see Bill is back, not sure how, why or for how long. It looks like the two Doctors are going to spend a bit of time in the First Doctor’s TARDIS and it looks like it did all the way back in 1966 which has me absolutely giddy with excitement. If you don’t know how much I adore the classic series, let me tell you how much: a lot. So every time they make a classic series reference I get all happy and goofy, and this latest series has been a delight for me.
Along with the First Doctor returning, the BBC has also recast the two companions who were with him at the time. Polly who was originally played by Anneke Wills is now being played by Lily Travers and Ben Jackson was played by Michael Craze in the original Tenth Planet and Jared Garfield in Twice Upon a Time.
Now the speculative bits…
I don’t think this episode is going to take place entirely within the Tenth Planet story. According to the trailer, the Doctors are definitely traveling elsewhere while leaving Ben and Polly behind but we don’t know where. We also see a few frames that show the First Doctor’s hand surrounded with regeneration energy. I assume we will see both Doctors regenerate, but I have not heard anything about the Second Doctor appearing on screen yet. When and if I do, I will update this article ASAP. But I am willing to guess that we will see the Second Doctor only from behind with Patrick Troughton’s voice dubbed over the film. This is because I think that it’s going to be extremely difficult finding replacement actors for the classic Doctors. The BBC got lucky with David Bradley and this is probably an instance of lighting only striking once. I don’t expect to see another classic Doctor recast ever if they actually want it to work. Can you imagine trying to recast Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor? Add that one to my list of impossible things to do before breakfast.
At the end of it all, we know that Twelve is going to leave us with the first female Doctor being born right before our eyes. Doctor number 13 is going to turn the show on its head with Chris Chibnall taking over for Steven Moffat and Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor, but not before we see one more blowout performance from Peter Capaldi.
As I’ve said, I am really excited for this episode. It will probably be rated as the best Christmas episode yet and as long as it doesn’t have any flying sharks in it, I am going to enjoy the hell out of it.