Shiny Shelf

Doctor Who: Time Crash

By Mark Clapham on 22 November 2007

‘Doctor Who’ has a long history with the BBC’s ‘Children in Need’ charity telethon, and since the revival of the show in 2005 that connection has only grown stronger – David Tennant’s first proper scene as the Doctor was shown on ‘Children in Need’, and last year a concert performance of Murray Gold’s incidental music took place in aid of the charity.

Having set the bar high, the pressure was on to deliver something equally headline worthy this year. What the production team have come up with for their annual contribution is an obvious winner, but a winner nonetheless – the first reappearance of an old Doctor since the series returned.

Really, there was only one credible candidate from the surviving actors to make a return appearance, and Peter Davison duly encounters David Tennant in ‘Time Crash’, a brief scene woven into the last moments of this year’s season finale, ‘Last of the Time Lords’. In between Martha’s goodbye and the Titanic crashing in, the TARDIS overlaps with an earlier version of itself, and Davison’s Doctor is dragged into the present – ageing the intervening twenty three years in the process.

Steven Moffat’s script is full of clever touches such as the explanation of Davison’s age difference – although ‘Time Crash’ is only one scene, the script is packed with references and rapid fire dialogue. Moffat’s genuine affection for both incarnations of the Doctor shines through, and he squeezes as much as possible into those few minutes of screen time.

Set entirely within the TARDIS console room, with two actors and minimal effects, the story has nothing but the writing and performances to fall back on. Thankfully Moffat has created a neat self-contained plot (an incident, really) which ties perfectly into the ending of the previous story – the crash only occurs because the Doctor hasn’t entirely fixed the Master’s hatchet job on the TARDIS at the end of the last season, and the same fault allows the Titanic to burst in at the end. Both Doctors seem to be delighted with the material – Davison slipping effortlessly back into character, Tennant visibly thrilled to be acting opposite a Doctor from his childhood.

The best kind of nostalgia for a good cause, tightly directed by Graeme Harper, ‘Time Crash’ is an amiable treat.

One last thought… with David Tennant requiring time off for theatre and film work, is a more extended return from Peter Davison’s Doctor too much to hope for?

To donate to ‘Children in Need’ click here.

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By Mark Clapham

Mark Clapham is a Devon-based writer and editor. You can find out more about him at the egotistically named

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