Review by Chlo Hickson
This has definitely been the most bittersweet regeneration, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing Tennant go again but I’m absolutely looking forward to seeing Gatwa in the role. As a wise woman once said ‘Two hearts. One happy, one sad’. It’s insane to think that Doctor Who has just aired a sequel to a 57 year old episode that is mostly missing. Doctor Who has effectively started again, simultaneously giving the original Doctor a break and continuing with Gatwa’s Doctor. I know for a fact people will be complaining about this but I’m all here for it.
‘The Giggle’ was perfect. It definitely felt like an anniversary special. A new story that’s not hindered by cameos but instead brings back things from the shows history in order to look towards the future. It had all these great callbacks and mentions to so many characters.
As usual Russell T Davies (RTD) summed up the state of the world in one episode and managed to include some disabled hate as well, what we have to put up with, that comment from Kate is one a lot of us hear. The haters are going to hate, but we need more of this in current drama. I loved the little rant the Doctor does about humanities flaws as it seems very in character, and such things are the point of having a non-human protagonist, to hold a mirror up to ourselves.
I’ve missed Russell’s writing so much and his jabs at todays internet culture was brilliant.
I have seen some people commenting on their confusion about why ‘The Giggle’ opens with the invention of TV, but I think this was important and can’t see the confusion at all. This stuff isn’t incidental, it’s the point. Its a commentary on how TV and the internet normalises that sort of hatred that we saw on the streets in the beginning of the episode. That’s what the first half is actually about. Actually showing it, instead of just hearing exposition like we would’ve got with Chibnall’s writing is important. There is a difference between telling and showing, and how seeing something is different than exposition-ing it.
The raw emotion, charisma and seriousness that 14 has, David Tennant you are brilliant.
Tennant pulls at my heartstrings just as much as he did when I was a kid. He never fails to impress, make me laugh, or make me feel. He’s unquestionably one of the best actors of our time.
I was dreading his Doctor’s regeneration with how it was handled last time, the fact that he says it feels like dying that whole speech still rubs me the wrong way not getting into his final line, but the ending here made me so happy.
It was beautiful. ‘I’ve never been so happy in all my life’ nearly had me in tears, after everything he has been through – all the loss and grief, he finally gets to be happy!
I’m so glad they gave the 14th Doctor the ending he deserved, to be able to enjoy the one adventure he could never have before. He finally gets the reward befitting of someone who’s lived a billion years and saved countless galaxies: It’s time to stop. With their family.
The way this special was so healing is just perfect. That embrace between the Doctor’s new self and old self… I still can’t believe after all these years later, the Doctor can finally take some time to let himself heal. First Moffat has ‘Day of the Doctor’ free him from the Time War, now this is RTD admitting he’s right, he needs therapy. He’s basically left 14 to heal with his PTSD with a loving family, and has 15 go on as a healed man, to have all new adventures. I loved this ending so much, I can’t stop smiling when I think about it.
It’s the most powerful scene to me. The Doctor finally being kind to himself. Allowing himself to stop running. Permission to forgive, grieve, mourn, process and heal. No one else can do that for you. Sometimes you have to be the one to save yourself. What a message.
I feel like this is the ending that was waiting for the 10th Doctor all this time. The lonely man with the big family who couldn’t be alone, couldn’t be emotional, now as 14 he can be. He has his family now.
One of the things I’ve always loved about Doctor Who is it’s ability to be both extremely silly and extremely moving at the same time, and for neither to detract from the other. ‘The Giggle’ is a brilliant example; beautifully written.
I can’t believe this is real, finally giving the Doctor a peaceful life and a family. Thank you RTD. This is as close to a perfect ending to this chapter of the show as possible.
I have a feeling this will turn into a new comfort episode for me.
This is going to be controversial of me but I see bigeneration as another form of the Watcher, if you think of it like that its a very similar process. The Watcher is a future incarnation of the Doctor that comes to help the current Doctor before they regenerate into that incarnation, now in the case of bigeneration the current Doctor and the new incarnation split from each other instead of morphing into each other. It’s just a backwards version of the Watcher, and looking into this further maybe this is how we get the Valeyard in the future?
My only concern with the bi-regeneration is that it’ll give the people ammo who claim that the 15th incarnation isn’t the real Doctor, apart from that it feels like a good conclusion to the 2005-2023 era of the show, giving a strong ending for that version of the Doctor and setting up the new incarnation as an update.
When watching Doctor Who Unleashed I absolutely loved RTD’s attitude to the haters when it comes to the bigeneration. Honestly good on him for poking fun at the haters. It’s definitely the voice of experience, but the bigeneration has gone better than I thought it would. Though does anyone else think that some of the people that hate the bigeneration is to hide the fact that they just don’t like the Doctor as a man of colour and/or a gay man? That’s exactly what happened with Whittaker’s casting.
I love that 14’s clothes got split between the two incarnations so 15 spends his entire time in his underwear. You can’t say that Gatwa didn’t make an entrance. But does that mean that 14 was going commando that whole time?
Ncuti Gatwa is going to be an excellent Doctor. He is perfect. Now we know why he was cast as the Doctor in the first place. It’s like this new fun raw energy and I’m here for it. It looks like the whole setting will be more upbeat. I’m loving his vibe.
I like that the 15th Doctor is like a metaphor for emotional trauma. It’s still there, obviously, but he’s worked through it with his time as the 14th Doctor with Donna and the family. Gatwa get’s to have fun and let himself be open again. You can even view it that 15 is the emotional support for 14 because 14 is past him. He knows what 14 needs and is just trying to convince himself to do it. He’s telling 14 to heal so he can be okay. Not just Tennant’s incarnation.
This tells you everything you need to know about his incarnation: He’s the healer. A Doctor in every sense of the word. Compassion, strength, hands on and just the right amount of sass.
I don’t understand the complaints that Gatwa was overshadowed as the moment he appeared he owned his scenes, would people have prefered him to have one short scene at the end over having a substantial role? We usually only see the new Doctor for 20 seconds, if that, at the end of regeneration stories. 15 essentially does everything from the moment he shows up, as it should be. He gets all the Doctor moments, even listing off all the things the Doctor has experienced up until that point. He’s actually the incarnation that makes the Toymaker lose! He is the Doctor. So the overshadowed criticism doesn’t seem like an actual criticism.
I think it shows his talent that he had to act side by side with one of the most beloved Doctor’s and completely held his own. He is the only new Doctor that hit the ground running in their very first appearance. All previous new Doctors have been a little bit awkward/ a little unsure of their specific Doctor’s personality. But Gatwa smashed it on his first go. He showed us from that first moment that this is his role now.
I am so hyped for series 14/1!
Imagine watching ‘Journeys End’ in 2008 and in 15 years later we get this… Well worth the wait. This episode has healed the hearts of an entire generation of Doctor Who fans. I can’t believe I get to be happy about Donna’s ending
She went from having the saddest companion ending to the best one.
I do also think that the stand out line of the whole episode was Donna’s ‘I’m already running!’ I just thought that was so funny.
Neil Patrick Harris was simply brilliant as the Toymaker, I hope we get to see him again. It is possible with how they left the character.
He really nails Michael Gough’s smirk. Just wow. Also there’s so much chaotic physicality to his performance in contrast to Gough’s much more still presence as the Toymaker. I can easily see this as the difference between a godlike entity in it’s own domain, compared to it being unleashed and taking form in the physical universe.
I did also like how NPH gets to use multiple accents in this special. Love it when actors get to show off their range.
The Toymaker summing up post-Donna life with puppets was quite creepy. He’s so expressive while doing it. Harris definitely put his puppetry skills to good use. I have got to say that is one of my favourite scenes in the episode. The Toymaker confronting the Doctor with what’s happened to him and the way he represses it with excuses. The pure disrespect and mockery with every ‘Well that’s all right then!’. That line was brilliant and gave me goosebumps everytime. Also NPH’s delivery on the line was also really effectively violent, like it was taking all that pain and throwing it in the Doctor’s face telling him ‘oh you don’t care’. It honestly broke my heart for the Doctor, especially when Donna asked if it was all true.
NPH lip syncing and dancing to Spice girl’s ‘Spice Up Your Life’ has got to be one of the greatest moments in Doctor Who. I loved it, and the Toymaker was clearly having the time of his life. It was such a fun scene for such an incredible episode, couldn’t have asked for anything better. I do feel bad for the cleaning crew though with all the rose petals scattered everywhere.
It’s funny to think that the Toymaker is in a regeneration story, when he was originally going to be how they explained the first Doctor’s regeneration before regeneration became a thing.
Some people didn’t like the way the Toymaker was defeated, wishing that the final game was more intense than catch. I actually didn’t mind it and thought the game was comically intense and that’s my favourite kind of Doctor Who, I literally was on the edge of my seat but also found it funny how everything rested on a simple game.
Its actually interesting that the first game was a mental game, the second one was a game of luck, and the third was a game of skill. It’s impressive writing.
There were so many mentions that made me happy!
It was great to see Kate and Mel again, and the small tribute they included for Elizabeth Sladen honestly made me choke up. I think Sladen would be proud of where the series has gone. She is deeply missed within the fandom.
I have got to say though, Mel saying she was the first red head isn’t right … Does anyone else remember Turlough? Or even Liz Shaw?
There’s so much to enjoy in this episode. Neil Patrick Harris is utterly brilliant, sad to see the last of Tennant and Tate but wow did Gatwa hit the ground running. Good to know the show’s future is in safe hands. This was another amazing episode of Doctor Who. Fantastic storyline, outstanding acting and casting and extremely meaningful from start to finish. Davies is brilliant at writing themes and positive messages without it seemingly being forced down your throat. Utterly loved ‘The Giggle’ but I think I loved the regeneration the most. Regeneration episodes are always sad, this was celebratory. Never thought I’d see that. Also, another episode that included horror, I couldn’t be happier! Russell has brought this show back in full swing.
Absolutely incredible! What a good way to end modern Who and make way for a fresh start with Gatwa’s first series. I’m beyond happy with all the episodes from the 60th!
Can’t wait to see who the one who waits is … But is it the boss? Come on 2024!