With the news that A Christmas Carol is back on sale around the net for ridiculously low prices, we thought it was time to dig out a review to help sway your decision as to whether you should go pick it up. The review comes from Chris Newman.
I must confess, I had mixed feelings about actually parting with my hard earned pennies for something that, at best I was going to watch twice or three times. Then I saw it had 'Doctor Who at the Proms' as an extra and then saw the price for the blu ray was a measly £10.93 from Amazon, so I took the plunge. With the money I saved, I decided to buy some nice biscuits and sit and re-watch the DVD and extras.
So for your £10 you get the feature presentation, the transmitted Confidential and the proms. You do not get commentary or, indeed any other features. I suppose those responsible would argue that confidential covers off 'The Making of...' type feature.
Watching a christmas special after Christmas is a bit like hearing your parents have sex. It feels slightly dissonant and weird and you feel a bit awkward. But the story is a good, solid riff on the classic Dickens tale, Matt Smith just sparkles as the Doctor and Michael Gambon bestrides the production like a colossus. I know many fans had some misgivings about Kathryn Jenkins but she does a job. There is actually very little of Amy and Rory, but what there is proves they continue to be good value. The actual story has been reviewed at considerable length elsewhere so I won't wobble on too much more - suffice to say, I really enjoyed it.
The Confidential is, mercifully, not cut down. Unfortunately I have a little problem with Confidentials generally. They tend to be less about "the making of" and more about how brilliant everyone was. Moff will turn up and tell you how good MS is, MS will tell you how good The Mill are, KG will say how good the Moff was .... and so on. But there are some nice moments and it is actually worth the £10 alone to see Gambo's first performance at the read through. You can see MS visibly wilt as Gambo starts to speak (not that he needed to worry - Smith was sublime).
But as I fish around at the bottom of my teacup for a rogue half hob-nob which has sunk to the bottom, the Proms comes on. One of RTD's finest yet consistently undersold ideas is that of the Proms. I know Murray Gold has attracted some criticism from some of the barmier ends of fandom, but surely no one can argue with his work on Season 5 (The Doctor's theme is just incredible). The whole thing is wonderful and if you like the idea of the Proms and admire Murray Gold's work then, frankly, the DVD is worth the tenner just for this.
I bought the Blu Ray version, running it through an LG Player onto a Sony Bravia LCD, the features are all presented in lovely 1080p High Definition. The 5.1 mixing for the features are well balanced and all in all I think this probably represents good value for money. Certainly it is worth 9 packets of quality biscuits.
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