The Doctor is all alone. Again. But suddenly there is another Doctor. Or is it the same Doctor? Or not at all? Who knows.

Welcome to Episode 55 covering the 2008 Christmas Special: The Next Doctor

Super-short Recap

This is the one where the Doctor meets… the Doctor? A companion-less Doctor steps out of his TARDIS on a snowy Christmas Eve in 19th century London. Everything is beautiful and Dickensian, when suddenly someone shouts “Doctor!” Naturally, he goes running towards the call only to be met by a confused woman who doesn’t understand who he is or why he’s trying to help. Then something strange happens. Another man shows up proclaiming himself the Doctor, the one, the original, and the best!

Naturally, the Doctor is fascinated, assuming he’s meeting a future incarnation of himself. But this other Doctor doesn’t recognize him. In fact, he can’t remember anything before his regeneration, only that something was lost, taken from him, by Cybermen. The Doctor’s story starts falling apart slowly. His sonic screwdriver isn’t very sonic, his TARDIS is a hot air balloon, and his fob watch is just a fob watch.

Turns out, he isn’t the Doctor at all. He’s Jackson Lake, a newcomer to London Town. He became the Doctor when a Cyberman infostamp overwrote his memory. Meanwhile, the Cybermen, with the help of Mrs. Hartigan, are using the children of London as labor to build the CyberKing. The real Doctor, of course, defeats them after saving the children.

Jackson somehow manages to convince the Doctor to stay for a Christmas feast to remember those we’ve lost. Merry Christmas, Doctor. Merry Christmas, Jackson. Merry Christmas Corbin and Tripp, and Merry Christmas to you all out there. God bless us, everyone!

Production notes

  • Story # 199
  • Originally aired December 25, 2008 to 13.1 million viewers
  • Written by: Russell T. Davies
  • Directed by: Andy Goddard
  • Awards: nominated for a 2010 Hugo Award in the category of “Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form,”

Misc Trivia

  • This is the fourth of Tennant’s five Christmas specials and the first one to take place in the past instead of the present.


  • The Doctor/Jackson Lake – David Morrissey
    • Tennant announced in October 2008 that he was on the way out
    • This, combined with photos of Morrissey on set led to rumors that he’d been cast as the Eleventh Doctor.
    • Russell T. asked him to let the rumors persist so that it would help keep Matt Smith’s casting a secret.
    • He also played the Governor in The Walking Dead in 2012-2013
  • Mercy Hartigan – Dervla Kirwan
    • Appeared in Casanova
    • Later appeared on Law & Order: UK with Freema Agyeman
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  • Creature of the week
    • Cyber Shades
    • Cybermen
    • Cyber Controller
    • CyberKing
    • Mercy Hartigan
  • I’m sorry
    • Episode count: 2
      • Says it to Jackson
      • Says it to Hartigan
      • Running count 10+3
  • Allons-y! Count
    • Episode count: 1+1
      • Both Doctors right at the beginning
    • Running count: 11
    • Avanti!
  • Jiberty Jaberty
    • Info stamp with a cyclo-Steinham core. You ripped open the core and broke the safety, ZAP!
  • Jiggery Pokery
    • Sonic –
      • It makes a noise. That’s sonic, isn’t it?
    • TARDIS –
      • Tethered Aerial Release Designed In Style
      • Jackson calls it nonsense. Complete and utter wonderful nonsense. Very, very silly.
    • Random
      • Yanked a piece off the dimensional vault and used it to transport the CyberKing into the time vortex.
  • Existential horror
    • check!

Who’s Who?

  • Who is The Doctor?
    • Rather dashing, kind of chauvinistic
    • David is the ultimate Doctor
  • Who is Doctor Who?
    • He’s good at doors.
    • “Help me” are two words he never refuses
      • 13 said that in her first episode
      • He’s even willing to help the Cybermen if they’ll stop
    • Time Lord. TARDIS. Enemy of the Cybermen. The one and only.
    • He needs someone to be with him. The Doctor Lake saw that already.
      • He mentions at the end that he isn’t traveling with companions anymore. The Doctor says they break his heart.
    • He says Jackson knows him. Jackson says, “I don’t think anybody really does.”

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Classic Who Connection

  • Jared talks about the Doctor’s swordplay

Overall impressions

  • Overall rating out of 10 –
    • Austin – 8 Rositas
    • Corbin – 7 “sonic” screwdrivers
    • Tripp – 8.5 Cybercontroller brains
    • Jared – 8 dirigible TARDISes
  • Creep Level – out of 500
    • Austin – 125
    • Corbin – 75
    • Tripp – 116
    • Jared – 100

The Game Plan

  • Next week – Classic Who Rewind – Season 1, Story 2: The Daleks
    • For this one, you’ll need a BritBox subscription from Amazon.
    • Use our affiliate link for a seven day free trial to BritBox where you can watch it. When you use our link, we get some of the money, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra.
  • David Tennant Specials – Things get a bit wonky here, so we’ll outline it for your here.
    • Planet of the Dead (Easter special)
    • The Waters of Mars (Autumn special)
    • The End of Time Parts 1 & 2 (Christmas/New Year’s special)

Next Time…

Join us next time for original season 1, episodes 5-11, The Daleks.


Noobs and the Whovian is a production of Master Closet Studios, where it’s always smaller on the inside. Your Senior Producer is Austin Reason. Our Audio Engineer is Tripp Reason. Corbin Reason is our Production Editor. Special thanks to for the trivia, Jared for the Classic Who Connection

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