Ranking the Doctor Who Christmas Specials

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David Tennant and Kylie Minogue in “Voyage of the Damned”. (Photo: BBC)

9. Voyage of the Damned

“Voyage of the Damned” was David Tennant’s second Christmas special as the Doctor and expectations were high. On the plus side, “Voyage of the Damned” was super successful. Over thirteen million people tuned in, making it (still!) the highest-rated Doctor Who episode of the modern era. The downside? This is a mediocre story, at best. Not bad, exactly. But not great, either.

This episode is probably most recognized for two things. One, the story is set on a spaceship version of the Titanic. Two, pop star Kylie Minogue guest stars. To be fair, Minogue is actually pretty charming in her role as doomed waitress Astrid Perth. And she’s hardly the weakest link in this episode, which has a bunch of other problems. Not the least of which being that it features Ten at his most pompous and obnoxious. And that there’s a moment where robotic angels lift him skyward like he’s a religious icon. (Man, this show was not subtle in its character tropes back then.)

That said, “Voyage of the Damned” has its entertaining moments. It’s a mostly silly take on a ’70s disaster movie. To be more specific, it’s basically The Poseidon Adventure, just in space and with murderous robot angels wandering around. The Doctor must thwart the ship owner’s plan to crash the Titanic into Earth. And he’s got a ragtag group of other guests – including Astrid – to help him. It’s generally fun to watch, largely due to Tennant and Minogue’s unexpected chemistry, some solid supporting characters, and the general reaction of London to another holiday-related alien threat.

Is this an episode you’re going to watch repeatedly? Unlikely. But there are worse ways to spend an hour or so during a holiday binge.