Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

It’s a holiday hindsight episode, but maybe not the cheeriest one? Join Deb, Kat, and Liz as they discuss what turns out to be nobody’s favourite Christmas special. (Yes, Erika titled this episode. Muahahaha!)

Have you rewatched this story recently? If so, what did you think, and how did that compare with how you felt about it in the first place? Drop us a tweet or let us know in the comments!


Happy things:

Liz on Big Finish Podcast
Extra-special thanks to this week’s editor, Steven Schapansky of Castria!
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Download or listen now (runtime 58:02) 

Comments on: "Episode 241 – Fantastic Voyage of the Damned" (5)

  1. Melissa said:

    I had seen this episode before and my basic memory was that I had liked it. I listened to the podcast before re-watching so I could watch with your criticisms in mind. My first viewing was as a Doctor Who newbie and was unaware that there was such a thing as special Christmas episodes to start off a new season. Upon my re-watching today, I can see how someone anticipating a new season and watching it on or near Christmas Day could have a lot more issues with it, especially all the un-necessary deaths that occur. My overall opinion, however, doesn’t seem to have change over the years and remains mostly favorable. One positive aspect I think was over-looked in the discussion (forgive me if I missed it) was the character of Midshipman Frame. I think the portrayal of a young man fresh into his career choosing to stay dedicated to the standards of duty and remain on the bridge in addition to doing his best to question authority when he felt the Captain was acting dangerously was a good thing to see. He should be and hopefully was commended. My only other comment is in regards to a blink and you miss it portion of the Doctor’s dialogue. When asked by Astrid what this Christmas thing is all about he replies, “Long story. I should know. I was there. I took the last room.” That one quick line that he took the last room did make me laugh. I don’t know if it was meant as a jab at Christianity or not, but as a Christian the image of the Doctor taking the last room in Bethlehem did make me giggle.

  2. KazzaD said:

    This is one of the current era Doctor Who stories that reminds me of why I love classic Doctor Who.

    Yes, there is sexism and lone female characters in many Doctor Who stories, but there are a surprisingly large number of women who can avoid throwing themselves under a bus for other characters.

    Sadly, Mr Chibnall seems to think that this kind of episode is Doctor-Who-high-art and keeps trying to copy it.

  3. Icon_UK said:

    I did not enjoy “Voyage of the Damned”, but I can sort of see why they made it.

    Back in the day (ie RTD’s childhood and a goodly chunk of mine too now I think about it), showing big movies over Christmas was the norm, and a staple of that tradition was “The Poseidon Adventure” which got an annual showing (on one of the three channels available to us), and I think that’s why it was chosen as a theme/motif for the story, because it’s something older viewers would be very familiar with and associate with Christmas, for better or worse.

    The fact anyone decent, or brave, or kind, dies horribly, Some nice design choices to one side, it’s an unrelenting bleak story, and this being the source of the Doctor’s “I am the Doctor and I’ll save you all” is a source of slight, but constant, sardonic amusement.

    The only survivors being the lying conman and the self-serving businessman was a frankly bizarre option to choose and I have NEVER understood that choice. This was a chance to subvert the tropes of a disaster movie, and they just… don’t.

    Still, it’s thanks to this that we got Wilf the following season, so I can forgive it SOME things…

  4. Bill T said:

    I didn’t hear you say it in the Podcast so I’ll mention here – this whole episode is The Poseidon Adventure …in Space!! The Doctor is Gene Hackman, Kylie Minogue is Pamela Sue Martin. The difference here of course is The Doctor lives and Kylie goes down.

    You mentioned Fat Shaming, yes you are correct, and yes it is in the original. The difference there is Shelly Winter fat shames herself, it isn’t imposed on her, at least not strongly. And being fat and out of shape is what eventually kills her.

    Lazy writing? Yep. The first one was a by the numbers disaster film. The Towering Inferno in the Ocean. Not terribly original except for flipping the ship over. Capsize happens I guess. But RTD stealing the same plot beats to put the Doctor in it is the Laziest of all.

  5. I hear you. I hear you all. And I cannot defend this episode. I enjoy it, but I cannot defend it. I can’t even explain why I like it. It is bad for all the reasons you mentioned. But it’s not the worst Doctor Who I’ve ever seen.

    But the visceral response that I was hearing from Deb… I am just mystified.

    There is only one story of Doctor Who that I feel that way about, and that is “Ghost Light.” It offends me that it exists. It offends me personally that we have lost so many episodes of Doctor Who, probably forever. But that piece of excrement exists. Proof that there is no justice.

    But “Voyage”? It’s not great, but it’s the not the worst I’ve seen. I mean, I didn’t hear such a venomous response to “Orphan 55.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of you speak with such vitriol about “Fear Her.” And I know how much you love Mark Gatiss, but I don’t think even you would defend “Sleep No More.”

    So what the heck?

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