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December 25th, 2023 32 comments

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Doctor Who The Church on Ruby Road BBC1 17.55

Long ago, on Christmas Eve, a baby was abandoned in the snow. Today, Ruby Sunday meets the Doctor, goblins, stolen babies and, perhaps, the secret of her birth.



  • WhoCollector

    January 10th, 2024 - 2:02pm

    Theres a professional and normal way of handling it, and theres a condescending way of handling it. I enjoyed Ahsoka and Loki – shows many call “woke”. I really disliked the Chibnall era and this new era of the show, not because it’s woke. Thats not the issue. RTD is sitting in a bubble of his own, if he thinks everyone talks about everything that makes them unique – constantly. Cool, we have a wheelchair user in the show – thats great, it really is. Changing the Tardis to have a ramp, cool. Pulling the ramp out and making a point and statement from it, within 2 seconds… thats ridiculous preaching . Whats that, the show is including a trans person in the main cast, Thats great. Do you know whats stupid, using that as the solution to the story. There is more to people than gender politics. Thats literally all Rose Noble was, i cant think of ANY scenes – ANY! That don’t mention Gender politics subtly or overtly. Thats literally all her character is.

    The Same thing happened with Shirley. Most of (not to the same extent though) her scenes involve mentioning disability or making points.

    Suddenly Davros is not allowed to have his iconic appearance that he has had for the past 50 odd years. Why? Because they are frightened that they will offend disabled people – when most people never connected the two things. Speaks more about how RTD views people. Disabled people can be villains. Disabled people can be Heroes. But, in the land of TV – RTD can’t comprehend that. All i will say, is – Paralympics…

    People are looking to be offended by anything and everything, comedy isnt as good as it was 10 – 20 years ago. Nor is Doctor Who. Depression is on the rise, mental health issues are on the rise. There is an undeniable correlation. Because people cant have a laugh, or be them selves. People have to put a filter on what they say, because they dont know how people handle jokes now.

    Diversity is a wonderful and powerful thing, when handled with care. The problem is, that in current day – it’s handled pathetically and heavily handed. Just because someone is different; it doesnt make them some higher power (or better than anyone else, they are the same as everyone else)

    Funny isn’t it, how Marvel films are doing appallingly now though. I think general population has other thoughts on TV/Film.

    Anyway – to summarise , I like Gatwa – I dont like RTD2. He is wasting Gatwa. He is ruining his legacy, and He is being self centred and selfish.

  • Trenzalore

    January 9th, 2024 - 6:34am

    I remember being in the anti woke pipeline years ago until I grew up and realised i was being manipulated to feel angry about things that aren’t worth getting angry about. Things based in delusion to the point of conspiracy and not facts. Hopefully some of you can turn off GB News and do the same. I liked the story.

  • Doctor Stu

    January 7th, 2024 - 11:03pm

    Weekly’s will be high as it’s a new doctor, what will be really interesting is the figures for episode 1 of the pathetically rebooted ‘series 1’. That will be interesting to see how many viewers it loses. On one hand I’m glad it’s an unnecessary American deliberately inflammatory and ‘modern’ reboot as it allows me to imagine the proper show ended with Tennant settling down with Donna and retiring to unit. And this flogging of a dead horse sprinkled in trendy Twitter fairy dust is a completely different show

  • The Moffat Paradox

    January 4th, 2024 - 9:41pm

    While I share others concerns expressed here as to just what post Series 1-4 RTD thinks he’s really up to and if it’s hubris asking for a reckoning what do people make of the reported rumoured spin off being made featuring the Sea Devils being called “The War Between The Land & The Sea” ?

  • WhoCollector

    January 4th, 2024 - 3:14pm

    If im being honest, series 4 has gone down in my rankings. The way RTD has this ability to hype people up, and deliver things less exciting than Chris Chibnalls era – that takes some doing! The Series 4 final has lost ALL emotion and impact, which – was the only major series 4 thing that i tend to remember (other than River Song)

    Its a shame, he didnt only mess up his new era in 2023 – but also his old era, simultaneously.

  • Doctor Stu

    January 4th, 2024 - 2:08pm

    I find it so difficult talking about him because I’m simultaneously still adoring all his work for series 1-4 but saying positive things about him leaves a sour taste in my mouth thinking about how far he’s fallen and how indoctrinated he’s become by pretending Davros is offensive and the toymaker is racist it’s just one ridiculous statement after another. It’s so hard for a minority to exist on television nowadays as they aren’t being included anymore within a cast, they are DELIBERATELY being made the cast, they’re being used as tokens and agendas and trends and appeasement for Twitter and corporation guidelines and it’s incredibly patronizing to the general audience, the people they’re pandering to and trying to represent and the actors themselves. There is only one reason this Doctor is who this Doctor is and it’s not because he was the best actor for the job. He was always going to be this.

  • WhoCollector

    January 4th, 2024 - 10:23am

    “ More broadly, throughout the ‘festive fortnight’ (19 Dec 23 – 1 Jan 24), the dramatic reveal of EastEnders ‘The Six’ storyline on Christmas Day topped the chart as the most popular episode on iPlayer (2.96m) – followed by the climax to the second series of Vigil (2.19m), Rick Astley bringing in the New Year (2.02m)- and Call the Midwife (2.01m) and Doctor Who’s Christmas specials (1.79m).” – extract from BBC news

    Slightly concerned that “Christmas Specials” has been worded very particularly. I imagine a lot of people will have rewatched old ones. Cant trust the way BBC word things; they are like politicians

  • Pats86

    January 3rd, 2024 - 6:54pm

    What’s happened is “woke”
    It worries me and sadness me to see RTD throw away such a national treasure of a show.
    I was initially very happy to find our RTD was coming back, never expected to see how it is panning out?

  • WhoCollector

    January 3rd, 2024 - 10:12am

    When will weekly viewing figures announcement drop? Really curious

  • Benjit

    January 2nd, 2024 - 7:38pm

    The “cope” on this thread is incredible. As a Dr Who fan for 30 plus years, I take no pleasure in seeing it’s demise. But this IP is dying. Pretending otherwise just hastens it’s demise. Worst viewing figures ever for a Christmas special and a debut story. Whatever you want to call it. Woke. Progressive. Doesn’t matter. It’s not story or character based. It’s all about indoctrination.

  • Jim

    January 1st, 2024 - 6:48am

    Yeah… its all a slippery slope, as they clearly are ‘box-checking,’ and proudly talk about it. And then when people notice, it’s all “how dare you notice!?!?”

    It happens so often post-2020 that it’s a lot more noticeable, and thus more annoying. You kind of see the seams… where they painstakingly count to ensure the proper levels of ‘representation’ in every scene. (or in every family, like Job’s in Good Omens 2… ) Once you see it, you can’t UNsee it. I wish I could, because it’s so irritating!

    It’s jarring because it doesn’t ring true, and it’s there to score ‘points’ rather than serve the story. And whether we like it or don’t like it, it IS something a whole heck of a lot of people are noticing and talking about. Both pro and con.’s a big thing, that’s intentional. And is definitely something that’s driving people away from ALL the entertainment franchises these days. (Marvel, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Disney, etc.)

    Heck, I still watch most of it and argue with my friends about the Woke-levels, usually saying “oh its not THAT bad” in this or that case. But… they really are tuning out, mostly or completely. And they’re not alone, as the falling ratings and box office receipts for everything indicate. Yeah, it’s not ALL of the reason for said declines. (As I argue with my friends… it’s not Wokeness that is the problem with the Disney Star Wars sequels, but lameness and character assassination! ) But it’s definitely a part. And it’s not smart to alienate a big chunk of your audience.

    Of course, we’re all in our ‘bubbles’ and see or NOT see all these things accordingly! Obviously I and my friends are in our right-bubble, as are the people decrying woke. In the other bubble they simultaneously praise and deny the existence of woke.

    I see part of an interview w/ Gatwa making that point, about how he lives totally in a left-liberal bubble, and there’s a great episode of Who coming up that deals with that. So… I don’t know whether to look forward to or dread that one….

    oh… and by the gay stuff, yeah, it was that line, but then a lot more in this latest episode, as Gatwa’s gay and they’re clearly making that part of the Doctor this time….which is being talked about a lot everywhere already. So, not saying good or bad here, but just, obviously IS a thing. Which people will react to , pro or con or neutral.

  • Doctor Stu

    December 31st, 2023 - 8:45pm

    It’s absolutely dreadful so far, haven’t even finished watching it before reading the comments because I can’t be bothered and simply do not care enough if I’m spoilt. Just feels like fetishy wish fulfillment from RTD that as long as he has a hot gay young man in the role and as much diversity, diversity, trendy, trendy in as possible, then that’s fine and everything else can just come second. A plot? Who needs that?

    It’s embarrassing that this is the man who gave us series 1-4. What the hell has happened?

  • The Temporal Jelly Baby

    December 31st, 2023 - 7:38pm

    Thank you for your answer, Jim. I appreciate you explaining your perspective. I don’t want to risk causing an argument (my curiosity was genuine), but I might as well reply back!

    Given RTD’s comments on the matter, I won’t deny the diverse casting is likely sometimes intentional. That being said, I didn’t notice Isaac Newton’s skin colour being a few shades darker than in reality, nor did I notice Ruby’s band friend is trans, nor did I count the number of white males. I feel like there’s a certain degree of searching for so-called wokeness, even if subconsciously.

    I agree with Fred: there often seems to be an assumption that any LGBTQ+, non-white, female or disabled character in a film or TV show is only there as some sort of box-ticking exercise. It can be a rather dodgy assumption. Is there a question of overrepresentation compared to percentages of the actual population? Maybe in a couple of areas, but I’d have to do further research. But in terms of trans characters, we’ve basically had 1 with Rose Noble. I don’t know if Ruby’s band member even had any lines. Maybe 1 or 2 lines? I’m also not sure what you mean by the ‘gay stuff’ with the Doctor, aside from 1 line (which I also hadn’t noticed) in Wild Blue Yonder.

    I will say that the “male-presenting Time Lord” line in ‘The Star Beast’ is dreadful, but it’s also very much the opposite of progressive.

    Sandman is very easily one of my favourite shows in the past decade. I thought it was consistently really good. I guess we just disagree on that one! I found season 2 of Good Omens to be a couple of steps down from season 1, but not because of anything ‘woke’. Anyway, back to Doctor Who!

    Yes, I’d say he is criticizing his past self to an extent. I disagree with RTD regarding his recent comments on Davros, but that’s a good example since he was perfectly happy to use Davros in series 4.

    I don’t know about the link between ‘wokeness’ and viewing figures. Again, I’d have to do further research. Though to give an example, I wouldn’t say the Chibnall era lost viewers because of the Doctor being a woman or anything of the sort. I’d say viewers were lost through nonsensical storylines (e.g. Flux), bland characters (most of the companions) and silly ideas (e.g. Timeless Child), amongst various other things.

  • Fred

    December 30th, 2023 - 9:55am

    Jim, you can’t possibly claim that the mere existence of a trans actor is “woke” (I also absolutely detest that word), without recognising that as prejudice. These people DO exist in the world. The alternative is not featuring them on screen at all—how is that an improvement?

    I really dislike this thing of “why can’t they just cast the best actor for the role regardless?” Well, you don’t know that they didn’t. You’re assuming that they didn’t, because the cast isn’t white. Maybe that makes me woke, but in that case I’m very proud to be.

    I didn’t particularly like the episode either for what it’s worth, but thought it was quite fun.

  • Pam

    December 28th, 2023 - 10:41am

    very exciting story with the goblins taking newborns for the goblin king to eat, the new 15th doctor is quite an character with the stunts regarding clinging onto the ladder of the goblin ship. Ruby Sunday looks like to have an interesting background story to why she was abandoned at the church. Looking forward to 2024 for more stories on their adventures.

  • Henry Collins

    December 28th, 2023 - 6:25am

    Yeah I’m sorry but the Dr who serious has been lost to me now ,I have always been a fan of Dr who ,but I’m loosing interest now that Dr who is now a guy that played on the barbie movie .I’m not prejudice but the guy acts fruitier than a cocktail drink

  • Jim

    December 27th, 2023 - 8:49pm

    the wokeness is ever-present in the self-consciously always-diverse casting choices, (like Isaac Newton a couple episodes ago! And I think like, one white male with a speaking line this time?) plus the trans stuff (here again with Ruby’s band friend), and gay stuff (here subtly with the Doctor). Its just kind of relentless. And as WhoCollector points out , RTD brags about it, so its obviously intentional. Why not just hire good casting choices that are right for the role and seem like, reflective of the actual population ?

    I keep watching, since I’m stubborn, but there’s a point where it becomes SO on-Message all the time that it quickly becomes unwatchable… I reached that point rapidly with the Netflix Sandman series and season two of Good Omens.

    I do think the new Doctor is very likeable and fun, as is Ruby, so it CAN be good. But they have to stop being so jarring with the casting and scripting. I mean… old RTD seasons weren’t that way. Is he implictly criticizing himself for not being diverse enough the last time around? Now he, and all these other creators, are VASTLY overcorrecting their previous oversights, to the point where it becomes distracting. It’s just not going to succeed in the ratings. None of this stuff EVER does. You think they’d eventually realize that! It’s all so frustrating and depressing.

  • The Temporal Jelly Baby

    December 27th, 2023 - 3:50pm

    Ncuti made a good first impression and Millie seems great too. However, the script didn’t provide Ncuti with a standout Doctor moment, such as Matt Smith facing the Atraxi, so hopefully that’ll come early in the next season. There were a couple of scenes in the Sunday household where I was less absorbed in the story, but I very much enjoyed it overall.

    I’m curious as to what anyone found “woke” (I hate that word) about the episode. I can sort of understand the complaints when it comes to ‘The Star Beast’, as that features some unsubtle commentary on gender identity, but I didn’t notice anything of the sort in the Christmas episode.

  • NB7

    December 27th, 2023 - 11:17am

    I do agree totally with this.
    The trans element in particular is a very grey area. As a parent myself with a child just under 2 these issues are full of pressure on us as a family especially where the future takes us.
    One day my daughter could decide she wants to be trans and that’s totally fine with me totally fine. The issue is what if it happens while she’s under 18?! As a parent and guardian do you go along with the child who wants to be something else and then years to come as an adult changes her mind and asks us why we didn’t stop her if she regrets it or the way round, why didn’t we do more to help her on this road. It’s a very difficult issue for all involved and at the moment DoctorWho isn’t helping with that. My niece is 11 and has changed her gender several times. These messages coming from the boss of current doctor who who has no children telling kids what they should do. I’d like to think we’re going to be cool parents as the years go by but there will be bumps in the road and this is one bloody big bump. Again I’ve absolutely no problem with people being what they want to be but aiming it at young children isn’t in my opinion the best idea. Most people I know agree with this and the next series will completely fail due to these issues.

  • Anomie

    December 26th, 2023 - 10:30pm

    Like the 60th anniversary specials, church did impressively well in the ratings overnight. Third place overall for the day and taking top spot for a scripted (non reality show) programme.

  • Anomie

    December 26th, 2023 - 8:44pm

    Third most watched programme of the day and also the highest rated scripted show of the day. Still people seem determined to just complain.

  • Young j

    December 26th, 2023 - 4:19pm

    this doctor who Christmas special The church on ruby road was amazing and very good

  • WhoCollector

    December 26th, 2023 - 12:23pm

    And, i do genuinely believe whenever a show, or movie, make’s diversity its main selling point… (the opposite of when a show casts diverse people and they focus on advertising a story and plot – not the people they cast) which all the cast, all the actors and all the media have constantly mentioned – there’s usually an empty shell behind it. There was once a time writers prided them selves on story telling with subtle messages that allowed the audience to question – now they pride them selves on preaching, and dictating to the audience.

    It is poetic in a way, RTD resurrected the show… at least he is here to probably send it off.

  • WhoCollector

    December 26th, 2023 - 12:06pm

    I get the impression that this new era of doctor who, is only being used as a platform, by RTD. I actually really rate Ncuti as the Doctor and as an actor, but the direction of the show feels like RTD is trying to slowly make Doctor Who into “Its a Sin 2.0”, because it has a bigger reach as a brand. I lost interest in Doctor Who with Whittaker, it became “on the nose woke” – which i was able to ignore in series 10 with capaldi; because it has good stories. Eaters of light was skipped though, too boring. (dont mistake that for what the show has always been) – 60th, shot it self in the foot from the start – but episodes 2/3 were good (again, with some questionable decisions…) However, this doesnt have the luxury of nostalgia and David Tennant! Its actually really annoying, because i can tell Ncuti is the right pick for the job, and will easily be a top 5 Doctor. Doctor who was that last little bit of escapism, but RTD is having a bit of a power complex at the minute. For example, he genuinely believes running Doctor Who is his “birth right” (quoted…) Theres just several things and comments he has made over the last few years that have made me loose the respect, and admiration i had for him, prior. He seems quite arrogant, and ironically, has a bigger closed mind than most fans.

    Examples include, Struggling to disassociate disability and evil… thats very much a him problem. Only certain people can play certain parts… i forgot that David Tennant was actually a Timelord.

    It sounds really horrible to say, but RTD is treating diversity like a circus – and thats really insulting. People arent puppets, diversity isnt a show for people to stare at. Except, pretty much all the major casting announcements that have been announced, to date, are diverse actors. Its overkill. Its using people to make a message.

    The cast and crew behind the scenes; they literally made a video for some saints day, its on the YouTube channel. RTD didnt set his choices to “who will do the job best?” – instead he has blatantly came out and said, he was hiring as diverse a cast as he could.

    Thats were my issue lays. I wouldnt want a surgeon, who is untrained and has barely any experience in their job, to perform surgery – Over a fully qualified and experienced person, because they are diverse.

    In conclusion, RTD has become too big for his boots. The higher you are, the greater the fall.

  • The Moffat Paradox

    December 26th, 2023 - 11:22am

    And when he is such a champion of the license fee, the fear is he could end up, becoming one of the best advertisements for its abolition.

  • Anonymous

    December 25th, 2023 - 10:02pm

    I do believe this new era is gonna be somewhat different and refreshing for the show, makes me wonder if Ruby is a human also but I’m also hoping it’s not the case and she’s some alien because for once it would be nice not having a human companion like previous. And without a doubt we gonna be revisiting that church. There is more to it than meets the eye and I do hope we see more God like characters come into the show as it’ll introduce a whole new concept. Even if they introduced a multiverse as well and say The Doctor is from a completely different universe. Just so many questions now but answers that will probably never be answered or answered further down the line. Who knows.

  • Dalek Eye Stalk

    December 25th, 2023 - 8:23pm

    Overall a quite underwhelming episode. After the first ten minutes my family watching said if it wasn’t Doctor Who, they would have been scrolling through the other channels for something else. For me personally I just found it average at best, but to be honest, there aren’t many Doctor Who Christmas Specials I actually find brilliant anyway.

  • Mark @ Terraqueous

    December 25th, 2023 - 7:40pm

    Some spoilers in my post, so please don’t read on, if you haven’t seen the episode yet.

    Just finished watching this, and there was a lot to enjoy.

    Ncuti has such charisma, its so easy to like his Doctor from the start.

    I know that luck and coincidence played a huge part in this story. But the steeple piercing the Goblin King where it did, and baby Ruby landing in the Doctor’s arms exactly where he stood, were all too convenient.
    It seemd like such an easy resolve.

    I’d of preferred a mad dash and slide to make the catch.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how Anita Dobson’s character unfolds.

    I’m definitely left wanting more, which is hownit should be.

  • Sylvia & Robert Swarbrick

    December 25th, 2023 - 7:32pm

    Absolutely brilliant new episode for xmas day 2023, nearly as good as David Tennant, well done.
    Looking forward to the next series now

  • Pats86

    December 25th, 2023 - 7:08pm

    Goblins were amusing, Ruby Sunday was pretty good, the new Doctor was a massive improvement on Jodie Whittaker.
    Yet I feel somewhat let down, I was expecting much better.
    Not convinced that RTD is the right choice as showrunner, feeling like his agenda will drag the show down further and I never thought that was possible.
    Got to give the new season a go though and hope it’s OK?

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