The Doctor Who Christmas Special has become a tradition for Doctor Who since the revival yet I’ve never really been a fan of them. Yeah The Christmas Invasion, The Runaway Bride, A Christmas Carol, and The Husbands of River Song are alright but the others range from bad at their best, but awful at their worst. This mold may be difficult to break out of but as it is a much older and before the creation of the tropes seen in the Christmas specials, The One Doctor is one of my favorite audios. The first thing it does right is the fact that even though this is a Christmas Special, it doesn’t have a thing to do with Christmas with the exception of the post credits scene showing the Doctor and Mel sharing Christmas dinner, referencing “The Feast of Steven” and The Chase. Roberts and Hickman decide to instead just create a Christmas pantomime that parodies the traditional tropes of Doctor Who in a joking fashion.
The plot sees the Doctor and Mel, in the middle of a game of Monopoly, land in the Generios system at the foul end of the universe after receiving a distress call, but when they get there the system has already been saved by the Doctor and his assistant and fiancé Sally Ann. The Doctor doesn’t believe this man as he didn’t feel the presence of another incarnation and of course it isn’t the Doctor, it’s Banto Zame who is a conman creating an alien invasion and using the Doctor’s name to save the system and make money. The twist of the story is there is actually an alien invasion appearing at the end of Part One and the four have to gather the three greatest treasures of the system and get them back to the Cylinder in three hours. This gives us two episodes where we have Mel and Zame on the IKEA Planet where they have to build the Shelves of Infinity while the Doctor and Sally Ann go on a game show where they find Mentos which is a supercomputer who has to answer questions until he gets one wrong. The final treasure is a diamond guarded by a Jelloid. Each treasure is a biting satire on first the Daleks, second the Cybermen and third the idea of all aliens being evil, as some are quite nice. I can’t give away too much of the jokes but know they are great.
Colin Baker and Christopher Biggins as the Doctor and Banto Zame work well off each other as Zame is a parody of Six which the authors are quick to point out, but while Six can be arrogant he is never cruel like Zame. Six may have had the worst introduction but his actions were never this horrible. Biggins steals the show as the conman who has everyone wrapped around his finger and has his arrogance be his own downfall. Again there are plenty of jokes between the two characters which I love and I won’t spoil here. Mel and Sally Ann are greatly performed by Bonnie Langford and Claire Buckfield. Mel really shines as a likeable character as she is ever the optimist and knows to never give up. Her jealousy seen also makes her feel a bit more real as a character which I love. Sally Ann is also great as she is the parody of the much loved Sarah Jane Smith and she has her own goals in life but is tied down with Banto Zame. The supporting cast are all caricatures of other Doctor Who tropes from throughout the Classic Series which I won’t ruin for you if you haven’t gotten to it yet.
To summarize, The One Doctor knows what satire is and how to do it well as it goes with the least liked team of Doctor Who history and makes them likable again. Everything about this story is perfect and if you haven’t gotten it yet, what are you waiting for? 100/100