Was the Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos going to be a Christmas show? Doctor Who Season 11

By: (plus.google.com) +David Herron; Date: December 13, 2018

Tags: Doctor Who »»»» Season 11

There is no Doctor Who Christmas Special this year, because supposedly the show runners could not think of a good Christmas story, and instead we're due for a New Years Special instead. Okaaaay, that's the official story, which we can't quite believe. Especially now that The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos has aired, and shows a young man strapped to what is for all intents a Cross. Was this a failed idea for a Christmas special? If so, it's the closest Doctor Who has ever gotten to a tricky subject like Jesus Christ.

Wouldn't it be a rollicking fun story for the TARDIS to land in what's now Palestine/Israel sometime during the Time of Christ and fight off a Zygon invasion in the middle of the story of Jesus? Okay, maybe not, and surely it would inflame some Christians to have Doctor Who meddle with the story of Christ's birth or the Resurrection or anything. Like, what if The Doctor were to have met Jesus at 12 years old and given him a little pep talk before he went to confront the Priests in the temple? Yeah, that would go over like a lead balloon. We'll have to leave ideas like that to Big Finish.

Therefore having a character strapped to a "Cross" on Christmas day - Maybe that was seen as not a wise move?

What about the story? It's not a Jesus story, because it is on another planet etc, and does not have an explicit Jesus-like character.

Source: BBC, Doctor Who Season 11, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos

We're told of a race of people, The ?Aux?, where there are only ever two people in the race at any one time. The arrangement we're shown is a Teacher-Student structure, where the two of them are wandering through rock quarries in Wales, er, wandering their planet and forming their planet to suit what they understand as The Creator's will. The forming of the planet is done through some kind of mental psychic telekinesis thing. Since the show script didn't bother to try and make a scientific mumbo-jumbo explanation to cover this, we are free to call it Magic.

Possibly the pair of characters is meant to be similar to John The Baptist and Jesus Christ?

A big difference is that the kid is not shown performing the Miracles attributed to Jesus such as making wine from water or raising the dead. Instead the kid is shown mentally gathering rocks together to form a structure floating in the sky.

But then their story gets subverted by the arrival of Tim Shaw (not his real name) who'd appeared in Episode 1 to terrorize Sheffield. As you might recall, The Doctor "solved" that episode by messing with the Tim Shaw's recall device, and it ended up landing him on this planet just at the moment where the kid (Jesus?) was being tested by his teacher (Joan The Baptist?).

The two misidentify Tim Shaw as being their Creator, and start working for him doing his will as if he were a God.

Here's where it could have been a Jesus story where the Jesus character could have been subverted by an evil-doer, like Tim Shaw. Which would inflame all of Christendom because we're told to think Jesus is a mystical being who is one with the God-head, and not just some bloke with an excellent understanding of spiritual principles and a gift for teaching. Say Jesus-of-the-Bible had been subverted by an evil-doer? Woah, that would change history, and if The Doctor were to find that wouldn't there be an episode about preventing a subversion of history?

That's essentially what this story is about. A pair of people with interesting spiritual powers, who were subverted by an evil-doer from another planet, and had been deluded into performing some wickedly evil actions -- stealing whole planets just to build some energy weapon using planetary energies or something.

The Doctor had come across another scheme of similar scale in the 4th Doctor story, The Pirate Planet. Well worth a watch.

In any case - the story is not very much like the story of Jesus Christ, not even a Jesus Christ that was subverted by an evil baddie. The structure of teacher/student is possibly similar to the relationship between John The Baptist and Jesus, but beyond that none of the other elements are in the story. So why did the story have the kid on a Cross?

Source: BBC, Doctor Who Season 11, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos

Source: BBC, Doctor Who Season 11, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos

Source: BBC, Doctor Who Season 11, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos

Then there is this odd sideways Christmas connection.

Graham, getting ready to defy orders to not confront Tim Shaw, sets up a bomb waiting to set it off, and says "Yippie Kai Yay". That phrase - Yippie Kai Yay - is associated with a Bruce Willis movie that for no good reason is associated with Christmas.