Looking positively Dickensian, the Doctor is about to face off against a new enemy and get himself a brand new companion. It’s Christmas! Here’s the lowdown and a gallery of images.
Just as it has the last few years, the Doctor Who Christmas special debuts at the same night and time in the U.K. and the U.S. Here in the States, BBC America will show the special at 9:00pm on Christmas night, December 25th.
Can you believe this will be the third Christmas special starring Matt Smith and written by Steven Moffat? Doesn’t seem possible.
Anyway, this year’s special is titled “The Snowmen,” and follows-up on the mid-season finale, “The Angels Take Manhattan,” where the Doctor lost Amy and Rory. Based on the trailer and the prequel episode, it looks like the Doctor has gotten himself into a serious funk, particularly regarding Amy, his BFF. Enter new companion Clara, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, who looks like just the ticket to get the Doctor back in the swing of things. If you haven’t seen the prequel yet, you should probably watch it now:
For starters, she herself is a riddle. Coleman played an identical character in this season’s premiere episode, “Asylum of the Daleks,” but that character was named Oswin Oswald. That episode took place in the modern day, or possibly the future (since Oswin was a crew member on a human spaceship, and we don’t really have any of those yet). Clara appears to be a character living in Victorian London, yet the trailer for the Christmas special hints that she may have prior knowledge of the Doctor. See for yourself:
Oh, Steven Moffat, how you love to mess with our minds.
A trio of old friends from the pivotal Season 6 episode, “A Good Man Goes to War,” Vastra, Jenny, and Strax, are back for this adventure, too. (Didn’t Strax the Sontaran die in that episode?) And then there’s the new villains: the Snowmen. They look like Tim Burton’s nightmare version of normal snowmen, and appear to be CGI creations. You can see them in one of the photos below. In the story, they’re lead (or controlled?) by one Doctor Simeon, played by actor Richard E. Grant.
Moffat seems to enjoy taking familiar Christmas stories and flipping them on their heads for his Doctor Who Christmas specials. The first one featured Michael Gambon as a Scrooge-like character, in a new spin on A Christmas Carol. The second was a clever twist on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. (Which isn’t actually a Christmas tale, but it’s remembered that way by many because it’s partially set in a snowy land.) On the surface, this new one looks like it’s taking on A Christmas Carol again, only with the Doctor in the Scrooge role. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Moffat is up to something else altogether. The man is a master of misdirection.
But back to the big mystery. Who do you think Clara is? Is she Oswin’s great-great-great-grandmother? Is she Oswin, somehow alive, converted back into a human (remember, she was changed into a Dalek), and living in Victorian London? Hey, don’t scoff — it could happen. Rory Williams was not only killed but erased from existence, yet he still managed to turn up later as a plastic Auton disguised as a Roman soldier. Just who or what is Clara? Is she even human?
And more to the point: do you think Steven Moffat will reveal the answer to this right away? Or will he stretch the mystery of Oswin/Clara out over the remainder of the season (or even farther, a la River Song)?
Following the Christmas special, Jenna-Louise Coleman joins Matt Smith full time as his new co-star, with the remaining eight episodes of Season 7 set to air next Spring.