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Doctor Who Christmas special

The Doctor, The Widow, The Wardrobe, The Wine

The Doctor Who Christmas special press launch is as much of a tradition for GT as the show itself these days, but for once we’re not reporting on last nights screening with a hangover.

And that’s not because it wasn’t a good party, because it was – despite Who supremo Steven Moffatt announcing that Amy and Rory would have a ‘heartbreaking departure’ at some point in the next series. But then he announced there was going to be a new companion so we had photographs taken by the TARDIS and pretended it was going to be us (“I would love to travel in time and space with you, but I’m BUSY!”)

The screening was held in the studio vacated this week by Strictly Come Dancing (they’re in Blackpool for the final) and once the 60 minute episode and Q&A with Steven and leading man Matt Smith were over, a HUGE curtain slowly rose up to the strains of the TARDIS materialisation sound to reveal the TARDIS standing behind it in an actual winter forest.

With wine.

But we digress, the REASON there was a forest hidden behind a curtain in a studio at BBC Television Centre is because a lot of this year’s special – The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe – is set in a magical alien Christmas snow-covered forest. As the title suggests it’s a bit of a play on the Narnia installment, except this time it’s a giant Christmas present that provides the gateway to a world of adventure.

There’s no ‘stunt’ casting this year (meaning that there’s no singers cast in the role of companion) but there are three comedians – Bill Bailey, Arabella Weir and Paul Bazely – cast in the roles of alien harvesters who actually feel somewhat underused.

Claire Skinner, as feisty 40s mum Madge Arwell, is at the heart of the episode, which plays on a seasonal sentimentally for family. So if you don’t care one jot for a mother and her children then you might not be as caught up as, say, when Kylie plunged to her death in Voyage of the Damned, or when Kazran and Abigail spent their last night together in A Christmas Carol.

Being honest, we were more upset when the Empress of the Racnoss lost her kids in 2006’s Christmas episode *cough*geek*cough*

However, TDTWATW pulls out all the big guns traditionally required for 60 minutes of peak-time Christmas viewing and is beautifully directed by Farren Blackburn (The Fades). Essential viewing, obviously.

Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe is on BBC One, Christmas Day, 7pm

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