It’s that time of year again when everything that isn’t breathing gets ceremonially covered in heaps of fairy lights and buckets of glitter and Doctor Who is certainly no exception. It has become over the last few years a Christmas tradition in households all over Britain and indeed globally. The Christmas specials consistently have the highest viewing figures of any other episodes pulling over 5 million extra viewers in previous years.
So far a teaser trailer has been released along with a short clip shown for Children in Need from the episode called ‘Last Christmas’. Although it’s no surprise that Nick Frost and Natalie Gumede are cast as the twinkling guest stars this year fans were kept in the dark as to any other details until recently. In the teaser trailer we see Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) as Santa Claus backed by two elves and of course it’s set in the North Pole. All sounding pretty jolly so far! But this is Doctor Who so obviously the North Pole looks like a (snowy) derelict space station and of course there are some pretty disturbing corpse-like beings and a large dripping alien mouth. The Doctor himself doesn’t look best pleased to be there either. There’s not a huge amount to be extrapolated from these very brief yet frightening glimpses of what’s to come except that the mood of the episode does appear to be in keeping with the series so far; toeing the line between light-hearted fun and a newly discovered dark side that is as compelling as it is fearsome.
More recently fans were treated to a two and a half minute sneak peak as a feature for Children In Need. This clip shows Nick Frost putting his own spin on the iconic role, as witty and refreshing as he is jolly and clichéd, we find him alongside his cynical backing elves trying to convince Clara of his reality. This short clip seems particularly well put together, almost symbolic as the mood darkens abruptly with the arrival of the Doctor. Clara is told to get into the TARDIS and as soon as she is absent the two proceed to verbally spar with each other. ‘I know what this is and I know what’s happening and I know what’s at stake,’ the Doctor tells Santa ominously.
Whether Danny or Missy will be making an appearance remains to be seen, one can only hope for both! Though a return from Danny Pink does seem likely, particularly in regards to the rumoured exit of current companion Clara Oswald. Both Jenna Coleman and Stephen Moffat have remained silent in regards to the rumours stating that announcing if she’s staying or going would ‘ruin the surprise’. The title ‘Last Christmas’ has got most fans, however, expecting her departure; Coleman has had one of the longest runs of any companion and has not been confirmed for another series although some unconfirmed reports have surfaced in the last few days stating that she will be staying after all.
There is also the question of whether we will see the return of any other time lords or indeed Gallifrey itself in series 8 as many were expecting after the 50th anniversary special. The (pretty huge) revelation that Gallifrey is still in existence somewhere has seemingly been forgotten as has any attempt at finding it in the regeneration process. Christmas would seem to be a likely platform for re-introducing the time lords en masse, taking advantage of the higher viewing figures and the opportunity for a show-altering cliff-hanger.
Either way Moffat is successfully creating a sack full of possibility, expectation and suspense. Just what every Whovian wants for Christmas!
Images © BBC.