The BBC have now released the name of this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, together with a new trailer for the episode, a series of promotional photos and a minisode.
Doctor Who Christmas specials are now part and parcel of the BBC’s festive television line-up, having been broadcast on BBC 1 on Christmas Day since 2005.
The trailer for this year’s special – The Snowmen – was included during last night’s BBC Children in Need telethon, which was broadcast on the corporation’s TV and radio stations throughout Friday evening.
As well as showing Matt Smith’s Doctor sporting a new costume, the trailer features Jenna-Louise Coleman (Room at the Top) – who is joining the series as the Doctor’s new companion – Richard E Grant (Withnail and I) as the villain and a host of murderous-looking fanged snowmen.
As reported byDigital Journal yesterday, Children in Need also included a brand-new minisode: The Great Detective, by Steven Moffat. The four-minute episode features members of the Paternoster Gang talking to a mysterious stranger, and is narrated by Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), who has already appeared in Doctor Who on two previous occasions – The Lazarus Experiment (2007) and The Wedding of River Song (2011) – as well as writing a number of episodes for the series.
The Great Detective, The Snowmen and a further episode, written by Gatiss to be broadcast in 2013, all feature the return of three popular Doctor Who characters – Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and Commander Strax (Dan Starkey) – who were first seen in Moffat’s A Good Man Goes to War (2011).
Each year, BBC Children in Need fundraises for children’s charities throughout the UK. It was set up in 1980, since when it has raised over £600 million. So far, this year’s efforts have secured a record £26 million.
“The Eight Doctor Who Days of Christmas”The Snowmen will bring to a current total of eight Doctor Who Christmas specials, and is the third to be written by Moffat, Doctor Who’s current showrunner. His first, A Christmas Carol (2010), was also Smith’s first Christmas episode. Their second, in 2011, was The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe.
The previous five Christmas specials all starred David Tennant, as the Tenth Doctor: The Christmas Invasion (2005); The Runaway Bride (2006); Voyage of the Damned (2007); The Next Doctor (2008); and The End of Time (2009). All were written by Moffat’s predecessor as head writer and executive producer, Russell T Davies (Wizards vs Aliens).
The End of Time was in fact a two-part story that saw Tennant’s five-year tenure come to a close. The second episode – which was broadcast as a New Year special on 1 January, 2010 – included Smith’s first scene as the Doctor.
The Snowmen is written by Steven Moffat and directed by Saul Metzstein (Upstairs, Downstairs). It will be broadcast on Christmas Day in the UK, Canada and US, with other territories to be announced.