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article imageDoctor Who returns to its roots for Christmas Day

By Mathew Wace Peck     Dec 25, 2012 in Entertainment
The BBC returns Doctor Who to its roots for this year’s now-traditional Christmas Day episode – which usually offers a good dose of tinsel with the sci-fi intrigue.
The Snowmen – written by the show’s head writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat, and directed by Saul Metzstein (Upstairs Downstairs) – will be broadcast in the UK on BBC 1 on Christmas Day at 5.15 p.m., the same time the very first episode, An Unearthly Child, of the long-running science-fiction television was broadcast in 1963.
This year’s Christmas episode will mark the beginning of the show’s fiftieth-anniversary celebrations, which will begin in earnest in April 2013 with a further eight episodes.
The Christmas Day special will also herald a few other nods to Doctor Who’s past, including a new version of Ron Grainer’s iconic theme tune, a revamped title sequence – which, according to Digital Spy, “Long-time Who fans will love […] guaranteed!” – and a brand-new TARDIS control room, which has been designed by Michael Pickwoad with the TARDIS console harking back to the original design by Peter Brachacki.
The Snowmen will be broadcast in the UK, US and Canada on Christmas Day (times vary), with other countries following over the festive
Listing for the first episode of Doctor Who in 1963
Listing for the first episode of Doctor Who in 1963
Radio Times
period. It introduces the Doctor’s new companion, Clara, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman (Asylum of the Daleks). It also stars Richard E Grant (Withnail and I) as Doctor Simeon and Sir Ian McKellen (The Hobbit) as the voice of the Snowmen.
McKellen follows in the footsteps of other well-known actors whose voices have been heard in Doctor Who episodes – but without making a physical appearance – including Brian Cox in The End of Time (2009/10), Michael Sheen in The Doctor’s Wife (2011) and Mark Gatiss in The Great Detective (2012).
A prequel minisode – Vastra Investigates – can be viewed at the top of this story or via YouTube. The minisode sees the return of the Paternoster Gang, last seen in The Great Detective, who will also feature in the Christmas special.
Eight Doctor Who Christmas specials, and counting …
The Snowmen will see a current total of eight Doctor Who Christmas specials. It is the third to be written by Moffat, and to star Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor. Their first, A Christmas Carol, was broadcast in 2010. 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 –
Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara) and Matt Smith (the Doctor) from the 2012 Christmas episode of Doctor W...
Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara) and Matt Smith (the Doctor) from the 2012 Christmas episode of Doctor Who
Radio Times
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.
A spoiler-free preview by Patrick Mulkern can be read online at the Radio Times website.
For a round-up of this years Who merchandise, see Earl Dittman’s review, “The Ultimate Doctor Who Christmas gift-giving guide”, here on Digital Journal.
Doctor Who’s fiftieth-anniversary celebrations will continue throughout next year, with 23 November 2013 being the actual fiftieth anniversary of the world’s oldest television science-fiction series, beating Star Trek by three years.
More about Doctor Who, Matt smith, David tennant, Steven moffat, Ian mckellen
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