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Dressing To Impress (2011)

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FOR a man who wears a tweed jacket and tie, it's no wonder that even as a child Matt Smith was an eccentric dresser.

As the Doctor Who star prepares for his second Christmas special, the 29-year-old admits that whenever he got pyjamas as a present he'd put them on and wear them all day.

The mischievous actor also revealed that his grandad has an aversion to dressing gowns, so it's now a tradition to buy him one every year.

He said: "The best present I've ever had was a snooker table when I was a kid, although my SEGA Mega Drive came close."

Next weekend's The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe is the seventh festive special since the sci-fi favourite's revival in 2005.

Indeed, watching Doctor Who on Christmas Day has become as much a family tradition as charades and the Queen's Speech.

The latest episode is a real weepy that takes ideas from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Set during the Second World War, it features recently-widowed Madge Arwell (played by Outnumbered star Claire Skinner).

Madge hasn't told her children, Lily (Holly Earl) and Cyril (Maurice Cole), that their father has died flying his bomber home over the Channel because she doesn't want Christmas Day to become the day that broke their hearts.

Evacuated to a house in Dorset, they meet the Doctor, who claims he's the caretaker.

He also claims the Tardis, which he has wrapped up and put under the Christmas tree, is a wardrobe.

Curious, Cyril wants to find out what the big, blue present is and, like Narnia, finds himself in a different snow-bound world.

Once there he is chased by armour-suited characters, played by Bill Bailey and Arabella Weir.

Of course, this being Doctor Who, there is also a monster - The Wooden King, who looks like a tree.

Is it payback for all those Christmas trees we use each year? Matt is keeping mum.

The Doctor doesn't have Amy Pond by his side this time, but Matt is looking forward to another festive slice of Who.

He explained: "Doctor Who and Christmas go hand in hand now don't they? "It's a brilliant and touching story about a family who have experienced a tragic event.

"In many ways they've had Christmas stolen from them.

"The Doctor, in a very 'Doctory' way, tries to bring Christmas spirit and cheer back into their lives.

"He has 'Doctorified' the house, so to speak.

"And there's a magical present under the Christmas tree, which is a portal to another world.

"Cyril enters it and discovers an enchanting landscape that sums up the beauty, danger and madness that is Doctor Who at Christmas."

For many, Doctor Who is part of the recipe for a perfect Christmas. But what is Matt's? He said: "Family - everyone happy, healthy and together with lots of food, presents and good TV. And football on Boxing Day.

"I'm really hoping for a white Christmas but if I couldn't have a traditional Christmas, I'd spend it somewhere really warm like South America or Australia and have a barbecue on the beach."

There's a feeling of 'about time' for actress Claire Skinner, who plays mum Madge in the special.

Her husband, Charles Palmer, directed a number of episodes in series three, including the opening episode Smith and Jones, which saw the 10th Doctor, David Tennant, meeting his new companion Martha Jones.

Charles is the son of actor Geoffrey Palmer, who has also appeared in the programme, including one that featured third Doctor Jon Pertwee and, most recently, in the Christmas special Voyage of the Damned, which also had superstar Kylie Minogue.

Claire, who will also be seen in Outnumbered for a festive special on Christmas Eve, said: "I'm a huge fan of Doctor Who for several reasons.

"My son watches it, my husband has directed it and my father in-law was in an episode. It's a nice connection to have.

"So I was very excited to be in it, both because it's Doctor Who and also has a great script."

Even though she is a fan and has family connections to Doctor Who, the size of it still took her by surprise.

Claire said: "We shot some scenes outside in a public space .

"It was an unusual experience, acting in front of huge crowds of people who had come to watch.

"I had to drive a car down the road, which took about 500 takes, and they applauded my driving each time.

"It was lovely, but I hadn't been quite ready for that."

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  • APA 6th ed.: Fulton, Rick (2011-12-17). Dressing To Impress. Daily Record p. 16.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Fulton, Rick. "Dressing To Impress." Daily Record [add city] 2011-12-17, 16. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Fulton, Rick. "Dressing To Impress." Daily Record, edition, sec., 2011-12-17
  • Turabian: Fulton, Rick. "Dressing To Impress." Daily Record, 2011-12-17, section, 16 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dressing To Impress | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Dressing_To_Impress | work=Daily Record | pages=16 | date=2011-12-17 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 May 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dressing To Impress | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Dressing_To_Impress | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 May 2019}}</ref>