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A special gift for Aussie

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A UK Doctor Who Christmas tradition is being fast-tracked here, writes ALICE CLARKE

IN a special gift for Australian audiences, the makers of Doctor Who have finally made good use of the TARDIS and fast-tracked the annual Doctor Who Christmas Special Down Under.

It's the first time viewers in Australia have seen the annual special when they should - previously we've been made to wait for the special, which is a time-honoured Christmas/Boxing Day tradition in the UK.

But tonight, Doctor Who devotees will be just 24 hours behind their English counterparts as ABC1 airs this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special, Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol.

Preview discs have been kept closely under guard, and current and eleventh Doctor Who, Matt Smith, is giving little away.

In his first year in the role, Smith has been embraced by devotees of the show - always a tough ask because fans of the cult show are a discerning bunch, and Smith came to the role as a relatively unknown actor.

Executive producer Steven Moffat had no such qualms about casting Smith.

"The Doctor is a very special part and it takes a very special actor to play him," Moffat said at the time.

"You need to be old and young at the same time, a boffin and an action hero, a cheeky schoolboy and the wise old man of the universe. As soon as Matt walked through the door, and blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord, we knew we had our man."

The result has been a season which has attracted critical acclaim for Smith and his companion Amy (Karen Gillan) from both the media and fans.

So Moffat has pulled out all the stops for the Christmas special, which sees the Doctor, Amy and her new husband Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) in a time-travelling take on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

In the tradition of Doctor Who Christmas Specials, the show has a stellar guest star line-up including veteran actor Michael Gambon (Harry Potter) and opera diva Katherine Jenkins, in her first acting role.

"We're going for broke with this one. It's all your favourite Christmas movies at once, in an hour, with monsters and the Doctor and a honeymoon and - oh, you'll see," Moffat says.

For Smith, it caps a triumphant start to the role. "I've always really wanted to be a part of a Christmas show that they film in the middle of summer, just to have fake snow," Smith said.

"It was absolutely wonderful to be part of the heritage of being on a Christmas special, and for it to be Doctor Who and have the family sit around and watch it feels exciting."

The cherry on the top for Smith was getting to work with Jenkins and Gambon. "Michael Gambon is one of my heroes as an actor, so that was a great privilege for me," he said.

Smith is keeping mum on details of the show.

"I can't give away too much, to be brutally honest, because I want it to be a surprise for everyone," he said.

"It's very Christmassy and there's lots of snow and Christmas trees, coupled with the madness of Doctor Who. A real belter, I think."

In Doctor Who mythology, a Time Lord such as the Doctor can regenerate only 13 times. Back in 1976 when this limit was established, the possibility of achieving 13 Doctors seemed preposterously remote. Now that the show has reached his eleventh incarnation, the fans are growing concerned that the Doctor might soon run out of time.

Smith is eager to allay those concerns. "I think you can find a way around anything in Doctor Who," he said.

And he has no intentions of regenerating any time soon: "I'm very content and happy to be number 11."

While you'd think the assembled masses of Doctor Who fans at conventions would be the strangest part of the job, Smith finds the job itself weird. "It's things like getting covered in slime and running away from monsters that are never there. Things like that are bizarre, but good fun."

With the sixth season of the new series in production, Smith can only promise more intrigue. At least we fans won't be waiting alone; Smith is also looking forward to some big reveals. "I can't wait, either, because I don't know yet. Steven (Moffat) won't tell a soul, not a soul on the planet."

  • Doctor Who Christmas Special, Sunday 7.30pm, ABC1

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  • APA 6th ed.: Clarke, Alice (2010-12-26). A special gift for Aussie. The Sunday Mail (Queensland) p. TV Guide, p. 6.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Clarke, Alice. "A special gift for Aussie." The Sunday Mail (Queensland) [add city] 2010-12-26, TV Guide, p. 6. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Clarke, Alice. "A special gift for Aussie." The Sunday Mail (Queensland), edition, sec., 2010-12-26
  • Turabian: Clarke, Alice. "A special gift for Aussie." The Sunday Mail (Queensland), 2010-12-26, section, TV Guide, p. 6 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=A special gift for Aussie | url= | work=The Sunday Mail (Queensland) | pages=TV Guide, p. 6 | date=2010-12-26 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=29 May 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=A special gift for Aussie | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=29 May 2024}}</ref>