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Close-up Secrets of Doctor Who

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Matt Smith is keeping details of the Christmas special under wraps - but promises it will be another sensational episode, writes Debbie Schipp

AS a child, Doctor Who's leading man Matt Smith was told by his sister if he touched his Christmas presents before Christmas Day, they would disappear.

He doesn't remember how old he was, but he does recall spending Christmas Eve snatching sleep, then semi-waking to eye a dark form at the end of his bed, resisting the urge to peek before dawn.

"My sister and I always slept in the same room on Christmas Eve and I thought, 'I can't wake up and, if I touch it, it will be gone', so I just watched it all night until morning," Smith, the 11th doctor on the cult series, which in 2013 celebrates its 50th anniversary, recalls with a laugh.

"What a wonderful thing that you could actually think that. I didn't believe it for that long, but it became ingrained. I never peeked."

It taught Smith to appreciate the delicious anticipation of waiting for something, no matter how much you want to know what it is.

It's a reason he loves that details of the annual Doctor Who Christmas special are a closely guarded secret.

So this year, as Smith appears in his second of the annual specials, which are a Christmas television tradition in the UK, and for the second year running is being fast-tracked to Australia to air here on Boxing Day, he's honouring the Doctor Who tradition of keeping details of the show under wraps.

"We meet a family who are on the verge of having a terrible and dismal Christmas and, by some stroke of Doctor Who genius, he lands upon them and needless to say wants to make their Christmas better and take them on an exploration to give them something to remember. But, as usual, he runs into trouble," Smith says.

"Steven (Moffat, Doctor Who's lead writer and executive producer) has written a brilliant script. This year has a magic, ethereal Christmas feel to it."

Official details reveal the Doctor finds himself in war-torn England embarking on a mysterious adventure with a young widow and her two children. The guest cast includes Claire Skinner (Outnumbered) and Bill Bailey (Black Books). There's also a hint that the Time Lord owes the family something, and the Doctor never forgets his debts.

Smith says he's similar in real life. "My dad always brought me up that a bet's a bet. You pay bets early," he says.

This year has been huge for Smith, as he has cemented his regular role as the Doctor, gaining acceptance from fans and critical acclaim.

When he was named the 11th Doctor last year, the English press headlined the news "Doctor Who?", in reference to the relatively unknown Smith.

More than 14 months on, Smith has answered the question with a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) nomination for leading actor.

"I've never ever played a character like him," Smith says. "I don't think I ever will again."

The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe, Monday, 7.30pm, ABC1

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: Schipp, Debbie (2011-12-25). Close-up Secrets of Doctor Who. Sunday Mail (Adelaide) p. TV Guide, p. 3.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Schipp, Debbie. "Close-up Secrets of Doctor Who." Sunday Mail (Adelaide) [add city] 2011-12-25, TV Guide, p. 3. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Schipp, Debbie. "Close-up Secrets of Doctor Who." Sunday Mail (Adelaide), edition, sec., 2011-12-25
  • Turabian: Schipp, Debbie. "Close-up Secrets of Doctor Who." Sunday Mail (Adelaide), 2011-12-25, section, TV Guide, p. 3 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Close-up Secrets of Doctor Who | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Close-up_Secrets_of_Doctor_Who | work=Sunday Mail (Adelaide) | pages=TV Guide, p. 3 | date=2011-12-25 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=15 October 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Close-up Secrets of Doctor Who | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Close-up_Secrets_of_Doctor_Who | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=15 October 2019}}</ref>