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Doctor Who gets scary for holidays

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2012-12-14 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.jpg


Special promises some frightful snowmen

What's the use of a "Doctor Who Christmas Special" if you can't have the children cowering behind couches by the end of it?

In the case of this year's special, to be broadcast Christmas Day on BBC America (available on digital cable and satellite services), you may never see a familiar holiday icon—snowmen — in the same benign light again.

"Doctor Who," a British science-fiction children's show, chronicles the travels of a Time Lord who, with a companion or two, travels in a time machine that camouflages itself as a blue British police box. The series was laid to rest in 1989 and had an unsuccessful TV movie in 1995. It was rebooted to great success in 2005. There have been U Doctors over the life of the series, the latest being Matt Smith.

In this year's Christmas special, the Doctor, heartsick over losing his last companions, lands in the England of 1892, feeling very "bah humbug" about life in general.

"The Doctor is in a Scroogelike state, being very depressed, like an old grumpy grandpa, and they meet," said Jenna-Louise Coleman, 26, who plays Clara, the new companion. "Clara takes an interest in him and so begins a new story."

"I think there's nothing like a Christmas special that's set in snowy Victorian England," said Caroline Skinner, co-executive producer of the series. "It gives it a real sense of landscape, a slightly larger-than-life feeling, and you've got some incredibly scary monsters. There's something gloriously freaky about taking something that you're so used to in life, to take it and give it an evil 'Doctor Who' twist.

"I think it will really speak to kids — and terrify the socks off them, I hope."

The villain is Richard E. Grant, better known for roles in "Dracula" and "The Iron Lady." He plays Doctor Simeon, a man who is out to settle a vendetta.

"Doctor Who's" appeal has spanned generations.

"'Doctor Who' is certainly something in the U.K. You kind of grow up with it. It's part of your DNA," Skinner said. "It's just always been there."

Coleman didn't grow up with the Doctor.

"It was never around when I was growing it. It was the gap (of 16 years when "Doctor Who" was off the air.) I missed it in my childhood. When it came back in 2005, I was about 18, so I kinda missed it. I've always been very aware of it."

Her grandmother "is a huge fan" and her aunt in Australia was terrified by "Who" villains the Daleks as a child, so for them "it's a really huge deal as well because it's something they've grown up with."

Coleman hopes to watch all the episodes soon, going back as far as the original one from 1963.

She says her character's name, Clara, came not from "The Nutcracker" but from executive producer Steven Moffat.

"Steven was walking around his bedroom shouting 'Clara!' and realized it's a really good name to shout," she said.


What: "Doctor Who Christmas Special"

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday

Where: BBC America, available on digital cable and satellite (special will be available on iTunes Wednesday)

Caption: Richard E. Grant plays Doctor Simeon, the villain out to settle a score, in the "Doctor Who Christmas Special" on BBC America.

Caption: Doctor Who, played by Matt Smith, is faced with a gloomy holiday in the "Doctor Who Christmas Special" to be broadcast on Tuesday.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Wells, Tish (2012-12-14). Doctor Who gets scary for holidays. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel p. 12A.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Wells, Tish. "Doctor Who gets scary for holidays." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [add city] 2012-12-14, 12A. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Wells, Tish. "Doctor Who gets scary for holidays." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, edition, sec., 2012-12-14
  • Turabian: Wells, Tish. "Doctor Who gets scary for holidays." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2012-12-14, section, 12A edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Doctor Who gets scary for holidays | url= | work=Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | pages=12A | date=2012-12-14 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=10 December 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Doctor Who gets scary for holidays | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=10 December 2019}}</ref>