Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

My presents ... past & future

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coverage of series 7, 2012-2013

  1. Bring on the Daleks! (1 September)
  2. Doctor on 'Tops (8 September)
  3. The Magnificent Three | letters (15 September)
  4. (no article) (22 September)
  5. Life after Amy (29 September) | letters (29 September) | Why I killed the Ponds (6 October) | letters (13 October) | letters (20 October)
  6. My presents ... past & future (22 December)
  7. Who's coming home (23 March) | Who's a clever boy, then? (30 March)
  8. (no article) (6 April)
  9. Why I wanted to bring back the Ice Warriors | letters (13 April)
  10. (no article) (20 April)
  11. Trashing the Tardis (27 April)
  12. The Avenger Fights Back (4 May)
  13. They're Back! (11 May)
  14. Who is the Real Clara? (18 May)
  15. He's my Doctor (21 December)

coverage of other series
S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | Specials | S5 | S6 | S7 | S8 | S9 | S10


Showrunner Steven Moffat unwraps a new Tardis - and a new companion

AT THIS TIME of year, traditionally, a lot of people will be speculating, at length, about the true meaning of Christmas. So let's get that out of the way right now. It's about presents.

Yep, presents. And presents (as the Doctor would say) are cool. Presents are how we say we love each other in ways that aren't only deep and heartfelt, but fiscally measurable. It's that once-a-year opportunity to spend time with your family and know exactly where you rank in their affections by raiding the bins for price tags.

It's also about the Doctor Who Christmas special. And the Doctor Who Christmas special is about this conversation between me and producer Marcus Wilson.

Steven Moffat "Marcus, there are leaves on those trees!"

Marcus Wilson "That's because it's summer!"

SM "No, it's Christmas."

MW "In real life. We shoot the show in real life."

SM "Can't we get rid of all the leaves?"

MW "We'd need an ecological catastrophe."

SM "Why wasn't this foreseen?"

MW "We can remove them post-production."

SM "Oh, OK."

MW "And Steven? Last year you wrote a whole Christmas special about trees."

SM "That was probably quite difficult, eh?"

MW "Now that you mention..."

But never mind last year! What presents do we have for you this time around?

Well, first of all we have Richard E Grant as this year's villain, snarling into Matt Smith's face. Oh, how has it taken us so long? Surely this man was born to make evil plans and conquer worlds? Actually, Richard and Doctor Who have a history. Many years ago, I wrote a Doctor Who sketch for Comic Relief, and Richard made a brief appearance as the tenth Doctor. This was long before David Tennant, long before the show came back; I thought it was the only chance I'd get to write for the Doctor - funny how things work out.

Richard admitted at the time he knew nothing about the show. I remember him standing next to a Dalek bewildered at what it could possibly be (he's caught up since). And after Comic Relief, he appeared (sort of) in an animated adventure by my old pal Paul Cornell, as the ninth Doctor, long before Christopher Eccleston. So finally, he's on the show for real and, I think you'll agree, it's been worth the wait.

We've got the brilliant Tom Ward as worries Captain Latimer, and returning from last year we have Neve McIntosh, Catrin Stewart and Dan Starkey, as Vastra, Jenny and Strax. Sin their first appearance in A Good Man Goes To War there have only been a few days where someone hasn't suggested a spin-off featuring those three. Well, it's not a spin-off, but here they are again: the Victorian reptile detective, he brave and beautiful maid and the world's only Sontaran nurse. What could possibly go wrong?

What else? Well, only a brand-new Tardis [page 33]. Same old police box, of course, but when you open those magic blue doors... well, can say no more. Except that when you have genius designer like Michael Pickwoad, and an opportunity like the Tardis, you'd be mad not bring the two together. On Christmas Day the Doctor will usher you into a brand-new world -- one, I suspect, that looks a lot like the inside Michael Pickwoad's head!

BUT THE BEST Of present of all? T Doctor has a new friend. Jenna-Louise Coleman steps aboard the Tardis Clara, and she turns the Doctor's world upside down in a whole new way. Like Christmas Doctor Who has certain, never-changing traditions. And like Christmas, those traditions the best part. As a child long ago, and as writer now, my favourite part is the "It's bigger on the inside" moment. How many times have we seen someone stumble into the Tardis, turn wide-eyed and say those immortal words? How many new ways are there to do it? Well, nearly 50 years and I don't think we're in danger of running out. Hope you enjoy the latest version.

And I know you're going to enjoy Jenna. Well you've seen her already, of course, back September. As Oswin, in Asylum of the Daleks she not only died but had been turned into Dalek. Dying on your Doctor Who debut, that ought to be a sure sign you won't be return. Unless you're Alex Kingston as River Song, who died in David Tennant's Library adventure 2008. Or Dan Starkey as Strax, now I think about it. But this time - in answer to all those many, many questions - I can confirm that Jenna is playing a completely different character. Oh, yes. Totally different person. Would I lie to you? Phew, eh? Bet you're glad I cleared that up.

So, for those of you who missed the prequel (report to YouTube immediately!), a little scene setting. The last time we saw the Doctor, he was battling the Weeping Angels in New York. He won, of course, but at a terrible price - he was separated from the Ponds for ever. No more Girl Who Waited, no more Last Centurion. Here comes Christmas and the Doctor is alone again. It's not exactly a first for him, but this time he's admitting he's had enough. The Doctor has retired. He's withdrawn from the world and hidden himself away in his battered old Tardis. No more friends, no more world-saving, no more heartbreak. What could it possibly take to bring him back into the world again?

THAT'S A BRILLIANT idea. And I can say that without a hint of arrogance, because it's not mine. The greatest writer ever to have have turned his genius to Doctor Who was, of course, the mighty Douglas Adams. And he pitched that story, The Doctor Retires, many, many years ago. Back in the late 1970s the production office said no, but I remember reading about it and thinking it sounded so great that, if I ever had the chance, that would be one hell of a story to tell.

Matt Smith's Doctor, under all the zany, arm-waving insanity, has always had a strange undertow of sadness: those ancient eyes staring out of that young face, ready to cry in a heartbeat. Surely this, finally, was the Doctor who might just slam the Tardis doors and refuse to come out again. Unless of course there's someone out there, who might just be able to persuade him...

See you on Christmas Day.


A year ago RT's historian Ralph Montagu found two long-lost episodes of 1960s Doctor Who — but 106 editions starring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton (left) are still missing from the BBC archive. Now RT is launching a campaign to find them. If you have any information, email You can read the full story at

Jenna-Louise Coleman

...on Clara

She's a mysterious but down-to-earth girl from the Victorian era, with similar traits to Oswin in that she's feisty, resourceful and up for adventure. She's not intimidated by the Doctor and finds him amazing and ridiculous in equal measures. She meets this guy and is incredibly interested in him and wants to know more: he has answers that she wants. She's on the chase for him, on her own mission.

...on joining Doctor Who

Every day has been surprising. You walk into the studio every few weeks and whole new sets have been built. You open the Tardis doors and you're suddenly in a different era. It's very technical but also fun and adventurous, and it's OK to run down a corridor shouting and being as silly and ridiculous as you like. It makes me feel like a big kid. It's like magic.

Matt Smith

...on his future

We've got Doctor Who's 50th anniversary coming up in November 2013, and one assumes there'll be another Christmas special after that, and I'd hope to be part of it. I take each year as it comes. All good things come to an end, but my mum is aghast at the thought of me ever not being the Doctor. The show is the star and will continue without me. I'm committed to it next year and will sit down with Steven Moffat and see where we go from there. I've no immediate plans to leave. I'm around for a whole year and that's a long time.

...on some (surprising) influences

When I started as the Doctor, I watched loads of Some Mothers Do Ave I'm, loads of Peter Sellers and loads of Blackadder - and somewhere betwixt the three lies my Doctor. I love how grumpy but brilliant Blackadder can be. Frank Spencer is slightly unaware of how ridiculous he is and I think the Doctor is too. Clouseau and Blackadder have massive egos and the Doctor has a massive ego. Frank Spencer is kinder and gentler.

Merlin Sat 22 Dec, Christmas Eve BBC1 In the last-ever episodes, can Merlin save Arthur from Morgana's clutches?

Mr Stink Sunday 23 Dec BBC1 Hugh Bonneville stars as a tramp who befriends a lonely girl.

The Dumping Ground Fri 4 Jan CBBC Tracy Beaker may have gone but life in the care home goes on in this superior children's drama.

Prince of Persia New Year's Eve BBC1 Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton star in the sand-and-time-travel blockbuster.

IT'S SNOW TIME! New co-star Jenna-Louise Coleman joins Matt Smith in RT's exclusive photoshoot


  • Since the Doctor was last on our screens, he's remodelled the Tardis control room, which will be fully unveiled for the first time on Christmas Day.
  • The new, darker look has been designed by Michael Pickwoad. The lighting unit (right) is adorned with mysterious symbols from the Time Lords' Gallifreyan "alphabet".
  • This is the third design since Doctor Who relaunched in 2005. Both earlier versions were by Edward Thomas; the classic 1963 original was designed by Peter Brachacki.


Richard E Grant as Victorian misanthrope Dr Simeon

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  • APA 6th ed.: McLean, Gareth (2012-12-22). My presents ... past & future. Radio Times p. 30.
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