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Santa to the rescue

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The Time Lord has an unlikely ally in Father Christmas when he and Clara are attacked by slimy creatures on an Arctic base

In the ultimate meeting of two Christmas icons, Doctor Who teams up with Santa Claus for this snowbound special that's sure to charm and chill fans in equal measure.

Nick Frost plays the portly purveyor of presents, who crashes his flying sleigh into the roof of Clara's home. The Doctor's companion, played by Jenna Coleman, is delighted to meet the bearded jolly gift-giver.

However, when the Time Lord himself turns up, he's somewhat less thrilled to see Santa.

"He and Doctor Who are at each other's throats," Nick, 42, explains. "There's some kind of longstanding beef between them."

Peter Capaldi, who plays the 12th Doctor, expands on their festive feud. "There's conflict and competitiveness," he says. "They both feel that they're unfairly accused of being fictional characters.

"It's great because this is the very first time the Doctor has come face-to-face with Santa. It's not an evil robot or an alien merely dressed as Father Christmas - it's the real deal."

Despite their chilly relationship, the Doc and Santa soon have to put aside their rivalry when a greater threat looms. Trapped on an Arctic base in sub-zero conditions, The Time Lord and Clara find themselves under attack from some terrifying slimy creatures.

Producer Steven Moffat has described the special as "Miracle On 34th Street meets Alien".

The supporting cast features former Corrie star Natalie Gumede, Faye Marsay (The White Queen) and Michael Troughton son of the late Patrick Troughton, who played the second Doctor from 1966-69.

Santa's two grumpy elf helpers, meanwhile, are portrayed by Nathan McMullen (Misfits) and Dan Starkey, who has previously played Strax.

"I think this Christmas special pulls off the combination of being festive and jolly, but also really quite terrifying," says Peter, 56. "Viewers will see lots of seasonal set-pieces such as sleigh rides... and the Christmas tradition of being attacked by an army of zombies in the snow! The threat from the monsters - the Sleepers and Dream Crabs - is very powerful, deceptive and lethal."

In recent weeks, rumours have suggested that this will be Jenna Coleman's last appearance as Clara. But Peter refuses to give too much away about his co-star's future, or whether Clara will be killed off.

"Is she going?" he muses. "Hmm, you'll have to wait and see. Clara is in a lot of danger and some strange things happen to her."

Since the classic sci-fi series was re-booted in 2005, the annual seasonal special has become as much a fixture of Christmas Day as turkey and the Queen's speech.

Although Peter made a brief appearance in the 2013 festive adventure, when his predecessor Matt Smith


bowed out, this is his first proper special - and the lifelong Doctor Who fan is honoured to be part of a show watched by around 10-12 millions viewers.

"In previous years I'd built December 25 around Doctor Who," he admits. "Little did I know that one day I'd be the star of it myself. "And when I was a kid I would always get a Doctor Who annual as a gift, but just the other day I wandered past a newsagent and was stunned to see my face on the cover of this year's, so I'll be very proud to add that to my collection."

Nick Frost adds, "I'll be watching myself on Christmas Day. Me and my wife Christina will tune in, and enjoy a glass of Bristol Cream."


UNDER THREAT: Clara, the Doctor and Santa. (Inset) Arctic monster

CAMEOS: Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton

Festive foes

Doctor Who has provided plenty of seasonal scares over the years. So hide behind the sofa as we recall some of the Time Lord's most evil enemies...


Sarah Parish played the creepy spider-like baddie in The Runaway Bride.


While Christmas shopping, Rose (Billie Piper) was attacked by Robot Santas.


These arch-enemies have tried to exterminate the Xmas spirit many times over the years.


The stone statues attacked the Doctor and Clara during a swirling snow blizzard.


We were frozen with fear when these frosty fellas invaded Victorian London.

CYBERMEN 2008 & 2013

Both David Tennant and Matt Smith's Doctors have fought the tin terrors.

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