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What The Dickens!

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Doctor Who conjures up the spirit of Scrooge in a Christmas Day Special

THE Doctor Who Christmas special has quickly become as traditional as turkey and sprouts, which is amazing considering that before 2005, when the sci-fi favourite was revived, there had only ever been one previous festive moment.

That came in 1965 when the first Doctor, William Hartnell, broke the fourth wall by wishing a happy Christmas to all of you at home.

Things are rather more sophisticated these days and lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat couldn t wait to get his teeth into the project: Oh, 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.

I ve honestly never been so excited about writing anything. I was laughing madly as I typed along to Christmas songs in April. My neighbours loved it so much they all moved away and set up a website demanding my execution. But I m fairly sure they did it ironically, he adds with a giggle.

I ve always wanted to be part of the Christmas Doctor Who experience, reveals the latest Doctor, Matt Smith. And I think this is one of the most Christmassy and inventive Doctor Who stories so far.

Steven keeps getting even more imaginative and the great thing about this episode, is that when Doctor Who and Christmas are put together, you combine the spirit of both those things.

Explaining the plot, Smith says: It starts off with Amy and Rory on honeymoon, but the spaceship they re travelling on gets into trouble and needs to make an emergency landing.

It feels very Dickensian, set in a mad futuristic world and it evolves into something even more magical than your classic monster Doctor Who episode.

What Smith hasn't revealed is that there's also a Scrooge-like miser called Kazran Sardick at the heart of the story and if the Doctor doesn t make him change his ways, all hell will be let loose.

Sardick is played by theatrical knight Michael Gambon, the latest in a long line of illustrious guest stars to appear in the show.

There's no one better to play an old grump than Gambon! laughs Smith. However, Michael also really makes you feel for this man and he can somehow turn himself into a little boy at times: he s a very impressive actor.

But Gambon isn't the only guest star strutting their stuff soprano Katherine Jenkins will be making her acting debut in the episode: To be honest, I didn t think I really wanted to act, she confesses, but when I got the call to do Doctor Who, it really excited me.

I wasn't sure I could do it but after reading for the part, I got a call on my 30th birthday to say I'd got it. It was the best birthday present I could have asked for!

Smith was impressed: Katherine looks like a princess, and boy can she sing the way she controls her voice and the grace with which she sings is quite incredible. It s exactly the type of casting we want someone fresh, exciting and new.

That sounds like a description of Smith himself before he took on the role of the iconic Time Lord and if this episode is anything to go by, we re going to enjoy plenty more Christmases with him for years to come.

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  • APA 6th ed.: (2010-12-22). What The Dickens!. Evening Times p. 45.
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