Saturday 8 December 2012, 09:12
The Doctor and Clara gaze upon Doctor Simeon. Doctor Who returns to BBC One at 5.15pm, Christmas Day in the spectacular adventure, The Snowmen. We’ve seen the trailer and various shots from it but they’ve just made us more intrigued! So we recently caught up with Steven Moffat and the cast in order to find out more about this year’s seasonal special…
STEVEN MOFFAT is Doctor Who’s lead writer and executive producer. This is the third Christmas Special he’s written for the Doctor, but this year’s looks to be very different to the previous two…
Q: What can we expect from the Christmas Special?
Steven Moffat: The Christmas episode is Doctor Who only more so and this year we're going for more epic. The Doctor, when we meet him, isn't in a good place. A bit like when we first encountered William Hartnell as the Doctor in 1963 - or indeed Christopher Eccleston in 2005 - this a cold and withdrawn Time Lord, wanting no part of the world around him. It's going to take a lot of Christmas spirit to get him back out of those TARDIS doors.
Q: Are there any new monsters?
SM: Well, there are Snowmen. You've probably guessed that from the title. But that's not all. Dear me, no! But monsters should always be a bit surprising, so that's all I'm saying.
Q: How do you find writing the Christmas Special as opposed to a regular episode? Does it differ at all?
SM: You're very aware of the time of year, and the noisy, sugared-up, slightly tipsy household. Sometimes we play along with something a bit frothier. Though this year, we might just give them a fright!
Q: Last time we saw the Doctor he said goodbye to the Ponds… Will we see a different side to him in this episode?
SM: The Doctor is almost defined by his friendships. When they end, and the TARDIS is silent again, he's a very different man. He's lost a lot of people in the time we've known him, and this Christmas he's decided he's finally had enough...
Q: This episode welcomes Jenna-Louise Coleman - what can you tell us about her character?
SM: It's going to quite a journey of discovery with Jenna and her character - and it doesn't start here, it starts on Christmas Day. For now, enough to say, that the Doctor in his darkest hour, long ago in a
Victorian winter, meets the exactly the right person. Or does he?
MATT SMITH is back as the Doctor in The Snowmen, but things have changed for the Time Lord… So what’s in store for him now?
Q: What can we expect from the Christmas Special?
Matt Smith: Lots of snow and a rather good villain! [But the Doctor] is slightly removed and not at his best…
Q: But after he meets a feisty young governess, Clara, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, do we see a change in the Doctor?
MS: You get to see a different side to him. Clara is a very different to Amy Pond. That is the great thing about this show - reinvention, it keeps me as an actor on my toes!
Q: So, can we expect to see a period of grieving following the loss of the Ponds?
MS: Grieving has its place, but it is important to show that and then propel back into adventure!
And that is exactly what this Christmas Special does!
JENNA-LOUISE COLEMAN, who plays Clara in The Snowmen, made a surprise appearance in Asylum of the Daleks, so fans have already met the new companion… Or have they? We caught up with Jenna-Louise and tried to get some answers!
Q: What we can expect from your character, Clara?
Jenna-Louise Coleman: She is from the Victorian era and [she’s] a mysterious one… Very down to earth, but feisty and curious, too, with numerous jobs…
Q: Okay… We’ve been told we first glimpse Clara in the ‘Rose and Crown’ pub where she’s a barmaid, but after meeting the Doctor she soon sets about following him…
J-LC: He has the answers to her questions. She isn’t intimidated by the Doctor… she finds him amazing and ridiculous. But she is on her own mission and lives by her own means - she is very resourceful.
Q: You started filming Doctor Who earlier this year… How have you found the job so far?
J-LC: Every day is really surprising. For the last two years I have mainly been doing period dramas, so to be thrown in to this world with loads of CGI is very different. Whole new sets are built in the space of a couple of weeks. For this episode we had snow machines and it does make you feel like a big kid!
RICHARD E GRANT played the Doctor in the 2003 online animated series Scream of the Shalka and in a 1999 Comic Relief spoof, but now returns to Doctor Who in a more villainous role…
Q: What can you tell us about your character, Doctor Simeon?
Richard E Grant: I have been told that on pain of death I am not allowed to reveal anything about my role in the Christmas Special, other than that this character has never been in Doctor Who before… I have had two 'brushes' with the Who phenomenon before, playing the Doctor in the cartoon digital version and the Comic Relief spoof some years ago, before the franchise was re-booted with Christopher Eccleston.
Q: How did you enjoy playing the villain?
REG: When you're born with a ten foot long face, you don't get hero roles, but I'm not complaining as I have hugely enjoyed the wide variety of parts I've got to play.
Q: You share a lot of scenes with Matt Smith… how was that?
REG: I have really admired Matt from when I first saw him in a play called That Face at the Royal Court Theatre some years ago and have keenly followed his career progress. He is the perfect fit for Doctor Who. His interpretation is very kinetic and fast talking.
Q: And will you be watching The Snowmen?
REG: I love Christmas and everything about it. I will be at home and
watching TV after lunch, hoping I can stay awake after the feast!
TOM WARD is best known for his role in Silent Witness but relished the part of Captain Latimer in The Snowmen…
Q: What can we can expect from your character?
Tom Ward: He hasn’t been used to dealing with his children… he wants to love them, but he is an old naval captain that has struggled to build a relationship.
Q: What drew you to the role?
TW: It was one of the best scripts I had read in read in long time and the thought of doing a period sci-fi was really fun.
Q: And we understand you weren’t the only one pleased to be working on the show…
TW: My children are very excited that I’m in Doctor Who and I’m glad they have something that they can finally watch! My oldest child is 10, so this will give him bragging rights at school and hopefully me a little bit of school gate currency!
Q: And will you be watching on Christmas Day?
TW: We have just moved into the country, so it will be the family round and the fire blazing. I don’t normally like to watch myself on TV, but this time I think I will make an exception…
The Snowmen is on BBC One, Christmas day at 5.15pm.