The Fourth Dimension
The read-through for The Snowmen was held in Cardiff on Thursday, 2nd August, 2012. Shooting began the following week on Monday, 6th August.
This is the Eleventh Doctor’s third Christmas Special but the first to be filmed in Doctor Who’s new ‘home’ – the BBC’s Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff. Location filming took place in England, however, with the streets of Bristol doubling for Victorian London.
The Snowmen premieres a new look console room, designed by Michael Pickwoad. It’s the third one used by the Eleventh Doctor if we count fleeting appearances of the older version in The Eleventh Hour, The Doctor’s Wife and during the final moments of The End of Time, Part Two.
As with The Eleventh Hour, this episode features revamped titles and theme tune, a new look console room, the Doctor coming face-to-face with a new companion and a new costume for the Time Lord. Talking about his Victorian attire, Matt Smith commented, ‘[Costume designer] Howard Burden has done marvellous work,’ before admitting, ‘I’ve been hankering for something purple for a while!’
The Doctor repeats his belief, first declared in The Eleventh Hour, that, ‘Bow ties are cool!’ and at one point he wistfully muses, ‘Those were the days…’ He delivered the same line in a similar fashion in Closing Time, when responding to Craig’s belief in his ability to ‘always win’.
This is the first full-length adventure since the Tenth Doctor’s era not to feature Karen Gillan. But familiar faces include Dan Starkey, Neve McIntosh and Catrin Stewart as Strax, Vastra and Jenny – the Doctor’s three friends who debuted in A Good Man Goes to War. And of course, Matt Smith returns as the Doctor and Jenna-Louise Coleman – last seen in Asylum of the Daleks – is also back.
The Snowmen features the return of the Great Intelligence, the malevolent force the Doctor first encountered in The Abominable Snowmen. Shortly after that adventure he fought the Intelligence again in The Web of Fear. This later confrontation is referenced in The Snowmen; the story was set predominantly in the London Underground and first aired in the 1960s.
Richard E Grant (Doctor Simeon) is no stranger to the world of Doctor Who. He voiced the Doctor in the animated adventure, Scream of the Shalka and briefly played the Time Lord in the 1999 Comic Relief spoof written by Steven Moffat – Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death.
The one word answer given by Clara – Pond – is an obvious reference to Amy but The Snowmen contains several other signs that could be interpreted as more oblique allusions to former companions. The pub where we discover Clara is called The Rose and Crown which brings to mind Rose Tyler and Donna Noble (‘the crown’ being suggestive of ‘nobility’) and the Ironmonger’s glimpsed in the episode is called J.P. Jameson & Sons. Leela – the Fourth Doctor’s companion when he travelled to Victorian London and wore a deerstalker in The Talons of Weng-Chiang– was played by Louise Jameson.
Clara’s gravestone indicates her birthday was November 23rd… That date could also be viewed as Doctor Who’s birthday as the show’s very first episode was transmitted on that day in 1963.
Captain Latimer’s son and daughter - Digby and Francesca - are played by real-life brother and sister Joseph Darcey-Alden and Ellie Darcey-Alden.