“If you’re going to do a Christmas Day episode which is based on the principle that the audience have had a selection box for breakfast and are probably drunk, then you have to move it on a bit,” explained Steven Moffat at the BFI screening of the Doctor Who Christmas Special last night. “Because a normal episode wouldn’t be enough.”
Fortunately for the BBC’s leading writer, he is on a hot streak and such things do not matter. The man is like Michael Owen in 1998, Radiohead during ‘OK Computer’ or Barack Obama at the end of the last election. He’s on the crest of a wave. This year’s Sherlock was quite popular in some circles, Matt Smith’s inaugaral year in the TARDIS has been an unmitigated success and next week’s festive helping will be the icing on a massive cake.
“I think Christmas shows have to be emotional. You have to go on the whole journey – laugh and cry a bit,” said Moffat afterwards. “I wrote this one when I was stuck in LA during the volcano air crisis last Spring. I downloaded every Christmas song and turned the air conditioning up to Dr Zhivago, but I think it turned out alright,” he jokes.
It certainly did.
We know how special the Christmas episode has come to be for Doctor Who fans in recent years, so we won’t ruin anything fo any of you… *Cross our hearts*… Anyway we’ll be able to get down to business with next week’s review. But there are three plot details that are inescapable, even for fans whose avoidance of plot points is nothing short of militant.
1. The episode is titled A Christmas Carol
Make of that what you will…
2. It contains (flying) Sharks
Apparently the beast(s) were codenamed ‘Clive’ to prevent news of their existence emerging before transmission. Although admittedly, the Beeb subterfuge dept have undone all their good work by revealing said monsters to the press 10 days early. (And yes, we know how ironic it is that we are complaining about that..)
3. Katherine Jenkins is a guest star.
“The first day I was filming for Doctor Who we did a night shoot, and I’m normally the chattiest person going; you know I’m nervous when I can’t speak. And I spent the entire day so so quiet,” Jenkins said, admitting she found not telling anyone she had been cast in the show difficult. “I thought I had to keep the secret right up until Christmas day and just put the telly on and say ‘Mum! You might want to watch that!'”