Only Fools and Horses used to be the annual treat for those still sober enough to be watching TV on Christmas evening, but in recent years, the mantle of BBC festive show-piece has definitely been taken on by Doctor Who (watch the trailer for this year’s episode here). 2009’s specials starring David Tennant were a real treat and with Matt Smith appearing in his first ever holiday episode, we are expecting something very special after our turkey this year.
Fans will remember that the last series ended with Rory Williams officially becoming Mr Pond before joining his new wife Amy and the Doctor for more time-travelling adventures in the Tardis. But where in the space-time continuum will Steven Moffat and his friends be picking up the story?
âIt starts off with Amy and Rory on honeymoon,” reveals Matt. “But the spaceship they are travelling on gets into trouble and needs to make an emergency landing on a nearby planet. However, they are blocked from entering the planetâs atmosphere and with the ship nearing implosion, the Doctor has to try and work out whatâs going on and how to save them.”
âStevenâs fantastical and magical mind has been working overtime and heâs been extremely clever with this story,â? he continues. âIt feels very Dickensian, set in a mad futuristic world and it evolves into something even more magical than your classic monster Doctor Who episode.â?
But fear not sci-fi fans, its not going to be all magic and romance… âThe episode features a wonderful shark which I was very excited about,â? reveals Matt. âIâve always wanted to explore the aquatic; viewers can expect Jaws with a twist!â? Surely we’ll be seeing a “We’re going to need a bigger Tardis..” joke in there somewhere..
A famous wizard and a famous opera singer will also be joining Smith for this Christmas special. Michael Gambon played Professor Dumbledore in the moderately successful Harry Potter series and Katherine Jenkins is a highly acclaimed Welsh mezzo-soprano, who has performed on numerous TV programmes and cameoed in ermm… Emmerdale.
âIt was a real privilege to work with Michael,â? explains Matt. âI had a great time with him and he was really naughty! Heâs so crafty and when I asked him about working with iconic actors such as Olivier and Bates he said the one thing they all had in common was they were naughty – and heâs exactly the same. He was very mischievous, constantly telling jokes and getting into the spirit of play.”
“He plays a scrooge-like miser but thereâs a time-travelling twist to it all. To play an old grump there is no one better than Gambon. However, Michael also really makes you feel for this man and he can somehow turn himself into a little boy at times; heâs a very impressive actor.”
âWith Katherine I was astounded by her professionalism; considering it was her first acting experience I thought she handled it with real craft and diligence.â? continued Matt. âItâs exactly the type of casting we want; someone fresh, exciting and new.â?
But while the Doctor is off on a Christmassy adventure, what will Christmas day hold for Matt Smith? âIâll be watching Doctor Who with my family of course!â? laughs Matt. âI imagine weâll have a big lunch first and then weâll sit down to watch the episode; the Doctor even gets to come down the chimney!â?