Just what the Doctor ordered: Magic, mystery and monsters? What more do you want on Christmas Day, says Doctor Whos Matt Smith


Just what the Doctor ordered: Magic, mystery and monsters What more do you want on Christmas Day, says Doctor Who’s Matt Smith

Trust the Doctor to come up with the ultimate Christmas gift.

Touched by the sadness of a young brother and sister who are missing their father in 1940s England, the Time Lord provides them with the kind of present money just can’t buy.

‘It’s a portal into a magical world,’ says Matt Smith, who filmed The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe – his second Doctor Who Christmas special – during the summer. ‘And it really is magical, with snow and pine trees and goodness knows what else. Although it wouldn’t be Doctor Who if there wasn’t a little danger in there as well. Watch out for the scary characters that live in a huge tower and move in a very menacing way.’

Perfect present: You can always rely on the Doctor Who to come up with the ultimate Christmas gift

Perfect present: You can always rely on the Doctor Who to come up with the ultimate Christmas gift

In the hour-long special, Madge Arwell (Outnumbered’s Claire Skinner) and her children Lily and Cyril are evacuated from war-torn London to a creepy old house in Dorset. And it’s there, under the Christmas tree, that the Doctor launches the Arwell children on their fantastic Christmas adventure into a Narnia-esque landscape.

Christmas is a funny time for the Doctor, explains Matt. In some ways hes removed from it  time traveller that he is  but in other ways it appeals to the child in him

Christmas is a funny time for the Doctor, explains Matt. In some ways hes removed from it time traveller that he is but in other ways it appeals to the child in him”

‘Christmas is a funny time for the Doctor,’ explains Matt. ‘In some ways he’s removed from it – time traveller that he is – but in other ways it appeals to the child in him. So when he lands right in the middle of it, as he does in this story, he thinks, “Aaaah!”, because he’s devoid of cynicism and quite an innocent.’

Rather touchingly, Matt, 29, feels the same way himself. ‘I find it magical and it’s still as much a time for families as it was for people like the Arwells back in the 1940s.

There’ll be me, my mum, my dad, my sister and my granddad at home in Northampton this Christmas, with lots of lovely food, lots of great TV and the promise of some top-class football to follow on Boxing Day. If Blackburn Rovers can win at Liverpool that will really make my Christmas! The only problem is when I watch Doctor Who on Christmas Day with my family, I have to try not to give away the twists in the story.’

As well as appearances from Bill Bailey, Arabella Weir and Alexander Armstrong, the show promises a few mystery guests and, according to writer Steven Moffat, should ensure the Doctor has a slot in the festive schedules for years to come.

‘This is his seventh Christmas visit and I think he’s just perfect for this time of year,’ says Steven. ‘It’s no coincidence he does what Santa does this year and gives a family a magical gift under the Christmas tree.

And it’s no coincidence he came down a chimney last year either. The two of them aren’t so far apart.’

The Doctor Who Christmas special, Christmas Day, BBC1, 7pm.