"Lots of snow and a rather good
villain." Matt is chatting enthusiastically about this year’s Christmas
special, The Snowmen. Set in a
Victorian snow-covered England, the episode opens with the Doctor feeling more
‘bah humbug’ than festive, as he struggles to get over the loss of his
companions the Ponds.
"He is slightly removed and not
at his best," explains Matt. But after
the Doctor meets a feisty young governess, Clara, played by Jenna-Louise
Coleman, do we see a change in the Doctor? "You get to see a different side to him," Matt explains. "She is
a very different to Amy Pond. That
is the great thing about this show," he continues, "reinvention - it keeps
me as an actor on my toes!"
As well as seeing Matt Smith’s
Doctor for the first time without his old companions, Matt will be sporting a
new costume, complete with top hat. "It is a bit like the Doctor meets the
Artful Dodger," says Matt.
So can we expect to see a period of
grieving following the loss of the Ponds? "Grieving has its place," says Matt, "but it is important to show
that and then propel back into adventure!"
And that is exactly what this
Christmas special does. Matt reveals that
this Christmas the Doctor will embark on a dangerous adventure – a quest that
leads him to Darkover House, where something sinister is lurking. Richard E Grant features as this year’s villain, Doctor
Simeon. "He was a delight and
brilliant at being villainous. Some actors are just made for the show and he
was one of them. And he looked wonderful
in Victorian garb," says Matt.
Now a family tradition, Matt is
chuffed to be part of the Christmas special. "I love being part of them. Family TV on Christmas day is a great
tradition and Doctor Who
is at the heart of that."
So will Matt be making an
appointment to watch on Christmas day? "Absolutely,
I can’t wait."
JENNA-LOUISE COLEMAN (Clara)
"She is from the
Victorian era and a mysterious one," explains Jenna. "Very down to earth, but feisty and curious
too with numerous jobs," she continues, revealing more about new girl
Set in Victorian England, we first
catch a glimpse of Clara as a barmaid in the ‘Rose and Crown’ pub, but after meeting
the intriguing Doctor, she soon sets about following him, because as Jenna
explains, "He has the answers to her questions." With his self-imposed solitude, the Doctor
appears uninterested, but eventually gets drawn in as an army of evil snowmen
cover London and it becomes apparent that Christmas and the world are at risk.
With Matt Smith revealing that she
is a very different to Amy Pond, how does Jenna explain the dynamic of
the relationship between the Doctor and Clara, following the loss of the Ponds
in the epic mid-series finale The Angels Take Manhattan? "She isn’t intimidated by the Doctor," says
Jenna. "Instead, she finds him amazing and ridiculous. But she is on her own mission and lives by
her own means. She is very resourceful."
As well as a barmaid, Clara adopts
the role of governess to two children in Darkover House, where something sinister
is lurking in their garden and whose last governess hasn’t yet left the
After being selected for the
coveted role of companion, Jenna started filming in BBC Cymru Wales’ Roath Lock
studios earlier this year and made her first appearance in series seven opener
Asylum Of The Daleks
. So how has she found
the job so far? "Everyday is really
surprising," she explains. "For the last two years, I have mainly been
doing period dramas, so to be thrown into 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!"
Stepping into Karen Gillan’s
shoes, who played Amy Pond, did Jenna receive any advice? "Karen has been great," explains Jenna. "She
has texted me advice on Cardiff, like where to eat. And Matt always has an ear out for me."
Unlike the Doctor in
this festive episode, Jenna isn’t a Christmas grump: "I love Christmas and
will probably be sitting down with the family to watch this adventure on
Christmas day! It is one of the shows
that can do Christmas properly and this is a proper Christmas treat."
RICHARD E. GRANT (Doctor Simeon)
"I have been told that on pain of death I am not allowed to reveal
anything about my role in the Christmas Special," explains Richard, "other than that this character has never been in
Doctor Who before..."
for the third time, Richard explains, "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."
tasked with playing this year’s villain, the mysterious Doctor Simeon, who, with
a vendetta to settle from childhood, recruits an army of evil and hungry
snowmen to bring together his plan.
So how did Richard enjoy playing
the villain? "When you're born with a 10-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."
Growing up in Swaziland, Richard has
had to devote time to catching up on the British institution, he explains: "Having
grown up in a country without TV, I missed seeing Doctor Who through my
childhood, but I have made up for lost time since with box sets."
As the Doctor battles to defeat
Doctor Simeon and his army, Richard shared many scenes with Matt Smith - so what
did he make of working Matt? "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," says Richard, "and have keenly
followed his career progress. He is the perfect fit for Doctor Who
interpretation is very kinetic and fast-talking."
Richard be watching this Christmas? "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 (Captain Latimer)
"He hasn’t been used to dealing with his children," explains Tom, as he reveals a small insight
into his character, Captain Latimer. "He wants to love them, but he is an old
naval captain that has struggled to build a relationship."
Tom plays an archetypal Victorian gent, complete with a rather good
beard. "Yes it is," laughs Tom, as he confirms the beard is real. "You
often get the obligatory moustache in a Victorian drama, but I wanted to go
further and the beard seemed appropriate."
Having spent 10 years in a drama not necessarily accessible to his
children, Tom reveals he is excited to have done something they can watch. "My
children are very excited that I am in Doctor Who
and I am 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."
So what drew Tom to the role? "It
was one of the best scripts I had read in a long time, and the thought of
doing a period sci-fi was really fun."
With Tom admitting that his Doctor is Tom Baker, he expresses admiration for
current Doctor, Matt Smith. "He is brilliant. He kept the set feeling happy
and is full of energy," says Tom. "He has a great relationship with the
crew." As well as co-starring Tom,
the Christmas episode will also feature Richard
E Grant. "I had one scene with him," explains Tom, "and he was a legend. An absolute delight."
episode we also meet Clara, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman for the first time. "She
is a brilliant actress," says Tom, "full of life and energy, so funny and has
a great rapport with Matt."
Tom confirming that his children are fans, will he be watching on Christmas
day? "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..."
Ian McKellen in The Snowmen!