The Doctor Who Christmas special is one of my favorite holiday traditions. I’m not sure why, but the world of The Doctor just lends itself beautifully to the symbolism and trappings of the holiday, especially when there’s a dark streak and a pinch of tragedy in the mix. This year we got a new Doctor and a whole new set of regenerations, but that doesn’t mean the Time Lord will be tossing aside his fondness for tinsel-tinged adventures through time, space, and dimensions filled with mistletoe. Last year we saw The Doctor battle evil snowmen, but this year’s he’s tackling an even bigger Christmas icon: Santa Claus himself! And now we’ve got an official — and ominious — title for the upcoming special: “The Last Christmas.”
That’s a title that certainly seems to be loaded with potential subtext, especially given all those rumors that Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswin won’t be sticking around in the TARDIS much longer. Of course, that’s still just rumor at this point, but neither has the actress been confirmed for next season yet, whereas showrunner Steven Moffat did recently confirm that series lead Peter Capaldi will indeed be back for season 9 (no real surprise there). Could “The Last Christmas” prove to be the last Who adventure for Clara? The Who producers are obviously playing it close to the vest, but you never know.
So what do we actually know about “The Last Christmas?” For one thing, the amazing Nick Frost (the “not Simon Pegg” half of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End) will be getting jolly with it in the role of Santa Claus…or, more likely, an alien/robot/extra-dimensional intelligence posing as Santa Claus. Here’s the official synopsis from the BBC, which doesn’t shine much light on anything:
The Doctor and Clara face their Last Christmas. Trapped on an Arctic base, under attack from terrifying creatures, who are you going to call? Santa Claus!
And here’s a promo shot for the special, complete with presents, elves, The Doctor striking his best Superman pose, and Clara apparently channeling her inner Arthur Dent in a robe and house slippers. You’ll catch your death of cold, young lady! Say, maybe that’s why it’s her last Christmas…
“The Last Christmas” will premiere on Christmas day, with the exact time yet to be confirmed. Here’s a short trailer for the special, filled with creepy critters and Jolly Old St. Nick.