This year’s Doctor Who Christmas special takes its cue from the classic tale Narnia where a normal family find themselves in an alien world. The titular widow is Madge Arwell, played by actress Claire Skinner, who meets the Doctor under typically strange circumstances. “The Doctor meets her because of the space suit he’s in,” Matt Smith tells SciFiNow, “and he lands and meets this lady who takes him back to her house but he finds out something very tragic about her life. He tries to give her and her children the best Christmas ever, which turns out to be the best Christmas ever… in a really dangerous forest,” he laughs.
Whilst at the Arwell’s family home, the Doctor adopts the guise of a caretaker. “I think he just wants to give himself a new name for a bit,” explains Smith, “but he’s the most ridiculous caretaker ever and they’re wondering ‘but this isn’t how caretakers behave’. It’s that wonderful thing of the Doctor landing in a normal situation and being very Doctor-y in it, changing it in a way that only he can, to him seeming completely normal and to others completely alien.”
The special boasts guest stars Bill Bailey, Arabella Weir and Alexander Armstrong and will also feature some explosive scenes. “It’s quite action-adventurey which is nice,” Smith reveals, “I’ve done all my own stunts this year, well, I’ve done two. One that involves a big explosion and one that involves leaping over something, which will hopefully be very funny and landing very awkwardly. I hope we’ll see more action-adventure Doctor, maybe we’ll see more of that next series, sort of an action hero, you know.”
For the full, exclusive on-set report and cast interviews check out issue 61 of SciFiNow, on sale now!