Radio Times: The Doctor, The Widow and The WardrobeBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 7 December 2011 - Reported by Chuck Foster

For some, Christmas time starts with the appearance of the Coca-Cola "Holidays Are Coming" advert on television, for others it's the first time Slade or Wizzard are heard blaring across the supermarket, but for many it's also the publication of the 'legendary' Christmas double issue of the Radio Times!

This year's issue covers 17th-30th December, with some 294 pages dedicated to Christmas television. The highlight for us, of course, is at 7:00pm on Christmas Day when the Doctor once again provides us with our traditional festive treat in The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe!

The following is the synopsis and cast listing from the Radio Times, that might be considered a spoiler

Christmas Eve, 1938, and Madge Arwell helps an injured spaceman-angel. He promises to repay her kindness. Three years later, Madge escapes war-torn London with her children for a house in Dorset. The Arwells are greeted by a caretaker whose Christmas gift leads them into a magical wintry world.

The DoctorMatt Smith   Reg ArwellAlexander Armstrong
Madge ArwellClaire Skinner   Lily ArwellHolly Earl
DroxilBill Bailey   Cyril ArwellMaurice Cole
BillisArabella Weir   Ven-GarrPaul Bazely
Wooden KingSpencer Wilding   Wooden QueenPaul Kasey

The episode is repeated on BBC1/BBC1HD on Tuesday 27th December at 2:50pm, and on BBC3 on Wednesday 28th December at 7:00pm.

Matt Smith will also feature as a guest on The Graham Norton Show, to be broadcast on BBC1 from 10:35pm on Friday 23rd December (repeated late night on Christmas Day).

The issue also contains a three page article, with interviews with Steven Moffat, Matt Smith and Maurice Cole (Cyril). Steven considers the traditions of Christmas:
It's amazing how fast tradition is, isn't it? Christmas, as we know it, only came along with the Victorians, Santa's outfit was popularised by Coca-Cola, and I remember only a few years ago Russell T Davies pointing out all the papers referring to the traditional Doctor Who Christmas special - "It's only the second one!" he laughed. Ah, was the world ever so young? We're days away from the Doctor's seventh Christmas visit, and I'm wondering just why this feels so right. I think, when I was little, the Doctor and Father Christmas lived in the same place in my head - kind, funny lunatics, who looked like grown-up but definitely weren't.
Meanwhile, Matt reflects on his own Christmas as a boy:
Wake up, open presents, go mental for about four hours, wear and play with said presents, have food, and then watch a Christmas movie like Mary Poppins, The Goonies. I love Home Alone and the Dudley Moore Santa Claus. And Elf - that's amazing! I will definitely watch that this year. When I was a kid, there wasn't really anything we'd all watch regularly like Doctor Who, so it was mostly about films.
And Maurice says what he likes best about Christmas:
Probably the turkey. But if I could have a wish for Christmas it would be a white Christmas like in Doctor Who, so I could go sledging.
You can read the full interviews - including how the Doctor was saved by Sherlock Holmes, and what Matt considers as his favourite comedy series - in the double-issue, out nationwide from today.

The Radio Times website has published a preview for The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe, in which Patrick Mulkern calls the episode "one of the most satisfying specials yet"; in the article he also reflects upon Doctor Who Christmas Treats of the past (though perhaps not K9 and Company!).