It’s time of year again: Time for the BBC Children in Need telethon, benefiting children’s charities in the United Kingdom. And the highlight of the telethon over the past five years has usually been special DOCTOR WHO material leading into the annual Christmas Special, and the 2010 broadcast also featured a treat for fans of the last Time Lord.
This year’s Xmas special will be Matt Smith’s first as reigning Doctor. (You will recall that last year’s Christmas present was “The End of Time Part 1,” David Tennant’s swan-song as the 10th Doctor. Smith’s debut in the role did not come for another week yet, in part 2.)
Here it is, the teaser for the 2010 Christmas special, “A Christmas Carol”…
The CIN telethon has featured some really terrific DOCTOR WHO content, ranging from the absolutely sublime – 2007’s “Time Crash” mash-up of the 10th and Fifth Doctors (written by Steven Moffat) – to the wonderful – the newly regenerated 10th Doctor trying to convince Rose (Billie Piper) that he’s still the Doctor in a specially scripted 7-minute scene in 2005 – to the fun – the opening three minutes of “The Next Doctor” in 2008, and “The End of Time” in 2009. I don’t want to say this year’s teaser trailer for Series 6 is disappointing, but compared to those sparklers, getting roughly 60 seconds of darkly lit hints is a bit…um, shall we say, less than I hoped for.
Still, any 11th Doctor is better than no 11th Doctor, and I love seeing Smith trying act all spooky and mysterious. (Don’t you get the sense that inside, the Doctor is just about to burst with laughter?) So, what can we glean from this clip? Not a heck of a lot, but it does whet the appetite. The clip is nothing if not darkly atmospheric, and teases a lot, while revealing little.
First of all, I sense another timey-wimey tale, as we see Rory (Arthur Darvil) in his Roman centurion guise (meaning he’s made of plastic at that point), and Amy (Karen Gillan) in her sexy policewoman kissogram costume. What’s more, Amy appears to be on the bridge of a starship! What’s going on there? After tumbling down a chimney Santa Claus-style (Does Father Christmas descend though chimneys as well?), the Doctor end up seated in a comfy chair, claiming to be “the Ghost of Christmas Past.” The clip focuses largely on Michael Gambon (currently on the big screen as Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1) as a Scrooge-type called Kazran (intriguingly, he’s called “Older Kazran” at IMDb), as well as Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins as… well, we can’t tell at this point. In fact, far from clearing up anything, this clips just makes the special seem more intriguing.
So I’m going to treat the mystery as a positive; look at it as going into the special without being spoiled. American fans lucky enough to have an enlightened cable provider that features BBC America will get to see the special on Christmas Day (a first for the USA).