It’s no secret that showrunner Steven Moffat really loves the annual DOCTOR WHO Christmas specials, so bringing back the Doctor’s wife, River Song (Alex Kingston), and pairing her up with his latest incarnation must have been even more fun for the Grand Moff than usual.
He teased this year’s special:
“We’ve shot that one with the 12th Doctor. That’s been a riot to do. And that’s been sort of a big fun chase episode, really. Just Mr. and Mrs. Who battling their way past nonsense, and that’s been great fun. They’re lovely together; they are. Alex is always great value. It’s time we saw her back being a kick-ass hero instead of playing mums and sisters and all that. It’s a waste of her.”
The official BBC tease of the special:
It’s Christmas Day in the future and the TARDIS is parked on a snowy village street, covered in icicles, awaiting its next adventure. Time traveler River Song meets her husband’s new incarnation, in the form of Peter Capaldi, for the first time this Christmas.
The as-yet untitled 2015 Christmas special will air on… (wait for it…) Christmas Day on BBC America.
The Doctor and River Song are forever meeting each other in the wrong order — and now it’s time for the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) to run into his wife at a strange time, when he crosses time streams with River (Alex Kingston) in this year’s DOCTOR WHO Christmas special.
But this time, the Doctor has the advantage — because she doesn’t recognize his 12th face!
“That’s how the Christmas special begins,” showrunner Steven Moffat told the London Doctor Who Festival. “She doesn’t know it’s him! It’s an opportunity for the Doctor to find out the terrible truth: What his wife gets up to when he’s not looking. No one should ever go through that!”
Moffat added: “The last time the Doctor saw her she was a ghost. The first time he met her, she died. So how can he be seeing her again? As ever, with the most complicated relationship in the universe, it’s a matter of time …”
The 2015 DOCTOR WHO Christmas special will be shown in U.S. movie theaters on Dec. 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. (local time).
And — in a gesture that Santa Claus would love — the events will also feature an exclusive interview with Alex Kingston (River Song) and a 15-minute “making of” behind-the-scenes featurette starring Peter Capaldi (the Doctor) and executive producer Steven Moffat!
Tickets for the screenings can be purchased online beginning tomorrow, Nov. 13, by visiting the Fathom Events website or participating theater box offices. A complete list of theater locations can be found on the Fathom Events site.
Here is the official synopsis of the special:
It’s Christmas in the future and the TARDIS is parked on a snowy village street, covered in icicles, awaiting its next adventure. Time traveler River Song meets her husband’s new incarnation, in the form of Peter Capaldi, for the first time!
It’s barely September, and DOCTOR WHO isn’t even back on TV yet, but the makers of the series are working on this year’s Christmas Special harder than Santa’s elves worried about North Pole layoffs, and that means there’s BIG holiday news — chief among the announcements: Alex Kingston will reprise her role as the Doctor’s late wife, Prof. River Song!
Of course, this will be her first time interacting with Peter Capaldi‘s 12th Doctor, and his grumpy demeanor promises a much different dynamic that her previous encounters with the 11th (Matt Smith) and 10th (David Tennant) Doctors!
But never fear — the story was written by lead writer/executive producer Steven Moffat, so he’s sure to keep things light-hearted and fast-paced. Now, if we can only figure out how she will appear! A small thing like death never stopped River Song — heck, she died in her very first story! And she hasn’t slowed a step since then.
Alex told the BBC:
“To be honest, I did not know whether River would ever return to the show, but here she is, back with the Doctor for the Christmas special. Steven Moffat is on glittering form, giving us an episode filled with humor and surprise guest castings. I met Peter for the first time at Monday’s read through. We had a laugh, and I am now excited and ready to start filming with him and the DOCTOR WHO team. Christmas in September? Why not!”
In addition to using the new incarnation of the Doctor to shake up audiences’ expectations on DOCTOR WHO, the new Time Lord (Peter Capaldi) will have a much different relationship with companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman).
Executive producer Steven Moffat recently chatted with The Mirror newspaper, and explained how the new Doctor will get on with the old companion:
“As a new Time Lord you need all the friends you can get, but [the 12th Doctor] even has to win over his companion. Clara grew very attached to [the 11th Doctor] and that shows in the opening episodes. Peter’s Doctor has to get past a spiky opening and try to make Clara a sidekick who will help him save the world from the usual mix of aliens and monsters from the galaxy.”
Additionally, according to the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, Moffat sees that dynamic as affecting the whole upcoming season:
“We’re going to give [Clara] a Doctor who’s not like [The Eleventh Doctor] at all, who’s a much older, fiercer, madder, less-reliable Doctor, who leads her a merry dance. And she’s trying to keep him a secret and she’s now working in a school.”
So, would a different companion have any better luck with the new Time Lord? Leaving aside those rumors of a male companion, what about someone who knows the Doctor really (really) well — say, Prof. River Song?
“I’m slightly tempted [to bring River back], because I imagine Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston would be absolutely hilarious together.”
What do you think? Is there a past companion who would get on well with a more madcap, dangerous Doctor?
Just as you probably are, I’m sitting by my mailbox awaiting my copy of the DOCTOR WHO series seven box set, and while waiting we could use some entertainment. Enter: YouTube, which features one of the minisodes included in the box set to bridge the gap between episodes or, as in this case, merely to entertain.
Enjoy “Rain Gods,” featuring River Song (Alex Kingston) and in which Matt Smith reminds us why his departure from the title role is such a tragedy…
On the plus side, the complete seventh series will help pass the time until the 50th anniversary story, “The Day of the Doctor,” on Nov. 23.