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Anticipating The Snowmen

Guest contributor Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull believes it’s shaping up to be the best Christmas special yet.

We are merely days away from the premiere of The Snowmen and already we know so much about it. The BBC has bathed us in pictures, clips, and general teasers; the largest amount of promotion they’ve done in ages. Over the autumn months we were kept in the dark for most of the time but now our knowledge expands daily. I’m going to have a look at the current information we have on the Christmas special and how it’s panning out…

The Doctor

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Steven Moffat has said in multiple interviews that the Doctor will be a very reclusive figure from at least the start of the episode. He is still recovering from the loss of companions, Amy and Rory who left him in the mid-series finale, The Angels Take Manhattan. His behaviour in The Great Detective clearly shows him to want nothing of the world and to simply retire to his TARDIS. Obviously this will change when his new assistant, Clara (played by the brilliant Jenna-Louise Coleman) shows him that the world is in peril and so he will lapse back into his usual adventurous self. He also sports a terrific new wardrobe with a new flower appliqué bowtie and some Patrick Troughton inspired chequered trousers. During the start of Series Seven, Moffat told us that he wants Matt’s character to take a dark turn and seeing a nihilistic Doctor will add to this desired effect. But still, we all love seeing a jovial Doctor, especially Matt Smith’s because he is so friendly and childish in a way we love him.

The Companion (s)

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The Snowmen promises so many things – a new mood for the Doctor, new villains, a new TARDIS and one of the biggest things since 2010, a new companion. In a recent Doctor Who TV poll nearly fifty percent of the voters said that they are most looking forward to Clara. I join that majority and too anticipate Jenna-Louise’s proper debut as the Doctor’s new assistant.

From what we’ve seen she looks absolutely great, a strict governess that leads a double life as a barmaid who meets the Doctor and joins him to battle the titular foe. Jenna was brilliant in Asylum of the Daleks, playing junior entertainment manager Oswin Oswald, who somehow has a connection to Clara. I think she will be a brilliant addition to the TARDIS and really be a suitable match for the Doctor. I actually look forward to her more in Series Seven – Part Two where she’ll join the Doctor on his travels. In recent days, Moffat has revealed that the locations of the stories will be very venturesome and they will visit places like a submarine, a new alien planet and even further into the TARDIS itself. From all the small promotional pictures and clips we’ve seen, I truly think Jenna-Louise Coleman will bring a new sense of companionship to the show.

Now the reason I added “(s)” in the paragraph’s title was because, although they are not credited as companions, The Paternoster Gang do feature heavily throughout the episode. The return of the Silurian, Madame Vastra, her maid Jenny and their ‘Turkish’ henchman, the Sontaran Strax, has been moderately well received but not raved as an entirely appropriate addition. To me, they look (especially Strax) like a vehicle to add comedy to the episode. I felt that the three’s introduction in A Good Man Goes To War was rushed and unnecessary – the Doctor was gathering old friends and the episode missed out so many proper ‘old’ friends and just added in some new characters. An unserious Sontaran just seems wrong to me, they were introduced in The Time Warrior as being a brutal, war hungry race that killed anyone that stood in their way. I highly doubt Robert Holmes envisioned them to turn out like Strax. As for Jenny, she didn’t do anything in AGMGTW that was memorable or important so I have no expectations from her whatsoever. I think I anticipate Vastra the most because as a Silurian she has so much back-story that could be explored (part of it was in the online prequel, Vastra Investigates). Hearing her described as a Victorian Silurian has so much charm in its self.

Yet I still think it’s Clara people are most looking forward to and I’m very much with them, she is going to be brilliant!

The TARDIS

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A truly anticipated factor in the Who community, the new TARDIS promises to be one of the biggest changes of Series Seven. It hasn’t been changed since the new Doctor got his first TARDIS in The Eleventh Hour. Now from the most revealing promotional picture we’ve seen of it, it’s going for a more spaceship-like appearance with controls round the outside. It reminds me of the classic control room from the Fifth to Seventh Doctor era except garnished with nice turquoises and royal blues. Surprisingly, the picture isn’t as divulging as previously thought, as we can only see parts of the central console and the back. I think it looks stunning and much more spacey (wacey – I’m sorry, but I had to do it) than Eleven’s previous interior. It reminds me of Eccleston and Tennant’s console for some reason, maybe it’s just the colours but I feel almost reminiscent.

The Villains & Monsters

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Doctor Who has always had the chilling ability to turn something completely ordinary into a monster, especially at Christmas. Russell T Davies takes the crown for “Most Festive Norms Transformed Into Something Terrifying” as he made us scared of Christmas trees, busking Santas, baubles, stars and angels. Steven Moffat this year has taken a lesson from Russell and turned holiday favourite, snowmen, into an icy monster. They look really scary and there were audible gasps in my living room when they were first shown in the Children in Need trailer. Star of The Lord of the Rings films and the new blockbuster, The Hobbit, Sir Ian McKellen will voice these formidable snowy menaces. The ringleader of the eponymous snowmen is none other than the ‘original’ Tenth Doctor, Richard E. Grant as the villainous Doctor Simeon.

POTENTIAL SPOILER WARNING!

I think the most interesting foe will be the returning villain, – rumoured to be the Great Intelligence from the Second Doctor’s era. This is backed up by sightings of a ‘G.I’ estate and sly references to the London Underground (as Doctor Who TV put it, these could be cheeky allusions to the 1968 episode, The Web of Fear). Could it be the Great Intelligence and if that entity is coming back then does that mean we could be in for a Yeti sighting?

We are only a few days away from the big day and I for one can’t wait for The Snowmen. It boasts so much that it’s hard not to look forward to it. I think it’s going to be corker of an episode and possibly Moffat’s best Christmas special yet.

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