Radio Times Christmas Preview

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The Radio Times have seen this year’s festive special, The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe, and offered up a short spoiler-free preview. Here’s some highlights.

  • For once the storytelling formula is a gentle A to C to B to D, rather than [Moffat’s] vexing Z to WTF via Q and A.
  • It begins spectacularly with a gigantic spaceship looming over Earth, in what has to be a homage to The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy.
  • The drama really centres round the Arwell family, a widow and two children, who have been evacuated to an imposing house in the English countryside in 1941. Here the Doctor, travelling alone, just happens to be caretaker.
  • There are nods to Narnia: the episode title, obviously, and a portal that leads from the house into a snowy forest, but here the allusions end.
  • The guest monsters, brilliantly realised, are made of wood. Bill Bailey, Arabella Weir and Benidorm’s Paul Bazely provide gentle comic relief as incompetent harvesters. (Die-hards should listen out for a reference to a 1984 story.)
  • Maurice Cole and Holly Earl play the Arwell children, Cyril and Lily, with great conviction. Where do they find these young actors?
  • A few lines of dialogue: “I got dressed in a hurry”, “Why does a forest need people?” and “Happy crying…”