First Broadcast December 25th 2014 @ 6.15pm (8.28m viewers)
Peter Capaldi’s first full Christmas special is a bit of an odd one. Unlike most of the seasonal specials, this feels more like a traditional episode of Doctor Who which happens to occur at Christmas. The inspirations for the story are clear. The Dream Crabs mirror the facehuggers of ‘Alien’. A base at the North Pole is similar to the location of John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’. Plus the themes of dreams and questioning reality parallel Christopher Nolan’s mesmerising movie ‘Inception’. The result is a damn good episode of Doctor Who.
It is of course highlighted by Nick Frost as Santa Claus who is absolutely perfect in the role. Cleverly the story presents the possibility of the legendary figure being both real and a dream. We also saw Michael Troughton, son of Second Doctor Patrick, appear in the show for the first time and Dan Starkey not buried behind a Sontaran mask for once. Fan reaction was also positive towards Faye Marsay’s Shona. Like Astrid, seven years before she too felt like a ‘could’ve been companion’. With a strong story and a great cast ‘Last Christmas delivered an excellent episode. But would it be a ‘Last Christmas’ for Clara Oswald?
Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)
Originally Jenna Coleman was due to depart the series with this Christmas special, hence the title ‘Last Christmas’. This would’ve been fitting given she was properly introduced in another seasonal special two years previously. Narratively it also made a lot of sense. After the devastating events of ‘Dark Water/Death in Heaven’ and the demise of Danny Pink, travel in the TARDIS was surely less attractive. However, after some negotiations, Coleman and Clara remained with the show. As a result, the final scene of The Doctor and Clara climbing aboard the TARDIS to resume their travels is a wonderfully uplifting moment to finish the year on.
Also First Aired On This Day…
- The Daleks’ Master Plan: The Feast of Steven
- The Christmas Invasion
- The Runaway Bride
- Voyage of the Damned
- The Next Doctor
- The End of Time: Part One
- A Christmas Carol
- The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe
- The Snowmen
- The Time of the Doctor
- Last Christmas
- The Husbands of River Song
- The Return of Doctor Mysterio