Out­side the box

It’s a Box­ing Day treat as Alex Kingston joins Peter Ca­paldi in the TARDIS for a story that’s been dubbed the raunchi­est episode of Doc­tor Who, DAVID MILLS re­ports

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

IN 10 years, Doc­tor Who’s Christ­mas spe­cial has es­tab­lished it­self as both a rat­ings hit and a Yule­tide tra­di­tion, as much a part of the sea­son’s fes­tiv­i­ties as a seafood lunch or a game of back­yard cricket.

Since the first Christ­mas spe­cial in 2005, the show’s writ­ers have used the episode to ei­ther shake up the show’s nar­ra­tive arc, or to ex­plore the lighter side of the Doc­tor’s ad­ven­tures in time and space.

This time around, the showrun­ners prom­ise to do a bit of both.

This year’s spe­cial re­unites the Doc­tor (Peter Ca­paldi) with his some­time love in­ter­est Pro­fes­sor River Song (Alex Kingston), who has tan­gled with two pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tions of the Time Lord.

“The thing about River Song in this episode is that she doesn’t really recog­nise the Doc­tor,” Ca­paldi says.

“He can’t con­vince her that he is who he is, so he sees some­thing dif­fer­ent about her … and he gets a bit an­noyed that he’s not get­ting enough flirt­ing or af­fec­tion.”

Ca­paldi de­scribes the spe­cial as a “fun romp” – Lit­tle Bri­tain’s Matt Lu­cas has a star­ring role – but he baulks at a re­cent UK press as­sess­ment that it’s the raunchi­est episode of Doc­tor Who ever made.

“It may well be the raunchi­est episode we’ve ever seen; it doesn’t say much for the raunch­i­ness of other episodes,” he says.

Work­ing with Kingston, who first shot to fame as a screen doc­tor (on ER), was a de­light and a chal­lenge. “I haven’t worked with Alex at all and, of course, I was slightly in­tim­i­dated be­cause she’s a Doc­tor Who vet­eran; she’s worked with [pre­vi­ous Doc­tors] Matt Smith and David Ten­nant,” he says.

“But ev­ery­one kept say­ing, ‘You’ll love her, she’s ab­so­lutely lovely,’ and that proved to be the case.”

The spe­cial also acts as the bridge be­tween the cur­rent show arc, which ended with the de­par­ture of the Doc­tor’s long-term com­pan­ion Clara (Jenna Coleman), and next year’s sea­son, which will in­tro­duce a new TARDIS trav­eller to view­ers.

“As al­ways with Doc­tor Who, there’s al­ways some­thing else go­ing on and specif­i­cally at the con­clu­sion of [the Christ­mas spe­cial] there’s a slightly more melan­cholic tone that sets in,” Ca­paldi says.

As for the iden­tity of the new com­pan­ion, Ca­paldi is eva­sive.

“The thing with Doc­tor Who is that some­times things are as sur­pris­ing to me as they are to the pub­lic,” he says.

“I sus­pect that per­son has not been cho­sen yet, but I’m not also sure whether or not it’s some­body who might have been around.

“I mean, I my­self was in the show pre­vi­ously (in the David Ten­nant era episode The Fires of Pom­peii).

“Doc­tor Who is a great show to work on, and if peo­ple are good and ter­rific ac­tors and fun to work with, we al­ways want to get them back.”

With two sea­sons in the TARDIS be­hind him, Ca­paldi is ap­proach­ing the three-year limit that most ac­tors in the role have en­joyed. So how long is he stay­ing?

“I take it as it comes. I really enjoy do­ing the show, and as long as peo­ple like me and want me to be in the role I’ll be happy to do it,” he says.

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