The Doctor Who Christmas Special this year is called “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe.” It stars Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, Claire Skinner as Madge Arwell, Alexander Armstrong as Reg Arwell, Holly Earl as Lily Arwell, and Maurice Cole as Cyril Arwell.
The episode begins with the Doctor needing help to find the TARDIS after he fell out of a spaceship in Earth’s orbit. He is in England, 1938, and meets a woman called Madge Arwell. She helps him find the TARDIS and the Doctor pledges to repay her someday. A few years later, in 1941, Madge and her children Lily and Cyril go to a house outside of London and encounter a delightfully odd Caretaker… a Caretaker who has upgraded chairs to spin, installed a lemonade faucet, and replaced the children’s beds with hammocks. Sound like anyone familiar? He has even gotten them a Christmas present… a large, TARDIS-blue box that when the children peek, they find it takes them to another place. This begins an adventure the children and Madge will never forget; with snowy forests, talking trees, spaceships, and glowing crowns.
I really thought this was a fantastic episode. The Doctor is at his best when he acts like such a free spirit. His “improvements” to the house and his excitement are hilarious. Matt Smith fantastically balances the excited giddyness of a child and the sagacity of someone over 900 years old. Claire Skinner does a great job showing how her character wants only to protect her children and give them the best Christmas ever. The best and most heartfelt part to me was at the end when Madge convinces the Doctor to go spend time with his friends. He goes to see Amy and Rory at Christmas time, but gets there two years after the events of “The Wedding of River Song.” Amy and the Doctor have a wonderful exchange and leave me so excited to see everyone back together for the next season.
Now, where’s the TARDIS? I need to get to Autumn 2012 for the new episodes!