Doctor Who Christmas Special: what clues does the poster hold about The Time of the Doctor?

From Sontarans to wooden Cybermen, we scour the new poster for hints about Matt Smith's final story


Time’s up. This Christmas Day will see Matt Smith’s final adventure as the Doctor, before the Time Lord regenerates into Peter Capaldi. Indeed, by rights The Time of the Doctor should be the last flight of the Tardis. The story will take place on Trenzalore, destined to be the place the Doctor dies after an immense battle that kills millions. So, festive cheer all round, but what clues does the poster hold?


1. Sontar-ha!

We already knew that the Daleks (scary recycle bins), Cybermen (scary robots), Weeping Angels (scary statues) and Silents (scary accountants) were going to be in it. In fact the Silence are a religious order created specifically to stop the Doctor from reaching Trenzalore. They believe it will somehow end the universe, so fair enough really.

But, here’s a new detail: see that spaceship in the background, the one that looks like the mechanical claw in a seaside arcade game? That’s a Sontaran battleship. Will we be seeing the squat, violent space-rugby players in person?

2. Batteries not included

Speaking of Cybermen, they’re looking a bit worse for wear, aren’t they? Not only is the Doctor holding one of their decapitated heads, it seems to have been haphazardly repaired beforehand. That’ll definitely void your warranty. The one lurking behind the Doctor is in slightly better shape, but is so rusted it looks like it is made of wood. Wait, it is made of wood!

Now, Cybermen are nothing if not patient. The last time the bad guys formed a grand coalition to stop the Doctor, they left behind a couple of Cybermen for several centuries to guard the trap. Unfortunately, by the time the Doctor got to Stonehenge (yes, Stonehenge), the Cybermen were in a worse state than the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. Are the Cybermen being used as bait yet again?

3. Arms across Trenzalore

Here’s another nasty surprise. Just what is leaping out of the snow to grab Clara? The grey colour suggests a Weeping Angel, but here’s an outlandish theory: Trenzalore is destined to become an immense graveyard. Could the dead be rising, beckoning the Doctor to join them?

4. Action men

What’s with these army guys darting between explosions like they’re playing Call of Duty? Now, army guys are army guys are army guys. Guns, camouflage, hoo-rah attitude, they tend to be much of a muchness. However, there are two specific bands of brothers that these jarheads might represent.

Either they’re the religious commandos who accompany the Silence and fight the Doctor, or they’re the other group of religious commandos, who arrested River Song for killing the Doctor (her husband). Only one thing’s for sure: the Doctor seems to inspire his share of fanatics. But you already knew that.

5. Tick-tock-Doc

Call me crazy, but it looks like time will be central to the Time of the Doctor. No, wait, let me finish. Not only is the entire poster surrounded by a spectral clock (which looks suspiciously similar to the Time Lord alphabet), but there’s a massive clocktower in the background and the Doctor is wearing a fob watch.

The clock is showing the portentous time of 12 midnight. Is this just the scariest possible time (other than 7.26 on a Monday morning), or a reference to Matt Smith, who with the addition of John Hurt (might) have been shuffled to 12 in the numbering of Doctor-faces? Or does the Doctor’s watch contain the soul of a Time Lord? (Don’t scoff, it’s happened before, a few times.) 

6. Bow ties

No grand theory here, but how adorable are the bow ties on Clara’s Christmas cardigan? A gift from the Doctor, perhaps?