Doctor Who Christmas special: the Doctor and Santa have a history of “beef” says Nick Frost

"He's got a little bit of Robert De Niro in Mean Streets," says Nick Frost of his take on Santa Claus

This Christmas, the Doctor will come face to face with Santa himself. But is it the first time that the men of legend have met each other? Apparently not, according to guest star Nick Frost, who says that the pair have “beef.” 

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We first caught a glimpse of Frost’s take on Mr Clause, of course, during the final moments of this years’ series finale, which saw the Doctor and Clara seemingly say their bittersweet farewells, before Father Christmas barged into the Doctor’s TARDIS to announce, “you can’t end it like this!” But as Frost tells Radio Times this week, the character may not be all about bringing the Doctor ‘good tidings’. 

“For a start, it’s not all ‘Ho ho ho’,” Frost explained. “My Santa is cross, mean and curt as well as cheery and funny. He’s got a little bit of Robert De Niro in Mean Streets. And he has history with the Doctor: it’s not talked about explicitly but they have beef with each other from a way back.”

What could have happened? Frost goes on to say that while he cannot leak any spoilers from Last Christmas, he can reveal one tantalising bit of information… 

“Here’s something I bet you didn’t know: Peter Capaldi is such a giggler. Trust me. Whatever you see on screen on Christmas Day, there’s a version of it somewhere with Peter giggling the whole time…”

Having already met Robin Hood last series, this marks another more fantastical character for the Doctor to hook up with, although showrunner Steven Moffat insists that this take on Santa is an authentic addition. 

“I haven’t completely lost my marbles here,” he insists. “Santa is written in properly, in a science-fiction way into Doctor Who.” 

“I sense that the very people who think they might hate this, won’t hate it at all. Of all the Christmas specials I’ve done, it’s the one most like the paradigm Doctor Who episode.”

This year’s special will bring Moffat’s festive tally to a whopping five, but with the Doctor’s ‘beef’ with Nick Frost’s ‘Robert De Niro Santa’ will this years’ special be more of a Black Christmas?

“Nick is ideal. He’s what Santa should be in Doctor Who land,” Moffat assured. “The rest is actually a scary, tense and claustrophobic adventure. It’s The Thing meets Miracle on 34th Street. It’s certainly the strangest bloody thing I’ve ever written.” 

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