Doctor Who Last Christmas preview: festive cheer, Christmas tears and mind-bending monsters

The Doctor Who Christmas special is a dark, emotional sleigh ride that focuses squarely on the relationship between Clara and the Doctor, says Paul Jones

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Brace yourselves for some major revelations from this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special… Did you know, for instance, that Rudolph the reindeer’s red nose has an off switch? Or that Santa’s sleigh has something in common with the Tardis? Or, most shocking of all, that the 12th Doctor does know how to smile, after all?

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Exactly what makes him giddy with delight I won’t tell you now but suffice it to say, Santa makes an old man very happy.

It’s not all Christmas fun and frolics though – yes, the Doctor and Clara do pull a cracker, and even briefly put on some festive hats, but they also have their work cut out battling some mind-bendingly insidious monsters. And there are some tearful moments too.

One of the most pleasing things about Last Christmas, though, is its compact, self-contained nature. It’s complex in its own way but it restricts itself to a handful of supporting characters – the most memorable being Faye Marsay’s Shona, who adds a touch of real-world melancholy, as well as a few laughs – and in the end it does what all the best Doctor Who episodes do: focuses on the relationship between the Doctor and his companion.

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Doctor Who: Last Christmas is on BBC1 at 6:15pm on Christmas Day