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The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe - Pre Transmission Discussion

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Author Topic: The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe - Pre Transmission Discussion  (Read 907 times)
Twisted-Sister
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« on: September 22, 2011, 01:20:28 pm »

From the Star, so buckets of salt needed.

DOCTOR Who fans had better brace themselves for a Narnia-style festive special.

Show boss Steven Moffat is planning lots of snow, chases through a wintry The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe-style forest, plus an icy baddie.

Moffat, 49, teased: “If you thought last year’s show was the most Christmassy ever, then think again.”

The special sees the Time Lord (Matt Smith, 28) crash land in war-torn England. Posing as the caretaker of a creepy old house in Dorset he embarks on a magical mystery adventure with Madge Arwell and her two children, Lily and Cyril.

The three have been evacuated from London as the capital comes under attack during World War Two.

And there’s plenty of surprises as the Doctor leads them into a new world.

Joining him is a stellar cast, including Claire Skinner, 46, (Outnumbered), Bill Bailey, 47, (Black Books), Arabella Weir, 53 (The Fast Show) and Alexander Armstrong, 41 (Armstrong & Miller).

Claire said: “I am thrilled to be in Doctor Who playing Madge, who is a bit of supermum. It’s a really magical part.”

Moffat added: “The Doctor at Christmas – nothing is more fun to write.

“It’s maybe because it’s so his kind of day.

“Everything’s bright and shiny, everybody’s having a laugh, and nobody minds if you wear a really stupid hat.

“Of all the Doctors, Matt Smith’s is the one who was born for this time of year, so it’s the best news poss-ible that he’s heading back down the chimney.”
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2011, 09:49:34 pm »

Part of me sort of loves the idea, but part of me is against it. Moff needs to try something more original. He adapted something last year so this time I think he should show us what he can do on his own merits.
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2011, 06:30:22 pm »

Part of me sort of loves the idea, but part of me is against it. Moff needs to try something more original. He adapted something last year so this time I think he should show us what he can do on his own merits.

I agree with this post. It would be nice to see Steven Moffat do something completely new and original, but at the same time I am intrigued with what he might so with this if it is true
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2011, 02:50:50 pm »

Yea this is why I am torn. I love the story of TLTWATW so it would be good to see what he does but I think if he reuses an old story two christmases in a row it might not go down to well amongst the audience, regardless of how well he does it.
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2011, 08:35:11 pm »

Well, if you're going to steal, you might as well steal from good sources. Last year, Dickens - this year C.S. Lewis! I quite like the idea but will be interested to see how Moffat divorces the underlying Judeo-Christian message inherent in the Lewis story.

Or perhaps i'm looking too deeply into it Cheesy
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2011, 05:26:57 pm »

I absolutely adore TLTWATW, so I'm really excited about moff's take on it, but as you all said already it is mildly dissappointing to have another christmas special with a well known story (though moffat will do it brilliantly in his own way...hopefully).
Nonetheless I'm looking forward to seeing it =)
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2011, 11:11:16 pm »

I agree - in isolation it looks good, but I'd rather they broke up the retelling specials.

Did anyone else think that the trailer also had suggestions of the film The Others?
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2011, 12:41:12 pm »

The trailer looked great and I am sure it will be, but I agree that they should have tried a more original story than doing another retelling.
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2011, 05:00:55 pm »

I think the title of the thread is better than the one for the episode. That's my only complaint so far.
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2011, 09:31:31 am »

I agree - in isolation it looks good, but I'd rather they broke up the retelling specials.

Did anyone else think that the trailer also had suggestions of the film The Others?

I thought about the similarities between "The Others" as well - that would be no bad thing Smiley I absolutely adore the title - its a very "Moff" style title Smiley I'm getting excited now Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2011, 06:13:07 pm »

We really do need to change the title of this thread.

Anyway, I didn't know where to put this so it's going in here. It's a bit from the Radio Times.

"Whereas last year felt more like a Christmas romp, there's a slow-burning, ethereal magic to this.

"We've covered a whole forest in snow. The scale is vast and there's just something wonderfully magical about it because it's never that snowy in this country, except maybe in Scotland... and on the telly. It does it for you: all the snow and the lovely smell of the pine trees. I'm really, really looking forward to Christmas now."

Smith also told the magazine he has been doing his own stunts for the show, one of which involves a giant fireball.

"Believe me, the fireball does so much of the acting for you. It was only afterwards that I realised I could have been seriously charred," he said.

"I've been really enjoying it. Hopefully we'll see more action/adventure-y Doctor next season."

Among those making appearances in the Christmas special are comics Alexander Armstrong, Arabella Weir and Bill Bailey.

Longtime Doctor Who fan Bailey said appearing on the show was
"the equivalent of a knighthood".
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2011, 07:34:57 pm »

I am really looking forward to seeing what Moffat does with the C.S. Lewis story, which is one of my favorites.  But I agree with others here that its strange that he is adapting another classic story.  I wonder if this will be his pattern moving forward for the Christmas specials: to adapt classic stories.  Time will tell I suppose.
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2011, 10:45:57 pm »

Here is the BBCA Trailer. Have we put the UK one up? I don't remember seeing it anywhere, but I may have missed it.

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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2011, 10:47:35 pm »

We had a couple of requests for a title change so I have sorted that and made it a general chat thread Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2011, 11:34:49 am »

I don't remember seeing the UK Trailer here, tbh. The US one is much better than our though.

The wooden looking man. Does it remind anyone else of the Gnome King from Return To Oz? Everytime I see it that is what I think of.
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2011, 06:48:27 pm »

This is the UK one. Not the best quality but the best I could find

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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2011, 10:51:40 am »

I don't remember seeing the UK Trailer here, tbh. The US one is much better than our though.

The wooden looking man. Does it remind anyone else of the Gnome King from Return To Oz? Everytime I see it that is what I think of.

Thats it! Everytime I see it it reminds me of something and I can't think what, but that's it!
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2011, 10:51:59 am »

Oh and yes, the US trailer is much better than ours. Again.
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« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2011, 11:56:55 pm »

Ok, this is long, but worth a read. It's from the Radio Times. Bit spoilery, so avoid if you don't want to know anything at all Smiley

“Oh, this is marvellous. Really quite wonderful,” gasps war widow Madge Arwell, and she has a point. For anyone sick of overcooked gloop in Christmas TV specials – and Doctor Who itself is sometimes guilty – showrunner Steven Moffat’s latest confection gets all the ingredients in just the right measure.

I’ll admit I hit the play button for my rough-cut preview somewhat gingerly, but I’m pleased to report that The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe is one of the most satisfying specials yet. Moffat has surpassed himself, and for once the storytelling formula is a gentle A to C to B to D, rather than his vexing Z to WTF via Q and A.

It begins spectacularly with a gigantic spaceship looming over Earth, in what has to be a homage to The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. But the drama really centres round the Arwell family, a widow and two children, who have been evacuated to an imposing house in the English countryside in 1941.

Here the Doctor, travelling alone, just happens to be caretaker. Matt Smith is as usual utterly beguiling, and funny, while Claire Skinner is heartbreaking as the resilient Madge, a world away from the frazzled mum she plays in Outnumbered.

There are nods to Narnia: the episode title, obviously, and a portal that leads from the house into a snowy forest, but here the allusions end. CS Lewis won’t be revolving in his grave. The wartime stiff upper lip and cosy period detail lend a terribly British glow, while the trappings of Christmas – prezzies, trees, baubles – are imbued with a sense of menace and magic.

The guest monsters, brilliantly realised, are made of wood. Bill Bailey, Arabella Weir and Benidorm’s Paul Bazely provide gentle comic relief as incompetent harvesters. (Die-hards should listen out for a reference to a 1984 story.) And Maurice Cole and Holly Earl play the Arwell children, Cyril and Lily, with great conviction. Where do they find these young actors?

I’m not letting anything else slip, apart from a few lines of dialogue: “I got dressed in a hurry”, “Why does a forest need people?” and “Happy crying…”

Christmas specials past

So how does this 2011 special stack up against the Whovian treats of yore? In this year’s Radio Times double issue, Moffat mocks the popular assumption that the Time Lord’s yuletide presence is a longstanding tradition, adding that only a few years ago his predecessor, Russell T Davies, laughed at “all the papers referring to the traditional Doctor Who Christmas special – ‘It’s only the second one!’”

I’d counter that view and assert that the good Doctor has had a long association with Christmastime in the hearts of fans – if not always in a dedicated special on the big day itself, then certainly as a massively rewarding seasonal treat.

Way, way back in 1963, the Daleks made their TV debut on Saturday 28 December. A year later, the thrilling finale of The Dalek Invasion of Earth was shown on Boxing Day (and was lapped up by 12.4m viewers). In 1965, the 12-part epic The Daleks’ Master Plan paused for a peculiar episode shown on Christmas Day itself, with first Doctor William Hartnell ad-libbing an extraordinarily disdainful remark about Arabs, then breaking the fourth wall to wish “a Happy Christmas to all of you at home!”

Second Doctor Patrick Troughton had run-of-the-mill episodes shown in the Christmas week in the late 60s, and it wasn’t until the 70s that fans saw their treats properly restored with “complete adventure” repeats of their favourite stories.

Forty years on, I still remember the delight of sitting down with my family and grandparents on 28 December 1971 to watch a 90-minute version of creepy Jon Pertwee classic The Dæmons. The next year was even more exciting for the young fan: an omnibus repeat of The Sea Devils (27 December) and three days later the start of The Three Doctors!

Davies and Moffat’s 70s predecessor, producer Barry Letts, delivered many memorable Christmasses. 1974? A rerun of Pertwee’s swansong Planet of the Spiders on 27 December (gaining 8.6m viewers for a 2:45pm slot!) followed by Tom Baker’s debut the very next day (10.8m). I think I’ve made my point that Doctor Who and Christmas have had an enduring association in the minds of fans and general viewers.

I’ll skip over K•9 and Company (28 December 1981), a lacklustre spin-off teaming the robot dog with Sarah Jane Smith, and bound ahead 24 years to Doctor Who’s triumphant relaunch in 2005. This is when Russell T’s Christmas Day specials got off the ground, with David Tennant establishing himself immediately and brilliantly as the Time Lord in The Christmas Invasion.

Over subsequent Christmasses, and with variable results, we saw Tennant teamed with Catherine Tate (2006), Kylie Minogue (2007), David Morrissey (2008) and Bernard Cribbins (2009).


Last year, Moffat took over Santa’s reins and we saw Matt Smith alongside Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins. Although I enjoyed A Christmas Carol, I was beginning to baulk at a dollop of festive excess once in every 14 episodes. How about forging a “traditional” Halloween special, I thought – extra-scary, late at night, which the kiddies have to beg to stay up for? One can only dream…

Will The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe be savoured as a fine vintage yuletide Who in years to come? I reckon so. For now, enjoy, wallow and prepare to be moved!
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« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2011, 09:39:44 am »

"rather than his vexing Z to WTF via Q and A."

That made me crack up, because it describes Moff's writing so extraordinarily well xD
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