On Saturday night, the eighth season of Doctor Who came to a close in “Death in Heaven.” I’m not here to talk about that. I’d rather discus the teaser for the forthcoming Christmas episode, with Nick Frost (probably best known to Americans for his collaborations with Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright — Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End) as Santa Claus.
Now, the teaser.
Now, I should tell you that, for several years now, I’ve had a mad idea about Doctor Who, Santa Claus, and my dream Christmas special.
Doctor Who Conquers the Martians.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, a childrens’ film made in the mid-1960s. On Mars, the children are lethargic and addicted to American television, and when Kimar, the leader of the Martians, is told by an old seer that what the children of Mars need is Christmas he embarks on a mission to Earth to kidnap Santa Claus. But another Martian, Voldar, wants to depose Kimar and kill Santa Claus, and can Christmas triumph on the Red Planet?
This works perfectly as a Doctor Who story!
The Ice Warriors, who live on Mars, kidnap Santa Claus for similar reasons. Now it’s up to the Doctor and two children to be menaced by a polar bear, go to Mars, rescue Santa Claus, foil a full-scale invasion of Earth by the Ice Warriors, and save Christmas.
This writes itself!
And, it could be done! For some reason, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians isn’t copyrighted and is in the public domain.
It would be goofy and fun. And Christmassy! Most Doctor Who Christmas specials aren’t especially Christmassy. They might be set at Christmas (like the RTD-era Christmas specials or, especially, “The Snowmen”) or on a winter world (like “The Time of the Doctor”) or both (like “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe”), but they lack a certain Christmasness.
Let’s be honest, here. I’m a bit disenchanted with the whole “Doctor Who Christmas special” thing. They’re not very special anymore, and they don’t embrace the holiday season. So, why not pull out all the stops, play up the Christmas fun in a Doctor Who style, and then rest the concept of a “Doctor Who Christmas special” for a fair few years allowing other, equally worthy shows, to get a Christmas Day slot on BBC1. “Go big or go home,” as they say.
As an aside, the other idea I’ve had? The Doctor and Santa Claus team up to fight the ancient evil that is the Krampus, much like the Beast in “The Impossible Planet” or Abaddon in Torchwood.
I don’t know what we’ll get from this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special. The teaser makes it look a bit like The Thing or Alien, albeit with Santa Claus. Because why not.
I wonder if it will be half as fun as the Christmas special in my dreams, Doctor Who Conquers the Martians.