Last Christmas
Doctor Who Logo 'Last Christmas'
(Story Code 8.13)

by Steven Moffat
Last Christmas

“Why me? It’s the North Pole. It’s Christmas Day. And you’re dying. Who you gonna call?” – Santa Claus

It’s Christmas Eve, and Clara is woken from her sleep by a huge crash from above. Making her way onto the roof of her house, Clara is greeted with the amazing sight of Santa Claus and his two elves, Ian and Wolf, picking up the presents and tangerines that have fallen out of their crashed sleigh. These three unexpected visitors pretend to be ordinary passers-by – until their flying reindeer give the game away. As Clara struggles to cope with a conversation with a figure from her childhood fairy-tales, things get even more confusing when the TARDIS materialises and the Doctor urges her to get inside the ship. As Clara dazedly complies, the Time Lord locks horns with Santa (evidently some history there!), and then whisks his friend off to the North Pole… Meanwhile, in an Arctic base, Lead Scientist Ashley Carter and her two associates, Professor Bellows and Professor Albert, watch over CCTV as their colleague Shona prepares to enter the infirmary. Clearly terrified, Shona closes her eyes and listens to Slade though her headphones in an effort to make her way through the room without thinking of its four sleeping occupants, each lying on a gurney under a sheet. To her colleagues’ astonishment, Shona resorts to a full song and dance routine, and manages to get halfway through the room before the external hatch opens and the Doctor and Clara walk in. As Shona’s concentration is broken the four sleepers awake, and as they get to their feet the sheets fall away to reveal hideous alien creatures smothering their heads. The Doctor instantly identifies the monsters as mind parasites that feed on people’s awareness – thinking about the creatures literally makes them stronger. As the four figures close in on them the Time Lord tries to distract Clara with maths; when that fails he talks of Danny Pink, getting a slap round the face for his efforts. Ashley, Bellows and Albert arrive on the scene brandishing guns, but they are too late to prevent dozens of the crab-like aliens from descending from the ceiling! A huge explosion rocks the base, and to everyone’s surprise a tangerine rolls into the room, followed by Slinkies, toy robots and finally Santa, riding on the back of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer and accompanied by his elves Ian and Wolf! Santa simply banishes the sleepers back to bed and then, with the aid of an alien specimen imprisoned in a glass jar, he goes on to identify their attackers as Kantrofarri, otherwise known as ‘Dream Crabs’. The Doctor knows of these creatures, and he begrudgingly agrees to join forces with Santa. Leaving Shona to question Santa and his elves, the reunited Doctor and Clara discuss Danny and Gallifrey, and learn that they each lied to protect the other. Then the Doctor warns Clara that the Dream Crabs alter their victims’ perception – they could all be dying and not know it… Ashley shows her two visitors footage of her fallen team-mates as they investigated an ice cave below the base, where they discovered the sleeping Dream Crabs; just thinking about the dormant creatures awoke them, and the monsters immediately attacked their unwitting victims. The professor observes how the monsters look like the face huggers from the movie ‘Alien’, earning him a withering comment from the Doctor. The Time Lord explains that the Dream Crabs induce a dream-state in their hosts, keeping their victims happy while they digest their minds. Clara checks on the imprisoned Dream Crab, only to find it has broken loose, having been woken by the discussion in the control room. Hiding under a table, Clara tries desperately to distract herself – but the creature homes in on her thoughts and comes straight for her… and then Clara awakes to find herself back in her bedroom on Christmas Day, together with Danny Pink, still very much alive and now dressed as Santa. Following Danny downstairs, Clara comes across a blackboard with a message warning her that she is dreaming and dying; however, Clara’s induced dream-state quickly takes over, and she hurries on to join her boyfriend… Back in the polar base, the Doctor tries unsuccessfully to wake Clara as she lies on the floor with a Dream Crab encompassing her head. Realising he has only one course of action left, the Doctor asks Santa for help in getting back into the infirmary... In Clara’s dream-world, an evening in front of the fire with Danny is interrupted by a knock at the front door: it is the Doctor, who has allowed himself to be taken over by a Dream Crab so he can telepathically link with Clara and warn her of her predicament. Clara tells the Doctor that she wants to stay with Danny, but through ‘dream Danny’ her subconscious persuades her to wake up and get on with her life. The Doctor and Clara wake up in the infirmary, and their Dream Crabs die and crumble to dust. However, their triumph is short-lived: on hearing how Ashley and her crew all have an ‘ice-cream headache’ the Doctor makes a terrible realisation – they are all still asleep, and have been since the attack in the infirmary. To confirm his theory the Doctor tests the polar team with the use of four identical manuals – randomly turning to a page they find that each is different, the first words of their pages forming the sentence “we are all dead”. Santa and his elves even confirm the Doctor’s hypothesis, noting how they were conjured from everyone’s subconscious as a manifestation of help. Santa encourages the Doctor, Clara, Ashley, Shona, Bellows and Albert to link hands and form a gestalt. The plan to make themselves think about waking up works, and everyone awakes in the infirmary, their thwarted Dream Crabs turning to dust beside them. Once the crew have sealed the doors to the infirmary, the Doctor bids them goodbye and then swiftly ushers Clara back to the TARDIS. When Clara insists they stay to deal with the remaining Dream Crabs the Doctor refuses – until Clara points out how Santa was on her roof when the Doctor came for her. Rushing back inside the base the Doctor demands to know what the crew’s mission is; when none of them can tell him, the Time Lord’s suspicions are confirmed: the four sleepers in the infirmary are actually Ashley, Shona, Bellows and Albert – they are still asleep, telepathically networked into the same nightmare! As professor Albert stares at the CCTV image of himself smothered in a Dream Crab, his alter ego reaches out and pulls him through the screen and kills him. As the other three sleepers push themselves through the view-screens and into the control room, the Doctor, Clara and the crew race out of the base into the snowy wastes beyond, sealing the main door behind them. The Doctor and Clara make for the TARDIS, only to be confronted by versions of themselves, each taken over by a Dream Crab. Turning round, they are faced with multiple versions of Ashley, Shona and Bellows, all with aliens covering their faces. As their attackers close in, the Doctor urges Clara, Ashley, Shona and Bellows to use their imaginations and dream themselves home – and from up in the sky, Santa swoops down in his sleigh to rescue them! With everyone safely aboard, Santa sets about taking them all home. Swooping over London, Santa even gives the Doctor the chance to fly his sleigh, just as Big Ben strikes midnight! The crew of the polar base start to remember who they are, which enables them to wake up in the real world: a wheelchair-bound Bellows is woken by her grand-daughter, as a Dream Crab crumbles to dust nearby; Ashley comes to in bed, a Dream Crab dying on her pillow; and Shona wakes up on her sofa, her Dream Crab disintegrating on the floor. Reaching for her ‘To Do’ list, Shona makes a note to forgive Dave, having already watched ‘Alien’ and ‘The Thing From Another World’… The Doctor wakes up on an alien planet, his Dream Crab dying on the ground as he races for the TARDIS. Back on the sleigh, a contented Clara decides to wait with Santa a little longer… Having tracked Clara by her psychic signal, the Doctor arrives in his friend’s bedroom and immediately sets about sonicing her Dream Crab; as he removes the creature from her head he explains how the Dream Crabs got to him first and then found Clara from his memory, with everyone else just getting caught up randomly. To the Doctor’s surprise his time apart from Clara is longer than he thought: sixty-two years has passed, and Clara is now an elderly woman. The two friends catch up on Clara’s life and adventures, and share a Christmas cracker – and then Santa turns up again. The Doctor wakes up again, but this time when he gets to Clara releases her from her Dream Crab she is the same youthful Clara that he left a few months ago. Offered the chance to travel once again in the TARDIS, Clara is only too eager to accept. The two friends depart in the TARDIS, failing to notice a tangerine sitting on Clara’s window-ledge…

Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara), Nick Frost (Santa Claus), Samuel Anderson (Danny Pink), Dan Starkey (Ian), Nathan McMullen (Wolf), Faye Marsay (Shona MacCullough), Natalie Gumede (Ashley Carter), Maureen Beattie (Professor Fiona Bellows), Michael Troughton (Professor Albert)

Directed by Paul Wilmshurst
Produced by Paul Frift
Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin
A BBC Wales production

TX (BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD):
25th December 2014 @ 6.15 pm

*Featuring the Twelfth Doctor and Clara *The title sequence for this sixty-minute episode is liberally decorated with snow, with sleigh bells ringing along with the theme music.

*After Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, Nick Frost receives a credit in the opening titles

*Music heard in this episode: 'Merry Xmas Everybody' by Slade