The BBC recently released an exclusive preview of the Doctor Who Christmas Special, which is scheduled to air on Dec. 25.
The preview, which is available on YouTube, shows Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) taking a skeptical tone while meeting Santa Claus (Nick Frost). The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) suddenly shows up with the TARDIS, asking Clara to go inside; after she does that, he later talks to Santa about something mysterious.
"I promise before this Christmas Day is done, you will be glad of my help," Santa says in response to the Doctor's concern.
Showrunner and writer Steven Moffat said in an Inquisitr article that Santa Claus will not be an alien or a robot in this episode.
"Santa could never be evil, for heaven's sake!" Moffat said. "Santa is both real and a Christmas hero; any parents who are worried about that, Santa is presented as he is in real life - a great Christmas hero!"
The BBC also released a short description of the upcoming episode, as oultined in a Radio Times article by Huw Fullerton.
"The Doctor and Clara face their Last Christmas," the BBC teased. "Trapped on an Arctic base, under attack from terrifying creatures, who are you going to call? Santa Claus!"
Fullerton speculates that the "terrifying creatures" are the slimy alien-like monsters as seen in the episode trailer, adding that the Arctic base setting is a twist on Santa's dwelling. He also thinks that the place could be a reference to the 1982 horror movie The Thing, in which a team fights off a shape-shifting monster.
Christmas special aside, new information has been released about Doctor Who series nine. According to Alex Ritman of The Hollywood Reporter, Moffat says that Capaldi will return to reprise his role as the 12th incarnation of The Doctor.
"Yes, he's confirmed," Moffat said while promoting the DVD release of Doctor Who series eight in London.
Moffat added, however, that Coleman had not confirmed whether or not she will be back after the upcoming Christmas special. According to Ritman, this has fueled speculation in the British press that Coleman could be leaving the show after playing Clara for the past two years.
Based on the events played out in the series 8 finale, which included an appearance from the Doctor's nemesis the Master, also called Missy (Michelle Gomez), it is entirely possible that Coleman could leave the popular BBC show. After the death of Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson), Clara and the Doctor parted ways, both lying and pretending to each other that their lives were good.
However, even popular shows like Doctor Who are not immune to the effects of ratings; there have been rumors that the show would be cancelled altogether. Ritman reports that without revealing exact figures, the ratings for the first 10 episodes of Doctor Who series eight were up 23 percent in the U.S., with the series eight premiere the highest-rated ever on BBC America.
Across the pond in its U.K. home base, The Hollywood Reporter notes that Doctor Who snared an average consolidated audience of 7.4 million viewers with an increase of 39 percent on the overnight figures. Based on those ratings, Moffat responded by telling Radio Times that casting Capaldi as the 12th Time Lord helped save the series altogether.
"A show dies when it's reliable like a pair of old slippers," he explained at a Royal Television Society event. "If any reviewer says that about a show that show is gone within a year."
Moffat added that shows die when people say "I quite like it," thus necessitating a reinvention of Doctor Who to avoid that same fate. While he acknowledged to Radio Times that some viewers have been left out cold by the Doctor's dark turn, it was part of his plan for the show.
"This has been different and designed to make you go: 'I don't trust him yet, I don't know what he's like - what's he going to do next?'" Moffat said. "It's exciting and makes the show new again."
Moffat also defended the ratings of the show to Radio Times, which seemed to have fallen since Capaldi's debut episode compared to the first appearances of previous Doctors Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant or Matt Smith.
"Indisputably, without doubt, exactly the same number of people watch Doctor Who now as they ever did," he contended. "There is no drop off in the ratings but the way people watch it has changed."
Moffat added that Doctor Who "would still count as a hit" if overnight ratings and viewing numbers on BBC iPlayer were taken into account.
American fans can watch the Doctor Who Christmas special Dec. 25 on BBC America. British viewers can find the show on BBC One and stream it online via BBC iPlayer starting Dec. 25.