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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Nick Smale
    December 20, 2014 @ 12:21 am

    Why "Last Christmas"? The clue's in the lyrics, I think…

    A face on a lover with a fire in his heart.
    A man under cover but you tore me apart.
    Now I've found a real love, you'll never fool me again.

    Sounds like a pretty good description of the Doctor and Clara's relationship.


  2. Steven
    December 20, 2014 @ 12:42 am

    I think it looks like it'll be the best Christmas episode since A Christmas Carol (which is, tbf, my all-time favourite).

    If it's better than A Christmas Carol then it'll be the best episode of all time. Which I would take.


  3. Anton B
    December 20, 2014 @ 1:00 am

    I'm really really wishing very hard that Moffat is going to pull one of his narrative collapse/substitution switcheroos and that it's not going to be the wince inducing, heavy handed, "It's the REAL Santa don't be such a grinch" Xmas episode that the trailers and preview clips are suggesting. Of course by the time it's on I'll have had enough mulled wine, mince pies, Xmas pud and whiskey to enjoy it if it turns out to be a repeat of The Doctor the Widow and the Wardrobe. .

    If you want my guess, Santa will turn out to be A) another Time Lord or B) from the Land of Fiction or C) a ( insert pseudo science technobabble here) construct made of children's' belief in him. Or all three.


  4. Bennett
    December 20, 2014 @ 1:27 am

    Oh I wish I could commit to proclaiming A Christmas Carol as my favourite episode ever, because I'm likewise enamoured with it. But a suspicion of yuletide bias stays my hand. For someone whose Christmases typically involve sweating it out in 40+ degree heat, the slightest hint of tinsel and measliest drift of snow gives me warm feelings about even the most mediocre of movies.

    And there's also the issue that I enjoy the damn thing too much to give any thought to ranking it – which will doubtless be the case when I watch it again this week as part of my compulsory Christmas playlist (to which it is the most recent addition – sitting proud alongside Home Alone, Home Alone 2, the Christmas episode of Corneil & Bernie, and Muppet Treasure Island).


  5. Bennett
    December 20, 2014 @ 1:32 am

    Oh right, this thread's meant to be about Last Christmas

    Uhh…I think I want an episode with a narrative structure like a game of "Pass the Parcel": layers upon layers of different genre wrappings with a great big gift in the middle.


  6. Daniel Tessier
    December 20, 2014 @ 4:01 am

    Who's to say the real Santa isn't a Time Lord? Like James Bond and Captain Birdseye.


  7. curlyjimsam750
    December 20, 2014 @ 4:24 am

    A Christmas Carol is probably my all-time favourite episode too! I'm glad to see other people have similar thoughts because whenever I look at episode rankings I always wonder if I've gone mad or something …


  8. Daibhid C
    December 20, 2014 @ 8:06 am

    Wait, Muppet Treasure Island?


  9. Daibhid C
    December 20, 2014 @ 8:09 am

    I sort of agree with this in theory. In practice, if the Moff announces to my nephew on Christmas Day that Santa isn't really real, I will be writing a stern letter to Radio Times.


  10. Froborr
    December 20, 2014 @ 8:24 am

    If it helps any, I despise all things Christmas, but I like A Christmas Carol. (The DW thing I mean, not the Dickens crud.) So it actually probably is tremendously good if it can get to me through the general aura of antipathy and distaste December 25 brings.


  11. djselby
    December 20, 2014 @ 8:31 am

    Clara leaving, perhaps. I'd love to see something similar to The Time of the Doctor but for Clara instead of the Doctor – Clara getting old during her adventures with the Doctor (I don't know how it'd be done, knowing what's going on with the episode, though) until she's old and dying and it's Christmas; the Doctor helps her to open a cracker, and sits by her side. I think Clara would be comfortable with her own death by this point, but I think she's the kind of character who should bow out that way: she's defined the Doctor's whole life, so let him define hers, too. Let a companion, for once, stay with the Doctor for the rest of her days.

    For what it's worth, I'm dying for a Clara echo to be the next companion. I think there's heaps of potential there.


  12. djselby
    December 20, 2014 @ 8:34 am

    I really can't see that happening, Daibhid; I think there are strict guidelines on that front that he'd never break. Personally, I can see it all being left ambiguous in a Miracle on 34th Street-type way that suits both kids and adults. Maybe with the dream-thematics we're not sure which elements of the episode were hallucinations and which were real?


  13. Jesse
    December 20, 2014 @ 10:36 am



  14. Anton B
    December 20, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

    I like that idea. A Clara echo would be great to but only possible if Jenna Coleman stays of course.


  15. Anton B
    December 20, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

    @djselby '…it all being left ambiguous in a Miracle on 34th Street-type way that suits both kids and adults.'
    That's exactly what I'm hoping doesn't happen. Most kids dislike ambiguity in stories, they prefer certainties. As for the adults…well, we know the truth about Santa don't we? So that cliched trope which we've all seen a million times in every Christmas movie ever made Isn't going to please anyone. No, I have faith that Moffat is going to do something interesting and new. You can have a technobabble pseudo-science Santa without destroying the real one.


  16. Ibu Profin
    December 20, 2014 @ 12:59 pm

    Well, obviously, Clara will leave the Doctor at the end of this episode…

    …as she does in practically EVERY episode of her run!

    (How I long for a companion who actually travels with the Doctor through multiple stories and lives on the TARDIS again…)

    Also, how about some resolution on Angie and Artie? I've been worried sick about those two – and I am sure I am not the only one.

    In any event, we only have 49 Christmas specials to go before the really exciting news – The 100th Anniversary Special – with Christopher Eccleston! May we finally get a proper regeneration from Doctor 8 to Doctor 9. Counting the days…


  17. Charles Knight
    December 20, 2014 @ 1:12 pm

    It's the Last Christmas before Clara is a mother and that is why she leaves (this is a guess not a spoiler).


  18. Bennett
    December 20, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

    I first saw it on a local television station after coming home from a Carols by Candlelight show. When they played it again during the next two holiday seasons, it sort of became this joke about how weird a choice it is for a Muppet movie to show at Christmas that I chose to uphold on my own.

    Even though I much prefer Muppet's Christmas Carol as a movie, I haven't seen it on Christmas anywhere near as often. Perhaps it's because MCC is more of a wintry movie, or perhaps it's to avoid the lump of coal in the stocking that is the absence of 'The Love is Gone' on the DVD version.

    But perhaps the best way to rationalise it is to say that Muppet Treasure Island is my Christmas panto – with Jennifer Saunders, Billy Connelly, Tim Curry and Frank Oz all wandering on the stage to ham it up.


  19. Richard Pugree
    December 20, 2014 @ 6:18 pm

    "Most kids dislike ambiguity in stories, they prefer certainties."

    Umm… I can't think of a particular example which proves emphatically that you're wrong, and so I say this entirely unsupported and based on nothing but my vague hopes about children, but I'm pretty sure you're wrong…


  20. Richard Pugree
    December 20, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

    Yes, I'm assuming there will be a pay-off to the Clara-presumably-pregnancy thing. It wouldn't surprise me therefore if series 9's companion is not unconnected to that child…


  21. Leslie Lozada
    December 20, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

    I'm just guessing here, it's probably going to be Clara and the Doctor's true last hurrah.

    (Course, I'm trying to lower my expectations, mostly because over hyping it, will just make it meh to me.)


  22. Jarl
    December 20, 2014 @ 8:54 pm

    Three magic words, my friend: Male. Full. Frontal. Nick Frost is going to show us the candy cane and the baubles. What a merry christmas it will be.


  23. BerserkRL
    December 20, 2014 @ 9:52 pm

    Like Peter Pan coming back for Wendy's kids?


  24. Anton B
    December 20, 2014 @ 11:39 pm

    You know, Richard, I'm pretty sure I'm wrong too. As soon as I wrote that I thought…'that can't be right.' I left it in in the hope that someone would provide chapter and verse to disprove it.
    All I can say is that the kids of friends who have been acting as testers for the children's novel I'm writing regularly demand definitive answers and explanations, and if unforthcoming will provide their own rationale, for all the magical shennanigans I throw at them.
    I'd be very interested in others' thoughts on this.


  25. Anton B
    December 20, 2014 @ 11:48 pm

    A baby born on Christmas day? And will it have a Time Head? And does it have to be the current Doctor who comes back for her? Are we finally getting the answer to the question of Susan? Let's face it, Clara' s apparantly been responsible for every other major event that's affected the Doctor's life since he was,a child on Gallifrey so she may as well be his granddaughter's mum too.


  26. Daniel Tessier
    December 21, 2014 @ 1:29 am

    That might make sense of conflicting rumours that Clara is leaving but Coleman wants to stay on.


  27. Daniel Tessier
    December 21, 2014 @ 1:30 am

    We've got cabin fever!


  28. Daniel Tessier
    December 21, 2014 @ 1:34 am

    Kids often come up with their own explanations for things. Often wonderfully bizarre.

    Also, I'm now half-expecting Santa to turn out to be yet another incarnation of the Doctor.


  29. J Mairs
    December 21, 2014 @ 1:34 am

    I'm quite disappointed with the title.

    I was routing for "Aliens verses Santa Claus"


  30. Richard Pugree
    December 21, 2014 @ 2:35 am

    Is there anything (apart from Joanna Lumley) from Curse of Fatal Death that Moffatt hasn't done in the show-proper yet? If so, then that.


  31. Daniel Tessier
    December 21, 2014 @ 3:32 am

    The Sofa of Reasonable Comfort?


  32. Leslie Lozada
    December 21, 2014 @ 6:37 am

    Comfy chairs?


  33. elvwood
    December 21, 2014 @ 7:18 am

    I think I missed the episode with the Master wading through sewers for hundreds of years…


  34. Daibhid C
    December 21, 2014 @ 8:25 am

    Terry Pratchett agrees with you there Anton:

    "People say things like ''Oo, you must have an imagination, but in fact a lot of Discwolrd works by careful lack of imagination. The approach is, literally, childish. Adults suspend disbelief, children ask questions and expect answers."

    The point seems to be that children won't accept that a story is meant to be ambiguous, because it won't occur to them that "meant" enters into it. If the Doctor meets Santa then either this is the real Santa, or it isn't. Just because this information isn't in the story as told doesn't mean it doesn't exist; the Doctor met this guy so he has to be someone.


  35. John Smith 5
    December 21, 2014 @ 9:20 am

    So, the editor of Seasons of War has just announced they're making a short film, written and directed by Andy Robinson and with Tom Menary as the War Doctor. Could be decent.


  36. BerserkRL
    December 21, 2014 @ 10:09 am

    Remember that episode where Clara left?

    Remember that episode where Rory died?

    Remember that episode of Star Trek: TNG where something went wrong with Data?
    where something went wrong with the holodeck?
    where the Enterprise was trapped in a mysterious region in space?


  37. AuntyJack
    December 21, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

    Santa Claus Vs The Martians?


  38. Anton B
    December 21, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

    Absolutely, that sums up my position nicely. Kids understand basic storytelling and narrative structure implicitly. It's only as adults that we muddy the waters with the sophistry of lit-crit and media-studies layering. Nothing wrong with any of that of course, I wouldn't be here if there was.


  39. Daniel Tessier
    December 22, 2014 @ 12:08 am

    They did that in the original series. It was called Time-Flight.


  40. ferret
    December 22, 2014 @ 2:24 am

    "You won't be able to stuff this inna stocking!" zzzzzzzip


  41. ferret
    December 22, 2014 @ 2:28 am

    Considering this is a UK show that – especially in it's Christmas episodes – makes no bones about playing specifically to a UK audience, it's slightly odd that the character we're going to see is "Santa Claus" and not "Father Christmas". Combined with the oddity of them banging on about Tangerines when everyone knows it's a Satsuma you get in a stocking, I'm wondering if this isn't intentionally supposed to be slightly off-kilter, what with the dream element to it all.

    perhaps Tangerine Dream could be an alternate title!


  42. BerserkRL
    December 22, 2014 @ 8:01 am

    it's slightly odd that the character we're going to see is "Santa Claus" and not "Father Christmas"

    Clara calls him "Father Christmas" in the clip.


  43. Katherine Sas
    December 23, 2014 @ 10:30 am

    Take me as another who would be stoked for an episode as good as, or better than, A Christmas Carol.


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