DoctorDoctor Who Guide

Specials (2005)

The Christmas Invasion

Last updated 22 November 2014

Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion

The Christmas Invasion

Story Number: 167 (2.x)

Doctor Who Locations
Radio Times

Director: James Hawes
Executive Producer: Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner

Starring: David Tennant, Billie Piper, Camille Coduri, Noel Clarke, Penelope Wilton

No of Episodes: 1
First Broadcast: Sun 25 Dec 2005
Running Time: 58 minutes 55 seconds

Average Audience: 9.84 Million       Average AI: 88

The Tardis falls to Earth on Christmas Eve, bringing the new Doctor home to Rose's family. While his regeneration goes wrong, Santa-shaped assassins and deadly Christmas trees herald the approach of a terrible danger from the stars. The Sycorax are coming, and without the Doctor, the human race is helpless.


23 May 2005Billie Piper to return for second Doctor Who series
23 Nov 2005BBC Press pack

23 May 2005

Billie Piper to return for second Doctor Who series

The BBC today confirmed that Billie Piper - who plays Doctor Who's companion Rose - will return for the second series on BBC One.

A spokeswoman said: "Billie Piper will return for the second series of Doctor Who. It has not been confirmed how many episodes she will be in. We are awaiting storylines and scripts."

LinkCredit: BBC Press Office
23 Nov 2005

BBC Press pack

Doctor Who returns to our screens this Christmas for a one-off special, starring David Tennant as the tenth Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler.

It's Christmas and Jackie Tyler is at home preparing for the festive season, not knowing if her daughter Rose will be home in time - or at all.

Then she hears the familiar, ancient grind of the TARDIS! Mickey, who is hard at work, also hears it and they both race across the estate just in time to witness the TARDIS' glorious, chaotic crash landing.

The doors open and, much to their delight, out steps Rose and a complete stranger - except it isn't a stranger - it's the Doctor.

Disorientated, yet overwhelmed to see them, he takes a few minutes to regain his balance and consider what it is he wants to tell them.

"Oh! I know! Merry Christmas!" he yells, before collapsing. The Doctor falls in and out of consciousness, with Rose and Jackie powerless to help him.

In a bid to boost Rose's spirits, Mickey suggests a spot of Christmas shopping. A good plan - until they find themselves under attack by a sinister brass band of masked Santas.

However, they are not the only ones with problems. Prime Minister Harriet Jones has just been informed that a British space probe, on its way to Mars for a Christmas Day landing, has gone missing.

It has been kidnapped by a monstrous race known as the Sycorax, who are set on taking over the world.

Meanwhile, back at the Tylers', Mickey and Jackie are trying to fend off a killer Christmas tree, while Rose tries to wake the Doctor.

It's been a fantastic whirlwind of a year for David Tennant. Over the past twelve months, he has rocketed from being a relative unknown in the eyes of the public to a household name.

However, David first graced our screens in the 1994 drama Takin' Over The Asylum. It was roles such as Reverend Gibson in Andrew Davies' adaptation of Trollope's He Knew He Was Right, the maverick DI Carlisle in Pete Bowker's acclaimed Blackpool, and then the legendary Casanova in Russell T Davies' beautiful, fast-paced and ground-breaking serial that have made him one of the the nation's favourites.

However, it's his role as the tenth Time Lord that is set to cement his place in history.

When Christopher Eccleston returned as the ninth Doctor last year, sixteen years had passed since the series had last aired and noone could have predicted its phenomenal success.

Now mid-way through filming, David has settled into his role and is enjoying the experience immensely.

David explains: "It was funny, when I first got asked I just laughed! I found it hilarious and impossible! And I remember Russell, very perceptively, saying: 'Don't say anything now, because I know the experience is quite a weird one.'

"But it's such a great job! I [mean], I get to play a Time Lord and have a TARDIS: you can't knock that!"

Fans have already had their first taste of David as the tenth Time Lord. Eight million viewers tuned in to witness the climatic scene of Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways where Christopher's ninth Doctor morphed into David as the tenth.

The regeneration process is something David admits is an attractive part of the role.

"The fantastic thing about the regeneration process is that every time the Doctor goes through it, he changes to an extent. So as an actor, you get to work on a blank canvas where you don't have to worry too much about what has gone before.

"It's interesting, because he's always going to be the moral egalitarian, humanitarian, slightly wild, slightly anarchic bloke that he's always been. But because he's getting older he's moving on. He's seen it all before, every alien creature with a superiority complex."

David continues: "Viewers are going to see a slightly more no-nonsense Doctor and that is influenced by what Chris did with him. We are more aware that he's someone who fought a war, lost all his people and because he's the last Time Lord, the last authority in the universe, he's less indulgent, more ruthless."

The other striking difference between David and his predecessors is his overall look. David, along with Costume designer Louise Page, wanted a look that was both distinctive and effective, something that clearly states: 'It's The Doctor'.

So they opted for a tailored calf-length coat - chocolate brown - with a blue pinstripe suit and white plimsolls. The look - which David himself labelled 'Geek Chic' - has been a huge hit with fans and critics alike.

There have been a host of articles written about his look, much to David's amusement, including a 'How to dress like the Doctor' in monthly sci-fi magazine SFX.

"I wanted something that I'd enjoy wearing, an outfit that would look good and feel right. We also wanted something that was modern, without being specifically en vogue. I wasn't trying to create a Times Style article about it, but I'm glad people like it so much," David laughs.

"I also wanted an outfit that wasn't too authoritarian. So that's why I opted for a scruffier-styled suit. It's more what you'd expect to see a student sporting than a college professor. And inevitably the look is influenced by the sort of things I like wearing."

However, the audience are going to have to wait a little longer before they see David stepping out in his new outfit, as for part of the Christmas special David will be tucked up in bed and sporting a pair of striped pyjamas!

At the end of the last series, viewers witnessed the start of the regeneration process. The Doctor is still undergoing this process as we enter the Christmas special.

Shortly after returning to the Powell Estate, the Doctor says his hellos to Jackie and Mickey before collapsing into unconsciousness.

With the world under attack from the evil Sycorax, Rose feels powerless as she tries in vain to find a remedy that will get him back on his feet.

"The regeneration process is a severe biological process which takes a fair bit of time. This is not good news for Rose and the rest of the world, because whilst he's going through this, the earth is being invaded by the Sycorax."

He continues: "It's a very difficult time for Rose. He hadn't prepared her for the changes he'd undergo. So whilst the Doctor is recuperating, Rose is trying to fathom out how she can save the world.

"She's also trying to understand how she feels about him now."

So will Rose still want to travel through time and space with this man, now he's got a new face and mannerisms?

"The Christmas episode is a new start for the Doctor and Rose. They've got to rediscover each other and decipher whether they still feel the same about one another. Despite the new face, he is fundamentally the same bloke, he's still the Doctor and still has a huge amount of affection for her.

"However, it's not just the way he looks or the way he talks that is different. The Doctor's outlook on life has changed, as has the way he tackles situations. I think he's just hoping Rose can accept the changes and they can pick up where they left off."

David has been a lifelong fan of Doctor Who. His favourite Doctor is Tom Baker and he admits that watching his hero in action had a part to play in his decision to be become an actor.

Like viewers today, he tuned in on a weekly basis to catch the next exciting and scary instalment. The fear factor is something David feels is a key part of the series and an important part of growing up.

"Being scared and having nightmares is part of our childhood. The Christmas episode does have some scary moments. Sinister Santas, a spinning killer Christmas tree and of course the Sycorax. But that's great. I don't think we should shy away from it. Kids love fear."

One of the biggest surprises of last year was the varied age range of the audience Doctor Who attracted. The series really hit a chord with viewers of all ages and has been heralded as good family entertainment.

The majority of David's television and theatre roles have been for a predominantly adult audience, so how does he feel about his new army of younger fans?

"It's genuinely watched by everyone, aged seven to seventy, including groups you wouldn't particularly expect to be huge Doctor Who fans.

"I'm continually surprised by the number of trendy teenage girls and middle-aged mums who come up to talk to me and who genuinely love the show. I think that's what's extraordinary and unique about it.

"But that's how it should be. I think it's a good enough show to justify that kind of cross-spread of audience. I doubt I'll ever do something that attracts such a varied audience again."

Aside from David's eclectic array of television credits, he has an equally impressive number of theatre roles to his name. Two of his most recent roles were for the dark and gritty plays, The Pillowman and Look Back In Anger.

For the latter, David was awarded the Best Male Performance award at the 2005 Critics Awards for Theatre of Scotland for his performance as Jimmy Porter.

His younger audience are also about to get a taste of him in action as Barty Crouch Junior in the fourth Harry Potter film, The Goblet of Fire.

Prior to the Christmas episode of Doctor Who, David will be appearing in ITV1's dramatisation of Nicci French's novel, Secret Smile.

Billie Piper is still brimming with pride following her recent success at the annual National Television Awards, where she picked up the much deserved accolade of 'Most Popular Actress'.

The award was one of three that Doctor Who won, following its return to our screens earlier this year.

The other awards included 'Best Drama' and 'Most Popular Actor,' which Christopher Eccleston walked away with for his stellar performance as the ninth Doctor.

"It was the most amazing feeling," Billie smiles. "I was so terrified and really thought one of the soap actresses would win. But when they said it was me, I was just amazed.

"It was such a strange, wonderful evening. I felt like I was having an out of body experience."

Billie continues: "Winning an award like this, which has been voted for by the public, makes you realise the enormous impact the series has had on the nation."

The wait for the next instalment is almost over, with the countdown to the Christmas special underway.

In true Doctor Who style, the one-off special will see Earth under threat from an evil alien race and Rose and co battling to come up with a solution to save mankind.

However, the big surprise is that to begin with they'll be doing it without the help of the Doctor!

At the start of the Christmas special, Rose is still in a state of confusion following the Doctor's regeneration. They return to Powell estate, where the Doctor falls into a state of unconsciousness and Rose has no idea how to help him.

"Rose feels so unloved and isolated at the start of the episode," Billie explains.

"She's returned home to her mother and Mickey and as ever they are there for her. But she feels like she's lost her best friend. The earth is being invaded and Rose has no control over the situation.

"The Doctor, who is still going through the regeneration process, isn't there to give her the answers and she's scared."

And Rose has every right to be scared because aside from being chased by killer Santas, she - along with Mickey and Jackie - have to ward off a killer, spinning Christmas tree.

Although these scenes will show two essential elements of the festive season in a different, more sinister light, Billie is not worried that younger viewers will be left terrified by Christmas.

"Kids love being scared. It's something I've learned since starting on Doctor Who. As adults we worry that kids can't cope with anything scary and that everything should be censored. But that is nonsense. Children are so inquisitive, and I'm sure will be asking themselves questions such as 'What if the tree came to life?' etc. It excites them.

"Part of the series' success is it challenges the viewers' imaginations, including the kids."

Rose is very aware that she might not be able to save the world single-handedly, but she's certainly prepared to give it a try. She also hopes that she'll either come up with a solution, or at the very least give the Doctor enough time to return.

"Rose is very smart," says Billie. "She's very instinctive and has great strength of character. She's travelled all over the galaxy with the Doctor, and taken note of how he handles situations, so tries to mimic his actions."

Billie laughs: "It's very amusing to see Rose trying to copy the Doctor, but she looks up to him. He's her best friend, her personal hero and she believes in him, so tries to act like him."

However, whilst Rose, Mickey and Jackie are trying to find ways to both save the world and revive the Doctor, Rose is also battling with the fear that when he returns he may not want her.

"Rose is so scared he won't want her to travel with him anymore. She has spent so much time with him, experiencing new and exciting worlds. She can't bear the thought that this could be the end and the thought of going back to reality, working in a shop, fills her with dread."

To save revealing any more about how this episode pans out, viewers will have to wait until Christmas Day to discover the outcome.

And like fans all over the country, Billie, a self-confessed Christmas freak, will be tuning in with her family.

"I'm an absolute Christmas freak! I love the fact it starts in October now! However, this year for me it started in July as we were filming the Christmas special.

"It was slightly bizarre filming snow scenes in the middle of summer, but I was thrilled. It was great to start filming series two with this amazing, emotional and scary episode.

"I'm a huge fan of Christmas specials. It means so much to me that our show is going to go out on Christmas Day when all the families will be sitting down together, eating copious amounts of chocolate and drinking sherry," Billie laughs.

"I have to be honest - I think I'm going to need a few sherries before I sit down to watch it, though!"

LinkCredit: BBC Press Office