‘Doctor Who’ writer Moffat confirms what was real in ‘Last Christmas’

Nick Frost Santa

Steven Moffat has confirmed which parts of this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special took place in a dream and which parts were real.

Written by Moffat, ‘Last Christmas’ aired tonight on BBC One and featured Spaced actor Nick Frost as Father Christmas.





Doctor Who Last Christmas Peter Capaldi

Speaking at the press launch for the special at London’s BFI earlier this month, the showrunner stated: “Everything except the very last scene is a dream.”

Moffat added: “The [last shot of the] tangerine represents the fact that Santa Claus obviously stage-managed the whole thing to get the Doctor and Clara back together.”

Doctor Who Last Christmas old Clara

Discussing Clara’s old-age look, for which she was in make-up for four hours, Jenna Coleman revealed: “Everyone started to act quite differently towards me and with a lot more respect. I’ve got some brilliant selfies!”

> Order ‘Last Christmas’ on DVD on Amazon.

Doctor Who‘s new season begins filming in Cardiff in January.

> Here’s everything we know about Season 9 so far.

What did you think of ‘Last Christmas’? Let us know below…

  • Anais

    quite good, bringing Clara back in the game (and making us want her back really hard) when we had the feeling her story act was over. Hope the next season will be good.

    • marcus

      how did it make us “want her back really hard”?

  • Jure

    wow she will be the longest companion, and i hope she stays for a while :D, she just started to get some story, and well, she’s hot 😛

    • Drake Nightfire

      Apparently you have never heard of Jamie McCrimmon, who was the Doctors companion for a whopping 113 episodes.

      • Shaun Stikeleather

        But handles was his companion for over 300 years. The problem with Jamie was many of his episodes were lost to time, and lack of foresight from the BBC.

        • The Great Curator

          Sarah Jane Smith actually holds the title as the longest running companion; but I think he was only talking about the revised series.

          • Shaun Stikeleather

            Jamie was in way more episodes than Sarah jane

  • Shenanigans

    It was so good and then the last five minutes just went and ruined EVERYTHING. SHONA SHOULD BE THE DOCTOR’S COMPANION.


    *strangles a tangerine*

    • Ella

      I must be the only one who hated the Shona character….

    • Elizabeth Gunther

      Maybe when Jenna does leave Shona will be the new companion. It would follow pattern–somewhat. Every single companion since Rose showed up once before, although most of them played other characters. Donna was the only one that was the same character from her first appearance.

    • Geo


    • Castiel-is-in-the-TARDIS

      Shhhhhhh…the tangerine doesn’t deserve it. You tiring of Clara is completely understandable. She has shown much potential, especially in earlier episodes (Asylum of the Daleks in particular). Lately she hasn’t lived up to that potential and has become rather 2D. I applaud her sticking up to the Doctor (I’m not sure how I feel about 12) but I have to agree with you, Clara is becoming tiring. I don’t mean to sound offensive but screaming through the computer doesn’t seem logical or, quite frankly, sane. Perhaps you can explain WHY you are tired of Clara and WHY Shona would make a better companion 🙂

  • Kieran McMullen

    They should have stuck with the old clara story, or made young clara decide to choose a good earth life over travelling with the doctor again.

    In fact, ignore that, they shouldn’t have brought clara back for the special and they should have left the ending of death in heaven as her exit, it was the best plot point to come out of doctor who in years, and they ruined it first by bringing her back, and then by undoing that ending.

  • marilynnet

    Can understand why Jenna Coleman decided to stay for another series. Acting opposite a genius like Peter Capaldi must provide her with acting classes every day and given the show’s huge critical credibility around the world, another series should create a calling card as an actress for any part of the world. I have a feeling next Christmas might be a heart aching one if we see Clara leave the Tardis.

    • ComeOn

      That’s what acting school are for. She is great with over acting and looking pretty but against Peter she can barely hold a complete scene without smiling. Just because Karen without any acting training turned out great doesn’t mean all pretty girl can act. There are thousands graduate from acting school each year with many more work in theatres. Can we please have someone that can actually keep up with Peter before he decides to leave?

      • Ella

        Where was Karen great? All she did was looking wide eyed and wore short skirts. There was no acting in her part. She was terrible. I am not saying Jenna is perfect, but she is definitely better. Her chemistry with Peter is great.

        • Rory

          sorry but what chemistry? Last time I checked there was zero chemistry between Clara and the Doctor.
          Karen was much better than Jenna and she proved it million times. She wasn’t just a pretty face with mini skirt. Her Amy was likable and very wonderful and her chemistry with Matt was just perfect. Meanwhile Jenna had little bit of chemistry with Matt, but this happened by the end of his time and now with Peter there’s just flat line on the chemistry chart.

          • Yror

            Some one is quick to judgment after just once season of the 12th Doctor.

      • Eli

        Obviously people react differently to different actors (and to the show). People should really just let people view things differently. We all think we’re right, but it’s all subjective. You thought Karen Gillan was great, for example, where I found her Amy incredibly hard to watch. That doesn’t mean I think she’s a bad actress, I certainly don’t . But I didn’t like Amy at all. I quite like Clara, particularly in her first season, and I think she acts well in this. I also think that the writing could improve a lot. Moffat’s not been the best with writing deep female characters lately.

      • The Great Curator


  • Helen Grieve

    Great to see Faye Marsay in Doctor Who, but my daughter was really upset that she wasn’t the new companion, as she can’t stand Clara….

  • Juan Hernandez

    Clara and Capaldi are not compatibles. This is killing the show. Can’t Moffat see this?? Besides, we need more deep stories!!

    • Daspoo

      According to Moffat, Clara is the main character. I doubt he cares.

      • Todd Samuelson

        No, according to Moffat, *Clara* thinks that she’s the main character. There’s a difference there.

        • Mildred Jovanovich

          Not when her part overshadows the Doctor’s or when she chides him as if he were a child. The name of the show is Doctor Who and that’s who I want to see.

          • Castiel-is-in-the-TARDIS

            But at the same time 12 has been seen to act carelessly and rudely towards others. While Clara’s methods are questionable, it is obvious that the Doctor needs someone to keep him grounded. What actually bothers me is that The Doctor continues to insult Clara and she allows him! Their relationship is majorly harmful and should be ended.

          • The Great Curator

            They’re are reprising (to some extent) Collin Baker’s 6th Doctor, who was meant to started out as unlikable and uncaring about his companions, but gradually turn into a more lovable version. Of course they boggled the 6th Doctor, but I think they might pull it off this time, the Doctor is already much more caring towards Clara (did you not catch the, “I’ll hold Clara’s hand” bit?) then he was at the beginning.

    • Carey

      How are they not compatible?

  • ObiJon

    Now the next season can all be a dream if it’s a big enough clusterfail. Frankly, I’me ready for much of Moffat’s reign to have been a nasty feverdream with plotholes the size of Sontaran battlecruisers.

  • Dannie

    Fuck what all the dimwitted Clara-haters say, everything was brilliant. And that’s an unchangable fact.

    • Peter Korman

      Part of me thinks that the ending would be better if it wasn’t a dream and Clara really grew old.

      • Castiel-is-in-the-TARDIS

        Then Clara would have actually left. She keeps ‘leaving’ him only to run right back! Don’t get me wrong, Clara is fine, but she isn’t strong enough to just walk away (something Martha (I’m not a big Martha fan but I respect her for that) and The Ponds accomplished). Clara had a good life going with Danny and then just kept muddling everything by running off with The Doctor (similarly to Amy before Rory became a companion). Clara just keeps going back. Danny told Clara to move on, but it should be The Doctor he moves on from. Just in my opinion.

        • Peter Korman

          I don’t care whether she stays or goes, but this would have been the perfect exit for her. I think we needed an actual sad departure for a companion since we’ve not had one since Series Four.

          • riversong24

            um amy and rorys departure was sad it hurt the doctor bad u see that in episode bloody hell watch it again

          • Peter Korman

            The Doctor was upset, but it really wasn’t too sad (to me). It would have been sad if they were kept separate. That was a mildly emotional happy ending.

        • The Great Curator

          The Ponds never walked away, they were taken away by a Weeping Angel.

      • Tony

        and this is how Moffat shows his mercy

    • Andrew

      It’s funny because that’s the definition of an opinion..

  • Dannie

    So the fact that all of Last Christmas was a dream, except for the last scene, will mean that when Santa Claus stepped into the TARDIS he did something to the Doctor that made him have this dream.

    • Shadow Phoenix

      It actually means that somewhere between his talk with Clara and stepping into the TARDIS, he started dreaming. That, or Santa tossed one of those things onto his face and is actually really crazy since they could’ve potentially died. I’m good with either.

    • JR

      He must have put the crab onto the Doctor’s face in the TARDIS, and then went over and did the same to Clara.

  • Jonida Sanço

    It was amazing and haters gonna hate, but I don’t care. I’m so happy she’s staying. And the story was really brilliant! A really heart-warming Christmas story after the sad goodbye we had last year. This felt much more comforting, and that’s one of the main reasons I’m a Whovian. The Doctor (and Moffat) is my Santa

    • Emile Peralta

      Moffat killed one of my favorite characters the episode before Last Christmas though. So this episode NEEDED to be good.

  • Sam

    the Capaldi Doctor and Clara story this season has been tough to watch. If this is truly the end of Clara – what a whimper for the Impossible Girl

    • The Great Curator

      Did you miss the last scene? This isn’t the end of Clara. The Doctor and Clara will return in: The Magician’s Apprentice.

  • Tom M

    “Don’t you think Moffet looks tired?”. That has been the theme for the last season. The stories are light on plot and there is no redeaming hope or positive side to these stories. Glass half empty Doctor, always negative. Someone under the bed, really? Nothing happened. I’m a life long Doctor Who fan and I know that each Doctor takes time to develop and grow on you to love the stories and character but the season is over and I’m still shaking my head. All the doctors have a dark side, they don’t all have to live there like the latest. They are all great actors, its the scripts that make just a sad hating Doctor. No wonder or awe, just doom and gloom. Breath? How about pull the plug and regenerate some new writers into Doctor Who. Sick of being on life support.

    • Carey

      You know, not everybody thinks the way you do….THANKFULLY!! lol

    • LovingDoctor Who

      “You must sign in to down-vote this post.”

      Feel free to “up-vote” this one if you don’t like what Tom M just said.

    • Jenna

      Well damn, I guess someone didn’t stick around until the end of Last Christmas. Season 9 is going to see the Doctor act very differently, I think

    • Castiel-is-in-the-TARDIS

      I truly think it is time Doctor Who gains some new writers. Moffat’s stories have become predictable. How many times in season 8 alone did we have the theme of “don’t look at it, don’t think about it” or “hold your breath” , “clear your mind”? Moffat had some excellent episodes early on (I am certainly a fan of ‘the Empty Child’ and ‘The Doctor Dances’) but now it may be time for him to step aside. We need someone who will give us exciting villains, not just recycle old villans (such as the Cybermen and the Daleks).

      • Prudence_Do_Good

        “Themes”. I take a different view of Moffats writing. I think of Story Arcs and Arc words. Did you happen to know that all of the Doctors had words or phrases that they are known for? ” Geronimo”, “Allons-y” Do you know which Doctor used to often say ” Listen!”? I enjoy the “white rabbit” moments of every show! That’s just my 2 cents, though.

    • Mildred Jovanovich

      Great insight. I agree with you totally.

  • gevan

    So the existence of the face sucking dream crabs was all imaginary? Perhaps the impossible girl has been a dream all along.

  • CyberNigma

    If everything except the last scene is a dream then that means that Shona and company either did not exist or did not wake up completely.

    Since the Doctor and Clara had to wake up twice at the end, I guess it could be assumed that Shona checking her list was still in the dream.

    • K. King

      Yea, I’ve got to watch it again. If only the very end was not a dream, there are several pieces I want to watch again and have a laugh at. If Moffat wants to write stuff like this, it’s no better than the endings for “Lost” or “Reseanne” (US television shows).

  • Dana Lee Pertermann

    I think this whole article is click bait. Ugh.

  • スカイウォーカー ジョー

    I think Clara is hot. She did well staying. Besides, whether we agree or not she’ll be there so let’s enjoy the series nine. Hopefully it’d be better

    • Roderique Roberts

      she is cute for sure. but hot? hot implies sexy, or puts out a sexual vibe, which she does not.

  • Jason

    it was just awful

  • Patrick_Gerard

    If Santa staged managed the whole thing and placed the crabs on people, does that mean he murdered the one guy who didn’t make it out?

  • MamaBear

    Oh, he ‘explained’ did he? That’s nice. Could you *be* any more patronising, Moffat? I ‘explained’ to my kids after the show, but that’s because they’re 7 and 9 and I’m their *mother*. Also, Auntie Beeb – 6.15. Really? I mean ‘Alien’ style face-huggers and a ‘Ringu’ style ‘nasty thing emerging from screen’ moment? Not great just before bed-time. And that was just me! IMO he missed a trick, though. Was kinda hoping that Clara would go the way of Peri, only without the bald cap…

  • tegan fanella

    I loved the old clara scene so much they should have left it at that, and just enjoyed the rest of Christmas together like that

  • D. H. Wallenstein

    It surprises me how caustic Whovians can become when something comes along that doesn’t align with their personal preferences. I enjoyed the episode, as I’ve enjoyed Moffatt’s writing over the past several series. I haven’t liked all his work, but by and large, it’s enjoyable to me; and it’s just fiction – it can all be explained one way or another. Personally, I will miss Coleman once she finally moves on. And the way they brought Oswald and the Doctor together at the end was a much-needed refresh for their relationship.

  • Helen Dunne

    So Santa showed up at the end of the previous episode, and The Doctor appeared to wake up in the same place that Clara had taken him to burn the TARDIS keys until he agreed to help her save Danny, so wouldn’t the real question be – How much of Death in Heaven was real?

    That makes me wonder, is Missy really dead? Is Osgood really dead? Are they super-for-reals awake now if Santa left them a tangerine? And did Santa stick those dream crabs on their faces if it was him behind the whole thing? Is Santa a bit dangerous then?

    • Shadow Phoenix

      I thought it looked like that, too. One issue though is that they never actually went there and Clara never actually threw any keys anywhere, making all of Death in Heaven real. The whole scene of her throwing them in was due to a dream state he put her in with one of those patches (which in itself is odd…dreams and all).

      It does leave the big question though: Where was he when he woke up? If it is the same place……why?

  • Edoe

    I really liked the episode – But damn it Moffat, that ending was absolutely perfect for the Doctor and Clara. It’s a shame she’s coming back, because I think it was fantastic. I thought her ‘exit’ in Death in Heaven was great as well, so I hope her actual exit lives up to both of these previous ones. I like Clara, but I think it is time for her to move on, and I think she should leave at the end of series 9. Shona would’ve made a great new companion. Anyone who says Beardy Weirdy would.

  • Shannon

    A big heartfelt “Allons-y!!” the whole series was absolutely wonderful (I’m American, brilliant is usually reserved for smart people) this year, and the special not only put me behind the sofa but then yanked me back out at the end to sit on the edge of the aforementioned sofa and cry tears of joy. If ever a Doctor and Companion belonged together, these two do. Their chemistry is remarkable. I can’t wait for Series 9. “It’s gonna be a whopper”

    • The Great Curator

      If you were really American you would know it call it “Season 9” because “series” actually refers to the entire TV program.

  • William Robison III

    Great episode. In fact, I think that might be my favorite of Season 8.

  • Marko Siebenpfeiffer

    very surreal episode

  • The Doctor

    But who is Santa? A future Doctor, maybe? I hope so. That would be awesome.

  • Elizabeth Lang

    Er…so does that mean that Santa is Missy?

  • Abby

    Everyone at my house hated it – or at least didn’t like it and found it boring – show seemed like how many shows could moffie rip off in one special.

  • Omni

    Am I the only one who feels like this episode seems like a rip off the episode where Amy
    has to make a choice between Rory and the Doctor? Except Clara had to
    decide between staying and dying with Danny or waking up and living with
    the Doctor. It even uses multiple dreams as the plot device, dreams that will kill you and you are never quite sure whether you have actually woken up.

    • Hagar Muhammad

      Whoa…you’re right!

  • Noelle

    I wish Moffat wasn’t “God of the Dr. Who.” I am sick to death of his lack luster writing, his “I can do anything at all I want to the universe and people will praise me for the Feels.” Peter is a excellent Doctor. I really love him. but he can’t really do what he was born to become with the poo poo writers holding him back from greatness….

    • Thomas Snijders

      I love most of Moffat’s stories too, but I want Moffat to leave the show after series 9 or 10 to concentrate on Sherlock (and other projects, maybe). I think it’s good time for him to say goodbye to Doctor Who after ±10 years.

      • padanticdrwho

        10+ what he’s only been leading or whatever its called since series 5, russell t davies was doing from 2005 – 2009/10

  • Bjørn Melbøe

    With high hopes I started watching this years Doctor Who Christmas Special and it was interresting. I had of course some thoughts and theories my self regarding what’s what and who’s who, but I wasn’t quite right. Fair enough, that’s how it is with this show. Anyway, things started getting predictable and a little silly, really, so I rolled my eyes. When I looked back Steven Moffat had made the Doctor flipping me the finger! 😀 It was funny because it is Steven Moffat. I know he doesn’t care at all! Now, I clicked this link and felt I had unravelled all the clues, and sure enough. . . No!.. It’s Steven Moffat and Santa Claus is real in the Doctor Who universe!