5.14. A Christmas Carol

Series 5 - 2010

Writer: Steven Moffat
Produced by: Sanne Wolhenburg
Director: Toby Haynes
Music: Murray Gold


In space a Galaxy class ship from Earth is in trouble.The crew are fighting to keep stabilise the ship's orbit. A distress signal is sent; not by the crew but the guests in the Honeymoon Suite. Amy and Rory have sent a signal to someone who can help.

On the planet below it's Christmas time. Whilst the people are preparing for Christmas the family of Abigail are asking Sardick to let her out of cryogenic suspension for one day. The family had taken out a loan of 4,500 Gideons. Abigail is Sardick's security against the loan. Whilst he is considering this Sardick learns of the news of the ship, and the President is says he ship needs to land. Sardick is prepared to let the ship crash; the plant already has a surplus population.

Only Abigail's nephew hears the sound of the TARDIS materialising. As Sardick tells the family to go home a plume of soot comes down the chimney, followed by the Doctor.

The TARDIS was drawn to the planet by power emitting from a dome on the top of Sardick's residence, controlled inside the room by a control panel resembling an organ. The spire controls the clouds, which are made of ice. The cloud layer is preventing the ship from landing. The Doctor tries to turn off the spire but the controls are isomorphic; they will only respond to Sardick.

Sardick orders his servants to get the Doctor, and the family, out of the room. The nephew throws some coal at Sardick. Sardick reacts and is about to strike the boy, but is unable to do it.

Outside the brother-in-law of Abigail warns the Doctor that there is a fish warning. There is always a fish warning when Sardick is in a bad mood. Looking at a street light the Doctor notices schools of fish swimming around it in the air.

The Doctor needs to convince Sardick to turn off the controls, and A Christmas Carol springs to mind.

The Doctor finds an old recording of a 12 and a half year old Kazran Sardick, and projects it on the wall of Sardick's room where he is sleeping. Sardick wakes when he hears the voice of his father, Elliot Sardick, and see the recording. Sardick orders the Doctor out of his house, and the Doctor says he will be back... way back.

The projection is still playing, and as the Doctor leaves the present he appears in the film, claiming to be new babysitter.

The young Kazran Sardick has never seen any of the fish now that his father has tames the skies. The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to try to detect fish. Whilst waiting in a cupboard he is able to talkto Kazran. Sardick is still watching the projection even is it changing from what he remembers.

In Kazran's room a small fish is swimming round the sonic screwdriver. As the Doctor watches the fish a shark appears and swallows the fish... and the sonic screwdriver. The Doctor rushes back in to the cupboard where Kazran is waiting. The shark takes a run up and swims straight at the door. The sharks is lodged in the door, and the Doctor is able to reach in and get his sonic screwdriver - or at least half of it - back.

The Doctor and Kazran are able to get the shark to the roof where the Doctor examines his sonic screwdriver. Kazran is concerned for the sharks well being. The Doctor says he could take it back above the cloud layer but it probably would not survive the trip. The Doctor says he needs some kind of life support, and Kazran shows him his father's cryogenic facility below the house where the surplus population is housed.

The Doctor is able to get the door open, after a quick pop forward to get the combination from Sardick. There he finds Abigail in suspended animation. On the front of her booth is a counter. All the other booths are full of people. Kazran explains that his father lends money, and takes a family member as security.

Elliot starts the recovery process on Abigail's booth as the shark recovers and finds its way to the basement. The Doctor and Kazran are forced to find somewhere to hide. In the background they can hear singing coming from Abigail. Her singing has calmed the shark. The Doctor works out that the sound resonates the ice crystals, and that is exactly what Sardick's machine is doing to control the clouds.

The Doctor uses Abigail's empty booth to transport the shark above the clouds where there are many more schools of fish swimming around. After releasing the shark the Doctor notices the number - 000 008 - on Abigail's booth, and Abigail asks if the Doctor is one of her doctors.

Abigail is re-frozen in the booth. Kazran says the Doctor appears every Christmas eve, and when the booth is reopened the Doctor5, and Kazran, wearing Santa hats, are there to greet her. On opening the booth the counter ticks down to 000 007.

Every Christmas eve the Doctor and Kazran open Abigail's booth for one day; and each time the counter decreases. But also, Kazran grows up from a boy to a man. On one Christmas eve Abigail chooses to spend the time visiting her family. As Abigail cannot have Christmas dinner with her family her sister moves the dinner to Christmas eve.

Through subsequent years the Doctor, Kazran and Abigail travel to different times in Earth's past. Abigail tells Kazran the truth about her freezing. When she is frozen Kazran asks the Doctor to forget about coming back on future Christmas eves. The counter has ticked down to 000 001.

In the present Sardick receives a call from the President asking permission to let the ship land. When he refuses he sees a hologram first of Amy the of Rory, followed by the sound of Christmas carols. In the cryogenic room he sees a number of people singing carols. They are holograms of people on the stricken ship.

Hologram Amy asks Sardick why he doesn't just let Abigail out. Sardick explains that Abigail was ill when she was frozen. Next time she is released she will live for one more day. This is still more time than Amy and the other people on the ship have, and Amy reverses the hologram so Sardick becomes a hologram on the ship.

Sardick returns to the cryogenic room where the Doctor tries once more to convince him to allow the ship land. Sardick has seen the past, and the present. Now he needs to see the future. Only it isn't Sardick seeing the future - it is Kazran seeing what he becomes in the future. Sardick says sorry to Kazran, and Sardick agrees to allow the ship to land.

As Sardick's memories have changed the controls no longer respond. Sardick stills has one half of the old sonic screwdriver. The other half is still in the shark. The two halves of the screwdriver are signalling to each other. But the Doctor needs to transmit - and this means transmitting a song. As the song from Abigail is transmitted the ship is able to lock on to the signal. The resonance from the song allows the clouds to unlock, allowing the ship to land. A side effect of this is snow - the first in a long time.

Regular Cast

  • Amy Pond: Karen Gillan
  • Rory Williams: Arthur Darvill

Guest Cast

  • Kazran/Elliot Sardick: Michael Gambon
  • Abigail: Katherine Jenkins
  • Young Kazran: Laurence Belcher
  • Adult Kazran: Danny Horn
  • Pilot: Leo Bill
  • Captain: Pooky Quesnel
  • Co-Pilot: Micah Balfour
  • Old Benjamin: Steve North
  • Boy and Benjamin: Bailey Pepper
  • Servant: Tim Plester
  • Eric: Nick Malinowski
  • Isabella: Laura Rogers
  • Old Isabella: Meg Wynn-Owen
  • Crew (some doubling as frozen occupants): Chester Durrant, Lisa Jones, Tanith Kelly, Demian Attwell, Channon Jacobs, Lindsey Morgan
  • Double for Captain: Emily Moulding
  • Double for Co-Pilot: Garry Lloyd George
  • Rickshaws: Garry Lloyd George, Anthony Fan
  • Newspaper Seller: Rupert Randle
  • Christmas Tree Seller: Andy Watts
  • Shop Keeper: Simon Challis
  • Passers by: Matthew Dooman, Jeremy Harvey, Dominic Kynaston, David Radbourne, Nigel Slarke, Dave Wong, Melanie Allen, Maggie Baiton, Louise Bowen, Mandy Floodpage, Susan Hallett, Angela Kelly, Anita Love, Helen Murray, Helena Nash, Francesa Oliver, Mel Prodanovic, Fionnula Rochford, Harry Damsell, David Gethin, Jamie Jones, Jefon Rhys Thomas, Michael Alexander Wright, Iain Trotman, Mark Davies, Laura Pepper
  • Juggler: Steve Brown
  • Children: Chanelle Leung, Maddison Baker, John William Carter, Jordan Thomas, Steffan Thomas, Annabelle Williams, Chantelle Evans, Daniel Gear, Ben Roe
  • Girl: Lauren Rowlands
  • Double for Girl: Caryl Jones
  • Double for Boy: Rhys Edmunds
  • Servants: Joe Malik, Denzie Phipps, Steve Grant
  • Double for Abigail: Georgina Allan
  • Stunt double for the Doctor: Gordon Seed
  • Double for Young Kazran: Iwan Davies
  • Villagers: Eva Pehrsson, Matthew Dooman, Maggie Baiton
  • Double for Benjamin: Rhys Edmunds
  • Little Girl: Sacha Evans
  • Double for Eric: Ben Ashley
  • Young Adult Kazran: Matthew Rohman
  • Marilyn Monroe: Charlotte Howard
  • Barmen: Pete Stanness, Gwion Ap Rhisiart
  • Guests: Melody Brain, Samantha Darling, Samantha Jenkins, Rob Caisey, Adam Chilvers, Martin Fox
  • Passengers (some doubling as frozen occupants): Christabel Hullis, Camille Marshall, Carol Reeves, Jade Mitchell Smith, Kristian Arthur, Dennis Gregory, Richard Knott, Victoria Stanford, Rachel Bond, Melissa Moore, Natasha Cale
  • Parents: Marina Baibara, Ben Ashley, Paul Starsky, David Stock

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 14. A Christmas Carol Saturday, December 25, 2010 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM 12.11M 83

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


  • Upper Boat Studios: Studio 5
  • Upper Boat Studios: Studio 6
  • Upper Boat Studios: Studios 1 + 2

Outside Locations

  • Johnsey Estates, Mamhilad Park Industrial Estate South, Pontypool
  • Mir Streel, Corporation Road, Newport
  • The Coal Exchange, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff Bay
  • Wrinstone House, Wenvoe