7.6. The Snowmen

Series 7 - 2012/2013

Writer: Steven Moffat
Produced by: Marcus Wilson
Director: Saul Metzstein
Music: Murray Gold


Wintertime in England, 1842. In a garden a young Walter Simeon is making a snowman by himself. His parents are concerned that he is spending so much time alone instead of playing with other children. Walter talks to the snowman, and is astonished when he hears a voice talking back, agreeing that he should not talk to the other children.

50 years later and Doctor Walter Simeon, owner of the GI (Great Intelligence) Institute, is collecting snow samples. He has stored them inside a giant globe, and the voice is talking to him. Walter is happy to serve the voice. After the last sample collected has been added to other samples inside the globe he goes outside to feed the local people. There is no food, and Doctor Simeon says he offered to feed them - he just didn't say who too - as snowmen appear.

In the Rose & Crown pub a serving girl - Clara - looks outside and sees a snowman that wasn't there earlier. There is a strange man there who says he did not build it. The man asks Clara's name before walking away. As he rides away in a cab she runs after him. Inside the cab the Doctor is calling someone, and the person on the other end says the meeting with Clara will be the same as all the others. The Doctor says that Clara doesn't even know he's called the Doctor - when her head appears at the window - from on top of the cab.

Doctor Simeon has been waiting for Captain Latimer to return home. Latimer remarks that the pond has frozen over, something that has never happened since Latimer's children's Governess died a year ago. She had fallen into the pond and was not discovered for a month. Doctor Simeon also remembers the incident, and says that the ice remembers as well. He leaves Latimer a business card. Doctor Simeon says the pond is Latimer's, but what is growing in it belongs to them.

On his way back home Doctor Simeon is met in an alley by two women - the human Jenny and the Silurian Madame Vastra. Vastra is curious about Simeon and his secretive institute. Vastra is also curious about the snow which has a low level telepathic field - as though it can learn from the people around it. Simeon tells Vastra that winter is coming - the last winter of mankind - and there is nothing Vastra can do to stop it.

The GI Institute is being watched - by Sontaran Strax and the Doctor. The Doctor is also curious about the snow. Strax, after first suggesting grenades, suggests they should investigate, but the Doctor says it is none of his business. Strax is opposed to the Doctor's apathy, but the Doctor doesn't appear to care.

The Doctor has another problem - and it's in his cab trying to get out. Clara is not happy. She doesn't seem to mind Strax's potato like appearance. The Doctor tells Strax to fetch "the memory worm". One touch and Clara would forget the last hour of her memory. Strax returns a moment later but seems confused. Strax had gone to fetch the worm, but had not used the gauntlets and was suffering from memory loss.

As the Doctor tries to get hold of the memory worm, and using the gauntlets, Clara notices a snowman appear. She points it out the Doctor. He asks is she was thinking about snowmen, and when she answers yes another appears. The Doctor tells her to stop thinking about snowmen as more appear. The Doctor takes Clara to one side and asks her to think about them melted. When she does they turn to water.

The Doctor tells Strax to take Clara back to where they found her. Know that she knows how to stop the snowmen the Doctor cannot use the memory worm on her. As the cab pulls away the Doctor doesn't see Clara stood on a pavement. Keeping to the shadows she follows the Doctor to a park, and watches as he goes to a specific spot, jumps, and pulls down a metal ladder, which retracts after he has climbed up.

She goes to the same spot and jumps for the ladder. After missing the first time she manages to grab hold and pull it down. She climbs it to an invisible platform, and finds a spiral staircase going up into the clouds. At the top she finds a battered blue box. She tentatively walks towards it through the clouds. She knocks on the door, and when the Doctor answers she hides around the side before running back down the stairs, leaving a scarf behind.

Back at the GI Institute the Intelligence is telling Simeon that tomorrow the snow will fall again - stronger. The drowned woman and the dreaming child will give them form again and when the snow falls so will mankind.

The following day all the snow has thawed. Clara wakes in the morning and takes a cab to Latimer's house where she is greeted by the housekeeper Alice, who recognises Clara as Latimer's new Governess - Miss Montigue. Latimer meets with Clara and says during her brief absence his daughter - Francesca - has been having nightmares.

Clara is welcomed back by Latmier's children Francesca and Digby. Clara talks to Francesca about the nightmares - or rather dreams. They are about the old Governess who Digby didn't like, who fell in to the pond which froze. Even though everything else in the garden has thawed the pond is still frozen. Clara realises this is the same as with the snowmen. The more Francesca dreams the more it will come real. In her dreams the old Governess tells Francesca she will be back for Christmas.

Clara goes back to the park and shouts for the Doctor. Bystanders are noticing, including Jenny. She takes Clara to see Madame Vastra. After an conversation where Clara is told to respond with only one word answers. Vastra asks Clara to give a message to the Doctor, and to explain in one word why he should help.

Vastra then calls the Doctor to tell him about Clara and tells him what word she chose: Pond.

In the GI Inteligence the Intelligence has detected a greater intelligence, and a servant tells Simeon that Sherlock Holmes wants to see him. Simeon says he is well aware that Sherlock Holmes is fictional and asks the Doctor to leave. Instead the Doctor uses a cane to hit the globe, and the Intelligence speaks to the Doctor. Whilst the Doctor is talking Simeon summons help, but the Doctor locks the doors.

The Doctor deducts that the telepathic snow is acting like a mirror, and needs to become more human. To do that it needs frozen human DNA. On a desk the Doctor finds a news story about a Governess frozen in a pond - Latimer's old Governess.

The Doctor goes to Latimer's pond and examines the ice. From the children's bedroom in the house Clara sees the Doctor and beckons him inside. Clara starts to tell the children about the Doctor. As the door opens she expects the Doctor but instead an ice woman enters, saying the children have been very naughty. Clara gets the children out of the room and locks the door, but the ice woman breaks through. From a Punch and Judy show the Doctor appears, and shatters the ice woman using the sonic screwdriver.

Outside the house Simeon activates a machine that starts spraying snow towards Latimer's house. Inside the rooms start to feel cooler and the ice woman starts to reform. As the Doctor, Clara and the children escape Alice reports more snowmen appearing in the garden. At the same time Vastra, Jenny and Strax also appear and say the house is under attack.

Jenny has a form of grenade that sets up a force field that holds the ice woman on the staircase. The Doctor knows that the Intelligence is after the ice woman. From that it can learn to create more, fusing ice with human DNA. Simeon knocks on the door and tells the Doctor to release the ice woman in the next five minutes. Using the sonic screwdriver the Doctor is able get him and Clara through the force field and escape to the roof where the Doctor has the ladder to TARDIS. As they run up the ladder the ice woman follows, and the Doctor is able to trap her on the staircase.

The Doctor leads Clara into the TARDIS (which she remarks is smaller on the outside) where Clara asks the Doctor if there is a kitchen as she likes making souffl├ęs. There Doctor realises that Clara is not like ordinary Victorian women. He feels he can trust her, and gives her a TARDIS key. As the Doctor goes back to the console he hears the key drop, and sees Clara being dragged backwards out of the TARDIS. As the ice woman continues backwards it falls off the cloud, taking Clara with it.

The Doctor materialises the TARDIS around the body of Clara and uses the TARDIS to transport her into the house. Using Silurian technology they are able to bring Clara back to life for a while. When the Doctor materialised around Clara he also took the fragments of the ice woman inside the TARDIS, stopping her from reforming.

He offers one of these fragments, in a box, to Simeon. He tells Simeon to meet him at the office. The Doctor travels by TARDIS and is waiting at the GI Institute for Simeon to return. The Doctor gets the Intelligence to speak, and using the sonic screwdriver is able to strip away layers from the voice leaving behind a child's voice - the voice of the young Walter Simeon. The snow was only acting as a mirror for Walter's darkest thoughts.

Simeon opens the Doctor's box and inside is the memory worm, not the fragment. A touch of the worm removes an hour's worth of memory. A bite removes much more, leaving the Intelligence with no memories to mirror and no ice woman. Instead of dying the Intelligence seems to grow stronger, and more snowmen appear outside. The Intelligence reforms as Simeon, and attacks the Doctor.

Back at the house the injured Clara tells Latimer that his children are afraid, and that he should hold them. Everyone in the house is afraid, and this emotion, along with a critical mass of ice, overrides Simeon's influence over the Intelligence. At the Institute Simeon collapses and the Doctor is able to break free. Outside the snow is replaced with salt-water rain - tears.

When the Doctor and Vastra return to the house in the TARDIS Strax tells him that Clara only has moments left.

The Doctor, Vastra and Jenny watch as Latimer and his children are by Clara's grave. As they move off he sees the name on the headstone - Clara Oswin Oswald. The Doctor realises that the same girl has died twice - and that is impossible. Renewed the Doctor sets off to find Clara - or Oswin.

Guest Cast

  • Clara: Jenna-Louise Coleman
  • Captain Latimer: Tom Ward
  • Dr Simeon: Richard E. Grant
  • Jenny: Catrin Stewart
  • Madame Vastra: Neve McIntosh
  • Strax: Dan Starkey
  • Digby: Joseph Darcey-Alden
  • Francesca: Ellie Darcey-Alden
  • Alice: Liz White
  • Uncle Josh: Jim Conway
  • Walter: Cameron Strefford
  • Walter's Mother: Anabelle Dowler
  • Bob Chilcott: Ben Addis
  • Clara's Friend: Sophie Miller-Sheen
  • Lead Workman: Daniel Hyde
  • Voice of the Great Intelligence: Ian McKellen
  • Voice of the Ice Governess: Juliet Cadzow
  • Passers-by: Melissa White, Samantha Jenkins, William Fisher, Matt Crisp, Jodie Stinchcombe, John Herbert, Holly McGowan Hayes, Tom Forrister, Andy Watts, Jeremy L Bevan, Pippa Robinson, Rachel Balding, Elly Phillips, Tibulus Tyburn, Ian Massey, John Handcock, Cynthia Handcock, Kristina Lewis, Lulu Gunney, Christine Hilliard, Zillah Savage, Marina Bailbara, Taylor Ayling, Chris Taylor, Mike Leach, Matthew Watts
  • Children: Harry Lewis, Jac Edmunds, Ellie Pirie, Travis Weeks, Jac Edmunds, Ella Evans
  • Latimer's Carriage Driver: Stephanie Lelievre
  • Punters: Stephen Morgan, Adam Davies-Sheenan, Matt Henderson, Ian Massey, Shelby Williams, John Herbert, Dan Gaisford, Jeremy L Bevan, Chris Taylor, David Lloyd
  • Generic Driver: Stephanie Lelievre
  • Stunt double for Clara: Annabel Canaven
  • Walter's Dad: Andrew Sweet
  • Workmen (Group A): Christopher Hutchings, Andy Wheeler, Richard Husband, Adam Davies-Sheenan, Chris Foster, Dom Kynaston
  • Workmen (Group B): Gwion Ap Rhisart, Douglas Hilliard, Dan Gaisford, Stephen Morgan, Paul Dawkins, Craig Evans
  • Double for Dr Simeon: Andrew Sweet
  • GI Cab Driver: Stephanie Lelievre
  • Pilgrims: Harry Burt, Rebecca Van Stein, Olivia Alessandra, Simon Carew, Craig Walkey, Sean Oakes
  • Double for Clara: Charlotte Bolan
  • Clara's Carriage Driver: Stephanie Lelievre
  • Pond Hand: Elin Morgan, Charlie Marr
  • Burly Footmen: Jack Dowell, Philip West
  • Dr Simeon's Carriage Driver: Stephanie Lelievre
  • IG Stand-in: Catrin O'Neill, Edward Hincks
  • Double for Captain Latimer: Jason Clarke

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 6. The Snowmen Tuesday, December 25, 2012 5:15 PM - 6:15 PM 9.87m 87

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  • BBC Roath Lock Studios: Studio 1
  • BBC Roath Lock Studios: Studio 2
  • BBC Roath Lock Studios: Studio 3
  • BBC Roath Lock Studios: Studio 4

Outside Locations

  • Cardiff University, Museum Avenue, Cardiff
  • Cardiff University, Park Place, Cardiff
  • Cathays Cemetery, Allensbank Road, Cardiff
  • Fields Park House, Fields Park Avenue, Newport
  • Insole Court, Fairwater Road, Cardiff
  • Llandough Castle, Llandough, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Merthyr Mawr House, Merthyr Mawr, Bridgend
  • Portland Square, St Paul's, Bristol
  • St Nicholas Market, Corn Street, Bristol
  • The Coal Exchange, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff Bay
  • Treberfydd, Bwlch, Brecon, Powys
  • Treowen Manor, Dingestow, Monmouth