8.13. Last Christmas

Series 8 - 2014

Writer: Steven Moffat
Produced by: Paul Frift
Director: Paul Wilmshurst
Music: Murray Gold


On Christmas Eve Clara is woken at night by three people blundering around on the roof. Going up to the roof to investigate she finds a man dressed as, and claiming to be, Santa Claus, and two men dressed as elves picking up presents and tangerines after Santa's sleigh crashed into the roof. In the air reindeer are flying around. Clara can hardly believe that Santa is real. Moments later the TARDIS materialises on the roof and the Doctor tells her to not to say anything and get into the TARDIS.

Clara, still in a daze from meeting Santa Claus, never thought she would see the Doctor again let alone be travelling with him. As the TARDIS dematerialises the Doctor asks her to ask herself one question. Does she believe in Santa Claus.

In a base close to the North Pole Shona is preparing to enter the base's infirmary. Safe in the control room the other three members of the base are monitoring Shona's progress ready to get her out at a moment's notice. After Shona reveals she didn't pay attention during the briefing Ashley reminds Shona that the infirmary contains four sleepers, and that they must not be woken. The Sleepers can read Shona's thoughts and emotions but will remain asleep as long as she does not think about them.

In order to take Shona's mind off the Sleepers Ashley plays 'I wish it could be Christmas every day' through headphones, and Shona starts to dance her way through the infirmary. As she gets half way through the infirmary the exterior door opens and the Doctor and Clara, dressed in a nightie, enter. As Clara starts to look at the Sleepers Shona starts to think about them and they start to wake.

The Doctor is curious about how deaf and blind beings can see them, and Shona explains they can only see you when you see or think about them. The Doctor tells Clara that their brains are effectively being hacked and the visual imagery is being streamed to the Sleepers. He closes his eyes and tells Clara to do the same.

Not seeing is not enough and the Doctor tries to get Clara to do maths in her head to distract herself. Crab-like creatures start to fall from the ceiling. The other crew arrive, armed, and the exterior wall explodes. A tangerine is tossed in followed by slinkies and toy robots. Outside everyone can see Santa Claus on the back of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

Santa tells the Sleepers to go back to bed and they do. Shona, who wants to know if she is dreaming, asks what is going on. Santa tells them that it's an invasion, and fetches a large specimen jar containing an alien creature that the Doctor has heard of: The Kantrofani, otherwise known as Dream Crabs.

Inside a laboratory Ashley, the Doctor and Clara are examining the Kantrofani. As they are called Dream Crabs Ashley realises they are telepathic and can alter perception meaning that no-one can believe anything they see or hear, and that they don't know what is real and what isn't.

As the base crew all wear mini-cams the Doctor asks Ashley if he can see footage from when the Sleepers first encountered the dream crabs. As she goes to set up the footage the Doctor asks her why she and the base are at the North Pole and she replies 'It is a long story'.

In the control room the Doctor finds Shona, who has been talking to Santa. She seems sceptical and the Doctor asks her why she is as the North Pole. She also replies with 'It's a long story'.

Rona shows the Doctor the footage from when the dream crabs were found in an ice cave underneath the base, dormant until people that start to think about what they are seeing. As they think about the dream crab the one in the laboratory jar wakes up and the jar falls of a table and smashes. On the screen the Doctor watches as one dream crab jumps at the person making the recording.

On the screen the footage shows the Sleepers in the infirmary. The Doctor explains that the Kantrofani are slowly killing the host body by digesting the brain. As they do so they put the victim in a dream state so they do not suffer and are happy until the Kantrofani has finished.

The Doctor asks Clara to fetch the dream crab from the laboratory, but when she gets there she finds it has gone. Looking under the table at the broken glass she can hear it above. As it attacks Clara awakes at home on Christmas Day. Danny is there dressed in a Santa Claus outfit. In her house there are hints that things are not real, including black boards that claim she is dreaming, and dying. When she concentrates the blackboards disappear and she goes downstairs to open her presents.

In the polar base the Doctor has found Clara with a Kantrofani on her face. He keeps trying to talk to her but she doesn't wake up. The Doctor asks Santa for his help to save Clara.

In her dream, as she is sitting on the sofa with Danny, Clara hears a knock at the door. She opens it and the Doctor walks in. The Doctor tries to convince Clara that she is dreaming and that nothing is real. She has even made Danny a fraction taller. The Doctor asks Clara if she has a pain, like ice cream brain freeze, at the side of her head. That is the Kantrofani killing her. Even in her dream Danny will do anything for her, and he convinces Clara that he is dead and that she needs to wake up from her dream.

In the laboratory Clara and the Doctor awake and the two Kantrofani crumble to dust. Clara and the Doctor can still feel the pain, and the other crew reveal they can all feel the same pain. The rest of the crew don't believe the Doctor when he says that they are all still dreaming, and that they are having dreams within dreams. When Rona says she thinks she is awake the Doctor asks everyone to asks themselves when they were attacked in the infirmary who was it that saved them.

The Doctor tries the Helman-Ziegler test on the crew. He passes each crew member a copy of the base manual. In the real world the books would be identical, but in a dream they wouldn't be. The Doctor asks them to all turn to page 57 and read the first word. They all come up with different words. The same thing happens on the second try and they all have different words: We, Are, All, Dead.

Santa enters the room and confirms they are dreaming. The Doctor realises Santa is there to help. As the Kantrofani creates the dream the brain knows something is wrong. To get the person to wake up the brain creates something that is obviously not real: Santa Claus, Elves and flying reindeer - and a time travelling scientist dressed as a magician.

Santa convinces everyone to hold hands and they wake from their dreams in the infirmary. Once they are safe the Doctor says goodbye and he heads back to the TARDIS. Clara follows and as the Doctor is about to enter the TARDIS she asks him an important question: Why was Santa on her roof.

The Doctor suddenly realises the importance of four people, four manuals and four people in the infirmary. He runs back inside and passes the manuals to the crew, asking each person why they were at the base. They all say it's a long story, and so does Clara when the Doctor asks her the same question.

He repeats the Helman-Ziegler test and they crew replies with: Very, very, very, dead. The Doctor tells the crew to look properly at the properly. The Sleepers are the crew. No-one in the room is actually there, including the Doctor and Clara.

The Sleepers are mental constructs of the part of the conscience that has given in. On the screens the Sleepers get near, and one reaches through and takes Albert. As the Sleepers start to emerge through the monitors the Doctor gets everyone outside. They make their way to the TARDIS where Sleeper versions of the Doctor and Clara emerge.

Santa appears with an empty sleigh and tells everyone to get in. As they fly away, with the Doctor flying, each person starts to remember whop they are and what they do. As they wake up they disappear from the sleigh.

The Doctor wakes up before Clara and returns to Clara's house where he finds her in bed with a Kantrofani on her face. When she wakes she is an older woman. Sixty-two years have passed by. When Santa enters the house the Doctor wakes up once again, and again rushes back to Clara's house. This time he finds a Clara that was the same age as she was when at the end of their last adventure.

Regular Cast

  • Clara Oswald: Jenna Coleman

Guest Cast

  • Santa Claus: Nick Frost
  • Danny Pink: Samuel Anderson
  • Ian: Dan Starkey
  • Wolf: Nathan McMullen
  • Shona McCullough: Faye Marsay
  • Ashley: Natalie Gumede
  • Rona Bellows: Maureen Beattie
  • Professor Albert: Michael Troughton

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 13. Last Christmas Thursday, December 25, 2014 6:15 PM - 7:15 PM 8.28M 82

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