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The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe

ShowDoctor Who / Series VII / Episode 0
First Broadcast2011/12/26 - 19:30 (Link: ABC Details)
Related LinksDoctor Who Wiki Wikipedia
Previous EpisodeThe Wedding Of River Song
Next EpisodeAsylum Of The Daleks

A solid, but not spectacular Christmas special, loosely based on The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, although in truth there were only a few similarities. The Doctor crashes to Earth (literally) and is helped by Madge Arwell. He re-pays the favour three years later (her time).

A prequel set the scene of the Doctor on a space ship that will blow up when he releases a button. We begin with that explosion and the Doctor escaping with the aid of an impact space suit. In his hurry to put it on he puts the helmet on backwards. After he crashes to Earth and is helped by Madge, she takes him to the TARDIS, but never sees his face.

Three years later, Madge's husband, a pilot in the air force, is lost in the war. She takes her children away for Christmas. The Doctor, acting as caretaker, has prepared the house with all sorts of fun things. The big one is a present, which turns out to be a portal to a planet in a different time and place. Naturally everyone ends up there and things don't quite go to plan.

The planet is inhabited by a forest that is about to be harvested. The trees need to escape and have devised a plan, but they need help. Cyril, the Doctor and Lily are not up to it. But Madge is. She can absorb all the life forces and pilot the escape pod through the time vortex. The trees are saved and the others take a short-cut home. In order to focus on home, Madge has to think of her husband, flying home lost. The light of her ship leads him home too. A happy ending all round.

As the Doctor goes to leave, Madge recognises the TARDIS and realises who he is and thanks him. She asks him to come to dinner, but he refuses. After hearing his story, Madge tells him not to leave his friends alone on Christmas Day. So the Doctor leaves and visits Amy and Rory at Christmas 2013. Another happy re-union.

A few notes: apparently this episode has the longest title ever; I'm numbering this as episode 0, so that episode numbers will line up better; and the ABC is replaying entire new series on ABC2 every weeknight starting next week.