It’s nearly Christmas, and Short Trips producer / script editor Ian Atkins makes sure we get a festive treat in the form of O Tannenbaum a First Doctor and Steven story by Anthony Keetch, read by Peter Purves. It’ a spot-on tale, blending the key ingredients of family, sadness, loss and hope. O, and Christmas Trees!
O Tannenbaum the story
The product page couldn’t be more full of references to Christmas if it tried:
It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid…
The TARDIS has landed in a winter wonderland and the weather outside is frightful.
A world of dread and fear and it’s not just the frost that is cruel…
It’s Christmas Eve, but will the Doctor and Steven get to see another one?
And of all the trees in the wood, who really bears the crown?
The TARDIS lands near a cottage, in which a little girl (Greta) sits by the tree she has just decorated, waiting for her father. As the Doctor and Steven warm themselves from the snow, they realise things are not right, and another race of aliens needs to be handled before the family can enjoy the holidays. It’s poignant, sweet and rather lovely through and through.
Christmas and Doctor Who go right back to the 1960s when the Doctor, Steven and Sarah Kingdom were trying to evade the Daleks in The Daleks’ Masterplan, and having heard this, I could listen to Peter read Doctor Who Christmas stories forever. After a year where the range has seen a lot of new ground struck with deserved praise, it’s also nice to end with something traditional. Roll on 2018!