This week the BBC released the synopsis of this year's Christmas Special, written by Steven Moffat and loosely based on Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol (1843):
"Amy and Rory are trapped on a crashing spaceliner and the only way the Doctor can rescue them is to save the soul of a lonely old miser... But is Kazran Sardick, the richest man in Sardicktown, beyond redemption? And what is lurking in the fogs of Christmas Eve?"
The cast includes Sir Michael Gambon (famous for playing Philip Marlow in Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective (1986) and now mainly recognised from his role as Hogwarts Professor, Albus Dumbledore since 2004) as the older Kazran, and Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins in her first acting role, as Abigail.
Pooky Quesnal (recently seen in Accused with Christopher Eccleston) plays the Captain; Laurence Belcher (appeared with Arthur Darvill and Freema Ageyman in Little Dorrit) is the Young Kazran; Tim Plester is the Chief Servant; Stephen North (a series regular in ITV's London's Burning) is Older Benjamin; Micah Balfour (a regular on the last 5 years of The Bill) is the Co-Pilot; Danny Horn is the Middle Kazran; and Nick Malinowski plays Eric.
IMDB also lists Peter Bowles (known for the BBC sitcom, To the Manor Born), Leo Bill, Laura Rogers, and Bailey Pepper as cast members.
So what have we gleaned from the trailer?
On a stormy planet that looks Victorian-themed, its nearly Christmas, and its snowing. The story features Kazran at three different points in his life, and the Doctor seems to visit him like the ghosts who appear to Scrooge. We see the youngest Kazran discover Abigail, frozen in some kind of stasis. The 'middle' Kazran is then being observed through a circular window by the Doctor, who tells him "whatever happens tonight, remember, you brought it on yourself." Behind the Doctor, a huge shark-like fin glides past. Many years later, the Doctor makes a memorable entrance, Santa-style, emerging from the chimney into Old Kazran's big, empty house. He informs Kazran, "I'm the ghost of Christmas Past," and just like Scrooge, Kazran despises Christmas.
As for the TARDIS honey-mooners, Amy at first intriguingly remarks "Time can be rewritten..." and the old man replies "...People can't." Then Amy (here in her old police uniform) and Rory (dressed as a Roman centurion again), are seen on the bridge of a crashing spacecraft.
A Christmas Carol (again an hour long) is scheduled to be shown at 6pm, on BBC1 on Christmas Day. The DVD release is set for January 24th 2011, and the soundtrack CD is available next February.