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When a mysterious Christmas card materialises on the TARDIS console, Clara and the Doctor are pulled into an interdimensional adventure of astoundingly festive proportions! Packed with impossible sights and nigh-insurmountable stakes, this special issue also contains puzzles and games woven into the story!
On a dark night, the Doctor's TARDIS materialises on the lawn of an ornate household, leaving Clara Oswald to run after an overeager Doctor who claims they've been invited to a Christmas party, one hosted by Susan Foreman with a multitude of other companions as guests.
No sooner has the Doctor caught up with his granddaughter do all the guests, Susan included, turn into menacing nutcrackers. Grabbing the sonic screwdriver, Clara shatters the Christmas decorations, allowing the two to flee into the next room. Though hearing Susan's voice gives the Doctor pause, he is quick to steel himself and the two make for the exit.
Before they can leave, however, a flock of Christmas cards shoot through the mailbox, sending the Doctor and Clara through the landscapes, drawing the ire of Krampus after they pass through one of German origin, before jumping through Candy Land and Snakes and Ladders. Passing through the game, the two end up, toy-sized, next to a Christmas tree. The Doctor uses his recorder to tame the eponymous snakes and set them on Krampus. Having figured out whose trap they've sprung, the Doctor tries to inform Clara before his mouth literally vanishes. As he tries to tell her via charades, a toy biplane appears, piloted by the mastermind.
The Celestial Toymaker.
After Clara and the Doctor seek cover, the Time Lord (now having his voice back) tells his friend about the Toymaker's origins and motives before he acts on a hunch. Using his telepathic abilities, the Doctor has a Santa decoration kick a bulb into the plane, causing it to crash. As the Toymaker laughs, unharmed, he traps the two within a card prison only for the Doctor to take command of the cards, turning their faces into those of his previous two selves, along with Jack Harkness and the Victorian Clara. Still laughing, the Toymaker summons an army of toys, led by the Nutcracker Susan only for the Doctor to counter with more toys styled after his adventures.
Before the fight can break out, the Doctor calls for a truce, or rather a game of "Truth or Dare". When the Toymaker picks truth, the Doctor cuts right to the heart of the matter; why is he able to affect the toyroom? The Toymaker reveals that the toyroom is now so inconceivably old that its power has started to fade, the walls between it and the universe are wearing thin. Unable to cope with such a yawning horror, the Toymaker needs the TARDIS to halt his realm's collapse. In a stroke of inspiration, the Doctor chooses dare, the entity daring him to surrender the game and the TARDIS, which, despite Clara's horror, he does without protest.
As the TARDIS starts to materialise around them, the Doctor grabs Clara and runs back to the control room (reshuffled for convenience thanks to the emergency protocols). While Clara fears for the universe now that the Toymaker has the TARDIS, the Doctor clarifies. The Toymaker does not want the universe. He wants a little box to play in. The Doctor just needed to let him believe he'd won so that a new toyroom could be built. Inviting Clara to push the "big red button", the new toyroom, the former Zero Room, is ejected from the ship and left to float in space. Though Clara is shocked by the Doctor essentially giving the baddie a win, the Doctor insists that he had to help, asking if she understands. At that, Clara only smiles. A lonely god drifting through space and time in his magical toy box?
Yes, she understands that very well.
- Twelfth Doctor
- Clara Oswald
- Celestial Toymaker
- Amy Pond
- Rory Williams
- Sarah Jane Smith
- Donna Noble
- Susan Foreman
- Ian Chesterton
- Barbara Wright
- Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart
- The deck of playing cards includes the images of the Seventh Doctor, Tenth Doctor and Eleventh Doctor.
- Although this was the seventh story of the series, due to delays it ended up being published during the run of its preceding story.
Original print details
to be added
- The Doctor summons his recorder. (TV: The Power of the Daleks)
- The Doctor says he doesn't like Christmas anymore as someone always tries to kill him before Boxing Day. (TV: The Christmas Invasion, Voyage of the Damned)
- The Doctor remembers meeting the Toymaker in his first incarnation. (TV: The Celestial Toymaker)
- The toys the Doctor summons include K1, (TV: Robot) Autons with yellow coats, Bessie, (TV: Terror of the Autons) and a Voc robot. (TV: The Robots of Death)
- The Toymaker's army includes peg dolls (TV: Night Terrors) and clockwork robots. (TV: The Mind Robber)
- The Doctor removes the Zero Room from the TARDIS in order to house the Toymaker. He says he will need to build a new one. (TV: Castrovalva, PROSE: Engines of War)
- The events of this story appear to take place shortly after the Doctor and Clara leave Skaro, as they're wearing the same outfits that they were in the two-parter. Despite this, the Doctor still bears a sonic screwdriver as opposed to the sunglasses. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice, The Witch's Familiar)