Doctor Who is fast becoming as synonymous with Christmas day as novelty jumpers and overeating. This year’s episode, titled The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe promises to make for perfect seasonal viewing and features a large number of guest stars, including appearances from Alexander Armstrong, Bill Bailey and Outnumbered’s Claire Skinner. Also starring is 19-year-old actress Holly Earl, who plays character Lily Arwell in the episode. We caught up with Holly to ask what it was like working with such a vibrant cast and where we can expect to see her in the coming year…
What can you tell us about the Doctor Who Christmas special?
It’s a very, very enchanting episode, it’s really quite magical. I saw it for the first time yesterday at the screening and I just got totally involved in it all. It really is a beautiful episode and I think that people are going to enjoy it. It’s very ‘Christmassy’.
What can you tell us about the plot?
It’s set in World War Two, and my character and her family get evacuated to this big house that the Doctor’s taking care of. Everything then gets very futuristic, and they fall into a futuristic world, with snow and forest – it’s all very magical.
What was it like working with Matt Smith?
He was so lovely to work with. He’s just got so much energy, and in the scenes he really just brings out the best of you. He’s so enthusiastic about it and so talented, I think I learnt a lot about the tone of the show from him. He’s just a cool guy you know! He’s just so slick and really fun.
There are plenty of guest stars in the episode…
Yeah, I worked with Claire Skinner and Alexander Armstrong, and that was very special for me, because of course I’ve seen Outnumbered and I’ve seen The Armstrong and Miller Show and they’re both really funny – we had a really good laugh on set. Claire Skinner is wonderful in the show; she really has great comic timing and really brings a fun energy to it.
Did you come into contact with Bill Bailey much?
I didn’t have any scenes with him, but I did see him walking around in his space suit and he looked quite uncomfortable.
Are we likely to see your character reappear in Doctor Who?
I don’t know, you’d have to ask Steven [Moffat, Who writer] about that. Never say never.
It’s just that with Amy Pond leaving, Lily Arwell could become the new sidekick…
I would love to be a real companion, but we’ll have to wait and see.
We understand that you’re going to be in Skins, how did that come about?
I auditioned for that before I did Doctor Who actually. I went away, did Doctor Who, and then I got recalled for it and got the part, so that was interesting. Yeah, it was really fun doing Skins, I did one episode but I’m in quite a lot of it. It was really fun because it’s such a different show to Doctor Who.
We imagine the characters you play are quite different?
I would say to anyone who’s seen Doctor Who not to watch Skins expecting to see the same character. My character in the episode, Poppy, is kind of in her own little world, and although she’s quite innocent, she knows how to get what she wants.
Words: Tom Shepherd