The Snowmen (TV story)

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The Snowmen was the 2012 Christmas Special of Doctor Who. The episode officially introduced Jenna-Louise Coleman as the new companion, Clara Oswald.

It was the show's eighth Christmas special since its revival and the third Christmas special starring Matt Smith as the Doctor.

Like the previous two specials, it took its name and some of its themes from a famous piece of winter-themed literature. Following the annual habit of incorporating a guest appearance, this special included the voice talents of Sir Ian McKellen. Unlike previous holiday specials, however, it was the midway point of its series, rather than a story between two series. The special bridged the gap between the first and second parts of the seventh series, dealing with the fallout of The Angels Take Manhattan [+]Loading...["The Angels Take Manhattan (TV story)"] while setting up all the elements for The Bells of Saint John onwards.

Despite being placed in the midst of a series as it came after the first five episodes of series seven, the production team does not count this as the sixth regular episode of the series with the next episode The Bells of Saint John being designated as the said sixth episode.

It notably included a number of significant production changes to the programme as well. A brand new title sequence made by Peter Anderson Studio replaced the Framestore version that had been in place since The Eleventh Hour [+]Loading...["The Eleventh Hour (TV story)"], with modifications made by Peter Anderson Studio as of Asylum of the Daleks [+]Loading...["Asylum of the Daleks (TV story)"]. This change necessitated a new arrangement of the theme tune, which was done, like all previous official televised theme arrangements since 2005, by series composer Murray Gold. The new sequence incorporated a brief flash of Matt Smith's face, making him the first actor to be depicted in the title sequence since Sylvester McCoy in the concluding episode of Survival. Furthermore, a new console room made its debut.

Two versions of Clara Oswald appeared in this episode. It also re-introduced and showed the origins of the Great Intelligence, an enemy last seen in the series battling the Second Doctor in 1968's The Web of Fear, and featured the return of recurring characters Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax, previously introduced in A Good Man Goes to War [+]Loading...["A Good Man Goes to War (TV story)"]. It further built upon aspects of these characters which had been explored between episodes. Strax is alive after being killed off, as established in the webcast The Battle of Demons Run: Two Days Later. Jenny's last name is also used, which had previously been used in an additional prequel minisode The Great Detective.


After losing Amy Pond and Rory Williams, the Eleventh Doctor has retired to Victorian England, where Strax, Jenny Flint, and Vastra assume his responsibilities in guarding the universe while watching over him in his self-imposed exile. The Doctor eventually meets Clara Oswald, and takes a liking to the young barmaid who leads a double life as a governess. At the same time, a sinister plot is unfolding; snowmen are randomly appearing around London, growing in size and power. All they need to take over the world is some human DNA in ice crystal form, and the frozen body of a drowned governess can give them just that.


It is winter in 1842. Children are playing outside. Standing away from the others is a little boy building a snowman. A woman asks him if he'd like to play with the other children, but he says that he doesn't need anyone else. The woman tells a man that he's always so alone and that it's unhealthy. As they leave, he says that he doesn't want to talk to them because they are silly. To his surprise, the snowman he is building repeats this. He runs away as it tells him not to believe anyone else. He starts to walk back to it, and it tells him that it can help him. He asks it how.

Fifty years later, Walter Simeon is overseeing men as they carefully scrape snow from snowmen into glass jars. The jars are loaded into a carriage where they are driven to Walter Simeon's institute. Doctor Simeon carries one of the jars up to a large glass sphere filled with snow. He tells it that the last of the arrivals have been sampled. The same voice from the snowman speaks from within the sphere, saying the swarm is approaching, and that as humanity celebrates, it will end. It asks if the final piece is ready, and Simeon says it's in hand. The voice asks how he will keep his secrets from getting out from the men who helped him. Simeon says it's been taken care of, as he promised to feed them. Back at the work site, one of the men says that he doesn't see any food. Simeon says he does, and as the men look around, snowmen rise up. Simeon coldly says, "I promised to feed you, but I didn't say who to."

At an inn called the Rose & Crown, a barmaid walks outside with a tray. She is surprised to see a snowman that wasn't there before. She asks the Eleventh Doctor, who is walking past, if he built it. The Doctor says he didn't and walks away but stops when she tells him that it just appeared out of nowhere. He walks back and circles the snowman, inspecting it. He says he wonders if the snow can remember how to build a snowman, which the maid thinks is silly. She makes the Doctor smile. He asks her what her name is. She says it is Clara, which he says is a nice name. He walks away, leaving her somewhat annoyed in the alley with the snowman. Clara sees the Doctor leave in a carriage and runs after it, managing to climb onto it.

In the Doctor's carriage, he talks to Vastra through a phone built into the roof. He tells her about the odd snow, making her wonder if his curiosity has been piqued. He firmly denies this, even stating that he does not make an impact on anyone anymore, hence Clara will have no reason to remember him. However, Vastra counters that it all starts with the same two words. The Doctor asks what two words she means. At that very moment, Clara opens a hatch on the roof and pops her head inside, shocking the Doctor. She asks "Doctor who?"

That same night, Simeon is walking through town and is confronted by Jenny and a veiled Vastra. Simeon doesn't take their presence as a threat, and instead taunts them; he says that Dr. Doyle has based his Sherlock Holmes stories on the Great Detective and her assistant with some alterations. He walks over to Vastra and unveils her, not even grimacing at her true face; "who would believe that the great detective is in fact... a woman." Simeon then notices that Vastra and Jenny seem suspiciously intimate. Vastra takes offence, saying she and Jenny are married; Jenny then quips that Simeon isn't. He scoffs at this and leaves, assured they cannot stop him. However, Vastra says that there is one person who can, making Simeon slightly uneasy.

Strax and the memory worm.

Elsewhere, the Doctor is examining snow outside his parked carriage; locked inside is Clara, furiously demanding to be let out. Thinking, the Doctor asks Strax what he would look for next after finding something new in the world that he's never seen before. Strax answers "a grenade", which does not amuse the Doctor. They open the door of the carriage and explain to Clara that they'll be erasing her memory of them. Strax mistakenly calls Clara a male, which the Doctor cynically jokes is because Sontarans have trouble remembering there's more than one gender.

He orders Strax to get a memory worm to erase Clara's memory. Waiting, the Doctor sees Strax return without the worm, making him realise he forgot to wear the protective gauntlets; it erased the last hour of Strax's memory. With the worm now under the carriage, the Doctor has Strax retrieve it. However, he forgot to wear the gauntlets again and now thinks he's been run over. Highly amused, Clara passes the gauntlets to the Doctor, who shoves the memory worm into a jar. Clara questions him about the snowman, and one suddenly arises out of the snow. The Doctor asks Clara if she was thinking about it, which she admits to. Several more arise from the snow and begin snarling at them. The Doctor explains that the snow is sentient and is mirroring the thoughts of people around it. He orders Clara to picture them melting and she does so. Clara points out that he can't erase her memory now as it would make her forget how to defend herself. The Doctor warns her to not follow him and tells her to forget him. He sends her away in Strax's carriage, but Clara sneaks off.

Following the Doctor, Clara sees him pull a ladder out of nowhere in the park and climb up it. After letting the Doctor get a few minutes ahead to avoid him noticing her, Clara mimics his actions and pulls the ladder down. She climbs up to a platform, which should be easily seen by people passing by; she waves and says hello to people, but they don't notice her. She continues onward, climbing a hidden staircase in the sky reaching up into the clouds. Clara then sees the TARDIS. She knocks on the door and hides at the side of the TARDIS just as the Doctor pops his head out. As the Doctor looks around the sides of the TARDIS, Clara sneaks down the stairs. The Doctor hears her footsteps and picks up a piece of cloth that dropped from her dress, which he then smells. He sees her running down the same staircase which led up to the cloud, but dismisses her, still determined to stay out of what is happening on Earth.

The next day, Christmas Eve, Clara heads for her second job as governess to "Franny" and Digby Latimer, children of the widowed Captain Latimer, under the alias "Miss Montague" and speaks in a posh accent. Captain Latimer explains that he is having trouble connecting with his children and hopes Miss Montague can get through to them. Clara greets the children, and at their request, performs her "secret voice" (which is her real one). The children express how much they prefer her over their last governess, who drowned in their pond last year. Simeon pays an unexpected visit to the Latimer home, showing interest in the pond. This disturbs Clara, who thinks the Doctor may be of some use.

Clara is put to the one-word test.

Clara goes back to the park, but can't get the ladder down, forcing her to call up to the Doctor. This draws the attention of passersby, who wonder if she's gone mad. Jenny happens upon the scene, shushing Clara. When Clara protests, Jenny asks "Doctor who?" to show she knows the Doctor.

Upon meeting Vastra, Clara is slightly disturbed at the sight of her but remains calm. Vastra explains what she is drinking isn't red wine and that Clara had better be truthful. Jenny explains that Vastra will ask questions and Clara must answer them with one word only; Vastra believes the truth can be said in one word while lies are said with a string of them. Though their meeting, Vastra tells Clara that the Doctor once saved many lives, then he suffered a loss so great, he was forced to retire. Seeing Clara has presented a chance to reawaken the Doctor's former sense of adventure, Vastra gives Clara a test: she must give her a message to pass onto Doctor; warning him of the danger the snow poses and explaining why he should help her. But she must do it in one word.

In his darkened TARDIS, the Doctor is reading a book while wearing Amy's reading glasses. He receives a call from Vastra who explains that Clara came to her and was given the "One Word Test". Annoyed, the Doctor asks Vastra what Clara said. She replies "Pond". The Doctor takes off his glasses and stares at them for a moment, finally deciding to investigate what is happening.

Dressing in an outfit he previously wore in his fourth incarnation, the Doctor goes to Dr Simeon's institute, pretending to be Sherlock Holmes. Greeting Simeon, the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to lock the doors of Simeon's office to prevent interruption. The Doctor smacks the large glass sphere with his walking stick, prompting it to speak to him; it calls itself the Intelligence. Pondering what it and Simeon have planned, the Doctor sees a newspaper article about a governess who drowned in a pond; he realises why Clara used that word to warn him of the danger. Simeon's servants manage to break down the doors, distracting him long enough for the Doctor to discreetly make his exit.

The Doctor arrives at the Latimer home and examines the pond where the woman drowned; according to the scan, there is something in the ice. Strax arrives, saying Vastra sent him in case the Doctor needs assistance with his investigation. The Doctor claims he's not investigating, but Strax is not convinced. The Doctor sends him away just as he notices Clara waving at him through a window and gesturing for him to come up. The Doctor unintentionally signals that he will; after catching this, he scolds himself. As the Doctor walks away, something starts forming in the ice under the pond.

Clara is telling Franny and Digby a bed-time story about the Doctor, claiming that all he ever does, all day, is keep children from having bad dreams. However, Franny pokes a hole in her story, saying that she's been having bad dreams about their previous governess. Clara quickly says that the Doctor has been on vacation, and has just got back. The door opens and she begins to introduce the Doctor only to see the reincarnation of the previous governess to the Latimer family, created from her genetic sample, the Ice Governess. The Governess attacks them, intending to discipline the children as she believes they have been very naughty. Clara quickly locks them in a playroom for safety. The Ice Governess breaks in and all seems lost until a puppet operated by the Doctor destroys her with the sonic.

Meanwhile, Simeon arrives outside, activating a device that causes snow to fall in the yard.

Back inside, the Doctor notices a mirror and admires his bow tie. Clara, realizing that the temperature of the room has dropped, says, "it's cooler". The Doctor thinks she is complimenting his bow tie, and replies, "Bow ties are cool." The Ice Governess begins to reform, unfortunately having learned not to melt. The Doctor, Clara and the children escape downstairs, meeting Captain Latimer. The Doctor hastily explains his presence in the house by claiming that he is Clara's "gentleman friend" and they have been upstairs kissing.

Vastra, Strax and Jenny arrive, trapping the Ice Governess behind a force field. Strax then says Captain Latimer's office is a strategic place to make their stand and everyone hurries inside. After explaining Simeon's plan, which is to use the Ice Governess as a template to evolve the snowmen into an army of ice for Simeon to conquer Earth with, the Doctor orders everyone to stay in Latimer's office. However, Clara disobeys and kisses him in the hallway. After recovering from the surprise, the Doctor confronts Simeon at the front door. Simeon warns the Doctor that they have five minutes to give him the Ice Governess. The Doctor seizes an umbrella and uses his sonic screwdriver to deactivate the force field that trapped the Ice Governess. He and Clara sprint up the stairs towards the roof. At one point, Clara grabs the Doctor's hand and takes the lead, which the Doctor is unused to since he is usually the one who does the hand grabbing.

The Ice Governess follows. Clara quickly realises why the Doctor led them up to the roof and uses the umbrella he took from downstairs to pull down the ladder that leads up to the spiral staircase; the wind has moved the cloud the TARDIS was parked on. They run up the staircase with the Ice Governess in pursuit. The Doctor explains that they are drawing the Ice Governess away from the power that is constantly reviving her; once far enough away, they can destroy the creature and lock her remains away in a container that the signal can't get through.

After reaching the Doctor's cloud, the Doctor shows Clara the inside of the TARDIS, which has changed since Amy and Rory left. He expects Clara to say that it's bigger on the inside like everyone else, but instead, she says, "It's smaller on the outside," which the Doctor notes is a first. Clara then asks if there is a kitchen on board, mentioning that she likes making soufflés, a remark which catches the Doctor's attention. Clara then comments that the Doctor is nearly a foot taller than her and that he could have reached the ladder without the umbrella; he took it so she could come with him. She asks him why and he replies "I never know why. I only know who." The Doctor then gives Clara a key to the TARDIS, having decided to take her with him. However, just after taking the key, Clara is grabbed by the Ice Governess. Clara and the Ice Governess topple off the cloud onto the lawn below; the Ice Governess is shattered, and Clara critically injured.

The Doctor uses the TARDIS to get Clara's body into Latimer's office where Strax uses alien technology to revive her. However, Clara's injuries are too severe, leaving her in a dying state. The Doctor asks Clara if she would travel with him, and she agrees. He then storms out to face Simeon and his snowmen, brandishing a box which he claims contains the Ice Governess' shattered remains. He tells Simeon he'd "see [him] at the office", using the TARDIS to take himself and Vastra to Simeon's institute. Vastra wonders if the Doctor is making a bargain with the universe and the Doctor says that the universe owes him for all the times he has saved it, hoping that if he saves the world, the universe will allow Clara to live.

The Doctor and Vastra confront Simeon in his office and the Doctor reveals that the giant snow globe is actually a reflection of Simeon himself. Simeon explains that the snow had spoken to him as a child when he was building a snowman, and the Doctor informs him that he had accidentally started putting all of his deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings into the snow. Although Simeon is shocked to learn that he was the reason the snow globe was sentient, this doesn't stop him from attempting to continue his plan. He grabs the box containing the Ice Governess remains from the Doctor. When he opens it, however, he finds the memory worm instead. It bites him, erasing all the memories of his adult life. The snow globe seems to die, but then comes back to life with the snow inside flying around furiously.

The Doctor is now perplexed as to how this can be as it is a reflection of Simeon's dark side. The snow globe explains that the "dream outlives the dreamer", zapping Simeon with electricity. Without the memories the worm erased, there is plenty of room for the entity; Simeon is now its puppet, rather than the other way around. After hurling Vastra aside, the possessed Simeon attacks the Doctor but then pulls back in apparent pain as the snow in the globe turns to rain. Simeon perishes as the entity is defeated, and the Doctor says that all the snow at the Latimer house is mirroring the grief of the Latimer's as Clara draws closer to death. Rushing back to the house, the Doctor learns that Clara won't make it and that she has only moments left. He spends Clara's last moments by her side. Before passing away at midnight on Christmas Day, Clara murmurs words that he had heard once before: "Run your clever boy. And remember."

Clara Oswald's headstone as it appeared at her funeral in 1892.

Now back in his state of grief and self-loathing, the Doctor attends Clara's funeral. Vastra hands the Doctor a card for Simeon's institute, which reveals the entity was the Great Intelligence. However, while the name rings a bell, the Doctor has trouble remembering when he met it before; he mutters the name to himself, hoping to remember.

He then goes to Clara's grave. He is stunned when he reads her full name: Clara Oswin Oswald. The Doctor remembers that name from the woman he had met in the Dalek Asylum, who went by the name Oswin Oswald and also enjoyed making soufflés; he realises that he hadn't noticed the connection earlier, since he never saw Oswin Oswald's human face, but the two also have the same voice. This leaves the Doctor greatly confused; someone has died twice in completely different lives in time and space. Elated, he realises that there is another version of his new companion and that there is a chance of meeting her again. Eager at solving the mystery of the woman who has died twice and reuniting with Clara, the overjoyed Doctor runs off. Jenny wonders why the Doctor is suddenly so happy. Vastra remarks that "maybe the universe does make bargains after all."

Present day Clara at the grave.

Over a Century later, the cemetery has long ago ceased to be maintained. Tall weeds have taken over, and many of the gravestones are neglected; Clara's remains legible but is well-worn. Another Clara, identical in appearance to Clara Oswald and Oswin Oswald, walks through the graveyard ahead of her friend. As she nears Clara Oswald's gravestone, her friend begs her to leave because she thinks the graveyard is creepy. Standing above her doppelgänger's corpse, Clara confidently dismisses her friend's phobia, asserting, "I don't believe in ghosts."

Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor is now hell-bent on finding Clara. Flipping switches on the console, he yells, "Clara! Oswin! Oswald!" and pulls up a picture of Clara from 1892 on the TARDIS scanner. Then he exclaims, "Watch me run!"




  • In the programme information for BBC iPlayer, The Snowmen credits Ian McKellen as "Voice of the Snowman". Sophie Miller-Sheen's character is credited as "Girl".


General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.



Communications technology[[edit]]

The Doctor[[edit]]

  • The Doctor pretends to be Sherlock Holmes. His deduction skills have become rusty in his isolation.
  • The Doctor has kept Amy Pond's reading glasses and seems to be using them to read.
  • The Doctor attempts to use a Memory worm to erase Clara's memory.
  • The Doctor seems to only vaguely remember the Great Intelligence.




Story notes[[edit]]

  • The episode had the working title of The Snowman.
  • This episode had four prequels, the most of any episode up to this point: The Great Detective, Vastra Investigates: A Christmas Prequel, Devil in the Smoke: An Adventure for the Great Detective, and The Battle of Demons Run: Two Days Later, with the last of these actually not released until just prior to the broadcast of The Bells of Saint John [+]Loading...["The Bells of Saint John (TV story)"] in late March 2013 (and erroneously marketed as a prequel to that episode). It is the first televised episode to have a prose prequel.
  • This is the first full-length episode of the Eleventh Doctor era in which Amy Pond does not appear.
  • Starting its broadcast at 17:15, this episode has the earliest transmission time of a Doctor Who television story, along with An Unearthly Child and The Husbands of River Song [+]Loading...["The Husbands of River Song (TV story)"].
  • The Doctor shows the Great Intelligence a tin with a map of the London Underground 1967 on it, calling it "a key strategic weakness in metropolitan living". This is a reference to the story in which the Intelligence last featured, The Web of Fear, which primarily took place in the Underground. This story occurs in the Intelligence's past, thereby paving the way for the events of The Web of Fear.
  • Cameron Strefford (Walter) is credited as "Young Walter" in Radio Times.
  • To keep the return of the Great Intelligence a surprise, Ian McKellen was credited as "Voice of the Snowmen" in Radio Times and only as "Voice of the Great Intelligence" in the closing credits.
  • As is routine for Christmas specials, a "Coming Soon" trailer for the next series was shown at the end of the episode. This "Coming Soon" trailer featured clips from the second half of Series 7. This would be the last Christmas special to have a coming soon trailer at the end until The Return of Doctor Mysterio [+]Loading...["The Return of Doctor Mysterio (TV story)"] in 2016.
  • The episode features a first-ever special effect for the series: a single camera shot following a character from the outside of the TARDIS, through the doors, and into the console room. A similar shot had been accomplished for the 1993 documentary Thirty Years in the TARDIS and the fan production Devious, but this was the first time it had been done in the series proper, according to the behind-the-scenes featurette uploaded to the BBC's Doctor Who website after broadcast.
The Doctor Who logo with a snowfall texture and new title sequence.
  • This episode introduces a new title sequence, which includes the Doctor's face.
  • The Doctor Who logo resembles a fresh snowfall in colour and pattern. This is the final episode of Series 7 to display unique titles, officially closing out Series 7 Part 1. Series 7 Part 2 drops this gimmick, starting with the premiere of The Bells of Saint John [+]Loading...["The Bells of Saint John (TV story)"].
  • In an interview published in DWM 455, published before the broadcast, actor Dan Starkey revealed that a scene was filmed showing what happened to Vastra, Jenny and Strax two days after the events of A Good Man Goes to War [+]Loading...["A Good Man Goes to War (TV story)"]. Starkey says he wasn't sure if it was "a preview online, a DVD extra or what." (Ultimately, this ended up being the prequel The Battle of Demons Run: Two Days Later.) The same article recalls that in DWM 438, an e-mail by Starkey was printed in which he accurately predicted the storyline that would see Strax living in London in the 19th century as Vastra's butler.
  • According to The Official Guide to the 2013 Series (Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition), it was originally planned that this special would be the first Doctor Who episode to not have an opening credits sequence, instead opening with the title superimposed over a scene. In pre-production, it was decided to have one, and a newly redesigned credit sequence and theme arrangement were devised.
  • This is the second Christmas special in a row with a character named Digby, after the unseen Uncle Digby in The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe [+]Loading...["The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe (TV story)"].
  • The end credits used the previous theme tune used from 2010 to 2012. The new end credits theme would be introduced in The Bells of Saint John [+]Loading...["The Bells of Saint John (TV story)"].
  • Richard E. Grant previously appeared as "The Quite Handsome Doctor" in the 1999 Comic Relief Red Nose Day segment, The Curse of Fatal Death and as an alternative Ninth Doctor in Scream of the Shalka.
  • Whereas Steven Moffat's previous Christmas specials were derived from classic stories, he didn't want this practice to become routine, and he decided that this special would simply be set in the iconic Christmas environment of a snowy Victorian London.
  • The notion of the Doctor in seclusion was derived from an untitled idea proposed by former Douglas Adams in 1979, which had been dismissed by Graham Williams.
  • The Victorian London setting was partly intended to introduce a different companion, a nineteenth century governess named Beryl Montague. However, as had been the case with Katarina, there was concern that the series would be hamstrung by the presence of an ongoing protagonist whose knowledge and perspective predated the audience by more than a hundred years.
  • The idea of Strax serving as “a grumpy butler” to Vastra was derived from comments Dan Starkey had made in the August 2011 issue of Doctor Who Magazine.
  • Dan Starkey was surprised to be asked to reprise his role of Strax, as he was seemingly killed in A Good Man Goes to War [+]Loading...["A Good Man Goes to War (TV story)"].
  • Steven Moffat stated that he wanted an "epic" quality to the Christmas special.
  • At an early stage, the special was planned to form Block Four of season seven. However, it soon became clear that Steven Moffat's progress in writing the script was too slow to accommodate the recording dates. Hide [+]Loading...["Hide (TV story)"] was instead brought forward as Block Four, while the special would be paired with The Crimson Horror [+]Loading...["The Crimson Horror (TV story)"], another story featuring Vastra, Jenny and Strax, as Block Six.
  • Some consideration was given to omitting an on-screen title altogether, since it was thought that the title sequence might be held off until the end of the episode, signifying the Doctor's return to his old self.
  • Early drafts incorporated another ingredient to the mystery of the Snowmen, associating them with sightings of driverless hansom cabs.
  • There were originally more flashbacks to Dr Simeon's early life.
  • Medical equipment used in an unsuccessful attempt to revive the dying Clara was implied to be responsible for Strax surviving the events of A Good Man Goes to War [+]Loading...["A Good Man Goes to War (TV story)"].
  • Steven Moffat wanted to show the Doctor's reaction to losing Amy and Rory: "I think he's probably reached the point in his life where he's saying, 'Friendship for me is just postponed bereavement — I want to be on my own for a while'."
  • Steven Moffat was uncertain about the epilogue featuring the 2013 version of Clara, which was deleted and then reinstated more than once during the drafting process. When it was finally decided to preserve this scene, a false ending to was concocted to safeguard the surprise; it saw Vastra and Jenny comment on how the events of the story had reinvigorated the Doctor.
  • Steven Moffat compared the withdrawn Doctor seen at the onset of the episode to the first appearances of the First and Ninth Doctors.
  • The episode saw a re-designed TARDIS interior. The series was in the process of relocating from Upper Boat Studios to Roath Lck and there was no way to preserve the TARDIS set designed by Edward Thomas for season five. Steven Moffat had noticed that the TARDIS' design was getting "progressively whimsical" and resembled more of a "magical place" rather than a machine. It was designed by series production designer Michael Pickwoad, who stated that the new interior was also supposed to be "darker and moodier" and provide an easier access to the "gallery" of the ship when shooting.
  • Matt Smith described his costume as "a bit Artful Dodger meets the Doctor". Steven Moffat described the new outfit as a "progression" as the Doctor was in "a different phase of his life now" and felt more "grown-up" and fatherlike.
  • Francesca and Digby Latimer were portrayed by real-life siblings Ellie and Joseph Darcey-Alden.
  • Filming in Bristol was delayed when police were called to the Cabot Circus shopping centre, where they executed a controlled explosion of an unattended briefcase in response to concerns that it might contain a bomb.
  • Mattresses were hidden beneath billows of dry ice to give the impression that the Doctor and Clara were actually traversing the cloud.
  • Bristol was chosen as a filming location because it had Victorian-era architecture.
  • Michael Pickwoad stated that his favourite set is the London Street with the back of the pub, which he said was based on a sixteenth-century building in Oxford.
  • The locations were blocked off and sprayed with fake snow.
  • The TARDIS on the cloud was achieved through a mix of fog on the studio floor and post-production special effects.
  • Saul Metzstein explained that it was difficult to achieve the desired look for the snowmen; the first ones he likened to Zippy from Rainbow which was too "cute" an appearance, and so the effects team created more menacing CGI faces.
  • Various material was discarded in editing. This included scenes involving a little boy (Max Furst) and his mother (Devon Black) who lived near the site where Simeon's labourers were working, as well as suggestions that the monsters were snowmen built the previous year which had now reformed. The coming of the Ice Governess was originally foretold when a shape appeared on the surface of the Latimers' frozen pond which resembled an upthrust hand.
  • Clara's introduction to the TARDIS introduced two novel effects for the show. The first was a single-shot camera tracking from a few feet away from the TARDIS to its interior, with the implication of the TARDIS's trans-dimensional nature shown to the audience. In the following shot, the camera does a complete circle of the TARDIS console, an effect not seen since the early days of the show. Saul Metzstein wanted to include this shot to further emphasize the "bigger on the inside than the outside" nature of the time machine.
  • Tom Ward was drawn to his role because of the quality of the script, and also stated his young children were pleased that he appeared in the programme.
  • There were plans to give Vastra, Jenny and Strax a spin-off, but Steven Moffat's commitment to Sherlock made that impossible, so he incoporated them into this show.
  • Richard E Grant and Ian McKellen had previously been candidates for the Eighth Doctor.


  • 9.87 million (UK final)[1]

Filming locations[[edit]]

  • Fields House (The Orphanage)
  • The Coal Exchange, Cardiff Bay (The Boardroom)
  • Cathay's Cemetery, Allensbank Road (The Graveyard)
  • St. Nicholas' Market, Bristol (Victorian exteriors)

Production errors[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • In the sequence prior to the opening credits, Clara enters the Doctor's coach via a roof hatch. Later in the episode, the roof of the coach is shown without any such hatch.
  • Before Clara first goes up the invisible staircase, she is not wearing her shawl, but when she first sees the TARDIS at the top of the staircase she is wearing it again.
  • When the Doctor returns to see Clara right before she dies, her right hand is seen hanging by her side. On the next shot, as he kneels down beside her, her hand is seen resting on her stomach holding the TARDIS key. A few shots later, her hand is back at her side.
  • The direction of the spiral staircase leading to the TARDIS is inconsistent, as while the main body of the staircase spirals clockwise for up, anti-clockwise for down; the direction of the final few steps is anti-clockwise for up, clockwise for down.
  • The shots of the police box prop in the sitting room with the right door opened (for example, when Vastra enters the TARDIS) shows that the window and phone panel have lighting machinery connected to them and that the phone panel does not have a telephone compartment.
  • The shot of Vastra looking up at the base above the time rotor shows the spinning sections are actually not connected together and some of the parts used to spin them off-set are visible in the gaps.
  • In the first shot of the Doctor introducing the TARDIS to Clara, a circular panel to his left and a monitor to his right are blank. In subsequent shots, the monitors display images of nebulae.
  • During the scene in which the Doctor is in the TARDIS with Vastra and about to confront the Great Intelligence, the Doctor is seen pulling down some levers in the TARDIS. After pulling a few, the last one presumably gets stuck and the whole lever prop moves.


Home video releases[[edit]]

The Snowmen DVD Cover (US)

DVD & Blu-ray releases[[edit]]

  • The Snowmen was released on DVD and Blu-ray as part of Doctor Who Series 7 Part Two in region 2/B on 27 May 2013, and region 4/B on 22 May 2013.
  • It was released as a standalone in North America (Region 1/A) on DVD and Blu-ray. It is not included in the North American version of Series 7, Part Two. The standalone release is extremely rare at retail, with most retailers in Canada not stocking it.
  • Also, this episode was later released as part of the Complete Seventh Series boxset on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1/A on 24 September 2013, in region 2/B on 28 October 2013 and in region 4/B on 30 October 2013. Initially, the UK edition of The Complete Seventh Series was not going to include the episode, but the BBC subsequently announced that it will be included, along with its prequel.
  • The Snowmen was released as part of "The Time of the Doctor + Other Eleventh Doctor Christmas Specials" sets on DVD and Blu-ray, in region 2/B on 20 January 2014 and region 4/B on 22 January 2014. Other Christmas episodes from Matt Smith's tenure were included: A Christmas Carol [+]Loading...["A Christmas Carol (TV story)"], The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe [+]Loading...["The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe (TV story)"] and The Time of the Doctor [+]Loading...["The Time of the Doctor (TV story)"].

Digital releases[[edit]]

External links[[edit]]