Doctor Who Christmas Special 2014: Nick Frost interview

On a visit to the Cardiff set of Last Christmas, 2014's Doctor Who festive special, we chatted to Father Christmas himself, Mr Nick Frost...

Back in October, the BBC invited Den of Geek to have a look around the set of the 2014 Doctor Who Christmas Special, Last Christmas, and talk to some of its cast. Here’s our chat with Nick Frost, star of the much-loved Spaced, Shaun Of The Dead et al, who’s got a beard, two elves and a whole lot of presents to deliver…

Nick began by discussing his take on Father Christmas:

There was an expectation if what people would like him to be, so you have to bear that in mind. He is “Ho ho ho!”, if I can say that. I wanted to do him slightly differently. I think that “Ho ho ho!” Santas, over an hour or so, is kind of a bit boring to watch; he needs to be multi-faceted.

He’s a bit like De Niro in Mean Streets. He’s funny, he’s kind of flirty and charming with Clara. We don’t really talk about it in the show but the Doctor and Father Christmas have some kind of long-standing beef. And we never know why. It’s never remarked upon but from the get-go, they’re kind of at each other’s throats.

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Which is great, ‘cos you think, “Why did this happen? Where did this come from?” It’s like Maggie Simpson and that baby with one eyebrow, which is kind of funny. A lot of the crew are wondering why there is just that beef? And I’m hoping that’s interesting enough that Steven might bring me back again next Christmas! [Laughs]

Santa wouldn’t be anything without his elves and the Hot Fuzz star elaborated on this new take on the dynamic:

I think they’ve worked together for hundreds of years, potentially. He’s just really tired of them. And they’re back-chatting him all the time. He just gets cross sometimes because Santa wants the last word or some kind of cool sentence, and they just undercut him, constantly. And within earshot too.

I think he’s really tried of them but he’s very protective towards them. He’s their boss essentially. I’ve enjoyed working with those two [Nathan McMullen and Dan Starkey]. There’s lots of improvisations in terms of things we whisper and physical ticks. It’s nice to work that in and have the freedom to be able to do that.

We shot a scene yesterday on top of Clara’s house. Bear in mind it took them about six weeks to build the set for a day’s shoot. It’s absolutely amazing and it looked amazing.

Nick addressed the topic of the scary monsters in the special, the Dream Crabs:

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Christ yeah. Anything that clings to your face and potentially kills you is really creepy!

 

Frost went on to tell us about working with the new Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi, and his own experiences as a fan:

He’s a wonderful actor. I managed to turn him into a giggler, he laughed a lot. I never imagined him to be a giggler. I managed to get him every day, which was great. It’s that weird thing when you’re doing a face-off with Doctor Who – and I see Doctor Who, so I can keep a straight face. But then he sees me dressed as Father Christmas. [Laughs] I think it’s tougher for Peter. 

As an actor you wanna work with great actors, you just up your game. I have that when I work with someone I up my game, you want people to remember you  and remember what you did – you want to flex your acting muscles.

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Obviously I was a Tom Baker fan, Peter Davison lives quite near me so I see him quite a lot. I still have that weird fanboy thing when I see him and I think, “There’s Doctor Who! It’s Doctor Who!”

I moved away when I was eighteen and it drifted away from me. It was only when David [Tennant] started to do it again with Russell [T Davies, former Doctor Who show runner], that I thought, “This is getting back to what made it good in the first place.” And I loved Matt Smith, I loved him as the Doctor. He really reignited my fire in that eagerness to get home on a Saturday to shut the door and have an hour or forty-five minutes to myself.

And then the baton changed from him to Peter – it’s been fantastic. I love what he’s doing. It’s a treat. It makes Saturday nights special.