Dr. Who

It's Christmas in Who-ville! Charles Dickens pretty much invented our modern concept of Christmas and now his fellow Brits are messing with it. Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol, the latest in a series of crazy-popular holiday specials, will find the kindly, time-traveling doc, played by Matt Smith, working some Ghost of Christmas Past-style magic. The plot: Harry Potter favorite Sir Michael Gambon guests as a Scrooge-like nasty, Kazran Sardick, who does his evil best to destroy the spirit of Christmas in an interplanetary city called Sardicktown. In the ultimate humbug, a space liner carrying newlyweds Amy and Rory (series regulars Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill) is about to crash there, and the all-powerful Sardick will do nothing to help them. To the rescue — and down the chimney — comes the Doctor to set the jerk straight.

"This is Dickens seen through the madness of our lead writer Steven Moffat's mind," says Smith. "It's brilliant and inventive and full of stuff that can't possibly exist together — like monsters and fish that swim in fog and [Welsh opera diva] Katherine Jenkins singing with those amazing lungs of hers. And then we have the naughty Sir Michael! It's too, too much."

Smith, at 26, became the 11th and youngest actor to play the Doctor in the show's 47-year history. "Starring in this special is as big a deal as getting the role itself," he crows. "This is a massive tradition in the U.K. After the turkey, everyone sits around and watches the Doctor Who Christmas show as a family. I'm living every kid's dream."

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol airs Saturday at 9/8c on BBC America.

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!