Doctor Who Finally Reviving Fan Favorite Tradition

By Douglas Helm | Published

doctor who spinoff

Doctor Who fans can start getting into the holiday spirit again, as the return of the show’s traditional Christmas special has been confirmed. Disney+ posted a press release on X of its upcoming holiday programming, and the Who special, titled “The Church on Ruby Road,” will be hitting the streaming service on Christmas Day 2023. It will also presumably be broadcast on the same day on BBC in the UK and Ireland.

For The First Time Since 2017, Doctor Who Will Air A New Christmas Day Special

This Doctor Who special is special in more ways than one. Not only is it the first Christmas broadcast in six years for the series, but it also will be the official debut of Ncuti Gatwa’s 15th Doctor. Along with introducing us to Gatwa’s iteration of the character, it will also introduce us to his first companion, Ruby Sunday, played by Millie Gibson.

It’s been a long time coming for both the 15th Doctor’s debut and the return of the long-celebrated holiday special, so the festive spirits will undoubtedly be high for Whovians.

Instead Of Christmas, The Last Special Aired On New Year’s Day

The Doctor Who Christmas special hasn’t been seen since Peter Capaldi’s final episode, “Twice Upon a Time,” which was aired way back in 2017. It was seen by fans as a bit of a missed opportunity for former showrunner Chris Chibnall, who opted to move the Christmas Day tradition to a New Year’s Day one instead. While it may seem like a small change, it’s one that didn’t quite land from both a fan perspective and a ratings perspective.

Doctor Who Christmas Specials Bring In Celebrity Guest Stars

The Doctor Who Christmas special had no doubt become a holiday tradition for many Who fans, especially with the glut of celebrity guest stars the series would bring in for these big episodes. Catherine Tate and Kylie Minogue are notable examples of guests who really added to the spectacle of the holiday episodes. Also, the Christmas specials tended to lean into their holiday setting, whereas the New Year’s specials didn’t really take advantage of the New Year setting.

The 60th Anniversary Specials Premiere This November

The return of the Doctor Who Christmas Day specials is just one of the changes that showrunner Russell T. Davies is bringing to the table with his run for the series. He is also bringing back the beloved David Tennant and Catherine Tate as the Doctor and Donna Noble, respectively, for three upcoming special episodes that are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the show.

Tennant will not be reprising his role as Tenth Doctor in the series and will instead be playing the Fourteenth iteration of the Doctor before Ncuti Gatwa officially takes over in the holiday episode.

Ncuti Gatwa Makes His Doctor Who Debut Christmas Day

ncuti gatwa doctor who

The David Tennant and Catherine Tate-starring anniversary episodes are just around the corner and will be coming to Disney+ and BBC One on November 25. In other words, Doctor Who fans are going to have a lot to watch in the coming months, and it all looks like it’s shaping up to be a timey wimey good time. Make sure to mark your calendars and check out David Tennant’s return on November 25 and Ncuti Gatwa’s big debut on Christmas Day.