Doctor Who returns to teatime slot for Christmas special

The Husbands of River Song will air at a much earlier time than the current ninth series of the BBC1 sci-fi drama

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Doctor Who will air in a traditional teatime slot this Christmas, showing on BBC1 at 5:15pm on Christmas Day after animated children’s tale Stick Man.

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The timing of the episode is in keeping with Steven Moffat’s description of it as “towards the comedy thriller end of the market” and “a great romp for Christmas Day” and will please the showrunner, who has made it clear he is unhappy that the current run of the sci-fi series has been airing as late as 8:30pm on Saturday nights.

The Christmas special, titled The Husbands of River Song, will see the return of Alex Kingston’s character opposite Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi and guest stars Greg Davies and Matt Lucas.

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The hour-long episode is up against Paul O’Grady’s For the Love of Dogs at Christmas on ITV from 5pm and is followed on BBC1 at 6:15pm by the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.