Christmas Day 2017 was an emotional one for Doctor Who fans as they bid farewell to Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor and prepared to welcome Jodie Whittaker to the Tardis.
David Bradley, Pearl Mackie and Mark Gatiss accompanied the Scottish actor on his final adventure in space and time – and they weren’t the only familiar faces for fans to spot throughout the 60 minute festive special, which also marked Steven Moffatt’s Doctor Who exit.
“I thought it was one of the better Doctor Who Christmas episodes” Paul Wheeldon wrote on Facebook. “Nice idea, not having any real bad guys and involving the first incarnation’s regeneration.”
His sentiments were echoed by about 70% of fans polled, who said they quite liked the tale of the enchanted glass creatures and the Doctors’ grappling with the fact that the time to move on was upon them.
“This was an amazing sendoff for Twelve, and it also brought closure for Bill Hartnell’s Doctor” wrote Amy Clarey-Turner. “I always found his regeneration to be heartbreaking as I know he truly did not want to leave being the Doctor. This was a very respectful and fantastic tribute to Mr Hartnell and a very emotional farewell to Peter.”
Capaldi was truly the star of the episode in fans’ eyes, with 61% of those polled saying his was the performance of the piece.
“I am not a Capaldi fan but he was brilliant in this episode” wrote Jerry Dockery, while Richard Galloway said it was an “excellent final turn in the Tardis” from “one of the finest actors to play the role”.
Capaldi’s final speech before the regeneration was considered the highlight of the episode, with 20% of fans naming it their favourite moment. The Christmas Day Armistice scenes were also very popular, as was Jodie Whittaker’s brief first scene.
And fans really rather enjoyed the use of footage from the classic Doctor Who era in the episode too. Old footage of William Hartnell’s First Doctor seemed to effortlessly morph into new shots of David Bradley’s First Doctor, who was the most popular returning character.
35% of fans said they were most excited to see the very first Time Lord making a return to the series: Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswald came a close second with 32% of the vote for her brief reunion with The Twelfth Doctor.
“I totally had tears in my eyes when ‘Clara’ appeared” admitted Stephanie Schicker.
She wasn’t the only person crying on the day, though. 25% of fans admitted that Capaldi’s final speech actually brought them to tears.
His last huzzah wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, though. Some felt the build-up and soliloquy in the Tardis went on a little too long. “Like David Tennent’s there was too much of the funeral about it”, wrote Andrew M Corbett.
However, there was one thing the vast majority agreed on and that was Jodie Whittaker’s regeneration and first scene in – or rather, falling out of – the Tardis. 78% of those polled said the actress nailed her debut performance.
“I can’t say much about her version of the Doctor from tonight’s episode but I’m optimistic she’ll do a great job” wrote Kieron Lintott. “She looks like she’s going to be great fun from her reaction at the end of the episode.”
We’ll find out when Doctor Who returns to TV screens in 2018.