Alas, Christmas Day only comes once a year. For those os us who eagerly put our Christmas tree up in mid-April, this is something we can’t really get over.
Not to worry, though – we have a solution. To convince ourselves we’re still deep in the merry fun of December 25th (and have lots of Doctor Who to watch), we’ve taken a look back at ten festive specials of the sci-fi series. From Cybermen to Spider-ships, magic blood to flying sharks Doctor Who has certainly given a varied depiction of Christmas Day – but which episode does the best job?
The Christmas Invasion (2005)
This episode gave us our first decent look at David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor – although he did spend most of the runtime konked out in bed after his regeneration. With killer Christmas trees, swordfights and a deadly satsuma it was a decidedly different take on Christmas – but introduced us to one of the most popular incarnations of the Time Lord.
The Runaway Bride (2006)
Another introduction here to companion Donna Noble (though at this time actress Catherine Tate was intended as a one-off guest star), who was beamed right into the Tardis of a depressed Doctor. There were yet more killer trees, a Tardis/car chase, a deadly “Christmas star” and some dark moments for the Tenth Doctor – but in the end, Christmas was saved again. Huzzah!
Voyage of the Damned (2007)
Doctor Who went all disaster movie in this adventure, which featured a guest appearance from popstar Kylie Minogue as Astrid Perth. We also learned a little more of how humans are perceived by other species, specifically as cannibals with a hatred for the people of Turkey – no wonder aliens seem to have such an axe to grind with Earth at Christmas.
The Next Doctor (2008)
At this time speculation was rife as to who could succeed David Tennant’s confirmed-to-be-departing Doctor, only for the series to throw a curveball by actually framing an episode around the next incarnation– but was this Doctor (David Morrissey) who he seemed? Cybermen, the voice of the Marks and Spencer ads as a villain (Dervla Kirwan) and plenty of steampunk fun (including a huge rampaging Cyber-King) made this episode a Christmas to remember.
The End of Time Part One (2009)
David Tennant got his brood on for the first part of his long-heralded exit from the show. Despite Wilf’s (Bernard Cribbins) antlers and a bit of gift-giving, there wasn’t too much Christmas cheer as the Master (John Simm) returned with his most extreme plan yet and the Doctor headed towards death. We didn’t want him to go either – but it was the end of the line for the Tenth incarnation of the Time Lord.
A Christmas Carol (2010)
Matt Smith’s Doctor rang in his first Christmas episode with an opera singer (Katherine Jenkins), a flying shark and a national treasure – Michael Gambon, as the Scrooge-like Kazran Sardick who the Doctor attempts to cheer up through rewriting history in a Dickens-style structure. Hopefully, he could do it in time to save his companions from yet another plummeting spaceship – it seems to be a serious problem at this time of year.
The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe (2011)
The Eleventh Doctor went all CS Lewis for this particularly family-themed episode, set in an endangered forest where Christmas trees bedecked with ornaments grow for real – but who also had plans of their own. The special also gave us a taste of the Doctor’s interior design skills, which were eccentric to say the least (see above).
The Snowmen (2012)
This time the Doctor himself was a bit of a Scrooge, having lost his companions Amy and Rory (Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill) to the past. Not to worry, though – he soon cheered up with the help of a snowman-themed plot from an old enemy, and a strangely familiar new friend called Clara (Jenna Coleman)…
The Time of the Doctor (2013)
Matt Smith’s final(ish) episode had a lot to cram in plot-wise and basically acted as a finale for his entire run as the Time Lord, but they still managed to include plenty of Christmassy fun including the most accurate depiction of cooking a turkey in science-fiction history. And, of course, we got our first fully Christmas-based regeneration into Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor, who had to wait a year for his first real festive appearance.
Last Christmas (2014)
This one should be pretty fresh in your minds, but even if it wasn’t how could anybody forget this Santa-meets-The Thing dream adventure? With twists and turns galore, there was plenty to get our food-befuddled brains around – but at least we can be clear that Clara is now definitely staying on as the Doctor’s companion. It’s a Christmas miracle!