What time is the Doctor Who Christmas Special on TV?

The year-long wait is over as Peter Capaldi returns to the time-travelling sci-fi classic

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For the millions of fans gnashing their teeth and counting the hours until they get more Doctor Who after a year-long break (oh, to have a Tardis in that dark, dark time), the wait is nearly over. 365 days since Peter Capaldi last stepped through those blue doors his Doctor is back for another Christmas adventure – and this time, it has a superhero twist.

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What we know so far is that “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” will see the Doctor team up with a superpowered vigilante called The Ghost (Justin Chatwin) and a journalist (Charity Wakefield) to save New York City from alien attack. Just another day at the office, then.

What time is the Doctor Who Christmas Special on TV?

The festive special will air at 5.45pm on BBC1 on Christmas Day.

Who’s in it?

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Peter Capaldi returns as the Twelfth Doctor with the aforementioned Justin Chatwin (above) and Charity Wakefield in tow. However, they’re not the real companions for this episode – that honour goes to Little Britain star Matt Lucas, who returns to the series as Nardole after introducing him as River Song’s assistant last Christmas.

One notable absence will be Pearl Mackie’s new companion Bill, who despite being announced earlier this year apparently won’t turn up until the full new series next April – unless of course, they’ve planned a sneaky cameo for her that they’re keeping under wraps. 

Who’s the baddie?

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We don’t officially know yet, but some eagle-eyed fans have spotted that the company the Doctor investigates in a recently-released clip from the episode is called Harmony Shoal, almost certainly a reference to a mysterious organization from last year’s Christmas Special called Shoal of the Winter Harmony.

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As you may or may not remember, these odd chaps could pull parts of their heads off and store things inside, as signified by a telltale scar on their faces (above). We think it looks rather like the scar that can be seen on a scientist in released footage from The Return of Doctor Mysterio, no?

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With that said, we also have a theory that this year’s episode could see a return for frequently festive foe The Great Intelligence, whose own logo bears a resemblance to The Ghost’s insignia.

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It’s all up for grabs so far.

Why is it called The Return of Doctor Mysterio? 

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Well, firstly it’s a reference to the fact that “Doctor Mysterio” is what Doctor Who is called in Mexico, a fact that delighted Peter Capaldi when he first learned it. But it’s also a riff on many a classic superhero comic-book title as you can see below (in keeping with the episode’s superhero plot), and we wouldn’t be surprised if Doctor Mysterio is some sort of supervillain-y alias the Doctor gives himself after meeting a bonafide superhero.

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30 top shows on TV this Christmas

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Doctor
Who

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Call the
Midwife

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Strictly Come Dancing
Christmas special

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Grantchester 

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Maigret’s Dead Man
 

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Sherlock

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Mrs Brown’s Boys

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Outnumbered

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We’re Going on
A Bear Hunt

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EastEnders

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Coronation
Street

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Emmerdale

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The Great
Christmas Bake Off

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Witness for the 
Prosecution

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Ethel and Ernest
 

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Last Tango in
Halifax

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To Walk Invisible:
The Bronte Sisters

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Jonathan
Creek

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Birds of a
Feather

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Walliams
and Friend

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Robot Wars
 

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Philomena Cunk
On Christmas

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The Real Marigold
On Tour 

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The Entire
Universe

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Gogglesprogs

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The Windsors

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Blankety
Blank

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The Flying Scotsman
From the Footplate

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Still Open
All Hours

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Revolting
Rhymes