Here is the first official synopsis for the Doctor Who 2017 Christmas special

The outline for Peter Capaldi's final story has been revealed – but what does it mean for the episode?

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Up until now the BBC has been diligently silent on what exactly is going to happen in the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas special.

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Outgoing showrunner Steven Moffat has merely hinted that the last episode featuring Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor will be ‘dark’ in tone, while the short teaser trailer (below) has shown Mark Gatiss’s character ‘The Captain’ seemingly stuck in time, the Twelfth Doctor trying to come to terms with the First Doctor, and the return of Bill Potts.

But now, there is a great big bundle of new information to digest, thanks – slightly unexpectedly – to the BBC Shop.

The American online BBC store has published its listing for the Blu-Ray DVD version of this year’s Christmas special Twice Upon A Time. While the DVD won’t be available until 20th February 2018, well after the episode has first aired on TV, the BBC is offering it up for pre-order very early.

Included in the listing is the first official synopsis for the Doctor Who 2017 Christmas special.

Click away now if you’d rather avoid potential spoilers.


OK, want to know what it says? Read the full synopsis below.

Two Doctors stranded in a forbidding snowscape, refusing to face regeneration. And a British army captain seemingly destined to die in the First World War, but taken from the trenches to play his part in the Doctor’s story. This is the magical last chapter in the Twelfth Doctor’s epic adventure. He must face his past to decide his future. And the Doctor will realise the resilience of humanity, discovering hope in his darkest frozen moment. It’s the end of an era. But the Doctor’s journey is only just beginning. 

Sends a chill up your spine doesn’t it? Let’s break it down.

Doctor Who Twice Upon A Time listing

The “forbidding snowscape”, as we’ve suggested before, could well be the South Pole in 1986, scene of the First Doctor’s last stand, in 1966 story The Tenth Planet.

However, there is also clearly a link with the wintery trenches of the First World War, where Gatiss’s character is seen in the trailer “frozen” in time and on the point of death.

Doctor Who Christmas Special Mark Gatiss

The World War I setting, incidentally, could also act as a clever Christmas link – the mythologised ‘Christmas truce’ of 1914 and enemy soldiers playing football in no-man’s land seem to perfectly fit Doctor Who’s message of reconciliation in the face of great conflict.

Anyway, moving on: Gatiss’s ‘The Captain’ must somehow slip out of his frozen moment in time “to play his part in the Doctor’s  story”, whatever that may be. Capaldi meets David Bradley’s First Doctor, to “face his past to decide his future” as the synopsis teases.

The next section too, about “discovering hope in his darkest frozen moment”, could hint at the Christmas truce discussed above – but also, more significantly, could refer to the fact that Capaldi’s Doctor is on the brink of regeneration. This moment of death brings hope, the promise of new life, a new chapter – and, eventually, Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor.

As the synopsis says: “It’s the end of an era. But the Doctor’s journey is only just beginning.”

That’s doubly true in Twice Upon a Time, with Bradley’s First Doctor taking us back to the very first moment of regeneration as played by William Hartnell.

Yes, winter is dark, cold and “forbidding”, but it’s also “magical” – and we can’t wait to see Capaldi weave his spell one last time.

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The Doctor Who 2017 Christmas special is set to air on Christmas Day on BBC1