In some unseasonably festive good news for Whovians, it has been confirmed that 2018 WILL see a Doctor Who Christmas special come to BBC1, following previous rumours that the now-traditional Yuletide sci-fi story was being scrapped for Jodie Whittaker’s first run.
New showrunner Chris Chibnall confirmed the return of the special at San Diego Comic-Con, also revealing that the episode will come in addition to the already-announced 10 episodes, meaning we’re getting even more Doctor Who than we expected in 2018.
“We seem to be filming 11 episodes, and it’s only a series of 10,” Chibnall joked during a press conference, with executive producer Matt Strevens chiming in: “I don’t know what happened. It’s a show about space and time, so it’s all quite abstract.”
“I would definitely think there’s another episode after the end of the series, yeah,” Chibnall concluded.
Ever since Who returned to screens in 2005 the Doctor Who Christmas special has been a linchpin in the BBC’s seasonal schedule, with every year of the series’ return marked by a festive escapade for the Time Lord right up until last December, when the 2017 special introduced Jodie Whittaker’s new Thirteenth Doctor for the very first time.
However, despite this pedigree fans had become worried that the Christmas specials could be scrapped under new series boss Chibnall, especially after no seasonal episode was announced within the new series’ 10-episode order.
This, plus the falling ratings for the extended episodes led some viewers to wonder if Who was struggling to maintain the specials, a worry only strengthened when previous showrunner Steven Moffat suggested the slot was a big challenge after 13 years of Christmas stories.
“I think it was a brilliant idea [in 2005] and it lasted a very, very long time,” the screenwriter told RadioTimes.com last year.
“I sort of think we might have mined and possibly over mined every single thing we could about Christmas in Doctor Who and the last time we more or less ignored it.”
Still, now those fears have been vanquished – and given that the new series is set to air this autumn, fans will probably end up with the shortest wait ever between series finale and Christmas special in Doctor Who history. Just call it an extra Christmas present.
Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor on the cover of the Radio Times magazine
Radio Times’ special Doctor Who preview issue, featuring exclusive interviews, pictures and behind-the-scenes secrets, is on sale now