Doctor Who will have a festive special… but not until later next year, says series boss

Chris Chibnall reveals that a special is planned for after the upcoming series 12

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While it’s been rumoured for a while that Doctor Who will have no Christmas special this year, series showrunner Chris Chibnall has now seemingly confirmed that there will be a festive outing at the end of 2020 – and it may have already started filming.

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“You will get a special – at the end of the series, yes,” Chibnall told RadioTimes.com and other journalists when asked if there was a Christmas special coming up.

In other words, the next festive special won’t appear until after the upcoming series 12, most likely the end of December 2020 – and as for this Christmas, well, Chibnall said that fans hoping for another injection of festive Who fun might be disappointed.

“I wouldn’t want you sitting there on Christmas Day looking at your watch,” he noted, before hinting that the series’ first episode would still launch close enough to the festive period (specifically New Year, based on the series’ announced early 2020 airdate) to add a little Doctor Who spirit to the season.

“It would be rotten for this festive season not to have an episode of Doctor Who,” he teased. “Wouldn’t you think?”

Still, fans keen for the return of a proper Doctor Who Christmas special may have to wait a little longer – even though it’s possible that work on this next festive episode has already begun.

RadioTimes.com understands that recently-reported filming of a Dalek v Dalek battle on Bristol’s Clifton suspension bridge may in fact not be a part of the upcoming series, as had been assumed, but will be used as part of the later 2020 Christmas special instead.

In other words, the Doctor Who team may have got ahead with filming a future special while they have the cast and crew to hand, even though it won’t actually air on TV until a much later date.

This has the side effect of giving the cast and crew a longer break between series, and could presage another longer gap before Doctor Who series 13 (which Chibnall recently confirmed was in the works) comes to screens – though at this early stage it’s impossible to know for sure.

For now, even without a proper Christmas special in 2019 we’re sure fans will manage to cope with just the full, 10-episode run of Doctor Who filled with new and old monsters, exciting adventures and intriguing guest stars when it kicks off 2020. They’re troopers, after all.

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Doctor Who returns to BBC One in early 2020