A Christmas Carol voted the best Doctor Who festive special… again!

Matt Smith’s 2010 adventure is still fans’ favourite Yuletide adventure, but episodes featuring Jodie Whittaker and William Hartnell are on the rise.

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol

If you’re still missing the Doctor Who Christmas special this Christmas Day and don’t fancy waiting until New Year’s Day for Revolution of the Daleks, never fear – because RadioTimes.com readers have been voting in their thousands to name the best festive special from the BBC sci-fi series, with the winner sure to be the perfect candidate for a Yuletide rewatch.

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And after 6,000 votes were cast, it’s official – 2010 episode A Christmas Carol is the Doctor Who festive special most fans count as their favourite, closely followed by David Tennant’s final and first episodes The End of Time and The Christmas Invasion.

Notably, A Christmas Carol previously topped RadioTimes.com’s Doctor Who Christmas special poll back in 2018, suggesting that fans are still fond of Matt Smith’s first December adventure as the Eleventh Doctor, even if his later festive outings ranked significant lower in the list.

“God bless us, every one! A decade on, A Christmas Carol is still the Doctor Who festive special liable to turn even the greatest TV Scrooge into a true Christmas convert,” said Huw Fullerton, RadioTimes.com’s Sci-Fi and Fantasy Editor.

“Filled with Who-letide cheer, adventure, flying sharks and even a Katherine Jenkins solo, this episode really does have it all. Is it any wonder it’s still at the top of any Whovian’s Christmas list?”

Also starring Michael Gambon, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill alongside Smith and Jenkins, the Steven Moffat-penned episode sees Smith’s Doctor try to evoke Charles Dickens’ classic tale to warm the heart of an old miser (Gambon), whose greed and apathy threaten the lives of countless people.

Interestingly, the poll also recorded a high result for William Hartnell festive one-off The Feast of Steven (1965), which was actually the seventh part of the Daleks’ Master Plan serial, and saw the First Doctor break the fourth wall to wish everyone at home a Merry Christmas.

Considering this episode was irretrievably lost soon after broadcast and very few will have been able to see it, it seems likely fans were intending to show a general support for Hartnell’s Time Lord, and note his often-overlooked status as the first Doctor (and the only for 40 years) to have a Christmas special.

Shortly behind this episode in the ranking came Jodie Whittaker’s first New Year’s Day special Resolution, with Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi’s highest-ranking festive special coming in at seventh place with 2015’s The Husbands of River Song.

You can see the full breakdown of specials (and their results) below.

  1. A Christmas Carol (2010) 13 per cent
  2. The End of Time (2009/10) 11 per cent
  3. The Christmas Invasion (2005) 10 per cent (higher vote)
  4. The Feast of Steven (1965) 10 per cent
  5. Resolution (2019) 8 per cent (higher vote)
  6. The Husbands of River Song (2015) 8 per cent
  7. Voyage of the Damned (2007) 8 per cent
  8. Twice Upon a Time (2017) 7 per cent
  9. The Runaway Bride (2006) 6 per cent
  10. The Time of the Doctor (2013) 5 per cent
  11. Last Christmas (2014) 5 per cent
  12. The Snowmen (2012) 3 per cent (higher vote)
  13. The Next Doctor (2008) 3 per cent
  14. The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe (2011) 2 per cent
  15. The Return of Doctor Mysterio (2016) 1 per cent

In other words, if you’re looking for a Doctor Who festive special to revisit on Christmas Day, there’s a lot to choose from – even if your favourite isn’t quite at the top of the tree.

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Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks comes to BBC One at 6:45pm on New Year’s Day. Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide.