Ever since the series returned to TV in 2005 the Doctor Who Christmas special has been a mainstay of the BBC’s festive schedule, with 13 Yuletide adventures broadcast so far.
However, fans have had some concerns that the tradition could be jettisoned under new showrunner Chris Chibnall, especially after it was announced that series 11 would be made up of nine 50-minute episodes and one extra-long opening story.
Crucially, there was no mention of a Christmas episode in that release.
Ex-showrunner Steven Moffat has already spoken about the difficulty of coming up with good Christmassy ideas every year, suggesting last year, “I sort of think we might have mined and possibly over-mined every single thing we could about Christmas in Doctor Who.”
That, plus falling ratings for the specials, made fans wonder if the days of festive Who were numbered.
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So is it the end for the Doctor Who Christmas special? Well, probably not. It seems our doom-laden predictions might have been a bit hasty, as a few enterprising fans have uncovered a bit of evidence suggesting there will be a Christmas special this year after all.
The detail was pulled from the online CV of a professional TV editor, with a listing that said she was working on the Doctor Who Christmas special.
The page also named Wayne Yip as the director of the new festive adventure and longtime Who worker Nikki Wilson as the producer. Yip has previously directed episodes of spin-off Class and two episodes of Doctor Who’s most recent series (The Lie of the Land, Empress of Mars), but he’s never before helmed a Christmas special, suggesting this isn’t just an old job mis-labelled.
Of course, whether the listing is 100 per cent accurate remains to be seen – the BBC is remaining tight-lipped about the details or even existence of a Christmas special – but if it is, we might be able to expect some official confirmation during Doctor Who’s San Diego Comic-Con panel later this month.
Alternatively, it could be that the whole thing is kept secret until Christmas Eve before being unveiled like a big blue Tardis present. Given the current level of excitement about the series, we reckon they could definitely get away with it.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 this autumn