Doctor Who’s traditional festive special is moving from Christmas Day 2018 to New Year’s Day, in a major shake-up for the BBC sci-fi series, and now the first details about the episode have been revealed.


“With 2018 marking a brand new era for Doctor Who, it is only right that 2019 kicks off in spectacular style,” the BBC said, confirming that there would be no Christmas Day episode this year.

Instead, new showrunner Chris Chibnall has written a special episode to broadcast on New Year's Day 2019.

“In this year’s festive episode the Tardis will travel through the time vortex from its traditional timeslot on Christmas Day and will land in style on New Year’s Day,” the BBC continued.

Ever since the series returned to TV in 2005, Doctor Who has broadcast a festive special on Christmas Day. However this year, for the first time in 13 years, 25th December will see no Doctor Who episode airing on BBC1.

Instead fans will have to wait an extra week to see the Doctor and her Tardis team in action. It’s not the first time Doctor Who has aired an episode on New Year’s Day. For example David Tennant’s final episode, The End of Time Part 2, aired on 1st January 2010.

However, as with the series’ usual Yuletide adventures, this story will tie itself into the trappings of the season, with Jodie Whittaker’s Time Lord dealing with a monster on New Year's Day itself according to the official synopsis (below).

As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring, from across the centuries of Earth’s history. As the Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?

“We’re thrilled to be starting the New Year with a bang on BBC1, as Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and friends face a terrifying alien threat in an action-packed, hour-long special adventure for all the family,” showrunner Chris Chibnall said in a statement.

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“We’re delighted the Doctor and her companions will be welcoming BBC1 audiences into 2019 with this exciting new episode,” Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, added.

“The Doctor's fans are in for a special treat on the first day of the new year.”

According to the BBC the episode will see the return of Tardis team Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh alongside Whittaker’s Doctor. The story will be directed by Wayne Yip from a script by showrunner Chris Chibnall.

At the time of writing, no title or further plot details have been revealed.

And in a way, who better to ring in the changes than someone who changes their entire body every few years? Who Year’s Day will be one not to miss…

This article was originally published on 15 November 2018


Doctor Who continues on BBC1 on Sundays