New details have been disclosed about Doctor Who's 2023 Christmas special, The Church on Ruby Road, including a surprising piece of casting.


Davina McCall will play herself in the festive episode – though exact details of how she'll factor into the story are yet to be confirmed.

"It is beyond an honour to be asked to appear in not only Doctor Who but also Ncuti [Gatwa]’s first episode as the new Doctor," said McCall. "It was such an extraordinary experience and Russell [T Davies] has written you all a Christmas delight! Now I just can’t wait for everyone to see it!"

Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor in Doctor Who
Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor in Doctor Who BBC Studios/Bad Wolf

The special will see the Fifteenth Doctor, played by Gatwa, take over the TARDIS and be joined by new companion Ruby Sunday, played by Millie Gibson, with the pair encountering "mythical and mysterious goblins".

A synopsis for the episode reads: "Long ago on Christmas Eve, a baby was abandoned in the snow. Today, Ruby Sunday meets the Doctor, stolen babies, goblins and perhaps the secret of her birth."

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Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday in Doctor Who
Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday in Doctor Who BBC Studios/Bad Wolf

Also appearing in The Church on Ruby Road will be It's a Sin actress Michelle Greenidge as Ruby’s mum Carla, EastEnders' Angela Wynter as Ruby’s grandmother Cherry, and Anita Dobson as Mrs Flood.

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies said: "From Day One in this job, I wanted Doctor Who back on Christmas Day! And with Ncuti, Millie, Davina and the Goblin King, I hope it’s a feast for all the family!"

A goblin in Doctor Who
A goblin in Doctor Who BBC Studios/Bad Wolf

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The last Doctor Who episode to air on Christmas Day was 2017's Twice Upon a Time, the final outing for Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor.

The Church on Ruby Road won't, of course, mark Davina McCall's first contribution to the show – she previously provided the voice of the Davinadroid in the 2005 episode Bad Wolf.

Doctor Who continues on Saturday 2nd December at 6:30pm on BBC One. Previous episodes are available on BBC iPlayer and on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what’s on.


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