Should the Doctor Who 2017 Christmas Special Be 75 Minutes?

Now we have seen three epic two-part finales in a row, written by Steven Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay, what can we expect this Christmas?

I’m not just talking about the gob-smacking appearance of “the original, you might say”, David Bradley (who previously portrayed William Hartnell in the 50th anniversary docudrama, An Adventure in Space and Time: well worth a watch if you’ve not seen it!). I have strong hopes for a 75-minute Christmas special, which I’ll explain as I go along.

Moffat has, so far, written two 75-minute episodes as showrunner (The Day of the Doctor and Deep Breath). Like Sherlock, the extended format works perfectly. They don’t just round up to a standard-length two-parter – they allow the plotting and pacing to flow at an appropriate length without unnecessary padding and/or rushing. That is why I feel he has more strengths with writing an episode that lasts at least 50 minutes. If that is the case, it would definitely match the full three-hour length of the loose 2013 “Doctor Trilogy” that concluded the Matt Smith era.

Capaldi’s first full episode runs 75 minutes; his (and Moffat’s) final needs to run the same, like a bookend. From the looks of what Moffat and director, Rachel Talalay have confirmed so far, along with fan speculations on social media, I highly doubt that it will last exactly an hour (or under). It would also be highly appropriate for it to be titled “The Twelfth Night”, as an homage to The Eleventh Hour, to mirror the very beginning and end of the Moffat era. And it just feels right, doesn’t it? Twelfth Night is an excuse for a party, and that’s how this closing special should feel (if one that ends in tears).

Right now, today, tomorrow, and beyond, any fan would be wondering: “How would it be possible to end this era, in an epic fashion, in 60 minutes?” Could 75 minutes be the confirmed running time? I very much hope – keep your fingers crossed, everyone – that the ultimate dream will come true (unless it turns out to be 80 minutes or more)…

  • Cyberwomble

    It should be 75 minutes provided they fill it with 75 minutes worth of story.

  • Dr. Moo (the original)

    It,should be as long as it needs to be in order to tell the story that needs to be told.
    An extended runtime for a multi-Doctor regeneration story cannot be a bad thing.

  • richo

    It should be 9 hours long.

    Oh wait, that’s too long for a single watching, so maybe break it into 45 minute chunks over a series of weeks? I think that would work best for Capaldi.

  • Planet of the Deaf

    In reality 11’s regeneration story was virtually all confined to Time of the Doctor, which at 60 minutes was far too rushed, as it had a 3 year arc to close, NOTD and DOTD had their own stories to tell

    This time round
    a) We already know what kills 12, so that’s not the main storyline
    b) There aren’t really any major arcs that need closing (other than Bill/Clara farewells to the Doctor and maybe rescuing Nardole and the inhabitants left behind)
    c) As 12 is already badly injured and regenerating, it’s not as if he can have a massive adventure, fighting monsters

    So I’d have thought 60 minutes would be enough.

  • daft

    I’d imagine It will be as long as the production ‘knicker elastic’ allows, unless you want one long Capaldi monologue about what exciting events occurred off screen. 😉

  • richo

    I think the special should be 540 minutes long. No, wait, that’s too long for one sitting. How about we split it into 45 minute sections and air, say, one of these sections each week. I think that’s what Capaldi should be doing.

  • Cyberwomble

    It should be called The Twelve Days of Christmas and involve Docs 1 & 12 on a quest to find all 364 of the gifts mentioned in the song and, if they succeed, Gallifrey is restored. 12 finally succumbs to regeneration when he falls out of a pear tree.

    • Ranger

      What are you on mate?! lol

      • Cyberwomble

        I am hoping that by putting the idea out I can ensure that it never happens. Or, if it does, then I get a royalty payment

        • Philip

          Frankly, if that doesn’t happen – “if” – I’ll be bitterly disappointed.

      • Cyberwomble

        There have been dafter Christmas Specials lol

    • Planet of the Deaf

      “And a partridge in a pear tree”

      Alan Partridge is the 13th Doctor

  • krumstets

    He could do a tour of past companions spending 5 minutes with each. That’s 75 minutes on Christmas day and the rest spread out as extras on DVD.

  • Cyberwomble

    Shows how alert I am. 1 plus 12 makes..?