It may be a million degrees outside, but thoughts have already turned towards the festive period and whether Doctor Who will once again be a part of the BBC’s Christmas line up.
The first signs that a Christmas special will take place this year has come thanks to the online CV of the shows editor.
As reported by Digital Spy, an entry in the online CV of Edel McDonnell, an editor on the programme, indicated he will be working on a Christmas special to be directed by Wayne Yip, who previously directed the Twelfth Doctor episodes The Lie Of The Land and Empress Of Mars.
The show has been a festive fixture for over a decade but with sweeping changes being made to both the format – this upcoming series will be the shortest yet running to just 10 episodes (though they’ll now be longer outings, spanning 50 minutes, rather than 45) – and the cast with Jodie Whittaker becoming the first ever female Doctor, there has no announcement confirming that the show will take its regular spot in the BBC’s Christmas Day line-up. In fact, the only thing that is certain now is that the show will return in the autumn for that 10-episode run, anything beyond that is a closely guarded secret.
Last year, the Christmas special, Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi’s departing episode Twice Upon a Time, nearly didn’t happen.
Speaking to Digital Spy in August last year Moffat said:
“I was going to leave at the end of series 10 – I had my finale planned and what I wanted to do with it. Then I learned (…) that Chris [Chibnall] didn’t want to start with a Christmas, so at that point [the BBC] were going to skip Christmas.
“There’d be no Christmas special and we would’ve lost that slot.”
It’s perfectly understandable that Chris Chibnall wouldn’t want to start his run with a festive episode – it’s enough to juggle a brand-new Doctor, three new companions, and an overhaul of the look and sound of the show without having to incorporate sentient paper crowns or crackers that explode or any of the other usual Christmas hijinks.
Conversely, you wouldn’t want the headlines for the brand spanking new era to be dominated by the news that the show has been put on the BBC’s festive naughty list either.
It seems likely that we will get a Christmas special and with filming on the closing episodes of series 11 reaching its final stages, it looks likely that the special will begin filming once Jodie Whittaker and cast return from Comic-Con International in San Diego in late July – with previous specials having mostly filmed for a month between August and September.
Doctor Who will return to BBC One in the autumn…and possibly at Christmas too.