Disney+ has confirmed that Doctor Who will get its Christmas Day slot back this year, with the 2023 festive special, The Church on Ruby Road!
This is the first special airing on Christmas Day itself since Twice Upon a Time in 2017; subsequent festive episodes starring the Thirteenth Doctor were broadcast on New Year’s Day each year.
This year’s special will fully introduced Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor, though he’s expected to make an appearance in at least one of the 60th anniversary specials (The Star Beast, Wild Blue Yonder, and The Giggle) in late November into early December.
It’s also the first confirmation that the Christmas episode is called The Church on Ruby Road, and will see the debut of new companion, Ruby Sunday, played by Millie Gibson. The title of the story has been rumoured for some time now, as has the idea that Doctor Who will indeed be back in its place in the Christmas Day schedule, a slot it held from 2005 until the Twelfth Doctor’s swansong story.
Not a great deal is known about The Church on Ruby Road, except that filming partly took place in Clifton, Bristol, and that it’s expected to feature Ruby looking for her parents after finding out she’s adopted. Various shots of the Fifteenth Doctor crying in the snow have been seen too.
The episode will be followed by a full run of 8 episodes, comprising Doctor Who Series 14, in early 2024 — likely in the spring.
Yes, it looks like Russell T Davies has managed to get Doctor Who back to its traditional schedule, meaning we shouldn’t go too long without the Doctor each year.
Doctor Who returns to TV screens before then — on 25th November, with David Tennant’s Fourteenth Doctor meeting The Star Beast.