Doctor Who Christmas

Before Doctor Who can transition into an entirely new era with a new Doctor and showrunner, there's still one more chance to savor the old guard. The Doctor Who Christmas special will be the final Doctor Who episode for both Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat, and it's proving itself to be a big deal. The special will find Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor encountering the First Doctor, and will feature the first appearance of Jodi Whitaker's hyped Thirteenth Doctor. It's a Whovian's dream but this special almost didn't happen at all because nobody really wanted to make it.

Current showrunner Steven Moffat is leaving the series behind him, with the Chrismas special being his last contribution to the long-running series. However, he had originally planned for the Series 10 finale to be his big exit before he learned that his replacement Chris Chibnall didn't want to start with the Christmas special. They almost skipped doing a special entirely, until Moffat realized he couldn't let that happen.

There was one big glitch, which was Christmas. I was going to leave at the end of series 10 -- I had my finale planned and what I wanted to do with it. I had a good notion of that. Then I learned at a drinks event somewhere that Chris didn't want to start with a Christmas, so at that point they were going to skip Christmas. . . . Doctor Who would've lost that slot if we hadn't [done a special] because Christmas Day is now so rammed. So I said, probably four glasses of red wine in, 'I'll do Christmas!' and then had to persuade Peter [Capaldi] that's how we were leaving. Then I had to work out how you could get mortally injured in one episode and spend an hour regenerating on Christmas Day, which I hopefully have done!

Steven Moffat told Digital Spy that he needed to do a Christmas special, otherwise, Doctor Who would have lost the highly coveted December 25 slot. The Series 10 finale ended with the Doctor getting mortally wounded and on the verge of regeneration. We're assuming he thought the Thirteenth Doctor would arrive at the end of that episode, with Christmas being the first full episode for the new Doctor. Instead, Moffat had to concoct a storyline that would keep Peter Capaldi's Doctor from completing his regeneration. This led to his fateful meeting with, uh, himself as the First Doctor.

Called "Twice Upon a Time," the Christmas special will feature the Twelfth and First Doctor teaming up to fix a frozen timeline, while both deal with their individual upcoming regenerations. David Bradley portrays the First Doctor and Pearl Mackie returns as the lovable companion, Bill Potts.

"Twice Upon a Time" makes its premiere later this year on December 25, Christmas Day. For all the other shows to look forward to, make sure to visit our fall TV premiere guide.

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