Showrunner Chris Chibnall first turned Doctor Who on its head when he broke precedent by casting Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor, and he hasn't stopped there. Chibnall's been on a war(doctor)path in updating the world of Doctor Who, and some fans were beginning to think he might just be crazy enough to skip out on the coveted tradition of Doctor Who Christmas specials. Fortunately, it seems as though even Chibnall has his alteration limits, as a 2018 special may have been confirmed by an unlikely source.
While nothing is coming out of the BBC at the moment, the online resume (CV) of TV editor Edel McDonnell lists the Doctor Who Christmas special as the latest project he's worked on. Helping the matter is that McDonnell had previously edited for two Doctor Who episodes in Season 10, and also worked on the spinoff drama Class, so there's franchise precedence.
While details about the episode itself are non-existent, the resume also seemingly revealed director Wayne Yip will return to the franchise to helm the episode. Yip directed the Doctor Who episodes "The Empress of Mars" and "The Lie of the Land" back in 2017, which were the installments that Edel McDonnell edited. Yip also recently directed episodes for shows like Marvel's Cloak & Dagger, Preacher, and Into The Badlands. Yip would be returning for what is technically Jodie Whittaker's second Doctor Who Christmas special, as the actress had a very short scene right at the tail end of the 2017 installment.
Of course, many Doctor Who fans weren't overly worried that Chris Chibnall would do away with the holiday tradition, although his recent remodeling of the franchise didn't leave it completely out of the question. Season 11 already has a new logo, a new composer, all new actors, and a new visual effects team, so some hypothetical news that the franchise was nixing the Christmas special for a St. Patrick's Day special wouldn't be a complete shock to the system. There was also the fact that Chibnall made no specific mention of a Christmas special when outlining his plans for Jodie Whittaker's inaugural season, which some fans thought was a sneaky way of implying it wasn't going to happen.
The thought that Chris Chibnall would excise the Doctor Who Christmas specials when he took over is a bit silly, although not completely unfounded. The Christmas specials only became an official tradition when David Tennant took over as the Doctor in 2005, and they've become a bit of a pain for the creative teams in recent years. Steven Moffat remarked last year that the show has run out of imaginative ideas for Christmas episodes, and that the team has visited and revisited just about every possible scenario the Doctor could tackle on the holiday. Despite that, the specials always seem to do well by fans, and there would've almost surely been some backlash had Chibnall abandoned them completely.
Season 11 of Doctor Who is coming to BBC America sometime this fall. Those looking for more on the good Doctor, read up on franchise fave Tom Baker's recent admissions, in which he talked about getting snubbed during the 50th-anniversary episode and why he left the original series. For things to watch in the meantime, be sure to head over to our summer premiere guide and see what shows are just around the corner.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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