The Doctor Who tradition of Christmas episodes may be coming to an end.
Since the program’s return in 2005, it has produced special episodes airing on Christmas Day. The first introduced David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and the annual event became home to the hand-off moment as the Doctor began a habit of regenerating for Christmas. But according to The Mirror — which means you should take so much salt with this rumor that it will give you high blood pressure — new showrunner Chris Chibnall chose not to make a Christmas show for the first time in thirteen years. Instead, the 11th episode of the 11th season will be a New Year’s Day special with a storyline centering on the arrival of 2019.
Of course, keep some healthy skepticism as The Mirror often makes bad calls regarding Doctor Who and the BBC has yet to comment.
Nonetheless, the rumor brings up an interesting point: how long can the show make Christmas themed specials? Starting with the second special, “The Runaway Bride,” Christmas became more of a setting than a focus; which should make it easier for the writers to craft a story. But as previous Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat eventually admitted, it is very difficult to tell a Doctor Who story in that setting with The Doctor inevitably learning again and again that they should stay for Christmas dinner. A quick look back on Moffat’s Doctor Who Christmas specials will confirm just how difficult he found working the holiday into his scripts.
Should the Mirror be correct, switching to a New Year’s Day theme will freshen up the holiday episode, even if Doctor Who tried this idea before with the 1996 Paul McGann TV Movie. No matter what, though, an extra episode with Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and her new friends will be a welcome present no matter which Yuletide date it ends up airing on.
Doctor Who airs Sundays on BBC America.