As the holidays drew near, we began to wonder what this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special would bring. Even the name of this year’s special, “Last Christmas,” helped get us in the holiday spirit. Enjoying an episode of Doctor Who after Christmas dinner has become a regular tradition, with this year being the 10th special. There have been a lot of good Christmas specials, which we recently ranked in “Doctor Who: Christmas Specials from Best to Worst.” After seeing Santa appear in the TARDIS at the end of the last episode of this season, “Death in Heaven” (S08E12), the anticipation for “Last Christmas” was high.
The Doctor Who Christmas special “Last Christmas” will show at 6:15pm on BBC One and 9:00pm ET on BBC America on December 25. It will mark the 10th anniversary of the Doctor Who Christmas special. The convention of having a episode on Christmas Day was started in 2005, with the new series of Doctor Who, and has grown increasingly popular. They are set during the holidays, always involve snow, and, unless the Doctor has just regenerated, they often end with the Doctor standing outside the TARDIS being asked to come to Christmas dinner.
We have enjoyed all of the Doctor Who Christmas episodes so far, but we have certainly enjoyed some more than others. Part of ranking these specials is to understand they are not just regular episodes. They are watched on Christmas Day, with family and friends, to a larger than normal audience. On such a day we expect the Doctor to do more than be heroic, clever, and funny—he should also make us more merry. The storyline, performance, and engagement are important considerations, but holiday spirit is key when ranking the Doctor Who Christmas specials.