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.
As December 25 rolls around, we look forward to waking up early, opening presents, enjoying a delicious meal, and then watching the Doctor Who Christmas special, “Last Christmas,” with family and friends. The Doctor Who Christmas special, now in its 10th year, has become an institution, but a new tradition has emerged – the Doctor Puppet Christmas Special. Doctor Puppet was created by Alisa Stern and now she and her team regularly entertain us with Doctor Puppet episodes. This year they have created a fantastic short called The Planet that Came for Christmas, in which the Twelfth Doctor and companion Clara travel to a planet that only appears once a year – on Christmas Day. What they find provides the viewer with that spooky holiday spirit that we love.
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.
The two-part season finale of Doctor Who brings excitement, but also sadness that we won’t be seeing any new episodes until Christmas. The reveal from the first half of the season finale that Missy is the Master was shocking, and we wanted to tell everyone we know, whether they watch Doctor Who or not. As Death in Heaven begins, our excitement is mixed with sadness as we are reminded about Danny’s death. Somehow it feels like we may not get the happy ending that we normally crave. We are focusing our idealistic hope on the Ninth Doctor’s exclamation, “Just this once, everybody lives!” (S01E10).
“Dark Water” is the first part of the Season Eight finale of Doctor Who. The twelfth Doctor has had some great performances this season and has brought interesting complexity to the relationship with companion Clara Oswald. When Peter Capaldi was announced as the new Doctor, we were pretty excited because it seemed like an older actor was about due for the role. He has surpassed our expectations so far, and a big two-part finale, written by Steven Moffat, creates a lot of anticipation.