Last year, as the world awaited the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas Special “Twice Upon a Time,” BBC America released a two hour long “Festive Yule Log” that contained hints about Peter Capaldi‘s swan song episode.
This year, despite the fact that there will be a Doctor Who New Year’s Day Special instead of a Christmas Special, BBC America once again released a two hour “Festive Thirteenth Doctor Yule Log.” Perhaps the 2018 version might contain hints to the New Year’s episode entitled “Resolution”? Alas, after watching the entire two hour video I saw nothing that hinted at what is to come for our Doctor (Jodie Whittaker). In order to save you from the same fate, I have included what I saw and when in my analysis below.
Yule log videos are traditionally something to have on in the background, akin to having a real fire in a fireplace. But this being Doctor Who, there are little bits of Whovian lore everywhere. The wooden mantle (which rather distractingly didn’t fit the fireplace properly), the four stockings (presumably for the Doctor and her three companions), and several of the hanging decorations appeared to be Gallifreyan (maybe one needs to be able to read the language to get the hints). On the mantle was a snow globe and a crystal TARDIS statue. The video starts with the TARDIS materializing in the snow globe – and as it does, the crystal TARDIS statue spins. This continues to happen every time the TARDIS appears.
● When the wreath-decorated TARDIS appears in the snow globe – and twice more on the hill out the window – the Doctor opens the door, looks around, goes back in, and leaves (10:35 and 1:46:28).
● Twice flashing lights appear in the room where the fireplace is located, the crystal statue spins, and the fire goes out (43:27 and 1:38:00). We then see the Doctor walk into frame and use her sonic screwdriver to restart the fire (there is some confusion as to whether or not the sonic is supposed to work on wood). She then bends to warm herself by the fire, stands up, looks around, and leaves. She doesn’t even take a custard cream from the table, and we really only see her profile and her backside.
● Three times the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver appears on the table completely on its own, glows a bit, and remains on the table, only to disappear again shortly before the Doctor arrives in the room (43:00, 44:30, 1:38:53).
Maybe the Doctor loses her sonic during the New Year’s Day Special?
● While there are no surprise trailers, several of the aliens/creatures/beings that the Doctor came into contact with in Season 11 do appear. The Pting, the intergalactic garbage disposal from “The Tsuranga Conundrum,” appears at 18:00 and 1:27:55.
● A “Kerblam!” Man Delivery Robot shows up at 29:25 and 1:02:30 with a small blue light, creepy glowing eyes, and nothing else.
● At approximately 36:30 and 1:14:30 you hear the sound of webbing being laid and see webs and spiders crawling around the window from “Arachnids in the UK.” None of the creatures have anything new to say or do, just cameos thrown in there to keep fans paying attention.
● The only real mystery for me was the rat-shaped figure that appeared in the fire every time the camera frame tightened on it. My knowledge of Who is not all encompassing, but I did not recognize the creature. Possibly a hint of things to come? Or an artifact of a fake fire? Leave your suggestions (and anything else I missed) in the comments.
As yule log videos go, this one is “good enough” – but after two hours of build-up, the loop-like feeling of the repeat cameos, and the lack of new Who footage left me feeling disappointed.
So yes, dear readers, I did watch all two hours of “Festive Thirteenth Doctor Yule Log” so you won’t have to.
On behalf of Bleeding Cool, it’s my gift to you. Happy Holidays!