There’s no Doctor Who Christmas Special this year, for the second time in a row. New showrunner Chris Chibnall has decided to shift the annual event episode to New Year’s Day instead.
So the BBC does what they always do to stroke the flames of attention for the show: release a YouTube video compilation of scenes from past Specials.
This looks like a compilation of “the best” Christmas Specials, since not all of them are here. “The Next Doctor”, “The End of Time”, “The Snowmen”, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” and “Twice Upon A Time” are not included.
I can sort of see why. They weren’t always the best-written Christmas Specials, and Christmas was less tightly woven into the plot. “Twice Upon A Time” featured some of Steven Moffat’s best writing about Death and facing mortality. It was melancholy, sombre and funereal as The 13th Doctor considered his life on the verge of a new regeneration. It painted The Doctor as a Christ stand-in as he faced his last temptation: to die and rest or be reborn and carry on?
The video compilation concentrates on the Christmas Specials from the revamped show that are the most fun and Christmas-y, of course. That makes sense. ‘Tis the season to be jolly after all.
The First Christmas Special Was Only a Few Minutes Long
No video rundown of Doctor Who Christmas Specials would be complete without the first one. This wasn’t a complete episode but the ending of one of the parts of “The Daleks Masterplan”. It just happened to be Christmas, so William Hartnell and the cast broke the 4th Wall and addressed the audience directly to toast them a Merry Christmas.
Alas, this episode is lost to time as the BBC erased the mastertapes for re-use. This was before they realised that episodes of the show could be re-sold for profit. Those were simpler and more naïve days.