The Doctor Who Christmas special has been a tradition that either long-serving fans of the show have gotten used to over the past 13 years or one that those who grew up with the modern series have had basically all their lives. That’s about to change, though, as for the first time, the festive hour-long installment will be bumped over to New Year’s Day instead.
The schedule change had been rumored for a while, but it was just recently officially confirmed. Now, in a press release, showrunner Chris Chibnall and BBC director of content Charlotte Moore have promised fans that there are great things to come with the rehoused special episode.
Chibnall, for one, encouraged viewers to think of it as marking the beginning of a new year of Doctor Who rather than how the Christmas episode often acted as a celebration of the one that was just about to end. “We’re thrilled to be starting the New Year with a bang on BBC One,” he said.
Moore then added to the excitement, promising that the festive installment will be a real treat for devotees: “We’re delighted the Doctor and her companions will be welcoming BBC One audiences into 2019 with this exciting new episode. The Doctor’s fans are in for a special treat on the first day of the new year.”
The initial reaction to the news that the Christmas special isn’t a Christmas special anymore was one of disappointment for many, as it’s been a fixture in Whovians’ lives for so long. Though the practicality of it is that it’s simply being moved back a week, a lot of fans just liked the extra magic that comes with it airing on Christmas Day itself.
Some, however, were open to the change, as it goes part and parcel with the other sweeping alterations Chibnall has made to the show’s formula this season – the regular air date is now Sundays, there’s a increased emphasis on human stories and real issues and, oh yeah, the Doctor’s a woman now – we’d kind of forgotten that was once a big deal.
Be sure to catch Doctor Who season 11 when it continues this Sunday on BBC America.