It’s been rumored for a while, but today we got confirmation that this year’s Doctor Who winter special won’t fall on Christmas as it has ever since 2005 but will instead air on New Year’s Day. While we’re not getting any less Who than usual, fans are in uproar at the change as it marks the end of a tradition that would’ve reached 13 years in 2018.
The news, which was revealed in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, was found to be “one change too many” by some, following the move to Sundays rather than the traditional Saturday slot during season 11 and obviously, the stylistic alterations in the show itself.
— Simon Gill (@unowho67) November 14, 2018
Others were upset that previous showrunner Steven Moffat’s work had been undone by his successor Chris Chibnall. Moffat revealed last year that he fought hard to keep the Christmas Day slot for 2017’s “Twice Upon a Time,” Peter Capaldi’s swansong. We don’t know whose decision it was to move this year’s special to New Year’s – whether it was Chibnall’s or the BBC’s – but nonetheless, some are laying the blame at the writer’s doorstep.
Steven Moffat: *changes the ending of The Doctor Falls and made Twice Upon A Time so Doctor Who wouldn’t lose the Christmas time slot*
Chris Chibnall: pic.twitter.com/LIKGz3nbBp
— St. NickName ?? (@NQuest63) November 14, 2018
Others weren’t looking for someone to blame but were just devastated by the loss of a Christmas tradition they thought was here to last. For some Whovians, it’s like Christmas itself has been cancelled.
— DosmRider (@CaptainDosm) November 14, 2018
For a whole generation growing up, Doctor Who on Christmas Day has become a tradition as much as opening presents, Christmas dinner and spending time with family. To loose it is very bad decision.
— Matthew Purchase (@TheCyberdevil) November 14, 2018
— The Quiz of Rassilon (@QuizOfRassilon) November 14, 2018
On the flipside, though, there are many out there who are either more conflicted about the move to New Year’s or are just plain excited by it.
I'm split on the #DoctorWho Christmas/New Year special decision. I can definitely see the reasoning, but at the same time, it'll be missed. Plus, it makes an absolute mockery of Moffat writing Twice Upon a Time purely to secure the Christmas Day slot for Doctor Who in the future. pic.twitter.com/NFVeNcI8tB
— Richard Swain (@RJHSwain) November 14, 2018
Doctor Who moving from Christmas to New Year is… actually pretty damn exciting. So many story possibilities you could make out of that. The TV Movie already showed us the potential, so now let's have some modern takes on the Doctor saving the new year! #DoctorWho
— Dominic G. Martin (@DominicJGM) November 14, 2018
I’m a bit sad that there isn’t a #DoctorWho Christmas special because the show has been my family when I haven’t had one, but I’m excited for an extra episode either way and change is what the show is all about. #changemydear
— beth (@0hMySt4rs) November 14, 2018
For those despondent about the lack of a Christmas special this year, it’s worth a reminder that no official statement has been made saying there will never be a Doctor Who Christmas special again, so this could very well be a one-off. If New Year does end up being the show’s new home around the holidays though, well, then I guess we get to start a fresh tradition instead.
In the meantime, be sure catch the rest of Doctor Who season 11 on Sundays on BBC America.