The incoming Doctor Who Christmas special has a lot going for it. It’s Peter Capaldi’s final hour, it sees him team up with David Bradley’s First Doctor, Pearl Mackie’s Bill will return and there’s even a guest role for Mark Gatiss. Despite all that, the big talking point is the fact that it will feature Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the Thirteenth Doctor in the episode’s last few moments.
This is something that outgoing showrunner Steven Moffat understands and accepts. In fact, he thinks the mix of excitement for the new Doctor with grief for the loss of the current actor is a classic part of the Doctor Who viewing experience.
“I must be honest, everyone’s watching for the last minute, and people are going to absolutely love Jodie. Then they’ll notice that, at the same time, they miss Peter, but it’s not like it’ll be a grieving process. Or rather, with a new Doctor, it’s always grieving and falling in love simultaneously.“
Though he didn’t write Jodie Whittaker’s scene, which was helmed by new head writer Chris Chibnall, Moffat has seen the actress’ first ever Doctor Who performance and admitted that it was bizarre to see such a major change for the character. Still, he was immediately won over by No. 13 and even gave us our first clue as to what Whittaker’s Doctor will be like, promising fans that she’ll be “funny from the off.”
“It’s slightly strange and very, very good. Jodie put a smile on my face immediately. She was funny from the off. I thought that was great.“
With everyone else keeping mum about Whittaker’s scene, Moffat has proven to be our only source for teases about the Thirteenth Doctor as we wait for the special – which is kind of odd, as he’s been the keeper of Doctor Who‘s biggest secrets for the past seven years.
We can catch Whittaker’s inaugural Doctor Who moment when “Twice Upon a Time” airs on BBC One/America this Christmas Day.