The latest season of Doctor Who has looked a little different — and not just because the Doctor is being played by a woman for the first time. Showrunner Chris Chibnall may have put his stamp on the long-running series by casting Jodie Whittaker as the famous Time Lord, but that was only the start. If you’ve been watching the eleventh season of nuWho (or been following Hannah’s recaps!), you already know that Chibnall has moved the series away from season-long plot arcs and given the Doctor a TARDIS full of traveling companions (“fam”) who are definitely not romantic interests. In fact, in a lot of ways, this season has felt like a conscious return to the “classic” era; as though to balance out the great gender leap, the show and the character have returned to their roots in other respects to ease the transition.
Another one of the nuWho conventions that Chibnall & Co. have moved away from? The Christmas Special, which had become a sort of Doctor Who tradition starting with David Tennant’s very first episode in 2005. From Santa to snowmen to… uh, the Titanic (?!), every year Doctor Who has found a way to invoke the spirit of the holidays while putting some aspect of Time and/or Space at risk… until this year. Though Doctor Who will return on New Year’s day for a special episode, it won’t be returning to make you cry on Christmas Day this year.
Now, I can debate the merits of the various Christmas episodes, some of which were better than others, but I think most fans will agree that at this point, the Doctor has become a weird sort of mainstay in our holiday celebrations. I’m just… used to some timey wimey hijinks this time of year, frankly. And perhaps sensing that, Doctor Who found a way to give us a mini-Christmas adventure with the Doctor in a tweet!
This one-minute long animated featurette is a riff on “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” narrated by co-star Bradley Walsh. In it, Santa has some sleigh trouble and rings up the Doctor to help him out. It’s short, it’s sweet, and it cuts to the heart of why the Doctor has always been well-suited to the holiday season: that an alien saving people in a time-and-space ship shaped like a police box isn’t so far off from a fat man making children’s wishes come true in a flying sleigh. They both offer hope and magic, and while I’m happy Chibnall has been mixing things up this season, I’m also happy the show offered us this little gift as well.
Header Image Source: BBC