It’s that time of year again when Whovians across the world are looking forward to THE event of the year, the Doctor Who Christmas Special.
This year’s episode, Twice Upon A Time, is the final outing for Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor but will also introduce Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor.
In the first part of three, doctorwho.tv takes a look back at all the Christmas Specials since the show’s return in 2005.
First up, it’s the Tenth Doctor, as played by David Tennant, and his five festive outings. (Spoilers follow if you haven’t seen these episodes.)
The Christmas Invasion
First aired: Dec 25, 2005
Starring: David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler
Our first glimpse of Tennant’s Tenth Doctor came in the 2005 finale, The Parting of the Ways and it wasn’t until Christmas when fans were treated to a full episode with the Scottish actor. Having said that, he did spend half of it in bed and almost all of it wearing pyjamas but it was an impressive debut for both David and the Doctor Who Christmas Special itself - a tradition which still runs to this day.
The Christmas Invasion brought back familiar faces such as Rose, Jackie, Mickey and Harriet Jones, who was now Prime Minister. The Sycorax provided the threat in a very seasonal instalment which featured killer Christmas trees and Robot Santas!
The Runaway Bride
First aired: Dec 25, 2006
Starring: David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, and Catherine Tate as Donna Noble
Only a year on and the Doctor Who Christmas Special was already firmly placed in the BBC One schedule.
Kickstarting the guest star element of the seasonal episodes was Catherine Tate, who fans had witnessed at the denouement of the previous instalment, Doomsday. Making her mark as he quickest temp in West London, Tate would, of course, return to Doctor Who and become one of the show’s most loved companions, Donna Noble.
Despite being filmed during the height of summer, the Christmas mood is retained in deadly Christmas Tree decorations and those naughty Robot Santas once more.
Voyage of the Damned
First aired: Dec 25, 2007
Starring: David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, and Kylie Minogue as Astrid
A big guest star for the third of the specials, Australian pop sensation Kylie Minogue. The actress had established herself in television soap Neighbours and effectively became the Tenth Doctor’s companion for the episode, which was packed with Christmas ephemera.
Bernard Cribbins made his debut as Wilf and, like Tate before him, would return to become a firm favourite in the following series.
Fans should keep an eye out for Doctor Who composer Murray Gold as part of the Titanic’s band, making his only onscreen appearance in the show.
The Next Doctor
First aired: Dec 25, 2008
Starring: David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, and David Morrissey as Jackson Lake
After the tumultuous events of the Series Four finale, which saw the Tenth Doctor say another tearful goodbye to Rose and an even more emotional farewell to Donna Noble, comes this heartwarming trip to 1851 London.
Tennant’s Time Lord bumped into a man, played by David Morrissey, claiming to be THE Doctor and nobody (including the Tenth Doctor) was sure, for quite some time, if he was actually a future incarnation of everyone’s favourite Gallifreyan.
There were more tears to come when Lake’s backstory was revealed and more thrills when the Cybermen unleashed the gargantuan CyberKing on London.
The End of Time
First aired: Dec 25, 2009
Starring: David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, Bernard Cribbins as Wilf, and John Simm as The Master
Millions sat around the world, hankies at the ready, as David Tennant made his finale as the Tenth Doctor in this two-part epic.
Returning to share in the festive fun were the Master (with John Simm reprising his role), Wilf, Donna and even the Ood were up for Christmas shenanigans. But making a return nobody expected were the Time Lords. Led by Rassilon, the Doctor’s race were coming out of the Time War and looking for a way out.
The first part of The End of Time was packed full of Christmas trees, turkeys, carols, presents and even aliens with heads like Brussels sprouts whilst the closing episode pulled no emotional punches.
Twice Upon A Time airs from Dec 25, 2017