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Twelve Moments from Doctor Who at Christmas

On the 12th day of Christmas, the Doctor gave to me… the first Christmas episode since 2017!

This Christmas, Doctor Who returns to our screens in the Fifteenth Doctor and Ruby Sunday’s first adventure, The Church on Ruby Road.

To get you in the Whomas spirit, here are 12 Christmassy Doctor Who moments to warm both your hearts. 

Warning: you will encounter two robot Santas, three scary snowmen and five golden heavenly hosts!

“Charles Dickens!”

Doctor Who had episodes set at Christmas before the Christmas Day special became legendary! The Unquiet Dead (April, 2005) saw the Ninth Doctor and his companion Rose Tyler land in Cardiff on Christmas Eve 1869. There they met Charles Dickens while doing a public reading of his iconic story 'A Christmas Carol'. Together they faced ‘ghosts’ – aliens made of gas who possessed the dead. With a little impromptu assistance from the great author, the Doctor and Rose saved the world from the hands of the Gelth.

This story is full of snow and gothic festive spirit – enough to chill us before the warming merry moments that followed in the Christmas Day episode later that same year.

“I’m gonna get killed by a Christmas tree!”

Doctor Who’s first Christmas Day special The Christmas Invasion (December, 2005) gave us David Tennant's debut as the Tenth Doctor. He crash-landed on our screens… then took a little post-regeneration nap, leaving his companion Rose Tyler, her boyfriend Mickey and her mother Jackie to face an abominable alien Sycorax invasion!

In this iconic moment, the Tylers face the wrath of a deadly razor-sharp spinning Christmas tree – a trap left for them by creepy roboforms disguised as Santas, who arrive on Earth alongside the Sycorax to get to the Doctor and his regeneration energy. At least they kept it festive!

“Santa’s a robot!”

2006’s The Runaway Bride gave us even more Santa roboforms, this time under the control of the Empress of the Racnoss. This giant spider invaded Earth to try and awaken her ‘children’ at the core of the planet, the only other survivors of her race. To complete her plan, she dosed Donna Noble with Huon energy, which drew her into the TARDIS while walking down the aisle on her wedding day!

This action-packed moment gets us in the Christmas mood every time. To get back to her wedding, Donna takes a taxi ride, only to discover a terrifying truth about her driver - he’s a robot! 

“Information. Kill!”

After a space replica of the Titanic crashed into the TARDIS in 2007’s Voyage of the Damned, the Tenth Doctor met a host of holiday-goers – including Astrid Peth, played by Kylie Minogue – who were keen to observe a traditional human Christmas. The ship faced a meteor strike, which turned out to be an act of sabotage from the cruise liner’s owner, Max Capricorn, after he was forced out of his own company.

In this crackers Christmas clip, the Doctor and his new friends come face to face with the Heavenly Hosts – controlled by Max Capricorn and ordered to cause chaos and destruction!

“I might be in a little bit of trouble!”

In The Next Doctor (2008), the Tenth Doctor landed in 1851 on Christmas Eve. There, he met a man calling himself “the Doctor” (David Morrissey) and his friend, or companion, Rosita. They later discover that the man is actually a human named Jackson Lake, whose mind had been fused with an infostamp containing information about the eponymous Time Lord – after an encounter with some deadly Cybermen. Jackson and Rosita helped the Doctor stop the Cybermen from taking over London, leaving the city to have a snowy Christmas.

In this Cybershade sleigh ride scene, the Doctor meets… the Doctor! Snow, Victorian London and a creepy villain… it’s a festive feast!

“I think it’s time for Christmas Day”

The Eleventh Doctor’s first Christmas adventure was the Dickensian inspired A Christmas Carol (2010). After his companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams got stuck on a crashing starliner (a Christmas Doctor Who tradition, it seems!), the Doctor ended up on the planet Ember. There he met Kazran Sardick, a miserable man (played by the late Michael Gambon) who controlled the skies and refused to let the ship land, so the Doctor set off to make Sardick kinder– by changing his entire timeline.

This scene would warm the hearts of any Scrooge! After his final meeting with his true love, Abigail Pettigrew (played by Katherine Jenkins), Kazran’s heart softens and she sings her final song, resonating the fog crystals in the sky and clearing them so the starliner can land safely. Perfect for a flying shark sleigh ride!

“I’m the caretaker!”

The Doctor attempted to give a family the perfect Christmas in The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe (2011). After crashing to Earth from an exploding spaceship, he was assisted by Madge Arwell (Claire Skinner) to locate his TARDIS in 1938. Years later, with her husband lost at war, Madge wished for a miracle – and the Doctor answered, attempting to bring festive joy to her family. 

The episode saw a bonkers alien forest, sentient wooden creatures and a beautiful finale in which the Arwell family were brought back together, just in time for Christmas Day.

The Doctor’s extraordinary Christmas is a story we’ll never forget!

“It’s smaller on the outside!”

2012’s The Snowmen was the ultimate Christmas escapade! After a tragic farewell to Amy Pond and Rory Williams, the Doctor settled on a cloud in Victorian London to grieve. But not for long, because scary snowmen and a ghastly ice queen descended. He also met a new friend, Clara Oswald. Turns out the Doctor’s old enemy the Great Intelligence was the source of the snowy terror. But this fearsome foe was soon defeated by the grieving Latimer family and the Doctor after Clara fell to her death. 

Although filled with joyful and painful memories, this frosty Victorian scene makes us smile every time. To escape the Ice Queen, the Doctor and Clara head to the TARDIS on a mystic cloud, giving us Clara’s first look at the Doctor’s magical ship!

“Eleven’s hour is over now, the clock is striking Twelve’s…”

In the Eleventh Doctor’s final adventure, The Time of the Doctor (2013), the Doctor and Clara Oswald ended up on the planet Trenzalore in a town called Christmas. Here, they discovered a signal coming from the Doctor’s planet Gallifrey, informing them that the Time Lords were attempting to return to this universe. Knowing that another Time War would erupt if they came back, the Doctor stayed to protect the town of Christmas for over 300 years and, while dying of old age, engaged in a final battle with the Daleks.

In this beautiful moment, Clara shares a Christmas cracker with her best friend and begs the Time Lords to help the Doctor as he goes into his final battle. It makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside!

“I’ve always believed in Santa Claus, but he looks a little different to me”

The Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald came face to face with Santa and his elves (or rather, a dream version of them) in Last Christmas (2014). This snowy encounter was fabricated by the dream crabs, aliens who induced dreams as a distraction while guzzling on their victims' brains. The Doctor and Clara fought through many layers of devastating hallucinations to get back to each other, which included dreams of Christmas and crackers and loved ones.

No Christmas is complete without a sleigh ride. In this perfect festive moment, the Doctor, Clara and their new friends dream of a snowy ride home with Santa as they wake up from their nightmare.

“Is there anything on my head?”

In 2015’s The Husbands of River Song, the Twelfth Doctor bumped into his wife, River Song, and was mistaken for a surgeon (turns out River had never met this incarnation of the Doctor before. It’s never easy marrying a time traveller!)! River had been attempting to steal a valuable diamond lodged in the brain of King Hydroflax, and she and the Doctor wound up on a crashing spaceship, landing on Darillium.

In River’s last meeting with the Doctor before heading off to her death in the Library (shown in 2008’s Forest of the Dead), the pair spent a single night together on the planet – which just happened to last 24 years. 

In this Christmassy scene, the Doctor and River Song share a romantic moment in front of the Singing Towers and he gives her the perfect Christmas gift – a lifetime together.

“Merry Christmas, Doctor”

In the Christmas special episode Twice Upon a Time (2017), the Twelfth Doctor found himself at the South Pole with the First Doctor, both of them fighting off their oncoming regenerations. They worked together to return an Army captain to the battlefields of World War One on Christmas Day 1914, and got used to their coming changes…

In a goodbye gift from his friend Bill Potts, the Doctor had his memory of Clara Oswald returned on Christmas Day, before he departed to regenerate into the Thirteenth Doctor. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a few tears!

…and a TARDIS in an Androzani tree! 

Tune in on Christmas Day to see what festive adventure awaits the Doctor and Ruby in The Church on Ruby Road.

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