Welcome to the wondrous realm of the Doctor Who Christmas Specials, a time-honored tradition that invites viewers on a festive journey through time and space. The enigmatic Doctor graces our screens with a unique Yuletide adventure, blending the magic of the season with the thrill of intergalactic escapades. As the TARDIS materializes in the midst of snow-covered landscapes and twinkling holiday lights, audiences are treated to tales that seamlessly weave together the spirit of Christmas with the Doctor’s boundless courage and insatiable curiosity. Whether battling sinister forces or forging heartwarming connections, these specials have become a cherished part of the Doctor Who legacy, capturing the essence of hope, wonder, and the enduring spirit of the holidays across the universe. So, fasten your seatbelts, hold on to your sonic screwdriver, and get ready for a festive journey that transcends time itself.

“The Christmas Invasion” (2005)

“The Christmas Invasion” is the 2005 Doctor Who Christmas Special that marks the first full episode featuring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. Set on Christmas Day, the episode follows the aftermath of the Ninth Doctor’s regeneration. The newly regenerated Tenth Doctor is in a comatose state, leaving his companion Rose Tyler and her family to defend Earth against an alien threat known as the Sycorax. These warrior aliens demand Earth’s surrender and challenge humanity to a duel. As Earth teeters on the brink of disaster, Rose must find a way to awaken the Doctor and help him overcome his post-regeneration weakness to save the day. Packed with humor, action, and holiday spirit, “The Christmas Invasion” is a festive adventure that introduces audiences to the charming and charismatic Tenth Doctor.

Need inspiration for unique holiday-themed gifts? Visit our Red Bubble store.

Watch our full playlist for Doctor Who here.

“The Runaway Bride” (2006)

“The Runaway Bride” (2006) is the Doctor Who Christmas Special featuring the Tenth Doctor, portrayed by David Tennant. The story unfolds as the Doctor, still reeling from the departure of Rose Tyler, encounters Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), a bride mysteriously transported to the TARDIS during her wedding. Together, they uncover a sinister alien plot involving the Empress of the Racnoss. The episode combines humor, action, and emotional depth as the Doctor and Donna thwart the extraterrestrial threat while exploring themes of loss and redemption. Set against the festive backdrop of Christmas, “The Runaway Bride” is a memorable adventure that introduces viewers to the unique dynamic between the Doctor and his spirited temporary companion.

 

“Voyage of the Damned” (2007)

“Voyage of the Damned” is the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2007, featuring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. The Doctor finds himself aboard the starship Titanic, a luxury spaceliner imminently facing catastrophe. As the ship hurtles toward Earth, the Doctor teams up with a group of diverse survivors, including Astrid Peth (played by Kylie Minogue), to prevent impending disaster. Together, they face a host of dangers, including killer robots and a malevolent alien plot. The episode is a thrilling mix of action, suspense, and emotional moments, exploring themes of sacrifice and heroism. “Voyage of the Damned” delivers a gripping and visually spectacular adventure set against the backdrop of Christmas, showcasing the Doctor’s resilience and his ability to inspire others in the face of peril.


“The Next Doctor” (2008)

“The Next Doctor” is the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2008, featuring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. Set in Victorian London, the Doctor stumbles upon a man who believes he is a future incarnation of the Time Lord, calling himself “The Next Doctor.” However, it becomes clear that this apparent future Doctor, portrayed by David Morrissey, is suffering from memory loss and is not who he claims to be. Together, they investigate the Cybermen’s presence in London and uncover a tragic personal history. The episode combines mystery, action, and emotion, delving into themes of identity and loss. “The Next Doctor” is a festive adventure that explores the impact the Doctor has on those he encounters, providing a unique twist on the classic Doctor-companion dynamic.

 

“The End of Time” (2009-2010)

“The End of Time” is a two-part Doctor Who special that served as the final story arc for David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, broadcast in 2009 and 2010. Written by Russell T Davies, it explores the Doctor’s impending regeneration and the return of the Time Lords. The narrative follows the Doctor as he faces the prophecy of his own demise, encounters old friends such as Wilfred Mott (played by Bernard Cribbins), and confronts his arch-nemesis, the Master (John Simm), who is revealed to be at the center of a plot involving the resurrection of the Time Lords. The story is a rollercoaster of emotions, combining moments of humor, drama, and high-stakes action. “The End of Time” marks a poignant farewell to the Tenth Doctor and sets the stage for the arrival of Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor. The special is a fitting tribute to the era of David Tennant’s Doctor, providing closure to his character’s journey while ushering in a new chapter in the show’s history.


“A Christmas Carol” (2010)

“A Christmas Carol” is the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2010, featuring Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor. In this festive twist on the classic Charles Dickens tale, the Doctor arrives on the planet of Sardicktown, where the miserly Kazran Sardick, played by Michael Gambon, controls the population’s fate. To save a crashing spaceship and its passengers, the Doctor must convince Kazran to change his heart and show compassion. Using time travel technology, the Doctor takes Kazran on a journey through his past, present, and future, exploring pivotal moments in his life. The episode is a heartwarming mix of science fiction and holiday spirit, emphasizing the transformative power of kindness and redemption. “A Christmas Carol” stands out for its imaginative storytelling and emotional resonance, making it a memorable addition to the Doctor Who Christmas Special tradition.


“The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” (2011)

“The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” is the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2011, featuring Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor. Set during World War II, the episode follows Madge Arwell (Claire Skinner), a mother of two children, who receives a mysterious gift from the Doctor. When the family takes refuge in an enchanted forest, they discover a portal to a magical world threatened by impending disaster. The Doctor must join forces with the Arwells to save the inhabitants of this fantastical realm and bring joy to their lives during the holiday season. The episode combines elements of science fiction and fantasy with a heartwarming story about the importance of family and the magic of Christmas. “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” offers a delightful and festive adventure that captures the spirit of the season.

“The Snowmen” (2012)

“The Snowmen” is the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2012, featuring Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor. Set in Victorian London, the Doctor is in a state of self-imposed isolation following the loss of his previous companions. However, when an old friend, Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), informs him of mysterious snowmen and a chilling threat, the Doctor is drawn back into action. Teaming up with new companions, including the clever governess Clara Oswin Oswald (Jenna Coleman), the Doctor faces an ancient evil entity and its plan to take over the world using sentient snow. “The Snowmen” combines the charm of a Victorian Christmas setting with elements of mystery, adventure, and fantasy. It serves as a bridge to the subsequent story arc involving Clara Oswald, who later becomes a key companion to the Doctor. The episode is notable for its engaging plot, memorable characters, and the introduction of Jenna Coleman’s character in a different form before she joins the TARDIS full-time.

 

“The Time of the Doctor” (2013)

“The Time of the Doctor” is the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2013, serving as the swan song for Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor. The episode follows the Doctor as he arrives on the planet Trenzalore, where various factions, including Daleks and Cybermen, converge due to a mysterious signal. The signal is revealed to be emanating from a crack in time, linked to the question that must never be answered: “Doctor who?” As the siege intensifies, the Doctor faces his most formidable foes and the inevitability of his own regeneration.”The Time of the Doctor” is a poignant and action-packed episode that ties up several ongoing storylines, including the Silence and the cracks in time. It explores themes of duty, sacrifice, and the Doctor’s enduring commitment to protecting the universe. The episode culminates in the Eleventh Doctor’s regeneration into the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, marking a significant moment in the show’s history. It’s a fitting farewell to Matt Smith’s Doctor, filled with emotion, surprises, and a celebration of the character’s rich legacy.


“Last Christmas” (2014)

“Last Christmas” is the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2014, featuring Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. The episode combines elements of science fiction and horror with a festive backdrop. The Doctor joins forces with Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) and a group of characters trapped in a base at the North Pole. They must confront dream crabs, alien creatures that induce dream states and feed on the victims’ brains. As the characters navigate the boundary between dreams and reality, they face personal fears and uncertainties. “Last Christmas” explores themes of dreams, reality, and the importance of facing one’s fears. The episode keeps the audience guessing about what is real and what is a dream, creating a sense of suspense and mystery. It also reflects on the relationship between the Doctor and Clara, with emotional moments that hint at the complexities of their bond. Overall, “Last Christmas” offers a thrilling and thought-provoking adventure with a touch of holiday magic.

 

“The Husbands of River Song” (2015)

“The Husbands of River Song” is the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2015, featuring Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. In this festive adventure, the Doctor encounters River Song (Alex Kingston), a character with whom he shares a complex and time-displaced relationship. River is on a mission to steal a priceless artifact, unaware that the grumpy-looking Twelfth Doctor is, in fact, her beloved Time Lord. As they embark on a caper involving mistaken identities, comedic moments, and a space cruise liner, the Doctor and River confront the challenges of their unique relationship. The episode is a mix of humor, adventure, and poignant moments, exploring the dynamic between the Doctor and River Song. It showcases their chemistry and the bittersweet nature of a relationship that unfolds out of sync in time. “The Husbands of River Song” provides a satisfying and heartwarming conclusion to River’s storyline, offering fans of the character a delightful and emotional holiday treat.

 

“The Return of Doctor Mysterio” (2016)

“The Return of Doctor Mysterio” is the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2016, featuring Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. The episode takes a superhero-inspired turn as the Doctor teams up with a journalist named Lucy Fletcher (Charity Wakefield) and a mysterious superhero known as The Ghost (Justin Chatwin) to save New York City from an alien threat. Unbeknownst to The Ghost, he has a connection to the Doctor’s past. The special combines the sci-fi elements of Doctor Who with the conventions of superhero comics, offering a playful and action-packed adventure. The Doctor navigates the challenges of working with a superhero, and the episode explores themes of identity, heroism, and the consequences of extraordinary abilities. “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” adds a unique twist to the traditional Christmas Special formula, providing an entertaining and lighthearted episode for fans of both Doctor Who and superhero stories.

 

“Twice Upon a Time” (2017)

“Twice Upon a Time” is the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2017, serving as both the conclusion to Peter Capaldi’s tenure as the Twelfth Doctor and the introduction of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. The episode begins with the Twelfth Doctor encountering his first incarnation, portrayed by David Bradley, as both Doctors refuse to regenerate. They find themselves in a mysterious Antarctic landscape and, together with a World War I British Army captain named Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart (Mark Gatiss) and a memory-archiving glass entity, must confront the inevitability of change. “Twice Upon a Time” is a poignant exploration of the Doctor’s identity, the nature of regeneration, and the passage of time. It pays tribute to the show’s history while embracing the future with the introduction of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. The special emphasizes the enduring spirit of the Doctor, encapsulating themes of compassion, hope, and the willingness to embrace new beginnings. The episode marks a significant moment in Doctor Who history, symbolizing the ongoing evolution of the iconic character.

“The Church on Ruby Road” (2023)

“The Church on Ruby Road” is set to become the highly anticipated 2023 Christmas Special and serves as the inaugural episode for Season One of Doctor Who, scheduled for broadcast on 25 December 2023. Ncuti Gatwa takes the reins as the Fifteenth Doctor in this special installment, offering audiences a fresh perspective. Introducing Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday, the new companion, the episode marks the beginning of a new era in the iconic series and formally signifies the reboot of the episode numbering system in this sixtieth anniversary year.

The story unfolds against the backdrop of a Christmas Eve long ago when an abandoned baby was left in the snow. In the present day, Ruby Sunday encounters the Doctor, intertwining her destiny with stolen babies, mischievous goblins, and the enigma surrounding her own birth.