Doctor Who Christmas Special Release Date, Trailers & News

Doctor Who has wrapped up its twelfth series (since the modern reboot, that is) with a massive two-part finale that up-ended a lot of what we thought we knew about the Doctor and the Time Lords.

But the show isn’t done yet. The finale also confirmed that the Doctor will be back in Revolution of the Daleks – the next Christmas special – and that’s before we start speculating about season 13, which could be bringing some major cast changes.

When is the Doctor Who Christmas special?

Season 12 wrapped up on 1 March in the UK, and ended with a teaser for ‘Revolution of the Daleks’. That will be the next festive special, though we don’t know yet if it will air on Christmas Day – as used to be the norm – or on New Year’s Day, which is what the show did this time around, to kick off season 12.

You can always catch up on older episodes. The BBC’s added every single episode of the show since 2005 – including all the specials – to the iPlayer streaming service. That means you get every episode from every Doctor from Christopher Eccleston to Peter Capaldi, without paying a penny. If you want to go even older, the classic show is now all on BritBox in its entirety – though it’s worth noting that you will have to pay to subscribe.

What about season 13?

We don’t yet know when the next proper season of the show will kick off, but we know it’s not going to follow immediately on from Revolution of the Daleks.

Production only began on the season in November 2020, so it’s unlikely that we’ll see the show until late 2021, and even then it will be with a reduced order of just eight episodes – blame Covid.

“In this strangest of years, the Doctor Who production team have worked wonders to get the show back into production. We’re thrilled to be back making the show,” showrunner Chris Chibnall said. “Given the complexity of making Doctor Who, and with new and rigorous COVID working protocols, it’s going to take us a little longer to film each episode, meaning we expect to end up with eight episodes, rather than the usual 11.”

Is there a trailer?

There’s no trailer for Revolution of the Daleks or series 13 yet, but you can always revisit the trailer for the most recent series:

How can you watch Doctor Who in the US?

Obviously Doctor Who is a British show, but in recent years BBC America has been better about airing the show as close as it can to the British air date, to minimise piracy. That was the same for season 12 – BBC America aired each episode in a regular Sunday evening slot at 8/7c.

If you’d rather watch episodes from the BBC (or re-watch any older episodes), you can use a VPN to stream episodes on iPlayer as if you were in the UK. Bear in mind that this is a breach of the iPlayer terms of use, since you won’t be paying the licence fee, but it will let you watch every episode of the show since 2005.

Alternatively, you can stream every episode of the modern show so far on Amazon Prime Video – though that will change soon. Warner Bros. has acquired exclusive US streaming rights to the series for HBO Max, so going forward that’s where you’ll need to go to watch any and all Doctor Who from 2005 onwards. That will include season 12 and other new episodes, but only after they’re broadcast on BBC America first.

What to expect from Revolution of the Daleks

Understandably we don’t know a lot about the Christmas special yet.

We know it’s been filming for a while, because set photos that leaked before series 12 aired revealed the Daleks, and we never saw them in any episode during the main series.

Here’s the Beeb’s official description of the special:

“The upcoming festive special will see the return of one of the Doctor’s biggest and most feared enemies – the Daleks. The Doctor is locked away in a high-security alien prison. Isolated, alone, with no hope of escape. Far away, on Earth, her best friends, Yaz, Ryan and Graham have to pick up their lives without her. But it’s not easy. Old habits die hard. Especially when they discover a disturbing plan forming. A plan which involves a Dalek. How can you fight a Dalek, without the Doctor?”

We also have this promo shot of the Doctor in said prison:

And of her erstwhile companions plotting her rescue:

What about season 13?

As mentioned above, season 13 has entered production of the eight episodes that are on the way, and Whitaker at least has confirmed she’s on board for a return.

“Yes, I’m doing another season,” she told EW. “That might be a massive exclusive that I’m not supposed to say, but it’s unhelpful for me to say [I don’t know] because it would be a massive lie! [Laughs] I absolutely adore it. At some point, these shoes are going to be handed on, but it’s not yet. I’m clinging on tight!”

She might have to find some new friends though, as it’s been reported that Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole – who play Graham and Ryan – might be leaving the Tardis in the Christmas special, leaving the Doctor to travel alone with Mandip Gill’s Yaz for season 13 (or with some new companions to join them, more likely).

Nothing’s confirmed yet of course, and likely won’t be for a while. And either way, the report suggests that their departure will be open-ended, leaving the possibility for either of them to pop back up for individual episodes, even if they’re not series regulars.

Watch the best Christmas TV ads 2020.

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