It’s almost time to turn off the computer, get your festive jumper on, and fill up with mince pies and Christmas TV. And there’s plenty of both for a Doctor Who fan to get their teeth into this year.
The most obvious and most important, of course, is Doctor Who itself. Special festive episode ‘Eve of the Daleks’ arrives on New Year’s Day for the first of the three 2022 specials that will see us say goodbye to Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor. The hour long episode guest stars Aisling Bea (This Way Up), Pauline McGlynn (Shameless) Adjani Salmon (Dreaming Whilst Black) as the Doctor, Yaz and Dan find themselves at ELF Storage one New Year’s Eve.
But with a Dalek on the loose among the storage units, will any of them live to ring in 2022? The trailer promises an even more timey-wimey episode than usual, with everyone caught in a time loop. And will the TARDIS ever be right again as her condition worsens?
Former Doctors David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and Tom Baker will also be spending the holidays on our screens
But there’s also plenty of festive action, with more Christmas TV from Doctor Who cast and crew past and present.
On BBC One, the Tenth Doctor himself, David Tennant, will be starring as Phileas Fogg in an eight part adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel Around the World in 80 Days, kicking off with a double bill on Boxing Day at 5.50pm. A new take on an old favourite, Tennant’s Fogg emphasizes his emotionally brittle nature as he and his companions Passepartout and Abigail ‘Fix’ Fortescue go on a journey of self-discovery as well as a globetrotting one.
Meanwhile Tennant’s successor Matt Smith is voicing ‘Superworm‘ (Christmas Day, 2.30pm BBC One) in the latest in the now traditional Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler adaptations. Superworm is the hero of the local insect community with his acts of bravery. But then a wizard lizard and a crow set out to stop the heroic invertebrate once and for all.
Peter Capaldi will also be popping up in Quentin Blake: The Drawing of My Life (Christmas Day, 4.20pm BBC Two) as he reads passages from some of Blake’s best loved children’s books.
And you’d be rewarded by a wander up the higher numbers of the EPG this Christmas as archive channel Talking Pictures TV repeats the rarely seen Christmas Eve with Tom Baker (Christmas Eve, 1.55pm) as he reads from the work of Charles Dickens. Talking Pictures are also giving viewers a chance to see the classic movies Dr. Who and the Daleks (Saturday 18th, 7.05pm), and Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150AD (Boxing Day, 7.15pm.) If you haven’t met Peter Cushing‘s twinkling, elfin take on the Doctor yet, you’re in for a treat.
Bradley Walsh conquers Christmas TV schedules this year, alongside other Doctor Who stars
Notable former Doctor Who stars appearing among the BBC’s Christmas TV lineup also include Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Tish Jones) as a new tenant uncovering her home’s dark secrets and what happened to The Girl Before in a four part adaptation of the thriller by JP Delaney (Sunday 19th – Wednesday 22nd, 9pm BBC One).
For something at the other end of the television spectrum entirely, Bonnie Langford (Mel) is a guest on the festive QI (Monday 20th, 9pm BBC Two.) And the Eighth Doctor‘s Big Finish companion Sheridan Smith will be taking part in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (Christmas Day, 5.10pm BBC One.)
Bradley Walsh (Graham) will be hosting a special Christmas edition of chaotic game show Blankety Blank (Christmas Day, 7.25pm BBC One.) And if that’s not enough Bradders for you, Walsh will also be on ITV for Christmas special editions of quiz show The Chase (Christmas Eve, 5.30pm), father and son travelogue Breaking Dad (Christmas Eve, 9pm) and gentle rural comedy The Larkins (Christmas Day, 9pm.)
Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss provides the winter chills with three new ghost stories
Doctor Who writer and actor Mark Gatiss is also on hand with another BBC yuletide tradition – A Ghost Story for Christmas. Like many of the most terrifying entries in the strand, ‘The Mezzotint’ (Christmas Eve, 10.30pm BBC Four) is adapted from a short story by classic horror writer M.R. James. Robert Bathurst, recently seen as the founder of UNIT in Doctor Who: Flux, and Nikesh Patel (‘Demons f the Punjab’) co-star in a story of a mysterious illustration which nobody should examine too closely…
Gatiss has also written a more family friendly ghost story with The Amazing Mr. Blunden (Christmas Eve, 7pm Sky Max) in which two children move into a new home to discover the ghosts of the children who lived there before. But can the magic of time travel help avert their terrible fate? Gatiss also stars as the evil uncle out to claim the children’s fortune, while Simon Callow (‘The Unquiet Dead’) is the magical Blunden himself.
Meanwhile, if there’s one thing better than Christmas TV, it’s Christmas radio. Gatiss is back again for yet more ghoulishness in The Haunting of M.R. James (Saturday 18th, 6pm BBC Radio 4 Extra), this time playing the author himself in a new tale of James’ own stories coming to life around him.
Is there any other Doctor Who related Christmas TV this year that we’ve missed? Let us know what you’ll be watching this Christmas!
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