Are you looking to put a little Gallifreyan magic in your Christmas playlist? Our favourite Time Lord has you covered. Here’s our guide to the Whoniverse’s best Doctor Who Christmas songs…
Song for Ten
When ‘Song for Ten’ made its debut in the 2005 Christmas special ‘The Christmas Invasion,’ fans quickly took to the forums trying to figure out what the song was and who wrote it. Many were surprised to discover that it was an entirely new piece – an original Doctor Who Christmas song penned by the series’ composer Murray Gold and performed by an up-and-coming artist Tim Phillips.
As the title indicated, this Doctor Who Christmas song was written for the Tenth Doctor himself, and accompanied the Time Lord as he perused the TARDIS wardrobe in search of a new outfit. It was later reworked and re-recorded for the soundtrack album for Series One and Two, and this official release had a somewhat faster tempo and a more festive air. Plus, on this occasion the Doctor Who Christmas song was performed by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy fame.
Love Don’t Roam
Following the success of ‘Song for Ten,’ it quickly became a tradition for the BBC to release a new Doctor Who Christmas song over the festive period, and ‘Love Don’t Roam’ made its debut in the 2006 special ‘The Runaway Bride,’ which also introduced the character of Donna Noble to the Whoniverse.
Apparently, it was inspired by the Al Wilson song ‘The Snake,’ and whilst it’s not strictly a Christmas song, it’s certainly an upbeat number that will get your foot tapping in the TARDIS console room. Indeed, in ‘The Runaway Bride’ this Doctor Who Christmas song was played at Donna Noble’s wedding party to cheer up the slightly traumatised guests, who had just witnessed the dramatic dematerialisation of the bride as she was halfway up the aisle. Still, it didn’t stop them from having the party without her!
Doctor Who fans, though, were afforded a special preview of this festive number at the series’ first ever musical concert, which featured many of the best pieces from the Series One and Two soundtrack. Titled Music and Monsters, the event raised money for Children in Need and was simulcast on BBC Radio. And whilst ‘Love Don’t Roam’ was performed by Gary Williams at the concert, the album version was once again sung by Neil Hannon.
2007’s Doctor Who Christmas song may be the most festive-sounding of the collection. Reminiscent of a sea shanty, ‘The Stowaway’ made its first appearance in that year’s Christmas special ‘Voyage of the Damned’ and was considerably more upbeat than the episode itself. In ‘Voyage of the Damned,’ the Doctor finds himself on a spaceship replica of the Titanic, which is in dire straits after being struck by a cloud of meteors. The episode is all about the Doctor and his surviving crewmates trying to climb their way to safety.
But before events take such a dramatic turn, the Doctor has a few moments to enjoy some music, and this Doctor Who Christmas song was incorporated into the Titanic’s festive party. But as with ‘Love Don’t Roam,’ viewers had the opportunity to experience the track ahead of the episode’s broadcast, as it was released some weeks before ‘Voyage of the Damned’ was transmitted.
After ‘The Stowaway,’ there weren’t really any official Doctor Who Christmas songs to speak of. It’s certainly hard to imagine how one could have been incorporated into 2008’s ‘The Next Doctor,’ although the Tenth Doctor’s final story did feature a specially-written song to accompany the regenerating Time Lord’s final moments.
In ‘The End of Time,’ the Ood sing a special tune to the Doctor as he staggers back to the safety of the TARDIS, and whilst it’s not really a Christmas number, it is a bespoke piece written for a Doctor Who Christmas special. So that must count, right?
Moreover, ‘Vale Decem’ is perhaps the best-known of all the Doctor Who Christmas songs, although it’s not the easiest to bop along to as all of the lyrics are in Latin. “Vale decem,” for example, translates into “farewell, Ten,” and there are other lines like “ad aeternam” (“on to eternity”) and “numquam singularis” (“you are not alone”) which may have you scrambling for Google Translate, although the final line of “vale, vale, vale, vale, vale, vale…” should be easy enough for the whole family to enjoy.
The Goblin Song
And now we come to the very latest of the Doctor Who Christmas songs. This one was written for the Fifteenth Doctor’s debut adventure ‘The Church and Ruby Road’ and may be the most disturbing Christmas song of all time.
In the episode, it is sung by a gang of goblins as they prepare to devour a living baby. “Baby’s had such very bad luck,” they croon, “now into baby, we will tuck! Eat the baby, add some salt! Bayleaves, barley, powdered malt!”
Cheery stuff, no? And as with previous Doctor Who Christmas songs, this one was penned by Murray Gold, although on this occasion it was Russell T Davies wrote the lyrics.
This Doctor Who Christmas song also made a dent on the UK charts, with the character of Janis Goblin herself releasing a statement in the wake of the sales frenzy. “Dear foolish humans,” she said. “I’d like to thank you, with all the bile in my heart. I’m told all proceeds from the sale of ‘The Goblin Song’ will go to Children in Need. Which means, more children for us to eat! That’s very kind, I must say… what’s that? It’s not? They don’t? Hmph. Then what do I say…? Ahem. Dear foolish humans, if you continue to support The Goblin Song, then I absolutely promise not to eat… oh to hell with that, pass me those twins. MUNCH!”
It remains to be seen if any more Doctor Who Christmas songs will be released in the specials to come. In the meantime, which is your favourite festive number? Let us know in the comments below.