Any good ‘Doctor Who’ fan knows that the Christmas Special episode has become a great tradition in the storied history of the show. In a recent interview, current showrunner Steven Moffat – who will cede the position to newcomer Chris Chibnall after Moffat’s last episode, the upcoming Christmas Special – outlined how the special episode almost didn’t happen this year, and may have been eliminated forever.
As Moffat explains about his discussions with the BBC regarding his departure:
“There was one big glitch, which was Christmas. I was going to leave at the end of series 10 – I had my finale planned and what I wanted to do with it. I had a good notion of that. Then I learned at a drinks event somewhere that Chris didn’t want to start with a Christmas [episode], so at that point they were going to skip Christmas. There’d be no Christmas special and we would’ve lost that slot.
“‘Doctor Who’ would’ve lost that slot [completely] if we hadn’t [done a special], because Christmas Day is now so rammed. So I said – probably four glasses of red wine in – ‘I’ll do Christmas!’ and then had to persuade Peter [Capaldi] that’s how we were leaving. Then I had to work out how you could get mortally injured in one episode and spend an hour regenerating on Christmas Day, which I hopefully have done!”
Fortunately for fans, Moffat did indeed stick it out for the special one-off holiday episode, and it appears that the tradition is safe in future years, for now. As for the actual “passing of the torch” to Chibnall, Moffat explained that the transfer actually wasn’t overly dramatic or intense:
“It’s like handing over any job. Though Chris was incredibly, and is incredibly, fastidious about not wanting to seem to lurk behind me, ready to knife me in the back! I never felt that – he was absolutely welcome to be there any time he wanted, I had no problem with it all. He’s a good friend.”
Fans will have the opportunity in just a few short months to say goodbye to Moffat and Capaldi on-screen, with the next season of ‘Doctor Who’ starring new Doctor Jodie Whittaker rumored to premiere in the fall 2018 time frame.
The ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special will air on December 25, 2017 on BBC America.