It’s Christmas Eve which means that the Doctor’s long awaited comeback in The Return of Doctor Mysterio is just around the corner!
The arrival of a Doctor Who Christmas Special is always an auspicious occasion (especially when it’s the only new episode of the year!), and to help us prepare for its premiere, we embarked on a mission to rank the previous festive episodes from best to not-so best, and the results are in!
Check ‘em below, and thanks to everybody who voted.
11. The Next Doctor (1%)
2008 was an epic year for Doctor Who so it was only fitting that it culminated with the return of one of the show’s most iconic adversaries, the Cybermen. The stomping metal monsters were the least of the Tenth Doctor’s worries, though, as his arrival in a snowy Victorian London also brought him face to face with a man who was claiming to be one of his future incarnations. The one, the only and the best. Or was he?
Well, no, as it turns out, but just over 13 million viewers tuned in to find out whether or not Russell T Davies had managed to hoodwink an entire nation again after the Doctor’s botched regeneration in Journey’s End earlier that same year. Oh, the feels. In fact, we needed a whole gap year to recover…
10. The Time of the Doctor (3%)
Matt Smith crash-landed on to our screens as the Eleventh Doctor in Spring 2010 but, after what can only be described as one of the show’s most ambitious and epic tenures to date, timey-wimey was finally up for our Fez wearing, fish fingers and custard eating incarnation on Christmas Day 2013 when he bowed out in spectacular style to an audience of 12.1 million viewers.
It was the end of an almighty era which also served to bookend the year’s far-reaching 50th anniversary celebrations with the arrival of a brand new Doctor in the form of Peter Capaldi. But do you know what? We’ll always remember when the Doctor was Matt. Goodnight, raggedy man.
9. The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe (3%)
Suffice to say, 2011 was a tough year for the Eleventh Doctor. It all kicked off when he was shot dead at Lake Silencio and things then went from bad to worse (and not to mention confusing!) when he was summoned to investigate his own death. He was also reunited with River Song, who would later be revealed as Amy and Rory’s daughter as well as the impossible astronaut behind his untimely demise. Series 6 was a rollercoaster to say the least.
You can’t blame him, then, for wanting to restore his faith in the universe by sharing a little joy, and that’s exactly what he did in The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe when he journeyed back to 1938 to give Madge Arwell and her children – plus the 10.77 million viewers watching at home – the best Christmas ever. What would we do without him?
8. Last Christmas (4%)
Not to be confused with the classic Wham! hit of the same name, although the 2014 Christmas Special was such a madcap adventure, that pretty much anything goes.
It’s not every day that the Doctor comes face to face with Santa Claus himself but he here was in the actual North Pole and, well… it all got a bit weird after that, didn’t it? Still, it ended with the most magical of sleigh rides over a snowy London town, so who cares if it was all happening inside their heads? Besides, stranger things have happened. The perfect Christmas adventure.
7. The End of Time, Part One (4%)
Doctor Who has established a habit of breaking our Whovian hearts during the festive period (but it’s the season to be jolly, God damn you!) and we all needed a stiff drink – or five – to help us pick up the pieces back in 2009 when the Tenth Doctor embarked on his final journey.
Ok, so it really hit the fan in part two on New Year’s Day, but Russell didn’t shy away from giving us all the feels (and then some!) on Christmas Day as the Master returned and our hero accepted the inevitability of his unavoidable fate. Also… Wilfred Mott. Need we say more?
6. The Runaway Bride (7%)
The Tenth Doctor had just said a heartbreaking farewell to Rose Tyler but his tears weren’t even dry before he was thrown head first into his next adventure, featuring Catherine Tate in a wedding dress. Because Christmas.
The ensuing drama made for one of the most epic adventures to date as the Doctor raced to get Donna Noble to the church on time. Her happily ever was over before it even began, however, after it was revealed that this fiesty temp from Chiswick had been caught up in a sinister web of deception. Enter the Empress of the Racnoss. Oh, Donna. Fortunately for her, though, her trip of a lifetime was only just beginning…
5. Voyage of the Damned (10%)
Nobody has ever been fortunate enough to take a peek at the Doctor’s Christmas list but we’re sure that a yuletide romp (no, not like that…) with an acclaimed pop princess would take a pretty high spot. Well, he should be so lucky – lucky, lucky, lucky – back in 2008 when he joined forces with Kylie Minogue for an epic, festive adventure aboard a spaceship replica of the Titanic. You couldn’t write it, but thank God Russell T Davies did.
The dynamic duo was to be short lived, of course, as the would-be companion ended up sacrificing herself to save the world. It was certainly fun while it lasted, though, and the episode still stands as one of the most watched of the revived series, with 13.31 million viewers to its name. We just can’t get it out of our head.
4. The Husbands of River Song (11%)
Steven Moffat gave Doctor Who fans one of the greatest presents of them all last year when he finally introduced River Song to the Twelfth Doctor. While the story itself is an enjoyable enough ride, it’s the final moments that have no doubt resulted in this episode reaching such a high place in the countdown.
After River’s initial debut – and subsequent demise – back in 2008 (wait, has it really been that long?!), we finally got to witness their bittersweet farewell on Darillium. It was the momentous moment we had all been waiting for and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as they both lived out their happily ever after. You know, in timey-wimey sort of way.
3. The Snowmen (14%)
We found ourselves back in Victorian London on Christmas Day 2012 (the Doctor just can’t stay away, can he?!) when Jenna Coleman’s second introduction as Clara Oswald was upstaged by a band of sinister Snowmen who sounded a lot like that grey, bearded wizard guy from Lord of the Rings. Raymond Briggs’ Snowman was way cuter.
Still, it all added to the festive fun, and even Strax, Jenny and Vastra came along for the ride as a chilling menace threatened Earth. Not everybody would live to tell the tale, but things got rather confusing when it was our new companion who paid the ultimate price. Again. Oh well, there was always next year.
2. The Christmas Invasion (15%)
Taking second place is the one that started it all as David Tennant stepped aboard the TARDIS for his first full-length adventure as the Tenth Doctor… which he spent most of in bed. He had just regenerated, though, so we’ll let him off (this time…), but his untimely recovery meant that there was nobody around to defend planet Earth from the ensuing threat of the sinister Sycorax. Typical.
He came through to save the day (satsuma and all) in the end, of course, and, as the first Doctor Who Christmas Special, the episode kick started a televisual tradition that, over a decade later, is now impossible to imagine the festive season without. And an average of 12 million viewers would tend to agree. Amen to that.
1. A Christmas Carol (28%)
In at first place is the episode that taught us that when you’re alone, silence is all you know… unless you have Katherine Jenkins singing to you through a sonic screwdriver in the middle of a snowy town on Christmas Day. We’ve all had that dream, right?
A Christmas Carol basically sums up everything that a Doctor Who Christmas Special should be about. There’s a heartwarming story, a lonely old miser seeking redemption (who just so happens to be Albus freakin’ Dumbledore!), a shark sleigh ride and Karen Gillan in a police uniform. What more could you possibly want on Christmas Day? Steven Moffat, we salute you.