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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 494 (Dec 15) > The Feast of Steven

The Feast of Steven

Let’s throw the clock back 50 years to revisit the Doctor’s very first Christmas Day appearance...


FIRST BROADCAST 25 December 1965

Down the years, great minds have pondered at length the unsolved mysteries of literature. Did wily Heathcliff, late of wiley Wuthering Heights, murder the brother of his beloved Cathy? Who would Dickens have fingered as the killer of Edwin Drood, if indeed he was killed at all? And, in James Joyce’s inimitable Ulysses (“an oddball romp, 6/10”), who is the enigmatic ‘man in the macintosh’ who looms as 13th mourner at the funeral of Paddy Dignam? Theory upon thesis upon treatise have hazarded an identity for this brooding, brown-coated figure. It’s like UNIT dating for literary wonks. Is he a physical manifestation of grief? Is it Joyce himself, haunting his own story? Anything is possible. As the novel’s sometime protagonist Leopold Bloom muses, peering through the grey air of the graveyard: “Always someone turns up who you never thought of.”


This observation is no less true of Doctor Who. The 1965 episode The Feast of Steven even has its own ‘Man in Mackintosh’, who turns up with his own unfathomable – indeed, almost unbearable – enigma. Man in Mackintosh is named as such in the credits of this demented seventh episode of the 1965 serial The Daleks’ Master Plan, which we’ve gathered to discuss in this festive DWM thanks to its status as the first episode of Doctor Who to be broadcast on Christmas Day. And as this Dalek-free instalment self-consciously stands apart from the other eleven-twelfths of the Dalek epic, it can be also be described as Doctor Who’s first ever Christmas Special. Indeed, if Russell T Davies hadn’t got his arse so spectacularly into gear in 2005, it would surely have proved Doctor Who’s only Christmas Special.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

The 2015 Christmas issue! Contents include: Preview of The Husbands of River Song; Peter Capaldi interview; Interviews with Greg Davies, Sarah Dollard, Peter Harness, Rachel Talalay and Donald Sumpter; Review of 2015; the Watcher's Christmas Quiz; Strip – The Dragon Lord part 1.