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Do They Know It’s Christmas?

“Ooh, Christmas. Oh, is it? Of course. Yes, yes, yes, yes.” The Time Team open their presents early… and find a Christmas Special from long ago.
Zainab, Dan, Jacob and Gerard wish a Happy Christmas to all of you at home!
Photographs by RAY ROBERTS

This issue’s Time Team: Dan James Frank, Gerard Groves, Jacob Dudman and Zainab Sheriff

From 2005’s The Christmas Invasion to 2017’s Twice Upon a Time, the Doctor Who Christmas Special has been a hallmark of the show’s 21st-century revival. It’s been a fixture of BBC One’s Christmas Day line-up for 13 consecutive years – a record for any BBC One scripted drama (or comedy, for that matter), bar EastEnders. This century, only the Walford-set soap, Top of the Pops and, if we’re counting it, the Queen’s Christmas Message (“Thank you, Doctor.

Thank you. Happy Christmas!”) can boast longer uninterrupted runs of new episodes broadcast on Christmas Day on BBC One. But the times they are a-changin’, and this Christmas Day will be Who-less. The upcoming Special, Resolution, will air one week later – the show’s first New Year’s Day episode since the Tenth Doctor’s swansong in 2010. So what are we supposed to do on Christmas Day now? Watch Call the Midwife? Talk to our loved ones? WHAT MERRY HELL IS THIS?

But the Time Team have a plan. “We could just, you know, watch an old one,” ventures Gerard. “There are 13 previous Christmas Day episodes to choose from.”

Au contraire. Not if we go right back. To. The. Beginning! The first Noël.

So in a north-west London living room, with the sunlight streaming in from outside and the gang all in their Christmas threads, Time Teamers Dan, Gerard, Jake and Zainab brace themselves for the original Christmas Special. A Doctor Who episode that aired on Christmas Day 1965…

THE FEAST OF STEVEN (1965)

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: • An exclusive preview of the New Year's day Special: Resolution. • An exclusive interview with Sharon D Clarke, who played Grace O’Brien in the 2018 series • Frazer Hines answers questions from our TARDIS tin • A tribute to Derrick Sherwin, the Doctor Who script editor and producer who oversaw the series’ transition from black and white into colour • Highlights from a previously unpublished interview with Derrick Sherwin in 2014 • Part Three of The Warmonger, a brand-new comic strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends • The Time Team watches Doctor Who’s very first Christmas Day episode, 1965’s The Feast of Steven • An in-depth look at Series 11’s ratings • An in-depth look at Series 11’s ratings • Share your views on the latest series of Doctor Who in our 2018 Season Survey • The Fact of Fiction delves into 1981’s spin-off K9 and Company, starring Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith • Put your Doctor Who knowledge to the test with the DWM Christmas Quiz • DWM's reviews of Series 11 episodes Demons of the Punjab, Kerblam! and The Witchfinders • The Blogs of Doom, reviews, news, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!