With the most recent episode of Doctor Who having aired on Christmas Day 2015, Whovians are certainly eager for Peter Capaldi's renegade time-traveler to return and return he shall - in the upcoming Christmas 2016 special, 'The Return of Doctor Mysterio'. Aside from an appearance in spin-off series, Class, the Doctor has taken an extended absence from screens, a break which comes at a time of transition for the series. Chris Chibnall has been announced as taking over from Steven Moffat as show-runner for season 11; which will, according to reports, see significant changes to the show's format.
The Doctor is currently without a companion after the departure of Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) and while the 2015 Christmas episode saw River Song reunite with the Doctor, 'The Return of Doctor Mysterio' will see Matt Lucas reprise his role as Nardole to add a familiar face to the supporting cast. He'll be joined by Justin Chatwin as the episode's superhero, Adetomiwa Edun (Lucifer, Bates Motel), Aleksandar Jovanovic and Logan Hoffman. Although plot details are - in typical Who style - strictly guarded, the episode's official synopsis reads:
"Join the Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, as he teams up with an investigative journalist, played by Charity Wakefield (Wolf Hall, The Player), and a superhero to save New York from a deadly alien threat."
Adding to the excitement of Doctor Who's return, the BBC have announced that U.S. fans will be treated to a theatrical release of 'The Return of Doctor Mysterio'. The episode will be shown at theaters nationwide and will also feature two bonus documentaries: 'A New Kind of Superhero' - billed as an insight into the show's concept of a modern superhero and a feature delving into the making of the episode, 'Doctor Who Extra'. These events will be a strictly limited affair, taking place on December 27th and 29th at 7pm local time. Tickets can be purchased from tomorrow (November 18th) from Fathom Events or participating theaters. A full list of the 400 theaters showing the episode can be found on the Fathom website.
Regarding the cinematic event, BBC America's Soumya Sriraman issued the following statement:
“The Return of Doctor Mysterio will be an excellent way for fans to celebrate the holidays in true Whovian style," with Fathom Events' VP of programming, Kymberli Frueh, adding: “there’s no better way to enjoy this content than on the big screen and among fellow fans.”
Indeed, the return of Doctor Who - on the big screen no less - will surely be an excellent way of reigniting the show's fan base after an extended break. The additional features are also likely to excite loyal Whovians. Certainly, the previous occasions the show enjoyed theatrical showings have been a great success; including, the 50th anniversary special 'The Day of the Doctor', where many fans who attended praised the events' sense of occasion and strong spirit of fan camaraderie.
Of course, many fans will be aware that Who's Christmas output has a tendency to be a little patchy, especially in the case of stand-alone episodes such as 'The Return of Doctor Mysterio'. Whilst episodes such as 'The End of Time' and 'The Time of the Doctor' - which continued narratives established in-season - were enjoyed by the majority, other Christmas specials along the lines of 'The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe' and 'Last Christmas' have been (for some) as enjoyable as getting a lump of coal in your stocking.
With that said, many fans will just be glad the TARDIS is finally making its long-awaited return to TV - and with a seemingly original, superhero-based concept, there's every chance that 'The Return of Doctor Mysterio' will be one of the more favorable festive episodes Doctor Who has produced. And with season 10 just around the corner, Steven Moffatt is bound to have more than a few surprises in store for his last run of episodes in charge. Jelly Babies at the ready, guys!
Doctor Who: 'The Return of Doctor Mysterio' will premiere on Christmas day on BBC1 in the U.K. and BBC America in the U.S. and will be in selected theaters on December 27th & 29th. Season 10 premieres on BBC and BBC America in April 2017.