The BBC has confirmed that there will be a Doctor Who special on New Year's Day and have released a brief synopsis of the episode. The currently airing 11th season of Doctor Who has been a historic run in the show's history, as the first to feature a female Doctor and Jodie Whittaker's regeneration has largely been a hit with both viewers and critics. Alongside new companions, Yaz, Ryan and Graham, the thirteenth Doctor has faced tooth-encrusted alien warriors, an energy-hungry Stitch lookalike and a handful of racists, always coming out on top.
Traditionally, Doctor Who releases a Christmas special episode each year that takes the form of either a light-hearted festive romp or a farewell episode for an outgoing Doctor. As previously revealed however, Doctor Who will not be airing a Christmas special in 2018, since the new showrunners reportedly feel that the holiday-themed Who concept has run out of steam. This follows the rumors that no new Doctor Who series would air in 2019, with Whittaker and Team TARDIS instead to return in 2020.
It isn't all bad news for Doctor Who fans however, as the BBC have confirmed that while there will indeed be no Christmas special, there will be a New Year's Day episode. The announcement reveals that the hour-long special will be written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Wayne Yip and a short plot summary reads:
As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring, from across the centuries of Earth’s history. As the Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?
The decision to not run a Christmas special in 2018 is likely a wise one that will not disappoint too many Doctor Who fans. While regeneration episodes have generally always been dramatic, well-received installments, Who at Christmas has also delivered arguably the most forgettable offerings in the modern series such as "The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe" and "Last Christmas." Opting for only a New Year's episode on this occasion allows the show to release a special without being forced to adhere to the holiday theme.
While some fans may be disappointed that the episode is another Earth-based story, as much of season 11 has been thus far, the idea of an enemy from across the planet's history sounds intriguing and it remains to be seen as to whether this is connected to the Timeless Child arc that was hinted at back in "The Ghost Monument." Viewers will, however, perhaps be pleased to know that the special will actually feature a genuine baddie. Season premiere aside, the thirteenth Doctor has mostly been facing human foes or misunderstood creatures this season and it's no bad thing that the New Year's special will buck this trend and feature a real villain.
Doctor Who continues November 18th with "Kerblam!" on BBC.