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Christmas Who: The Doctor's Christmas Special

LOUISE WILSON's final instalment in Who bingo: Romance, time loops, and screwdrivers

Flux’s ending had left such a bitter taste in my mouth that I wasn’t actually intending to review the Christmas special, but the episode answered some of my longstanding criticisms of Chibnall’s era, so here we are.


I spoke in my review of the finale about how Covid restrictions placed on the show meant that the final episode felt like three stories had very messily been adapted into one. This episode shows how restrictions can work in your favour. Minimal cast, minimal locations (even the Tardis is only seen briefly). Chibnall really used it to his advantage to create the time looping storyline. It’s a wonder the concept hasn’t really been explored before.

It’s practically a tradition for Doctor Who to guest star comedians at this point, and Aisling Bee was an amazing addition. I’ve said before that having a smaller cast works in Chibnall’s favour because it gives everyone something to do other than stand there and spout exposition for 50 minutes.

Before we go into my final pro, I need to quote myself:

“I’m tempted to cross out Yaz loves the Doctor based on her continued dedication and the wistful way she watches the hologram (Rose and 9 parallels, anyone?), but in all honesty, I think the BBC are cowards and won’t go there. Very happy to be proven wrong on that one.”

Honestly, my main emotion when watching the scene where Dan asks Yaz how she feels about the Doctor was shock. I really didn’t think the BBC were going to go there, but like I said, I am very very happy to be proven wrong. Mandip Gill and Jodie Whittaker has bucketloads of chemistry off-screen, and I’m really glad it’s being utilised in a romantic way. Romance is such a vital part of Who, and having the first female Doctor be the only one of the modern incarnations to not have a love interest is kind of sexist (I’ve spoken about this in depth, here). 13 reacts the way she does when Dan tells her how Yaz feels because the Doctor has essentially lost everyone she’s allowed herself to love, and she knows that her time is limited. Given that there’s only two episodes left in Whittaker’s tenure it’ll be interesting to see how their story ends. Also, shoutout to Dan, for being the ultimate wingman and true scouse king. I can’t believe there was a time when I actively didn’t want him on the show.


I liked this episode a lot, I really did, but I’m just going to take a second to be petty.


Thank you.


Like I said, I wasn’t planning on reviewing after Flux, but Christmas specials are generally counted as part of the series before them, so I’m going to finish off the bingo card here. I’m pretty pleased with my predictions on the whole, I had some big hitters in there and some that were just wishful thinking (Doctor loses her screwdriver). I think the ones I did get right show that, as much as some would like to disagree, Doctor Who is still the same show it’s always been. It’s magic, and scary, and camp, and silly, and I will always love it, no matter how much I also hate it.

Written by Louise Wilson

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