BBC confirm festive Doctor Who to air on New Year’s Day

The Beeb will screen the annual seasonal special on the first day of 2019 rather than on Christmas Day, where the show has traditionally been scheduled.

“We’re delighted the Doctor and her companions will be welcoming BBC One audiences into 2019 with this exciting new episode. The Doctor’s fans are in for a special treat on the first day of the new year.” – Charlotte Moore, Director of Content

With 2018 marking a brand new era for Doctor Who the beeb have announced that they plan to start the new year in ‘spectacular style’ with the long running science fiction drama.

As times change, so do the BBC One schedules. In addition to the show’s new regular Sunday evening slot, this year’s festive episode sees the TARDIS travel through the time vortex from its traditional timeslot on Christmas Day to land in style on New Year’s Day.

It’s just one of many changes for the programme this year; the biggest, of course, is Jodie Whittaker taking over the title role, the first time the iconic Time Lord has been played by a woman, whilst the show has gained a new showrunner in long-time Doctor Who fan Chris Chibnall who worked with Whittaker on the hit ITV drama Broadchurch. In a bid to lure in new viewers, classic enemies of the Doctor have been shunned for Whittaker’s debut outing that sees her joined by new companion trio:- Tosin Cole as Ryan, Bradley Walsh as Graham and Mandip Gill as Yaz.

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?

Last month the corporation celebrated Doctor Who‘s 2018 debut episode’s ratings. BARB’s 4-screen (TV, smartphone, Tablet, computer) consolidated figures gave the show a rating of 10.9 million viewers. This made it the highest ever series launch episode for the drama since it returned in 2005. The return of the series, which originally ran from 1963 to 1989, and had a TV movie special in 1996, came back to BBC One with 10.8m viewers 12 years ago when Christopher Eccleston took on the role of The Doctor.

Tabloid papers have attacked a decline in ratings since then, however the viewership, after the curiosity interest dropped away, has levelled out to a respectable 7.4 million (TV only) and 7.9 million. (4-screen) for the 4th November edition.

“We’re thrilled to be starting the New Year with a bang on BBC One, as Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and friends face a terrifying alien threat in an action-packed, hour-long special adventure for all the family.” – Showrunner Chris Chibnall

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