Is there a Doctor Who Christmas special in 2022?

Is a trip to the TARDIS on the cards this December?

a close of Doctor Who actress Jodie Whittaker looking at her hand
(Image credit: Future/BBC)

Fans of the long-running BBC franchise are wondering if there is a Doctor Who Christmas special in 2022 to look forward to.

There's been plenty of change in the Doctor Who-verse this year. First came the announcement that current actress Jodie Whittaker will be departing the TARDIS after being at the helm for five years. Though fans didn't have to wait too long to learn who the new Doctor Who actor is that will be stepping into her shoes.

Viewers were treated to another dose of Whittaker as the Doctor quite recently in the thrilling The Power of the Doctor episode - and it certainly made viewers desperate for more information on when will Doctor Who return and if we can enjoy a festive edition this December as part of the BBC's Christmas TV schedule? We answer all your burning Whovian questions.

Is there a Doctor Who Christmas special in 2022?

Sadly there is no Doctor Who Christmas special being released in 2022. Instead, show bosses have confirmed that there will be festive specials for audiences to look foward to in 2023 and 2024.

Showrunner Russell T Davies told Doctor Who magazine that in "the first time ever, I'm writing a Christmas Special... at Christmas!" He clarified: "The 2023 script has been long since signed-off. The new one is for end-of-year 2024!" This means that whilst there is no Doctor Who Christmas special in 2022, there are two to come in the next two years.

a picture of Doctor Who showrunner Russell Davies talking at a podium

(Image credit: Getty)

Will Doctor Who return in 2022?

No new Doctor Who episodes will air in 2022. The last outing from Whittaker as the Doctor aired on October 23 this year, in a 90-minute special titled The Power of the Doctor. The episode was broadcast as part of the BBC's 100th year celebrations.

"It saw the return of the Spy Master and Ashad following their apparent demise at the end of The Timeless Children, and it marked the first time the Master, the Cybermen, and the Daleks all worked together onscreen," reads a synopsis from the official Doctor Who wiki page.

When will Doctor Who be back?

Doctor Who is expected to be back on screens in November 2023. The show is returning for three special episodes to mark it's 60th anniversary - with former Doctors and cast-members appearing for the occasion.

David Tennant, Catherine Tate and the late Bernard Cribbins are three names who have been confirmed as returning for the specials. It's understood that the final of the three specials will see Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa 'regenerate' into his new role as the 15th Doctor.

The BBC delighted audiences with a teaser of Tennant and co in the specials at the end of The Power of the Dog episode this year. It also revealed US actor Neil Patrick Harris appearing as the next villain in the upcoming 3-part adventure.

"If you thought the appearance of David Tennant was a shock, we’ve got plenty more surprises on the way," teased Davies of the upcoming specials. "The path to Ncuti’s Fifteenth Doctor is laden with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger and fun! And how is it connected to the return of the wonderful Donna Noble? How, what, why? We’re giving you a year to speculate, and then all hell lets loose!"

As for what we know so far plot-wise - Tennant has been confirmed by the BBC as playing the 14th Doctor - and not returning as the previous tenth Doctor (contrary to prior thoughts and rumours).

Further plot details were also teased when Tennant and Tate were confirmed as returning. "The Doctor and Donna parted ways when the Doctor had to wipe Donna’s memory, making her forget him, in order to save her life. He left her family with a warning: if ever she remembers, she will die. But with the two coming face to face once more, the big question is, just what brings the Doctor and Donna back together?" reads the BBC's synopsis.

Previous Doctor Who Christmas specials:

Those that can't bear the thought of passing the season without a festive Doctor Who special will be pleased to know that the previous Christmas special is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now. Titled Eve of the Daleks it originally aired on New Year's Day in 2022. 

You can also catch the latest Doctor Who episode - The Power of the Doctor - on iPlayer, as well as all episodes from the past 13 seasons.

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.