Today In #DoctorWho History: December 25th - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Today In #DoctorWho History: December 25th

It's a very merry special Christmas edition of our Doctor Who broadcast round-up.


Welcome to our daily round-up of the Doctor Who episodes which received their premiere broadcast on this day throughout the show's long history, along with anything else of note that may have taken place. You can click on any red text to read our full retrospectives/reviews for that episode, and note that all viewing figures listed are for UK broadcasts (unless otherwise stated).


December 25th
To date 14 episodes of Doctor Who have been broadcast on Christmas Day. All but one of them come from the revived series, post-2005, but we begin 40 years before that with the First Doctor, the original if you will. He's enjoying The Feast Of Steven which is all part of The Daleks' Master Plan. 7.9 million viewers tuned in at 6:35pm that December 25th 1965. This might seem like a mighty impressive number but it remained the lowest watched Christmas Special of Doctor Who for 50 years.


All the way to 7:02 pm on Christmas Day 2005 now for David Tennant's debut outing as the Doctor. He spent most of The Christmas Invasion in bed but the 9.84 million viewers watching didn't seem to mind. And if you pressed the red button after the broadcast then Attack of the Graske was available for your viewing pleasure. Half a million people did just that.

After losing Rose in the Series Two finale, the Tenth Doctor was joined by Donna Noble, aka The Runaway Bride, for the 2006 festive offering. 9.3 million turkey-stuffed viewers sat down in front of the TV at 7:00pm that evening.

Now, if you're wondering which Christmas episode of Doctor Who has been the most watched to date then wonder no more. Tiny antipodean pop princess Kylie Minogue joined the Tenth Doctor for a trip on the Voyage of the Damned, Christmas Day 2007. An absolutely whopping 13.31 million people joined them at 6:51pm that December 25th, making it not only the highest rated Christmas Special but also the highest rated episode of New-Who and the fifth highest rated Doctor Who episode of all time (FYI - fourth is the opening episode of The Web Planet, third is part two of The Ark In Space, second is the fourth episode of Destiny Of The Daleks and the top spot is held by the fourth and final episode of The City Of Death with a massive 16.1 million viewers tuning in - you can see the entire top 50 countdown here btw). Oh, and if you're wondering what the second highest watched episode of New-Who is, it's...

The Next Doctor. 13.1 million tuned in at 6:00pm back in 2008 to see David Morrissey as 'the next Doctor', except of course he wasn't. So that was a bit of a disappointment.

And the Tennant era draws to a close, well almost, with The End of Time: Part One. This Christmas day 2009 episode was broadcast at 5:59pm and watched by 12.04 million of the nation's finest. All wondering why the Master plumped for a cheeseburger when there was plenty of leftover turkey for a nice sandwich instead.


New Years Day 2010 saw Matt Smith arrive with a bang at the end of The End of Time: Part Two. Fifty one weeks later his debut festive adventure A Christmas Carol was broadcast at 6:01pm to an audience of 12.11 million viewers.

Is it the worst Christmas episode of Doctor Who? That's not for me to say, but (imho it is), still, 10.77 million tuned in at 6:59pm for The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe back in 2011. I wonder how many of them have actually rewatched it again since?

Arriving on our screens at the earlier time of 5:14pm, December 25th 2012, The Snowmen was watched by 9.87 million viewers, making it the lowest rated of the Eleventh Doctor Christmas specials. I feel quite certain the time slot did it no favours as the following year's broadcast was back at the much more respectable time of 7:30pm. What was it? It was...

...Matt Smith's swansong The Time of the Doctor, which had 11.14 million tearful viewers hooked on Trenzalore and dancing like a drunk giraffe. Well done mate! Well done!


Last Christmas was not broadcast last Christmas and it was not the last Christmas special for the Twelfth Doctor rather it was the first Christmas Special for the Twelfth Doctor. Confused? So was the Doctor as it was all a dream. Or was it? 8.28 million viewers tuned in at 6:14pm on this day in 2014 to find out.

The 2015 offering, The Husbands Of River Song, was broadcast at 5:17pm to an overnight audience of just 5.77 million - it's the curse of that early time slot again! After seven days of timeshifting that number rose by almost 2 million to 7.69 million, however, this Christmas episode currently holds the title of the lowest rated Doctor Who Christmas Special to date.

Now then, The Return Of Doctor Mysterio did a bit better, ratings wise. Broadcast on Christmas day 2016 at 5.44pm, 7.83 million stuffed tummies were sat in front of the old televisual box for the only new Who of the year (that's if you don't count Class, and we sometimes try not to).

Current showrunner Chris Chibnell seems to have forsaken the Christmas day slot in favour of a New Years Day one, so 2017's Twice Upon A Time is currently the last episode of Doctor Who to be broadcast on Christmas day. 7.92 million viewers were there at 5.28pm, as the Twelfth met the First and then became the Thirteenth.


And that almost brings us to the end of this Christmas day edition of Today In Doctor Who History, except to say a very happy birthday to the Doctor's daughter who's now also his wife, Georgia Moffett. Born on Christmas day 1984 to Peter Davison and Sandra Dickinson, she'd go on to play Jenny opposite David Tennant's Doctor, and then marry him in 2011. Which is equal parts nice and quite odd, if you think about it.

We will be back again tomorrow with another round-up of the episodes broadcast, the spin-offs aired, the special events, the birthday's celebrated and anything else of note that went down on this day in Doctor Who history, but in the meantime which is your favourite Doctor Who Christmas Special? Let us know in the comments below.

And incidentally, from all of us here at WarpedFactor, a happy Christmas to all of you at home... bottoms up!

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