Doctor Who

Disney Plus reveals Dr Who Christmas special 2023 release date and intriguing title

Dr Who fans look set to have an extra special gift to enjoy this winter with a Christmas special ... but exactly when the new 15th doctor Ncuti Gatwa will appear is still tightly under wraps...

New Dr Who Ncuti Gatwa and a celestial background.

Ncuti Gatwa will appear as the 15th Doctor ‘sometime over the festive period’. (

Image: Getty/Jane Barlow PA Wire)

It’s the Christmas present many of us have been waiting for – a new Doctor Who Holiday Special release date!

And it looks like you don’t have long to wait long for it, if a tweet from the official Disney Plus account is anything to go by. Posting on X, formerly Twitter, the streaming giant revealed a list of dates for festive new releases, including the tantalisingly-titled Doctor Who Holiday Special: The Church on Ruby Road. It is scheduled to drop on Christmas Day for American audiences and is widely rumoured to be broadcast in the UK on BBC One the same day. It will likely be the first time fans will meet the Timelord’s new companion Ruby Sunday, played by Coronation Street star Millie Gibson.

To mark 60 years of the series, Doctor Who will return to our screens with three special episodes running each Saturday from November 25. The show, which sees David Tennant reprise his role as the 14th Doctor and Catherine Tate star as Donna Noble, kicks off with The Star Beast (Nov 25), followed by Wild Blue Yonder (Dec 2) and The Giggle (Dec 9). Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa will appear as the 15th Doctor ‘sometime over the festive period’. The show will premiere exclusively on the BBC in the UK and Ireland, while Disney Plus will be the home for new episodes internationally.

Interestingly, a UK Christmas Day release for the festive special would make it the first Doctor Who episode to arrive on the big day since 2017’s Twice Upon a Time. Every single one of the Timelord’s yuletide specials since have landed on New Year’s Day, with Resolution, Revolution of the Daleks and Eve of the Daleks all airing on January 1. A rumoured storyline for the new Christmas instalment was revealed earlier this year, with The Sun reporting that Davina McCall would be portraying herself as Ruby takes part in a genealogy show. It is widely believed that Davina’s character (spoiler alert!) will be crushed by a falling Christmas tree.

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Meanwhile, Ncuti recently told Rolling Stone UK how his portrayal of Dr Who will reveal a more emotionally vulnerable side to the character. He said: “He hides it with humour, but he’s lonely. I can’t say much more than that; I don’t want to spoil anything. But he’s also energetic! The poor cameramen struggled to keep up.”

The science fiction juggernaut has so far featured 13 actors in the title role, starting with William Hartnell. In 2017, Jodie Whittaker made history by becoming the first woman to officially take on the role of the Doctor on television.

Doctorin’ The Tardis: Timelords through the ages:

  • William Hartnell (1963–1966)
  • Patrick Troughton (1966–1969)
  • Jon Pertwee (1970–1974)
  • Tom Baker (1974–1981)
  • Peter Davison (1982–1984)
  • Colin Baker (1984–1986)
  • Sylvester McCoy (1987–1989)
  • Paul McGann (1996)
  • Christopher Eccleston (2005)
  • David Tennant (2005–2010 and forthcoming 2023)
  • Matt Smith (2010–2013)
  • Peter Capaldi (2014–2017)
  • Jodie Whittaker (2018–2022)
  • Ncuti Gatwa (2023)
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