On November 1, The Mirror reported that the Doctor Who special for Series 11 will air on New Year’s Day of 2019 rather than on Christmas day.
“Doctor Who will not have a Christmas Day outing this year for the first time since the reboot in 2005.
Instead, 13th Time Lord Jodie Whittaker will have an hour-long special which runs at New Year – with a storyline that relates to the arrival of 2019.”
The Mirror goes on to quote former showrunner Steven Moffat from a December 2017 interview as the reason for this change.
“I sort of think we might have mined and possibly over mined every single thing we could about Christmas in Doctor Who and the last time we more or less ignored it…”
When Steven Moffat says “last time” he is referring to the 2016 Doctor Who Christmas episode The Return of Doctor Mysterio which only featured a brief Christmas scene in the beginning of the episode. The 2017 Doctor Who Christmas special Twice Upon a Time featured the World War 1 Christmas Truce at the end of the episode.
The Mirror chose an old interview from the former showrunner as the reason the current showrunner Chris Chibnall would choose not to make an episode to air on Christmas. This does not make much sense.
Also consider Steven Moffat had previously claimed that he had originally planned to bow out after writing the last episode of Series 10 but wrote Twice Upon a Time because he feared Doctor Who would lose its December 25 time slot if no Doctor Who special aired that day. It would not make sense for Moffat to go to all that effort without first checking with Chris Chibnall to see if he wanted to create something for a 2018 Christmas day airing.
It gets worse. The Mirror also claims that the eleventh episode of Doctor Who Series 11 is the only new episode of Doctor Who that will air in 2019.
“One source said: ‘BBC bosses have already made the bold move of shifting the entire series from Saturday to Sunday nights so they won’t be scared about moving the festive special from Christmas to New Year.’
The episode is likely to be the ONLY outing for Doctor Who next year, with fans facing a ‘gap year’ until 2020.
Filming on Jodie’s second series has been pushed back to early 2019, meaning the series is unlikely to be finished in time to air in the autumn.”
Is this true? There is no official word on this from BBC Studios. Here are two social media posts which were posted prior to the November 1 Mirror article. On October 22, there was a tweet which posted a short clipping, also from The Mirror, which stated that while Chris Chibnall had written most of Jodie Whittaker’s second series, there were no plans to begin filming in it in 2018 and that would mean another “gap year” for new episodes in 2019.
— I can’t hear you, I have headphones 🎧 on (@thegeekinside71) October 22, 2018
From the former editor of Doctor Who Magazine:
My guess is that the only episode to air in 2019 will be on New Year’s Day.
— Tom Spilsbury (@TomSpilsbury) October 23, 2018
The online CV for the costume designer Ray Holman states that he is involved in Series 12, it’s in pre-production, and production occurs 2018-2019.
On October 23, the Radio Times quotes a source as saying:
“We go into production next month, but it’s much too early to be making scheduling decisions anyway.”
“We hadn’t decided when the current series would air when we were filming it – we only decided a few months ago.”
And here is Jodie Whittaker on November 1 in Penarth, Wales, right across Cardiff Bay from Roath Lock Studios where Doctor Who production is located.
#MintandMustard draws discerning diners from across Wales & the West, but few have come as far as the #TimeLords home Gallifrey So apt for a chain owned by doctors, their Penarth restaurant had a very famous Doctor in the house actress Jodie Whittaker https://t.co/V5N7qWlmvw pic.twitter.com/87HPSC8yR8
— Mint and Mustard (@mintandmustard) November 1, 2018
Tosin Cole is currently performing in a play called Ear for Eye at the Royal Court Theatre in London which will run through November 22.
Back in August, CultBox reported that Series 12 production would likely begin November 2018. This fits with The Mirror TV editor’s claim that Chris Chibnall had already written most of Series 12. It’s possible that new circumstances emerged between August and October 2018.
CultBox will continually update this article with further information on these rumours.