Wednesday, December 19, 2018

R.I.P. The Doctor Who Christmas Special

For the past thirteen years, the Doctor Who Christmas Special has been a holiday tradition, as families around the world gathered around their TVs to watch. Sadly, that tradition's been flushed straight down the crapper, as the BBC recently announced there'll be no Christmas Special this year. 

What the hell?

So why no Special this year? According to the BBC, the Doctor Who creative team, including brand new showrunner Chris Chibnall, has simply "run out of ideas."

Jesus wept. There's a lot to unpack in that simple little statement.

First of all, even if it's true that they're out of ideas, WHY THE FRAK WOULD YOU ANNOUNCE THAT IN A PRESS RELEASE? Even if it's true, why let the public know they hired a pack of talentless hacks? Why not just say the show's taking a break, or it's being pre-empted by another show or something. Anything but "we can't think of anything."

Secondly, this isn't some world-weary, battle-fatigued group that's been pumping out show after show for thirteen seasons. This is a BRAND NEW creative team! Last year the BBC swept out the entire Doctor Who production office and replaced EVERYONE, from the showrunner all the way down to the lowliest grip. So there's absolutely no reason for their brains to be spent already!

I suppose maybe they mean that after thirteen Christmas Specials, there just aren't any more holiday-themed plotlines left. That's no excuse either, as the stories don't need to be ABOUT Christmas. In fact, the very first Special, titled The Christmas Invasion, had little or nothing to do with the holiday. It was David Tennant's first episode, and was ll about him trying to adjust during an alien invasion that just happened to take place on December 25th.

Same goes for The Runaway Bride and Voyage Of The Damned. Neither was actually about Christmas (under showrunner Steven Moffat, the Specials gradually became more and more about Christmas though). So I'm calling bullsh*t on that excuse. There has to be something else behind the decision.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to use that excuse in your daily life, and get away with it like these writers have? "Sorry boss, I can't design anything for you today. I'm fresh out of ideas! Excuse me while I go to lunch!"

Eliminating the Christmas Special seems like a really bad idea to me. As you might expect, the Specials are a huge deal for the series. They pretty much have a captive audience, as most everything's closed on Christmas, so what else are you gonna do but watch 'em? 

Plus, the Specials consistently get the shows highest ratings, as people who don't normally tune in will watch. It's a chance for the series to gain exposure and draw in new viewers. Why would they want to give that up?

Oddly enough, a week or so after stating there'd be no Christmas Special this year, the creative team said there WOULD be a Doctor Who New Year's Special. Wha...?

I don't have any insights into the BBC, but I'm wondering if this is all part of their recent rabid push to be more diverse and inclusive? That's right, the BBC is now officially "woke," with a capital W. 

Since Christmas is a Christian holiday, it would not surprise me if it's now become problematic and distasteful to them, and they're trying to distance themselves from such a religious-tinged celebration. Don't want to offend anyone who's not a Christian after all, even though I doubt anyone cares.

In the end, it doesn't really matter to me what they do, as Doctor Who's now dead to me. It died the day the BBC chose identity politics and forced diversity over telling fun adventure stories, so they can cancel the show altogether as far as I'm concerned.


  1. Agreed 100% with your last paragraph, and if you missed it, the new showrunner has also been rumored to be quitting (already!) because he's upset that the BBC won't let him take a year and a half break before the next season.

    Russell Davies and Moffat (for the first half of his run) managed to put a new season out each year, and yet now that's too hard?

    It's disappointing that the show is reaching the same level of behind the scenes incompetence it hit in the late 80s.

  2. Very sad indeed. I never thought that I would loose interest in Dr. Who. I have been watching it for over 32 years. Looks like it is time to give it up. Another group of politically correct, lazy, and untalented people have killed yet another great show.

  3. @Shayne Collins: Yeah, I saw Chibnall's comment that "a season a year is unsustainable." Jesus, and he's only putting out 10 episodes a year! 11, if you count the Special. RTD and Moffat managed to put out 13+1 for 4 and 7 years consecutively. If he can't come up with 10 stories a year, then the BBC needs to find someone who can.

  4. @J Ramey: Yeah, I first saw the show back in 85 or so (on PBS!), and have been watching it ever since. Sadly, Season 11 of New Who was my last. I've not bothered with any of Whittaker's lectures, er, I mean episodes.

    Remember when Doctor Who was a show about a crazy alien with a time machine, who had fun adventures? I miss that series.


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