Those big teases at the BBC have spent months drip-feeding us tiny morsels of juicy Doctor Who news, from confirming series 14 guest stars one by one to (finally!) giving us the 60th anniversary special air dates (and even deleting a reference to a “spring 2024” series 14 release date), so it was quite a shock to see that Disney seems to have casually leaked the Doctor Who Christmas special episode title and air date in a random social media post today.
All we really knew so far was it was to be Ncuti Gatwa’s first full episode as the Fifteenth Doctor, would feature the debut of his new companion Ruby Sunday (Coronation Street’s Millie Gibson) and that it was airing “over the festive period in 2023”.
So what crucial details did Disney let slip?
Doctor Who Will Air on Christmas Day For The First Time in Six Years!
The Disney social media post was packed with release dates for their Christmas streaming, and under its “New Snow-rrivals” section it confirms the Doctor Who Christmas episode will arrive on the platform on 25th December, aka Christmas Day!
The last time we had a Christmas Day transmission slot was Steven Moffat’s 2017 episode “Twice Upon a Time”, which was Peter Capaldi’s last episode as the Twelfth Doctor, and featured Jodie Whittaker’s first appearance as the Thirteenth Doctor.
So it certainly feels fitting that the return of the Christmas Day special will also be the first proper episode for Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor.
The Doctor Who Christmas Special Is Called “The Church On Ruby Road”
The full information in the Disney post reads:
12/25: Doctor Who Holiday Special: The Church on Ruby Road
This short-but-sweet episode title sees to be an obvious reference to the fact that it will be the first time we see the Doctor’s brand-new companion, Ruby Sunday, and perhaps hints at the origins of her name (one theory could be that she was abandoned at this Church as a baby, maybe during a Sunday service…).
It also explains some earlier set photos captured by fans, which saw Ncuti Gatwa running through a snowy churchyard in Bristol during filming back in February. It feels pretty obvious this will be where he meets Ruby – but which deadly monsters bring him there in the first place remains a mystery for now.
Did Disney Mean To Release This Information?
At the time of writing, they haven’t responded to any of the many comments by Who fans accusing them of leaking the episode title and air date by mistake, but neither has the Doctor Who official channels made any comment confirming or denying the information.
It’s unlikely that the information itself is an error, though, so while we wait for the official announcement we can probably start looking forward to a Christmas Day teatime in front of Doctor Who once more.
Doctor Who returns to BBC One for the first of three 60th anniversary specials on 25th November 2023