The Doctor is in, and it’s about time. Although, it should be noted that the Doctor is also in a maximum-security prison, and time is running short for Earth with the return of the Daleks. Thankfully the Thirteenth Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker, has her Companions, as well as the newly returned Captain Jack Harkness, on hero duty on our little planet.
That is all happening on New Year’s Day in the Doctor Who holiday special, “Revolution of the Daleks.” Debuting on BBC-America at 8 p.m. ET, the January 1 episode picks up from the action following the twelfth season of the revived 56-year-old series, which aired this year from January to March.
Just to recap, that canon-shaking season brought The Master back, regenerated once more as a male human; traveled to Gallifrey, reduced to ruins (again); introduced Time Lord Cybermen, aka CyberMasters. The season ended with the whopper that the Doctor is the Timeless Child from another realm – with a lot more regenerations than previously confirmed — and that she is a being from whence all Time Lords emerged, thanks to DNA splicing. And all that happened before the cliffhanger of the Doctor being imprisoned for life by those intergalactic rent-a-cops the Judoon.
So yeah, a lot happened, and that doesn’t even cover the epic decade in the making surprise return of John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness, who is back again for the holiday special.
With so much happening in the world of Doctor Who, it seems like a great time for a themed holiday gift guide, a season in Who-ville, if you will. The items that follow are perfect goodies to wrap up, and stuff in a TARDIS-sized gift bag (bigger on the inside, of course) for all the Whovians in your life. And if you shop for something for yourself, that’s ok; just say you got it for one of your other regenerations.
David Tennant Does A Podcast With … Jodie Whittaker (Free)
You don’t need to spend money to let the Whovian in your life know you’re thinking of them this holiday season. And trust me, if they don’t already know about David Tennant’s podcast, they’ll be thanking you. Tennant, aka the Tenth Doctor, is a delightful human being, and a genuinely engaging conversationalist. And in his podcast – which just wrapped a second season – he converses with famous friends, costars, and newsmakers, such as Neil Gaiman, Ian McKellen, Billie Piper, and Stacey Abrams. His episode with Jodie Whittaker in February 2019, following her first full season as the Doctor, is a special treat. The two discuss getting to know one another on Broadchurch, but also discuss the unique role on Doctor Who – and what it was like for her to be the first woman to step into the part.
Thirteenth Doctor Mug ($8.95)
Blue shirt, rainbow stripes, and suspenders. If the Whovian in your life is like me, occasionally you want your fandom served up simple along with a cup of coffee. This orb-like mug captures the essence of the Thirteenth Doctor’s outfit with a few basic elements immediately recognizable to other fans. And it looks like it holds a lot of coffee, which is a perk.
Big Finish Audio Plays ($9+)
“I don’t want to go.” These last words of the Tenth Doctor are relatable for most Who fans when they see a character depart from the show, but thankfully there is Big Finish Productions. For more than 20 years, the company has produced Doctor Who audio plays starring cast from the show, including six of the nine living actors to have played the Doctor (with Christopher Eccleston set to reprise his role as the Ninth Doctor in stories to be released in 2021). In addition getting more adventures from favorite characters, Big Finish also has characters collide who never met on screen — such as Missy and River Song, played again by Michelle Gomez and Alex Kingston, in The Diary of River Song. And while Captain Jack Harkness may only be returning to Doctor Who for the holiday special, John Barrowman voices the character in more than two dozen Big Finish dramas.
Doctor Who Face Mask ($12)
Bowties, fezzes, Stetsons; the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) was especially known for his pursuit of the cool fashion – and a lot of hats — and 13 seems to be keeping the pattern going (see the tuxedo and ear cuff listings below). But if it’s one thing that’s cool in 2020, it’s face coverings, and it would not at all be a surprise for the Doctor to exclaim, “I wear a mask now. Masks are cool.” So this item from Liesl Schulz of Sewn by Liesl on Etsy is a timely entry for the Whovian on your gift list. They can also feel like a Time Lord out to protect humanity and can do so with the most minimal of effort by sporting a TARDIS-blue mask emblazoned with 12’s quote.
Thirteenth Doctor Action Figure with Red Top ($13)
I remember the moment we were all treated to the first look of Jodie Whittaker as the doctor in her cool coat, and that blue shirt with rainbow stripes. But by the third episode of Season 11, “Rosa,” the Doctor had switched things up with a red shirt. Even though this wardrobe change is a bold choice — considering red shirts are just bad luck in other sci-fi universes – I’m more partial to Jodie’s crimson shade. As such, this 5.5-inch Doctor action figure with bum bag and sonic screwdriver is a cool collectible for Whovian fans who like a different color on 13. (Although you can get the figure in blue as well, and a TARDIS playset she can fit in.)
Doctor Who Psychology: A Madman with a Box ($15)
What makes an ancient time-and-space traveler tick? How does an immortal deal with death? And why did he once say she “got on very well” with Freud? This book edited by Travis Langley, Ph.D., the fifth in the psychology professor’s “Popular Culture Psychology” series, explores the minds of the Doctor, her Companions, and villains. And while you may not think the Whovian in your life has a lot in common with a Time Lord, Madman delves into what Doctor Who says about human nature, and humanity. Full disclosure: I am a contributor to the book, which contains my interviews with Matt Smith, and David Tennant.
Thirteenth Doctor TARDIS Distressed Rainbow T-Shirt ($16+)
Combine the Thirteenth Doctor’s TARDIS, her signature rainbow (which doubles as a symbol for pride and acceptance), with a distressed design, and you have this happy, colorful shirt from Hot Topic. It feels like a retro design out of the 1970s (back when some older Whovians were watching the show on PBS) but celebrates the new Who. Just looking at it puts me in a better mood.
Doctor Who 13th Doctor 3 Piece Gift Set – Journal, Mug & Superbitz Plush ($16.99)
This officially licensed trio of goodies packs a lot of holiday cheer for less than $20. The Thirteenth Doctor Superbitz plushy collectible is incredibly cute, while the 16-page lined journal features a rainbow striped hard cover with the phrase “The Future Is Not Written.” Meanwhile the “13 Is My Lucky Number” sporting a golden TARDIS graphic rounds out this happy little set.
Doctor Who Friends and Foes of the 13th Doctor Set B ($25)
Nearly as soon as the Doctor regenerated into 13, she began gathering a family of four with Bradley Walsh’s Graham, Tosin Cole’s Ryan, and Mandip Gill’s Yaz. Yet, in a November interview with the BBC, Jodie Whittaker revealed “the fam as a four is no more,” and that Walsh and Cole would be leaving Doctor Who after the holiday special. But just because Graham and Ryan’s adventure on the show is coming to an end doesn’t mean their characters have to leave the world of your Doctor Who fan. Instead, if you picked up the Doctor 5.5-inch action figure above, you might as well couple it with this “Friends and Foes” set with all three of 13’s original companions.
Ian Leino Doctor Whoville T-shirt ($25)
Artist Ian Leino’s Doctor Whoville tee has been an evolving work for several years now. His Seussian design of all the regenerations of our favorite Time Lord gathered around a holiday TARDIS initially ended with Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor. But over time, he has included John Hurt’s War Doctor, Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor, and now Jodie Whittaker joins the Whos for a snowy celebration. Full disclosure: Ian has become a friend because I love this nerdy mash-up design so much, printed on a high-quality Bella + Canvas shirt. The design is likewise available on a hoodie, and holiday greeting cards.
Hero Within TARDIS Woven Shirt ($45)
Across the globe, the TARDIS is more recognizable as the Doctor’s ultimate companion more than the police call box it’s disguised as. It is iconic and serves as a great inspiration for creative fans. Enter Hero Within, the apparel company that has been killing it with officially licensed, and well-made, nerdy fashion. Currently celebrating its new Doctor Who license, Hero Within has recently unveiled this woven TARDIS button-up shirt that calls to mind a work shirt while unmistakably inspired by the best ship in the universe.
John Barrowman Cameo ($125)
There are few entertainment spectacles quite like a John Barrowman panel at a comic con. The man is a showman, and truly one of the funniest people to encounter at an event. Unfortunately comic cons are on hold at the moment, and the Doctor Who fan in your life might be craving the con experience — and jonesing for John. Thankfully, Barrowman is on Cameo, where he delivers pep talks, sends well wishes, and even sings a tune. And a custom message from Captain Jack Harkness himself is a great way to prepare for the New Year’s Day Special.
Doctor Who Galaxy Single Ear Cuff ($150)
Jodie Whittaker is not only the first woman to play the Doctor, she is also the first to wear an earring. And what a great earring she debuted with! Designed by Alex Monroe, and available for purchase, the Galaxy Single Ear Cuff is a sterling silver piece that begins on top with a cluster of shooting stars, connected to a 22ct gold plated hand grasping another in harmony. The elegant design conveys much about the Doctor’s philosophy, but this jewelry is striking even absent any knowledge of the show. Monroe likewise created a Doctor Who Companion single stud earring of clasping hands, and a Galaxy necklace to complement the other pieces.
The Thirteenth Doctor’s Tuxedo ($247+)
When Doctor Who returned for its twelfth season earlier this year, the Doctor sported a tuxedo that evoked the wardrobe of her previous generations, and basically had fandom freaking out with excitement. The outfit was likewise a nod to James Bond for the “Spyfall” espionage episodes. Well, Tamsin Hartnell of the “The Ultimate Guide to the Fashion of Doctor Who” has done an impressive job assembling the items for the Doctor’s tux for those who might want to recreate it. The Doctor’s double-breasted opera coat by Paul Smith runs for about $1450 alone (if you can find it). However, Tamsin helpfully suggests alternatives to creating an everyday cosplay of the outfit starting around $160, with the official black and gold bowtie by Blue Eyes Bowtie costing about $87. This will take some work to put the look together, but it’s time well spent. Also, take a look around the Ultimate Guide blog as it is chockful of interesting Doctor Who fashion info.
GeekOrthodoxArt TARDIS Stained Glass ($750)
For a thousand years the art medium of stained glass has been used to honor iconic figures and commemorate grand moments of historic and religious significance. And in the 21st Century, pop culture institutions can hold near religious importance, and are worthy of representation in this art form. So why not take your giftee’s Doctor Who fandom to the next level? This custom-made TARDIS stained glass artwork uses the medium’s traditional copper foil method and is composed from over 75 pieces of hand-cut glass. Crafted by GeekOrthodoxArt, the piece measures 12″ x 24″. The stained-glass design is likewise available as a $20 high-resolution professional grade vinyl window cling. (Also, if you want to make this gift even cooler for your Who fan, you can let them know that John Barrowman loved it so much, he bought one at the Pensacon event in 2018.)
Much to this writer’s dismay, there is no pre-owned time machine lot to buy a working TARDIS for the Whovian on your gift list. But you can get pretty close. Iconic Studio Creations can build a custom, officially licensed, full-size TARDIS replica (well, technically, it’s a replica of the TARDIS in the guise of a police call box, thanks to the craft’s chameleon circuit). While not bigger on the inside, this is as close to the real deal as you can get, and ISC has worked with the BBC in building these babies. Sure, it’s a little expensive, but you can’t put a price tag on love – or time traveling ships. Iconic also creates replicas of Daleks, and a remote-controlled K-9, who would fit nicely in a new TARDIS. And if you prefer your time machine to have more practical applications, you can always get a DeLorean for your giftee.