Steven Moffat Confirms He’s Written Doctor Who 2024 Christmas Special “Joy to the World”

That's his lot... for now, says Moffat.

Nicola Coughlan in Doctor Who 2024 Christmas Special
Photo: James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

Considering the slippery prevarication that led up to the official word that former showrunner Steven Moffat had written a new episode of Doctor Who for series 14, this next confirmation arrived with relative ease.

In a very enjoyable and in-depth interview by Tom Spilsbury at TV Choice Magazine ahead of Moffat’s new episode “Boom” airing this weekend, the ex-Who boss confirmed rumours that yes, he’s written this year’s Christmas Special.

Moffat told TV Choice that the 2024 special might well be his final ever Doctor Who episode, but then again, it also might not be.

“I’m not against doing another one at all, but I don’t have any tremendous visceral need to do another one. As I got to the end of Boom, and as I got to the end of Joy To The World [his upcoming Christmas special], I did think, ‘Is that it? Is that the final moment?’ I think they both have quite good final moments for the Doctor. I was thinking, ‘Yeah, that could be goodbye.’”

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Due to arrive on December 25 2024, “Joy to the World” (named for a popular festive hymn) stars Bridgerton, Derry Girls and Big Mood’s Nicola Coughlan as the Doctor’s one-off companion. An official first-look image of Coughlan in character as a blonde wearing a natty red beret, green dress, and red suede jacket was released last November.  Five imperial shillings says her character name is… Joy?

Also rumoured to appear in the episode, which is set at least partially in World War II, is Plebs star Joel Fry, seen recently in the excellent Inside No. 9 final series opener. The episode’s as-yet-unannounced-but-rumoured director is Bridgerton, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Riverdale’s Alex Pillai.

Visit TV Choice to read the full interview, in which Moffat describes his experience of having to keep the “Boom” secret in increasingly awkward public appearances, what it was like to go back to the old job “on day release”, the difference between writing for Who now and during Russell T Davies’ first tenure, and the unfinished ideas he and RTD knocked around to revive for the Ncuti Gatwa era (“I never did the Silence quite right – we could bring them back.”).

There’s also talk of how Moffat landed on the idea for new episode “Boom”, in which the Doctor and Ruby arrive on a war-torn planet only for the Doctor to step on a landmine that threatens to explode at the slightest provocation. The whole thing, directed by Julie Anne Robinson, is an exercise in creating tension, says Moffat.

Doctor Who almost never does tension. It doesn’t do nail-biting tension. It does romance, adventure, comedy, love stories, everything… but it doesn’t do tension, because the Doctor turns the tension off.”

Not this time, he doesn’t.

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Doctor Who airs on BBC One, iPlayer and Disney+.