The Time of the Doctor – Matt Smith’s last bow

A first look at The Time of the Doctor, the much-anticipated Doctor Who Christmas Special, ends a year of 50th anniversary Doctor Who celebrations at BFI Southbank.

Justin Johnson

The Time of the Doctor trailer

Explore our 50 best Doctor Who moments.

There’s less than a week to go before this year’s much-anticipated Doctor Who Christmas Special is broadcast on Christmas Day. There’s more than usual excitement for this one, as The Time of the Doctor marks the swansong for Matt Smith’s Doctor, the start of the Peter Capaldi era, and the 800th episode of the show.

The BBC previewed the episode at BFI Southbank last night, with guests walking through a snow-swept tunnel into a winter wonderland on the riverfront, adorned with dalek and cyberman props from the show. It felt like the perfect end to a year in which each month we’ve hosted sell-out Doctor Who events leading up to the series’ 50th anniversary. In January, we sat together in BFI Southbank to watch An Unearthly Child, the very first episode of the show, from 1963. Now we had a glimpse at the latest, amazing instalment in the life of a show that seems destined to be with us for eternity.

Doctor Who royalty in the form of Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and Louise Jameson (Leela) were in attendance, along with Doctor Who expert and celebrity fan Frank Skinner, Professor Brian Cox, current show runner and Doctor Who ambassador Steven Moffat, Andrew Cartmel (script editor for the Seventh Doctor’s era), and BBC director general Tony Hall.

From January to December, we’ve had a great turn out of Doctor Who alumni, fans and well-wishers, who have all played their part in creating a unique programme of screenings in which each Doctor’s era was placed under the spotlight and celebrated. November saw the BFI hosting screenings of An Adventure in Space and Time and The Day of the Doctor 3D, with cast and crew in attendance and with the live after-show special on BBC3 broadcast from the BFI lounge and foyer. 

And what will we all do next year? We have events to celebrate Spitting Image at 30 and The Sweeney at 40, but for the time being we’re putting our sonic screwdrivers away and taking that much promised holiday on Metebelis Three.

The Time of the Doctor will be broadcast on 25 December on BBC One.

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