Doctor Who to skip Christmas Day for first time in 13 years

Doctor Who. Courtesy Twitter

Per BBC America, Doctor Who's Whittaker-led Season 11 has been averaging almost 1 million viewers, up 54 percent vs. Season 10.

Kick off 2019 in spectacular style with a New Year's Day special episode of Doctor Who on Tuesday, January 1, moving from its traditional Christmas Day timeslot.

A special hour-long episode, in which Jodie Whittaker's Time Lord faces off against a mysterious new evil from the past, will air on 1 January, 2019.

Leading up to the first-ever "Who Year's Day", BBC America will present a Doctor Who marathon of all the Christmas episodes, starting at noon ET on December 24.

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Meanwhile, the finale episode will be titled The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos, and reads: "On the planet of Ranskoor Av Kolos, lies the remains of a brutal battlefield". It's a day when BBC One likes to display numerous programmes it regards as its crown jewels.

The time change marks the new era of the sci-fi show which switched to Sunday nights for its weekly slot and stars Jodie as the first ever female Doctor. And a 1 January broadcast for Doctor Who help will it to stand out more, instead of just being one of a number of family favourites fighting for viewers on 25 December. According to the previous showrunner Steven Moffat, the reason for excluding a Christmas special might be pretty simple: "I sort of think we might have mined, and possibly over mined, every single thing we could about Christmas in Doctor Who and the last time we more or less ignored it" Moffat said in the past.

BBC hasn't officially confirmed the news, but the pieces seem to align on this one. But it's understandable that many expected they'd want to maintain the momentum built up by Jodie Whittaker's successful relaunch by echoing the early tenures of David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi and having a new run of stories around a year after their debut series. This will be the first time in 13 years that the long-running series will not have a Christmas episode, which has been a staple of the show since 2005.

Full ratings for her first five episodes put the average audience at 8.55 million.

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