Christmas is certainly a wonderful time for people who enjoy family, trees, presents, and never-ending carols — but for Doctor Who fans, there's always a special little tangerine hidden at the bottom of the stocking. Of course we're referring to the yearly tradition of the Doctor Who Christmas special, which is always the perfect way for any Whovian to end the holiday.
This year's special, titled "Twice Upon a Time," will carry even greater significance for a variety of reasons. First off, it's a regeneration episode — meaning that the titular character will morph into a completely different body. Not only will it mark the exit of actor Peter Capaldi (who brilliantly plays the 12th Doctor), but for the first time ever, the Doctor will regenerate into a female — the 13th Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker.
There will be a ways to go before that regeneration occurs, however. Helping the 12th Doctor to regenerate will be the very first Doctor, played this time by David Bradley (the Harry Potter films, Broadchurch, Game of Thrones). As original Doctor Who actor William Hartnell has since passed away, Bradley is a perfect stand-in, having played both the original Doctor and William Hartnell himself in the behind-the-scenes story An Adventure in Space and Time.
Today, BBC America released the first clip from the upcoming special, which showcases the magical banter between the two Doctors:
Ah, some things never change. If we can be sure of anything, it's that past Doctors will never appreciate the decorating styles of their future selves. Bradley and Capaldi look like they're going to be fantastic together, and the addition of Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, The League of Gentlemen, long-running Who contributor) as a soldier who is only aware of one world war nicely adds to the madness.
As if multiple Doctors and a historic regeneration weren't enough, this episode will also mark the exit of showrunner Steven Moffat. From the episode "The Eleventh Hour" on, Moffat has given Who fans a wild ride, and his place will be filled by Broadchurch creator (and occasional Who writer) Chris Chibnall. With Moffat, Capaldi, Pearl Mackie (playing current companion Bill Potts), and possibly even composer Murray Gold all leaving the show at the same time, the Chibnall era is certainly going to get a fresh start.
Here's hoping that the final bow of Moffat and company will be one for the books, and if this clip is any indicator, it certainly will be. If the show teaches us anything, it is that change is as inevitable as it is necessary, so even though "every Christmas is last Christmas," it's hard to get too melancholy when such exciting times are ahead. As the 11th Doctor himself said, "Times change, and so must I."
"Twice Upon a Time" will debut on BBC America on Christmas Day.