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Doctor Who Christmas Special 2020 - release date, cast, plot and trailer

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2020
(Image credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)

The Doctor Who Christmas Special 2020 sees the Time Lord trapped in an alien prison.

The Doctor Who Christmas Special 2020 promises to be the jewell in the crown of the BBC’s Christmas TV (opens in new tab) schedule.

Not only does it see the comeback of the Daleks, it also see the return of Captain Jack (played by John Barrowman). Don't miss our Doctor Who Christmas Special 2021 guide!

Doctor Who Christmas 2020 special - release date

Doctor Who Christmas TV Guide 2020

The Doctor is trapped in the Christmas special

The Doctor Who Christmas Special will air on BBC1 at 6.45pm on New Year's Day.

MORE: All Creatures Great and Small Christmas special - everything you need to know (opens in new tab)

What’s the plot?

Well, the Daleks are back! Yep, the festive special will see the return of the Doctor’s most famous and most feared enemies. The Time Lord is locked away in a high-security alien prison, continuing from where the last series left off. The Doctor is alone and can’t see anyway of escape...

Graham (Bradley Walsh), Ryan (Tosin Cole) and Yasmin (Mandip Gill)

Graham (Bradley Walsh),  Yasmin (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) have lots to talk about with the Doctor locked up and the Daleks ready to attack…

Back on Earth, Yaz, Ryan and Graham are struggling to cope without their friend. They try to get on with their regular lives, but then they discover a disturbing plan involving the Daleks. Although they don't have the Doctor, Captain Jack is back to help!

John says: “Putting on Jack’s coat and setting foot back on the set of Doctor Who was just like going back home. It’s always thrilling to play Captain Jack. He’s a character very close to my heart who changed my life, and to know the fans love him as much as I do makes his return even sweeter. I hope everyone enjoys Jack’s Heroic adventure with Thirteen.”

Showrunner Chris Chibnall previously teased: “There will be Daleks. There will be exterminations. Thrills, laughter, tears. You know. The usual. See you at the end of the year.”

Is there a trailer?

Yes. BBC America has put this very short glimpse up...


What’s the title of the Doctor Who Christmas 2020 special?

Doctor Who poster Christmas 2020 special

We're loving this poster for the special!

It’s simply called Revolution of the Daleks.

Who’s in the cast of the festive episode?

Jodie Whittaker stars as the Doctor. She’s joined by Tosin Cole as Ryan, Bradley Walsh as Graham and Mandip Gill as Yasmin. And not forgetting John Barrowman as Captain Jack.

The Doctor Who Christmas Special will air on BBC1 at 6.45pm on New Year's Day - see our TV Guide for more festive dramas not to be missed. 

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!