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'Doctor Who' Christmas special 2021 release date, cast, trailer, plot and more

Doctor Who Christmas 2021 special first look.
Doctor Who Christmas 2021 special first look. (Image credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)

The Doctor Who Christmas special 2021 is sure to be a cracker and is a key part of the BBC's Christmas TV line-up. It's always something for all the family to enjoy.

The BBC has at last revealed crucial details about the plot and when it's on!

Here's everything we know so far...

'Doctor Who' Christmas 2021 special release date

The Doctor Who Christmas special 2021 will air on New Year's Day, the BBC has confirmed. It's not yet been revealed exactly what time (check out our Christmas TV guide for everything that's on). Meanwhile, it will be shown on BBC America in the US.

Amazingly, Jodie Whittaker is still to enjoy a Doctor outing on Christmas Day itself. Yep, the last episode of Doctor Who to actually be broadcast on Christmas Day was in 2017. The episode, called Twice Upon a Time, and guest starred David Bradley as the First Doctor and Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor.

Christmas Special Peter Capaldi final

There hasn't been a Doctor Who Christmas Day special since 2017. You can catch up on the 2017 special on iPlayer right now!

'Doctor Who' 2021 Christmas special plot

The BBC promises that "The Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and friends will kick-start 2022 with an action-packed spectacular".

There are few other plot details except we know it will revolve around characters Sarah and Nick. Sarah owns and runs ELF storage, while Nick is a customer who visits his unit every New Year's Eve. So we know it's set on New Year's Eve and also not everything goes to plan...

Does Jodie Whittaker's Doctor regenerate in the New Year's Day episode?

No. The New Year's day episode is the first of three Doctor Who specials airing in 2022. Jodie Whittaker's Doctor will regenerate in the third special, which will air in autumn 2022 as part of the BBC's Centenary celebrations.


John Bishop - Dan Doctor Who

What will happen to Dan (John Bishop) in the festive episode?

As well as the normal cast, there are some guest stars in the Doctor Who Christmas episode. They're Aisling Bea (This Way Up, Living With Yourself, Quiz), Adjani Salmon (Dreaming Whilst Black, Enterprice), and Pauline McLynn (Father Ted, Shameless).

Is there a trailer?

Not yet, watch this space!

David Hollingsworth

David is a Senior Digital Content Editor with over 15 years experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest soap spoilers and television news for Whatsontv.

Before working for Whatsontv, 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.

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!