What To Expect From The Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023

By Olivia Emily

5 months ago

It's Ncuti Gatwa's time to shine

We’ve been itching to see Ncuti Gatwa put his spin on the coveted Doctor Who titular role ever since his casting was announced – and there’s not long left to wait. Here’s exactly what to expect from the 2023 Christmas special, plus when it’ll be on TV and where to stream it if you’re busy (hint hint).

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023. ©BBC STUDIOS 2023/James Pardon

When Is The Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023?

The Doctor Who Christmas special will air on Christmas Day at 5.55pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. It precedes series 14, which will air in Spring 2024.

Where Is It Streaming?

Every Doctor Who episode (ever!) is available to stream on BBC iPlayer, and the Christmas special will join them after it has aired on TV on Christmas Day. Internationally, new episodes of Doctor Who are available to stream on Disney+ (that’s from the 60th anniversary onwards).

Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson)

Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson). © BBC Studios 2023/James Pardon

What Will Happen?

We got a delicious taste of what’s to come when Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor had a surprisingly extended part to play in the most recent episode of Doctor Who, ‘The Giggle’. We’ve been left with a lot of questions: Will David Tennant reappear (again)? Or will Gatwa be left to his own devices? Following the rules of Chekhov’s gun, we’re siding with the former – but only time will tell.

Entitled ‘The Church On Ruby Road’, the BBC’s official synopsis for the Christmas special is as follows: ‘Little is known about Ruby Sunday as she was abandoned on Christmas Eve as a baby. Now living with her mum, Carla and grandmother, Cherry, her world is about to be turned upside when she encounters the Doctor and the two set off on their first adventure together…’.

First Look

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023

Is There A Trailer?

Yes – and it’s brimming with creepy little goblins. Watch it below.

Who Stars?

As well as Gatwa himself, the Fifteenth Doctor’s first companion is Ruby Sunday, played by Millie Gibson. The following actors and characters have also been confirmed, and if they don’t appear on Christmas day, we expect them to appear in Series 14, which is expected to begin in Spring 2024.

  • Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor
  • Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday
  • Davina McCall as herself (we’re intrigued)
  • Michelle Greenidge as Carla, Ruby’s mum
  • Angela Wynter as Cherry, Ruby’s grandmother
  • Anita Dobson as Mrs Flood

Series 14

Though they won’t appear in the Christmas special, more stars have been announced ahead of series 14, including:

  • Aneurin Barnard as Roger ap Gwilliam
  • Indira Varma as The Duchess
  • Bonnie Langford as Mel Bush
  • Lenny Rush as Morris
  • Jonathan Groff
  • Jinkx Monsoon

Meanwhile, looking way into the future, Nicola Coughlan is confirmed to star in the 2024 Christmas special. Now that’s foreplanning.

Jonathan Groff with Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON), The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA)

Jonathan Groff with Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON), The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA). © BBC Studios/James Pardon


The Doctor Who Christmas special will air on Christmas Day at 5.55pm on BBC One. Catch up on BBC iPlayer.