Doctor Who may have been rested this year, but The Return of
Doctor Mysterio will mark the twelfth consecutive Christmas Day special for the
BBC's flagship show. Already pencilled in for the 2017 Christmas Day schedules,
Doctor Who has become as much a part of the day as the
Queen's Speech, the hour long soap specials, and It's A Wonderful Life.
The Doctor's Yuletide adventures are not meant to be your
run of the mill episodes.
They need to appeal to a wider audience than usual, whilst
at the same time not alienating invested fans of the show. To put it crudely,
the Christmas Special is one of of most effective ways of marketing Doctor Who
- the perfect opportunity for the producers to reel in the casual viewers.
So what gives the Christmas Special that all important X-factor?
It has to have that Christmassy feel - Santa Claus, Christmas Trees, and snow on snow; the big guest stars; thrills and spills
with an overindulgence befitting of the feast; laughter (even if only on the
level of a Christmas cracker joke); a feel good Christmas message; and conversely an element of tragedy, just like those disaster filled
Christmas Day soaps.
With all that considered, which ones turned out to be Christmas crackers, and which are more like lumps of coal?
Paul Driscoll is a freelance writer and author across a range of subjects from Cult TV to religion and social policy. He is a passionate Doctor Who fan and January 2017 will see the publication of his first extended study of the series (based on Toby Whithouse's series six episode, The God Complex) in the critically acclaimed Black Archive range by Obverse Books. He is a regular writer for the fan site Doctor Who Worldwide and has contributed several essays to Watching Books' You and Who range. Recently he has branched out into fiction writing, with two short stories in the charity Doctor Who anthology Seasons of War (Chinbeard Books). Paul's work will also feature in the forthcoming Iris Wildthyme collection (A Clockwork Iris, Obverse Books) and Chinbeard Books' collection of drabbles, A Time Lord for Change.