Once upon a time, there weren’t Doctor Who Christmas episodes…well, there was one – The Feast of Steven – but it was lost, and fans used to get weirdly angry about its most awesome moment…anyway, back in the day we had to walk up a hill twice though sleet and gale to watch ten minutes of fuzzy VHS on Christmas Day. And we had to make up our own Christmassy-ness for them. Oh yes. We didn’t have Santas or Christmas trees or stockings put in the show FOR US. We had to use our imaginations.
What I’m saying is, if you want to watch a lovely Doctor Who story at Christmas-time, but don’t fancy any of the Christmas specials, here is a finally curated list of top notch alternatives.
The Ribos Operation
Oh, yes. More than enough snow and fuzzy hats for a Christmas feel! (I’m not judging this by how much snow a story has, but it definitely *helps*.) Romana is more or less dressed as an angel (as well as having the face of one), a very nice old lady is wearing a pair of antlers, and someone finds themselves oppressed for their beliefs. What more could you want for a Christmas tale?
The Unquiet Dead
More snow! Charles Dickens! He wrote a really cool Christmas story with ghosts in it, and this story has ghosts and is set just before Christmas. It’s *practically* A Christmas Carol, apart from the characters, events, and moral of the tale. And if you want to see Doctor Who does A Christmas Carol you can always watch A Christmas Carol… But The Unquiet Dead *does* have…well, it’s set in winter. The most Christmassy season of the year.
Ah, what better way to celebrate Christmas than by taking a leisurely trip across the Himalayas with Marco Polo? Wander through snow-covered mountains, enjoy brisk storms, and the frosty suspicion of your fellow travellers! Marvellous.
Any story with a Christmas *fair* is surely the very best sort of Christmas story! …okay, it’s not *actually* a Christmas fair, it’s a forst fair. But you can absolutely pretend it is! And there’s ice and snow and skating on the ice and…falling into the ice. Um. Well, Bill’s wearing a marvellous hat. A marvellous *winter* hat.
Revelation of the Daleks
Snow! So much lovely snow! And nice warm cosy outfits. Followed by….funerals, patricide and cannibals…Christmas cannibals? Um…oh dear.
Sod it. Just do what everyone else does and enjoy both a festive treat and a top notch spooky tale by listening to the brilliant Chimes of Midnight. It’s £2.99 at Big Finish (bargain!) or you can listen to it *for free* on Spotify.
Or if you fancy a bit of prose, and a Brand New Christmas story, you could pop over to Paul Cornell’s Second Blog of Christmas, and have a read at an unpublished tale from the marvellous SFF writer Juliet E. McKenna.