— BBC Studios

Doctor Who is getting back into the groove of things. After three different 60th anniversary specials, there’s now a new Doctor in Ncuti Gatwa (though his predecessor is still sticking around) and he’s set to begin his adventures in the Christmas special, “The Church on Ruby Road.”

A new trailer for the adventure shows something entirely different from what we’ve seen before, but it’s the perfect choice for a Christmas special, even if fans may be resistant at first.

The trailer for the new one-off episode, premiering Christmas day, shows a newly rested Doctor partying in a kilt before a chance encounter with Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) as they embark an adventure full of baby-eating goblins, spaceships, and the secret behind her birth. Watch the full trailer below.

While the previous specials stuck to the sci-fi conventions Doctor Who uses often, like an invasion of an adorable alien or an old foe returning for a rematch, the tone of the Christmas special seems aptly whimsical, with pirate ships in the sky and even a Santa Claus name drop.

Christmas specials usually have a more feel-good tone — it’s the holidays, after all — but there’s something unique to how “The Church on Ruby Road” is posing itself: it feels like a fantasy, something more in line with Lord of the Rings or Labyrinth.

With this episode being the first one to contain Gatwa as the sole Doctor, this could mean a shift in the Doctor Who we know and love. Original reboot showrunner Russell T. Davies may be back, but there’s a new Doctor and a new companion at the start of a new season, why not try a new (old) genre as well?

Even if this is just a temporary jaunt into the world of fantasy, it’s proof of exactly what the third special “The Giggle” established: The Doctor took a break to rest and deal with the literal centuries of trauma that he has undergone, and now he can find himself in silly high jinks that are more suited to a classic children’s novel instead of a hardboiled sci-fi paperback.

Doctor Who “The Church on Ruby Road” premieres December 25 at 9:55 a.m. PT / 12:55 p.m. ET on Disney+.

Share This