The Doctor Who Christmas Special tradition is coming to an end in 2018.
New Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall has confirmed that for the first time since Doctor Who relaunched in 2005, there will be no Doctor Who Christmas Special to air on Christmas Day.
Chibnall says that the reason is pretty simple. After 13 years of the annual event, they've run out of ideas for Doctor Who Christmas stories.
"I sort of think we might have mined, and possibly overmined, every single thing we could about Christmas in Doctor Who and the last time we more or less ignored it," Chibnall said according to the Mirror.
But that doesn't mean there won't be a bonus episode around the holidays. "I would definitely think there's another episode after the end of the series," Chibnall says.
The Mirror reports that the episode will be a New Year's Day Special instead of a Christmas Special, with a story related to the coming of the new year. The report also suggests that this may be the only episode of Doctor Who in 2019 as filming on Jodie Whitaker's second season was delayed and is not expected to begin until after the new year.
The news that the Doctor Who Christmas Special is off this year may come as a surprise to former showrunner Steven Moffat. He told ComicBook.com last year that he put in some extra effort to ensure the Christmas Special happened in 2018 to keep the tradition alive.
"But we had the awkward business that Chris [Chibnall] didn't want to start with the Christmas episode, quite rightly," Moffat said. "So, there was the momentary possibility there wouldn't be any Christmas episode, so I suggested that I do the Christmas episode and talked Peter [Capaldi] into doing one more so that Doctor Who wouldn't lose the slot.
"Having done that, of course, we had the problem of doing the grand finale plus an hour. And so it's a different kind of story. It's a story about the Twelfth Doctor, the Doctor himself at the end of his life, thinking, 'I don't know if I can keep doing this, I'm tired,' and finding the strength to carry on. You see, it's a Christmas story resurrection for both him and for the First Doctor who's in the same mental state. So they both have to convince each other that one more regeneration is possible. So it's that kind of story."'
What do you think of Doctor Who skipping its Christmas Special this year? Let us know in the comments!
Doctor Who airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on BBC America.