What we know about the Doctor Who 2024 Christmas special

Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor in Doctor Who. (BBC)
Doctor Who's Christmas special will mark the return of Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor. (BBC)

Doctor Who season 14 ended on Saturday with the thrilling Empire of Death, which saw Ncuti Gatwa's Time Lord defeat Sutekh in stunning fashion and save Earth in the process.

The episode answered a lot of viewers questions, but also set up some ongoing mysteries into future seasons, namely around companion Ruby Sunday's (Millie Gibson) neighbour Mrs Flood (Anita Dobson). Some of these are likely to come to a head in the BBC show's forthcoming Christmas special, which viewers are no doubt curious to know more about.

Here is everything that has been said about the 2024 Christmas special so far.

Doctor Who S1,11-05-2024,Generics,The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA) & Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON) 

,BBC STUDIOS,Yoshitaka Kono
Millie Gibson played the Doctor's companion Ruby Sunday in season 14, and she will reprise the role in season 15 but it is not yet known if she will appear in the Christmas special. (BBC)

Viewers watched as Gibson's Ruby Sunday discovered her origins and finally learned who her mother was in the two-part finale, it turned out her birth mother was 15 when she gave birth and she gave Ruby up in order to give her a better life. The woman, named Louise Miller, was living in an abusive home at the time, and now works as an NHS nurse.

Ruby and Louise had an emotional reunion at the end of the season, with the character getting ready to also meet her birth father who wasn't aware of her existence until now. The character appeared to bid farewell to the Doctor, who urged her to go and be with her family rather than continue travelling time and space with him.

This suggests that Ruby is taking a break from being the Doctor's companion, and rumours circulating earlier this year that Gibson was exiting the series appeared to point that way. However, it has been confirmed by the BBC that the actor will reprise her role as Ruby Sunday in the TV series.

It is not yet known if Gibson will be back for the Christmas special, but it seems highly likely.

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2024,13-11-2023,NICOLA COUGHLAN,**EMBARGOED UNTIL THE 13TH NOVEMBER 2023 AT 18:00HRS**,BBC Studios 2023,James Pardon
Nicola Coughlan will star in the 2024 Christmas special. (BBC)

Gatwa is returning as the Fifteenth Doctor in the 2024 Christmas special, which is titled Joy to the World and has been written by Steven Moffat.

Read more: Who is new Doctor Who companion Varada Sethu?

The episode will also star Bridgerton actor Nicola Coughlan in an as yet unspecified role. Another actor who could also appear in the episode is Varada Sethu, who played Mundy Flynn in Moffat's episode Boom this season and who will take on a new role in a future episode.

Varada Sethu as Mundy Flynn in Doctor Who, the actor will play a new character in season 15 and could star in the next Christmas special. (BBC)
Varada Sethu as Mundy Flynn in Doctor Who, the actor will play a new character in season 15 and could star in the next Christmas special. (BBC)

While it has not been confirmed if Sethu will appear in the special, it seems the perfect time to introduce her new character and see her join the Doctor on his adventures especially as the actor will be playing a companion alongside Gibson in season 15.

Showrunner Russell T Davies spoke of the upcoming episode in a behind-the-scenes video about Empire of Death shared on YouTube, where he said: "Now the Doctor voyages forward, and guess what always happens to the Doctor every so often — Christmas! Here comes Christmas.

Doctor Who: Unleashed,18-05-2024,3,Steven Moffat,Writer Steven Moffat,BBC Studios,James Pardon
Steven Moffat wrote the 2024 Christmas special. (BBC)

"I can't give away much more but work has begun on it already, and it's mad, it's one of the maddest Christmas specials you'll ever see. It's epic, it goes to so many different places. And it's a great story of who the Doctor is when he's alone."

As mentioned, Moffat has penned the Christmas special and story details are likely to be revealed closer to the festive season. The episode was filmed at the end of last year.

Doctor Who S1,22-06-2024,Empire of Death,8 - Empire of Death,Mrs Flood (ANITA DOBSON) & Cherry (ANGELA WYNTER),*NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 0001 HRS, SUNDAY 16TH JUNE, 2024*,BBC STUDIOS 2023,James Pardon
One pervading mystery going into the Christmas special is who Anita Dobson's Mrs Flood really is in Doctor Who. (BBC)

This brings us to the biggest mystery going into the next episode of Doctor Who: Mrs Flood and who she could be. The character is clearly a villain, and has been teased as someone sinister since the 2023 Christmas special when she spoke directly to the audience.

Mrs Flood broke the fourth wall once again at the end of season 14, saying that the Doctor's story would soon end in tragedy which suggests that something big is in store. Whether viewers will find out at Christmas is one thing, but maybe they will get some answers about the mysterious villain.

Being that it is a Christmas special, viewers should expect the episode to land on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Christmas Day. However, this has not yet been confirmed and so the episode may well air on a different day in the festive season — but given the 2023 special aired on Christmas Day it seems entirely plausible that the 2024 one will.