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Doctor Who Christmas special: Release date, air time and cast for The Church on Ruby Road

Ncuti Gatwa will debut as The Doctor in the forthcoming special

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023,16-11-2023,Xmas preview,Xmas preview,Picture Shows: The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson),**STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 28TH NOVEMBER 2023**,BBC Studios 2023,Lara Cornell
Millie Gibson and Ncuti Gatwa will appear in the Doctor Who Christmas special, which premieres on Christmas Day. (BBC)

Doctor Who has celebrated its 60th anniversary specials, and David Tennant has officially passed the torch to the next actor to play the iconic Time Lord: Ncuti Gatwa.

Gatwa may made his debut in the final special, The Giggle, as part of a surprise bi-regeneration, but his first official outing as the Fifteenth Doctor will be in the show's Christmas special.

Read more: Doctor Who special Wild Blue Yonder: Release date, plot and cast for next 60th Anniversary episode

Here is everything you need to know about the forthcoming episode.

When is the Doctor Who Christmas special on TV?

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023,16-11-2023,Xmas preview,Xmas preview,Picture Shows: The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa),**STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 28TH NOVEMBER 2023**,BBC Studios 2023,James Pardon
Ncuti Gatwa will make his full debut as The Doctor in The Church on Ruby Road special. (BBC)

The Doctor Who festive special is titled The Church on Ruby Road and it will be airing on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Christmas Day at 5.55pm.

Who stars in the cast for the Doctor Who Christmas special?

Doctor Who (BBC)
Millie Gibson stars as Ruby Sunday, who meets The Doctor in the festive episode. (BBC)

As mentioned, Gatwa will be taking control of the TARDIS as The Doctor, and he will be joined by Millie Gibson, who is playing new companion Ruby Sunday.

Read more: Russell T Davies opens up about transgender representation in Doctor Who

The Church on Ruby Road will also star presenter Davina McCall, who is playing herself, and others joining Gatwa and Gibson include Anita Dobson as Mrs Flood, Michelle Greenidge as Ruby’s mum Carla, and Angela Wynter as Ruby’s grandmother Cherry.

Doctor Who (BBC)
Davina McCall will appear in the special as herself. (BBC)

Speaking of the special at an event for the 60th anniversary specials, showrunner Russell T Davies shared his excitement for Gatwa's first outing as The Doctor: "That Christmas episode, it's gorgeous. It's absolutely gorgeous."

What is the Doctor Who Christmas special about?

The Church on Ruby Road will see the Fifteenth Doctor meet his new companion Ruby for the first time, seemingly at a night club, and they will then embark on their first adventure together.

Read more: Doctor Who: The 60 best stories

Doctor Who (BBC)
The Doctor Who special will see the Time Lord and Ruby encounter pirate goblins. (BBC)

The episode will see The Doctor and Ruby encounter pirate goblins, and while more details of this encounter have not been fully revealed it is known that the episode will include a musical element.

Ruby was abandoned on Christmas Eve as a baby and was taken in by her mum Carla and her grandmother Cherry, but her world will be turned upside down when she meets The Doctor.

After the Christmas special, Doctor Who will return for a new season in 2024 for a new season.

Is there a trailer for the Doctor Who Christmas special?

Doctor Who (BBC)
The Doctor Who Christmas special will be followed up by a new season of the show in 2024. (BBC)

A trailer for the Doctor Who Christmas special was shown following the release of The Giggle, on 9 December, and it teased Gibson's debut in the role.

Read more: A bluffer's guide to Doctor Who

It also showed the Doctor and Ruby meeting a group of pirate goblins and their amusing encounter, which will be full of song and dance numbers.

Watch the trailer below:

The Doctor Who The Doctor Who Christmas special will air on Christmas Day at 5.55pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.