As I’m writing this, there are less than 48 hours until Christmas. The house will be filled with presents, delicious food, loved ones, and the traditions that make the holiday so special to everyone. One of those traditions is fairly new to my household, indeed only the third time I’ve celebrated the occasion: the Doctor Who Christmas Special! For two consecutive Christmases, I’ve watched Matt Smith meet Clara Oswald and I’ve seen my Doctor change into Peter Capaldi, and nitpicking aside, the experience has been magical. I simply cannot think of a better nightcap for the Christmas holiday. While the concept is fairly recent, mostly starting with the revival series (save the Hartnell line in The Feast of Steven) it has evolved into an important part of the Christmas celebration for many Whovians.
For many fans of the classic series, however, it may cause a bit of sadness to realize that Doctors Troughton through McGann (and effectively Hartnell) never got the opportunity to have their own Christmas themed episode air on the holiday. While we cannot take a TARDIS back in time and put the idea into the heads of the show’s creators and succeeding producers and change history, there may yet be another route of getting close. Ladies and gentleman, if you’ve read the article title, you know I’m suggesting that it is time for a yearly Big Finish Christmas Special. Let’s take a look at the whys and the hows of what that would look like and what we could expect, shall we?
The most obvious question we must ask is why. Why do we need and want this new venture? Well, dear reader, at its most simple core it gives us a chance to visit the magic of Christmas with Doctors and companions who have long passed from our TV screens into memory. Have you never imagined a festive themed story featuring the Eighth Doctor? Or what Tom Baker might do with a script set during the holiday? The five living Doctors are all very active participants in their respective Big Finish lines. Why not take advantage of that to give to fans the gift of a Christmas special? As great as Tennant, Smith, and Capaldi have been in their holiday outings, I’m sure there is still a contingency of fans that long for the series and its specials to be more like the classic series was. The likelihood of that is slim, but this would give us a form of that to enjoy.
The next logical musing is how. What does a Big Finish Christmas special look like? Or perhaps more aptly, sound like. The beauty of creating a new thing is that there are so many avenues that could be explored. While some could automatically jump to a multi-Doctor special, I would argue that we keep things a little more focused. My proposal would be to do a different Doctor each year for the special, keeping the story contained to that Doctor and his companion(s) or guest companion (more on that in a moment). Perhaps, even look at a multi-Doctor Christmas after the individual Doctors have had their time in the light, if a story is magnificent and strong enough to support the weight of the cast (that’s actually a good rule for onscreen multi-Doctor specials as well… I digress!). This would also be a fantastic opportunity to potentially bring in a big name actor/actress as a one-off companion or the villain of the story (much in the way that the modern series treats the Christmas special). The opportunities are only limited by those who are interested.
The last detail that needs addressed is, how in the world do you distribute something like this? I offer what I feel to be the best and furthest reaching solution: What if Big Finish partnered with BBC Radio to do a Christmas Day broadcast of the special, potentially timed to finish right before the televised special begins? Afterwards, the special would be available only through the normal Big Finish distribution methods. This allows Big Finish to make a profit on the special, while also providing it for anyone that wants to listen on Christmas Day. It’s a little hard to see a downside here, especially given the increased awareness of the company and their audio adventures. It could potentially lead to a whole new lot of customers and subscribers.
Of course, this is all supposition. To our knowledge, there are no plans for such an endeavor by Big Finish. But what a wonderful thought it is, dear reader! Perhaps this could be the next great Christmas tradition for Whovians. Or maybe it’s just the dream of Big Finish Doctor Who fans; either way, we can always be hopeful that Nicholas Briggs and company might consider the option. Only time will tell for sure.
What say you, fellow Kasterborites? Would you enjoy a Big Finish Christmas Special? Do you think we’ve got a good idea or would you rather see it done differently? Feel free to join in the conversation. Happy Christmas to you all!