Here’s a definitive ranking of every Doctor Who Christmas specials, from worst to best.
Since Doctor Who returned to television in 2005, the series has made annual Christmas specials an annual tradition. These specials have varied in importance and quality over the years. Some of the Doctor’s Yuletide adventures have been great and had a lasting impact on the series. Two Doctors have fallen in Christmas specials and one made his grand debut. And the revived series’ two showrunners, Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat, ended their respective runs with Christmas specials.
The Doctor Who Christmas specials also acted as synecdoches for each of Doctor’s individual tenure. The Tenth Doctor specials were all tonally inconsistent, shifting from tragedy to farce with dizzying speed. The Eleventh Doctor’s specials were whimsical and sentimental affairs that missed the mark as often as they hit it. And the Twelfth Doctor’s specials split the difference between trying too hard and being beautifully life-affirming.
Others have been less consequential, having little impact on the series’ ongoing narrative but are nevertheless compelling one-offs. They celebrated the wonder and joy of the season, as well as the sadness that can sometimes accompany the holiday. And others have been so lightweight as to be insubstantial, evaporating from memory as soon as the final credits roll. This list ranks each Doctor Who Christmas special, from the seasonal garbage fires to the minor masterpieces.