Hartnell wishes viewers a "Happy Christmas" againBookmark and Share

Saturday, 29 November 2014 - Reported by Anthony Weight
BBC One this evening began its countdown to the Christmas season with a special trail broadcast after tonight's edition of Strictly Come Dancing, reminding viewers of some of the Christmas programmes they have enjoyed on the channel in previous decades.

The trail, which is available on the official BBC YouTube channel, features examples of some of the channel's previous festive station idents, clips from various Christmas specials down the years... and William Hartnell, the First Doctor!

The Feast of Steven, the seventh episode of The Daleks' Master Plan in 1965, was the first Doctor Who episode to be broadcast on Christmas Day. Famously, at the conclusion of the episode, the Doctor turns to directly address the audience, breaking the fourth wall to wish: "...a Happy Christmas to all of you at home!" (Contrary to an oft-stated fan myth, this was a scripted line and not an ad-lib from Hartnell). A recreation of the scene was made as a DVD extra for An Adventure in Space and Time, and can also be viewed on the BBC's official YouTube channel, here.

The new BBC Christmas trail features the audio of Hartnell's line taken from the episode, which no longer exists in visual form, played over footage of Hartnell as the Doctor looking directly into the camera as he faces down one of the eponymous adversaries in The War Machines.

The trail also uses the TARDIS sound effect over some of the old Christmas idents to give the impression of going back in time, and features clips from more recent Doctor Who Christmas specials such as The Christmas Invasion and Voyage of the Damned.

Christmas Day television is a peak viewing time in the UK, with special editions of popular programmes gathering large audiences, and much competition to see which shows will end up at the top of the ratings. Doctor Who's next Christmas special, Last Christmas starring Peter Capaldi, is expected to be broadcast on Christmas Day in the evening, at a time yet to be confirmed. This is the tenth year in a row that Doctor Who has been accorded the prestige of a Christmas Day broadcast.