The BBC’s annual Children in Need telethon, which airs tonight, will reveal the long-awaited title of this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special.
The evening’s line-up of programmes will include a brand-new Doctor Who mini-episode and a trailer for the Doctor Who special, which will be broadcast on Christmas Day in the UK and US.
Doctor Who’s association with the BBC’s charity, Children in Need, stretches way back to the early eighties and, since returning to television in 2005, the long-running science-fiction drama series has been a regular inclusion in the telethon line up.
As well as full-length episodes, mini episodes are produced each year by the Doctor Who production team, both for television and Internet broadcast. A number of these have already been premiered during Children in Need: Born Again (2005), which introduced David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor; Time Crash (2007), which saw Tennant alongside one of his predecessors, Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor; and The Naked Doctor (2011), starring Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor.
The Naked Doctor was the first time Doctor Who had been filmed at BBC Television Centre in London since the late 1980s, with all other post-20th-century Doctor Who being filmed by BBC Cymru Wales in Cardiff.
The official Doctor Who website reports that tonight’s minisode will be a prequel to the Christmas special, and goes on to say that there will also be “an exclusive trailer for the Time Lord’s next adventure [and] that the title for the Christmas special will also be revealed [together with] who or what the Doctor will be facing in the festive episode”.
Children in Need will begin at 7.30 p.m. on BBC 1 this evening – Friday, 16 November – and, according to Doctor Who News, the prequel is “scheduled to air between then and 8 p.m. [with] the trailer set to go out at some point between 8.30 p.m. and 9 p.m.”. However, as with the nature of this type of live programming, these timings may change on the night!
BBC Children in Need was set up in 1980, since when it has raised in excess of £600 million for children's charities in the UK. It’s mascot is Pudsey Bear and its long-standing TV host is Terry Wogan. Anyone wishing to donate can do so via the official Children in Need pages at the BBC.
The 2012 Christmas special is written by Steven Moffat and directed by Saul Metzstein. It stars Matt Smith as the Doctor and introduces Jenna-Louise Coleman as his new companion. The episode also sees the return of three popular characters, Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and Commander Strax (Dan Starkey) – all last seen in A Good Man Goes to War (2011) – and will guest-star Richard E Grant (Withnail and I).