UPDATE: The BBC’s Lizo Mzimba says the listings are a mistake, and Amazon “categorically” won’t be showing the new Doctor Who Christmas special early.
Panic over! This is 'categorically not' this year's Xmas Special says BBC Worldwide (it's probably The Return of Doctor Mysterio). As usual BBC America will have the US premiere of Twice Upon A Time. And UK viewers will see it before anywhere else on BBC One. https://t.co/rOCHZD6ifb
— lizo mzimba (@lizo_mzimba) December 5, 2017
A statement sent to Yahoo by the BBC confirmed: BBC America have the US premiere (as always) of this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special ‘Twice Upon A Time’ and reports of it premiering on any other broadcaster or platform are incorrect. BBC America have yet to confirm their date and time of broadcast.
ORIGINAL STORY: Gathering round to watch the Doctor Who Christmas special while digesting your turkey dinner and devouring a box of After Eights has become a British festive institution. Now it looks like the BBC will break that tradition, giving viewers in America the chance to watch the episode EARLY before it airs in the UK on Christmas Day.
A number of festive streaming listings have revealed that Peter Capaldi’s swansong ‘Twice Upon A Time’ will be coming to Amazon Prime US on 18 December, that’s a full week earlier, making it a nightmare for fans online wishing to avoid spoilers.
It’s Capaldi’s last episode as the The Doctor, AND it will be the first time viewers get to see the next Doctor – played by Jodie Whitaker – in action. The episode sees the return of David Bradley as the First Doctor, and features long-running Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss in a starring role.
Unsurprisingly, fans are livid at the prospect.
I don’t understand how @bbcdoctorwho can do this to us? I can just about afford Tv license but not broadband, basically penalised by the beeb for not having a very high salary Christmas special NOT so special anymore
— Simone (@S_Alice_C) December 5, 2017
Apparently the Doctor Who Christmas special is being aired on Amazon US before Christmas day, so we'll all see the regeneration way before Christmas Day… Good job doctor who
— Revanheart (@revanheart77) December 5, 2017
Some have cast doubt on the veracity of the claims, with the Guardian’s Martin Belam tweeting that his BBC sources believe the listing is “a mistake”.
@feelinglistless tried to check this out with BBC contacts and looks like it's a mistake – they say BBC One first
— Martin Belam (@MartinBelam) December 5, 2017
UK fans will also be given the chance to watch ‘Twice Upon a Time’ in cinemas early on 22 December, albeit with Jodie Whitaker’s regeneration removed, but tickets have completely sold out.
The Doctor Who Christmas special has become a British TV staple since Russell T Davies introduced the concept in 2005 with the David Tennant episode ‘The Christmas Invasion’. Every subsequent year has brought us a new Christmas special and ‘Twice Upon a Time’ will be the 13th festive special of the new era Who.
‘Voyage of the Damned’, guest-starring Kylie Minogue, pulled in a record 13.31m viewers on Christmas Day 2007.
We have reached out to the BBC for a response.