American fans of the British sci-fi drama Doctor Who are accustomed to waiting until summer to see the show’s annual Christmas specials, but this year is different. BBC America will show the first half of “The End of Time,” the two-part special that will end actor David Tennant’s run as the Doctor, on Dec. 26 — just one day after its U.K. premiere.
The second half of “The End of Time” is expected to air in the U.K. around New Year’s, but there has been no official word yet of a U.S. airdate.
Doctor Who eschewed a regular season this year, producing instead a series of specials like the annual yuletide romp. Spinoff Torchwood adopted a similar strategy, putting all its energy into the critically acclaimed “Children of Earth,” a miniseries aired over five consecutive days rather than a full third season.
A fifth regular season of Doctor Who will start early next year, with a new actor filling Tennant’s shoes: Matt Smith will be the 11th actor to portray the itinerant Time Lord since the show first debuted in 1963.