Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor

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Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor can currently be seen on Sunday nights

The festive edition of Doctor Who will be shown on New Year’s Day on BBC One instead of Christmas Day for the first time since the drama’s return in 2005.

It will be the first Doctor Who episode to debut on 1 January since the second part of David Tennant’s series exit aired on the first day of 2010.

Executive producer Chris Chibnall said it would see Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor “face a terrifying alien threat”.

The current series – Whittaker’s first – will conclude on 9 December.

“We’re thrilled to be starting the New Year with a bang on BBC One,” said Chibnall, who promised audiences “an action-packed, hour-long special adventure for all the family”.

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Mark Addy (centre) guest stars in the final episode of the current series

Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s director of content, said: “We’re delighted the Doctor and her companions will be welcoming BBC One audiences into 2019 with this exciting new episode.”

According to the BBC, the seasonal instalment will involve “a terrifying evil… from across the centuries of Earth’s history”.

The Christmas Day edition of Doctor Who has been a TV fixture since Christopher Eccleston ushered in the show’s current era.

Kylie Minogue, David Morrissey, Katherine Jenkins and Sir Michael Gambon are among the stars who have appeared in previous festive specials.

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Peter Capaldi (centre) bowed out of Doctor Who in last year’s Christmas episode

Whittaker’s first full episode attracted a record audience for a new Doctor – 10.9 million viewers – last month.

The actress was first seen in her new role at the end of Twice Upon A Time, last year’s Christmas special and the last episode to feature her predecessor, Peter Capaldi.

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