The Doctor and the Reindeer (TV story)

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The Doctor and the Reindeer[1][2] was the name given to the 2009 BBC Christmas idents.

They were available on the Internet on sites such as the BBC's YouTube channel as early as late November. The videos star David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, and a reindeer. The idents consisted of one thirty-second main video, and several "stings" of five seconds each. As Tennant filmed the shorts after The End of Time had wrapped, these constituted some of his final performances in his Doctor's era, although the The Sarah Jane Adventures episode The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith was recorded further after this.


The Doctor gets his TARDIS stuck in the snow and needs help from some reindeer.



The Doctor trudges through deep snow in a forest. He comes across the TARDIS and frowns as he sees it's buried in snow almost to the windows. Several reindeer graze nearby. As the Doctor makes eye contact with one of them, we hear sleigh bells and the Doctor cocks an eyebrow. Next, the Doctor is riding on the TARDIS, which is being pulled like a sleigh by the reindeer, who take to the sky. As the Doctor whoops and hollers, the TARDIS-sleigh does loop the loops in the sky, circling the BBC One logo.


A closeup of the TARDIS' door with the BBC One logo superimposed. The camera pulls back to reveal the TARDIS is half-buried in snow. The Doctor is in the background, grunting as he shovels snow.

Extreme close-up of a reindeer, with the TARDIS in the background. The reindeer snorts at the camera and fogging the lens.

Again, a closeup of the TARDIS' door with the BBC One logo superimposed. The camera pulls back to reveal a reindeer eating something on the ground, next to an abandoned shovel with the Doctor's coat draped over its handle.


The Doctor says that he's always disappointed when presents aren't bigger on the inside. He then wishes everyone a merry Christmas.


to be added


  • Several times in 2009, Russell T Davies referenced a "Special Project 3" in his columns in Doctor Who Magazine. These idents were confirmed as being Special Project 3 in DWM 416.
  • According to Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter, the idea for the idents was hatched during the 2008 Christmas season when Davies noted that if Wallace and Gromit could have the official BBC Christmas idents that year, it was time Doctor Who had a shot at them as well for 2009. The idents were assigned to Doctor Who in late April 2009.
  • Lasting only five seconds each, the three "stings" idents are among the shortest Doctor Who-related productions ever created (though not the first of this length, as several "stings" of similar length promoting Series 1 were also created).
  • According to DWM 416, David Tennant filmed the idents in a London studio on 21 May 2009, making these also one of the few scenes involving the Doctor to be filmed in London (historically the home of Doctor Who dating back to 1963) since production shifted to Wales in 2004.
  • According to dates given in Doctor Who Confidential, the idents were filmed the day after Tennant filmed his final scenes as the Doctor for Doctor Who. In his video diary (released in the 2009 Specials DVD/Blu-ray box set), he identifies the idents as his final performance as the Doctor, but he later filmed for the role one last time before the end of his tenure for the The Sarah Jane Adventures story The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith.

Christmas messages[[edit]]

On 13 December 2009, BBC One also released two brief messages from David Tennant which were initially available on the BBC's YouTube channel. Both were filmed on the same set as the Idents and feature Tennant — in character as the Doctor — wishing viewers a Merry Christmas, with the second of the two messages including a joke about him wishing his presents were "bigger on the inside".[1]

Also, when The End of Time: Part Two aired, David Tennant recorded the introduction to the show as the Doctor. During the introduction, a different, quiet track was played, instead of the usual upbeat one.

Alternate version[[edit]]

At least one of the idents — the main thirty-second piece — exists in an alternate version. The version aired on BBC America substitutes the BBC America HD logo for the BBC One logo at the end.


to be added

Home video release[[edit]]

The four idents were included in the Complete Specials box set, released to both DVD and Blu-ray (though they were rendered in standard definition for both) in the UK in January 2010 and North America in February 2010. The two spoken messages, however, were not included, nor was the BBC America variant. At less than a minute in duration, the Christmas Idents feature is possibly the shortest-running extra feature included on a Doctor Who DVD/Blu-ray release to date.