'Doctor Who' Christmas special live blog: Matt Smith leaves, Peter Capaldi arrives

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After months of build up, the time has come for Matt Smith to say goodbye on "Doctor Who." His final Christmas special, "The Time of the Doctor," brings about his departure in the midst of all kinds of Whovian insanity, from Daleks to the Silence, Weeping Angels to Cybermen. The episode will also introduce the new Doctor ( Peter Capaldi).

It's bound to be an emotional farewell to Smith, who has portrayed the role for three seasons, during the show's popularity explosion in the United States. This is the first new episode of the show since the epic 50th anniversary spectacular that saw the 11th Doctor teaming up with his predecessor David Tennant for an adventure through space and time.

Follow along with Zap2it as we say goodbye to Smith and hello to Capaldi, while hopefully getting a glimpse of what to expect from the new Doctor in terms of personality. Maybe they'll also finally explain exactly how another regeneration is possible.

"The Time of the Doctor" begins at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America.

9 p.m. - It's time everyone, here we go! Time for the eleventh Doctor to go out with a bang.

They're wasting no time putting the Doctor into some serious danger. The Doctor's new buddy, a disembodied Cyberman head, seems like a fitting companion. How is it the Doctor has such an outdated phone on his time and space machine? No answering machine, either.
What's scarier than Daleks? Meeting the parents. The Doctor is going to be posing as the man in Clara's (Jenna Coleman) like when meeting her parents This could be fun.

First he makes the unwise decision to greet several Cybermen with his friend, the head. Last time for Matt Smith in the credits!

9:05 p.m. - It didn't take long for the Doctor to get naked. Why is he in the buff? "Because I'm going to church." There's definitely quite a bit of funny in the episode so far, softening the blow for what's to come. Clara's grandma has a crush on the Doctor.

9:07 p.m. - The computer in the Cyberman head says it's found Gallifrey This could get interesting. Back in space, outside what must be Trenzalore, the Doctor and Clara are going to his kind of church to meet Tasha Lem ( Orla Brady), the Mother Superious.

Clara gets naked too, though you'll never see it because the Doctor has a pretty advanced hologram. The Doctor ants Tasha to give him access to Trenzalore.

9:15 - The Doctor excuses himself to speak with Tasha privately, but the moment he's gone the Silence shows up, which is new for Clara. They're just so creepy. Clara bursts in on the Doctor and Tasha but, of course, forgets she saw the Silence. Tasha sends the two of them down to the planet, but makes him hand over his TARDIS key.

9:19 - The moment they are teleported to the planet, it's Weeping Angel time!

9:20 - Bald Matt Smith! He shaved his head and had a second TARDIS key hidden in a wig. That's one way around Smith shaving his head in the real world. The Doctor looks strange when he's bald.

9:20 - When the Doctor and Clara make it to a local town, Christmas. they find out it's impossible to lie in it. This could get fun. Clara immediately lets slip that she fancies the Doctor, while 11 admits his wig.

9:28 - Things are coming full circle for 11, as he finds a crack in space and time. This could be the key to finding Gallifrey. The planet has been beaming out the oldest question in the galaxy, one only the Doctor can answer, and it's finally decoded. "Doctor who?" If the Doctor gives his true name, it proves to the Time Lord they are able to come back, which would be pretty bad.

Tasha Lem says is the Doctor speaks his name, allowing them to come back, they will be massacred and the Time War will begin all over again. The Doctor sends Clara to the TARDIS to do something, not knowing that he was sending her back to earth and away from danger.

9:34 - The Doctor takes on the role of protector of Christmas and the  time flies by, years passing. He keeps the bad guys out of town. Though no one expected a wooden Cybrman, which is about the coolest thing ever. He shoots fire, which is crazy. The Doctor has aged quote a bit, he's an old man with a cane now. Still got that attitude, though.

9:38 - After 300 years, the TARDIS finally comes back for the Doctor, with Clara holding onto the door from the outside. She's been raveling through space with the box, while the Doctor waited. An interesting turn of events from Amy Pond, the girl who waited.

9:45 - After catching up with Clara a bit and getting his Cyberman head, the Doctor's Cyberman buddy, Handles, finally stops working. Clara wants to know why he sent her away and it's simple, otherwise she would have died.

Now comes the time for the Doctor to explain his regenerations. He explains that he's used up all his regenerations and this Doctor is the one that will grow old, his last face. There's even a funny dig at Tennant's Doctor for regenerating but keeping his face, saying he had "vanity issues."

Tasha Lem calls down on the Doctor from on high, now representing the Church of the Silence, which is a whole new brand is scary. The Doctor takes him up on her offer, because he's got the TARDIS to carry him up to her ship.

9:45 - It turns out Tasha Lem is the Doctor's marshmallow supplier, because why not? It's all a Dalek trap, though. It's revealed that Tasha actually died fighting the Daleks and was turned into one, herself. This is bad news for the Doctor.

When the Daleks threaten to kill Clara, she's prepared to die. The Doctor sweet talks what's left of Tasha to fight the Dalek within and she kills off several of them, but then realized the Doctor's plan is to escape in the TARDIS, with Clara.

10 - Clara makes the Doctor promise he'll never send her away again. He still does it anyway, the moment she steps out of the TARDIS into her own world. The Doctor returns to Christmas to continue his job as protector.

10:05 - Back on Earth, Clara's family is trying to console her on the loss of her "boyfriend."

The TARDIS reappears with Tasha Lem at the helm, for some reason. Back on Christmas, everything has gone to hell. Tasha tells Clara, "He shouldn't die alone" and sends her to the Doctor."

The Doctor sits next to the crack in the universe, much, much older than he was and nearing the end of his life.

10:09 - The Daleks have finally gotten through to Christmas and they want the Doctor. His plan? "Talk very fast, hope something good happens." Clara wants him to change the future but he says that was only possible when there were more Time Lords. Sounds like it's time to speak his name.

The Doctor says his final goodbye to his "impossible girl" and goes out to face the Daleks. Once he's gone, Clara gets the crack in the wall to help him and says his name truly is the Doctor. Then the crack just disappears.

10:13 - The crack reopens in the sky and sends some of that old regeneration magic into the world. He's going gold!

Well, that was a pretty powerful regeneration. Then it cut to a commercial, but before you'd get to see the Doctor's new face.

10:20 - When all is said and done, Clara goes looking for the newly-regenerated Doctor and ends up in the TARDIS. She finds his clothes scattered about but it's a young Matt Smith she finds. It turns out the start of a new regeneration cycle takes him back to his younger years, but change s imminent. Before going, he remembers the first face he saw as the 11th Doctor, Amelia Pond. Cue a beautiful cameo from Karen Gillan, who returns to see her Raggedy Man once more.

The Doctor ditches his bow tie and suddenly, Capaldi. That was a quick one. The episode ends on a bumpy note as the new Doctor asks Clara, "Do you know how to fly this thing?"

Series 8 can't arrive soon enough.
Photo/Video credit: BBC America