As the iconic British sci-fi series Doctor Who approaches its 60th anniversary, fans of the show, affectionately known as Whovians, eagerly anticipate the upcoming specials. With Russell T Davies, the man behind the show’s successful revival in 2005, returning as the showrunner, there is a palpable excitement. Let’s look at what we know so far about the Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials and delve into the cast, storylines, and potential surprises that await us in November 2023.
The regeneration of Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor marked a surprising moment for the series. While David Tennant’s return for the 60th anniversary was expected, his appearance in the teaser trailer left fans ecstatic. Tennant’s recognition of his own teeth and his exclamation of “What? What? WHAT!?” mirrored the collective reaction of viewers. This thrilling moment confirms Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor, paving the way for an intriguing multi-Doctor story.
Joining Tennant in the specials is Ncuti Gatwa, who will portray the Fifteenth Doctor. While the trailer hints at Gatwa’s appearance, whether he will share screen time with Tennant’s Doctor remains uncertain. Given the significance of the 60th anniversary, it is highly likely that the specials will feature a multi-Doctor narrative, leading to Tennant’s regeneration into Gatwa’s incarnation. Russell T Davies has teased that surprises are in store, promising a journey filled with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger, and fun.
New and returning cast members
Catherine Tate will reprise her role as companion Donna Noble in the 60th anniversary specials. Donna’s inclusion raises intriguing questions, as The Doctor had to erase her memories to protect her from the consequences of her time-travelling experiences. Will Donna remember enough to recreate the chemistry she shared with Tennant’s Doctor?
Jacqueline King and Bernard Cribbins will also make a return as Donna’s mother and grandfather, respectively. Unfortunately, Cribbins passed away after filming scenes for the 60th anniversary, making his appearance a poignant tribute to his character. The specials will likely provide a memorable send-off for King and Cribbins, honouring their contributions to the Doctor Who universe.
Millie Gibson has been confirmed to play Ruby Sunday, the companion of Gatwa’s Doctor. While it is unclear whether her character will debut in the 60th anniversary specials, another companion, Yasmin Finney, will undoubtedly play a significant role. Finney’s character, Rose, has been described by Davies as a source of brightness and wildness, teasing a thrilling development for Doctor Who fans in 2023.
Fans will also be delighted to see Miriam Margolyes join the cast of the 60th anniversary specials. Known for her roles in the Harry Potter movies and Merlin, Margolyes previously lent her voice to the character Leef Apple Glyn Slitheen-Blathereen in The Sarah Jane Adventures. While it is unlikely she will reprise the same role, Doctor Who is known for its timey-wimey surprises, leaving room for speculation about Margolyes’ character in the specials.
Neil Patrick Harris, a significant new addition to the cast, is set to play an unnamed role. Davies and Harris have kept details about the character under wraps, but they have revealed that Harris will portray the greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced. The excitement surrounding Harris’ involvement hints at an extraordinary performance and raises questions about the connection between his character and the puppets alluded to by Davies in earlier statements. Is he the Toymaker?
Will any other Doctors return?
While it appears unlikely that Jodie Whittaker will appear as the Thirteenth Doctor in the 60th anniversary specials, she has expressed her desire to return to the role in the future. Whittaker’s enthusiasm for reprising her character demonstrates her dedication to the show.
Matt Smith, who portrayed the Eleventh Doctor, has stated that he has not been contacted about making a return but has expressed his willingness to reprise his role. Peter Capaldi, the Twelfth Doctor, has voiced his reservations about participating in a multi-Doctor story, citing the challenge of giving each Doctor sufficient screen time. While the return of older Doctors like Peter Davidson, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, and David Bradley is uncertain, the history of surprise appearances in Doctor Who leaves room for speculation.
Doctor Who on Disney+
Aside from the casting announcements and tantalising plot details, the most significant news surrounding Doctor Who is the BBC’s partnership with Disney for broadcasting the show. This partnership marks the end of ABC’s longstanding association with the BBC in Australia, as new episodes will now be available on Disney+. While this change may disappoint some Australian fans, the collaboration with Disney is expected to provide Doctor Who with the budget and resources it deserves, ushering in a new era for the series.
The Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials promise to be a milestone event for fans around the world. With Russell T. Davies at the helm and an exciting cast lineup, the anticipation for November 2023 continues to grow. While specific details about the storylines and surprises remain shrouded in mystery, the return of beloved characters and the introduction of new faces ensure that the specials will be a memorable celebration of the iconic series. As we countdown the days until the anniversary, the excitement and speculation among Whovians reach fever pitch.