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Wales Online
Wales Online
Sam Cook

Doctor Who 60th Anniversary special: Everything we know about the return of David Tennant and Catherine Tate

While there was no Doctor Who Christmas/New Year special this year, show bosses did give fans a special treat on Christmas Day - a teaser trailer for next year’s 60th-anniversary episodes. The new episodes will see David Tennant and Catherine Tate return as The Doctor and Donna Noble, respectively. Russell T Davies, who rebooted the show in 2005, will also be back as showrunner.

In the short trailer, viewers got their first glimpse at Tennant’s return as The Doctor. Earlier this year, they were left surprised after finding out that the Scottish actor, 51, would be the next incarnation of the Time Lord following Jodie Whittaker’s departure in October. He will be back for a series of specials before the next Doctor, Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa, takes on the role alongside Coronation Street star Millie Gibson, who will be playing companion Ruby Sunday.

Plot details for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary celebrations remain tightly under wraps, however fans have speculated what will happen after seeing the new trailer, which features some amazing scenes with explosions and soliders, shot in Cardiff. Here is everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

Read more: Who is the new Doctor Who and when will Ncuti Gatwa be appearing in the BBC series?

Who is in the cast?

David Tennant is back as The Doctor (BBC)

As mentioned, Tennant and Tate return to the series. Also returning is Jacqueline King as Donna’s mum Sylvia, Karl Collins as Donna’s husband Shaun and Bernard Cribbins in his final TV role as Donna’s grandfather Wilfred Mott.

Newcomers for the 60th anniversary include Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney, who will play Rose - a character speculated to be Donna’s daughter. It has also been revealed that Years and Years actress Ruth Madeley will be playing a character called Shirley Anne Bingham. Miriam Margoyles is rumoured to appear as the voice of classic Doctor Who comics character, ‘Beep the Meep’.

In a true case of Hollywood casting, How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris will play the villain of the specials. Whilst it hasn’t been confirmed who Patrick Harris will be playing yet, it has been speculated that he will be a new version of 1960s villain The Celestial Toymaker. Fans have jumped to this conclusion after filming pictures emerged earlier in the year. You can read more about that here.

New Doctor Ncuti Gatwa will also appear in 60th anniversary celebrations. The new trailer ended with Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor exclaiming: “Would someone please tell me what the hell is going on?”

When is it on?

Neil Patrick Harris plays the as yet unnamed villain (BBC)

An official date for the 60th anniversary episodes has yet to be announced. The new trailer simply revealed that Doctor Who “returns 2023”.

Doctor Who celebrates 60 years on November 23 and therefore, it is assumed that the new episodes will air sometime around then.

What is the plot?

Catherine Tate's Donna Noble is crucial to the plot (BBC)

Plot details for the 60th anniversary specials are still a little sketchy. The new trailer offered fans a clue as to what is coming up.

When The Doctor and Donna Noble last saw each other, he was forced to wipe her memory and according to the Time Lord, if she ever remembers him, she will ‘die’. Considering how this plotline is an integral part of Donna’s character, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if it is revisited in the new episodes. Aliens ‘Beep the Meep’ and the ‘Wraith Warriors’, who up until now have only appeared in Doctor Who comics, will also be involved in the action somehow.

One of the biggest questions that needs to be answered is: How is David Tennant back as The Doctor? His appearance as the Fourteenth Doctor marks the first time in the show’s history that the Time Lord has had the same face more than once. This will almost certainly be crucial to the story of the 60th anniversary.

What happens after the 60th?

Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson as the Fifteenth Doctor and Ruby Sunday (PA)

Returning showrunner Russell T Davies is not just back for the 60th anniversary. He will continue to run the show during Ncuti Gatwa’s tenure as the Fifteenth Doctor.

Filming has now started for Ncuti and new companion Millie Gibson (who is playing Ruby Sunday) and the pair’s adventures in time and space are expected to begin over the festive season next year. The future of Doctor Who has never been more promising, as it has also been announced that the new episodes will stream worldwide on Disney+.


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