“Sometimes I think there’s something missing. Like I had something lovely…, and its gone,” says Donna Noble (Catherine Tate). Images of the Tenth-turned-Fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant) flash across our screen. “I lie in bed thinking, what I have lost?”
These are the first words we hear in the latest, explosive trailer for the Doctor Who 60th-anniversary specials. Like myself, fans will be tirelessly rewatching the footage, analysing each and every frame for hidden clues and answers to the questions that are still two months away.
Let’s discuss. By this point, it might be the worst-kept secret in the lead-up to the 60th-anniversary as the trailer confirms that Neil Patrick Harris will be portraying The Celestial Toymaker, a villain last seen in Doctor Who in 1966. Reimagined after six decades, the villain goes by the revised title of The Toymaker, following a social media post on the Doctor Who X (formerly Twitter) account.
Tennant recalls “a memory” as the Toymaker waves at the Time Lord across a chaos-riddled street. “After a very long time, something’s coming back,” he adds. In a later scene, the Doctor and Donna confront Harris in the Toymaker’s shop. “Oh, but he is recognising me…” the Toymaker taunts. While the trailer does not explicitly reveal Harris by the title of Toymaker, he chillingly describes himself as the “one who waits.”
Watch the trailer below.
At another point, Harris swells to the size of a giant. In one of the most ominous shots from the trailer, the Toymaker manipulates marionette strings. The classic villain is later locked in a deadly-looking duel with the Doctor on the rooftop of a high-rise UNIT tower, which brings us neatly onto…
UNIT – the Unified Intelligence Task Force are back in action! They were played down quite drastically until the end of the Jodie Whittaker era, but as Russell T Davies prepares for his second tenure on the show, restoring UNIT to all their former glory was evidently a top priority. UNIT has risen up in the world, and quite literally. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) takes command from a skyscraper in the centre of London (Canary Wharf vibes).
We have UNIT helicopters flying over London under siege and troops on the ground fighting Wrarth warriors (previously revealed in an earlier trailer). “What do we do this time Doctor,” Kate asks as she leads him and Donna across a helipad. “How do we fight the human race?”
Footage from the second of the three specials, “Wild Blue Yonder,” has been notably absent in previous trailers. Tennant’s Time Lord cuts a desperate figure against the threat they face in this episode. “Why does it have to be this?” the Doctor cries in desperation, slamming his hands against a wall in another scene. “There’s something so bad the TARDIS ran away?” Donna further asks. What could be so bad?
However this plays out, we know the stakes are higher than ever. “I don’t know if I can save your life this time…,” the Doctor tells Donna. These are the episode titles for the specials, debuting at an undisclosed date in November 2023.
Episode 1 – “The Star Beast”
Episode 2 – “Wild Blue Yonder”
Episode 3 – “The Giggle”
Doctor Who can be streamed via the BBC iPlayer, with classic episodes on Britbox. What are you most excited to see from the future of the series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!