Next year, three specials to commemorate Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary will debut on the BBC, and the network has now released a full-length teaser trailer for what’s to come. Premiering last night (Christmas Day), this analysis will break down the explosive trailer a bit more to give us a clearer idea of what it all means, but if there’s one thing for certain, the destiny of Donna Noble is at the heart of it. “Sometimes, I think there’s something missing,” we can hear Catherine Tate’s former companion speaking. At the same time, the Doctor lands the TARDIS in London, and we see Yasmin Finney’s Rose carrying a box into a house.
In some way, it seems the fates of Finney’s character and Donna’s will come together, as the two women are seen in the Noble household. Elsewhere, a strange-looking pod lands in the middle of a field, drawing a crowd of curious passers-by. As flashes of Tennant’s Doctor appear on screen, Donna alludes to “something lovely” now absent from her life. Plus, Donna’s mum Sylvia (Jacqueline King), is back, and she’s joined by her husband Shaun Temple (Karl Collins). The two of them are later spotted in the trailer, reprising their roles in the series for the first time since 2010, stood amidst an unknown disaster.
Knowing the implications of the Doctor’s presence in Donna’s life, should her daughter remember her adventures with the Time Lord since it could kill her, Sylvia is determined to keep the secret from the best temp in Chiswick, with hilarious results. In one scene, with the Doctor standing behind her, Sylvia holds her arms up and blocks his path, in a terrible bid to hide him. “He’s not there! You can’t see him!!” she declares. Not that this attempt stops Donna from seeing him, of course, referring to him as the “skinny man.”
Neil Patrick Harris is featured more prominently in this trailer too, proudly announcing a “worldwide premiere” to whatever wicked plans he has prepared for the series, declaring that “the show is just beginning,” and he’s got a French accent, by the sounds of it. We see the former How I Met Your Mother actor waving at the Doctor in a top hat as the Time Lord surveys a disaster in a busy high street, and Finney’s Rose speaking to a tiny, strangely adorable creature with white fur. The wide-eyed alien, a hybrid of Dobby and Baby Yoda, refers to “monsters,” a group of hostile aliens that, in appearance, look like bottle flies. These creatures are running rampant on the streets of London, engaging in firefights with UNIT soldiers, if the emblem on their jackets are anything to go by. The bottle-fly looking beasties could also be connected to a rocket ship spotted around the twenty-second mark of the footage.
“I don’t believe in destiny, but if destiny exists, then it is heading for Donna Noble,” the Doctor can be heard saying further into the trailer. Over this dialogue, new images of a brightly lit toy shop emerge on the screen as a man enters on a rainy night with an umbrella. A banner above the shop reads Mr. Emporium, with words such as magic, board games, and toys stencilled into the windows. Could the Celestial Toymaker be set to return to Doctor Who for the first time since Hartnell’s First Doctor era?
The image of the toy shop could be a bit on the nose, but the setting would make sense. The Celestial Toymaker was an alien who forced others to play a series of games within his world out of boredom. Those who lose the games would be kept within his domain forever.
Watch the trailer below.
Harris is later seen lying on a bed of roses and throwing them with an eccentric expression toward the camera. Ruth Madeley makes a fleeting appearance, having starred in Years and Years, a BBC drama penned by Russell T. Davies. With the Doctor and Donna seemingly reunited to take on new threats facing the Earth, the Doctor coldly reminds someone, maybe Wilf (who we know will appear in the series to some extent before his tragic passing in July), that if Donna ever remembers her life with him, she will die. However, we see no sign of Cribbins in the teaser.
The trailer pitches in Tennant’s iconic “Allons-y” catchphrase to leave many of us with a nostalgic grin, and once again, we see the footage of Ncuti Gatwa’s fifteenth Doctor to close out the trailer. “Will someone tell me what the hell is going on here?” he asks. He’s not the only one asking this question, as Doctor Who fans will need to wait another eleven months for answers. Rest assured, it’ll be worth the wait.
Doctor Who returns to our televisions in November 2023 for three special episodes to mark the 60th anniversary. If you want more Doctor Who content, including the news that filming for Ncuti Gatwa’s first series of Doctor Who is now underway. What are you most excited to see from the future of Doctor Who? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!