With filming well underway for the Doctor Who 60th anniversary celebrations, here’s a rundown of everything we know so far…
Ncuti Gatwa is the next Doctor
Ncuti Gatwa was unveiled as the Fourteenth Doctor back in May. Or, to be specific, as “the new Doctor set to take charge of the TARDIS” in 2023, the year of the Doctor Who 60th anniversary celebrations. Is there any significance in the fact that he hasn’t been named as the Fourteenth Doctor, particularly in light of David Tennant’s return (more on that below)?
Time will tell. In the meantime, here’s how Russell T Davies announced his casting: ““The future is here and it’s Ncuti! Sometimes talent walks through the door and it’s so bright and bold and brilliant, I just stand back in awe and thank my lucky stars. Ncuti dazzled us, seized hold of the Doctor and owned those TARDIS keys in seconds. It’s an honour to work with him, and a hoot, I can’t wait to get started. I’m sure you’re dying to know more, but we’re rationing ourselves for now, with the wonderful Jodie’s epic finale yet to come. But I promise you, 2023 will be spectacular!”
So, one thing we do know for sure – Ncuti Gatwa will be taking charge of the TARDIS at some point in the Doctor Who 60th anniversary year.
David Tennant is back
This isn’t really news at this point, but we know that David Tennant is returning for the Doctor Who 60th anniversary, and is currently filming scenes for 2023. Moreover, he is joined by his Series Four companion Donna Noble, played by Catherine Tate.
But what we don’t know is how these casting announcements fit into the Doctor Who canon. As Russell T Davies put it: “They’re back! And it looks impossible – first, we announce a new Doctor, and then an old Doctor, along with the wonderful Donna, what on earth is happening? Maybe this is a missing story. Or a parallel world. Or a dream, or a trick, or a flashback. The only thing I can confirm is that it’s going to be spectacular, as two of our greatest stars reunite for the battle of a lifetime.”
The mystery is compounded by the fact that we still don’t know how Jodie Whittaker’s regeneration will play out. According to the director of her final episode, the filming was completed several months ago. So was Ncuti Gatwa on set for the all-important moment? Or David Tennant? Or both? Or neither? And will the Doctor Who 60th anniversary celebrations see David Tennant as a temporary Fourteenth Doctor, or an alternate Doctor? Or, as Russell T Davies suggests, as the Doctor of a flashback story…?
Yasmin Finney is playing Rose
In another twist that is sure to melt brains, the actor Yasmin Finney has been confirmed to be playing Rose in scenes that will coincide with the Doctor Who 60th anniversary celebrations.
Again, this announcement raises a lot of questions. “Life on Doctor Who gets brighter and wilder,” says Russell T Davies. “How can there be another Rose? You’ll find out in 2023, but it’s an absolute joy to welcome Yasmin to the Doctor Who set. We all fell in love with her in Heartstopper, one of those shows which changes the world – and now Yasmin can change the Whoniverse!”
But does this mean that Yasmin Finney is playing Rose Tyler in the Doctor Who 60th anniversary, or simply a character called Rose? Or is it a version of Rose Tyler from another dimension, or – as Davies suggests – simply “a dream, or a trick”?
Neil Patrick Harris is playing “the greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced”
One of the more recent casting announcements is Neil Patrick Harris, who will be playing one of the baddies across the Doctor Who 60th anniversary celebrations. Here’s how Russell T Davies announced his casting…
“It’s my huge honour to open our studio doors for the mighty Neil Patrick Harris… but who, why, what is he playing? You’ll just have to wait. But I promise you, the stuff we’re shooting now is off the scale. Doctor beware!”
Davies expanded on this on Instagram, posting: “Neil Patrick Harris, welcome to Cardiff! Playing the greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced. Such a great actor, such a great man, it’s an honour and a hoot. Have fun!” He later followed this up with a photo from the set wishing Harris a happy birthday.
Inevitably, the announcement that Harris would be playing “the greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced” in an “off the scale” Doctor Who 60th anniversary led to wild speculation on the Twittersphere. Could Harris be playing a dark, alternate version of the Doctor, such as the Valeyard or the Dream Lord? Or could he be playing a villain from the Doctor’s past, such asthe Celestial Toymaker, or the Great Intelligence? Or even the Master?
Interestingly, the BBC’s photo of Harris is the first official look at the Doctor Who 60th anniversary, so it’s now up to the internet to dissect what it means, and who exactly Harris is playing. As Davies says, “Have fun!”
When will we know more?
Casting announcements for the Doctor Who 60th anniversary scenes could come at any time, so be sure to stay tuned. Could 2023 finally see the return of warrior queen Peri and Turlough of Trion?!
In the meantime, we have a 90 minute special coming up this autumn to mark the BBC’s centenary and the end of Jodie Whittaker’s tenure. Seeing how her regeneration is handled will (hopefully) answer some questions about how the Doctor Who 60th anniversary year will play out, and it’s bound to have a few extra surprises of its own. After all, we already know that Tegan and Ace are returning for Whittaker’s last episode, so the door could be open for other past companions to make an appearance. And perhaps a Plasmaton or two.
How do you think the Doctor Who 60th anniversary year will play out? And who do you think Neil Patrick Harris is playing? Let us know in the comments below.
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