What We Know About the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary

Article by Kieran Burt

Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary is fast approaching, and with it the 60th anniversary special. First released on November 23 1963, the show has become a staple with science fiction fans. Next November, audiences will see a 60th anniversary special to commemorate the show. While major plot information is still under wraps, some small details have been released. 

Unfortunately, a concrete release date hasn’t been confirmed yet. However, it’s likely to release close to or on November 23rd 2023.

On the casting front, things are more concrete. Leaked set photos have confirmed that David Tennant, the tenth Doctor, has confirmed that he will be reprising his role in the specia, albeit with a different costume. He is alongside Catherine Tate, who will be returning as Donna Noble. 

David Tennant has spoken about the photos, saying they “aren’t even close to the whole story”, adding that “many other [familiar] people”. He explained at the Fan Expo Boston: 

“What I think is interesting about the fact that Catherine Tate and me may have been filming, you see, because we are slightingly unfortunate (or fortunate) in that we were filming some scenes that were in the public so it had to be admitted that we were in it. So most of what’s been filmed with other people has all been inside. So, there is lots more coming than people think, which is very exciting. And as far as I know, no-one has quite figured out yet what Catherine and I are doing there. I think there is a lot of theory, a lot of speculation, but I’m very excited for people to see the tiny little cog we are in Russell’s great machine.”

David Tennant isn’t the only Doctor to tease his return in the special. Speaking at a fan event, the ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston has confirmed that he has “recorded something very special” for the 60th Anniversary. 

Other familiar faces are also reprising their roles in the special. Bernard Cribbins will be playing Donna’s grandfather, and Jacqueline King and Karl Collins are also returning as Donna’s mother and husband. 

It’s expected that many other familiar cast members will be reprising their roles in the special.  

As for new cast members, Yasmin Finney from Heartstopper will be playing a different version of Rose. Neil Patrick Harris will be playing the villain of the special, though it hasn’t been confirmed who Doctor Who will be facing off against yet. Russell T Davies, the screenwriter for the special, has teased Neil Patrick Harris in costume, wearing spectacles, old-fashioned clothes and an apron. Davies further teases fans by saying that Harris will play the “greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced.” but doesn’t reveal who it is. 

Russell T Davies on Instagram: “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! @nph @bbcdoctorwho ♥️Ha! 🎵”

As for, Ncuti Gatwa has so far not been confirmed to appear in the special as the 14th Doctor, but that hasn’t stopped fan speculation. Neil Patrick Harris has spoken about Gatwa’s incarnation of the Doctor, assuring fans that “He’ll be the first gay Doctor, which is going to be super cool, a sexier Doctor.  

Plot details are also under wraps. In a recent issue of the Doctor Who magazine, Davies left cryptic hints as to how and why the Doctors are returning, and how there is another Rose. Davies wrote ““A mysteriously forgotten excursion for the TARDIS in between Planet of the Ood and Sontaran Stratagem? Or maybe a multiverse thing, they’re all the rage these days. Maybe this is the Doctor and Donna from Universe 557, all set to collide with our own. 

“Then again, maybe, just maybe, this return is so impossible that it’s actually an intricate illusion created by an old enemy of the Doctor’s. Or maybe an old enemy of Donna’s. Nerys!”