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Doctor Who 60th Anniversary: Trailer, release date, cast, and everything else you need to know

Everything you need to know before the release of the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Special

David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Doctor Who
Image credit: BBC

Ever since Jodie Whittaker's run as Doctor Who's Thirteenth Doctor ended with the surprise regeneration of David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor, fans have been eagerly anticipating the 2023 release of Doctor Who's 60th Anniversary special. What is Tennant doing back as The Doctor? What does this mean for the newly announced Doctor and companion? Is that Neil Patrick Harris as the big bad?!

Although the return of Tennant is tremendously exciting, it also suggests a great deal of mystery as to what awaits the Doctor, Tardis, and Time Lords before the previously announced start of Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa's turn as the fifteenth Doctor. Likewise, Tennant's return is shrouded in timey-wimey confusion, as BBC announcements have "clarified" that Tennant's emergence is as the 14th Doctor, not as his former life as the 10th. As teased by showrunner Russell T. Davies: "If you thought the appearance of David Tennant was a shock, we’ve got plenty more surprises on the way! The path to Ncuti’s Fifteenth Doctor is laden with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger, and fun! And how is it connected to the return of the wonderful Donna Noble? How, what, why? We’re giving you a year to speculate, and then all hell lets loose!”

With that in mind, let's see what we know heading into the Doctor Who's 60th Anniversary special episodes.

When is the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary release date?

The first of the three Doctor Who anniversary specials will debut on Novemeber 25, with the second episode following on December 2, and the third episode premiering on December 9.

Episode Title Release Date
The Star Beast November 25
Wild Blue Yonder December 2
The Giggle December 9

Where can I stream the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials?

Doctor Who returns in November and December 2023 with three special episodes, all starring Tennant as the fourteenth Doctor. The series will premiere on the BBC in the UK and Ireland and Disney+ for audiences outside of the UK and Ireland.

Are there any Doctor Who 60th Anniversary trailers yet?

The 60th anniversary has a handful of teaser trailers, but most recently an extended official trailer was released. In addition to Tennant's return, and Catherine Tate's return as Donna Noble, the trailer teases the villainous presence of Neil Patrick Harris as the Celestial Toymaker. Harris's character makes their first on-screen appearance since 1966, playing into the full experience of celebrating 60 years of Doctor Who.

Watch on YouTube

Who will return in the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary?

David Tennant played the Doctor from 2005 to 2010, rapidly cementing his place in the franchise's history as an all-time fan favorite. This isn't Tennant's first return to Doctor Who since ending their run as the tenth doctor, as Tennant returned in 2013's 50th Anniversary Special, the instant classic "The Day of the Doctor."

During Tennant's time as the tenth doctor, his third and final companion was Donna Noble, as played by Catherine Tate, who returns here for the 60th anniversary. Tate's portrayal was notable for her friendship and comedic chemistry with Tennant, focusing on a role as the Doctor's best friend following romantic tension driving the relationships between the previous two companions. Tate has not reappeared as Noble since her departure from the show in 2010.

Whovians will also recognize Jemma Redgrave reprising her role as UNIT leader Kate Stewart. In the Whoniverse, UNIT is a military organization protecting Earth from supernatural and alien threats.

Who is on the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary creative team?

Longtime showrunner Russell T. Davies is returning to Doctor Who, writing all three 60th anniversary specials. Davies return as Doctor Who showrunner was announced in September 2021. Each of the three specials will be directed by Rachel Talalay, Tom Kingsley, and Chanya Button respectively.

Doctor Who 60th Anniversary with David Tennant
Image credit: BBC

What is the plot of Doctor Who 60th Anniversary?

So far, we know that Tennant's fourteenth Doctor will be looking to explore why this regeneration has taken the same form as the previous tenth Doctor. Likewise, the Doctor will be returning to Donna Noble, knowing that returning her memories of their time together could kill her and endanger those around her.

Otherwise, we know Neil Patrick Harris' Toymaker has nefarious plans for the Doctor and all those close to him!

How many episodes is the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary?

Three episodes will air in November, presumably week-by-week, but no official release schedule is yet available.

What should I watch ahead of Doctor Who 60th Anniversary?

Doctor Who rebooted in 2005, and given the return of Tennant and Tate, it seems wise to brush up on their time together from approximately 2008 through 2010 (if you need more details, here's our Doctor Who watch guide). The series four opening episode "Partners in Crime" marks the start of Tate's role as companion. The teaser trailer references the emotional conclusion of Tate and Tennant's time together, in which the Doctor is forced to wipe Noble's memory in order to save her life, which is a reference to the episodes "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End."

What comes after the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary?

15th Doctor and Companion
Image credit: BBC

Doctor Who Series 14 is anticipated to be released in the UK in early 2024, with the first episode starring Gatwa's 15th Doctor and Millie Gibson's new companion, Ruby Sunday, airing as a Christmas Special at the end of 2023.

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Dave Buesing avatar
Dave Buesing: Dave is the founder & editor-in-chief of Comic Book Herald, dedicated to helping all kinds of readers enjoy comics. He hosts Krakin' Krakoa on Youtube, and a Marvel reading club podcast called My Marvelous Year. He's written about comics for CBR, Ranker, and unsolicited text exchanges with his wife. Dave was the only kid in his elementary school wearing a homemade Nightcrawler costume for Halloween, and can be seen most evenings in Batman pajama pants.
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