2023 is truly a great year to be a Doctor Who fan, not only are we getting a new Doctor (hi Ncuti Gatwa), but we're also seeing the return of David Tennant and Catherine Tate who will be coming back to celebrate the series 60th anniversary.
The special set of episodes are expected to drop later this year and will feature a truly star studded cast, and also give us a first glimpse at Ncuti Gatwa's Doctor.
So if you're mega excited for the return of the Doctor (yep that's us) then here's everything you need to know about the special episodes.
Wait, Doctor Who is turning 60?
Yep, Doctor Who is officially entering its sixth decade, after the first ever episode was released on 23rd November 1963, with William Hartnell playing the first iteration of the iconic role. To celebrate the historic series, the BBC has planned three special episodes.
David Tennant will return to the series but not as the 10th Doctor, instead he'll become the 14th Doctor, following Jodie Whittaker as the 13th.
— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) July 18, 2023
The special series will feature three episodes called: 'The Star Beast', 'Wild Blue Yonder' and 'The Giggle'.
Who is starring in the 60th anniversary special?
Heading up the cast is fan favourite David Tennant who will returning to the series as the 14th Doctor.
Alongside David, as his companion for the series, will be Catherine Tate reprising her role as Donna Noble.
— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) July 18, 2023
Yasmin Finney has long been confirmed to have been joining the cast as 'Rose' but now we finally have more details about her role and it turns out she'll be playing Donna's daughter. How lovely is that?
The official Doctor Who Twitter account confirmed the news yesterday (30th August) to celebrate Yasmin's birthday and explained Yasmin will be playing Rose, who is the daughter of Donna Noble and Shaun Temple who is played by Karl Collins.
They said: "Welcome to the #DoctorWho family, Rose Noble. Wishing a very happy birthday to Yasmin Finney, whose character Rose is the daughter of companion Donna Noble (played by Catherine Tate) and Shaun Temple (Karl Collins)."
Welcome to the #DoctorWho family, Rose Noble 🌹➕🔷
Wishing a very happy birthday to Yasmin Finney, whose character Rose is the daughter of companion Donna Noble (played by Catherine Tate) and Shaun Temple (Karl Collins). pic.twitter.com/z9op4tpc8s
— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) August 30, 2023
Rose's plot was also teased in a follow up tweet which read: "So the question is, what happens when Rose meets one of her mum’s oldest friends?
"It is a mystery for now, but what we do know is that just like her mother, Rose stumbles across something alien - and from that point her seemingly ordinary family is never quite the same..."
We are so excited.
Also joining the cast are:
Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott
Jacqueline King as Sylvia Noble
Karl Collins as Shaun Temple
Neil Patrick Harris as an unknown antagonist
Aneurin Barnard as Roger Ap Gwilliam
Jemma Redgrave as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart
Ruth Madeley as Shirley Anne Bingham
And from the look of the trailer it appears we will get to see Ncuti Gatwa as the 15th Doctor at some point during the three episodes.
What have the cast said about the specials?
So far the cast have kept very quiet about what we can expect in the new episodes, however new cast member Ruth Madeley has just given a pretty big hint about her character.
Whilst appearing one BBC's The One Show, Ruth accidentally let slip her character Shirley, will perhaps be appearing in more than one episode.
"You're gonna love Shirley, you're gonna love the episodes, or episode, who knows," Ruth said. "All I will say is, whatever questions you have, my answer will be, 'guess'."
Ruth went onto say talking about anything to do with the anniversary episodes "scares her" because of the secrecy surrounding the episodes.
Also spilling secrets on the upcoming season is Yasmin Finney, who in an interview with Elle (which took place before the SAG-AFTRA strikes), revealed what is was like joining the iconic cast.
"I didn’t go to drama school, I’m kind of learning on the job. I went on the set, and I sort of sat back. I just wanted to see how they all do it," she explained. "It was just amazing to watch TV gold on set. David Tennant and Catherine Tate are two amazing, amazing actors."
Yasmin went onto reveal she had grown up watching the era of Doctor Who with David Tennant and Catherine Tate, and so now it's, "crazy to be on a show that deeply has a lot of history with me. It’s just really, really fab."
Yasmin, who also stars in Netflix's Heartstopper, compared working on the two series, explaining the difference in focus of the shows.
"With Heartstopper, you’ve got this amazing friendship group and you’re a young trans woman trying navigate the world around you, and then in Doctor Who, you’ve got this amazing family, which I’m not going to talk too much about, but you’re fighting aliens and it’s just a complete shift.
"With Rose [Finney’s Doctor Who character], she is very sure of herself and very confident. Both characters had a bone in me.
"One goes into family and one goes into friendship, and I guess they both go hand in hand. It’s just that one of the shows is sci-fi, Doctor Who, and one of them is Heartstopper," she said.
We can't wait to see Yasmin in Doctor Who!
What will happen in the Doctor Who anniversary specials?
Right now much of the plots of each episode have been kept secret with the only official synopsis we have so far being the following: "The Doctor finds himself with an old face and something is very wrong. How can Donna remember him and why has he got one of his old faces back?"
One thing we do know the series will cover, as seen in the trailer, is Donna's memory of the Doctor. In 2008 Donna's memory was wiped by the Doctor, so we expect the new series will look into how and why Donna can or can't now remember the Doctor.
And we also know at some point Ncuti Gatwa will emerge as the 15th Doctor, but how his regeneration will happen we can only guess at right now.
Is there a trailer for the new series?
There sure is, the BBC released a teaser trailer for the new series on Christmas Day and in it we see the return of David Tennant, and glimpses at Neil Patrick Harris, Yasmin Finney, Catherine Tate and Ncuti Gatwa.
Watch the full trailer here:
Do we have a release date for the Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials?
The episodes are set to be released this November, but the exact dates have not been confirmed.
The official anniversary is on 23rd November, which is a Thursday. Traditionally Doctor Who episodes always come out on a Saturday night, so maybe one of the episodes will step away from tradition and be broadcast on the actual anniversary or they'll be shared on the weekends either side of the anniversary.
Either way, it's only a few months to go now!
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