Few shows have been around quite as long as Doctor Who, and this classic BBC franchise will be celebrating its 60th anniversary with a special event comprised of three episodes later this November. For these episodes, fan-favorite David Tennant is once again playing the Doctor, and he is reunited with fan-favorite companion Donna Noble (the always-hilarious Catherine Tate). Their episodes together were often very lighthearted, but judging from the first trailer for this ambitious anniversary, it looks like these characters will be racing to save everything from Donna’s life to the Earth itself.
If you haven’t been watching Doctor Who lately because you miss the glory days of the 2005 series launch, here’s some good news: the specials as well as the upcoming Doctor Who series come to us courtesy of showrunner Russell T. Davies. He was running the show for the entirety of David Tennant’s original run as the Doctor, including the fourth season which heavily featured Donna Noble’s companion.
The trailer for the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Special is here, and it looks like everything Whovians could possibly want it to be!
While we’re sure the special will be accessible to new fans, it looks like Davies is using this as an opportunity to follow up on what happened with Donna in the first place.
Back in the Doctor Who episodes “The Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End,” Donna gets imbued with the lifetimes of knowledge the Doctor has accrued, and she uses her newfound knowledge to defeat Davros and his plan to destroy all of reality. But the human brain isn’t meant to contain all of that knowledge, so the Doctor was forced to wipe her memory (including her memories of their time together) to save her life.
In the trailer, we see the Doctor fretting over Donna regaining her memory (which would kill her), something that seems increasingly likely because she is witness to things like cutesy little aliens that threaten to stir her memory of her time in the TARDIS.
The last thing we see in the trailer is Ncuti Gatwa, who will be playing the Fifteenth Doctor in the next Doctor Who series.
Speaking of the TARDIS, the Doctor Who trailer doesn’t play coy about whether Donna will gain the memory back: we see scenes where she seems aware of who the Doctor is and is able to identify the TARDIS by name. We also see some of the Doctor’s pathos (something Tennant has always been great at channeling) as he tells Donna that he is unsure if he “can save your life this time.” Fortunately, he has some familiar allies in this fight, including Jemma Redgrave’s return as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart.
Neil Patrick Harris As An Old Enemy
Unfortunately, it looks like he will also be tangling with at least one (somewhat) familiar foe. In the trailer, the Big Bad is a character known as The Toymaker (played to rubber-faced perfection by Neil Patrick Harris), a foe we haven’t seen in 57 years. He was last seen onscreen in the Doctor Who serial “The Celestial Toymaker,” and given the long wait, it seems like this is who the Doctor is referring to when he says “After a very long time, something’s coming back.”
Lest anyone think the specials are trapped too much in the past, don’t worry: the last thing we see in the trailer is Ncuti Gatwa, who will be playing the Fifteenth Doctor in the next Doctor Who series.
We were glad to see him, but we can’t help but feel that David Tennant is going to leave some very big shoes for this younger actor to fill. As for the chance to see Tennant play the Doctor one last time in these three episodes, our own reaction can fairly be summed up in just one word: allons-y.