“Why did this face come back?” Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) is asking the question on everyone’s minds in the latest trailer for Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary Specials. “This face,” of course, is David Tennant, the Doctor so nice they cast him twice. He is due back as the Fourteenth Doctor in November, and Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies is working overtime to keep fans fed with just enough crumbs of photos, teasers, and trailers until then.
For the past two weeks, cryptic, glitchy teasers were posted and quickly deleted across Doctor Who’s official social media accounts. Decoded messages within the teasers and other mysterious posts pointed to a trailer release on May 13, right before the Eurovision finals. All of the sleuthing and hype paid off, and we now have our second trailer since its December 2022 teaser for episodes that are still six months away.
The biggest reveals from the trailer are the titles of each of the three specials. The specials will be titled, in order, “The Star Beast,” “Wild Blue Yonder,” and “The Giggle.” Beyond the titles, there are new clips showcasing David Tennant’s Fourteenth Doctor, his returning companion Donna Noble, and the unnamed character played by Neil Patrick Harris.
The Russell T. Davies hype machine is out in full force, but he is still playing his cards close to his chest. In a recent issue of Doctor Who Magazine, he teased that no footage from the second episode, “Wild Blue Yonder,” has been shown, and he hopes to keep it under wraps until the episode airs. In the part of the trailer that should have showed clips from the second episode, it slipped into the same glitchy, redacted style of the teasers, so Davies is succeeding in his secrecy for now at least.
The 60th Anniversary Specials will feature David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor, Catherine Tate reprising her role as Donna Noble, and newcomer Yasmin Finney as Donna’s daughter Rose (not to be confused with Billie Piper’s character Rose Tyler). The late Bernard Cribbins will also reprise his role as Donna’s grandfather Wilfred Mott, in his final onscreen role. The supporting cast will include Jacqueline King as Sylvia Noble, Karl Collins as Shaun Temple, and Ruth Madeley as new character Shirley Anne Bingham.
This trailer also featured some familiar faces from the previous trailer, including a fuzzy, bug-eyed creature called Beep the Meep. Despite his cuddly appearance, Beep the Meep is a vicious villain who first appeared in the Doctor Who Weekly comic “The Star Beast” in 1980. The red-eyed creatures spotted in both trailers resemble the Wrath Warriors from the comic, who come to Earth to capture Beep the Meep. The first special is taking the name, and presumably the plot, straight out of the comic, in what might be one of the deepest deep cuts in recent Doctor Who.
This trailer comes on the heels of a number of major announcements for the season following the specials, including new cast members Jinkx Monsoon and Jonathan Groff, and official photos of Fifteenth Doctor Ncuti Gatwa and companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) in period costume from the 1960s and the Regency era.
“The Star Beast" will be directed by fan-favorite director Rachel Talalay. “Wild Blue Yonder” and “The Giggle” will be directed by new-to-Who directors Tom Kingsley and Chanya Button. Murray Gold will also return as composer for the specials.
One of the biggest questions left unanswered is where Ncuti Gatwa, the incoming Fifteenth Doctor, fits into all of this. He was last seen in the December 2022 teaser, but was absent from the new trailer. There is still no word on when the specials will air, but Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary is November 23, so on and around that date seems more than likely.