Allons-y! The longest-running sci-fi series in the world, Doctor Who is celebrating its monumental 60th anniversary with an explosive trio of specials packed with emotional returns. Fan-favorite David Tennant, who portrayed the daring 10th Doctor from 2005 to 2010, steps back into the TARDIS as the 14th Doctor — the latest regeneration of the Doc following Jodie Whittaker, who wrapped her tenure in fall 2022. (The previously announced Ncuti Gatwa will take over the role as the 15th Doctor during the holiday season.)
It’s indeed a new age for Who as it moves to Disney+, with cinematic stunts and what looks to be a much higher special-effects budget. “These episodes are big and ambitious,” says executive producer Phil Collinson. “But then again, Doctor Who has always been ambitious. It was ambitious in 1963 when they were sitting in a tiny little studio in Lime Grove in London, building alien worlds and monsters from nothing and transporting audiences at teatime to amazing places.”
The milestone specials return to Chiswick, home of fiery former companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate). Tennant’s Doc wiped her memory in Season 4: To thwart the evil Daleks, she had taken on more knowledge than her brain could hold. If she remembers, she dies.
But she does remember the Doctor and is quickly consumed by his timey-wimey troubles, from a crash-landed spacecraft to the menacing Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris). In order to look forward in the Whoniverse, showrunner Russell T. Davies knew he had to first look back. “I realized that there was a third act [for Tennant’s Doc and Donna],” he said. “And I’m really interested to push them into things they’ve never done before.”
Doctor Who, Saturday, November 25, Disney+
This is an excerpt from TV Insider’s November issue. For more in-depth, reported coverage devoted to streaming shows from the publishers of TV Guide Magazine, pick up the issue, currently on newsstands, or purchase it online here. You can also subscribe to TV Insider Magazine here now.