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The Whats, Whens, and Wheres of Doctor Who’s Anniversary Specials

Photo: BBC/YouTube

There are still a lot of questions without answers regarding the upcoming passing along of the Doctor title: Doctor Who, Doctor When, and Doctor What? We know “who,” actually, but we’ve got only a vague idea of “when.” “What” is still a little iffy, and “where” is something along the lines of “the U.K., luv.” With three new specials, one new season, one new doctor, and one new-old doctor all on the docket, the answers are about as clear as an inter-dimensional–time-travel paradox. The 60th anniversary of Doctor Who will be celebrated with three specials to air in November 2023, and while we don’t have a TARDIS we can use to sneak into the future, watch the episodes, and learn all the answers, we do have everything we know so far below.

What’s going on in the trailer?

The former Tenth Doctor, David Tennant, will regenerate into the 14th Doctor for the upcoming Doctor Who specials. And he has found another familiar face: Donna Noble, whose memories of her time as a companion had previously been erased to keep her mind from exploding. But showrunner Russell T. Davies has somehow found a way to allow Donna to join the Doctor (or, in her words, “skinny man!”) for another adventure. “I don’t believe in destiny, but if destiny exists, then it is heading for Donna Noble,” the Time Lord says.

Who else is joining the new-old Doctor?

Tennant may be re-spawning, but he isn’t alone. Donna will once again be played by the incomparable Catherine Tate, and the trailer teases Neil Patrick Harris in full carny-creep mode, promising “the show is just the beginning.” Miriam Margolyes, Yasmin Finney, Jacqueline King, Karl Collins, and Ruth Madeley round out the cast.

We’re also anticipating an extra-extra-special new character played by Queen of All Queens and Broadway’s Chicago alum Jinkx Monsoon. Monsoon will play a “major role” in the upcoming series, according to a press release. “I’m honoured, thrilled, and utterly excited to join Doctor Who!” Monsoon said in a statement. “Russell T. Davies is a visionary and a brilliant writer — I can’t wait to get into the weeds with him and the crew! I hope there’s room in the TARDIS for my luggage.” Based on new photos released April 19, Monsoon is playing some sort of piano baddie or possibly the Music Meister. How that character could jump from Batman to Doctor Who mythos is Davies’ problem and not ours.

Wait, what about Ncuti Gatwa?

You have a great memory! Tennant may be both the Tenth and the 14th Doctors, but Sex Education star Gatwa had previously been announced as the 15th. It looks like Gatwa, notably the first full-time Black Doctor, will make his debut during the three specials, but his full first season won’t begin until 2024.

You said something about three specials?

Yep! A new trailer dropped the names of each special, and a lil’ sneak peek of what may happen in each one. Special one is called “The Star Beast,” special two is called “Wild Blue Yonder,” and special three is “The Giggle.” Will the Giggle have us gagged? Find out in November.

This story is developing.

The Whats, Whens, and Wheres of Doctor Who’s New Specials