Excitement for the Doctor Who 60th-anniversary specials has been mounting for a long time now – and when it was announced that David Tennant and Catherine Tate were returning – anticipation went into overdrive. Well, the wait is almost over because the first episode is landing on November 25, 2023.
The good news is that Doctor Who fans in the US won’t have to wait for the episodes to premiere on the BBC in the UK first. The three 60th anniversary special episodes will air on Disney Plus in the US on the same day as in the UK. The first episode, which is called The Star Beast, airs on November 25, the second episode, Wild Blue Yonder, airs on December 2, and the third episode, named The Giggle, airs on December 9 (just in time for a special Lego Doctor Who set to coincide with Christmas).
Doctor Who is arguably the best sci-fi series of all time and certainly the longest-running, so the anniversary specials are going to be jam-packed with references and Easter eggs to the show’s 60-year history. Fans are already excited about the return of the classic Doctor Who villain, The Toymaker, who hasn’t been seen since in 1966, but there’s even more to get excited about.
David Tennant will be the first Doctor to return to the role, making him officially the tenth and fourteenth Doctor. Tennant is still the most popular Doctor of the revival era, and him being reunited with Russell T. Davies means the hype is extremely high. Ncuti Gatwa will then inherit the mantle as the fifteenth Doctor in season 14 and his companion will be Ruby Sunday, played by Millie Gibson.
Catherine Tate coming back for the specials is another cause for celebration, and fans are hoping to see justice for her beloved character Donna Noble. Having her memory of the Doctor wiped at the end of her run was an extremely controversial, anger-inducing fate for someone that many consider the best companion of the revival era. Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney plays Donna’s daughter Rose Noble, and that name surely can’t be a coincidence.
Russell T. Davies’ return as the writer and showrunner of the specials has had fans rejoicing after Steven Moffat and Chris Chibnall’s turns in the showrunner TARDIS. While Matt Smith’s run was still mostly well-received, the positive reviews and the audience numbers began to dwindle during Capaldi and Whittaker’s seasons (through no fault of the actors).
Davies will also be the showrunner for Ncuti Gatwa’s era as the Doctor. The casting of the Sex Education actor has been met with enthusiasm as the first Black Doctor. With Tennant, Smith, Capaldi, and Whittaker all doing three seasons each, that will surely be what Davies is aiming for with Gatwa as well.
It will be interesting to see if Tennant’s return and the arrival of the specials to Disney Plus will see interest in Doctor Who increase in the US. While we wait for November 25, check out our guide to the Doctor Who incarnations, ranked. We’re also excited for more exciting sci-fi in Avatar 3.