Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials: What You Need To Know

Listen up Whovians! There’s plenty to look forward to for the 60th anniversary celebrations of Doctor Who! Here’s everything you need to know…

When will the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary specials air?

The Doctor Who celebrations actually started when Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor regenerated into none other than David Tennant, who returns to screens as the Fourteenth Doctor alongside Catherine Tate as Donna Noble for Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary specials in November 2023.

Mark those diaries, because Doctor Who is set to return to BBC One and iPlayer in the UK from Saturday 25 November with the episode ‘The Star Beast’.

It’s first of three Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials, taking viewers on an otherworldly adventure in space and time each Saturday. All before Fifteenth Doctor Ncuti Gatwa gets the keys to the TARDIS.

What will the three anniversary specials be about?

Speaking at the time David Tennant and Catherine Tate’s return as the Doctor and Donna was announced, showrunner Russell T Davies teased: “Maybe this is a missing story. Or a parallel world. Or a dream, or a trick, or a flashback. The only thing I can confirm is that it’s going to be spectacular, as two of our greatest stars reunite for the battle of a lifetime.”

What we do know, are the names of the episodes, and when they will air…

The Star Beast

The Fourteenth Doctor, Donna Noble, Rose Noble and Beep the Meep are pictured. They're approached by two armoured green alien foes.
Doctor Who – The Star Beast (Image: BBC Studios/Bad Wolf/Disney)

‘The Star Beast’ sees the Doctor and Donna come face to face after all these years, but just how, and why, is about to be revealed.

Wild Blue Yonder

Doctor Who – Wild Blue Yonder (Image: BBC Studios/Bad Wolf/Disney)

The second 60th anniversary special, ‘Wild Blue Yonder’, comes to BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Saturday 2 December.

The Giggle

The Toymaker towers over Donna and The Fourteenth Doctor, with playing cards flying through the air from a lit up arch

‘The Giggle’ completes the trio of anniversary specials and will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK from Saturday 9 November.

Check out the trailer for the new season here…

Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials Cast

Joining David Tennant and Catherine Tate is a stellar cast including, Yasmin Finney as Rose Noble, Miriam Margolyes as the voice of the Meep, Jacqueline King as Sylvia Noble, Karl Collins as Shaun Temple, Ruth Madeley as Shirley Anne-Bingham, Jemma Redgrave as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart and Neil Patrick Harris as the Toymaker, set to cause all kinds of mayhem.

“I’m relieved I got to work on Doctor Who before I died,” said Margolyes. “With sci-fi you never know. Thank you for making an old woman very happy.”

Neil Patrick Harris is the Toymaker

Doctor Who: Unleashed

David Tennant and Steffan Powell stand outside the Tardis on location laughing together for Doctor Who Unleashed

Step behind the scenes with Doctor Who: Unleashed, which lands on BBC Three and iPlayer from November 2023. A brand new access all areas show, Doctor Who: Unleashed will give viewers an unmissable insight into the world of Doctor Who.

Host Steffan Powell has been given the keys to the TARDIS and, after every episode of Doctor Who, viewers can switch over to BBC Three or iPlayer as Steffan takes viewers on a journey showing them just how this out of this world drama is made.

The first episode of Doctor Who: Unleashed will follow ‘The Star Beast’ on Saturday 25 November.

60 years of Doctor Who on BBC iPlayer

All the Doctors standing in a V with David Tenant at the front. Space background

Ready for a massive Who binge session? The TARDIS doors are being thrown wide open as BBC iPlayer welcomes the biggest collection of Doctor Who to the platform with hundreds of episodes becoming available with multiple accessibility features for the first time.

Before the Anniversary Specials hit our screens, viewers will have the opportunity to travel back in time with any of the Doctors through the show’s 60 year history with the classic series, as well as explore the vast world of Doctor Who with spin-offs like the Sarah Jane Adventures, Torchwood and Class, or step behind-the-scenes with every episode of Doctor Who Confidential – all available in one place – The Whoniverse.

The BBC has said it will simultaneously launch an extensive online archive from the show’s history at bbc.co.uk/doctorwho, with everything from interviews with cast to written documents, long unheard audio, and behind-the-scenes photos. Together, they tell the story of the ground-breaking series through 60 archive gems for the 60th anniversary.

The Whoniverse

Peter Davison and Janet Fielding hug in Tales of The TARDIS
Peter Davison and Janet Fielding (Image: Alistair Heap/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)

As over 800 episodes of Doctor Who land on BBC iPlayer they will all sit in one place – The Whoniverse.

Here you can find every Doctor, every companion and hundreds of monsters that have appeared in Doctor Who. From 1 November, The Whoniverse will become the official name, and dedicated home, for all shows within the orbit of Doctor Who which will live on BBC iPlayer. With over 800 episodes of Doctor Who content already in the back catalogue, The Whoniverse will launch with a brand new logo, and every piece of Doctor Who content will carry a brand new ident, instantly bringing all the Doctor Who worlds together in one place and it will continuously expand.

The first exclusive content to land in the Whoniverse will be ‘Tales of the TARDIS’, a brand new six-part series that reunites beloved classic Doctor Who duos, as they board a very special TARDIS on a nostalgic voyage through space and time.

What about the Fifteenth Doctor?

As we all know by now, Ncuti Gatwa will be taking over the role as the Fifteenth Doctor, with his companion, Ruby Sunday, played by Millie Gibson. Filming for the season has already wrapped and the new season is set to air over the festive season.

“It feels really amazing. It’s a true honour. This role is an institution and it’s so iconic,” said Gatwa on landing the role. “I feel very grateful to have had the baton handed over and I’m going to try to do my best.”

We don’t know very much about the upcoming season but Davies has promised that “the path to Ncuti’s Fifteenth Doctor is laden with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger and fun!”

Doctor Who will show BBC One and iPlayer in the UK from Saturday 25 November with the episode ‘The Star Beast’.

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