After more than a year without a new episode, Doctor Who returns in grand style to mark its 60th anniversary – and we've just got one episode left!


Written by returning showrunner Russell T Davies, the show presents three special episodes: The Star Beast, Wild Blue Yonder, and The Giggle.

These specials have fully introduced David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor and feature a reunion with Catherine Tate's character, Donna Noble.

The series will also feature Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor in the final special, leading up to his own Christmas episode, The Church on Ruby Road.

Curious about who's returning and the new stars in these episodes? Keep reading for all the essential details about the cast of the Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials.

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Doctor Who 2023 cast: Meet characters in 60th anniversary specials

Here are the main cast members and characters in the Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials. Read on below for more info about who they are and where you've seen the actors before.

David Tennant plays The Fourteenth Doctor

David Tennant as The Doctor and Beep the Meep beside him
David Tennant as The Fourteenth Doctor in Doctor Who: The Star Beast. BBC Studios/Bad Wolf/Disney

Who is The Fourteenth Doctor? The Doctor is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, who travels in space and time in his TARDIS, usually with a companion. The last we saw the Doctor was when Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth incarnation regenerated into the Fourteenth - who, for some reason, has the same face as the Tenth.

The three new specials will see the Doctor reuniting with his former companion, Donna, while also looking to find out why his old face has returned.

Where have I seen David Tennant before? Tennant is, of course, best known for playing another incarnation of the Doctor, the Tenth, a role he played from 2005 to 2010, and then again for a one-off appearance in 2013.

Outside of Doctor Who, Tennant has also starred in Good Omens, Staged, Broadchurch, Deadwater Fell, Criminal, Casanova, Jessica Jones, Inside Man, The Sandman, Litvinenko and There She Goes, as well as the films Mary Queen of Scots, Fright Night and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Catherine Tate plays Donna Noble

Donna (Catherine Tate) in Doctor Who wearing a pink jumper and olive coat
Donna (Catherine Tate) in Doctor Who. James Pardon/BBC Studios

Who is Donna Noble? Donna is the Doctor's former companion. She was a temp from Chiswick when she met the Doctor, being transported into his TARDIS because she had unwittingly become caught up in a plan to destroy the Earth and unleash the Racnoss.

She later travelled with the Doctor through time and space, but when she touched his severed hand full of regeneration energy, it created a Time Lord/human meta crisis.

This not only created a new half-human Doctor, who is now sealed away on a parallel Earth but also made Donna the DoctorDonna, filling her head with Time Lord knowledge. The meta crisis was killing her, so the Doctor removed her memories of himself and their travels.

He warned her family that if she ever remembered him, she would die. A brief brush with danger ensued in the Tenth Doctor's swan song, The End of Time, but Donna survived and went on to marry her boyfriend Shaun Temple, still none-the-wiser as to her time-travelling past.

Where have I seen Catherine Tate before? Outside of Doctor Who, Tate is best known for her comedy work, in series such as The Catherine Tate Show, Big School, The Office (US), Hard Cell and Queen of Oz.

The Star Beast cast

Jacqueline King plays Sylvia Noble

Sylvia Noble (Jacqueline King) in Doctor Who wearing a blue shirt, smiling into camera
Sylvia Noble (Jacqueline King) in Doctor Who. BBC Studios 2023/Sally Mais

Who is Sylvia Noble? Sylvia is Donna's mother, who in season 4 was seen to always be quick to put her daughter down. Since then, she's been trying to keep the truth from her secret, in order to protect her - but will she be able to stop Donna from remembering the Doctor?

Where have I seen Jacqueline King before? King is known outside of her Doctor Who work for appearing in 55 Degrees North, Coronation Street, Holby City, Doctors, Turn Up Charlie and Mammals, among other series and films.

Karl Collins plays Shaun Temple

Shaun Temple (Karl Collins) in Doctor Who leaning on a taxi
Shaun Temple (Karl Collins) in Doctor Who. BBC Studios 2023/Sally Mais

Who is Shaun Temple? Shaun is Donna's husband, whom she met shortly after her time with the Doctor. He is unaware of her past, travelling with The Doctor, and so is just as in the dark as she is.

Where have I seen Karl Collins before? Collins has previously appeared in films including The Flash and Attack the Block, while he has also had roles in The Bill, Twenty Twelve, Death in Paradise, Black Mirror, This is England '90, Hollyoaks, Vera, The Larkins, Champion and Culprits.

Yasmin Finney plays Rose Noble

Rose (Yasmin Finney) in Doctor Who wearing a denim jacket
Rose (Yasmin Finney) in Doctor Who. BBC Studios 2023/Alistair Heap

Who is Rose Noble? Rose is Donna and Shaun's whip-smart daughter, who we will first meet in The Star Beast. She shares a name with one of the Doctor's former companions, Rose.

Finney previously revealed that Rose is a "trans icon - a 15-year-old trans girl with a great, supportive family", while also telling fans to "envision Heartstopper but fighting aliens".

An avid toymaker herself, Rose is even more special than she realises and makes some huge discoveries in The Star Beast.

Where have I seen Yasmin Finney before? Finney is best known for her role in Netflix's teen drama Heartstopper, while she was also a guest judge earlier this year on RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

Ruth Madeley plays Shirley Anne Bingham

Ruth Madeley in Doctor Who wearing a black jacket and red outfit
Ruth Madeley as Shirley Anne Bingham in Doctor Who. Alistair Heap/BBC STUDIOS

Who is Shirley Anne Bingham? The latest scientific advisor for UNIT, Bingham becomes a new ally for The Doctor in the fight against an alien threat to Earth.

Where have I seen Ruth Madeley before? Madeley has had roles on a number of major TV series, including Fresh Meat, Outnumbered, Cold Feet, Russell T Davies's Years and Years, The Cleaner, Brassic and The Long Shadow. She also played one of the title roles in 2022 TV film Then Barbara Met Alan.

Miriam Margolyes plays the voice of The Meep

The Meep, as voiced by Miriam Margolyes, in Doctor Who
The Meep, as voiced by Miriam Margolyes, in Doctor Who. BBC Studios 2023/Sally Mais

Who is The Meep? The Meep is a character first seen by Doctor Who fans in a 1980 comic story, but appears for the first time on-screen in The Star Beast and is looking for help from the Noble family and The Doctor. But what does The Meep really want?

Where have I seen Miriam Margolyes before? Margolyes has had a long, acclaimed career on both stage and screen, appearing films including Little Shop of Horrors, The Age of Innocence, Babe, James and the Giant Peach, Romeo + Juliet, Mulan, Magnolia, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Happy Feet.

She has also had roles in series such as Blackadder, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Merlin, Doc Martin and Call the Midwife.

Wild Blue Yonder cast

Nathaniel Curtis plays Sir Isaac Newton

Nathaniel Curtis as Isaac Newton in Doctor Who
Nathaniel Curtis as Isaac Newton in Doctor Who BBC

Wild Blue Yonder, the second anniversary special, opens with the Doctor and Donna crash-landing in 1666, and meeting none other than Sir Isaac Newton – who's not quite a Sir yet – played by Nathaniel Curtis.

Fans will recognise Curtis as Ash Mukherjee from Davies's acclaimed series It's a Sin.

Bernard Cribbins plays Wilfred Mott

Catherine Tate, David Tennant and Bernard Cribbins on the set of Doctor Who hugging and smiling
Catherine Tate, David Tennant and Bernard Cribbins on the set of Doctor Who. Twitter/DoctorWho

Who is Wilfred Mott? Wilf is Donna's grandfather, who helped her and the Doctor in a number of their fights to save the Earth. He also supported the Tenth Doctor during his final battle with the Master, and rang in the end of his incarnation's time, as he delivered four prophesied knocks signalling his doom.

The Doctor had to take a blast of radiation to save Wilf but said it was his "honour" to do so. Cribbins was spotted on set filming a scene for an undisclosed episode, and Tennant said that "although very sadly he wasn't in those episodes as much as we hoped", the actor "was on set with us and Wilfred lives on".

The final scenes of Wild Blue Yonder saw Cribbins return, assuring the Doctor and Donna that the rest of the Noble family are safe and that he's keeping watch. It was the only scene Cribbins was able to film before he died last year, with the episode also being dedicated to him.

Where have I seen Bernard Cribbins before? Cribbins, who passed away last year, had a long and storied career, including an early brush with Doctor Who in 1966 film Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD. He also had roles in multiple Carry On films, The Railway Children, Jackanory, The Wombles, Fawlty Towers, Coronation Street, Old Jack's Boat and Midsomer Murders.

The Giggle cast

Ncuti Gatwa plays The Fifteenth Doctor

Ncuti Gatwa in Doctor Who
Ncuti Gatwa will make his debut as The Fifteenth Doctor in Doctor Who episode The Giggle. BBC

Who is The Fifteenth Doctor? The Fifteenth Doctor will be the next incarnation of the Time Lord, following on from David Tennant's Fourteenth, with Ncuti Gatwa taking up the role. Gatwa has previously teased that his incarnation is "emotionally vulnerable", and that he "hides it with humour, but he's lonely".

Where have I seen Ncuti Gatwa before? Gatwa first shot to fame for his role as Eric in Sex Education, but he also starred in Barbie earlier this year and will appear in the Apple TV+ series Masters of the Air.

Neil Patrick Harris plays The Toymaker

Neil Patrick Harris as the Toymaker in Doctor Who
Neil Patrick Harris as the Toymaker in Doctor Who BBC

Who is The Toymaker? The Toymaker is a villain whom Michael Gough previously played in a 1966 First Doctor story. Also known as the Celestial Toymaker, the character was previously seen separating the First Doctor from his companions and forcing them to play childish games before they could return to the TARDIS.

He vowed vengeance on the Doctor for foiling his plans, and now it seems, finally, he may get it...

Where have I seen Neil Patrick Harris before? Harris is best known for his roles as the titular character in Doogie Howser, MD and for playing Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother.

Elsewhere, he has had roles in The Harold and Kumar film series, The Smurfs film series, Gone Girl, The Matrix Resurrections, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Uncoupled and Russell T Davies's It's a Sin.

Jemma Redgrave plays Kate Lethbridge Stewart

Kate Lethbridge Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) in Doctor Who with her hands on her hips
Kate Lethbridge Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) in Doctor Who. BBC Studios 2023/Alistair Heap

Who is Kate Lethbridge Stewart? Kate is the daughter of the Doctor's old friend Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge Stewart, one of the founders of UNIT, The Unified Intelligence Taskforce. She is the chief scientific officer and leader of the organisation and has worked with the Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth Doctors.

As well as appearing in these specials, she is also expected to return during the Fifteenth Doctor's first season.

Where have I seen Jemma Redgrave before? Outside of Doctor Who Redgrave has appeared in Mansfield Park, Love & Friendship, Red, White & Royal Blue, Bramwell, Holby City, Grantchester and Silent Witness.

Charlie De Melo as Charles Banerjee

Charles Banerjee (Charlie De Melo) in Doctor Who's The Giggle
Charles Banerjee (Charlie De Melo) in Doctor Who's The Giggle James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

Who is Charles Banerjee? We don't yet know anything about Charles Banerjee.

Where have I seen Charlie De Melo before? De Melo has previously appeared in EastEnders and Doctors but is best known for his role as Imran Habeeb in Coronation Street.

John Mackay as John Logie Baird

John Mackay as John Logie Baird in Doctor Who's The Giggle
John Mackay as John Logie Baird in Doctor Who's The Giggle James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

Who is John Logie Baird? John Logie Baird was a real-life Scottish inventor who demonstrated the world's first live working TV in 1926. He went on to found the Baird Television Development Company and invent the first publicly-demonstrated colour TV.

Where have I seen John Mackay before? Mackay has previously had roles in films such as Judy, Ammonite, Cruella and Living, as well as series including The Hollow Crown, Call the Midwife, Bridgerton and Great Expectations. He also appeared in Russell T Davies's Nolly, playing the same role of John Logie Baird.

Bonnie Langford as Mel Bush

Doctor Who's Bonnie Langford as Mel Bush
Doctor Who's Bonnie Langford as Mel Bush BBC Studios/Bad Wolf

Who is Mel Bush? A former companion of The Doctor, having travelled in adventures with The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy). Mel is now an employee of UNIT, having recently been seen in The Power of the Doctor.

Where have I seen Bonnie Langford before? Langford is a much-loved face in British television and on the stage of the West End, also beloved for her role as Carmel Kazemi in EastEnders.

Alexander Devrient as Colonel Ibrahim

Colonel Ibrahim (Alexander Devrient) in Doctor Who's The Giggle
Colonel Ibrahim (Alexander Devrient) in Doctor Who's The Giggle BBC Studios 2023,Alistair Heap

Who is Colonel Ibrahim? Not much is confirmed so far about Colonel Ibrahim, but the first-look pictures from The Giggle show him wearing UNIT uniform – so presumably he's working with Kate Stewart.

Where have I seen Alexander Devrient before? Devrient has appeared in various series, including The Lazarus Project season 2, Ted Lasso, and Motherland.

Doctor Who's final 60th anniversary special The Giggle airs at 6:30pm on Saturday 9th December on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Classic episodes are available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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