Ever since Russell T Davies announced his return to Doctor Who, there's been anticipation in the air. We've all been waiting, it has now become clear, for The Giggle.


We can't say too much about the third and final 60th anniversary special, which will see out David Tennant's Fourteenth Doctor and Catherine Tate's Donna Noble - not least because a chunk of it is still being kept under wraps until Saturday night. But, oh, we're in for a treat - a beautiful, colourful, chaotic, onslaught of a treat.

After the Doctor and Donna returned to Earth in the final scenes of Wild Blue Yonder, The Giggle picks up with the world in chaos. As Bernard Cribbins declared in his final scene as Wilfred Mott, "It's everybody. It's everything. They're all going mad."

Why? Well, the answer has to do with one man. Neil Patrick Harris makes his Doctor Who debut as The Toymaker, an iconic classic villain from the early years of the sci-fi, taking over from Michael Gough. Davies has previously said that Harris had "never heard" of Doctor Who before he was cast (an impressive feat in itself). It's an astonishing thought when you see him on screen, stealing the show with all the joy, wit, swagger and unnerving-ness of an actor who's done this a thousand times before.

David Tennant, Catherine Tate and Neil Patrick Harris in Doctor Who
David Tennant, Catherine Tate and Neil Patrick Harris in Doctor Who BBC Studios 2023,Alistair Heap

Of course, there are some incredible returning stars, including Ruth Madeley as Shirley Anne Bingham and Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart - comebacks that pack a punch. "How do we fight the human race?" Kate asks the Doctor in a genuine moment of horror. It goes without saying that Tennant and Tate are spectacular as always - hilarious in one moment, tear-jerking in the next. We see new sides to Tennant's Fourteenth Doctor - yep, the man is still surprising us after all this time.

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But all of this would be futile without the story they've been handed. The Giggle grabs you in minute one and doesn't let you go. Visually, it's beautiful. Audibly, it's beautiful (all hail Murray Gold). It feels like old-school RTD, like the returning showrunner is flexing muscles he hasn't used in a long while, harking back to older tales in obvious and less obvious ways. But it also feels fresh and bigger. And not a moment is wasted.

It's not really that Doctor Who has a new budget (although that doesn't hurt), or that it's beaming out to a bigger audience than ever (also doesn't hurt). The boundaries of the show when it comes to the storytelling have been pushed further and further and, from what Davies has said about the Christmas special and beyond, it sounds like that's certainly not stopping here.

There are more magical moments that have to stay unmentioned and still so much to see, including the next regeneration and a whole new Doctor to meet in the form of the glorious Ncuti Gatwa - undoubtedly, the most important part of the special. But if it's knocked out of the park like the rest of the episode is, this could be one for the ages.

It's not an easy skill to muster up a genuine sense of danger in Doctor Who - after all, the Doctor always wins, right? Right?! But with a writer like Davies, an actor like Tennant and a story like this, when we're standing on the precipice of a whole new age for Doctor Who, who knows what will happen?

See you Saturday night for the show. Allons-y!

Doctor Who's third 60th anniversary special The Giggle airs at 6:30pm on Saturday 9th December on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Previous episodes are available on BBC iPlayer and 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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