This article contains spoilers for Doctor Who: The Devil's Chord


Bad Wolf, Torchwood, Saxon... now 'The One Who Waits' appears to be joining the ranks of Doctor Who story arcs teased by writer/showrunner Russell T Davies.

The Giggle – the third and last of the show's 60th anniversary specials – saw the Fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant) once again face off with old foe The Toymaker (played by Neil Patrick Harris).

In The Giggle, the cruel Toymaker was able to provoke the Doctor into challenging him to a game – as the two prepared to match wits, the villain taunted the Time Lord with tales of his accomplishments.

However, he referenced one foe he didn't dare face – The One Who Waits.

More like this

With Ncuti Gatwa's era of Doctor Who now officially underway, will we finally find out who The One Who Waits is? New episode The Devil's Chord provides another hint or two...

Here's everything we know so far.

Who is The One Who Waits in Doctor Who?

We don't yet know who The One Who Waits is in Doctor Who, but we can safely assume they're going to be a terrifying powerful foe for the Doctor in episodes to come.

The mysterious character was first mentioned by The Toymaker when he challenged the Fourteenth Doctor to a game in The Giggle.

"I came to this universe with such delight," he said. "I played them all, Doctor – I toyed with supernovas, turned galaxies into spinning tops, I gambled with God and made him a jack-in-the-box."

We even discovered that The Master – last played by Sacha Dhawan in last year's The Power of the Doctor – fell foul of the Toymaker, losing a game to the villain and ending up trapped, apparently for all eternity.

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

But then, the Toymaker makes a confession: "There's only one player I didn't dare face – The One Who Waits. I saw it, hiding, and I ran."

The Doctor attempts to question the Toymaker further, but he shrugs off his earlier comments, telling his nemesis: "That's someone else's game."

The Toymaker is established as having power almost without limit, able to manipulate the atoms of the universe and conjure up his own magical domain – in The Giggle, we saw a shaken Doctor uncertain if he'll be able to best his enemy once again.

The fact then that, whoever or whatever they are, The One Who Waits is capable of striking fear into the heart of the Toymaker is pretty terrifying. Could an even more powerful being exist in the Whoniverse?

Jinkx Monsoon as Maestro in Doctor Who
Jinkx Monsoon as Maestro in Doctor Who. BBC Studios/Bad Wolf/James Pardon

Interestingly, in a social media post made in October, the official Doctor Who account appeared to refer to the Toymaker himself as "the one who waits" – but it's made clear in The Giggle that he's referring not to himself, but to some other figure.

In new episode The Devil's Chord, we meet Jinkx Monsoon's Maestro – a character who has been described as "the Doctor's most powerful enemy yet".

Speaking exclusively to, showrunner Russell T Davies confirmed that Maestro is nothing to do with the Master – but is part of a new "pantheon of gods".

Maestro isn't "the one" in question, either though – after being defeated by the Doctor (with a little help from their friends, The Beatles), Maestro warns: "The One Who Waits is almost here."

Earlier in the episode, when Carol of the Bells plays while Ruby is hoisted into the air, Maestro also says: "How could a song have so much power? And power like him? The oldest one, from the night of her birth. He can’t have been there. What for?"

This also potentially refer to The One Who Waits – and his involvement in Ruby's mysterious story arc.

On companion show Doctor Who Unleashed, Russell T Davies dropped another hint about the pantheon of gods, which the Doctor Who production team has termed "the Gods of Chaos".

"The Toymaker seems to be the supreme being of this pantheon [but] he’s not. There’s plenty of discoveries to come with that."

Could this "supreme being" be The One Who Waits?

Of course, The Toymaker and Maestro are not the only god-like beings in Doctor Who history.

Doctor Who - Enlightenment
Doctor Who - Enlightenment. BBC

Making their debut in the 1983 story Enlightenment, the Eternals are a race of elemental beings of immense power, capable of manipulating matter and creating objects out of thin air.

These amoral creatures act purely for their own amusement, manipulating "Ephemerals" (read: mortal beings) for fun.

Then there are the Guardians, who first appeared in Doctor Who's 16th season in 1978, a series of interlinked stories which saw the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) on a quest to find the legendary Key to Time.

Transcendental beings who embodied aspects of the universe, immortal and indestructible, we met the White Guardian (Cyril Luckham) – who represented light, order and structure – and his eternal opponent the Black Guardian (Valentine Dyall) – the personification of darkness, entropy and chaos.

A 2020 episode Can You Hear Me? saw the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and friends lured into a trap by Zellin (Ian Gelder), an immortal "god" who was haunting the dreams of humans, all to feed his beloved Rakaya (Clare-Hope Ashitey).

Could one of these creatures, or something like them, be "The One Who Waits"?

It's also possible, of course, that Russell T Davies has invented an entirely new menace. In the episode The Star Beast, The Meep (voiced by Miriam Margolyes) revealed itself to be in the employ of a figure it referred to as "the boss".

David Tennant later admitted that he remains oblivious to the identity of "the boss", which suggested that this reveal would be held back until Ncuti Gatwa's time in the TARDIS.

The Meep's admission, the Toymaker's confession in The Giggle and Maestro's warning could be the start of something much larger and entirely unexpected...

Doctor Who continues on Saturday 18th May on BBC iPlayer and BBC One. Previous seasons are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.


Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.