“Doctor Who” is celebrating its 60th anniversary next year, but the new teaser trailer for the upcoming series of specials is taking it back to 2008. Released on Christmas Day, the trailer reunites one of the most popular Doctor and companion pairings in the history of the show — David Tennant and Catherine Tate — for a new three-part adventure.
Tennant played the long-running British show’s tenth Doctor for three series and several specials that aired between 2005 and 2010. In his return to the series that made him famous, Tennant will be playing the fourteenth reincarnation of the Time Lord, replacing Jodie Whittaker, who lead the show for three series and three specials that aired over the course of the year, as the lead of the special’s celebrating the sci-fi program’s history.
Accompanying Tennant is Tate, who played companion Donna Noble in series 4 of the show in 2008. That series ended with Donna saving the universe at the cost of losing her memories of the Doctor and her travels with him, and the Doctor was forced to let her live in ignorance in order to prevent her death. The teaser sees those old memories begin to resurface in Donna, as the fourteenth Doctor attempts to save her from a new alien threat.
Also featured in the teaser is Neil Patrick Harris, who will be playing the main villain, as well as “Heartstopper” star Yasmin Finney, who plays a young woman named Rose — probably not coincidentally, the same name as the tenth doctor’s first companion Rose Tyler (portrayed by Billie Piper). The teaser ends with a brief glimpse of Ncuti Gatwa, who will be introduced in the special as the fifteenth incarnation of the Doctor. Gatwa, best known for starring in the Netflix teen comedy “Sex Education” and for his upcoming role in Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” will become the first Black actor to lead the series when the 14th season premieres in 2024. He will be joined by Millie Gibson as the Doctor’s new companion Ruby Sunday.
Russell T. Davis, who revived “Doctor Who” in 2005 and served as head writer of the series until Tennant left, will return to executive produce and write the specials. He will also serve as head writer of Gatwa’s first series, which will consist of eight episodes.
The 60th anniversary “Doctor Who” specials are set to air in November 2023. In the United States and other areas outside the United Kingdom, the specials will debut via Disney+, coinciding with the streamer’s new deal with the BBC. Watch the teaser below.