The British science-fiction television series Doctor Who will celebrate its 60th anniversary with special episodes in 2023, which have been given a fresh look in advance. After playing the Tenth Doctor from Christmas 2005 to New Year’s Day 2011, David Tennant will now play the Fourteenth Doctor. The titular Time Lord will be portrayed by the same actor in two entirely different roles for the first time in the history of the series.
Since the show’s return in 2005, Christmas specials during the runs of Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat and New Year specials during the reign of Chris Chibnall have left their mark on the television schedule. The official Doctor Who Twitter account published a tiny clip from the upcoming anniversary episodes, possibly revealing the Doctor Who 2023 special trailer will be released on Christmas Day, despite the TARDIS not being due to land again until November 2023.
The latest in a frenzy of Doctor Who promotional activity in recent months, especially after Davies officially resigned as showrunner, comes the new trailer, which gives viewers another look at Neil Patrick Harris‘s as-yet-unidentified nemesis. The series that will air after Ncuti Gatwa assumes the role of the Fifteenth Doctor has already begun to promote itself, in addition to the 2023 specials.
Although the simultaneous promotion of two distinct incarnations may cause some audience confusion, it also suggests that the plot of Doctor Who for the upcoming year would deliberately play to viewers’ sense of uncertainty. Gatwa’s Doctor appeared to break the fourth wall and demand an explanation for his own delayed entrance in the first teaser trailer for the specials, which not only confirmed the Tennant Doctor’s own astonishment at his new-but-old face.
Given that the upcoming episodes are still eleven months away, the Doctor Who marketing campaign’s explosive growth is also notable. In addition to Tennant, the 2023 specials will witness the reunion of Donna Noble and Wilfred Mott, who were supposedly reunited by the schemes of Harris’ enigmatic opponent, as well as the introduction of Yasmin Finney, the second trans character in the show’s history. The specials will also be the first to air as part of the new Doctor Who distribution agreement between Disney and the BBC, which makes the show available worldwide via Disney+ while preserving its BBC home for audiences in the UK.