Are you ready to return to the Whoniverse in November?
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGES BY BBC STUDIOS/BAD WOLF/JAMES PARDON/ALISTAIR HEAP
In October last year, the Doctor Who special titled, The Power Of The Doctor, marked Jodie Whittaker’s final episode as The Timelord, it was also the end of an era and the start of a new beginning. And now, with Russell T Davies returning as writer and showrunner of the 60th-anniversary specials, Whovians are preparing our Sonic Screwdrivers and getting ready to get lost in more space travelling adventures.
And of course, the question on everyone’s minds is an explanation for the regeneration twist from Jodie’s final episode. It was known that Jodie would be passing the role of Timelord onto Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa (at least that’s what we thought). So when we see the regeneration process begin, we expect to see Ncuti’s face appear once the glowing spectacle comes to an end, but instead, we see David Tennant’s familiar but very confused-looking face. Russell cleared up (some of) our confusion by confirming that Ncuti would be the 15th Doctor, not the 14th as we had expected. But we still had SO many questions, and we are eagerly awaiting them to be answered in this special.
Doctor Who has always attracted a loyal LGBTQIA fanbase and it looks like it could be serving up some wonderful representation in the upcoming specials. But before we welcome in the next chapter, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the queer goodness the franchise served up in recent years.
In 2017, fans were introduced to Bill Potts (played by bisexual icon Pearl Mackie) who was the first openly gay companion of The Doctor. At the end of the year, Jodie Whittaker made herstory by becoming the first female Timelord on the show, and later made queerstory by establishing The Doctor as a bisexual icon. And on 1 January 2022, the series made sapphic fans around the world rejoice as “Thasmin” became canon in, Eve Of The Daleks, after years of fans speculating that there were feelings between Yaz and the Timelord. And we were hooked on the bittersweet love story that evolved over the remaining specials. And, of course, we have to talk about the BBC Sounds spin-off show, Doctor Who: Redacted, which was a huge step for the trans community.
There’s a star studded LGBTQIA cast this time around
We can’t wait to see what Ncuti brings to the role of Doctor. The Sex Education actor recently came out as queer and his Doctor Who co-star, Neil Patrick Harris, confirmed that Ncuti will “be the first gay Doctor” and also teased that Ncuti is “glorious”. We know that Neil will be joining the Whoniverse as an unnamed villain, and fans have long since speculated that he might be reviving the role of The Celestial Toymaker – an antagonist from the 1960s era of the show.
Last year, Heartstopper fans were ecstatic to find out Yasmin Finney had been cast as “Rose” for the upcoming specials and that her character would be trans. And now, following a recent Instagram post made by @bbcdoctorwho to celebrate the actor’s birthday, we know more about her character’s backstory.
Yasmin will be taking on the role of Donna Noble’s (Catherine Tate) daughter, Rose Noble. “When we last saw Donna, the Doctor had to wipe her memory,” the caption reads. “So, the question is, what happens when Rose meets one of her mum’s oldest friends? It’s a mystery for now, but what we do know is that just like her mother, Rose stumbles across something alien, and from that point her seemingly ordinary family is never quite the same.”
And Hamilton fans, there’s even more queer goodness to get excited for. Openly gay actor Jonathan Groff will be taking on a mystery key guest role. We can’t wait to see what he brings to this latest role.
The franchise has also reportedly cast its first-ever trans man, Pete MacHale, for this upcoming season. His role is currently unknown, but we’re delighted to see such diverse trans representation is in store in this season.
What will the specials be about?
The three specials titled, The Star Beast, Wild Blue Yonder and The Giggle will begin airing in November. For now, there’s a lot of mystery surrounding the plot, which is likely to be kept secret for as long as possible. The logline for the specials reads: “The Doctor finds himself with an old face and something is very wrong. How can Donna remember him and why has he got one of his old faces back?”
We’re on the edge of our seats as we wait to find out what Russell has in store for the Whovian fandom.
Is there a trailer?
Yes we’ve actually had quite a few teasers so far. In this trailer the titles of the specials were revealed:
And since then, the BBC has released clips teasing each episode on their Instagram page. Here’s one for The Star Beast:
And Wild Blue Yonder:
And lastly, The Giggle:
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