60th Anniversary Specials

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The 60th Anniversary Specials were a trilogy of television episodes released in 2023 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who. Like the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors [+]Loading...["The Five Doctors (TV story)"] and the 50th Anniversary Specials, these specials are not considered to be part of a numbered season.

The trilogy began a new era of the programme as former showrunner and executive producer Russell T Davies made his return to the role he effectively started.[1] His return was announced on 24 September 2021.[2]

Davies' initial run began with the series revival in 2005 with the Ninth Doctor and ended in 2010 with the Tenth Doctor's regeneration in The End of Time [+]Loading...["The End of Time (TV story)"]. Thirteen years later, Davies' second era commenced in the 2022 Centenary Special The Power of the Doctor [+]Loading...["The Power of the Doctor (TV story)"]; in the story's closing moments, the Thirteenth Doctor regenerates into the Fourteenth Doctor, an incarnation who looks virtually identical to the Tenth Doctor.

The specials marked a huge change to business form as production of the show by the BBC became a collaboration with Bad Wolf,[3] which had been acquired by Sony.[4][5] Furthermore, a deal was struck between the BBC and Disney Branded Television to have Doctor Who streaming on Disney+.[6]

The specials saw the return of David Tennant to the role of the Doctor, now portraying the Fourteenth Doctor, rather than returning as his former Tenth Doctor. Catherine Tate also reprised her role as former companion Donna Noble, with Bernard Cribbins, Jacqueline King and Karl Collins returning as Wilfred Mott, Sylvia Noble and Shaun Temple, respectively. In addition, several new cast members were prominently featured, including Yasmin Finney as Rose and Neil Patrick Harris as "the greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced".[7][8][9][10]

Overview[[edit]]

Early announcements[[edit]]

In May 2017, it was announced that due to the terms of a deal between BBC Worldwide and SMG Pictures in China, the company had right of first refusal on the purchase for the Chinese market of past and future series of the programme, as well as spin-offs.[11][12]

In October 2019, it was revealed that due to the show heading to HBO Max, the network had struck a deal for additional series of the programme.[13]

Return of a showrunner[[edit]]

On 29 July 2021, following the announcement of Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall's departure, the BBC noted, "We will announce plans for the new generation of Doctor Who in due course – watch this space!"[14]

Illustration of Davies's forehead on Gallifrey.

The new series and Davies' return were first teased by Piers Wenger when he said an upcoming change for Doctor Who would be "radical" on 25 August.[15]

It was noted in a big reveal by the BBC on 24 September 2021 that Russell T Davies would make his return in the 60th anniversary in 2023 and remain as head writer in "series beyond". Additionally, BBC Studios announced they were partnering with Bad Wolf to produce the new episodes, a production company founded by Davies' former Doctor Who collaborators Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter.[1][2]

Davies hinted at the announcement earlier that same day, posting a humorous artwork on Instagram depicting his forehead in front of Gallifrey; in the post's caption, he alerted his followers to watch out for "News incoming 3.15pm".[16] Like the preceding series 13[17] the specials were announced as happening before the previous series had even begun broadcast.

Following the announcement, Davies said that he was "beyond excited" to be returning to the show but that he remained a viewer for the rest of Whittaker's run.[18] Chibnall said that it was fitting that "one of Britain's screenwriting diamonds" would be returning to Doctor Who for the 60th anniversary.[19]

Speaking at a press event on 11 October, Wenger said the decision for Davies to return "was one of the least painful decisions I've ever had to make" and that Davies is "a man with a vision, for sure", but that it was way off for the time being, that they had "a whole year of Jodie [Whittaker] to go yet. And lots of adventures ahead for her".[20]

Speaking at a Q&A at the Oxford Union on 10 December, former showrunner Steven Moffat insisted he was clueless as to the identity of the next Doctor, but said he nevertheless knew "a little bit" about Davies's future plans for the show, and was curious to see what it would be like.[21]

Speaking to Radio Times on 14 February 2022 while talking about his show "It's a Sin", Davies said:

The truth of it is that everyone lies when they leave Doctor Who and says they've moved on. I mean, I've been thinking about it since I was three, so there's no way you stop thinking about it. The reason I've worked on 34 programmes in my life is because I don't normally like continuing series. That's why It's A Sin came to an end and I just moved on. I like looking at a new set of challenges every time and a blank page – but Doctor Who is always a blank page. There are things coming up that are brand new ways of telling the stories that have never been done before, so it just feels new. I wouldn't go back if it wasn't feeling new. But that's the thing about Doctor Who – every episode is new. Every single episode. I'm sitting here now, 10 pages away from a climax thinking, 'God, I've never written in this territory before – this is strange and new' – so it's always new. It's a self-renewing show.Russell T Davies [src]

Speaking to Doctor Who Magazine issue 577 on 28 April, Chris Chibnall revealed that he only knew about Davies' return to the show 36 hours before the fans, having been told by Piers Wenger and Charlotte Moore, but made it clear that he "had a suspicion".[22]

Promotion[[edit]]

Main article: /Promotion

Broadcast[[edit]]

A special press screening of The Star Beast [+]Loading...["The Star Beast (TV story)"] took place on 6 November 2023 at Battersea Power Station in advance of the broadcast of the 60th Anniversary Specials.

Dressed with an animatronic Beep the Meep, the TARDIS, UNIT soldiers, promotional standees and more, the event was attended by many familiar faces, including Russell T Davies, Ruth Madeley, Murray Gold, Sophie Aldred, Janet Fielding, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Carole Ann Ford, Jane Tranter, Julie Gardner, Katy Manning and many more.[23]

Cast[[edit]]

Recurring[[edit]]

Guest[[edit]]

And Introducing Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor

Production[[edit]]

As 2023 marked the return of Russell T Davies as showrunner, it also marked a change in studio-location, with the new studio, Wolf Studios, taking over from Roath Lock Studios as the company for in-house filming.[24] This change came about as the company Bad Wolf was set to co-produce along with the BBC going forward.[25]

On 5 May, the BBC spoke to TV Zone UK about the move from Roath Lock Studios to Wolf Studios, hoping that there would be a continued flow of production business.[26]

On 2 November 2021, Bad Wolf had further filed for a new subsidiary company, also run by Julie Gardner, called Whoniverse1 LTD, attached to Series 14.[27]

On 3 May 2023, Bad Wolf filed for another new subsidiary company, again run by Gardner, called Whoniverse2 LTD, attached to Series 15.[28]

In DWM 597, released on 9 November 2023, Russell T Davies revealed that he deliberately pushed the production of Wild Blue Yonder [+]Loading...["Wild Blue Yonder (TV story)"] to the limit, including its budget, as he wanted to make the episode in a new way unlike his previous tenure. In particular, large physical sets were built which were bigger than any Davies had ever seen before.

Crew[[edit]]

Producers[[edit]]

Russell T Davies made his "explosive return" to Doctor Who in the 60th anniversary and "series beyond".[1]

Phil Collinson, Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter also returned to the show as executive producers and were joined by Joel Collins.[29]

Welcomed to the show as producers were Vicki Delow, Chris May and Ellen Marsh.[29]

Phil Sims was the production designer and Scott Handcock was the script editor.[29]

Director[[edit]]

Rachel Talalay directed the 1st 60th Anniversary special The Star Beast [+]Loading...["The Star Beast (TV story)"] along with director of photography Matt Gray.[30]

Tom Kingsley directed the 2nd 60th Anniversary Special Wild Blue Yonder [+]Loading...["Wild Blue Yonder (TV story)"] along with DOP Nick Dance.[31]

Chanya Button directed the 3rd 60th Anniversary Special The Giggle [+]Loading...["The Giggle (TV story)"] along with DOP Mika Orasmaa.[32]

Writers[[edit]]

Russell T Davies wrote the 60th Anniversary specials.

Pre-production[[edit]]

On 19 January 2022, according to block producer Vicki Delow's CV, it stated that the new era was "currently in production”.[33]

On 4 April, Jane Tranter stated in an interview with Variety that production would begin "later this year [2022]".[34]

Filming[[edit]]

Filming began for the 60th Anniversary Specials in Wolf Studios, Wales on 3 May 2022 (with likely continuation for a few days).[35]

Public filming began in front of the Cyberdog shop in Camden Market, Camden Town, Camden, London on 16 and 17 May[7] and continued on 18 May and concluded with a nightshoot in the early morning hours of the following day.[36]

Filming continued in the Gold Car Park at Lakeside Way near the Wembley Stadium in Wembley Park, Wembley, London on 19 and 20 May.[8]

Filming took place at the Uskmouth Power Station in Newport, Wales on 25, 26 and 27 May.[37][38] Filming picked up again on 30, 31 May and 1 June.[39]

Filming moved to Axminster Road, Cardiff on 3 June.[40] Filming picked up again on 6 June and continued through 7, 8 and 9 June.[41][42] Filming also took place at the nearby The Sandies park on 9 June.[43]

Filming continued in Old City, St Stephens Street, Broad Street, Clare Street, Baldwin Street, Marsh Street and Corn Street in Bristol, England on 15 and 16 June.[44][45][46][47]

Filming went back to Wolf Studios, Wales on 27 June and continued on 28, 29 and 30 June and 1 July.[48][49][50]

Filming for the 60th Anniversary Specials ended on 25 July.[51]

Television stories[[edit]]

Mini-episode[[edit]]

Episode
Number
Title Writer Director Notes
N/A Destination: Skaro [+]Loading...["Destination: Skaro (TV story)"] Russell T Davies Jamie Donoghue Return of Julian Bleach as Davros. First time an adult Davros appears prior to his disfigurement.

Anniversary specials[[edit]]

Episode
Number
Title Writer Director Notes
1-3 Special One:
The Star Beast [+]Loading...["The Star Beast (TV story)"]
Russell T Davies Rachel Talalay 60th anniversary specials
Television debut of the Fourteenth Doctor
Donna Noble, Wilfred Mott, Sylvia Noble, Shaun Temple and UNIT return, along with Kate Stewart.
Isaac Newton appears. Wrarth Warriors and the Meep make their first onscreen appearances. The Toymaker makes his second ever onscreen appearance. John Logie Baird appears. Melanie Bush returns again. Television debut of the Fifteenth Doctor.
Special Two:
Wild Blue Yonder [+]Loading...["Wild Blue Yonder (TV story)"]
Tom Kingsley
Special Three:
The Giggle [+]Loading...["The Giggle (TV story)"]
Chanya Button

Episode notes[[edit]]

BBC vs Disney+ versions[[edit]]

For all 3 Specials, there are slight differences between the versions broadcast on BBC One and the ones shown on Disney+:

  • For all 3 specials, the Whoniverse ident was shown at the beginning of the episode on the BBC version. However, on the Disney+ version, the BBC ident was shown.
  • For all 3 specials, the Disney ident was shown at the end of the episode on the Disney+ version.
  • For all 3 specials, the Executive Producers' credits were shown after the title sequence in the BBC version, however, they were shown in the end credits in the Disney+ version.
  • For all 3 specials, in the end board for the BBC version, the Bad Wolf logo was shown on the left and the BBC Studios Productions logo on the right. In the Disney+ version, they were switched.
  • For Wild Blue Yonder [+]Loading...["Wild Blue Yonder (TV story)"], the Director's credit was shown before the Producer's credit on the Disney+ version.

Aliens and enemies[[edit]]

Media set around these specials[[edit]]

Novels[[edit]]

to be added

Short stories[[edit]]

Comics[[edit]]

Television stories[[edit]]

Audio[[edit]]

Reference books[[edit]]

Adaptations and merchandising[[edit]]

to be added

Footnotes[[edit]]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 https://www.doctorwho.tv/news/?article=russell-t-davies-to-return-as-doctor-who-showrunner
  2. 2.0 2.1 https://cultbox.co.uk/news/russell-t-davies-back-as-doctor-who-showrunner
  3. https://twitter.com/badwolf_tv/status/1441407974761635846?s=21
  4. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/sony-to-acquire-bad-wolf-in-60m-deal
  5. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/its-official-sony-pictures-television-acquires-future-doctor-who-producer-bad-wolf
  6. https://www.doctorwho.tv/news-and-features/bbc-and-disney-branded-television-join-forces-on-doctor-who
  7. 7.0 7.1 https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/david-tennant-and-catherine-tate-film-doctor-who-in-camden
  8. 8.0 8.1 https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/unit-activity-spotted-at-doctor-who-filming-near-wembley-stadium
  9. https://www.radiotimes.com/tv/sci-fi/doctor-who-60th-trailer-christmas-day-newsupdate/
  10. Russell T Davies about Neil Patrick Harris' villain
  11. http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2017-06-03/the-bbc-is-already-preparing-for-at-least-five-more-series-of-doctor-who
  12. http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/worldwide/2017/doctor-who-china
  13. https://vocal.media/futurism/doctor-who-series-13-and-14-confirmed-hbo-max-reveals-but-will-whittaker-stick-around
  14. https://www.radiotimes.com/tv/sci-fi/doctor-who-next-doctor-showrunner-newsupdate/
  15. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.tvinsider.com/1010894/doctor-who-season-13-changes-jodie-whittaker-exit/amp/
  16. [1]
  17. https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2019-11-21/doctor-who-series-13-happening/
  18. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/russell-t-davies-back-as-doctor-who-showrunner
  19. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/russell-t-davies-back-as-doctor-who-showrunner
  20. https://www.radiotimes.com/tv/sci-fi/russell-t-davies-doctor-who-vision-newsupdate/
  21. https://www.radiotimes.com/tv/sci-fi/doctor-who-russell-t-davies-steven-moffat-newsupdate/
  22. https://www.radiotimes.com/tv/sci-fi/doctor-who-russell-t-davies-returning-36-hours-newsupdate/
  23. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/premieres/doctor-who-special-the-star-beast-screens-in-london
  24. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/doctor-who-to-move-its-filming-base-from-roath-lock-studios-to-wolf-studios
  25. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/sony-to-acquire-bad-wolf-in-60m-deal
  26. https://www.tvzoneuk.com/post/drwho-roathlochrelocation
  27. https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/13719629
  28. https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/14844052
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/doctor-who-series-14-production-and-crew-updates
  30. https://www.instagram.com/p/CeBV8qoqJey/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
  31. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/doctor-who-60th-anniversary-specials-third-director-discovered
  32. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/doctor-who-filming-in-bristol-continues-with-scenes-set-in-the-past
  33. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/russell-t-davies-doctor-who-currently-in-production
  34. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/bad-wolfs-jane-tranter-affirms-doctor-who-will-go-into-production-later-this-year
  35. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/russell-t-davies-teases-doctor-who-announcements
  36. https://twitter.com/doctorwhopn/status/1526701127898734592?s=21&t=D2QDDUyOw96OPgJVliicUg
  37. https://twitter.com/doctorwhopn/status/1531257050184957961?s=21&t=01mml1ptZFxXmMaCEwaA0A
  38. https://twitter.com/doctorwhopn/status/1531369225729753091?s=21&t=01mml1ptZFxXmMaCEwaA0A
  39. https://twitter.com/doctorwhopn/status/1531327779744120833?s=21&t=01mml1ptZFxXmMaCEwaA0A
  40. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/doctor-who-filming-in-cardiff-with-david-tennant-catherine-tate-and-yasmin-finney
  41. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/doctor-who-night-shoot-in-cardiff-with-two-new-monsters
  42. https://nation.cymru/culture/david-tennant-and-catherine-tate-back-filming-doctor-who-in-cardiff/
  43. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/doctor-who-filming-spacecraft-in-cardiff
  44. https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/doctor-who-filming-bristol-hollywood-7209312
  45. https://chopsybaby.com/magazine/doctor-who-filming-bristol-2022/
  46. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-61813573
  47. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/doctor-who-filming-neil-patrick-harris-david-tennant-and-catherine-tate-in-bristol
  48. https://twitter.com/doctorwhopn/status/1540758023160729600?s=21&t=PB9Yx1lCb-9lfwqFw7-B8Q
  49. https://twitter.com/doctorwhopn/status/1540780287239622666?s=21&t=PB9Yx1lCb-9lfwqFw7-B8Q
  50. https://twitter.com/doctorwhopn/status/1543292124073951237?s=21&t=PB9Yx1lCb-9lfwqFw7-B8Q
  51. https://www.instagram.com/p/Cgb8g-0qiyw/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=
  52. https://twitter.com/andrewcreak/status/1574103831478149126?s=46&t=vK8lOXBj7VuVWxhYK0K2Uw