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Watch: Doctor Who 2023 special trailer reveals Neil Patrick Harris as the villain

Just in time for Christmas, the special Doctor Who 2023 trailer has arrived. Set for a November 2023 release, the new specials celebrate the iconic sci-fi show’s 60th anniversary and see David Tennant return to take the lead, only this time as the Fourteenth Doctor rather than the tenth. The Doctor Who specials are expected to open the door for Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor to debut in the series, though they won’t be without the return of a few other familiar faces along the way.


After teasing a release of the footage, the BBC has officially unveiled the first Doctor Who 2023 specials trailer. The video provides a close look at Tennant’s turn as the Fourteenth Doctor, introduces the eccentric and unnamed villain of Neil Patrick Harris, and shows the return of Donna Noble. Watch the trailer below:

What the Doctor Who trailer tells us about the 60th anniversary specials

One of the biggest takeaways from the Doctor Who 2023 special trailer is confirmation that Catherine Tate is returning to play her beloved role of companion Donna Noble. Rumors circulated earlier this year about her return to the fold, to which Tate responded by stating that as of March 2022 she had been out of touch to bring the character back. Her return was confirmed alongside Tennant’s a few months later, with many assuming he would just play the Tenth Doctor again, though the 2022 special, ‘The Power of the Doctor’ saw the titular character regenerate as the Fourteenth doctor after being fatal. injured by the master.

Although she was last seen in the two-part Christmas special ‘The End of Time’, which introduced Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, Donna’s last major arc was seen in Doctor Who season 4, in which she becomes imbued with the Doctor’s memory and uses it to save the world from Julian Bleach’s Davros, though the revived Doctor is forced to erase her memory of him to avoid dying, as her mind would “burn up” if her memory returns. The Doctor Who 2023 special trailer largely touches on this arc, as Tennant’s Fourteenth Doctor does his best to avoid being seen by her despite being in grave danger.

The other big reveal from the Doctor Who 2023 special trailer is the arrival of Neil Patrick Harris’ as-yet-unnamed villain, who appears to have some involvement with the Fourteenth Doctor who retains the tenth’s appearance. While it may be unclear who Harris is playing at the time of writing, the appearance of a Toy Emporium and his character’s grandiose nature have led many to theorize that he could be a new version of the returning Celestial Toymaker, who was a former Doctor. The writer Mark Gatiss recently hinted that he could be in the works. Only time will tell what other surprises they have in store when the Doctor Who 2023 specials air in November.

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