Doctor Who has teased a new look at its 2023 special episodes, which will collectively mark the 60th anniversary of the British science-fiction television series. David Tennant will be starring as the Fourteenth Doctor, having previously portrayed the Tenth Doctor between Christmas 2005 and New Year’s Day 2011. It is the first time in the show’s history that the same actor will have played two completely separate incarnations of the titular Time Lord.
In almost every year since the show’s revival in 2005, Doctor Who has had a footprint on the end-of-year TV schedule, with Christmas specials throughout the Russell T. Davies and Moffat eras, and New Year specials during Chris Chibnall’s tenure. Though the TARDIS is now scheduled to land again until November 2023, the official Doctor Who Twitter account has shared a brief clip from the upcoming anniversary episodes, seemingly confirming the Doctor Who 2023 special trailer will arrive on Christmas Day. Check out the tease below:
The new Doctor Who teaser, which offers an additional glimpse of Neil Patrick Harris’s as-yet-unidentified villain, is the latest in a flurry of promotional activity for the show in recent months, particularly since Davies officially returned as showrunner. Marketing has gotten underway not just for the 2023 specials, but for the series beyond when Ncuti Gatwa will be stepping up to the TARDIS console as the Fifteenth Doctor. Whilst this concurrent marketing of two different incarnations might sow some confusion among audiences, it’s indicative also that the story of Doctor Who over the next year will be purposefully leaning into this sense of disorientation. Not only did the first teaser trailer for the specials confirm the Tennant Doctor’s own confusion at his new-but-old face, but it also featured Gatwa’s Doctor seemingly breaking the fourth wall and demanding an explanation for his own delayed debut.
Fans of the show have welcomed the uptick in marketing activity for the show, especially following what many considered to be a lacklustre promotional effort during the Chibnall/Whittaker era. In previous eras, Doctor Who enjoyed a generally higher profile, with repeat attendance at such major events as San Diego Comic-Con, as well as trailers for new seasons being played in movie theatres. When Tennant first stepped down from playing the Doctor, he announced it in a special live video at the UK’s National Television Awards, and Peter Capaldi’s casting as the Twelfth Doctor was announced in the form of a special TV event. By comparison, Whittaker’s departure was made known by a press release from the BBC, and trailers for her own seasons were not only few, but often in little advance of the seasons themselves.
What To Expect From Doctor Who’s 2023 Specials
The surging marketing campaign for Doctor Who is also striking, given that the next episodes are still eleven months away. The 2023 specials will see the return of not only Tennant but former companions Donna Noble and Wilfred Mott, ostensibly reunited by the machinations of Harris’ mysterious antagonist, as well as introduce Yasmin Finney as the second trans character in the show’s history. The specials will also be the first to release under the new distribution deal for Doctor Who between Disney and the BBC, which finds the show internationally available via Disney+ whilst keeping its BBC home for domestic UK audiences. The so-called “RTD2” era of the show is already reported to be enjoying a significant budget increase, money which also now seems to be going towards a renewed effort to restore the show to its former profile.
Next: Doctor Who’s Original Xmas Special Plan Would’ve Changed The Show EntirelySource: Doctor Who/Twitter