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Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials

I was brought to tears when I heard that David Tennant was coming back to play the Doctor. His era of  Doctor Who was my childhood. Each episode felt like a rollercoaster: emotional, goofy, intelligent and unpredictable. That was the Doctor Who I grew up on, and the 60th-anniversary specials –which can be found on Disney+ – certainly lived up to my expectations. I will be reviewing each of the specials, including the Christmas one; however, I want to give a brief non-spoiler review for anyone who is still on the fence. 

The 60th-anniversary specials were fantastic. The first episode contains a recap of why David Tennant’s Doctor is back, why he’s a new reincarnation, and what happened between the Tenth Doctor and his best friend Donna Noble. This is great for first-time Doctor Who watchers. The specials were exciting and emotional. There are little jokes and Easter eggs from past seasons which I loved, and these specials serve as a great introduction to the Doctor’s antics with time traveling and aliens. 

Christmas specials have always been important to the series because they always contain crucial plot points for the show. This year’s special, which follows the three 60th-anniversary specials, formally introduces the Fifteenth Doctor, played by Ncuti Gatwa, and a new companion. 


Episode 1: The Star Beast

This episode follows the Fourth Doctor as he unexpectedly meets up with Donna Noble, whom he is not supposed to interact with or she will indeed die, and her daughter Rose. The Doctor has to investigate a crashed spaceship and save the world from aliens without getting Donna Noble involved. However, an alien gets involved with Rose, who bonds with the alien because both of them are deemed different and outsiders by society. The episode ends with Donna being able to remember her and the Doctor’s travels without dying. Her daughter was the hero of the episode all because she is nonbinary and she had inherited Donna Noble’s time lord powers. 

As someone who belongs to the trans and nonbinary community, this episode was extremely valuable to me. I felt seen, I felt heard. I felt like I could be a  hero. Little kid me fell in love with Doctor Who all over again. The nonbinary and transgender representation in this episode was so important; not only was Rose the first transgender and nonbinary character of the show, but even Donna and her mom had a conversation about Rose’s identity, pronouns and acceptance that brought some representation to parents of transgender kids. The Doctor even had a conversation with the alien about preferred pronouns. 

The episode was fast-paced, entertaining and nostalgic. I was sad when it ended but glad that there were two more David Tennant specials to watch. 


Episode 2: Wild Blue Yonder

The Fourteenth Doctor and Donna Noble get abandoned on a spaceship by the TARDIS, which is malfunctioning. The two protagonists also play the antagonists as the villains, the nobodies, take hold of the personas of whoever is on the ship. The real Donna and the Doctor have to figure out which of them are the real versions of themselves before the fake ones blow up the ship. The Doctor is pushed to the edge, emotionally, as the antagonist with his face uses his own knowledge and trauma against him.

This episode was not my favorite, although it was a good middle bridge for the 60th-anniversary specials. It went through the relationship between The Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble, drawing upon the goofiness of their platonic relationship and their love and trust in each other. There was a lot of body bending and stretching, which was wild and uncomfortable to watch, but I was glad when the Doctor and Donna were able to escape. 


Episode 3: The Giggle

This episode’s villain is the Toymaker, portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris, who uses his mind tricks and games to drive the human race to insanity. In order to stop the Toymaker, the Doctor decides to take on the Toymaker once again. The Toymaker is defeated with the help of Donna Noble, a former companion from the old series, and the Fifteenth Doctor, who was brought in via bi-generation. 

This episode was my favorite of the specials. I have never thought I would be more in love with Neil Patrick Harris after this episode. He was a flawless version of the Toymaker, a character who has not been seen in Doctor Who since the 1960s due to his controversial character traits. The Toymaker was playful, yet cunning. Neil Patrick Harris shined as he did magic, lip-synced along to the Spice Girls, and played catch with the Fourteenth Doctor and the Fifteenth Doctor. I loved how simple some of the games were too.

I knew that I was going to have to go through with David Tennant’s regeneration again. His initial one was so heartbreaking and I was dreading seeing it again. I was thankful the writers thought of the bi-generation plot. It involved the Doctor regenerating into two physical beings, one that resembles the Fourteenth Doctor and one that resembles the fifteenth one. Both of these versions of The Doctor can exist simultaneously and the Fifteenth Doctor leaves the Fourteenth Doctor to heal and relax with Donna Noble and her family. The Doctor finally got the ending he deserved and being a lifelong fan of the Tenth Doctor, this made me extremely happy and it was the perfect ending to David Tennant’s portrayal. 

I liked how the Fourteenth Doctor was not just the Tenth Doctor all over again. Fourteen had more emotions rising up to the surface and did not hold any words back, i.e. the emotional outbursts, the vulnerability,  the outright consideration and care towards everyone, including the alien, and the admittance of fluidity in the Doctor’s gender and sexuality. That Doctor felt more genuine and more human and paved the way for the Fifteenth Doctor, who is shown in the Christmas special. 


Christmas Special: The Church on Ruby Road

This Christmas special formally introduced Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor and a new companion. 

This special was a combination of Labyrinth and Meet the Robinsons. The main villains were goblins who kidnapped babies so that the main goblin king would eat them. The goblins were not as cute as the goblins in Labyrinth, however there was singing. I could have done without the singing, but Ncuti Gatwa got to sing, which was a very fun watch. I thought the special was heartfelt and campy, and was a good way to introduce the new portrayal of the Doctor and the new companion.

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