Doctor Who: Is Christopher Eccleston in The Giggle?

Leon Miller
Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor in Doctor Who

Doctor Who released its third and final 60th anniversary special, ‘The Giggle,’ on December 9, 2023. Did Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor turn up to mark the occasion? Warning: spoilers for ‘The Giggle’ to follow…

Eccleston’s potential involvement in the three 60th anniversary specials had been a source of speculation leading up to their debut.

This makes sense, too. After all, the English actor headlined Series 1 of the 2005 Doctor Who revival back in 2005, making him a key part of the show’s six-decade history.

That said, Eccleston opted not to appear in 2013’s 50th anniversary special, ‘The Day of the Doctor’, leading many fans to believe that a surprise comeback in ‘The Giggle’ was a longshot, at best.

Doctor Who: Is Christopher Eccleston in The Giggle?

No, Christopher Eccleston does not make a cameo as the Ninth Doctor in ‘The Giggle’. The 60th anniversary special doesn’t include any obvious references to his tenure in the TARDIS, either.

By contrast, ‘The Giggle’ boasts numerous nods to Eccleston’s successors. Aside from the return of his direct replacement David Tennant and Tennant’s former co-star Catherine Tate, the bumper-sized episode contains explicit links to Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, and Jodie Whittaker’s runs on Doctor Who.

Marionette versions of Amy Pond, Clara Oswald, and Bill Potts – companions from Smith and Capaldi’s respective stints as the Eleventh Doctor and Twelfth Doctor – feature prominently in the Toymaker‘s (Neil Patrick Harris) puppet show.

That same scene also sees the Toymaker confront Tennant’s Fourteenth Doctor with miniature planets on strings. The flamboyant baddie proceeds to snip the planets’ strings with scissors: a simplified recreation of the cosmic destruction the Thirteenth Doctor (Whittaker) witnessed in the “Flux” storyline.

The wider Doctor 60th anniversary special trilogy isn’t completely devoid of Ninth Doctor callbacks, though. Notably, the second special, ‘Wild Blue Yonder’, recycles this Doctor’s penchant for calling unnamed robots “Jimbo” from the Eccleston era.

The Giggle introduces Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor

Even so, the absence of any winks to Eccleston in ‘The Giggle’ ultimately reinforces Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies’ current emphasis on the franchise’s future over its past.

‘The Giggle’ officially introduces Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor, and Davies has repeatedly underscored how the Sex Education star’s arrival will “reset” Doctor Who. At the same time, the Welsh scribe refuses to use the word “reboot” to describe the Fifteenth Doctor’s adventures.

“It’s completely a reinvention… but not a reboot,” Davies recently explained. “It’s the same old show, everything starts again.”

Doctor Who: The Giggle is streaming on BBC iPlayer (UK & Ireland) and Disney+ (everywhere else) now. For the latest Doctor Who news and updates, check out Dexerto’s full coverage here.

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