Doctor Who: Who is the Toymaker?

Lucy-Jo Finnighan
Neil Patrick Harris as the Toymaker in the Doctor Who 60th anniversary special

Neil Patrick Harris’ character has finally been revealed for the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials, but who is the Toymaker?

It seems like yesterday that Doctor Who was celebrating its 50th anniversary with Matt Smith, but now the 60th Anniversary Special is coming to viewers’ screens, and a new cast is coming along with it.

The celebrations are headlined by three special hour-long episodes written by returning showrunner Russell T. Davies, who will also remain at the helm for Season 14 and beyond. Fan-fave actors David Tennant and Catherine Tate have already been reprising their roles as The Doctor and Donna Noble, and now Neil Patrick Harris will be appearing as a villain.

Harris’ role was actually kept somewhat of a mystery, until his title was officially named a few months ago. But who is the Toymaker?

Neil Patrick Harris was a Doctor Who mystery

Last year an announcement was made on the official Doctor Who Twitter account that Neil Patrick Harris, who was pictured in his costume, would be appearing in the 60th Anniversary Special.

Following the announcement, returning Doctor Who head writer Russel T. Davies wrote on his Instagram: “Neil Patrick Harris, welcome to Cardiff! Playing the greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced. Such a great actor, such a great man, it’s an honor and a hoot. Have fun!”

But a part of this announcement was the mystery about who Harris would actually be playing, as Davies also stated: “It’s my huge honor to open our studio doors for the mighty Neil Patrick Harris… but who, why, what is he playing? You’ll just have to wait. But I promise you, the stuff we’re shooting now is off the scale. Doctor beware!”

But since then, the character has now been officially announced: The Toymaker, or the Celestial Toymaker as some may call him.

Many longtime fans were expecting this title, as the villain has actually appeared before in classic episodes of Doctor Who. But who is he?

Who is the Celestial Toymaker?

The classic Who villain, the Celestial Toymaker, is somewhat unknown, as his episodes are infamously missing from the rest of the series. But as we do know, he appeared in the third season of the show, and according to Doctor Who’s Fandom page, he is a rather formidable foe:

“The Celestial Toymaker, also known as the Crystal Guardian, the Mandarin, or simply the Toymaker, was a powerful being who ensnared sentient beings in apparently childish games, with their freedom as the stakes. However, the Toymaker hated to lose and the games were always rigged in his favor.

the toy maker and the doctor in his tardis in doctor who
The Toymaker terrified in Classic Who

“Within his realm, the Celestial Toyroom, the Toymaker commanded immense powers, but they were limited by the rules he set for any particular game, although he could bend these rules or ‘forget’ to mention them to his opponents if he so chose. He himself was immortal and invulnerable and appeared capable of space and time travel at will.

“During the course of a game, one of the players might die outright or they might lose, in which case, the Toymaker would have total control over their life and personality, perpetually.”

Plot details surrounding the final special episode, titled “The Giggle,” are understandably being kept under wraps, but we do know that Ncuti Gatwa’s 15th Doctor will appear before taking over for Season 14.

You can read more about the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials here, and check out some of our other coverage of the series below: