Neil Patrick Harris cast in Doctor Who 60th special

Lucy-Jo Finnighan
neil patrick harris in doctor who

Doctor Who is celebrating its 60th anniversary with some familiar faces, but Neil Patrick Harris is a new addition to the cast.

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

Yesterday evening an announcement was made on the official Doctor Who Twitter account that Neil Patrick Harris, who was pictured in his costume, will be appearing in the 60th-anniversary special.

The tweet also involved two hearts and a diamond, which is a similar emoji hint as the one Ncuti Gatwa gave on Instagram when he was cast as the new Doctor.

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!”

The pair have worked together before on the hit Channel 4 mini-series It’s A Sin, so fans can expect something good to be created between the actor and writer.

Neil patrick harris in it's a sin
Neil Patrick Harris has wowed on British television before with It’s a Sin

Who is Neil Patrick Harris Playing in Doctor Who?

While Harris will apparently be playing the “greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced,” there have been no confirmed details about his role. Could he be the next Master?

Fans are unsure, with many guessing that he is more likely going to be Classic Who villain, the Celestial Toymaker, who’s episodes are infamously missing from the rest of the series.

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.

“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.”

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

This role would certainly be exciting to see be played by Harris, but Davies is keeping the wraps on any spoilers, as he 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!”

Who else is in the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Special?

The anniversary’s current cast boasts many new and old faces. Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa will become the 14th Doctor, and thus will be in the episode special. Yasmin Finney, of Heartstopper fame, will be taking on the role of Rose, though it’s unknown if she is connected to companion Rose Tyler.

Eric and otis looking shokced in sex education
Eric is arguably the best part of Sex Education

David Tennant’s 10th Doctor will also appear as he did in the 50th, only this time he will be joined by a beloved companion, Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble. Donna will also be joined by her family – meaning Wilfred is back – and her husband, played respectively by Bernard Cribbins, Jaqueline King, and Karl Collin.

And as mentioned before, head writer Russel T. Davies, who was responsible for Doctor Who’s revival in 2005, will also be coming back.

When can I watch the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary?

Doctor Who has yet to announce a release date, but since the show’s anniversary is November 23, we can imagine that the episode will be released some time around then. Filming is still going on.

Considering how ground-breaking and incredible the Doctor Who 50th-anniversary special was, fans can expect excitement, along with more casting announcements, in the coming months.

Doctor Who is currently available to watch on HBO Max in the US and BBC iPlayer in the UK.

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