“If destiny exists then it is heading for Donna Noble” – everything Blogtor spotted in the new 60th Anniversary trailer
Over the past several months, the Bad Wolf/BBC team have proven absolute masters of the tease. From WhoSpy to Russell T Davies’ Doctor Who Magazine column, they’ve kept fans in the loop with a constant trickle of information that somehow doesn’t actually really tell you anything at all. It’s left us in a state of constant, but unspoiled, excitement for the 60th Anniversary. But the trailer that aired before tonight’s Strictly Come Dancing is a game changer.
The specials have never seemed closer as the trickle becomes a torrent of new footage and dialogue. It also blows up the things we thought we knew! Yes, pictures of UNIT’s new helipad were everywhere. But it was still a shock to see it atop UNIT’s heavily branded Stark Tower style skyscraper in central London. (We’re hoping they still hang a ‘Top Secret’ sign at the entrance like the old days).
So what did we find out? Let’s go episode by episode:
The Star Beast
The trailer eases us in by recapping a lot of the footage from the teaser that aired after The Power of the Doctor, while slightly expanding it. So we start with that night time London skyline (revealed by RTD in this month’s DWM to be stock footage!) Donna ponders “Sometimes I think there’s something missing, like I had something lovely and it’s gone.” But then it gets even more heartbreaking – “I lie in bed thinking ‘what have I lost?'” And through it all we get shots of the Doctor in action man mode – running down corridors, sneaking around corners, while Donna looks, possibly at him, like someone is nagging at her memory.
The next scene uses the same tactic. We’ve seen part of this speech by the Doctor before. But perhaps mindful that not everyone watching the specials will remember the plot of a fifteen year old episode, it provides a recap of Donna’s story, complete with a flashback to Journey’s End.
“I’ve got this friend Donna Noble, I had to wipe my memory to save her life. If she remembers me she will die, so what happens next? A spaceship crashes right in front of her. It’s like she’s drawing us in.”
We also learn that the Doctor’s relaying this story to Ruth Madeley’s Shirley Anne Bingham who seems to be an ally for now. We also get another look at the comics-accurate Star Beast spaceship and confirmation that after meeting Rose, the Doctor’s shocked to find himself face to face with Donna once more.
It expands on Donna finding the Meep too. “What the hell!?” as she pokes the cuddly alien in the eye is back, but we now get the beautifully Donnaish “We’ve got a bloody Martian in the shed!” (the same shed as posted in WhoSpy this week?) But now it’s accompanied by a classic Doctor moment of the Time Lord getting smacked by a companion’s mother. (“Ah here we go again!”)
We also see more of the Meep as voiced by Miriam Margoyles. “Meep meep!” he trills as he clings to Donna’s leg as groups alien and UNIT troops collide to make a right mess of the Noble house. Jeeps flying through the air and glass and plaster explode as the fight for the Meep hits home. Then, as Rose asks of his alien pursuers “Who are they?” he gives a terrified “Monsters!”
We also see that is no mere comic romp and just how the stakes get as a machine drills into the Earth, casting volcanic fire through the streets. But what it’s got to do with the Meep and the alien warriors hunting him?
Wild Blue Yonder
Nothing about the upcoming specials has been more mysterious than middle episode Wild Blue Yonder. In fact, we’ve known almost nothing about it except the title. Until now! It makes it possibly the most exciting part of the trailer.
We learn that it’s a good old fashioned ‘trapped somewhere hostile without the TARDIS’ story. “There’s something so bad the TARDIS ran away?” asks Donna as they look at the TARDIS shaped dent in a metal corridor wall. “Then we go and kick its arse!” she declares, that old fire we know and love ablaze. But whatever it is, it genuinely has the Doctor rattled. “Why does it have to be this?!” he rages, smashing his fists against the metal walls in frustration. And is it the “something [which] has entered this world” the Doctor speaks of?
What classic references will Wild Blue Yonder contain?
It’s an intriguing reference though. We seem to have a pattern now for how these specials celebrate 60 years of Doctor Who. The Star Beast brings back a 2000s companion in an adaptation of a much loved 1970s comic strip. The Giggle reunites the Doctor with an ally from the 2010s to battle an enemy last seen in the 1960s. So does Wild Blue Yonder feature a returning element too? If it turns out they’ve landed back on Terminus it will earn a round of applause from Blogtor, upgraded to a standing ovation if the Garm turns up. It does look as if our heroes are fighting to gain control of some sort of spaceship or station. One shot, features a triumphant looking Doctor standing over some sort of control panel on what might be a bridge.
Along with shots of the pair running terrified through dark corridors and weird purple/blue alien energy life form… thingies, it looks like Wild Blue Yonder might actually be this run’s full on scary episode. (There’s always one: it’s Who law.)
“Worldwide premiere!” declares the Toymaker.
Yes! Toymaker! Toymaker! Toymaker! After the trailer aired the Doctor Who socials confirmed at last that Neil Patrick Harris’ character is our hero’s old foe, the Toymaker. Arguably the Doctor’s first great nemesis, as when he first appeared in 1965’s The Celestial Toymaker it was clear the pair had clashed even before we’d first met the Doctor.
The trailer hints at the awful scope of the near omnipotent being’s latest plan. Plumes of smoke dot the London skyline, as chaos fills the streets and the people apparently turn on each other. Planes seemingly fall from the sky and the Doctor and Donna and airlifted by helicopter to UNIT’s swanky new high rise HQ to be greeted by “Kate Lethbridge-Stewart!” But with the Toymaker taking over the people of Earth she asks “What do we do this time? How do we fight the human race?” But why haven’t Kate and her team been effected? Could it be to do with the high tech band she wears around her upper arm? With shades of 1968’s The Invasion, maybe UNIT have again found a way to resist widespread mind control.
Neil Patrick Harris is… The Toymaker!
“I’ve got a memory. After a very long time, something is coming back,” warns the Doctor as the assembled team helpless watch the worldwide chaos unfold on rolling news. But who? “Oh, but he is recognizing me,” purrs the Toymaker as the shocked Doctor puts two and two together in the villain’s Victorian style toy shop. “The one who waits” as the Toymaker calls himself, in reference to just how long his vendetta against the Doctor has lasted. “Your fight is with me!” screams the Doctor in frustration as his nemesis trains UNIT’s own massive cannon of its HQ and staff (including both Kate and Shirley Anne). And could the Toymaker be the reason that “destiny is heading for Donna Noble?”as some act of revenge? He’s certainly powerful enough.
Aappropriately, The Giggle looks to be filled with sinister humour. From the Toymaker racing across a room in Regency era military garb, wearing old school flying goggles during his attack on UNIT, and appearing as a giant, literally pulling the Doctor’s strings through a hole in the roof, to re-enacting American Beauty’s iconic rose petal scene, and dressing as Fred Astaire while dancing among airplane wreckage, it’s clear this is a bad guy with a malicious sense of fun. We also get some idea of how he’s managing at least part of this – as we see the door of his toyshop, complete with little bell, seemingly able to appear wherever he likes. (Perhaps in a call back to Professor Chronotis’ TARDIS in Shada?)
And finally, “I don’t know if I can save your life this time,” frets the Doctor to Donna. They couldn’t… they wouldn’t… would they?
All hail the new Doctor!
But that’s actually not quite finally. The final shot of the trailer belongs to Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor in waiting. Glimpsed in the leather coat from his Christmas special premiere, he opens his eyes and smiles. And it instantly brilliant. Though that blurred out background… after Davies explaining the grey skies of our shot of Gatwa in the original teaser was a stand in to conceal spoilers, you’ve got to wonder. What is that fiery blur hiding this time?