What have we learned about the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary specials after the Eurovision trailer?

We now have a trailer for the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary specials! Creating almost as much buzz on Eurovision night as Finland’s human caterpillar, the trailer also revealed the three episode titles for David Tennant’s return. But what new can we say about the specials now?

First of all, we now understand the context of the decision to broadcast a trailer a full six months before the specials themselves. The trailer came as part of a package promoting BBC shows for the rest of the year. Presumably this was the broadcaster taking advantage of the massive audience tuning in on the night to get the hooked for the whole of 2023. But it certainly made sense that they asked Doctor Who to prepare a trailer for it too.


The Meep in The Star Beast TV adaptation (c) Bad Wolf/BBC Studios Doctor Who 60th Anniversary
The Meep in The Star Beast TV adaptation (c) Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

The Star Beast

The first episode is confirmed as The Star Beast, though that’s one title many could have guessed. We knew already that the classic comic strip from Doctor Who Weekly #19-26 was inspiration for the episode. But retaining the title, along with the new footage, makes clear just how close to a straight adaptation it is. (Though don’t worry, Blogtor won’t spoil any of the essential details here.) Even the spaceship which falls from the sky in a ball of fire as the Doctor and Rose look up from the streets below uses the same design originally created by artist Dave Gibbons for the comic’s dramatic opening splash page.

The cuddly, cute alien known as Beep the Meep in the strip also closely matches the original drawings too. Though with the comic originally printed in black and white and reprinted in two very different colourised editions over the years, the Bad Wolf team have split the difference. One printing decided on white eyes and white fur, while the other went for blue fur and yellow eyes. But the television Meep will sport white fur and yellow eyes. It’s also clearer than ever that Donna’s daughter Rose (Yasmin Finney) is stepping into the shoes of the comic’s Sharon.

Meanwhile it’s got to be said, that the television episode is closely recreating the look of the comic’s insectoid, bug eyed Wrarth Warriors is testament just how far the show has come – it’s an outlandishly comic book design the TV show wouldn’t have dared attempt back in 1978 when the comic was published.


The live action version of The Star Beast's Wrarth Warriors (c) Bad Wolf/BBC Studios Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Diamond Anniversary
The live action version of The Star Beast’s Wrarth Warriors (c) Bad Wolf/BBC Studios
The Star Beast adds one crucial element to the comic’s fluffy aliens and insectoid warriors: Donna Noble

However one key difference between the comic and the upcoming special will be Rose’s family. In the original it’s the house of Sharon’s school friend who becomes Beep’s hiding place. It’s also his stressed mother who’s shocked to discover her alien lodger and a Time Lord in her kitchen. But in last weekend’s trailer we saw clearly that it’s going to be our old friend Donna who finds something furry in her daughter’s closet. While we’ve already seen last year’s teaser showing her finding the Fourteenth Doctor in the kitchen.

But how can Donna be back, when last we saw her she’d not only had her memory wiped but would die if she ever did remember? And why has destiny brought she and the Doctor back together? It seems not even they know yet… “Cryptic, I hate that,” says the Time Lord in the accompanying teaser for The Star Beast.

And, yes, it looks now very much like each one of the blipvert teasers shown the week before Eurovision corresponds to a different special. Meaning the glimpses of a black sun image, and apparently possessed soldiers seem to come from this episode too. It’s clearer where moments from the post-Power of the Doctor teaser fit in too. We could have guessed Donna wistfully thinking she’s missing something lovely from life was from early in the first one. The same with her babbling excitedly about the “skinny man” in her house as Sylvia tries to hide him. But we can now be more certain of shots like Rose and her friends approaching an escape pod. Similarly, people building a spaceship is obviously linked to the similar ship falling from the sky in The Star Beast.


Almost everything about Wide Blue Yonder is still [REDACTED] (c) Bad Wolf/BBC Studios Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Diamond Anniversary
Almost everything about Wide Blue Yonder is still [REDACTED] (c) Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

Wild Blue Yonder

The second special remains the most mysterious. The blipvert teaser for it is accompanied by the phrase “This is the edge of creation,” and the Doctor saying “Did she mention Gallifrey?” But beyond that the original Power of the Doctor teaser, the blipvert, and the Eurovision trailer all show snippets of what looks like the same brief scene of the Doctor and Donna in some sort of control room. But we can guess from all that that Wild Blue Yonder is set off in space somewhere. Which means that it was likely almost entirely filmed in the studio. And while Wrarth Warriors and Neil Patrick Harris had already been seen on the streets of Cardiff, why wouldn’t Davies keep the second special’s secrets a little longer.


The Doctor in The Giggle (c) Bad Wolf/BBC Studios Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Diamond Anniversary David Tennant
The Doctor (David Tennant) in The Giggle (c) Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

The Giggle

“He’s here: driving you mad, laughing at the human race,” says the Doctor in the Eurovision trailer. “He’s in everyone’s head,” he adds in the blipvert. Meanwhile, the ‘he’ in question, Neil Patrick Harris’ villain, told us “the show is just beginning: world wide premiere!” in the original trailer before giving us the malicious giggle that presumably gives The Giggle its name in the new trailer. The motif of dolls faces and toys, along with the blipvert telling us “these are the rules of the game,” suggests an enemy who can use human beings as his puppets and views it all as a game.

Oh, and one more thing. The blipvert features some audio played backwards. And when reversed it sounds distinctly like the laugh of Michael Gough’s malevolent, godlike, gamesman in The Celestial Toymaker. Our biggest hint yet to the identity of Harris’ character.


We’re halfway there!

The Doctor Who 60th Anniversary specials are still six months away, which feels ages. On the other hand, we’re now more than halfway through the gap between Power of the Doctor and The Star Beast. And they’re shaping up to be huge fun.


Doctor Who 60th Anniversary poster (c) BBC Studios
Doctor Who 60th Anniversary poster (c) BBC Studios

Doctor Who returns in November with three 60th Anniversary specials on BBC One in the UK and Ireland, and Disney+ worldwide



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.