Doctor Who 60th Anniversary's Villain Fulfils A 57-Year-Old First Doctor Promise


Doctor Who 60th Anniversary’s Villain Fulfils A 57-Year-Old First Doctor Promise

Doctor Who is fulfilling a promise that was made over 50 years ago by bringing back a classic villain for the 60th Anniversary specials


  • The 60th Anniversary specials of Doctor Who will celebrate the show’s long history and feature surprises and easter eggs for long-term fans.
  • David Tennant and Catherine Tate will return as The Doctor and Donna Noble.
  • The return of the classic Doctor Who villain, The Celestial Toymaker, after 57 years shows that the show honors its history and brings relevance to old episodes for new viewers.



The 60th Anniversary specials of Doctor Who are set to be a celebration of the show’s long history, with certain aspects dating right back to the early episodes of the 1960s. While the main selling point of these three specials is the return of both David Tennant and Catherine Tate as The Doctor and Donna Noble, the stories are said to be littered with surprises and easter eggs that long-term fans will love and appreciate. One of these surprises, in particular, has already been revealed on the show’s official social media, and it fulfills a promise that was first spoken in a Doctor Who episode over half a century ago.

The trailer for Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary specials has revealed plenty of details about the story’s plot, but enough still remains a mystery for audiences to be surprised by the time these episodes are released. It’s been almost fifteen years since the end of Tennant’s original tenure as The Doctor (appearing once since then in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ 50th Anniversary special), so viewers are understandably excited to see him back on-screen with Tate again ahead of Doctor Who season 14. But the 57-year-old promise revealed in the recent trailer proves that these specials won’t just be for fans of Tennant’s era, but rather the show as a whole.

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The First Doctor Said The Celestial Toymaker Would Return – And Now He Is

It’s been officially revealed on social media that Neil Patrick Harris will be playing a classic Doctor Who villain named The Celestial Toymaker in the 60th Anniversary specials. The character first appeared in a four-serial story way back in 1966, where he faced off against William Hartnell’s original incarnation of The Doctor. At the end of that story, when the Time Lord seemingly defeats his enemy, Hartnell gives a clear warning that The Toymaker will return at some point in the future – but that promise hadn’t been fulfilled until right now.

Neil Patrick Harris’ 57-year-old Doctor Who villain will be the main antagonist of these 60th Anniversary specials, finally returning after such a long absence. The character’s revival proves that Doctor Who isn’t the kind of show to ignore its promises – even when they’d been long-forgotten by most fans. It’s a clear way of showing that Doctor Who cares about its history and wants to honor those audiences that have stuck around since the beginning. The decision will also introduce classic villains like The Toymaker to new viewers, making those old episodes even more relevant.

Why Is The Toymaker Only Returning In Doctor Who Now?

Neil Patrick Harris doing a trick in Doctor Who

It seems unusual for Doctor Who to use such a long-forgotten villain as the main crux of such an important run of specials, but the decision actually makes complete sense. The very nature of these episodes is to celebrate the show reaching 60 years on-air, so it wouldn’t be right for the story to use characters that have only been around for a small portion of that time. The Toymaker is one of the oldest villains that Doctor Who has access to, with the majority having been concretely defeated in their original serials.

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There will probably be some Tennant-era characters returning for the 2023 specials too, but the episodes really needed this link to the past in order to reach their full potential. It also makes sense from an in-universe perspective why The Celestial Toymaker has waited so long to return – The Doctor is clearly in a confused state after that shocking regeneration, so perhaps he’s picked this moment to strike and get his revenge. It’s one of the few times when he’d have the upper hand on The Doctor, so it makes sense that he’d take advantage of that.

Can The Toymaker Really Not Be Permanently Defeated? How Powerful He Is

Neil Patrick Harris as a mystery villain in the Doctor Who 60th anniversary special

The Toymaker is one of the few Doctor Who villains that The Doctor has been unable to permanently defeat – which also ranks him among the most powerful. The First Doctor even described the character as “immortal” during their first interactions, raising the question of whether he could actually be killed or defeated at all. His powers are extremely strong – in those initial episodes, he displayed the ability to trap his victims within childish games and manipulate reality in his favor, giving himself complete control over them.

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It’s this control over reality that prevented The Toymaker from being permanently defeated the first time, and it’s going to be extremely difficult for The Doctor to overcome this problem again. The trailer for the Doctor Who specials even shows the TARDIS having run away from the fight – proving just how dangerous and futile this battle could end up being. The stakes are going to be extremely high, and The Toymaker will definitely have the upper hand, but The Doctor is sure to save the day somehow.

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