Warning: contains spoilers for Doctor Who: “The Star Beast” and “Wild Blue Yonder”.
The Doctor is Back, complete with the face of the Tenth incarnation and that Doctor’s best companion, Donna Noble! However, as seen at the end of the second Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Special “Wild Blue Yonder,” the Doctor and Donna aren’t coming back to the world as they left it. The joy of being reunited with Donna’s grandad Wilf (Bernard Cribbins) quickly melts away at the sight of a world gone mad: shopkeepers duking it out with their customers, carts exploding into flames, and an airplane falling from the sky.
That’s quite a setup for the third and final Doctor Who Anniversary Special, “The Giggle.” And while the special doesn’t come layered in the same amount of secrecy as “Wild Blue Yonder,” viewers may have some questions. Fortunately, we’re here to clear up any confusion, or at least point you in the right direction. Good enough? Allons-y!
The Story So Far
The Doctor still doesn’t know why the Fourteenth incarnation has regenerated with the Tenth incarnation’s face, which means that fans still haven’t seen Ncuti Gatwa in action as the Doctor, nor have they seen his new companion Ruby, played by Millie Gibson. However, “Wild Blue Yonder” does give the Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna (Catherine Noble) a chance to catch up on what’s happened in the past 15 years.
Those revelations arrive in a roundabout way, as the TARDIS drops the duo off in what seems like an abandoned space station. The time alone gives the Doctor and Donna plenty of time to have a heart-to-heart, which grows even more important when they realize they’ve been joined by shapeshifters. In addition to trying to find a way out and getting back the TARDIS, both the Doctor and Donna have to figure out how to differentiate between the real things and the imposters.
While talking to the Donna imposter, who has the ability to read their victims’ minds, the Doctor faces one of the most important revisions from the 13th Doctor’s tenure (Jodie Whittaker). As revealed in “The Timeless Children,” the Doctor is not from Gallifrey, as previously believed. We don’t know yet where the Doctor has come from, but it’s clear from Tennant’s reaction that the reveal fills him with a loneliness he hasn’t felt since the Ninth and Tenth Doctors began to reckon with the War Doctor’s (John Hurt) decision to destroy the planet.
When is The Giggle Available in the US and the UK?
As with “The Wild Blue Yonder,” the third special “The Giggle” will come to Disney+ at 1:30 pm EST on December 9, 2023.
“The Giggle” will air on BBC One on that same day at 6:30 pm and on BBC iPlayer. UK viewers can also watch Doctor Who: Unleashed, available immediately after “The Giggle,” hopefully another commentary track to watch with the special, and the latest installment of The Official Doctor Who Podcast.
What is The Giggle About?
Where Russell T Davies kept a tight lid on the details of “Wild Blue Yonder” (for better or for worse), we know quite a bit more about “The Giggle.” Most importantly, “The Giggle” introduces Neil Patrick Harris as The Toymaker, a villain introduced in the 1960s and then promptly forgotten. Additionally, “The Giggle” will throw back to the Doctor’s past by bringing back Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s daughter and current UNIT head Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (Jemma Redgrave).
The Toymaker probably caused the chaos seen at the end of “Wild Blue Yonder,” possibly related to his use of puppets, which may give him the ability to control reality. As previously reported, at least part of the episode takes place in 1925, the year before John Logie Baird (portrayed in the special by John MacKay), made the first public demonstration of a working television. And as the trailer for “The Giggle” hints, the Doctor’s reunion with Donna may be coming to a horrible end.
Between the return of the Toymaker, the special’s metatextual references to television history, and the mystery of the Tenth Doctor’s face, “The Giggle” has a lot of ground to cover. However, one cannot help but think it will also finally give us, in some form, Ncuti Gatwa and possibly Millie Gibson, clearing the way for their first proper appearance in this year’s Christmas Special.
Doctor Who: 60th Anniversary Special: The Giggle streams on Disney+ in the US and around the world on December 9, 2023.