Neil Patrick Harris is the ultimate villain in Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary specials

Neil Patrick Harris joins Doctor Who this week playing one of the Time Lord’s oldest nemeses, The Toymaker.

The long running sci-fi show has been celebrating it’s 60th anniversary with three special episodes that fans have been lapping up.

The show makes its debut at 6:30pm each Saturday night in the UK, and streams globally via Disney Plus, leading to hardcore Australian fans getting up very early on Sunbay mornings to watch the latest episodes.

The three celebratory episodes feature David Tennant returning to the lead role, and Catherine Tate is back as his former companion Donna Noble.

The Star Beast, the first of the new episodes saw the Doctor reunited with Donna and introduced us to Donna’s family including her daughter Rose who is transgender. Heartstopper star Yasmin Feeney plays Rose, while Mirriam Margolyes featured as the fluffy alien The Meep.

The second episode, Wild Blue Yonder, which aired over the weekend saw The Doctor and Donna marooned on an abandoned spaceship with a mystery to solve. The innovative story of the episode has led to fans declaring it will be remembered as one of the show’s most iconic.

Next up is the final of the specials, and Neil Patrick Harris will join the program playing the evil Toymaker.

Harris is best known for his childhood role as teen doctor Doogie Howser, and his long stint playing Barney Stinson on the comedy How I Met Your Mother. Most recently he starred in the TV series Uncoupled. 

He’s previously worked with Doctor Who producer Russell T Davies, appearing in his acclaimed drama series It’s a Sin. In interviews Davies has shared that Harris new nothing about the long running sci-fi show before being offered the part.

Fans got their first good look at him in the trailer for the next episode.

The character of The Toymaker has only appeared on the show once before, all the way back in 1966 when he played by British actor Michael Gough.

In that adventure the Doctor and his companions were separated and forced to play a series of games that had deadly consequences. The story is one that has largely been lost from the BBC’s archives with only the final of episode of the four-part story still in existence.

The episode is also expected to see the arrival of The Doctor’s new regeneration. Sex Education actor Ncuti Gatwa will take over the role, becoming the first male Black, and queer, actor to take on the part.

Gatwa has already filmed the next series of the show, and work on the follow up series is already underway, so fans can be assured that the Doctor will be having adventures on our screens for a long time into the future.

Graeme Watson 

Oops, an earlier version of this article suggested that Ncuti Gatwa was the first Black actor to play the Doctor, readers highlighted that that honour belongs to Jo Martin.  

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