David Tennant’s departure from the show was met with disappointment, but it was also time for Ncuti Gatwa to take over as the Tardis pilot. However, in a surprising turn of events, both actors were featured in the same episode. It was not unexpected that Neil Patrick Harris stole the spotlight with his hilarious accents, impressive card tricks, and creative malevolence.
The Toymaker’s aggressive dance performance at Unit HQ, featuring the Spice Girls, was on par with the Master’s Rasputin routine from The Power of the Doctor. It felt like a larger representation of the new era under Russell T Davies: vibrant, audacious, and playfully absurd, yet with a deeper political significance.
Shirley Anne Bingham, portrayed by Ruth Madeley, made a return as well. The remark from Kate Stewart, played by Jemma Redgrave, about seeing Shirley get out of her wheelchair was strangely accurate. This scene was actually filmed months ago, but it reflects the ridiculous conversation that occurred after Madeley’s initial appearance, questioning if a character in a wheelchair could physically cross their legs. This online conversation was one of the real-life issues that writer Davies addressed in this script, highlighting the dangers of having everyone constantly connected and convinced of their own infallibility leading to worldwide chaos.
Mel’s return gave actress Bonnie Langford the opportunity to showcase her character’s true profession as a computer programmer, rather than just being portrayed as a helpless damsel in distress from the 1980s. Additionally, Langford’s musical talents were utilized in a more integral way to drive the plot forward.
For the initial 40 minutes, the focus was on Tennant and Catherine Tate (Donna). They had their tender moments, as well as times when they were dry or sarcastic towards each other – “I’m already running!” – but ultimately remained good friends. When Donna secured a job at Unit with ease, there was worry that it would be just another unrealistic dream she would never attain. However, she ended up with a fulfilling family life and a surprising bonus of having the 14th Doctor, who was grounded, by her side.
The beginning of Gatwa’s appearance, with the show’s historic “bi-generation”, seems to serve as a way to refresh the Doctor’s character and potentially reset the timeline for the entire show. This caused a significant change in tone for the final portion, with the Toymaker’s defeat becoming almost secondary as the Doctors came together to bid farewell to the past and welcome the future during the 60th anniversary celebration.
Can you summarize it in one sentence?
The Toymaker comes back to cause chaos among humans with a doll, but is surprised to discover that they have given the Doctor a place to live.
Living on the Tardis is an adventure.
The Tardis provides a life of excitement and exploration.
The uncomfortable conversation that occurs whenever a present companion meets a past one – “but you never brought them up”. And the Toymaker’s puppet reenactment of the gruesome endings of Amy, Clara, and Bill emphasized just how dangerous it is to be on the Tardis in the present day.
The atmosphere in the Toymaker’s shop had an eerie and surreal quality, as the dolls sometimes gave off a sense of being in a horror film – albeit one suitable for Saturday afternoon viewing by eight-year-old children.
Mysteries and questions
The first special of Meeps mentioned their boss, while the Toymaker claimed there was a being in the universe that even he feared to confront. This sets the stage for a potential main antagonist in Gatwa’s upcoming first season. It’s highly unlikely that the Master could be stuck in a gold tooth forever. It’s more likely that the Rani retrieved the tooth after it fell.
Deeper into the vortex
There were numerous callbacks, but the most prominent was the Toymaker. He was briefly seen in colorized clips and was first portrayed by Michael Gough in a 1966 episode featuring William Hartnell. Gough was scheduled to reprise his role in The Nightmare Fair, a 1986 story with Colin Baker, but the BBC executives decided to put the show on hold, resulting in the Trial of a Time Lord series instead. Although three episodes from the 1966 story are missing from the archives, an animated version with the original audio soundtrack will be released next year. However, based on the trailer, it appears that the animation was done in Roblox, so your opinion may vary.
Jemma Redgrave, known for her role as Kate Stewart, has appeared in stories with the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and War Doctors. This number of Doctors surpasses the number her character’s father, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, has appeared with, depending on the strictness of counting.
According to Russell T Davies, he chose Harris to play the Toymaker after collaborating with him on It’s a Sin because of his passion for magic and previous experience performing stand-up magic routines.
Celebrate Christmas with Ncuti, Millie Gibson, and Davina McCall wearing trousers and encountering goblins from outer space. The festivities begin at 5:55pm on BBC One in the UK and on Disney+ worldwide.