If you’d polled a million Doctor Who fans last week asking them to predict what would happen in “Wild Blue Yonder” – the second of three 60th anniversary specials – not a single one of them would have come close to guessing what that wild ride of an episode entailed. This leaves us wondering: what on earth have they got lined up for “The Giggle”, the third and final episode?
Some things we’ve known for a while: David Tennant and Catherine Tate will be back as the fourteenth Doctor and Donna Noble, Neil Patrick Harris will play The Toymaker – a Who villain that we haven’t seen on TV since the sixties – and Jemma Redgrave is back as UNIT boss Kate Lethbridge-Stewart.
Pretty much everything else we know has been gleaned from cryptic glimpses in teasers and trailers – so let’s put all the evidence we have so far together:
The Power of The Doctor Teaser: “Can Someone Tell Me What The Hell is Going On Here?”
It was over a year ago (at the end of “The Power of The Doctor”) that we first saw Neil Patrick Harris as the Toymaker in action, waving menacingly at the camera in his top hat and tails.
More excitingly, we also see the very first glimpse of Ncuti Gatwa as a very bewildered-looking Fifteenth Doctor asking for someone to tell him what’s happening – this must surely feature towards the conclusion of “The Giggle” if we’re getting our first Gatwa episode as the Christmas Day special?
Christmas 2022 Teaser: “The Show Is Just Beginning…”
That first tiny teaser was later extended into the one above. In this, we see The Toymaker in a tartan waistcoat in front of what looks like an old-fashioned puppet show theatre saying “The show is just beginning… worldwide premiere!”
A recent photo released by the BBC shows what looks like The Doctor and Donna watching this same puppet show:
We also see the first blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse of him in a bed of rose petals, American Beauty-style – and petals crop up again later in some of the BBC’s recent photo releases, which seem to show these petals all over the floor of UNIT HQ:
And The Toymaker seems to be putting on a show:
Before terrorising poor UNIT scientist Shirley (Ruth Madeley):
Puppets also feature plenty more too:
Anniversary Specials Title Reveal: “He’s Here, Driving You Mad, Laughing at the Human Race”
There’s just seven seconds of footage attributed to the third anniversary special – revealed to be called “The Giggle” – in this teaser, but it packs in a lot.
This time, we see The Toymaker and Fourteen dancing awkwardly in the street, surrounded by armageddon-style chaos, before we see a furious-looking Doctor in a swanky building (which we now know to be UNIT HQ in London), explaining that a mysterious “he” is “laughing at the human race.” (Remember the words “human race” for later…)
There are also huge screens displaying a creepy-looking old-timey puppet – this convincing fan theory claimed the puppet was a reference to John Logie Baird’s first television transmission back in 1925:
It would seem this theory is correct:
The Latest Doctor Who Magazine Filled In Some of the Blanks
The November issue of Doctor Who Magazine confirmed four new cast members for the 60th anniversary specials, including John MacKay reprising his role as John Logie Baird after playing the television pioneer in Nolly back in January, and Charlie De Melo as Charles Bannerjee (pictured above).
Recent images released by the BBC shed more light on this. Here’s Mackay as Baird, holding the same puppet:
But here too is The Toymaker himself, also holding what looks to be the same puppet, only this time in a tartan suit…
There’s some definite hints that the Toymaker is going to be some kind of puppetmaster – perhaps literally.
Catherine Tate Had Some Hints About Donna’s End
The same magazine featured quotes from Catherine Tate about how, when reading the scripts, it was the script for The Giggle that “shook her up the most”:
“After I’d read the third episode… I texted Russell and was like ‘Oh… my God.’ I was a little bit taken aback, actually, at what happens. I think Russell has always known how Donna’s story shouyld end. It’s powerful and it’s brlliant. And it feels… right.”
Official trailer: “I Don’t Know If I Can Save Your Life This Time”
We get the biggest dollop of “The Giggle” yet here.
For starters, The Toymaker playfully says “Oh, but he is recognising me”, so it looks like it’ll take a while for The Doctor to place his foe (he does look quite different from his sixties original, to be fair…) and a much more recent Instagram clip of The Doctor and Toymaker meeting backs that up:
And it’s not just juggling The Toymaker is playing – a BBC image shows he and The Doctor playing a very serious-looking game of cards:
Back to the trailer: helicopters carry The Doctor and Donna to a helipad at the top of a skyscraper that looks to be UNIT HQ, where we’re reunited with UNIT boss Kate Lethbridge-Stewart.
We hear her ask: “What do we do this time, Doctor? How do we fight the human race?”
This adds more fuel to the theory that the Toymaker is controlling humanity, using them as his puppets in a twisted game with The Doctor – as does the clip of a giant Toymaker seemingly peering down through the roof of a building holding puppet strings.
While we don’t hear what The Doctor’s answer to Kate’s question is, we do later see Kate ordering her men to “open fire”, as well as an alarming clip of the Toymaker behind an absolutely gigantic gun with the Doctor running towards it, so things get violent.
There’s yet another hint at Donna’s fate, too: in a conversation with her, the Doctor confesses “I don’t know if I can save your life this time.” This line takes on new meaning after seeing the first two specials, considering both feature The Doctor doing just that. Fate really seems to have it in for Donna – how likely is it The Doctor will be able to save her for a third time in a row?
End of Wild Blue Yonder: “It’s Everybody… They’re All Going Mad”
The end of “Wild Blue Yonder” set us up nicely for “The Giggle”, as violence erupts in the streets and Wilf fearfully tells Donna and The Doctor that everyone is going mad (or being controlled by The Toymaker?) and “The whole world’s coming to an end”. Just before the credits roll, a plane crashes nearby, sending up a huge fireball, and giving us a brilliant cliffhanger going into this week’s final episode.
Unleashed clip: “You’ll Get Yourself Killed!”
One tiny bonus clip at the end of Doctor Who: Unleashed shows more of this chaos in the streets, with The Doctor trying to reason with a man standing in the middle of the road as people scream and cars crash around him. This scene looks similar to the chaos in the earlier teasers with The Toymaker gleefully dancing among it all, so it looks like it’s all part of his plan…
Next Time: “The Time Lord and The Toymaker – One Final Game”
All of this seems to tie up nicely in the final, latest teaser, which sees a giant Toymaker pulling puppet strings, some of which are attached to the Doctor himself.
And then we see the Fourteenth Doctor surrounded by regeneration energy, and the briefest glimpse of a smiling Ncuti Gatwa in the TARDIS – with what looks like a retro jukebox in the background?! Your guess is as good as ours, there.
Doctor Who returns this Saturday with The Giggle on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK and Disney+ in the rest of the world
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