Doctor Who: Russell T Davies Teases Brand-New Surprise 60th Anniversary Special

A last-minute secret Doctor Who project was filmed in September, according to RTD’s latest column in Doctor Who Magazine, and fans already have some solid theories…

Russell T Davies Doctor Who
Photo: BBC

That tricksy Russell T Davies is at it again in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, and this time the particular cat he’s set among the Whovian pigeons is the possibility of a brand-new, top-secret 60th anniversary Doctor Who celebration.

Speaking in his regular “Letter From The Showrunner” column in issue 596 of the magazine, he revealed that as well as the three anniversary episodes (starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate) and various other celebrations which have been 18 months in the making, “you’re also getting extra things that sprang into being, well, yesterday.” 

He goes on to explain:

“Okay, it was July, this year. But as the summer began, I was thinking about the 60th and wondered, have we done enough? So I had an idea on July 5, sent a format proposal to the team on July 20, then three scriptwriters got to work, and now, just two months later, in the second half of September, we’re about to embark on a 6-day studio shoot of brand new material that will make you FIZZ! I promise!”

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This cheeky little nugget of new information was quickly set upon by Doctor Who fans across social media, and some popular theories have been circulating already.

A Children in Need Special?

Speculation has been rife since Russell T Davies also revealed that fans should keep their diaries clear on November 1st, 17th and 23rd, but confirmed that none of these are the air dates for the three 60th anniversary special episodes.

It’s since been confirmed that November 1st is the day that all of the classic Doctor Who episodes and spin-offs arrive on BBC iPlayer, and 17th November is the date of long-running charity telethon Children in Need:

This wouldn’t be the first time we got a Doctor Who treat on Children in Need night – a particularly unforgettable example being the 1993 Dimensions in Time minisode mashup of Doctor Who and Eastenders (which falls into the so-bad-it’s-good category), as fans were quick to point out:

And then there’s the infamous 1999 Comic Relief special episode The Curse of Fatal Death

A Minisode Like The Fiveish Doctors?

The other most popular theory right now is a minisode (with many calling for a Paul McGann appearance), with fans remembering the excellent 50th anniversary specials The Night of The Doctor and The Fiveish Doctors, which featured former Doctors Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Paul McGann, David Tennant and Matt Smith.

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Could it be the mysterious TOTT?

One final bit of Whovian sleuthing was fans pointing out that the latest Doctor Who Magazine’s Production Diary feature (written by script editor Scott Handcock) referenced a mysterious project known only as “TOTT”, with a kick-off meeting referenced on 16th August and some scripts being finalised on Wednesday 6th September.

But is this the same as the secret new filming project teased by Davies, and if so, what could TOTT stand for? Fans had some ideas, from the promising to the ridiculous:

Thankfully, we really don’t have long to wait now, and speculating about this will at least pass the time until they FINALLY TELL US THE AIR DATES for the 60th anniversary episodes! 

Doctor Who returns in November 2023 (at some point!) on BBC One and Disney+