Doctor Who - The Giggle ending explained: bi-generation, the one who waits, and more

doctor who the giggle
(Image credit: BBC)

Well now, that was quite the episode of Doctor Who. Clearly wanting to end the 60th anniversary specials with a bang, the latest episode from returning showrunner Russell T Davies, titled The Giggle, saw David Tennant's Doctor and Catherine Tate's Donna Noble take on the Toymaker, played by Neil Patrick Harris. 

Their battle against the villain took many unexpected turns, which all built up to the moment everyone was waiting for - the regeneration into Ncuti Gatwa's Fifteenth Doctor, who will be captaining the TARDIS from here on out. However, it's safe to say that it was far from your usual regeneration... Oh yeah, Davies is having fun, and not only with that, as a few clues are littered throughout the episode too that hint at what's coming next.

Naturally you will be left with many questions but never fear, as we've got the answers.

Major spoilers for The Giggle follow. You have been warned...

 So… what is bi-generation? 

doctor who bi-generation

(Image credit: BBC)

The Giggle just completely changed the history of Doctor Who with the introduction of bi-generation, a new concept for the beloved show. As the Toymaker challenges the Doctor to a third game, as they are playing for best of three, he decides he wants to play against a new face, blasting the Time Lord with the galvanic beam, causing him to regenerate.

Companions Donna and a returning Melanie Bush (portrayed by Bonnie Langford), each hold the Doctor's hands, who of course chooses his famous catchphrase "allons-y" for his last words. However, after glowing with light nothing happens - the Doctor still has David Tennant's face. Saying that it "feels different this time", the Doctor asks his friends to "pull" his body each way, and in doing so they yank Ncuti Gatwa out of him. And so, standing in front of us are two Doctors - Tennant's Fourteenth and Gatwa's Fifteenth.

Both are clearly initially puzzled, but soon realise that they have "bi-generated", something we are told was previously only thought of as a myth. This means we now have two Doctors, each with the same memories and abilities, but able to co-exist in the same world, leading separate lives. And if you were worried about them sharing a TARDIS, Gatwa's Fifteenth reminds us that after winning the Toymaker's game they are still due to be given a prize. And so, he hits the TARDIS with a fairground hammer causing it to duplicate. Tennant's Doctor now has his own, as does Gatwa's Fifteenth Doctor - notably his comes with a jukebox, which is rather fabulous!

 What happens to David Tennant's Fourteenth Doctor? 

doctor who the giggle

(Image credit: BBC)

After banishing the Toymaker (more on that below), David Tennant's Doctor admits that now there are two of them, he's unsure how everything is going to work. As the Doctors discuss their life so far, it's noted that not for one second has the Time Lord stopped for a breather, always going from adventure to adventure, battle to battle. Donna believes this is why his previous face came back and reunited with her - the Doctor's body was telling him that it's worn out and needs to process all the pain it's experienced over those many, many years. And how better to do that then spend some time relaxing with best friend Donna Noble?

Which is exactly what the Fourteenth Doctor does, going on a journey they have never been on before - resting. After saying goodbye to Gatwa's Fifteenth Doctor, we catch up with Tennant's Time Lord at Donna's home, where he is sat enjoying lunch with his new found family - which includes former companion Mel. Smiling at everyone, he says he has "never been so happy" in his life. 

However, we doubt that this restful time will last as the Doctor can't resist adventuring. In fact, we learn that he has already taken Yasmin Finney's Rose and Langford's Mel for a spin already in his TARDIS. With the launch of the new 'Whoniverse', the official home for all things Doctor Who, and a deal with Disney+ internationally, we can easily see Tennant's Doctor getting his own spin-off show. Allons-y!

 What happens to Ncuti Gatwa's Fifteenth Doctor? 

Ncuti Gatwa in Doctor Who

(Image credit: BBC)

After comforting an emotional Fourteenth Doctor, it's time for Ncuti Gatwa's Time Lord to go on his own adventure. Saying goodbye to Donna Noble and Tennant's Doctor, giving the latter a respectful salute, the Fifteenth Doctor sets course for a new destination in time and space, beginning their travels in the TARDIS. Just like us at home, Donna asks the important question, "where's he going?" The Fourteenth Doctor's answer is quite simple, "everywhere". He then wishes the Fifteenth Doctor "good luck" on his journey, which is an emotional handover between the two characters.

Words appear on the screen right at the end of the episode telling us that the "destination" is "Christmas" - with a trailer playing after the credits have rolled for the upcoming Christmas Day special The Church on Ruby Road.

 What happens to the Toymaker? 

Neil Patrick Harris in Doctor Who

(Image credit: BBC/Disney Plus)

After losing a game of catch against the two Doctors, it is decreed that the Toymaker will be banished from existence for forever. Shrunken into a box, UNIT's Kate Lethbridge-Stewart asks her colleagues to take the Toymaker down into the deepest vault, where he will be trapped.

Just before he is punished to banishment the Toymaker warns that his "legions are coming" - whilst we think this is a desperate, empty threat, you really do never know with Doctor Who. Maybe the Toymaker will pop up again in the future...

 Who is 'the one who waits'?

doctor who the giggle

(Image credit: BBC)

One character that we definitely know is coming is "the one who waits", a character the Toymaker mentioned earlier whilst in discussion with the Doctor. He confessed that whilst he has faced many foes - including the Master - there was one "player" he could not play against, cryptically saying: "I saw it, hiding, and I ran."

Naturally the Doctor questions who the Toymaker is referring to, but the villain shrugs it off by replying with: "That's someone else's game." Presumably here that "someone else" is Gatwa's Fifteenth Doctor, who will at some point face-off against this currently mysterious enemy.

But who is the one who waits? Given that Doctor Who has a long history, there are plenty of villains to choose from, but it has to be someone so terrifying even the Toymaker didn't want to take them on.

One possible answer is the Eternals - and no, we aren't referring to the Marvel characters here, but instead a race of powerful, element beings who were first introduced to Doctor Who in 1983. Able to create things out of only thin air and manipulate matter at their will, they would be a formidable foe.

We have also met similar powered beings in 1978, this time called the Guardians (again, not a MCU reference), who each embodied different parts of the universe, from light to darkness.

Of course, we will have to wait and see, but perhaps this is the "boss" the menacing Meep mentioned in the first Doctor Who 60th anniversary special The Star Beast. We were told that character would be revealed during Ncuti Gatwa's upcoming season, so maybe it is the same being as "the one who waits".

 What happens to the tooth containing the Master? 

doctor who the master

(Image credit: BBC)

Not all of the Toymaker is banished into that box though, as we see his gold tooth lying on the floor. Of course, that isn't your typical tooth though, as we learnt earlier that inside it is the Master. That's right, the most famous Doctor Who villain of them all played a game against the Toymaker and lost - his punishment was to be "sealed for eternity" inside that tooth.

Intriguingly a hand wearing red nail polish picks up the tooth, indicating that someone is going to bring the Master back. But who does the hand belong to? Our bet is that it's the character Ru Paul's Drag Race star Jinkx Monsoon will play. All we know so far is that Monsoon will play a villain against Gatwa's Fifteenth Doctor, an enemy that is said to be "the most powerful" one yet in Doctor Who history. Intriguing...

Doctor Who: The Giggle is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer in the UK and Disney Plus in the rest of the world.

For more, check out our guide to all the best shows on Disney Plus to fill out your watchlist. 

Emily Murray
Entertainment Editor

As Entertainment Editor at GamesRadar, I oversee all the online content for Total Film and SFX magazine. Previously I've worked for the BBC, Zavvi, UNILAD, Yahoo, Digital Spy and more.