A new look at Doctor Who might confirm a major villain theory

Neil Patrick Harris in Doctor Who
(Image credit: BBC/Instagram)

Is Neil Patrick Harris playing the Celestial Toymaker in Doctor Who? Well, fans seem more convinced than ever that he is, thanks to a new look at the sci-fi show's upcoming 60th anniversary specials. 

In the run-up to the episodes, which are set to broadcast sometime in November, the long running series' official Twitter account shared an image of what appears to be a wooden door or panel – and it's got a sad clown carved into it. "Waiting for a new #DoctorWho adventure be like… #WhoSpy," read the accompanying caption.

Harris's involvement in the specials was announced way back in June 2022, though who he's playing remains somewhat of a mystery. We know he'll be a baddie and we've learned from previously released stills that his villain will be donning a three-piece suit, a top hat, and some seriously sinister eyeliner. (We also know he's set to face off against David Tennant's Doctor and Catherine Tate's Donna Noble in Special Two, titled Wild Blue Yonder).

The Toymaker first appeared in 1966, when he cut William Hartnell's First Doctor off from his companions and forced the timey-wimey gang to join in with some childish games before letting them return to the TARDIS. In those games, the Toymaker used clowns as his pawns; could the clown in the snapshot be teasing his reintroduction?

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"The Celestial Toymaker is coming…" one eagle-eyed follower replied on Twitter, which has recently been rebranded X. Meanwhile, another wrote: "Toymaker Toymaker Toymaker".

"I sense that this is a tease about the return of a First Doctor villain that has been theorized about by fans. I look forward to this," said a third.

Speaking about his role back in July 2022, Harris told Variety: "I get a text from Russell T Davies saying, 'So I'm doing this thing and I've written a thing and there's a part in it that you might like. I think it's delicious. Is it OK if I send it to you?'

"And I say, 'Of course Russell, you're Russell T Davies. Of course.' And he sent it and I started reading it and from the very, very first scene I was like, 'Ah, this is delicious.'"

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. While we wait for more news on the 60th anniversary special, check out our list of the best new shows coming your way in 2023 and beyond.

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.