Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials Runtimes Revealed

After a truly shocking regeneration at the end of "The Power of the Doctor", Doctor Who will return in November 2023 for the iconic series' 60th anniversary specials and now, the runtimes for those three special episodes has been revealed. According to Doctor Who Magazine (via Digital Spy), the three special episodes will be "hour-long spectaculars". The episodes will see David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor ahead of Ncuti Gatwa taking over as the Fifteenth.

"When Russell [T. Davies] ran Doctor Who for five years in the 2000s, he turned it into a huge critical and commercial success," the magazine states. "He's returning with some big, bold, next-level plans, kicking off in November 2023 with three special episodes – hour-long spectaculars – starring David's Fourteenth Doctor, before Ncuti takes over as the Fifteenth, around the festive period."

How did Tennant return to Doctor Who?

"The Power of the Doctor", saw the conclusion of Jodie Whittaker's time as the Thirteenth Doctor, but the scene in which she regenerated into the Fourteenth Doctor hit viewers with a shocking twist. Instead of regenerating into a character portrayed by Ncuti Gatwa, who had previously been announced as the Fourteenth Doctor, she instead regenerated into David Tennant, the actor who previously played the Tenth iteration of the character. It's since been announced that Tennant is playing the Fourteenth Doctor and will appear in a handful of episodes in the upcoming season before handing off to Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor and the actor's surprise return has thrilled fans, but for Tennant, he was a bit concerned about it all.

Speaking with BBC's Today radio show (via TVLine) Tennant said that he was worried he wouldn't be able to get back into the "groove" of playing the Doctor again, but he's enjoyed getting to revisit things.

"I think I was worried before I got there that it might be difficult to get in the groove again," Tennant said, though he added that he instead found it "weirdly weirdly straight forward."

"There's a bit of a precedent in this show that all Doctors maybe turn up for a special now and again, but usually in cohort with the current team," he said. "So, to get another run around the park was a little joy I never saw coming. What a lovely, lovely thing to get to revisit something that was such a wonderful, happy, significant time in my life. It's like being given the loveliest present. It's been an absolute joy."

What about Ncuti Gatwa?

Back in May, it was announced that Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa will replace Whittaker as the star of Doctor Who in the series' 60th anniversary season. In the press release announcing the news, Gatwa said, "There aren't quite the words to describe how I'm feeling. A mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared. This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my upmost to do the same.  Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the Doctor himself and being able to work with him is a dream come true. His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and fizzing with danger. An actor's metaphorical playground. The entire team have been so welcoming and truly give their hearts to the show. And so as much as it's daunting, I'm aware I'm joining a really supportive family. Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart, but I am giving it all to this show."

Following "The Power of the Doctor" it was confirmed by showrunner Russell T. Davies that Gatwa will take on the role following Tennant later in 2023.

"If you thought the appearance of David Tennant was a shock, we've got plenty more surprises on the way," Davies said. "The path to Ncuti's 15th Doctor is laden with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger and fun. And how is it connected to the return of the wonderful Donna Noble? How, what, why? We're giving you a year to speculate, and then all hell lets loose."

Doctor Who returns in 2023. Get caught up with our streaming binge guide.