TV & Movies

Neil Patrick Harris Will Play Doctor Who’s “Greatest Enemy” Yet

But will he be suited for the occasion?

Neil Patrick Harris of 'How I Met Your Mother' and 'Doctor Who'
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Next year the cult sci-fi series Doctor Who celebrates its 60th birthday, and to mark the occasion, a host of returning stars and newcomers will join forces for a special edition of the show. With Jodie Whittaker set to bid farewell to the Tardis later this year in a final 2022 special, it’s thought the anniversary special will welcome in new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa for the first time, as well as revisiting some familiar faces.

Excitingly, it has also been revealed that Neil Patrick Harris, famed for portraying the suited and booted Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother, will be joining the cast for the special, starring as the “greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced.” But who is Harris’ character, and when will his episode air? We’ve got all the details below.

When will the 2023 Doctor Who Special Air?

According to Deadline, the How I Met Your Mother star is filming in Wales right now, with the results set to air in 2023 around the time of the show’s 60th anniversary in November. The show’s official birthday falls on Nov. 23 – a Thursday – and so it’s likely that a special would air on one of the two weekends either side of that date. Either that, or potentially a two-parter? Watch this space.

What do we know about Neil Patrick Harris’ role?

Though there are few details out there about Harris’ character at the moment, Doctor Who’s showrunner Russel T. Davies has hinted at a villainous turn, calling his character the “greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced” in an Instagram post. Filed next to previous foes like Daleks, Weeping Angels and Cybermen, that’s quite some feat.

The actor also shared the first glimpse of his unnamed Doctor Who character, who appears to be wearing an old-fashioned leather shop apron, and holding a pair of pliers. Eagle-eyed fans have suggested that he might well be the Celestial Toy Maker – who mostly appears in the sixth season and has gone head to head with the Doctor multiple times over the course of the long-running show. Though it’s not confirmed, Harris’ costume certainly seems to hit the brief.

Who else is in the anniversary cast?

Brand new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa, previously a star in Sex Education, will be appearing on the special, along with Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney as Rose. Former Doctor David Tennant will also be returning alongside his sidekick Donna Noble (played by Catherine Tate). As reported by Radio Times, Bernard Cribbins (who played Doctor Who companion Wilfred Mott), Jacqueline King (aka. Donna Noble’s mother Sylvia) and Donna’s finance Shaun Temple (portrayed by Shaun Temple) have all either been confirmed or spotted filming in Wales.