Doctor Who fans go wild for Neil Patrick Harris’ ‘creepy’ performance as The Toymaker in David Tennant’s final special… as Ncuti Gatwa makes his much-anticipated debut

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By Robert Fofana

Doctor Who viewers heaped praise on Neil Patrick Harris’ performance as The Toymaker on the BBC show on Saturday night.

The American actor, 50, made his debut on the smash hit sci-fi show in the third and final 60th anniversary special, starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate.

Neil portrayed devious villain The Toymaker, who last appeared on the drama in 1966, when he was portrayed by Michael Gough in The Celestial Toymaker four-part storyline.

Showrunner Russell T Davies previously described Neil’s version of The Toymaker as the ‘greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced’ as the villain made his grand return in the episode titled The Giggle.

Putting his own twist on the character, viewers were left seriously impressed by his performance as they took to social media to gush over his ‘creepy’ performance and his character’s eerie laugh.

Doctor Who fans go wild for Neil Patrick Harris’ ‘creepy’ performance as The Toymaker in David Tennant’s final special… as Ncuti Gatwa makes his much-anticipated debut

Doctor Who viewers heaped praise on Neil Patrick Harris’ performance as The Toymaker on the BBC show on Saturday night 

Writing on X – formerly known as Twitter – fans argued that Neil was ‘perfect’ for the role as they admitted they were left with ‘chills’ watching his performance

One said: ‘What a gift to have Neil Patrick Harris on this episode,’ a second wrote: ‘Well, Neil Patrick Harris does creepy pretty good.’

A third commented: ‘Ten Seconds into #DoctorWho and @ActuallyNPH has me in the palm of his hands! This is a villain!.

Another tweeted: ‘Not even a fan of Neil Patrick Harris and he’s already giving me chills as the Toymaker #DoctorWho,’ and one added: Neil Patrick Harris is perfect as The Toymaker.’

‘He is recognising me, are you not pleased Doctor, to see me again after so many years!’

The original Toymaker caused William Hartnell’s first Doctor to become invisible for two episodes in 1966 and had a number of living toys as his servants.

The Toymaker was an enigmatic being from outside of time and time, and David Tennant’s Doctor theorized that he had allowed the villain to break into reality by playing a game at the end of the universe.

In the second 60th anniversary special Wild Blue Yonder, the Doctor cast salt on the ground in a bid to trick two villains, which allowed The Toymaker to travel into the real world.

Neil portrayed devious villain The Toymaker, who last appeared on the drama in 1966, when he was portrayed by Michael Gough in The Celestial Toymaker four-part storyline

Neil portrayed devious villain The Toymaker, who last appeared on the drama in 1966, when he was portrayed by Michael Gough in The Celestial Toymaker four-part storyline

Putting his own twist on the character, viewers were left seriously impressed by his performance as they took to social media to gush over his 'creepy' performance

Putting his own twist on the character, viewers were left seriously impressed by his performance as they took to social media to gush over his ‘creepy’ performance

Putting his own twist on the character, viewers were left seriously impressed by his performance as they took to social media to gush over his 'creepy' performance

Writing on X – formerly known as Twitter – fans argued that Neil was ‘perfect’ for the role as they admitted they were left with ‘chills’ watching his performance 

On Saturday, eerie scenes saw the Doctor come face-to-face with The Toymaker once again as the villain turned the human race mad and turned humans into puppets for his enslavement and amusement.

Upon meeting The Toymaker, Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) asked The Doctor: ‘Who is he?’ to which The Doctor appeared terrified as he said: ‘The Toymaker.’

‘We meet again Doctor,’ The Toymaker declared, before disappearing to play ‘hide and seek’ as his creepy laugh echoed around his toyshop.

As Donna and the Doctor tried to find their way around his toyshop, which became a maze of doors, Donna asked: ‘Who is the Toymaker, what is he?’

To which the Doctor explained: ‘When I was young, I was so sure of myself, I made a terrible mistake. I let the TARDIS fall into another realm… where science is a game and all of us are toys.

‘He found his way into reality and I think it’s all because of me. I got clever didn’t I, I cast that salt at the end of the universe, I played a game and I let him in.’

The Doctor appeared terrified of The Toymaker as he tearfully told Donna that he didn’t think he would be able to save her from the formidable villain.

The Toymaker had turned human beings on Earth mad, before challenging the Doctor to a game – which put the planet at stake – forcing the Time Lord to accept to try and save Earth. 

As well as his terrifying nature and ability to change reality on Earth, The Toymaker also brought an injection of song and dance into the episode as he invaded UNIT.

The villain suddenly appeared in UNIT’s base singing and dancing to the Spice Girls’ anthem Spice Up Your Life and proceeded to turn people and weaponry into toys to win the battle.

In a tense face-off with the Doctor, The Toymaker then shockingly shot the Doctor, forcing him to regenerate.

On Saturday, eerie scenes saw the Doctor come face-to-face with The Toymaker once again as the villain turned the human race mad and turned humans into puppets 

Upon meeting The Toymaker, Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) asked The Doctor: 'Who is he?' to which The Doctor appeared terrified as he said: 'The Toymaker'

Upon meeting The Toymaker, Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) asked The Doctor: ‘Who is he?’ to which The Doctor appeared terrified as he said: ‘The Toymaker’

Donna and the Doctor then tried to find their way around his toyshop, which became a maze of doors as The Toymaker tricked them with his games

Donna and the Doctor then tried to find their way around his toyshop, which became a maze of doors as The Toymaker tricked them with his games 

The Doctor appeared terrified of The Toymaker as he tearfully told Donna that he didn't think he would be able to save her from the formidable villain

The Doctor appeared terrified of The Toymaker as he tearfully told Donna that he didn’t think he would be able to save her from the formidable villain

He said: ‘I played one game with the First Doctor, I played the second with this Doctor, so your rules declare that I must play the third game with the next Doctor!

As his regeneration began, the Doctor said: ‘It’s time, here we go again! Alonzee,’ however David’s face remained as he seemingly didn’t regenerate.

He then asked Donna: ‘Could you, pull? It feels different this time,’ and as she tugged on his arms, Ncuti Gatwa appeared alongside David’s Doctor, making his debut in the role.

In an unexpected twist, both David and Ncuti’s Doctors remained on screen, with Ncuti shouting: ‘No way!’ – his first words as the Doctor.

David said: ‘You’re me,’ while Ncuti replied: ‘No, I’m me. I think I’m really, really me! Oh-ho-ho I am completely me! Don’t just stand there, push!’

When asked what happened, Ncuti’s Doctor said: ‘Bi-generation, I have bi-generated. There’s no such thing, bi-generation is supposed to be a myth, but-!’

The pair of Doctors then faced off with The Toymaker together and managed to beat him at his own game, sending the villain out of existence.

David’s Doctor said: ‘Best of three, and my prize, Toymaker, is to banish you from existence, for ever!’

‘No, you can’t. But I – not fair, please,’ the Toymaker said, before giving the ominous warning: ‘My legions are coming.’

However, it appears that it is not the end, as a mystery hand was seen picking up the Toymaker’s gold tooth as it was left behind – after The Toymaker had told the Doctor how he defeated villain The Master and trapped him in the tooth. 

Elsewhere in the episode, Bonnie Langford made her hotly-anticipated return, over three decades after she originally boarded the TARDIS.

The Toymaker then invaded UNIT after challenging The Doctor to a game with high stakes, and got his hands on one of their deadly machines

The Toymaker then invaded UNIT after challenging The Doctor to a game with high stakes, and got his hands on one of their deadly machines 

In a tense face-off with the Doctor, The Toymaker then shockingly shot the Doctor, forcing him to regenerate

In a tense face-off with the Doctor, The Toymaker then shockingly shot the Doctor, forcing him to regenerate 

Ncuti Gatwa then made his hotly-anticipated debut as David regenerated - but there was a huge twist

Ncuti Gatwa then made his hotly-anticipated debut as David regenerated – but there was a huge twist 

All was not as it seemed as a huge twist saw both versions of the Doctor remain on screen, rather than one regenerating into the other as normally happens on the sci-fi series

All was not as it seemed as a huge twist saw both versions of the Doctor remain on screen, rather than one regenerating into the other as normally happens on the sci-fi series

The pair of Doctors then faced off with The Toymaker together and managed to beat him at his own game, sending the villain out of existence

The pair of Doctors then faced off with The Toymaker together and managed to beat him at his own game, sending the villain out of existence 

Elsewhere in the episode, Bonnie Langford (right) made her hotly-anticipated return, over three decades after she originally boarded the TARDIS

Bonnie made her debut on Who back in 1986 as Melanie alongside the Sixth Doctor Colin Baker

Bonnie made her debut on Who back in 1986 as Melanie alongside the Sixth Doctor Colin Baker 

The actress reprised her role as the Doctor’s former companion Melanie Bush, who was working at UNIT alongside returning character Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (Jemma Redgrave).

Bonnie made her debut on Who back in 1986 as Melanie alongside the Sixth Doctor Colin Baker, and went on to be the companion for the Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy.

She came face-to-face with David’s Doctor as he was brought into UNIT to help figure out who was sending the human race into madness, with everyone becoming convinced they were right, causing havoc on the streets.

Laying eyes on Melanie once again, the Doctor grinned and threw his arms around her and said it was ‘the best news’ that she was working with military organisation UNIT.

Melanie told Donna: ‘I was like you, I was one of his companions!’

She then revealed that she had spent time travelling the stars after leaving the Doctor, before deciding to return back to Earth. 

She shared: ‘I had to face up to the one thing I’d been running away from, I had nothing, my family all gone. But then Kate offered me a job, and here I am!’ 

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