Doctor Who's 60th Anniversary Special Has Added A Major American Star Also Known For Playing A Doctor

Neil Patrick Harris on How I Met Your Mother
(Image credit: CBS)

We’re still several months away from Jodie Whittaker’s run as the 13th Doctor concluding, but many Doctor Who fans are already looking ahead to what’s in store for the 60th anniversary. With Russell T. Davies sitting back in the showrunner’s chair following his time in that position during the 9th and 10th Doctor eras, there’s already a handful of goodies that have been announced for next year’s special event, including both David Tennant and Catherine Tate returning to the BBC series. Now today brings word that Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary has added a major American star who’s also well known for playing a doctor: Neil Patrick Harris.

Yes, the man who shined in his adolescent years as  Doogie Howser, M.D. is currently filming for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary. In the official statement from BBC Studios, Russell T. Davies wasn’t willing to disclose just yet who Neil Patrick Harris is playing, but we do know how his character will look. See for yourself below!

Initially I had two chief guesses about Neil Patrick Harris’ character in Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary: either he’s a new iteration of the title Time Lord or some kind of mad toymaker, although I wasn't so sure about this being a new version of the Celestial Toymaker. However, Russell T. Davies later said on Instagram that Harris is "playing the greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced," so we can rule out a different incarnation of The Doctor, and the odds of this being the Celestial Toymaker have likely risen. It’s also probably safe to assume that Harris’ character will be eccentric in some way. 

Neil Patrick Harris is also especially famous for starring in How I Met Your Mother as Barney Stinson, who would frequently exclaim something was “legend… wait for it… dary!” That explains this official Doctor Who tweet following up one someone’s correct prediction from last fall.

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Neil Patrick Harris is arguably the biggest American actor who’s been recruited in the modern Doctor Who era. The only other person who comes to mind in this category is Sex and the City and The Equalizer star Chris Noth, whose character, business mogul Jack Robertson, crossed paths with the 13th Doctor twice. It’s unclear whether Harris’ character will sound like he hails from the United States or have an accent of some kind, though given how he looks in the above image, I’m putting money on the latter for now.

Plot details for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary are being kept locked up tighter than the TARDIS when The Doctor and their companions are out on an adventure, but along with David Tennant, Catherine Tate and Neil Patrick Harris’ involvement, Yasmine Finney has been cast as someone named Rose, although it hasn’t been clarified yet if this will be a different version of Rose Tyler or simply a new character with that name. It also remains to be seen if Tennant is popping back in as the 10th Doctor, or if the 13th Doctor will regenerate into this familiar form before then turning into the new Doctor being played by Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa.

CinemaBlend will keep passing along news about Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary, but as already mentioned, Jodie Whittaker’s final 13th Doctor adventure packed with both former companions and enemies will precede it. Take a look through our 2022 TV schedule to see what other shows will premiere in the near future.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.