4 Times The Toymaker Almost Returned To Doctor Who Before The 60th Anniversary (& Why They Didn’t)


  • The Toymaker is making a triumphant return to Doctor Who after 57 years, with “The Giggle” special showcasing the character’s full potential.
  • Writer Brian Hayles had previously pitched two sequels featuring the Toymaker, but both were rejected due to similarities to previous stories.
  • There was also a failed attempt to include the Toymaker in a Doctor Who 30th anniversary special, which ultimately became the charity sketch “Dimensions in Time.”



The Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris) returns to Doctor Who after an absence of 57 years, but there were four failed attempts to bring back the cosmic trickster following his 1966 debut. The First Doctor (William Hartnell) defeated the Toymaker and destroyed his celestial toyroom in the 1966 serial “The Celestial Toymaker”, but after a long time, the classic era villain is returning to Doctor Who. The Fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) face off against the Toymaker in “The Giggle”, the third of Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary specials.

Doctor Who‘s Toymaker has mastery over reality, and can bend it to his will, turning everything and everyone into his playthings. It’s a huge concept that was never realized to its full potential in the 1966 serial, due to the budgetary constraints of the BBC in Doctor Who‘s early years. Judging by the cinematic trailer for the 60th anniversary specials, the Toymaker’s return will be realized to its full potential as the Doctor, Donna and UNIT contend with the full capabilities of the celestial being. “The Giggle” will be the first successful attempt to bring back the Toymaker since their 1966 debut, and if it’s received well then it’s likely that the character’s next appearance will be much sooner.

RELATED: Toymaker’s Doctor Who Return After 57 Years Addressed By Showrunner RTD

Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor Almost Faced The Toymaker’s Sister

The Queen Of Time by Brian Hayles

The Toymaker’s creator, writer Brian Hayles pitched a sequel of sorts to “The Celestial Toymaker” for the era of the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton). Entitled “The Queen of Time”, the serial would have introduced Hecuba, who had the same mastery over time as the Toymaker had over reality. Rather than the celestial toyroom, Hecuba had a room full of clocks, where the Doctor’s companions were forced to participate in a series of challenges. She also had the ability to invite anyone from past, present or future to her opulent dinner parties. In Hayles’ proposed storyline, the Second Doctor was her latest guest. She also just happened to be the half sister of the Toymaker, implying a larger family of eternal beings in the Doctor Who universe.

Although the Doctor wasn’t referred to as a Time Lord until the end of the Patrick Troughton era, he and his TARDIS was still of interest to Hecuba. As the Queen of Time, she wanted to take the Doctor as her husband. As in “The Celestial Toymaker”, the plot of Brian Hayles’ spiritual sequel revolved around the Doctor and his companions playing various games with the TARDIS as the prize. Presumably, this was why Hayles’ outline was rejected by the Doctor Who production team, as it was all too similar to his previous story. “The Queen of Time” was later adapted for an audio drama as part of Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary.

As well as the Toymaker, Brian Hayles also created beloved Doctor Who monsters, the Ice Warriors.

A Toymaker Story Was Pitched For Tom Baker’s Doctor Who Era

The Eyes of Nemesis by Brian Hayles

Having had a good deal of success with the Ice Warriors during Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee’s Doctor Who eras, Brian Hayles returned to the idea of the Toymaker in the mid 1970s. Hayles pitched a storyline entitled “The Eyes of Nemesis” to the Doctor Who production team in 1975. Whereas “The Queen of Time” was too much like “The Celestial Toymaker”, Hayles’ abandoned third Toymaker serial had none of the games that formed the bulk of the drama in its predecessors. In “The Eyes of Nemesis”, the Toymaker didn’t appear until toward the end of the story, revealed to be the true villain of the story, orchestrating a scheme to cheat death once and for all.

Once again, Hayles attempts to broaden the mythology of the Doctor Who universe by pitting the Toymaker against the Thirteen Watchers sent to observe the progress of Earth. The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) effectively becomes the Watchers’ champion against the Toymaker in another battle of wits. Interestingly, many of the concepts in Hayles’ rejected storyline – eternal gods, and psychic battles of wits – feel like a dry run for undisputed classic Baker stories like “Pyramids of Mars” and “The Brain of Morbius“. Unfortunately for Brian Hayles, script editor Robert Holmes and producer Philip Hinchcliffe rejected the outline for Tom Baker’s second series of Doctor Who.

Colin Baker’s Cancelled Doctor Who Series Almost Brought Back The Toymaker

The Nightmare Fair by Graham Williams

The Sixth Doctor, the Toymaker, and Blackpool Pleasure beach

The closest that Doctor Who got to bringing back the Toymaker was opposite Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor in Graham Williams’ “The Nightmare Fair.” Planned as the opening serial of Doctor Who season 23, it would have seen the Doctor and Peri (Nicola Bryant) uncover the Toymaker’s nefarious schemes at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Since 1966, the Toymaker had left his mark on Doctor Who fandom, with the Doctor Who Appreciation Society even naming their fanzine The Celestial Toyroom in honor of the serial. As 1980s producer John Nathan-Turner courted fandom in this period, he likely saw huge potential in a comeback for Michael Gough as the Toymaker.

Intended for the 1986 season, the Toymaker’s return would have neatly marked 20 years since their first appearance. Unfortunately, the decision by the BBC to put Doctor Who on an 18-month hiatus meant that the scripts for season 23 were scrapped in favor of the 14-part epic “The Trial of a Time Lord.” This meant that viewers never got to see the Toymaker’s audacious arcade cabinet that fed on the souls of its players realized on screen. Graham Williams’ scripts were later novelized and adapted as both an unofficial and an official audio drama.

The Toymaker Was Briefly Doctor Who’s 30th Anniversary Villain

Dimensions in Time by John Nathan-Turner & David Roden

The Fifth Doctor, Ace, Sixth Doctor and Seventh Doctor standing in front of the TARDIS in a dreary backwater of London's East End

Doctor Who‘s 30th anniversary special went through various iterations before becoming the charity sketch “Dimensions in Time.” John Nathan-Turner had originally pitched the idea of a standalone, straight-to-video Doctor Who movie back in 1990. One of Nathan-Turner’s potential ideas for a straight-to-video movie was a rematch between the Doctor and the Toymaker, something he’d been trying to do since 1985. When BBC Enterprises began pursuing the idea of a straight-to-video Doctor Who movie for the 30th anniversary, they went down a different path with Adrian Rigelsford’s “Lost in the Dark Dimension.” That project ultimately fell apart due to the unwillingness of the remaining Doctors to play second fiddle to a returning Tom Baker, and interdepartmental arguments about budgets.

John Nathan-Turner and his co-writer David Roden then set to work on a less-ambitious 30th anniversary special, crossing over Doctor Who with UK soap opera Eastenders. There was a brief stumbling block in the process, however, when it seemed as if they may not be able to use the iconic Albert Square sets from the soap opera. As a possible alternative, the Toymaker and his toyroom were considered as replacements, before the location issue was fixed. 30 years on from the last attempt to bring him back, the Toymaker is finally returning for revenge against the Doctor in Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary specials.

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    Doctor Who

    Originally premiered in 1963, Doctor Who is a sci-fi series that follows a powerful being known as a Time Lord, referred to as the Doctor. Using an interdimensional time-traveling ship known as the TARDIS, the Doctor travels time and space with various companions as they solve multiple problems and help avert catastrophe as much as they almost cause it. Though the Doctor is always the same character, they experience regenerations, allowing them to be recast every few seasons as a unique immortal being with new personality traits.

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    Tales of the TARDIS

    Tales of the Tardis is a live-action series that brings back past Doctors from the Classic Who years. Each episode pieces together the story from a classic Doctor Who episode with new footage of the original characters reminiscing about a past adventure. The episodes are available exclusively in the UK on BBC’s iPlayer.


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