"The Giggle" was great up until the final climax.
Big Twist


“The Giggle” is the third and final Doctor Who Special to feature The Fourteenth Doctor and Donna Noble, and sees The Doctor face up against an old and powerful enemy.

The Doctor and Donna arrive back in London when the whole world becomes aggressive and crazy. The Doctor and UNIT discover this global outbreak of rage is linked to the first ever TV broadcast in 1925. The Doctor and Donna travel back in time and are confronted by a mysterious German man who is revealed to be The Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris).

“The Giggle” aimed to be the big send-off for David Tennant and Catherine Tate. They are loved by the audience and arguably the most popular characters during the modern era of Doctor Who. “The Giggle” had many tropes of the show, like a major Earth-ending threat, energic technobabble and exposition, and having a powerful villain. Two-thirds of “The Giggle” were fantastic.

This special brought in Neil Patrick Harris, and that’s a big coup for Doctor Who. He’s a big-name actor in Hollywood and Broadway, and has often played larger-than-life characters. Harris brought a lot of energy to the role like he was an evil version of Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Toymaker was a being with God-like powers, traps The Doctor and Donna in a dimension he controls, and he taunted The Doctor about the fates of his previous companions, the ones that accompanied the Eleventh and Twelve Doctors. Harris made his version of The Toymaker a memorable character due to his dress sense and cartoony German accent. The scene where The Toymaker makes a big and brash announcement where he dances to “Spice Up Your Live” was a piece of camp genius. Due to the German accent and his ownership of a puppet shop, I was reminded of Franz Gutentag/Franz Schlechtnacht in the Family Guy episode “German Guy.”

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The Toymaker was playful, but he was also a big threat not to be underestimated. He could control reality in his dimension, and  he was still able to alter reality at a whim in The Doctor’s world. He was a puppet master when he separated The Doctor from Donna and his puppet show was a terrific sequence. During the first game between The Toymaker and The Doctor, The Toymaker revealed he had captured The Master. There was a creepy nature to The Toymaker’s dimension since it was inhabited by puppets. Like with the first Special, “The Star Beast,” “The Giggle” set up the wider storyline, by mentioning a villain that even The Toymaker was afraid of.

Where “The Giggle” faltered was during its final third. “The Giggle” was the episode that introduced Ncuti Gatwa as The Fifteenth Doctor. This was meant to be a big event, but Gatwa was given a disservice, because of the introduction of the Bigeneration. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Doctors split into two bodies and worked together to defeat The Toymaster. It was fan service, but it forced Gatwa to already be in the shadow of Tennant. It seems to be done so the show could have Tennant and Tate in the background and ready to appear in future stories. This effort to keep The Fourteenth Doctor around was to give Donna a happy ending, but it was similar to what happened at the end of Series Four where The Doctor used his regeneration energy to make a copy of himself and the copy lived with Rose in another universe.

Doctor Who has always had loose writing where nearly anything’s possible, but there have been some rules regarding the show’s lore, like regeneration. However, in recent years Doctor Who has been breaking its own rules. Chris Chibnall brought in The Timeless Child where it was revealed that The Doctor was the source of regeneration and had more iterations than first thought, and Davies brought back a previous actor to play the Doctor. The specials didn’t answer the question of why the Doctor regenerated with the Tenth Doctor’s face and the show adds another mystery on top of that.

“The Giggle” was an incredibly entertaining episode for the most part due to The Toymaker and the threat he posed. It was a shame that was brought down at the end by the Bigeneration.

Kieran Freemantle
Kieran Freemantle
I am a film critic/writer based in the UK, writing for Entertainment Fuse, Rock n Reel Reviews, UK Film Review and Meniscus Sunrise. I have worked on film shoots. I support West Ham and Bath Rugby. Follow me on Twitter @FreemantleUK.
"The Giggle" was great up until the final climax.Review: DOCTOR WHO - THE GIGGLE