There are reasons to be afraid for The Doctor heading into this weekend’s Doctor Who episode titled “The Giggle.” After all, the Toymaker is coming! Neil Patrick Harris is playing the notable adversary, who is resurfacing on the show after a long time away.
Seeing the former How I Met Your Mother star on the British sci-fi institution is definitely a surprise, especially since so few Americans end up appearing. However, it also makes some sense given that the Toymaker is such a theatrical character, and Neil has a lot of experience in the field.
If there is one big surprise we have about this role entering the episode, it is this: Neil may not have been that familiar with Doctor Who in advance of him coming on board. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, here is what showrunner Russell T. Davies had to say about casting him:
“He’d never heard of it in his life, bless him … I was lucky enough to work with the great man on a show called It’s a Sin, about the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, and working with him was such a joy. The Toymaker, he’s kind of the god of games, so he shuffles cards, he does magic tricks, and all of that fits Neil Patrick Harris. If you go through agents, they often tell you to go away. I was able to send just a text saying, ‘Do you fancy reading this?’ He read it and literally phoned me up going, ‘Let me get this right, so the Doctor’s an alien, right?’ I was like, ‘Oh my god, you really have never heard of Doctor Who!’ But he couldn’t resist it, and he came to Cardiff, and we had the most spectacular time.”
Also, it feels like Harris and David Tennant are going to have a lot of chemistry with each other on-screen, which is something else we’re excited to see play out.
What do you most want to see from Neil Patrick Harris as the Toymaker on Doctor Who?
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