DoctorWhoAt60: Sunderland University Celebrations and the Return of Tennant

Written by on 4th December 2023

The University of Sunderland’s Doctor Who fans hosted ‘Dr Who At 60’; offering workshops and lectures designed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the series.

The event took place on November 24, the two-part day added to the national excitement felt as fans reflected on what makes Doctor Who so iconic and speculated what’s to come…

Students, from schools and colleges around Sunderland, explored ideas of representation and had a go at practical work by researching past Doctors and exploring the film and radio suites within the media building.

They discussed what makes a Doctor, what they’d like to see in the future and methods of production for the show.

Barbara Sadler, Senior Lecturer at the University of Sunderland, stated: “It was wonderful. We had some really fabulous creations.”

She added: “I think that the guests who came, they seemed to really enjoy it. They had big smiles on their faces” and suggested she would do an event like this again “in a heartbeat”. 

The Dr Who At 60 event was part of a bigger celebration as Doctor Who reached its 60th anniversary the day before, November 23, after first hitting screens in 1963.

As the longest show in television history, the show is reaching new heights as the BBC One show expands to Disney Plus. 

Three anniversary specials will be released on these platforms on November 05 (‘The Star Beast’), December 02 (‘Wild Blue Yonder’) and December 09 (‘The Giggle’). The episodes are airing at 6.30 pm each time. 

Namely, David Tennant and Catherine Tate are making their return for the anniversary episodes.

The dynamic duo is incredibly favoured amongst fans and are highly anticipated for the episodes. Ryan Bridgewood, fan account @Synder_Cut_240 on X/Twitter said they were “Very funny, iconic personalities” and added, “I’m incredibly excited to see Tennant and Tate back.”

What do fans anticipate for the future of Doctor Who?

As a multimedia franchise that is expanding with a greater budget and widening platforms, adding to graphic novels, audiobooks, and more, fans are speculating how far this franchise can go… 

Jack, editor-in-chief at NerdGazm, suggested: “I think it’s going to be a whole new era for Doctor Who. Like a new golden age for the program.

“I think it’s definitely a bright future for Doctor Who going forward and we’re all very very excited to see where it goes.”

Fan account leader Ryan said: “I see infinite potential… Now that Disney Plus have themselves involved I can see it turning into a successful franchise with spin-offs, game tie-ins and so much more… Whilst keeping its magic from 1963.”

Barbara Sadler added: “It speaks to every generation… And it has important things to say.”

Want to get involved?

Alongside Tennant’s return as the Doctor via CBeebies Story Time ahead of the episode, exciting content has been created by social media companies like Tardis Central, a sub-brand of NerdGazm.

Audiences can expect a lot of retrospective coverage and daily uploads from these channels through the likes of articles, YouTube uploads and social media posts. NerdGazm’s content can be found through @Tardis_Central or via

Chief Editor Jack, said: “We want to make sure we can welcome and educate these fans and welcome them into the community with open arms.”

To get involved and find out more go to: or search related topics on Google to access logo animations, a mini Tardis, and a 2D mini-game.

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