Neil Patrick Harris 'will play nostalgic villain The Toymaker' in Doctor Who's 60th anniversary special... after Mr Emporium shop sprung up on set

Neil Patrick Harris is reportedly set to take on the role of nostalgic villain The Toymaker during his guest-starring stint in Doctor Who's 60th anniversary special.

The actor, 49, will play the 'greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced', as previously confirmed by showrunner Russell T Davies.

But now, rumours of the character - who last appeared on the drama in 1966 - making a return have been swirling after a shop with the name, Mr Emporium, sprung up on the Bristol set.

Exciting: Neil Patrick Harris is reportedly set to take on the role of nostalgic villain The Toymaker during his guest-starring stint in Doctor Who's 60th anniversary special

Exciting: Neil Patrick Harris is reportedly set to take on the role of nostalgic villain The Toymaker during his guest-starring stint in Doctor Who's 60th anniversary special

According to The Mirror, it features a sign claiming the owner is 'Toymaker of the Year' and appears to flog 'magical items, games and tricks'.

Originally played by Michael Gough in The Celestial Toymaker four-part storyline, it is the mostly missing sixth serial of the third season, with only the final episode held in the BBC archives.

An enigmatic being from outside of space and time, he caused William Hartnell's first Doctor to become invisible for two episodes and had a number of living toys as his servants.

Coincidence? Rumours of the character - who last appeared on the drama in 1966 - making a return have been swirling after a shop with the name, Mr Emporium, sprung up on the set

Coincidence? Rumours of the character - who last appeared on the drama in 1966 - making a return have been swirling after a shop with the name, Mr Emporium, sprung up on the set

Having, at one time, been expected to make a comeback in 1986 in an episode filmed at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, plans were scrapped after Doctor Who went on hiatus for 18 months.

Having caught on themselves, one fan wrote on Twitter: 'Neil Patrick Harris better be playing the Celestial Toymaker! I can't bring myself to have it any other way! #DWSR #DoctorWho.'

Others added: 'Neil Patrick Harris is so playing the Celestial Toymaker. #DoctorWho,' and, 'Is it just me who thinks from the costume that Neil Patrick Harris is playing the Toymaker? #DoctorWho.'

Throwback: Originally played by Michael Gough in The Celestial Toymaker four-part storyline, it is the mostly missing sixth serial , with only the final episode held in the BBC archives.

Throwback: Originally played by Michael Gough in The Celestial Toymaker four-part storyline, it is the mostly missing sixth serial of the third season (pictured in 1966)

A fourth wrote: 'Okay, I have a theory about Neil Patrick Harris in the #DoctorWho 60th anniversary specials. What if he’s playing a new version of the Celestial Toymaker from the William Hartnell era?'

The BBC declined to comment when contacted by MailOnline. 

The news came after it was announced that Sex Education's Ncuti Gatwa, 29, will become the 14th Doctor on the popular BBC series, after Jodie Whittaker revealed last July that she would be leaving the show.

Fingers crossed! Having caught on themselves, fans took to Twitter to voice their excitement

Fingers crossed! Having caught on themselves, fans took to Twitter to voice their excitement

Showrunner Russell confirmed Neil will be joining the cast as a villain.

It remains unclear whether Neil will appear alongside returning Time Lord David Tennant or Ncuti's new incarnation - with David currently filming scenes for the 60th anniversary special.

Following the BBC's announcement, Russell wrote on Instagram: 'Neil Patrick Harris, welcome to Cardiff! Playing the greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced. 

Bad guy? The actor, 49, will play the 'greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced', as previously confirmed by showrunner Russell T Davies (Neil pictured in April 2022)

Bad guy? The actor, 49, will play the 'greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced', as previously confirmed by showrunner Russell T Davies (Neil pictured in April 2022)

'Such a great actor, such a great man, it's an honour and a hoot. Have fun! @nph @bbcdoctorwho Ha!'

Neil added on his page: 'My current gig. Never looked more dashing. Thank you for inviting me into your Whoniverse, @russelltdavies63. 

'I’ll try my hardest to do my worst. This Doctor has no idea what’s in store. And even if he does… Who cares? Ha ha ha HA ha-ha-ha!'

Grateful: Meanwhile, Ncuti recently revealed he was 'deeply honoured' to be chosen as Jodie Whittaker's replacement after being confirmed for the titular role (pictured in May 2022)

Grateful: Meanwhile, Ncuti recently revealed he was 'deeply honoured' to be chosen as Jodie Whittaker's replacement after being confirmed for the titular role (pictured in May 2022)

Neil also joins newcomer Yasmin Finney, who is to take on the role of Rose. Yasmin recently gained recognition for her role of Elle Argent in Netflix hit Heartstopper.

The new cast are filming scenes that are due to air in 2023 as part of the show's 60th anniversary.

The name of Neil's character, and any further details about his new role, are yet to be confirmed.

Speaking about the sci-fi show's new arrival, Russell said: 'It's my huge honour to open our studio doors for the mighty Neil Patrick Harris... but who, why, what is he playing?

Who will it be? It remains unclear whether Neil will appear alongside returning Time Lord David Tennant or Ncuti's new incarnation - with Tennant currently filming scenes for the 60th anniversary special (pictured Tennant with Billie Piper as Rose)

Who will it be? It remains unclear whether Neil will appear alongside returning Time Lord David Tennant or Ncuti's new incarnation - with Tennant currently filming scenes for the 60th anniversary special (pictured Tennant with Billie Piper as Rose)

'You'll just have to wait. But I promise you, the stuff we're shooting now is off the scale. Doctor beware!'

Queer As Folk and It's A Sin writer Russell is returning as the programme's showrunner after departing in 2009.

Russell, who was responsible for Doctor Who's revival in 2005, will be back to celebrate the show's 60th anniversary in 2023, the BBC previously said.

He worked with Neil on hit Channel 4 mini-drama It's A Sin, in which the American star portrayed Savile Row tailor Henry Coltrane.

Talented: Russell, who was responsible for Doctor Who's revival in 2005, will be back to celebrate the show's 60th anniversary in 2023, the BBC previously said (pictured in May 2022)

Talented: Russell, who was responsible for Doctor Who's revival in 2005, will be back to celebrate the show's 60th anniversary in 2023, the BBC previously said (pictured in May 2022)

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Neil Patrick Harris 'will play villain The Toymaker' in Doctor Who's 60th anniversary special

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