Ahead of filming, the BBC have announced David Tennant and Catherine Tate’s participation in the Doctor Who 60th anniversary celebrations.
It’s only been a week since we learned that Ncuti Gatwa will be the next Doctor. Now, the BBC have followed the news with the announcement that two of the show’s former stars are returning; former Doctor David Tennant and Catherine Tate, who played his companion Donna Noble, will reprise their roles as part of the show’s 60th Anniversary in 2023.
Here’s what the announcement actually says (and it’s worth concentrating on the specific wording):
One of the most loved pairings in Doctor Who’s history have reunited and are filming scenes that are due to air in 2023 to coincide with the show’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
The Doctor and Donna parted ways when the Doctor had to wipe Donna’s memory, making her forget him, in order to save her life. He left her family with a warning: if ever she remembers, she will die. But with the two coming face to face once more, the big question is, just what brings the Doctor and Donna back together?
Russell T Davies, Showrunner says: “They’re back! And it looks impossible – first, we announce a new Doctor, and then an old Doctor, along with the wonderful Donna, what on earth is happening? Maybe this is a missing story. Or a parallel world. Or a dream, or a trick, or a flashback. The only thing I can confirm is that it’s going to be spectacular, as two of our greatest stars reunite for the battle of a lifetime.”
In his last ever episode, David’s critically acclaimed portrayal of the Doctor famously said “I don’t want to go…” Well it seems he – and fans across the globe – have got what they wanted as the iconic duo are on their way back…
Naturally we have thoughts…
Firstly, allons-y! What a thrill to be getting another slice of the fantastic pairing of Tennant and Tate. With romantic notions lifted from that third Tenth Doctor series, there was a great comic partnership between the two characters. Donna’s parting from the Doctor was also so horrifically cruel (and much debated since) with the Doctor choosing to remove memory of himself from her mind in order to save her life, despite her wishes.
Of course, the wording is crucial. We’re told the pair are “… filming scenes that are due to air in 2023 to coincide with the show’s 60th anniversary celebrations”. That could mean anything from an epic mini-episode like The Night of the Doctor to a participation in a full-blown feature length multi-incarnation special. Tennant, of course, has form having reprised the Tenth Doctor for The Day of the Doctor where he married a Queen and snogged a Zygon.
It’s clear that RTD is playing his cards close to his chest at the moment. Part of that is doubtless a matter of respect for the show’s current production team; Jodie Whittaker remains the Doctor until the end of the BBC Centenary Special, due to air in October. That is a feature-length affair, promising returning monsters and classic companions.
Tennant and Tate
Interestingly, the actors have worked together variously since that 2009 series. Catherine Tate returned as Donna for David Tennant’s two-part Doctor Who finale, where her character was given a happy ending (of sorts). Later, they reunited on stage as Benedict and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, and Tennant has appeared opposite Tate’s infamous Lauren character for Comic Relief on a couple of occasions.
Both have reprised their Doctor Who characters on audio for Big Finish too – both together and separately. Indeed, David Tennant devoted a slice of lockdown to playing the Doctor; he starred in a whole series entitled Dalek Universe and there are a couple of his boxsets still to be released.
Whether this latest news is the first in a slew of such announcements – who’s to say? It’s worth noting that Karen Gillian is back in the UK… however, that was for her wedding to US comedian Nick Kocher.
Whatever RTD has up his sleeve, you can be sure CultBox will keep you posted.