David Tennant and Catherine Tate had two of the most heartbreaking exits in modern Doctor Who history. Tate’s Donna Noble saw her time as a series regular come to an end when The Doctor had to wipe her memories and David Tennant’s tenth incarnation of the universe’s favorite time-lord bowed out with the most emotional line in British television history; “I don’t want to go.” Both stars returned briefly, no exit is truly final in Doctor Who after all, Catherine Tate featured in both “The End of Time: Part One” and “The End of Time: Part Two, and of course David Tennant had his glorious return in the 50th Anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor.” Now though, both stars are set to make another exciting return to the beloved show, Deadline reports.
The announcement was made by Russell T Davies, Doctor Who’s returning showrunner, who starts work again on the show with next year’s 60th Anniversary Special, Davies had this to say about the exciting news; “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 we can confirm is that it’s going to be spectacular, as two of our greatest stars reunite for the battle of a lifetime.” The statement itself is a delightfully cryptic message from Davies, the man responsible for bringing Doctor Who back to audiences in 2005 and in his first reign as series showrunner (which ended on New Year’s Day 2010) introduced both David Tennant’s Doctor and Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble. The BBC adds that both stars are currently filming scenes for the 60th Anniversary of the show.
It makes sense that Russell T Davies would select both Tennant and Tate to reprise their roles in Doctor Who, given that he introduced the pair of them to the show as previously mentioned. As well as this, it makes sense that both of them are shooting scenes for next year’s special (both the forthcoming special and series beyond will have Russell T Davies in the role of showrunner). In the past, anniversary specials have been hotbeds for returning characters. The aforementioned 50th Anniversary Special saw Matt Smith’s eleventh Doctor fight alongside the returning Tennant. In classic Doctor Who, the 20th Anniversary was marked with the appearance of the first five incarnations of The Doctor.
Today’s announcement means that David Tennant and Catherine Tate are more than likely to share the screen with the 14th Doctor Ncuti Gatwa, with the Sex Education star being announced as the new protector of the innocent across time and space last week. Gatwa takes over from the outgoing Jodie Whittaker, the first female Doctor, who along with current showrunner Chris Chibnall, has one more episode left to run before handing the baton on. However, with Tennant returning, and Whittaker herself not ruling out a return, could the actress be thrown into the 60th Anniversary special as well?
As far as the specials go, the rule ought to be the more Doctors the merrier. Hopefully, following Ncuti Gatwa and David Tennant’s announcements, further news will follow that the likes of Peter Capaldi, Matt Smith, Jodie Whittaker, and maybe even estranged Doctor Who alum Christopher Ecclestone will all feature in what is set to be one of the most exciting episodes in Doctor Who history. Whoever ends up being thrown into the mix, it would appear the past, present, and future of the Tardis are in several sets of safe hands.