Fan-Favorite Doctor Who Stars Cried When Asked To Return To The Series

Former Doctor Who companions Janet Fielding and Sophie Aldred returned to their roles for a new special, the final one for Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whitaker.

By Vic Medina | Published

The latest Doctor Who special, The Power of the Doctor, aired this past weekend on BBC One, and while the 90-minute special had plenty to make Whovians happy, none were happier than former cast members Janet Fielding and Sophie Aldred, who returned to the landmark sci-fi series for the first time in more than 30 years. In an interview with Radio Times (via Comic Book Resources), Fielding and Aldred admitted they got very emotional, to the point of tears, when they learned they would reprise their classic roles once more.

Note: Spoilers for the episode follow, so be warned!

The special marked the final episode for Jodie Whittaker, the Thirteenth Doctor, and featured appearances by a number of past Doctors. Most importantly, it marked the return of David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor, who will appear in three special episodes until Ncuti Gatwa takes over as the new Doctor Who.

The episode was not only an emotional farewell for Whitaker, it featured a number of nostalgic appearances from past Doctor Who actors. That included former companions Ace (Aldred), who was a companion for Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor from 1987 to 1989, and Tegan Jovanka (Fielding) the companion to Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor and Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor, from 1981 to 1984. McCoy and Davison both appear in the episode, but Baker did not, as he is in poor health.

Fielding admits “When I got the call, I burst into tears…I wasn’t conscious of it, but it’s the call I’ve always been hoping for, you know? There aren’t many jobs where you can say that you’ve been playing the same part for 33 years. It’s extraordinary,” she says of the Doctor Who special.

jodie whittaker doctor who
Jodie Whitaker as Doctor Who

Fielding says she had no problem slipping back into the role. “Those of you who are thinking that she’s become soft and gentle in her old age — dream on,” she said of Tegan these days. “She’s in her 60s and she’s taking no s**t from anybody. And that includes the Doctor, as it always has.”

Aldred pointed out that she’s been an active voice actor for the past 35 years, but hadn’t had an on-screen role in all that time. When Doctor Who called, however, she was eager to get in front of the camera again. “How many shows give you that opportunity? I did the series in my 20s but now I’m in my 60s…It’s not as easy as it once was.”

Tegan and Ace had pretty significant roles in the episode (not just cameos), which featured Whitaker attempting to foil a devious plan by The Master (Sacha Dhawan, Outsourced) and the Cybermen. The Daleks, of course, made an appearance, and the episode ended with Whitaker’s Doctor regenerating into David Tennant, who will become the first actor to play two different iterations of Doctor Who, as he will officially become the Fourteenth Doctor for the next year. Gatwa will officially become the Fifteenth Doctor, at a time yet to be announced. Tennant’s second run will push off Gatwa’s appearance for at least a year.

Critics weren’t particularly impressed with the special, with many pointing out that Whitaker deserved a better send-off. Indeed, her run as Doctor Who has been marked with some disappointing storylines, which did no justice to the Attack the Block star. Still, she says she would be game to return to the role if she is ever asked.

New episodes are expected to premiere on the BBC in November.