The Doctor-Donna are returning to help celebrate Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary. But David Tennant says it came about by accident…

It’s one of the most unexpected twists in Doctor Who history. David Tennant is back in the TARDIS for the 60th Anniversary episodes next year, and his old mate Catherine Tate is coming with him. How this happens is one of the great mysteries of the moment, with fandom furiously speculating all over social media. (Though it seems likely we might get a hint at the end of The Power of the Doctor). But in a new interview with BBC News, David Tennant has revealed the behind the scenes answer to how the call came about.

Blogtor Who readers will no doubt remember the fabulous #DoctorWhoLockdown tweetalongs and minisodes of 2020. Arranged by then DWM editorial assistant Emily Cook they’ve proven to have a wider impact on Doctor Who’s future. It was a brilliant way to bring Doctor Who pros and fans together when people were at their most isolated. It brought new stories from Who writers and stars past and present, and it’s inadvertently created an enduring legacy. We already know it resulted in a long lost Russell T Davies script from the 1980s being brought to life by Big Finish.  Meanwhile other series have picked up the new status quo left by Farewell, Sarah Jane. But now it seems we might be able to add the 60th Anniversary to that impact.

“That’s where this all started,” explained Tennant to the BBC. “It all slightly happened a little bit by accident.

“At a certain time and day everyone would press play on a certain episode and some of the people who had been involved in those episodes were tweeting along. I don’t tweet but my wife helped me.”

 

“Wouldn’t it be fun to do it again?”

After Tennant, Tate, and Davies took part in one of the tweetalongs they were, Tennant says, “just having a text exchange and Catherine said, ‘wouldn’t it be fun to do it again?‘ [And] Russell said, ‘We could do a one off, maybe they’d let us’.

“We said, ‘yeah that would be a laugh,’ and then it all went quiet.”

But when current showrunner Chris Chibnall announced he was leaving the TARDIS alongside Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, Russell T Davies decided to return to the show. But with 2023 also Doctor Who’s diamond anniversary year, it presented a unique challenge. Never before has an anniversary special had to follow directly after a regeneration episode. But Davies appears to have an equally unique solution.

“Suddenly Russell let us know that he was taking over the show again and he would be back fully in charge and would we come and play a little bit for him?” says Tennant.

“So I don’t know if we gave him the idea to take Doctor Who back but certainly we thought if he’s doing it, we can’t let these young people have all the fun.”

We’ll be able to see just how much fun Tennant and Tate have in the special 60th Anniversary episodes in November next year. Before then, the Thirteenth Doctor’s era must end in The Power of the Doctor on the 23rd of October.

 

Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor BBC Studios 2022 , Photo: James Pardon Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker BBC Centenary Special
Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor BBC Studios 2022 , Photo: James Pardon

Doctor Who will return on Sunday, the 23rd of October, in The Power of the Doctor before the 60th Anniversary next year

Her final battle. Her deadliest enemies. The Thirteenth Doctor faces multiple threats from Daleks, Cybermen and the Master, in a fight for her very existence.

Who is attacking a speeding bullet train on the edges of a distant galaxy? Why are seismologists going missing from 21st-century Earth? Who is defacing some of history’s most iconic paintings? Why is a Dalek trying to make contact with the Doctor? And just what hold does the mesmeric Rasputin have over Tsar Nicholas in 1916 Russia?

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