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David Tennant, Catherine Tate to return for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary

By Christian Imperio Published May 16, 2022 10:40 am Updated May 17, 2022 11:17 am

They are officially back!

BBC has just announced that David Tennant and Catherine Tate are set to reprise their iconic roles in the long-running sci-fi series, Doctor Who.

The broadcasting company confirmed on Monday that Tennant and Tate are currently filming scenes for the show’s upcoming 60th anniversary special due to come out in 2023.

“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?" veteran and current Doctor Who showrunner Russel T. Davies said.

Tennant, one of the most beloved actors in the time travel drama’s decades-long history, played the role of The Doctor for three seasons from 2005 to 2010 while Tate played as one of Tennant’s companions, Donna Noble.

Tennant took on the role of the 10th incarnation of the Time Lord when Christopher Eccleston departed Doctor Who after the show's first season. Tate, meanwhile, first appeared at the final episode of the sci-fi series’ second season, Doomsday, replacing Tennant’s first companion, Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler.

When Tennant left the show in 2010 to pave the way for Matt Smith’s (Morbius, House of the Dragon) tenure as The Doctor, he later returned for the sci-fi show’s 50th anniversary special The Day of The Doctor in 2013, playing alongside Smith’s version of The Doctor and the late John Hurt’s War Doctor.

The 50th anniversary special also featured several Doctor Who alums including Piper, Tom Baker, who played as The Curator instead of the 4th Doctor, and then incoming 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi.

There are no other details about Tennant and Tate’s highly-anticipated return as of this writing, but Davies hinted that there are several ways to connect the duo’s tragic story arc to the show’s new storyline, headlined by incoming Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa.

"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,” he said.

To recall, Tennant’s character had to wipe Donna’s memory in order to save her life, after the latter gained the knowledge of the Time Lords when she absorbed The Doctor’s regeneration energy.

Of course, the continuation of Donna’s story arc won’t be a problem for Davies as the showrunner previously found a way to bring back Piper’s Rose from a parallel universe for the series’ 50th anniversary.

The news of Tennant and Tate’s return came on the heels of BBC’s announcement that the Sex Education actor is set to replace Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor next year.

Gatwa is the first Black male actor who will play the titular role in the franchise’s almost 60-year history. Aside from Gatwa, British actress Jo Martin previously played her version of the Doctor in several episodes of Whittaker’s stint as the Time Lord.

Whittaker, on the other hand, is the first female actress to play the lead role. She first appeared in the show in 2017 following Capaldi’s 12th Doctor.

Whittaker, whose tenure as The Doctor lasted for three seasons, is expected to depart the show and regenerate into the next incarnation of the Time Lord after the 2022 specials.

“The future is here and it’s Ncuti! Sometimes talent walks through the door and it’s so bright and bold and brilliant, I just stand back in awe and thank my lucky stars,” Davies said. “Ncuti dazzled us, seized hold of the Doctor and owned those TARDIS keys in seconds. It’s an honour to work with him, and a hoot, I can’t wait to get started. I’m sure you’re dying to know more, but we’re rationing ourselves for now, with the wonderful Jodie’s epic finale yet to come. But I promise you, 2023 will be spectacular!”

With more than 800 episodes spanning five decades and 13 regenerations, BBC’s science fiction program is indisputably the real “OG” of time travel shows. The iconic British series lasted from 1963 to 1989 and had undergone a much-needed reboot in 2005.

Doctor Who follows the story of an eccentric Time Lord only known as The Doctor. The two-hearted alien fights monsters, solves mysteries and travels through time and space with his companions on board the Time And Relative Dimension In Space or simply, the TARDIS.