Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies teases that David Tennant and Catherine Tate’s 60th anniversary return feels like a natural third act for the character arcs of the Doctor and Donna Noble. The milestone celebrations see Tennant’s new fourteenth incarnation of the Doctor reunite with his season 4 companion long after her tragic departure, as Donna and her family are dragged into new alien encounters. Tennant and Tate will lead Doctor Who‘s anniversary adventures across three specials that will air through November and December, beginning with “The Star Beast” on November 25.
With Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary specials reuniting a new but eerily familiar incarnation of the Doctor with Donna, Davies opened up to TV Insider about how the three new adventures fit with what previous episodes had explored within their overall character arcs. When discussing how he approached writing for the two characters once more, Davies revealed that he gradually saw their new adventures as a “third act” between the pair that pushed him to throw them into scenarios unlike those they had ever faced before. Check out Davies’ comments below:
I realized that there was a third act [for Tennant’s Doc and Donna]. And I’m really interested to push them into things they’ve never done before.
Will Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary Specials Be The End Of Donna Noble’s Journey?
Multi-season companions are certainly nothing strange to Doctor Who, but Donna’s journey throughout the series does stand out among others. First introduced as a one-off companion in 2006’s special “The Runaway Bride”, Donna was not initially considered to return for season 4, but with Tate expressing interest in returning, Davies and producer Jane Tranter rewrote the season’s companion role to be fulfilled by a returning Donna instead. As such, season 4 focuses on a returning Donna seeking out the Tenth Doctor after being inspired by him in their meeting, leading her on a journey where she comes to appreciate herself, only to lose it all in a tragic twist of fate.
While the effects of the Metacrisis transformation on season 4’s finale “The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End” left Donna needing her mind wiped of her travels with the Doctor in order to survive and unable to remember her best friend, Donna did receive an epilogue in Tennant’s final Tenth Doctor story “The End of Time”. In the story, the Doctor is able to leave Donna and her family with a touching parting winning lottery ticket gift bought by her late father that could ensure a happy life for her. However, Davies has teased terrible things for Donna in her Doctor Who return, leading many to fear that the character’s new fate could be a tragic final chapter.
Though the implications of Donna’s reunion with the Doctor have many terrified for what is in store, there is still an incredible amount of excitement for Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary’s new adventures with Tate and Tennant. The fan-favorite duo is one of Davies’ previous tenure’s highlights, making them perfect to revisit in a series of stories celebrating the past. But with Davies seeing the specials as a natural third act and not wishing to rely on nostalgia, audiences can look forward to the pair facing new challenges that test everything they’ve gone through.
The Doctor and Donna’s previous adventures can be seen on Max’s Doctor Who collection, while their 60th-anniversary reunion will be available on Disney+ for international audiences, and on BBC One and BBC IPlayer for UK audiences.