It’s only been one week since we met Doctor Who’s new Doctor (Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa), who will be taking over the show in 2023 when showrunner Russell T. Davies returns to the TARDIS, and we’re already hearing about some old Doctors who will be returning to the show as well… or, rather, one Doctor and one companion who briefly had a copy of the Doctor’s brain inside her head, the strain of which threatened to “burn up” her mind unless the Doctor erased all of her memories of their time together (which is arguably somehow one of the nicer ends that a companion has gotten in the reboot era, even if that “the most important woman in the whole universe” speech will positively rip your heart out).
Yes, we’re talking about David Tennant’s Doctor 10 and Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble, who will both be coming back to Doctor Who in some capacity next year. Deadline makes it sound like their involvement won’t be too elaborate, simply saying that “their scenes will air next year” as part of the show’s 60th anniversary (yes, it has been a full-ass decade since Doctor 10 and Doctor 11 went on that adventure with John Hurt), but Davies—who certainly knows the “burn up” implications of bringing Donna Noble back—offered a bit more playfulness in a statement of his own.
“Maybe this is a missing story.” He says. “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.” A battle of some sort! Does that mean this is merely the first of these returns we’re going to hear about, with other Doctor-companion combos that we were never supposed to be able to see again returning next year? Doctor 11 and Amy? Doctor 12 and Clara? Dare we say it… Doctor 9 and Rose?
Of course, Doctor Who has a nasty knack for breaking your heart, and we’re not talking about the Doctor standing in the rain as he leaves Donna behind, so maybe some healthy skepticism if warranted here. Then again: Doctor Donna! The Doctor and Donna!