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Time-travelling Tennant is back as The Doctor for 60th anniversary specials

Don’t blink! We’re not just issuing a warning because we’ve spotted some Weeping Angels around Shropshire and the Black Country.

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The Doctor (David Tennant), Shaun Temple (Karl Collins) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate)

We just don’t want Whovians to miss out on the return of David Tennant and Catherine Tate for three 60th anniversary specials.

Tennant is making a short but sweet return before handing over the reins to the 15th Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa.

Gatwa’s arrival is eagerly anticipated but there is no doubt Tennant, who played the tenth iteration of the time-travelling alien, and Tate as Donna Noble are fan favourites.

Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials,09-12-2023,The Giggle,The Doctor (David Tennant),BBC STUDIOS 2023,James Pardon

So when Jodie Whittaker’s stint in the TARDIS came to an end, her regeneration into Tennant was met with excitement.

Okay, some of us are old enough to remember earlier Doctors and might wear a scarf in homage to Tom Baker or cricket jumper in honour of Peter Davison.

Why, you might even be able to remember all the way back to the First Doctor William Hartnell, or Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee. There are those of us who enjoyed Paul McGann’s brief stint in the iconic role or more recently Peter Capaldi.

And you might marvel at Christopher Eccleston’s portrayal – the actor who took on the role as the show was brought back for a second time – and who laid the foundations for its rediscovered success.

But a recent study of the show, since it was rebooted in 2005, revealed Tennant as the most popular incarnation of The Doctor.

In the study, OnlineCasinos365 analysed the IMDB ratings for all Doctor Who episodes that have aired since 2005 to determine which portrayal of The Doctor achieves the highest rating on average across all their appearances.

The study also analysed which series had the highest average rating based on its individual episode ratings.

Tennant was found to have the highest rated episodes on average, at 8.4 out of 10, ahead of 11th Doctor Matt Smith with 8.15 out of 10 and ninth Doctor Eccleston (7.91 out of 10).

And, demonstrating further the public’s backing of Tennant, Series Four received the highest average episode rating with 8.35 out of 10, including Donna as his main companion.

A spokesman for the study said: “Considering how popular David Tennant’s portrayal of The Doctor was with fans, it is no surprise that he was asked to return for the 60th anniversary special episodes.

“While he is set to star as the Time Lord for just three episodes, his appearance, combined with returning fan favourite screenwriter Russell T. Davies, is sure to bring back older viewers looking for a bit of childhood nostalgia.

“The show’s companions have become almost as iconic as The Doctor himself. Given Tate and Tennant’s fantastic on-screen chemistry throughout Series Four, the actress was an obvious pick, to reprise her role for the specials.”

Davies himself has said: “Writing for Tennant and Tate again, all these years later, was lovely. They never quite go, really. Big characters don’t go from your head, they keep on ticking away, in a way.”

So sit back and enjoy the legendary duo as they return before Gatwa and new assistant Millie Gibson, as Ruby Tuesday, take the iconic show into an exciting future, past or present – or wherever the TARDIS takes them!

Watch The Star Beast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 6.30pm on Saturday, November 25.

Who is your favourite Doctor?

It’s long been one of the most coveted roles in British television. And long before such brilliant lead actors as David Tennant and Jodie Whittaker, there was a series of performers who brought their own style to the role, writes Andy Richardson.

For many, the greatest of all was Tom Baker, the fourth doctor, who appeared in the series between June 1974 and March 1981.

Former Doctor Who actors (left to right) Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Matt Smith at the Doctor Who Official 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Excel Centre, in east London. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire.

By some distance, the longest-serving Doctor, Tom Baker was well known for his signature scarves and made a welcome reappearance in 2013, featuring in an episode called The Day of the Doctor, as the Curator. It was implied that Baker was a future incarnation of the Doctor, revisiting a few of the old favourites of his past.

There were other greats. William Hartnell is remembered fondly as the Doctor who began the series, before being followed by Patrick Troughton. Jon Pertwee was immensely popular and stayed from January 1970 to June 1974, before enjoying success with Worzel Gummidge.

Peter Davison followed Tom Baker, before Colin Baker became the sixth doctor, enjoying a two-year tenure. Sylvester McCoy became the seventh doctor, featuring for just over two years and making his debut in Time and the Rani, before departing during Survival, replaced by Paul McGann. One of the joys of the earliest episodes was the hammy special effects, which often felt like they were held together with elastic bands and cellotape. As time has passed, Tennant, Christopher Eccleston, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and Whittaker have duelled more and more foes and the Daleks can fly now. Tom Baker was lucky. They couldn’t climb stairs in his day!

Doctor Who, David Tennant, and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler

And favourite companion?

There have been many companions supporting and fighting alongside The Doctor over the years, writes Heather Large.

From Bernard Cribbins to Bonnie Langford, Louise Jameson to Freema Agyeman, and Kylie Minogue to Jenna Coleman and Matt Lucas, a host of stars have joined The Doctor’s adventures.

And there have also been times when they’ve come to their rescue.

Here we take a look a few of The Doctor’s companions since the show began:

Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford)

Susan was introduced in the first-ever episode of Doctor Who in 1963, An Unearthly Child.

When her genius attracts the attention of her teachers Ian and Barbara, they follow her home to a junkyard and, ultimately, the TARDIS.

Inside, they meet Susan’s grandfather, the time-traveller known as The Doctor.

Susan remained in the show until the 1964 story The Dalek Invasion of Earth, which saw her fall in love with a human resistance fighter named David Campbell.

To enable her to move on with her life, The Doctor locked her out of the TARDIS.

Carole Ann reprised the role in the 1983 story The Five Doctors and then in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time.

Ian Chesterton (William Russell) & Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill)

Science teacher Ian and history teacher Barbara were companions of the First Doctor.

But their travels together began as a result of them investigating what Susan was doing in the TARDIS.

Fearing she would be taken away from him, the Doctor took off with them still on board. At this time, he had no control over where the TARDIS went and couldn’t get them home.

The pair longed to return to Earth throughout their run on the show, finally leaving The Doctor for a chance to return home at the end of the 1965 story The Chase.

William would go on to make a return as Ian for a cameo appearance in the 2022 story The Power of the Doctor.

Sarah-Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen)

Sarah-Jane is one of the most popular companions of the classic era of Doctor Who and even made appearance in several of the modern episodes.

First introduced as a travelling partner for the third Doctor back in 1973, she went on to interact with eight of the other 12 doctors in some way, shape, or form.

She was there when Davros created the Daleks on Skaro and has also came up against many of the series’ most well-known villains.

Sarah-Jane even got her own spin-off series called The Sarah-Jane Adventures, which ran for five full seasons before Elisabeth Sladen’s untimely death in 2011.

K9 (Voiced by John Leeson, David Brierley, Roy Skelton)

K9 is introduced in the 1977 story The Invisible Enemy as a robot dog created by Professor Marius (Frederick Jaeger) in the year 5000.

K9 proved useful for the powerful laser weapon concealed in his nose, his encyclopaedic knowledge and his vast computer intelligence.

The character has also appeared in three of the series’ television spin-offs: the one-off K-9 and Company (1981), The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007–2011) and K9 (2009–2010).

Rose Tyler (Billie Piper)

Rose was a shop assistant when she first met the Doctor, living with her mum, Jackie, and spending time with her boyfriend, Mickey Smith.

Her character was introduced in the first episode of first series when the show was relaunched in 2005. She became the feisty companion of the Ninth and Tenth Doctors and was by their side for many adventures in the TARDIS. Rose was eventually stranded in a parallel universe but returned and eventually parted ways with a ‘human version’ of the Tenth Doctor to keep her company.

Amy Pond (Karen Gillan)

Introduced in 2010, Amelia Pond was the first person that the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) met.

She went on to travel with the Doctor, later accompanied by her boyfriend and later husband Rory Williams.

They had a child named Melody Pond who turned out to be the time-traveller River Song.

Amy’s time with the Doctor ended in the 2012 episode The Angels Take Manhattan when Rory was transported into the past by a Weeping Angel and Amy chose to join him. Gravestones in a New York cemetery reveal that Rory died at the age of 82 and Amy died at the age of 87.

Yaz Khan (Mandip Gill)

Police officer Yasmin Khan aids the newly-regenerated Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) along with her school friend Ryan Sinclair and his grandfather Graham O’Brien, played by Bradley Walsh).

Yaz is with the Doctor throughout before reuniting with Graham and Dan Lewis (John Bishop).

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