Doctor Who and Russell T Davies just did the impossible

David Tennant and Catherine Tate return to Doctor Who for 60th anniversary

Russell T Davies and David Tennant and Catherine Tate as The Doctor and Donna Noble in Doctor Who
(Image credit: Colin McPherson / BBC)

The impossible has happened! David Tennant and Catherine Tate have been confirmed to return to Doctor Who as part of the show's 60th anniversary in 2023.

One week on from Ncuti Gatwa being announced as the 14th Doctor, the BBC has now gone one step further by bringing back one of the most beloved pairings in Doctor Who's history. While little has been shared about what circumstances will see the two back together onscreen, it's been confirmed that both are filming scenes that are "due to air in 2023 to coincide with the show’s 60th anniversary celebrations."  

David Tennant famously played the 10th Doctor from 2005 to 2010 before reprising the Time Lord in the show's 50th anniversary in 2013, alongside Matt Smith's 11th Doctor. Catherine Tate, meanwhile, portrayed companion Donna Noble in the 2006 Christmas special prior to joining as a full TARDIS crew member from 2008 to 2010.

The 2008 season of Doctor Who accumulated an average audience of more than eight million viewers per episode with several nominations at the Bafta TV awards, including Best Drama Series/Serial. 

David Tennant and Catherine Tate

(Image credit: BBC)

"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?" said showrunner Russell T Davies as part of the announcement. "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." 

Rumours that Tennant was returning to Doctor Who have been making the rounds on the web for months with the actor himself addressing speculation at German Comic Con in Dortmund only last month, saying that it would be "quite a weird idea". Furthermore, several people in Cardiff claimed to have spotted Tennant in Cardiff (where the show is filmed) last week. 

As someone who is a huge Whovian, this is a delightful (if not somewhat expected) announcement that will surely help generate some positive attention for the sci-fi show, after a troubled few years under departing showrunner Chris Chibnall. It's also not the first time that Tennant and Tate have reunited, recording a number of Doctor Who Big Finish audio dramas. 

Doctor Who is next set to hit TV screens in late 2022 with the final episode of Jodie Whittaker's tenure as the Time Lord set to see her regenerate into Gatwa's 14th Doctor. Unless the unthinkable happens and somehow the character degenerates into Tennant. Who knows! It's just great to be excited about Doctor Who again.  

Matt Poskitt
Freelance Writer

Matt is a freelance writer for T3, covering news and keeping up with everything games, entertainment, and all manner of tech. You can find his work across numerous sites across the web, including TechRadar, IGN, GamesRadar, Tom's Guide, Fandom, NME, and more. In his spare time, Matt is an avid cinema-goer, keen runner and average golfer (at best). You can follow him @MattPoskitt64