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SYFY WIRE Doctor Who

David Tennant & Catherine Tate return to 'Doctor Who' for 60th anniversary next year - but how?

The Tenth Doctor and one of his most beloved Companions are back.

By Matthew Jackson
David Tennant and Catherine Tate

Just days after revealing that Ncuti Gatwa has won the role of the Fourteenth Doctor, legendary sci-fi series Doctor Who dropped some big news about the Tenth Doctor. It seems David Tennant is returning to the TARDIS, and he won't be alone. 

The BBC announced over the weekend that Tennant and co-star Catherine Tate, who played the Tenth Doctor's beloved Companion Donna Noble, will return next year as part of the Doctor Who 60th anniversary celebration. It's especially exciting news because it will reunite Tennant and Tate in a Doctor Who TV story for the first time since 2010, but it will also reunite both of them with returning showrunner Russell T. Davies. Davies was the show's lead writer for both the beginning and the end of the Tenth Doctor and Donna's adventures, and now he'll be back in charge to oversee their reunion. 

“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?  Maybe this is a missing story," Davies said in a press release. "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.”

After making his cameo debut in the Ninth Doctor's final adventure, "The Parting of the Ways," Tennant officially launched his tenure as the Tenth Doctor with "The Christmas Invasion" in December of 2005. He would spend the next four years in the TARDIS, and eventually become one of the most celebrated actors to play the Doctor, before departing on New Year's Day 2010 with "The End of Time" special. Tennant has since frequently voiced the character in Doctor Who audio dramas, and made a return to live-action adventures in 2013 for the 50th anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor." 

Tate, a comedy icon in the UK, was originally only meant to play Donna for one adventure, the 2006 Christmas special "The Runaway Bride." Her character proved to have such great chemistry with Tennant, though, that she eventually returned in 2008 for the third round of Tennant's adventures, and remains a beloved Companion among fans. Though Tate has also leant her voice to various Doctor Who audio dramas, Donna Noble has not been seen in a live-action Who adventure since "The End of Time" more than a decade ago, making this a truly long-awaited reunion. 

Before the 60th anniversary festivities can begin next year, though, Doctor Who has a transfer of power to handle first. The current reigning Doctor, Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor, will air her final adventure later this year, which will presumably conclude with Gatwa's regeneration into the Fourteenth Doctor and will wrap up showrunner Chris Chibnall's time on the series. Then, it's time for Gatwa and Davies to launch their new era, with Tennant and Tate in two for an adventure of their own. However it all works out, the next year and a half are going to be a very exciting time for Doctor Who fans. 

If you're into time traveling adventures, Quantum Leap is airing as part of SYFY Rewind on SYFY this summer, and NBC has a revival of Quantum Leap set to debut this fall.