Donna Noble Will Die In The ‘Doctor Who’ 60th Anniversary Episodes, Sorry
November 26 is almost here and the 60th-anniversary specials of Doctor Who are breathing down the neck of every whovian the world over. With most of the specials’ juicy details still confidential, it’s anyone’s guess what lies in store. But given the luck I had with my Succession final season predictions, I thought I’d take an almost totally unearned crack at it.
Doctor Who is the single longest-running Sci-Fi series in history. The series follows a time-travelling immortal alien called the Doctor (who’s usually accompanied by a human companion) on their adventures in time and space. While 15 or so different actors have played the Doctor over the years, they aren’t actually different characters but reincarnations of the same character.
What To Expect From The Doctor Who Anniversary Specials
Each milestone anniversary for the series has been marked with special episodes that see various versions of the Doctor team up to fight a final-boss-level enemy. The 50th anniversary back in 2013 featured David Tennant’s 10th Doctor and Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor make a trio with John Hurt’s War Doctor to thwart an alien invasion. Even the 20th anniversary special back in 1983 saw the first five versions of the Doctor reprise their roles.
One of the few things we do know about the upcoming 60th anniversary specials is that David Tennant will be reprising his role as (an altered version of) his Doctor, alongside new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa. No other Doctors have been confirmed for the three special episodes. However, fan favourite companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) is featured in the trailers; along with her mother, grandfather and now daughter, Rose (Yasmin Finney). Neil Patrick-Harris is also confirmed to play the classic Doctor Who villain, the Toymaker.
How To Watch The 60th Anniversary Doctor Who Specials In Australia
Unlike in the past, when Doctor Who was exclusively broadcast via the ABC in Australia, the show, including the new specials and old episodes, will now be streamed only on Disney+.
Release Dates For Doctor Who Anniversary Specials
The airdate for the 60th anniversary trio of specials in Australia will begin on November 26 with episode one, ‘The Star Beast’. The second episode, ‘Wild Blue Yonder’, will air on December 3rd, and the third, ‘The Giggle’, will premiere on December 10. Each special will become available on Disney+ to stream from 5:30PM.
Now, time for my predictions.
Prediction One: Donna Is Going To Die
Okay, time for me to put on a tin foil hat. For the sake of journalistic integrity, I will be transparent. Despite being a lifelong fan of the series, I have about as much certainty as anyone else (zero) when it comes to what might happen in these upcoming specials. Doctor Who, with its rotating showrunners and cast, and flexible lore, is notoriously difficult to predict. But thanks to my inflated confidence and excitement, I am going to anyway.
I think Donna is going to die. Donna’s fate as a companion (the most tragic of all companions, if you ask me) was that she had to forget her time with the Doctor and never see the Doctor again, or die. Russell T Davies, the showrunner responsible for her fate, has returned as showrunner for these specials and the show at large. He’s also the only modern Doctor Who showrunner who took death in the show seriously. Characters killed in the Davies era tended to stay dead, unlike in proceeding eras.
A promise of death, even if it’s deferred, is one Davies will probably keep. I don’t know how or when it will happen, but I believe it’s extremely likely. It’s even teased in the trailer.
Prediction Two: Every Doctor All At Once
I do not think that our first glimpse of Gatwa’s Doctor will be when Tennant’s regenerates and becomes him. I think, as Davies has done in the past, there will be a crisis in which both versions of the Doctor will exist simultaneously, and we’ll be in for a treat.
Call me biased (David Tennant has never been my favourite Doctor, sorry) but I also refuse to believe these specials will only focus on Tennant and Gatwa’s Doctors. With all the other modern-era Doctor actors (Christopher Eccleston, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, and Jodie Whittaker) and even many of the classic era Doctors still alive and kicking, I don’t believe the 60th anniversary will truly be a two-Doctor show.
Do I think all the Doctors (at least the living and able) will have major roles? No. But I will lay down my life upon the hill that Matt Smith was lying (badly) in an interview last year when he said he was “too old” to come back. I mean, come on, 60-year anniversary and they’re only gonna wrangle two Doctors? Be serious, BBC.
Prediction Three: Queer Pride!
Russell T Davies has always been an openly gay showrunner. But the media landscape has changed since the ’00s, when he was last head writer. Even back then, Davies’ era featured biconic character Captain Jack Harkness and even teased the Doctor as being potentially queer, which was groundbreaking at the time.
Queer representation is being embraced far more across the entertainment industry, as well as in Doctor Who itself. The show’s first lesbian companion Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) was featured in series 10 and queer companion Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gil) appeared in the Jodie Whittaker era. With so many openly LGBT+ actors such as Gatwa, Finney, Patrick-Harris, and Jonathon Groth joining the new specials and series, I’m hoping for more proud and openly queer stories in the show than ever before.
This is more of a wish, than a prediction. I am not saying the new Doctor should absolutely have a cute boyfriend, but… actually, yes. That’s exactly what I am saying. Give the Doctor a boyfriend, please!
Will any of my predictions come true? Who knows! We’ll all find out on November 26.
The Doctor Who 60th anniversary special episodes will stream on Disney+.
Merryana Salem (they/them) is a proud Wonnarua and Lebanese–Australian writer, critic, teacher and podcaster on most social media as @akajustmerry. If you want, check out their podcast, GayV Club where they yarn about LGBTIQ media. Either way, they hope you ate something nice today.