David Tennant Doctor Who spin-off ruled out by Russell T Davies: ‘David who?’

Russell T Davies rules out David Tennant Doctor Who return.

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has shut down speculation that David Tennant will star in a spin-off series as the 14th Doctor, after his character unexpectedly survived.

The actor reprised his role as The Doctor opposite former companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) for the trio of 60th anniversary specials which aired across November and December. This culminated in the finale episode, “The Giggle”, on Saturday (9 December) which saw Tennant and the new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa ‘bi-generate’ in a surprise twist.

The episode concluded with Gatwa heading off on his adventures as the 15th Doctor and Tennant’s 14th Doctor returning home with Donna and her family to retire and heal from years of space-based trauma. A happy ending all around!

However, the 14th Doctor’s continued existence in Donna’s back garden did leave fans to wonder whether this meant his return – or even a spin-off series of his adventures on Earth – was on the cards.

In the behind-the-scenes Doctor Who Unleashed episode which aired after the finale, Davies confirmed that, for now at least, Tennant’s iteration of the character is firmly “parked”.

David Tennant and Ncuti Gatwa in The Giggle.
David Tennant and Ncuti Gatwa in The Giggle. (BBC)

“For once, we’ve got a happy Doctor who is no longer saving the universe, but is parked with Donna (Catherine Tate) for a happy life, while the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) – which is always the next Doctor, and that’s always true of Doctor Who, the Doctor is the next Doctor – is out amongst the stars,” he said during the episode.

You may like to watch

But this wasn’t enough to dampen the rumours, with fans remaining fiercely divided over the idea of Tennant sticking around. So, during a special screening of the Christmas special on Monday (11 December), Davies doubled down on Tennant’s hard exit.

The upcoming Christmas special, titled “The Church on Ruby Road”, properly introduces Gatwa as the Doctor in his debut (goblin-filled) adventure where he bumps into his future companion Ruby Sunday (played by Millie Gibson).

“Sorry, it’s the age of Ncuti now – it’s ‘David who?'” Davies proclaimed to the audience. “No plans, genuinely, yet, because it’s a busy TARDIS – these two [Gatwa and Gibson] are gonna just sail across the universe and capture your heart, so it’s time to look at these two.”

Although Tennant won’t be returning to the Whoniverse anytime soon, Donna’s daughter Rose Noble (played by trans actress Yasmin Finney) will be making a highly-anticipated re-appearance.

Earlier this year Finney spoke about working with Gatwa on set, describing it as a “magic”.

“Two Black, queer, magic actors on screen together?” Finney said at the time. “It was bound to happen, the universe was bound to connect the lines. We’re intertwined, and I think we complement each other so well. We see how privileged we are.”

Doctor Who returns with “The Church on Ruby Road”, on Christmas Day at 5:55pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. It will stream globally on Disney+.

Please login or register to comment on this story.